Abuzz with the weekend crowd, the second day of Dhaka Lit Fest featured a number of book launching events along with discussion sessions, poetry recital, performances and rendition of different genres of music.
A collection of short stories of Abul Mansur Ahmad, a leading Bangalee author and politician of the early days of Pakistan, was formally launched by Daily Star Books in the evening following a discussion on his life and works.
Prof Emeritus Rafiqul Islam chaired the event, moderated by Chenggish Khan, where eminent writer Hasan Azizul Haque and researcher Mizanur Rahman also spoke.
While Prof Rafiqul described the various professions Abul Mansur Ahmad pursued including that of a lawyer, a newspaper editor and a columnist, Mizanur shared excerpts from Abul Mansur Ahmad's satirical stories which are still relevant today.
“He was a man free of prejudice,” said Hasan, who read Mansur as a young man in the 1960s.
The 328-page book titled “Abul Mansur Ahmader Shreshta Galpa”, edited by Nurul Amin, has 32 stories and is available at the Daily Star Books' stall on the festival grounds.
Another book launching event that generated a full house was “The March to Independence” session where noted economist Rehman Sobhan and eminent lawyer and politician Dr Kamal Hossain reminisced about the years leading to Bangladesh's Liberation War.
Moderated by Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, the event saw the launching of Rehman Sobhan's book “Untranquil Recollections: The Years of Fulfilment” published by SAGE Publications Inc.
The 444-page book with 13 chapters presents Rehman Sohban's memoirs till the time Bangladesh achieved independence.
Replying to Mahfuz Anam's questions, Rehman Sobhan spoke on how he got involved with nationalist mainstream politics of the country despite his family's links with Nawabs of Dhaka who were involved with Muslim League, one of the parties that opposed the liberation of Bangladesh.
He reflected on how his two economy theory caught the attention of the press at a time when politicians were gagged under the martial law rule of Ayub Khan in the 1960s and how it later formed the basis of the 6-Point demands which led to the nation's movement for autonomy.
Defining himself as an optimist, the octogenarian freedom fighter stressed the need for creating a sense of nationhood again in the country.
Dr Kamal Hossain too said people have to be empowered and unity has to be re-established to fight the problems the country faces today.