Typical of any Samanta Schweblin story from her International Booker-longlisted collection, Mouthful of Birds (OneWorld, 2019), a sense of anxiety is strongly perceptible here, especially through the characters Fi and Pe. One grows afraid of them as they start showing both lovingly caring and Big Brother-like tendencies. What heightens the ominous halo surrounding these two is the hostages’ inability to translate their emotions; why would someone who provides for you not give you a way out?
In 1857, a wave of uprisings sparked through India in a bid to overthrow the British rulers. The Sepoy Mutiny was the first time Indian soldiers rose against the British East India Company in the face of corruption and unjust social reforms—including ruthless land taxes that unfairly penalised the working class.
A new British Council-funded project, Write Beyond Borders, is set to kickstart its inaugural episode from May-October 2021. The program is designed for “emerging writers” of South Asian background, who can be based anywhere in the UK, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. The deadline for application, which should include a covering letter and a writing sample of no more than 2,000 words, is April 30, 2021.
I still remember how there was so much commotion around the language issue in East Pakistan right after the 1947 Partition. In 1948, Liaquat Ali Khan brought amendments that sought to make English and Urdu the lingua franca of Pakistan, even though a majority of Pakistan’s population spoke in Bangla.