South Asian pasts in books | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 04, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:54 AM, February 04, 2021

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South Asian pasts in books

History is made up of more than battle stories—the most riveting and nuanced of historical tales are those that touch upon the lives, experiences, and textures of the stories making up any region or civilization. The following books, published over the past few weeks and months, etch a history of Bengali and South Asian lives through the lenses of radio dispatches, food recipes, historical fiction, and research.

SHUNCHEN SHWADIN BANGLA BETAR KENDRO 1971

Modhupok, Bangladesh

Alamgir Kabir

 

Film director and activist Alamgir Kabir aired the first of his Shwadhin Bangla Betar Kendro dispatches on the Bangladesh Liberation War on June 15, 1971. From then on until October 7, 1971, he continued to release radio dispatches that offered unflinching commentary on West Pakistan's genocide on East Pakistanis and on the geopolitical forces at play. First published in English as This was Radio Bangladesh, 1971 (Bangla Academy, 1984), the dispatches are now for the first time available in Bangla, translated by Afzalur Rahman, Arastu Lenin Khan, Priom Pritim Pal, and Shamsuddoza Sajen, with an Introduction by Kamal Lohani. The collection has been edited by AKM Atikuzzaman, Tahmidal Jami, and Arost Lenin Khan.

 

 

 

CARPUS MAHAL THEKE SHANTI CHUKTO: PARBOTTO CHATTOGRAM-E RASHTRIO NITIR ITIHASH

University Press Ltd (UPL), Bangladesh

Anand Bikash Chakma

 

Comprising the product of years of research by Dr Anand Bikash Chakma, Associate Professor at the department of History, Chittagong University, the book explores the development of events in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region from the Mughal period to the British and Pakistani rule and its ongoing existence as part of Bangladesh.

 

 

 

 

 

THE RUNAWAY BOY

Eka, Westland Publications, India

Manoranjan Byapari

 

Manoranjan Byapari was born in Barisal, East Pakistan in the 1950s. He moved to West Bengal at the age of three, settled in refugee camps as a child, and became part of the Naxalite movement in his 20s, which landed him in jail. He taught himself to read while in prison, and upon gaining release, became a writer after a chance encounter with Mahasweta Devi while driving her rickshaw in Kolkata.

His latest novel, translated from the Bengali by renowned translator V Ramaswamy, begins in the marshlands of Barisal during Partition, and follows the turbulent lives of a family forced to migrate to West Bengal while suffering the caste prejudices imposed upon "Chandals".

 

 

 

 

DESI DELICACIES

Pan Macmillan, India

Claire Chambers

 

A professor of Global Literatures at the University of York, England, Chambers has written extensively on literary representations of Muslims in Britain and South Asia. Her new essay anthology—complete with mouth-watering recipes—explores the sentiments, relationships, and histories entrenched in South Asian Muslim cuisine.

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