Friday, 20 July 2018 was the evening of an epic coming to light again.
The English translation of 'Ayesha Mongol'by Anisul Hoque, a best-seller of the late '90s,was launched at a special ceremony at Batighar, situated in the capital's BishwoShahittoKendrobuilding at Bangla Motor.
The novel depicts the life of one Ayesha Mongol, a woman seeking answers to questions ever since her husband —an air force officer— failed to return home one day in 1977. It gives the readers a window into Ayesha's struggle to hold onto someone who is already gone, never to return.
Based on real events and with a spin on the socio-political situation of post-war Bangladesh, the book tries to resolve the rhetorical question of what actually happened to her husband and others like him.
The English translation done by eminent journalist Inam Ahmed is as riveting as the Bengali novel published almost two decades ago. Ahmed succeeds in capturing the exact raw emotions penned by Hoque in his modern classic.
Speaking on the occasion, Asaduzzaman Noor, Cultural Affairs Minister, said —
“Inam's translation is extraordinary. I remember finishing about 30 pages of the book in one go. Translating is never an easy task but with The Ballad of Ayesha, it was beautifully done.”
The richness of Bengali literature, classic or modern, should reach a global audience and an English edition of the popular novel by renowned publisher like Harper Collins may just be the right baby steps towards that goal.
The book launch was well attended and included renowned personalities from the field of arts and culture. The event was followed by a musical soiree.
'The Ballad of Ayesha' is already out and available at Batighar, other bookshops and web portals like rokomari.com.
A short film based on the book is scheduled to air soon on television.
Photo courtesy: Anisul Hoque