CREATING A MAGICAL CHILDHOOD
"Writing for children is something very special. When I try to depict their child-like dreams, their innocence and imagination in my writing, what I enjoy most is that I start to think like them", says Ashique Mustafa, one of the most promising contemporary children's authors in Bangladesh. Stories, fairy tales, children's novels, rhymes– in all forms of children's literature Ashique Mustafa, a young man of 26, has become a popular name among the little book worms.
Young children in his stories explore the mysterious mountains of Keokradong, they talk and make friends with fairies and ghost and sometimes they take selfies with them too! But unlike his stories, Ashique's childhood was not very colourful. Born and raised in a conservative environment, Ashique had little opportunity to read books during his childhood.
However, Ashique has a natural talent for creative writing. He started to write when he was a freshman in the university. His first book of rhymes titled "Eksho Foring Ekta Ami" was published in 2009 from Oitijjhya, a renowned publisher of the country. On 2011, he was granted the Shishu Shahittyo Award for his translation of Red Indian folklore titled "Morog o Tar Bondhura". After this achievement, various kinds of fantasy stories, adventures and children's' novels by Ashique have been published by some of the most renowned publishers of Bangladesh.
So far, he has authored 17 books of different genres for his young readers. "One day, I got a call from one of my readers, a little girl who asked,'Your story was fun but why did you print a photo upside down in the back page?' She also told me that she had told her mother to get my contact information from the publisher so that she could be the first one to tell me about this," he shares.
Ashique draws his inspiration from the nature, from his mentors and certainly from these little readers. Ashique says, "Nature always inspires me to write because it is as innocent as the children are. Renowned naturist Dwijen Swarma is one of my mentors and his intimacy with nature is an inspiration for several of my writings."
Ashique achieved the UNICEF Meena Media Award on 2014 for his story titled "Shopno Urano Lokta". In the same year, he was awarded the Habibur Rahman Shahittyo Puroshkar for his short story "Chotto Ekta Meye". Currently, besides pursuing his MA in Disaster Management from Dhaka University, Ashique is working as a panellist for publishing the 'Shishu Bishyokosh' (Children's Encyclopaedia) by Bangladesh Shishu Academy.