Showing posts from 2008

Shooting Women


In an exclusive interview, writer-filmmaker Alexis Krasilovsky talks to Rahad Abir about her work and the philosophy that guides her life.

You said in a session at the 10th Dhaka International Film Festival that Satyajit Ray's cameraman Subrata Mitra made you interested in becoming a cameraperson. How did that happen?
I grew up in the New York suburbs, where like so many other families, our father left early in the morning for the city, and when we kids went off to school, my mother was left in a big, empty house. As I approached adolescence, I understood her loneliness and isolation, even though I was set on going my own separate way. Satyajit Ray's “Charulata” is the film that made me understand grown women's loneliness: those long, haunting dolly shots of cinematographer Subrata Mitra's, following the wife through the hallways of her empty house allowed me to see the world through her eyes. Meeting Mitra, who had come to New York for a cinematographer's c…

A Strong Voice from Scotland

Interview by
Rahad Abir

Helen Lamb is an award-winning short-story writer and poet. Her first poetry collection, Strange Fish (with Magi Gibson), was published in 1997. Her first short-story collection was published by Polygon in 2001 and in the US by Columbia University Press a year later. Winner of the Scotland on Sunday/Women 2000 short-story prize, Lamb's work has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies. It has appeared in translation and been used on National Poetry Day postcards. Many of her stories have been broadcast on Radio 4.
What is the situation of women writers in Scotland? And how was it 20 years back? Twenty years ago, very few women were getting published. But in the late eighties and early nineties some Scottish publishers, like Polygon, started to promote women's writing. Many of us got our first break in Polygon's Original Prints series and quite a few of those writers are well known poets and novelists now. It has been easier for the wo…

What is civil society?

Published On: 2008-09-20
Star Books Review

Rahad Abir studies the history behind it

Civil society. The term has now been around for a few decades, largely since the 1980s. Some sociologists and political scientists coined the term here in Bangladesh. The thought of civil society mainly originated, however, in the eighteenth century in Western Europe. But why and wherefore civil society in Bangladesh? Now, let us try to find out what civil society actually is. The primary idea of civil society came from the writings of Hobbes (1588-1679) and Locke (1632-1704). They thought of civil society as an artificial construct. According to them, human beings' usual dwelling place is nature. They considered civil society as a sphere that maintained civil life, the realm where civic virtues and rights were derived from natural laws. However, they did not hold that civil society was a separate realm from the state. Rather, they underlined the co-existence between the state and civil society.The le…

Is DU a University or a Political Centre?

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindless in clothes a wantonness…
I see a wild civility…

During our first year at university, while giving a lecture on Robert Herrick's "Delight in Disorder", Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam asked us, "Do you see disorder in the university?"

All the students immediately replied in unison, "Yes, Sir, everywhere!"

Like Ulysses, a restless warrior, in our first year at DU, we were busy all day long simply having fun. University was a new world for us, DU being the centre of everything. But the joy didn't last long. Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) called an indefinite strike preceding the national elections of 2001. Now a 4-month session jam every year has become common for us at DU. We don't understand the need to close the university. Even during movements, like those protesting the police raid on Shamsunnahar Hall and the attack on Prof Humayun Azad, wouldn't the university remaining open mean more people taking part in t…

A tale of little magazines

Rahad Abir studies two instructive works

Bangladeshey Little Magazine Chorcha
Otit O Bartoman
Ed. Mizan Rahman
Dui Banglar Little Magazine Bhabna
Ed. Mizan Rahman

What is a little magazine and why is it there? What is its history and who first brought it out? Before getting into the answers let us first see the definition of little magazines. It goes like this, a periodical, usually not published for profit, prints reviews, essays, fiction, or poetry or more usually some combination of them, supposedly devoted to high literary standards. Little magazines often run innovative or experimental works. A few little magazines pay for contributions, many do not. Some are widely influential, but others are virtually unknown except to the editors and contributors. Little magazines may be very helpful to a new writer who is selective in sending submissions.

The publicity and expansion of little magazines began mainly at the turn of the twentieth century. Bu…

Filming the Evils of Globalisation


by Rahad Abir

Ric Wasserman a filmmaker from New York was a guest speaker at the Dhaka Talent Campus part of 10th Dhaka Film Festival held on January 2008 and spoke about his recent documentary 'Back to the Village'. This 26-minute documentary highlights the plight of millions of South Indian villagers who are struggling to survive, being forced to move to the urban centres in search of work. 'Back to the Village' follows the lives of people in three South Indian villages near Bangalore. Their stories reveal the dark side of the effects of globalisation, where to survive villagers must fight back, capitalisation on their own initiatives to be able to remain in their villages. In an interview for SWM, Wasserman talks about the harsh realities depicted in his film.

How did you get the idea of making 'Back to the Village'?
I met Dr. T. Scarlett Epstein who is a renowned Oxford anthropologist researching for 40 years in southern India. She told me that I migh…

A Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay Evening

Rahad Abir

ALL the chairs were filled up. A full audience remained enchanted as Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay, the eminent Indian-Bangla writer spoke on various topics. Manavjamin, Durbin, Partiv, Parapar, Jao Pakhi and so many famous books have been written by this eminent writer of Kolkata. Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay came to Bangladesh on 27 March, after long 10 years. Last Saturday on 29 March in Paribagh at Smankskriti Bikash Kendro a Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay evening was organized by some of his admirers. This was an informal programme, divided into two parts-conversation with Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay and a cultural part. At the beginning of the programme noted litterateur Imdadul Hoque Milon named it 'a Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay evening'. Then he talked about Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay's birth, growing up as well as the beginning of his literary career. Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay's ancestors lived in Bikrompur but he was born in Mymensingh on 2 November 1935, and lived there up to ag…

Building slaughterhouse

There are lots of persons among us who do not like to go outside and visit relatives’ houses on the three days of Eid-ul-Azha celebration. The reason is that streets remain filthy with wastes of sacrificial animals. It is not only a cause of environment pollution but also hampers strongly the natural mental growth of children. Many children get frightened seeing the animal killing scene before their eyes. Even the adults are likewise frightened. Cannot we seek any solution to this? In the developed countries there are lots of slaughterhouses.
Putting up adequate slaughterhouses will take time for a poor country like us. But it is not an impossible task. On the other hand, during Eid-ul-Azha if we choose some definite places in each area for sacrificing animals that would be good for all. City corporations and municipal bodies should take necessary steps in this respect. If this method is followed, removal of sacrificial animals’ waste would be easier and environment would not be pollut…