Showing posts from 2017

Neighbours, but not loved

Bangladeshi Hindus are real traitors. They eat here, poop and pee here, make money here, but all they think of is India. And that’s where they send all their wealth to. If you are in Bangladesh, it is nearly impossible to ignore this allegation against the minority community.

There may not be any Hindus in Bangladesh who have not heard this allegation against them once in life. Or they hear it a lot and ignore it. ‘‘Haven’t you bought any properties in India?’’ Muslims ask their Hindu neighbours or colleagues right in their faces. As if it is an old joke. Of course, there are people who show the decency not to crack this cheap sort of joke. But they surely discuss and talk about it behind their backs.

And then there comes the word ‘Malaun.’ For many Bangladeshi Muslims, Malaun is synonymous to Hindu. Owing to the wide usage of the word since the Partition of 1947, especially after the birth of Bangladesh in 1971, people have almost forgotten Malaun is a derogatory word.

So what does …

It is stupid to be a writer in Bangladesh

When someone asks me my profession, I always hesitate to answer. I cannot tell people that I write.
I suspect that they will not take me seriously if I tell them about my profession or disclose that I left the US only to be a full-time writer. I always wanted to write a novel.
The look they give me is easy to interpret. My gut feeling has always been that they are thinking, I am either stupid or insane.
From time immemorial, intelligent people have been considered crazy, unsocial, and held on contempt for reading too much. Moreover, there is an orthodox belief in Bangladesh that all intellectuals are atheists.
Or, shall I put it this way: the common belief is reading too much makes one agnostic.
On rare occasions that I do tell the truth about my profession, they ask me ‘‘we do understand you write but what else you do?’’
"Nothing, I write full time" is an answer that has always evoked surprises. The majority finds it impossible to believe that a man with sound body and sound mind…