Mukti

Joy (the other) Bangla?

Posted in Bengal, comedy, Drama, history, movies by jrahman on October 11, 2017

Interesting things maybe happening in the Indian Bengal, and not just with films, though a film is a pretty good place to start.  Aparna Sen’s Goynar Baksho — a family dramedy about changing role of women in the mid-20th century bhadralok society — garners two wholehearted cheers.  Moushumi Chatterjee puts on perhaps the best performance of her career, and Konkona Sen Sharma is in her exquisite elements.  That’s two cheers, not quite a third for Srabanti Chatterjee though, who pales before the two veterans.  More importantly, the first two-thirds of the movie is astute social commentary that is simply fun to watch.  Depiction of the partition-induced transformation of a landed gentry East Bengali caste Hindu family into trade-dependent petit bourgeois is up there with the best of partition-related art.  Indian Bengalis tend to have a hard time pulling off East Bengali accent — this is a rare and pleasant exception.  For all that, however, the movie is far from being a great one because of its last third.  And yet, it’s the ending that made me think.

The story ends with this:

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On the Eaton thesis

Posted in Bengal, books, classics, history, Muslim world, South Asia by jrahman on January 13, 2016

Awrup Sanyal wants to whet your appetite about Richard Eaton’s seminal work.  Let me complement him on the effort.  I have noted Eaton in the past: a must read book on Bangladesh; and a book that has stayed with me. A full-fledged critical review of the Eaton thesis is well beyond my capability.  This post really is a complement to Mr Sanyal’s.

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Look to the West

Posted in Bengal, history, South Asia by jrahman on May 25, 2014

West Bengal (no one uses Paschimbanga it seems!) that is.  While Bangladeshi chatteratti — online/offline, print/electronic — are all agog about what Mr Modi might mean, hardly anyone is talking about what’s happening in West Bengal.  And yet, just as analysing political development of former West Pakistan can shed light on our own failures, analysing our co-linguists to the west can also help charting our path.  And let me stress the word analysis — I am calling for an unsentimental look at politics/society/economy, not another round of dui Bangla / epar-opar tearjerking.

Over the fold are five topics that ought to be explored by serious analysts.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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Being Bengali in a divided Bengal

Posted in Bengal, history by jrahman on February 12, 2013

When asked his opinion on the French Revolution, Zhou En Lai is meant to have quipped, ‘too soon to tell’.  I stood in solidarity earlier today, but I echo the former Chinese premiere on Shahbagh.  I find it ridiculous to call it a Square.  I think people calling it a revolution or dawn of Fascism are being a tad bit silly.  But beyond that, as of now, I am observing and assessing.  As Sherlock Holmes might say, it’s not a good habit to hypothesise without sufficient information… actually, I am sure he would say something more pithy and cool, but you get the point — I am not in Shahbagh (or even in Bangladesh), and I am not going to say anything more about Shahbagh until I have more information.

Instead, I am going to note that this is February, the month when Bengali Muslims of an earlier generation discovered their Bengaliness.  This is as good a time as any to write about the articles by Naeem Mohaiemen and Arnab Ray that appeared in the New York Times last November.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

(more…)

সাতকাহন

Posted in action, Bengal, China, Drama, economics, foreign policy, history, micro, movies, music, people, society, trade by jrahman on November 23, 2012

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Posted in Bengal, China, communalism, development, economics, history, macro, movies, people, politics, sci-fi, science, South Asia by jrahman on October 26, 2012

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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Bengal undivided

Posted in Bengal, fantasy, history, what ifs by jrahman on August 14, 2012

I’ve been intermittently posting two series of alternate histories, one with a Pakistan where Bengal, not Punjab, experienced communal cleansing (latest post) and the other is an India that was never partitioned (latest post).  As it happens, even in the unpartitioned India, I imagine Bengal partitioned on communal line.

Does that mean I believe Bengal was always destined to be divided?

No.  I don’t believe there is anything inevitable about history.  There are specific reasons why key players make particular choices, which together with external shocks (sometimes truly random), shape the course of history.  It’s not that hard to imagine a history where Bengal remained undivided, whether as part of India or Pakistan, or as an independent, sovereign state.

So, what if Bengal had not been partitioned?

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