Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | ePaper
1971 in literature
eâ€™re the generation that hasnâ€™t directly experienced the Liberation War in all its terror, sacrifices and glory. Weâ€™ve always had to rely on books and movies to know about the most significant episode in our national history. Hereâ€™s a list of must-read books on 1971 - books that make readers feel fear and grief and joy all under the same covers.
1) Amar Bondhu Rashed by Muhammed Zafar Iqbal
For most of us, this is the first book that we read on the war. I was nine years old when I read this, and that was the first time I cried over a book. Years later the author explained in Tomader Proshno, Amar Uttor the story behind how this novel came to be, and I finally found solace after many years I spent wondering why he had to break the hearts of the many children reading his most poignant fiction.
2) Jochhna o Jononir Golpo by Humayun Ahmed (Anyaprokash)
This is a colossal, larger-than-life novel that touched every aspect of the war to some extent. It helps the readers understand not just the evident political and military conflicts, but also delves into the emotions and sentiments of the everyday people who suddenly found themselves in the middle of a brutal war. Jochhna o Jononir Golpo is a fan favourite and a tear-jerker, and not many books describe 1971 as perfectly as this one.
3) Ekattorer Dingulee by Jahanara Imam
One womanâ€™s recounting of each day of the war, how she lost the people most dear to her in this grave fight for freedom. Ekattorer Dingulee is one of my most favourite literary works because I have never read another book that tells such personal, tragic stories in an unnervingly calm tone. This masterpiece is hauntingly beautiful; it's a book the readers should chose to read.
4) Witness to Surrender by Brig Gen Siddiq Salik
(The University Press Limited)
Salik was in charge of Tikka Khanâ€™s PR, and he mostly wrote about the political turbulence of the war that he observed while stationed in East Pakistan. It offers a very different perspective (though biased), that's what makes this book stand out.
5) Ekattorer Chithi (Prothoma Prokashoni)
I absolutely love this book. It is a unique compilation of letters written during and about the war, containing scanned copies of the real letters along with the printed versions. There are letters written to parents, friends, siblings and spouses and each of these letters express heavy, raw emotions.
6) Jonojuddher Gonojoddha by Maj Kamrul Hasan Bhuiyan (Dibboprokash)
The story of this book is from the viewpoint of an everyday guy who fought in the war that changed the course of history forever. This is not the glorified story of a war hero; this tells us about the sacrifices our people had to make, people who were farmers or middle-class family men. This is also an excellent example of how books can be informative, yet literary masterworks at the same time. Muhammed Zafar Iqbal has quite rightfully recommended this book on many occasions.
7) Ami Birangona Bolchhi by Nilima Ibrahim
Probably one of the bravest books ever written about the Liberation War. In a society that is bent on shaming and ostracising rape victims, Nilima Ibrahim chose to narrate the heart-breaking stories of the women who were tortured beyond humane limits by beasts disguised as men. This brilliantly written book as heart-breaking as it may be, speaks of the most unbelievably brutal side of the war, and that is why itâ€™s a must-read.
8) Ekattorer Smriti by Basanti Guhathakurta
(The University Press Limited)
The wife of martyred intellectual Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta talks about the horrors she and her daughter had to go through after her husband was abducted. One of the most unique and moving tales there are about the Liberation War, this book helps us understand the darkest moments of our history.
There are countless books written about the war - tales of terror, loss, grief and remorse; yet there are bits of happiness in all of these tales. The readers can find an ecstatic tone of joy in the narrative whenever they read about the birth of Bangladesh, a country that was born out of sacrifices and love. We owe it to our country, and ourselves to know and to tell these stories, because these stories belong to us as much as they did to our forefathers, and as much as they will to the future generations of Bangladeshis. n