Saturday, June 22, 2024

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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Stories that could not be forgotten

Update : 10 Jun 2017, 03:41 AM
Syed Manzoorul Islam is one of Bangladesh’s leading fiction writers. He is renowned for his extraordinary storytelling. Powerful articulation of human emotions, irony and humour, and postmodernist literary techniques set him apart from his peers. His newly published collection of stories, Bhuley Thaka Galpa (Forgotten Stories), contains 15 stories selected from two of his previously published collections, and offers a rewarding reading experience. The book begins with “Aparanher galpa” (The story of an afternoon), which revolves around a writer’s chance meeting with a young lady on a bus bound for Srimangal. Sad plight of women in society, hypocrisy and corruption at different levels are comically brought out as the story progresses. The second story, “Ghani Miar Pathar” (Ghani Mia’s Stone), is, however, about Ghani who spins and circulates a story of a magical, wish-fulfilling stone and makes money exploiting popular belief. The story can as well be read as a self-reflexive commentary on the power of storytelling. “Ferryghater Ranna” (Cooking at the ferry ghat) is the story about a prostitute's revenge against a corrupt, retired police officer. It unveils the intricate web of criminal activities between several groups of powerful people.
Unmarried due to her physical frailties (she has a limp), she finds in the well her perfect match. She spins a story about the well, seeking to establish that it has magical powers and medical properties of curing diseases
“Paraloukik” (The otherworldly) is a poignant story of poor rural girls working as domestic helps in the city. A village girl with a cleft lip, called Maya, starts working in the city home of Asma-ul-Husna, daughter of a locally influential man. After regular dose of beatings and other tortures by both Asma and her husband that went on for a long time, she finally succumbs. In an unexpected turn of events, her graveyard becomes a mausoleum and a myth circulates among people about her sainthood. The story digs out the horrific reality of marginalised people in Bangladesh's villages, with a focus on how minds of our common folks are full of prejudices. The final story “Patkuya” (The small well) is a sad story of a woman in her middle age. Unmarried due to her physical frailties (she has a limp), she finds in the well her perfect match. She spins a story about the well, seeking to establish that it has magical powers and medical properties of curing diseases. Unfortunately, though, she herself falls into the well and apparently accepts her fate. Islam’s stories are, in fact, the result of his continuous dialogue with the Bangladeshi society. His storytelling bears witness to that. Bhuley Thaka Galpa, like his other collections, offers readers the pleasure of a unique reading experience but at the same time, it helps them understand points of view that usually stay far outside the reach of the educated class.
The reviewer is an aspiring writer and fledgling critic. He can reached at [email protected]
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