Thursday, February 24, 2005

The GODS of literature

It's been a while now since I have written the last time. I didn't have much sleep last night so I have a funny dizzy feeling all day today. Hoping to get some writing done today before I collapse!

So Bangladesh making good progress now, it seems loads of companies all around the world are eager to invest in Bangladesh. First the multi-national mobile companies then the Indian steel giant TATA and finally now the middle east countries are getting ready to try their luck in Bangladesh. It all seems very rosy in terms of investment in BD but what about the other sectors ?

We, in Bangladesh, grew up learning about the great souls of Bangladeshi culture. There are two GODS in Bangladeshi or Bangla literature; one is the nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore and the other is Kazi Nazrul Islam. Like Tagore , Nazrul wrote poetry , short stories , novels. articles and composed thousands of songs. Both of them and especially Tagore is all over our life; whenever or whatever a occasion may be, Nazrul or Tagore must have written a song for it. Tagore is worshipped both in Calcutta and Bangladesh. There is an organisation in Calocutta that maintains and saves(!) the literary work of Tagore and god knows how many schools and colleges are there in Bangladesh and Calcutta that teach Tagore and Nazrul songs. Thousands of students do try their heart out to learn the songs correctly. The Bangla obcession of Tagore and Nazurl is blind and the hype seems endless but what do we get from it as a nation ? Probably nothing !

The kind of attention a poet or a writer gets in Bangladesh is unbelieveable. Lets take the case for Shamsur Rahman. There is hardly any educated person in Bangladesh who doesn't know this great guy. He is everywhere; from textbook to TV to rally in the street or even for opening ceremony of anything he could be seen. But I wonder the same educated and obviouly literature people can name a good scientist from Bangladesh. In the case for Bangladesh and culcutta , the society seems poetry driven and less technology driven. In this day and age , the latter sounds more promising than the former. Don't you agree ?

I have been in UK for six years now and I haven't heard for a single time the name of any poet. One day, I remember, I went to shop for a literature magazine in a big store that sells magazines on almost all the things. But they even couldn't get me a single literature magazine. I have never seen people discussing poetry or poets or anything related to it. I don't know the name of any poet here and so don't the people of Britain ! So have they lost their culture , the british heritage ? I don't think so.

Although Tagore is Indian , most of my Indian friends don't even know that he got a nobel prize but we do and we are soooo proud of it ! I guess we are not so proud that we are in the back seat of Science and Technology compared to the rest of the world. It's time we change our act and start celebrating science and business if we really want to proceed otherwise it's a dead end. It really is.


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