Annual of Urdu Studies, v. 7, 1990 p. 83.


Graphics file for this page
Asif Aslam Farrukhi

IMAGES IN A BROKEN MIRROR:

THE URDU SCENE IN BANGLADESH

It is good that everything s gone, except their language, which is everything Derek Walcofrt

But a life-story can only survive in ashes ' Montale

When walls crumble, literature gets more breathing space On November 4 last year. East German novelist Chnsta Wolf addressed the decisive mass demonstration in East Berlin's Alexanderplatz only a few days before the Berlin Wall, the world's most impenetrable frontier, opened up 'Fellow citizens, the prophetic writer said, 'every revolutionary movement also liberates languages As the blood-dimmed tide of political events begins to recede, it becomes easier to express what has been at the back of everyone's mind, and people begin to communicate The renewed human element redeems the language from the stifling clutches of newspaper propaganda and official jargon Wolfs pithy comment could well become a rallying point for charting the recent signs of change in Urdu's fortunes in Bangladesh A literature which had always been there becomes more visible, and is given recognition by the mainstream Bengali culture An important Bengali magazine Proti Pokho has recently brought out a special Urdu number which focuses mainly on the literature of Bangladesh's Urdu writers With the appearance of this issue, it appears that a small Bradenborg Tor has opened in the invisible wall that still exists between the two cultures

For many people in Pakistan, the news in this would be that such a literature existed When one speaks of Urdu's local affiliations, one tends to speak of Pakistan and India, and then of the expatriate communities in the Gulf, Britain, and North America Nearer home Bangladesh is overlooked This is probably due to the fact that people still remember the events of 1971 and that the Urdu community was seen, whether rightly or wrongly, to have a partisan role In the swift moving events that followed, the breakaway was so complete that the possibility of Urdu language or literature maintaining some form of presence over there seemed remote Yet eighteen years after Bangladesh's independence, Urdu literature is far from dead in Bangladesh Despite tremendous problems and against all odds, Urdu writers in Bangladesh continue to pursue literary activities, form organizations, hold mushairas, frequently bring out magazines and have even published a few books

Annual of Urdu Studies, #7 g^


Back to Annual of Urdu Studies | Back to the DSAL Page