"As literary activities increased, those writers who had fallen silent, became active. Initially, what they wrote was influenced by the shock value of the events as is natural for those who have come out of revolutionary events. Soon their sentimentalism gave way. They looked objectively at the problems all around and raw emotionalism was replaced by realism. They selected new themes and created a powerful literature."
The emergent scene is populated with quite a few names, and this brief survey can only identify those who represent important trends. In poetry, the representative names are Ahsan Ahmed Ashk, Ataur Rehman Jamil and Naushad Noori, while Ahmed Ilyas' collection Aina-R^ze is the most noteworthy book of poetry. The images in this "fragmented mirror" are sharp and clear. Dedicated to Faiz, this collection of nazms and ghazals is graceful in style and touching in its choice of themes. The most powerful stuff has come out less in poetry and more in the short story. It seems that short fiction has become an appropriate vehicle for expressing the anguish and the turmoil, the poignant uncertainties, the vague yearnings and swift moving changes that have accompanied the socio-political events. Two writers collaborated to bring out a joint collection of stories, Dud-e Cirag-e Mahfil in 1983. The two writers are Ahmed Saadi, who has been writing since 1942 and is well known for his excellent translations from Bengali, and Seen Meem Sajid, a very talented addition to Urdu fictionalists. Ahmed Saadi's more recent work is gathered together in MittFkTXusbu (1989). While Saadi is more loyal to the traditional norms of the short story, the work of Ayub Johar is closer to the symbolic and abstract fiction being written in Pakistan and India. Johar's stories are collected in Sada Kagaz (1986). Zaihul Abedin had already gained a reputation before 1971. Sham Barrackpuri has published four books in the last few years. Among the newer names is Kaleem Ahmed, several of whose stories have appeared in Dr. Wazir Agha's Lahore-based journal Auraa. He told me that he was planning to write some stories based on Bengali folk tales. The most interesting writer in this group is Gholam Mohammad, who has been writing since the late fifties. He became known for his stance on the question of local affiliations, as well as for stories depicting life in the former East Pakistan. He underwent a period of silence following 1971, but entered a new period of creativity with stories focussing on the problems of an emergent nation. His stories are a regular feature of Ahmed Nadeem Qasimi's magazine Funun, and have also been widely translated into Bengali.
This flurry of literary activity has brought with it several magazines, such as Anjuman, Intixab, Shdhkar, and Majlis, Going through these periodicals, one has to admire the perseverance of their editors. The latest issue of Majlis (January 1988) edited by Jamal Mashriqi is a special number devoted to World and Bangladeshi literature. It contains (besides an insipid romantic story from the pen of Bushra Rahman, entitled what else but "Bengali Babu7!) a letter to the editor by Ayub Johar which says much in a few lines: "Where should I begin from? From the bitterness of my experience or from the heights of your daring enterprise? In the old days I had heard somebody say that literature is a relationship in itself, superior to and dominating all others. But our situation in Bangladesh has revealed even this relationship to be bare, naked! One has to make such efforts to live, but in order to live literature, who else has become as naked and vulnerable as we had to become?" One can feel the heat of an oxy-acetylene flame in these few sentences.
Annual of Urdu Studies, #7 g5