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To be a writer is a never-ending struggle----Anisur Rahman

Published : Tuesday, 14 November, 2017 at 12:00 AM Count : 403
Interviewed by Dr. Manana Matiashvili

Discussants at the seminar in Bangla Academy

Discussants at the seminar in Bangla Academy

Anisur Rahman, a Bengali writer, educated at the University of Dhaka and Stockholm, has authored more than twenty books in different genres. His literary works have been translated into various languages for instance English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, Serbian and Georgian. Anisur has been awarded with the 2013 Prince Wilhelm Scholarship from the Swedish PEN. He shares times between Dhaka and Uppsala, where he was also a writer in residency 2009-2011 as part of the International PEN-network. His debut collection of poems is Empty Glass, 2003.
He has been a guest at the Sor Juana University in Mexico City, Bilgi University in Istanbul, Ilia State University in Georgia and the Centre for Ibsen Studies at the University of Oslo, Ilia State University, Tbilisi. As a playwright, Anisur has done work for theatres in Bangladesh, Norway and Sweden, Swedish Radio and NRK Norwegian Radio. He leads creative writing literary workshops in Oslo, Uppsala, Dhaka and other cities. Anisur was guest writer in Krokodil residency in Belgrade 2015 and Athens 2016.  
Recently has delivered a lecture at the Study Forum at Dhaka University on 'Why do I write?' and Internationalisation of literature at Bangla Academy. Academy director general Shamsuzzaman Khan presided over the seminar. Among others writers Muhammad Samad, Tarik Sujat, Sarker Amin, Tapan Bagchi, Khan Mahbub, Mojaffar Hossain, ShahidaKhatun took part in the discussion.
Anisur works for the Centre for Literature in Uppsala and shares his time between Bangladesh and Sweden. Prior to his visit to Dhaka, his Georgian translator and teacher of translation studies at Caucasus University, Dr Manana Matiashvili interviewed him.
Let's begin with your life in your homeland.  How can you describe it? What is the life like there for a young poet who takes active part in the social life of his
It is considerably small country with large population, over 160 million people. We had nearly two hundred years of the British colonial past. Despite the fact that people have low income and random access to comfortable life, they live happy life, life is full of diversities and colors there. We have six seasons while all of you have four. Our people are humble, hospitable and simple. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is our leader - the political architect of Bangladesh. He managed to introduce the land as a model for secular progressive nation to the world at large in the beginning of 1970s. It is obvious for a sensible young person that he must take active part in social life of our country and in case he is a poet it only strengthen his motivation. We experienced Mother Language movement in 1952. The result of it came with"21 of February" when the UNESCO declared thisdate for all mother languages to pay tribute to the importance of recognition and survival of all mother languages in the world. From our past generation the young people took part in movement against the stupid British colonial authorities, Pakistani authorities and finally in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. We have ancient literary heritage and a Nobel winner too - Rabindranath Tagore is the main architect of our modern culture. Our first collection of poetry "Charyapada was written between the 8th and 12th centuries...
 I expected that somehow you should mention Tagore. Tagore means much for you in your profession. How could you describe his merits to people who do not know him or have not read his writings or listened to his
songs yet?
 While introducing a digital dictionary of the English language Bill Gates expressed his dream for future about one language, one dictionary in the world! I find such expression useless and imperial audacity against diversity of hundreds of languages and cultures all over the world. Our Rabindranath Tagore was against such spirit of imperial approach.
 Rabindranath Tagore is not unavoidable to others who do not know him or do not read his writings. Our Tagore is unavoidable for us. He is a main figure of Bengali literature in all the genres of literary writing except epic. If the people of other nations read Tagore, they will certainly benefit and enrich the literary tradition of their own country. Tagore is a milestone while building bridge between the east and the west. Who else do we have before and after whom we could find as such a Himalaya like him in encountering the east and the west? Tagore is a kind of God in Bengali culture. If the people of other languages do not read Tagore's works in translation, it will be a great loss for them. Tagore is a national talent for us as well as for the rest ofthe world. He was a writer who witnessed two world wars and harshBritish colonial era, wrote national anthems of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and accepted Nobel prize in 1913 as the first non-European writer.    To be continued...

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