A walk-talk with Manosh Chowdhury
A non-conformist academic and artiste with all the inspiring aces
Fiction on the nib of whose pen, stage-art in whose gesture, and socio-political critical analysis in whose mind, he is Manosh Chowdhury. At present, Manosh is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Jahangirnagar University (JU). Since student life, his non-conformist tales travel till date inspiring today's age.
In 1987 Manosh enrolled in the Department of Anthropology, JU and enthusiastically got involved in singing, acting, debate. He actively worked on Sanskritik Sangshad, Kranti Natyam, Mutodhara Abritti Sangshad during the student life and later as a faculty 'nurtured' a lot of study circles and cultural organisations. During Hussain Mohammed Ershad's autonomous turmoil, Manosh was politically conscious in voice as well as in pen. His cultural activities were more like a protest against the autocracy.
"I was 'old' since my youth days. As I revolted against social conventions, particularly political subjugation, I was a threat to the mainstream politics. As a result, though I was good enough academically, after my Masters in 1992, for almost three years I was unemployed. Nevertheless, I joined as a faculty in 1995," shares Manosh about his university days.
"Even flyers were spread on campus against my academic career with silly absurd reasons as I had critical standpoint against social orthodoxies," Manosh recalls.
Manosh wrote several significant researches. For instance, in "Politics of Secularism in Bangladesh: On the Success of Reducing Political Vocabularies into 'Evil' Islamism" (2004) where he dealt with 'discourses of secularism: an awkward collaboration between left and liberal' in the then context of Bangladesh.
Manosh firmly believes, "The condition I explained in this paper is not at all different from current scenario and it's becoming more extreme with time."
Furthermore, in "Nation as a Mode of Consumption: Consumerism and Project of National Identity", he critically looked into the modern state nationalism and its nature.
Manosh sheds light, "Today's consumerist nature brings out a crucial phenomenon of nationalism that is violence. When human values turn into commodity the process becomes materialistic and violent. This violence is constructive and destructive because it's incorporating loving 'own country' and hating 'other country'."
In 2004 Manosh pursued his PhD from Hiroshima University, in Japan. In 2007, he presented his research paper in an international conference held at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany titled "Can there be an 'Art History' in the South?: Myth of Intertextuality and Subversion in the Age of Media Art."
He also worked as visiting Professor of Hiroshima University, Japan (2014) and South Asian University, New Delhi (2016). He took classes on visual anthropology at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute from 2001 to 2011 as well.
On the other hand, the literature voyage of Manosh, aged 15 years, set sail in 2002, with short stories. It took six lengthy years to publish his long awaited book Kakgriho, a compilation of short stories, in 2008. This book caught the readers' eye as it had pun, play of words, fictionalization of present-day incidents.
His penning continued and three more books came out including Moynatodontoheen Ekti Mrittu (2010), Aynate Nijer Mukhta (2010) and Paanshala Kingba Prem Theke Polayan (2014). He also writes in a blog sampratik.com in the feature section of 'Khuchro Sanskriti.'
When asked about his writing experiences he replied with smile, "Plots are roaming around here and there in our everyday life and I just turn it into fiction which I passionately love."
This versatile facet Manosh is a film connoisseur too. His columns spoke of the loopholes of the Bangladesh Film Corporation (BFDC). He also acted in three films including Shilalipi (2001), Itihaas Konya (2002) and Rina Brown (2016) and a few unfinished ones. Manosh, a zealous lover and singer of Rabindra Sangeet, is ready to enchant the listeners with his charming voice.
Manosh has a vision which is fantasy from his perspective that is he wants to leave his profession and devotedly wants to contemplate on writing fiction which he cannot afford as he needs to run for livelihood. Hats off to the pen-gun of such a living rebel-artiste!