Dadaburor Jhola (Collective works of Dadaburo)
Reviewed by Shahriar Feroze
A maverick writer's message on humanism...
The difficult book to review is always the one written by a dear and near one. The reviewer has to think from multiple angles how to please the writer. However, author Sameeo Sheesh's latest publication titled "Collective works of Dadaburo" is an exception on that count. It wasn't only an immense pleasure to have gone through his latest series of writings, but an eye-opening experience to have travelled through the writer's past and intellectual faculties.
Young Kalachand is the protagonist of the first set of collective works titled Ananda Niketan. Divided under several subtitles, Kalachand's experiences are short narratives delivering separate humane messages to readers. And these messages are vital to ensure healthy and humane upbringing of our children. Since I have mentioned upbringing of children, education is undeniably linked for its role in a child's life, and in today's world of materialistic educational systems, the much needed humane aspect of it is noticeably missing.
If not mistaken, ranging from schools to universities, most of our parents have become obsessed with grades and future monetary value of education.
Author Sameeo Sheesh has designed his stories to serve a greater purpose in this regard. That purpose is the importance of a child's surrounding environment and to encompass it with natural, healthy and compassionate elements. In the writer's view, a perfect blending of free thinking and imagination can accurately develop a juvenile mind leading towards growth and progress. And knowledge is just one of the key elements of the entire package.
An outstanding feature of the Collective works of Dadaburo is that all the stories are simple and symbolic ending with a strong punch line. And Sameeo Sheesh has appeared a master in weaving his tales with a strong command over his native lingo. His selection of words and excerpts of poetry is that of a skilled craftsman. Additionally, he has mastered the art of simplifying complex issues while delivering his opinion.
For instance, the writer's personal belief and understanding of the supernatural or a higher power is fairly simple and clear, but his analysis on how global religions have often been used as political and military tools for assuming state power and building empires is thought provoking. While elaborating on how major religions had frequently lost their true characters, the writer made a short and clear comparison between religion, poetry and art.
He is not a secular, in terms of the conventional meaning of the term. Rather, he seems to have a 'personal understanding' of creation and his creator on his own terms. Thus, he is a free - spirited writer.
Sameeo Sheesh's leading role in Bhabnar Bhelay (Vessel of thoughts) is a small girl Mina. Mina is on a relentless quest to dig deeper on the history of civilisation and thus Dadaburo appears as the perfect mentor. Simple events and queries surrounding Mina turns into graphic and informative tales of human civilisation and its evolution.
And that's not all, on the subject of promoting ethical, moral and caring values in children - the writer is strongly influenced by famed writers, poets, philosophers to scientists, musicians and many other distinguished figures. He does not restrict his learning from any particular religion or creed - Sameeo learns whatever is required and from whoever and whenever. His quoting from poems and sayings also reflect the depth of his general reading.
Sorry, now it's time to get a little personal. Sameeo Sheesh aka Ananda has been a time-tested friend for nearly four decades. What can be more gratifying than to witness a childhood buddy turning into a mature writer?
It was overtly pleasing when I came across a number of stories where Ananda had mentioned and weaved his stories based on our Childhood School - Shishubitaan and Shikkhangon. At least I could spot where he had made the direct and also the metaphorical address of our old school. The passages made me nostalgic. And even more, those early years had shaped us to become who we are today. On a common ground - we are both writers. Perhaps Author Sameeo Sheesh's range is even wider than this reviewer where bucolic elements of villages, rivers, children and rustic wilderness of rural Bangladesh have been portrayed with sheer passion. Nevertheless, there never existed a perfect writer in the history of mankind and had matured with time.
The course of creative and other forms of writing follows its own path and different writers are born at different times to establish that truth otherwise, the god would have chosen Shakespeare to compose "Doctor Faustus", not Christopher Marlowe.
However, Sameeo Sheesh has matured with the times. Comparing his much earlier writings with latter ones, this reviewer had somehow discovered the writer's presence among all his main characters. The writer's reflection, in his or her characters is not a new phenomenon anywhere around the world, but since I had personally known this writer, so I was robustly able to spot the boy Sameeo Sheesh's presence in his stories. Ananda will perhaps remerge in the likes of Dadaburo when he is an old man, and there is a strong possibility for that to happen since he is a teetotaller.
Published by Prakriti publishers, "Collective works of Dadaburo" comes with an eye-catching cover by Toma Shaha. The writer should have included sketches and artworks with his stories for adding value. The blurb of the book comes with impressive comments stated by famed personalities, another factor confirming Sameeo's writing supremacy. Some of the passages are worth being included in our school text books.
The 128 pages book has been priced at Tk 200. A last request to the writer is that, it is time to translate his collective works into English for reaching a larger international audience.
The reviewer is assistant editor, The Daily Observer