Syed Abul Maksud wrote the book 'Bangali Musulmaner Buddhi Brittik Bibbhrom o Biswashinota,' in which he delves into numerous historical events from pre and post independence Bangladesh, which will undoubtedly be a delightful read for the younger generation who are interested in knowing how Bangladesh came to be.
The book, dedicated to Ishwar Chandra Vidya Shagor, contains 31 articles written on a variety of topics.
The first article is titled Purbo Banglay Nabajibone Jatra Shuru. He describes how, despite the fact that Bangladesh became a part of Pakistan after the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Jinnah himself moved away from the idea of two nations, one state, and the Islamic republic, just one day before the partition, on August 13, 1947.
He also praises Rabindranath Tagore for attempting to understand the subcontinent's Hindu-Muslim divide.
Tagore was initially against the Bangabhanga Andolon, but changed his mind after realising the importance of having a separate state for Bangali Muslims. Bangabhanga was however reversed in 1911.
According to the author, the Muslims of Bengal never dreamed of a separate country until 1940, when it was forced upon them by Congress leaders.
In 1955, following the partition of Bengal in 1947, Purbo Bangla was renamed Purbo Pakistan, with Dhaka serving as the regional capital. It began its journey with the University of Dacca as its sole asset.
The first newspaper of the region, Dainik Pakistan, was published from Chattogram. On the streets of Dhaka, there were only Willys jeeps and Bedford pickups owned by the government, and some Austin Mini or Maurice Minors owned by the rich and famous.
In 1949, the East Bengal Language Committee was formed with the goal of making the language more accessible to the general public.
Maulana Akram Khan was the convener and poet Golam Mostafa, Habibullah Bahar, Dr Muhammod Shahidullah and many more were members.
They were attempting to Arabicise Bangla in some way. There have even been attempts to write Bangla using Arabic alphabets. They also desired to purge the language of Hindu influence by removing Sanskrit words from books.
The Bangla Academy was founded in 1955, and the Bangla Academy Prize was introduced in 1960.
The prize has been controversial since its inception, with some writers receiving it despite having only published one or two books or being unknown to the readers.
Rabindranath Tagore was also banned from East Pakistan following the war between India and Pakistan in 1965, according to the book.
But his songs and philosophy were so ingrained in the Bengali psyche that no ban could erase them.
Ayub Khan had seized power with force and instituted numerous awards, particularly for writers, in order to keep them under the government's control.
In one chapter, he mentions how women were overlooked throughout history, with only Begum Rokeya's works being highlighted, and rightly so.
He does, however, acknowledge Mohammad Lutfur Rahman's contribution in this regard, who not only founded Nari Tirtha, a helping house for women, but also published Nari Shokti, a magazine.
He mentions prominent journalists of the time, including Abul Monsur Ahmed, KG Mostafa, Rashid Karim, Abdul Hamid, and Khandaker Mohammod Ilius. Unfortunately, we have forgotten most of these luminaries who have made significant contributions to our history over time.
The final few chapters were dedicated to the writers who left West Bengal to settle in Bangladesh: Showkat Osman and Rashid Karim.
The Daily Star Books published the book in 2019.
Jackie Kabir is a writer and translator.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.