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(6)Interview>Nazib Wadood with Bangla Literature (part 2)
Bangla Literature : Short story is a result of agony of the age; –how do you explain this observation? Nazib Wadood : That’s true. But it should be truer if you say it ‘conscience of the age’, I think. Doesn’t short story express joy and happiness too? Actually, success of a story depends mainly on its ability of containing trends and conscience of the concerned time and people. Though a successful story is to cross its age, it makes it possible by unexceptionally holding in it all the marks of its own age. Bangla Literature : In your stories of Kak O Curfew (1998), pictures of a specific period of time have been drawn– the period of 1982-90 of autocracy; some kinds of influence of ‘politics’ are observed in these stories. But in Noshto Kal Othoba Ridoyer Oshukh (2008), we see different colors of life… Nazib Wadood : You are right. That was a period of turmoil in the history of Bangladesh. Autocratic rule, movement against it and criminalization of politics were the cardinal features of that period which have been manifested in most of the stories of Kak O Curfew, e.g. ‘Kak’, ‘Curfew’, ‘Bhognojatra’, etc. But these stories are not time-bound at all. You will see these are equally relevant with the features of ’60s and ’70s too. The other stories of this book are of different subjects and tastes, e.g. ‘Meghbhanga Rod’ is a story based on spirit of the Liberation War. It is also a picture of struggle of our farmers against the challenges of time and nature. ‘Britto’ points out endeavors of overcoming the challenges of middleclass life. In ‘Pichhutan’, the power of relations of blood has been examined against adverse socio- economic situations. ‘Ondhogoli’ gives a picture of hardship of life of common people in that period. Yes, then I was very much concerned with politics. But these stories are not ‘political’ or ‘proletariat’ at all. On the other hand, I have tried to change and improve my stories in my second book Noshto Kal Othoba Ridoyer Oshukh. Its subject matters are multi-colored. There are some experiments of language and form. Many critics have termed ‘Abad’, ‘Jionkathi’, ‘Khonon’ and ‘Aro Duti Khun’ of this book as first grade stories. Bangla Literature : ‘Abad’ is based on Nakshal Movement… Nazib Wadood : No, that’s not true, though there are contexts related to Nakshal Movement in it. Jaglu, the protagonist of the story, was a village youth, completely unconscious of politics. His friend Seraj somehow got involved with Nakshals and he used him, out of his knowledge, in his expedition. Seraj was killed by Rakkhi Bahini and Jaglu was jailed. This unwanted incident completely changed Jaglu and made him a new man. Returning home from jail, he started cultivating his infertile lands and proposed to marry Rupa, a woman who had been divorced for her alleged sterility. Thus he emerged as an active and pragmatic man with a new practical wisdom (not political utopia). A pro-fertile love of two young boy and girl in a state-oppressed society and struggle for production in barren lands of the Barendra region, these two aspects have intermingled in the story. Bangla Literature : Smart language, appropriate dialogues with local dialect and poetic narration have made the story achieve artistic excellence and attractive as well. The story touches readers’ minds so sensibly that after completion of reading, they can’t but continue to meditate with it… many critics have opined verbally and in black and white that ‘Abad’ is one of the best stories of Bangla Literature. What do you think? Nazib Wadood : [laugh] I should remain tight- lipped, isn’t it? And I would like to jump to ask you to comment on ‘Jionkathi’. Bangla Literature : [laugh] I am the interviewer, not you! Whatsoever, if you insist me, I shall say that it is a poem. Nazib Wadood : Poem? Do you mean it? Bangla Literature : Yes, I mean it, but with an explanation… Nazib Wadood : I am listening… Bangla Literature : It is a short story, really short in volume, written with poetic concreteness. It is full of imaginations, imageries, symbols and visions. Actually, it is a narrative of anti-terrorist sentiment. It could be transformed into a pamphlet of propaganda with proletariat slogans, but you controlled yourself and drove it very efficiently to achieve artistic excellence. Am I right? What do you think? Nazib Wadood : Right. The five children of the two brothers have heard that one of their fathers has been killed. They know neither the reason behind it, nor the consequence of it. But they ultimately come to know that he is a martyr and he shall be given shelter in the heaven where everything is instantly available. So the children wish to become martyr. When they go to sleep, their mothers begin to weep and their grandfather comes out to take care of them. He falls asleep with them but suddenly wakes up and starts to push them to be awake. Bangla Literature : Everything has been said symbolically. Another very short story of this book is ‘Mrityunjoy Mara Gechhe’ (Mrityunjoy Has Died). It was first published in Porilekh. Then it was shorter. It has become a little longer in the book. Why? Don’t you think that poetic concreteness and charm of the first version has been lost to some extent in the second version? Nazib Wadood : In a written discussion, poet- critic Khurshid Alam Babu first raised the question. You joined him. However, there are some other readers who opine differently. In the second version, I have only detailed characteristics, daily routines and mental trends of the three friends to justify their positions in the society and consequences of their fates. Bangla Literature : But if you tell a story in ten lines it creates strong reactions in reader’s mind and brain, that may fail to make when you try to tell it in ten pages. The main focus may lose its significance, isn’t it? Nazib Wadood : It can be thought this way, no doubt, but I should say that difference of volume of the two versions is not more than one page; and I believe the main focus of the story hasn’t been displaced or distorted for that. Bangla Literature : An opposite thing has happened in case of ‘Britta’, I guess. This story can be more detailed. The Mili character should be more vivid and stronger... Nazib Wadood : Poet-critic Dr. Fazlul Haq Tuhin and short story writer Ashrafuddin Ahmad earlier in their write-ups presented the same observations. I didn’t answer then. Now I shall say to explain that in ‘Britta’, the main protagonist Rokan is a young medical student who is about to improve his socio-economic position from low-income category to middle class. His own psycho-analysis during the process of this transformation, and in parallel to it, the real socio- economic situation that creates contradictions in and outside, are in the main focus of the story. Mili and some other characters are auxiliary. I think excessive details could destroy concreteness of psycho-analysis and narration of the story. Rokan, out of his conscious and intellectual emotion, tries to overcome the challenges of middle class life but we see that in spite of all his efforts, he fatefully gets bound in the vicious circle. On the other hand, Mili is being brought up as an apple of a wealthy family who knows nothing about the harshness of life. Extra focus on Mili seemed to be imposed. However, [laugh] difference of observations of the readers and critics perhaps proves multifaceted significance of an art. Bangla Literature : We can define short story as a point of pause of life because it doesn’t allow entrance of numerous characters and vast perspectives. But we see in your ‘Megh Vanga Rod’ various kinds of joy and sorrows, pictures of decaying society, multilateral aspects of family- relations, daily life of struggling farmers... and many other ingredients to play important role in making the story. Do you think it has mutilated speciality of short story? Nazib Wadood : There might be some ingredients of novel in this story, but nothing has been taken unnecessarily, I think. This story has two aspects– life of a farmer family in one hand, and challenges of critical relations between a father and a son. The crisis has actually been created during the Liberation War in 1971 when Tamizuddin fled away to save his life leaving his wife back in home to be burnt to death. Returning home after liberation, his son, freedom-fighter Ramiz couldn’t accept this reality. Psycho-analysis is the main thing in this story but that has been manifested through the daily activities of the farmer family. Bangla Literature : Do you think that this story written about twenty years back would be changed if you write it now? Nazib Wadood : Actually, this story can’t be written now. If I try, it would be a new story, because neither I nor the time and people remain the same now. Bangla Literature : Why have you termed the stories of Comrade O Kiritch a novella? Nazib Wadood : There are contradictory opinions about definitions and characteristics of novella. I am also confused. There are five long stories in it. ‘Comrade O Kiritch’ was published as a novel, ‘Dokhol’ and ‘Valo O Monda’ (The Good and the Bad) as short story, and ‘Nona Prem’ (Salted Love) and ‘Kanna-Hasir Brttanta’ as long story. These stories taste short novels. Finally, you can consider these as short stories. Bangla Literature : Very live pictures of our villages have been drawn in these stories except ‘Valo O Monda’ that compares high and low society people in city life. As additional gains we see in these stories shadows of contemporary criminalized and corrupt politics have covered over the society. Nazib Wadood : I have written these stories as exercises before going to write novel. Bangla Literature : Padmabati Kingba Sundori Meyetir Nak Boncha (Padmabati Or The Beautiful Girl’s Nose Is Snub) is a turning point, where you have written some other kinds of stories, it seems to me. You didn’t write stories like ‘Shahid Idu Kanar Bow’, ‘Aposh’, ‘Ontorgata’ and ‘Ekjon Protibondhi O Ekti Mohasoroker Golpo’ earlier. Nazib Wadood : I have tried. I think ‘Padmabati’ is the best story in this book. Bangla Literature : It’s also one of the best stories of the contemporary Bangla Literature, I see. Environmental crisis ensued due to dying of the Padma river and crises of life and livelihood of the people on the northern bank of the river have been trustfully drawn as well as complex human relations created by those crises have also been explained competently in this story. But I am fond of ‘Sundori Meyetir Nak Boncha’. Is it a love story? Nazib Wadood : It’s actually a satire. Its theme is ‘Grapes are Sour’. Bangla Literature : Language of this story is very playful. Drawing of environment and characters is also very attractive. But at the ending the writer straightly entered the story– ‘Oh God! I came to my senses. How experienced his eyesight is! Keen-sighted it is called! I thought, yes, it’s true! If the nose looks like a Jamrul, then it should obviously be flat, ugly and blunt!’ Ahmad Mostofa Kamal once said in reply to a reaction made by me on one of his story that he supported entrance of the writer into the story if it was artistically done. What is your opinion? Nazib Wadood : Firstly, I would like to remind you that ‘Sundori Meyetir Nak Boncha’ is written in first person, i.e. the writer himself is the protagonist. So writer’s direct presence is very much usual in this case. Secondly, presence or absence of the writer in the story is a question of form. If form demands, or at least allows, the writer must be present in the story. If the writer can justify his position it would obviously increase quality and attraction of the writing. Bangla Literature : We notice this style in your some other stories too; e.g. in ‘Curfew’: ‘Sakhina, as if this city, or this country, or the world itself, is standing there on the street– she wears a shattered sari, there is no blouse to cover her bosoms marked with bloody scratches of fingernails and teeth, young shoot-like tender lips are injured with molesting poison…’; in ‘The Crow’: ‘And the crows are cawing and sitting sometimes on the roof, and sometimes on the branches of the fig- tree; again impatiently fly away to circle over the crowd of the people like fighter planes’; in ‘Abad’: ‘And under someone’s unseen design, preparation for cultivation of something starts’. Nazib Wadood : These should be read with their contextual continuity. Conclusion of a story is very important to understand it. I don’t straightly follow the long-practised theory– ‘It shouldn’t end even after being ended’, but I try to do something so that the reader is instigated to continue to read and think with it within him.
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