Author Picture
Sofiul Azam

Poet, Translator

Preface to Short Stories of Selim Morshed
শিল্পকর্ম: নির্ঝর নৈঃশব্দ্য

Preface to Short Stories of Selim Morshed

At the beginning of every preface or introduction to any collection of stories, poems, or works of literature in general, it is customary as quite discernible in the mode of the 19th century ‘biographical criticism’ in literature not to skip the biographical circumstantialities of any writer, especially of the writer who writes in a different language other than English. But unfortunately I do not have much space for that in details. Apart from his biographical note you may have read on the back-cover of this collection, I must say that Selim Morshed (one of the talented short story-writers to have come out of the 1980’s generation endowed with a rich inheritance of storytelling in Bangladesh) writes in Bengali, the language mostly used by people living here and in West Bengal, India.

This collection that you have in your hands is comprised of some of his short stories translated from the Bengali originals by as few translators, in fact his first ever coming out in English – one of the most-shared European languages in the world and the so-called monster-like lingua franca of the international literary intelligentsia. He is in a sense one of the most-deserving writers, who represent themselves as part of their ‘strategically essentialist’ struggles in their respective geo-political locations, and whose works demand to be translated into multiple languages for the benefit of the world’s literary heritage. I hope this task of translating retains cultural difference, not the often-mentioned cultural diversity the assimilating tool in ‘multiculturalism’ mainly used for pro-European neo-colonialist, liberal humanist conspiracies in hegemonic domination over lands, languages and cultures throughout the world. And you know that “Language, any language, has a dual character: it is both a means of communications and a carrier of culture” as Ngugi wa Thiong’o puts it in Decolonising the Mind. It is language that has become the centre of various issues associated with cultural identification, and that originates cultural clashes, nativist and chauvinist xenophobia, power strategies in domination, etc. What we know about the nature of a cultural translation for neo-colonialists, imperialists and the comprador alliances in immediate environments is that it reflects geo-political experiences taken from different locations, characteristic specialties in approaches to issues of life as coded in different languages and to cultural differences in the arena of cultural communications across the world.

Morshed is the one who has somewhat managed to get hold of a collection of his own stories translated into English for creating space for the issues mentioned above, and I’m sorry to say this is an individual’s ‘privilege’ as in the Westerners’ eye often too rare for a ‘third world’ writer to enjoy! In most cases like this, Euro-American publishers come forward to the compilations of translations from different writers’ works in different languages under Asia, Africa and Latin America writer series for different reasons, which I do not have space to explain here. This ‘favor’ – as it is seen from the Eurocentric binoculars instead of being a cultural ‘communicative necessity’ for all – is not available for our writers here. Even accepting another fact that writers living in poorer countries across the globe run the risk of losing their lives in terms of economy and the political threats as quite observed in most of Asian, African and Latin American countries, they still continue to devote more of their time to writing unlike their Western counterparts privileged in a number of ways. But this is not as simple as that; for the case of a writer conscious of, and simultaneously fighting against, different forms of exploitation inflicted by any abusive government and the tempting baits offered from the Euro-American profit-oriented quarters is almost the same anywhere in the world.

Especially in the neo-colonized countries in the age of late-capitalism, writers struggle far more vehemently for their voices in their immediate environments and beyond against the political dictatorship of any country’s government, subtle ways of economic exploitation, socio-cultural humiliation, and of the European dominance over non-European languages and against the pro-capitalist temperament of the media as much contrasted to the aesthetics of pro-emancipatory resistance from ‘the wretched of the earth’ than their European, or Western in general, counterparts ever do. And their struggling is also against the opportunistic aesthetics propagated by native collaborators for Euro-American hegemonic interests, against the servile tendency of the middle class and against the elitist aloofness of those living in the Ivory Tower’s certainties and luxuries. The traces of their activist roles can easily be found in words and in the ‘activist’ organizing of the words they use in their creative works i. e. in wording the world. In fact, creativity is also a form of activism for them.

Morshed naturally belongs, and politically struggles to belong, to this uncompromising circle of writers in this part of the globe, the struggle-generated part where they built a platform for voicing their protests or whatever they feel needs to be spoken about in favor of these ‘wretched’ people or the savage Calibans that they are themselves – anthropomorphized by Euro-American neo-liberal humanist school(s). The platform is nothing but the ‘Little Magazine’ movement much influenced by the one of a similar kind in West Bengal, India, essentially different from the propagandas of, and the instruments of silencing the necessary uprising of the masses by, the state-oriented media. Their coming under a revolutionary umbrella makes way for performing their collective activist roles in reshaping the consciousness of the classes they write about and write for, and for protesting against the pro-capitalist and imperialist ways of manufacturing consent among the people made powerless, or constrained in numerous ways, and made to believe that the ‘culture of apemanship and parrotry’ is worth following. These writers complain that the media only publishes and circulates what goes in favor of those in power, what is most significant to propagate to fool those common people by hiding the ‘real story behind the scene’ and the things that will engage people in mere reportage and mere entertainment. It’s better to quote some lines from Morshed’s “Personal Manifesto or Collective Perhaps” to make this point a bit clearer this time around:

For quite a long time, the profit-oriented cultural performers are munching our grape-like fingers, and sometimes we failed to count time for our fingers are already eaten up. Those who are involved with the ‘Little Magazine’ movement are somewhat against everything going with the conventional flow, in fact, against social norms. Al least the eighty percent of the writers in the ‘Little Magazine’ movement break established values on a big scale, and the life of an individual writer becomes very complicated for him/her to live out in the movement…for some years, the commerce-oriented media has circulated a propaganda that the ‘Little Magazine’-based writers do not write for common people. It’s not true at all. We are fighting against the media, the network of rotten and molten systems, certainly not against the people mentioned. Leaving aside the matter of light entertainment for the people, and not accepting the areas of creating beauty and mere satisfaction as just entertainment, we think writers should carry out the subtle responsibility to advance people’s thinking process through aesthetic pleasure… 

In both Bangladesh and West Bengal, this literary movement – both socio-politically conscious and culturally conscience-generating – attempts to clearly break away from sentiments (conservative in terms of exploiting social norms retained for the sake of ‘normality’ and progressive in terms of Eurocentric individualistic aloofness and/or of neo-colonialist, Euro-canonical stands against the emancipation of colonized nation-states), concerns (somewhat melodramatic in contrast to the urgency to adopt strategically essentialist outlooks) and the symptomatic incapabilities the middle class society, or ‘petit bourgeoisie,’  is often identified with. This ‘backboneless’ class is widely, if not less to a certain extent, represented by characters in the works of Rabindranath Tagore the cultural guru, or the canonical lord, of a powerful portion of this class, and is still in a position to be emulated by his literary descendants. Later on, a literary movement started off in the 1930’s throughout the province of West Bengal, mainly centering on Calcutta, against the values and aesthetical parameters, which Tagore’s school talked in favor of, and thought of as things worth accepting for later generations. That Modernist movement brought up a good number of European values, literary techniques and aesthetical judgments into the body of the Bengali culture we are talking about; and it was Eurocentric in its approaches and so were the much later movements in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. So, in more than one sense, this ‘Little Magazine’ movement has come up with a lot of revolutionary potentialities in the 1960’s in West Bengal and in the 1980’s in Bangladesh.

The reason behind this possible break-up with the preceding movements is nothing but the ‘activist’ urgency to portray the naked truth in terms of real situations out in the present world. They don’t need to take shelter in making euphemisms of the opportunist kind for not directly confronting the U.S. (Ugly Shit as Amiri Baraka puts it) and European late-capitalist and imperialistic issues, rather they are much eager to focus on the proletariat, or subalterns in Gramsci’s terminology, even sometimes using the rhetoric of ‘elitist’ aesthetics they learnt from their colonial education. The reason behind their way of focusing on issues neglected by writers of mere entertainment is the most obvious fact that these people (poor, landless and homeless like hyacinths on flood water) make almost the whole of a country’s population in the ‘third world.’

You must be wondering why I am saying all these things less expected in a preface to such a collection of short stories translated from the originals by Selim Morshed. The reason is that I have spent time and some space here to indicate that Morshed is an ‘activist’ writer, who thinks that writing is not the only concern for a writer; a lot of other urgent concerns are there worth looking at and worth fighting for – the necessary apparatuses an activist writer, or writer in politics as in the words of Ngugi wa Thong’o, needs to write about from one radical perspective or more.

His participation in the country’s culture scene has always incurred encouragement. However, his anti-establishment and anti-capitalist stand against conventional ideas of morals and taboos has from time to time given way to unwelcome incidents of social persecution by the media at large; thus  confirming and further establishing the unspoken truth: the learned run far more risks than the unlearned. He makes the most amazing analysis of the struggles of the common man through fighting his persecutors’ temptations for individual gains on a large scale and enlarging his revolutionary visions. He examines the constant struggles between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and half-truth, and the common desire of appellation from a place where the ‘ultimate truth’ is often so blurred that it turns out to be somewhat undecipherable in the end. The deeper we scrutinize his writings the better we understand the man himself: the true Selim Morshed. A writer, who has had a tumultuous career, yet managed to correctly establish himself as one questioning and charging the constraints of the society on a daily basis, paving the way for a more understanding and accepting society for his immediate geo-political location.

Shamsia Ahmed, translator of “The Story of the Great Sun, of the Sensitive Girl and of the Worthless Sandpit” and “The Way Labonno Got Through” both included in this collection, writes: It is surprising to meet a man of Selim Morshed’s characteristics and ideals in a land that is largely battling the sorrows of poverty, political turmoil and dilapidated morals on a daily basis. Yet it is refreshing in its own accordance to find such a man in such a place who the clichés of reality have been unable to hold back. Morshed’s stylistic peculiarities are what draw the readers closer to the story, intriguing them with his clever use of imagery, metaphors, allegories and personifications. Until you have personally read a Selim Morshed original, you cannot begin to perceive the intensity and revolutionary ideas in his stories.


Morshed has to his credit three books of short stories (The Head of a Dissected Snake, Flowers in the Creeper at Night and Lemur in the Tiger’s Cave), Selected Short Stories by Selim Morshed, a novella The Game of the Snake-Ladder, and a collection of his manifesto, essays and interviews titled The Starting of Counter-Speeches or the Grunts of a Wild Boar; all of his books are written in Bengali, so to speak. Now I would like to focus on the temperaments of the fiction writer, short-story writer to be more specific, that Morshed is, certainly not on each translation of a story included in, or excluded from, this collection for I cannot afford to have much space for detailing. His stories cover a range of topics from propagandas, revolution, philosophy, politics, struggles, federalism, different socio-political orientations, metaphysics, transcendence, conventions, capitalism, humanism, religious fundamentalism, the so-called issues concerning education and enlightenment seen from the Eurocentric perspectives and a great many conceptions.

One of the characteristic features Morshed has as a fiction writer, to begin with, is that he retains his urgent wish to break taboos and other forms of social inhibitions in the middle class society. In his fictional endeavors – often made to reflect the taboo-breaking desires in the mind of the writer himself – he lets loose suppressed psychic workings of an individual caught in the collective pull, and lets his characters be much encouraged to get hold of freedom coming out of the constraints of existing systems of rot in our society, certainly not the way characters in a European context often do. In most of his stories, his characters and sometimes the writer himself are found searching for new ethics for their urgent needs, not believing in the existing ethics, or codes of morality, in the societies they have come from. But it does not mean the writer does not want to lose his mannerist and writerly domination-crazy hold on the characters he has created for his fictional outputs.

It is interesting to note that Rabindranath Tagore sought for ‘pure aesthetics’ supported by a large number of his European counterparts at that time, getting far away from the dialectics of raging and always-threatened-to-be-subdued darkness in the supposed world of ‘light,’ for his insistent focusing on the conventional idealist concept of beauty, almost never on the darkness we are intrinsically, and even rationally ashamed to be, part of. So, Morshed has kept some space for, if not valued overmuch, the dialectics of darkness that ‘pure aesthetics’ tends to overlook. He has an activist knack of justifying ‘unlawfulness’ – as it is a simplistic fact of distortion of lawful normality in the treatment of a non-radical writer, pro-Eurocentric and canonical, so to speak – thinking in terms of the kind of algebra we are witnessing of infinite justice that the lawful is most unlawful in the present world’s situations of invaders’ manufacturing consent and ‘ethical unsatisfaction.’

His inputs and outputs as a writer are of the experimentalist kind, certainly not in the sense of European avant-garde; and the reason is that, for weaving urgent needs into the consciousness of a large portion of non-active readers, an activist writer has to get out of the black-hole of a conventional conformation to accepting the existing tools of ‘pure aesthetics’ as contrasted to those of a revolutionary sort. But he does not seem to be of the opinion that startling readers, or ‘making strange’ to them as in the deviation strategy supported by the Russian formalists, is the thing worth following for a writer of such a stature I have already talked about in the preceding part.

In his short stories, he is quite in the habit of avoiding or not using words both ‘catchy’ and ‘touchy’ he often calls. He uses words in their syntactical orders that carry revolutionary spirits of, and potential enunciations from, the proletariat or subalterns, and of a portion of the radical middle class, even by using bourgeois-necessitated aesthetical tools in his approach to the thoughtfulness of the subalterns he deals with. Vulgarity (its etymology lies in a Latin word Vulgus meaning common people considered inferior to Roman senators during the time of the Roman Empire) and thoughtlessness are what these subalterns in non-Western countries are still supposed to be made of in the eyes of those apostles preaching cultural chauvinism of an elitist sort as a form of cultural and aesthetical superiority. It is somewhat termed a Caliban approach to Prospero’s language-teaching policies in Shakespeare’s The Tempest that has been a favorite with postcolonial critics.

Another feature I regard as interesting is the fact that his attempts at the conscious breaking of tenses in his work have encouraged, if not welcomed, happenings in an undetermined order or the unfolding of events in an undetermined temporal and spatial context. These impart to his stories a feel of ‘stream of consciousness’ as much used by James Joyce and Virginia Woolf in the high time of European modernist literary movement, and remind us of the postmodernist advocating for the break-up with the linear progression of narratives and for the kind of narratives emulated by postcolonial literary theorists.

In much of the whole bulk of his fictional endeavors, the themes he thinks of as most significant are hunger, sleep and sexuality, especially hunger and sexuality so frequent that these really become what he often considers basic parameters to judge an individual or a people. Hunger is a recurrent one in the scheme of thematic diversity that writers from the ‘third world’ countries – more often than not, so to speak – exploit for its rationale is obvious because of the fact that poverty is not only caused by natural calamities but also by the inequality those in power orchestrate in distributing things necessary for the common needs among those without power. He is far more conscious of politics behind this, and his tendency to let his characters revolutionize the concept of hunger in the hungry homeless and not let them stay in passivity when the urge for the activism of some sort acts like a catalyst in ways quite known and waiting to be realized in the end. This theme is well described in “The Head of a Dissected Snake.” And sexuality is what comes most frequently in his stories, but certainly not the way the middle class people who are, to a greater extent, devoid of the revolutionary spirit of breaking oppressive taboos in every walk of life, expect of the creative writer speaking about different lives in fiction. His characters do not seem to be interested in ways of sexuality approved in their respective societies, rather a sort of diversity – perversion it is called by most if it deviates from the control of norms associated with it – is what drives them almost in every step they take. Guilt manufactured by middle-class expectations is not what they think of as their prime concern, and the whole matter depends, or is somewhat supposed to depend, on how readers in different socio-economic and political contexts respond to actions undertaken by the characters he has created in his work. This theme is well portrayed in stories like “The Way Labonno Got Through,” “The One of Our Acquaintance,” “Lemur in the Tiger’s Cave,” “Subrata Sengupta and the Contemporary Bengali Society,” “The Perverted Man,” etc. However, sleep is the theme we are still waiting for him to write about in the stories he has already planned to write as soon as he can. He thinks that distribution of, or a fine balance among, these three vital elements in life should be what is needed for an individual or a people, otherwise this lack of proper distribution can be a way to self-contradiction, absolutely meaningless for the revolutionary determination they need for their way forward.

There are some of his stories, which focus on the nativist anxiety that imperialized people feel about being ‘influenced’ by the new order of the imperialistic world because for ‘third world’ peoples living in the periphery far away from the Euro-American centre of power, the word ‘influence’ means the loss of their cultural specificities in the clamor of metropolitan or cosmopolitan pluralism. The positioning of their oppositional views against civilizational bourgeois hegemony of one kind or another is what goes in favor of nationalism/cultural nationalism much critiqued by a theoretical mélange of poststructuralist or deconstructionist intervening justifications. But the strategic essentialism Spivak gave priority to instead of being too much fascinated by the minority’s preoccupations with dangers or loopholes of culturally regressionist resistance(s) from the perspective of Eurocentricity or by theory-as-conversation among professional academics making justifications for hybridity originated in interstitial spaces or mimicry of a celebratory kind across the world could be the constitutive and temporal alternative for those imperialized peoples. This situation is somewhat reflected in some of his stories, only “The House of Tears” included here to inform you about cultural and geo-political struggles of the marginal or a minority in the face of civilizational ‘modernity’ propagated by interventionist imperialism; and surprisingly this story and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart have much in common.

In this part of the preface to Short Stories of Selim Morshed, I have already discussed the characteristic features of his stories, and the activist tendencies to keep instances of the ‘fulfillment of wishful desire’ throughout his fictional endeavors. Now time again suggests we drive our attention to some aspect of ‘unfulfillment’ in the translating project undertaken by the translators and me. Apart from his activist association with the ‘Little Magazine’ movement and its engineering apparatus, he is mostly recognized as a gifted short-story writer in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, even though The Game of the Snake-Ladder – his only novella, or ‘novelette’ as he puts it – has got no less, if not a bit greater, critical attention than his stories. Only thirteen from the whole bulk of his short stories translated from his Bengali originals are included in this collection. However, the fact is that a lot of his stories are still left to be translated in the future, and waiting to be included in its next edition, such as “The Remains of the Funeral Pyre,” “Mira, Shushilda and I,” “The Story of the Unforgettable,” “Two on the Move,” “Harmony,” “Kajolrekha,” etc. I hope the next edition will be our last resort.

As I am drawing my discussion of his fictional works to a close in this part of the preface, one interesting thing I need to mention is that Tareque Masud – better known for directing the critically acclaimed films The Song of Freedom, 1995, for which he got Special Mention at Film South Asia, 1997, and The Clay Bird, 2002, for which he won a number of international awards, including the International Critics’ Prize for Best Film at the 2002  as well as the  Prize for  for ‘its authentic, moving and delicate portrayal of a country struggling for its democratic rights’ – made a film script of Morshed’s story “Subrata Sengupta and the Contemporary Bengali Society.” It was published as part of script literature in a noted ‘Little Magazine’ named Gandib.


It’s been a nice experience for me to edit for this collection, Short Stories of Selim Morshed, the translations some willingly did of the Bengali originals by Morshed, who has been for quite a long time one of my favorite fiction-writers and one of my friends as well. As a person, he seems to be of the dynamic and sympathetic build even if at times his acquaintances get slightly annoyed by his elder-brotherly, or feudalistic in his words, justifications he does of the things around instead of looking, especially when situations demand it, beyond some of his obsessions – undoubtedly as significant as a pen, or a laptop, for a writer. And as a writer, fiction-writer to be more specific, he is one of the ‘24-hour concerned’ writers I have ever come across, always patient in wait for the pinpoint exactness of details and for witty suggestiveness, or artistic indirectness, expressed through the use of symbols and metaphors in his work. In fact, I like him as a person and as a writer, more than anything else worth taking care of. His rise as a talented writer at the very beginning of the 1980’s in the ‘Little Magazine’ Movement spearheaded by him and his friends in Bangladesh and his coming to the literati circles of the country’s capital city are both worthy of note for contemporary Bengali fiction. However, time suggests we direct our attention to somewhere else.

As I have already discussed some of characteristic features from his work in the preceding part of this preface, now I would like to inform you of how this collection has come into being, at last. Few months back, we literary friends at Morshed’s house were talking about the context of contemporary fiction in particular, literature in general, from Bangladesh and about the scarcity of necessary efforts to get these fictional works translated for readers across the world. Then we looked deeper into the matter of recent translating practices, mostly from European languages into Bengali, in this country, and saw the somewhat terrible condition of some translations done by numerous others in the fields of fiction and poetry. And to our dismay, we discovered that there is not much of a scope for translating into English some of significantly representative works written in Bengali from this part of Bengal (Bangladesh also known as East Bengal to people living in West Bengal, India). We felt we should get out of this ‘terrible condition’ as soon as we could. All of a sudden, my friends asked me to take the responsibility of editing a collection of Morshed’s short stories translated from his Bengali originals, and I kind of promised that I wouldn’t mind it at all if there was no professional pressure for me to free up time for that editing job. But when the translations of his stories started coming into my hands one after another, I couldn’t help concentrating on the idea that such a collection was worth editing and making necessary arrangements for publishing from Ulukhar – Little Magazine Publication owned by Shagor Nil Khan. And then the whole thing started off suddenly.

I really appreciate the efforts of those who have translated stories for this collection. Morshed, Shagor Nil Khan and I are quite fortunate that the translations they did of his representative stories are works of labor garnished with passion and of their own choosing, even though there may be disagreements in general, some occasional mistakes in particular like misprints and the confusions in using punctuations as needed for imparting a kind of loyalty to the originals. His idiosyncratic use of the Bengali language and the syntactical orders of words, mostly elevated and high-sounding like Sanskrit lexicons, sometimes informal and colloquial, in most of his short stories are difficult, if not impossible to a greater extent, for any translator to keep expectedly intact in the translated versions of the originals. The most interesting thing about his language is that he has successfully used words taken from a variety of sources for the urgent necessity of portraying characters’ thought-processes and certainly for other reasons as well. His crafty use of the words (sometimes archaic word-formations borrowed from Sanskrit and sometimes the words those fictional characters are imagined to use in their daily communications with each other in most of the geographical places mentioned in his work) poses difficulties for those who read his stories in the original language, especially for the translators who need to convey what are in the originals as far back as I remember.

Syeda Farzana Sultana, translator of “The Way the Blue Hair Girl Saved Her Eyes,” writes about the difficulty of his language in some of his stories: “…when he writes, his characters emerge as separate and complete individuals; not a shadow of the writer. Even if they tend to be so, it does not seem to be gross or inexcusable. Every word that Selim Morshed uses is carefully chosen and perfectly placed. But in some cases the language is so carefully chosen and so much ornamental that it creates a barrier sometimes to understanding and as a result hampers the spontaneity. If too much effort has to be spent on encoding the language, the pleasure gets lost and people lose the interest of reading.” With these things in mind, I imagine the kind of difficulties the translators had to go through for better results in their translations, and feel really grateful to them for their undertakings of such a kind. However, these translations – sometimes if not always – tend to be of the revolutionary sort, which dares announce its characteristic specialty instead of its severely expected adherence to the original texts – considered politically powerful feudal lords in terms of ‘obedience’ strategies of the translated versions.

Before editing this collection, I did not know that editing translations is far more difficult a task than the translating itself. I, too, translated parts from different stories, the parts unfortunately left to be translated by the editor, not to mention that I had to go through each and every translation with an editor’s scissors and plaster of Paris. The editor is, in more than one sense, a surgeon expert at replacing injured organs with effective ones in surgical operations for the betterment of patients concerned. But liberty is not what I have ever exploited in any case.

Anyway, it is time to give my heartfelt thanks to Shamsia Ahmed for “The Story of the Great Sun, of the Sensitive Girl and of the Worthless Sandpit” and “The Way Labonno Got Through,” Moshref Jahan for “The One of Our Acquaintance,” Shah M. Nazmul Alam for “Lemur in the Tiger’s Cave” and “All the Trails in Blood,” Syeda Farzana Sultana for “The Way the Blue Hair Girl Saved Her Eyes,” Rahman M. Mahbub for “Shokhichan” and “The House of Tears,” Priscilla Raj for “Bodhidrum” and “Subrata Sengupta and the Contemporary Bengali Society,” Flora Sarker and Mashrur Hasan Khan for “The Head of a Dissected Snake,” Rakibul Hasan for “The Perverted Man” and Ifreet Rahima for “The Intrigued.” In fact, without their help, this collection could not have come into being.

Amit Kumar Dhar deserves my special thanks for transliterations of Bengali names of a few literary magazines in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. His suggestions were of a great value to me while I was translating the parts left, editing most of the sentences in their translated versions and writing this preface in a great hurry. Faridul Alam is the person whose help in matters of proofreading and writing some important endnotes for this collection will always be remembered.

In the last phase of translating and editing stories for this collection, I asked Moshref Jahan, my colleague at Victoria University of Bangladesh, whether she could translate one of Morshed’s stories; and that asking resulted in having “The One of Our Acquaintance” translated for our project within a very short time. Her caring insistence on getting this collection completed as early as I could, to attend the Ekushey Book Fair 2009 with it and my second collection of poems, Home Thoughts from Home, is not to be forgotten ever. I am also grateful to Rakibul Hasan, who translated “The Perverted Man” for the collection in spite of his busy schedule of teaching at the World University of Bangladesh.

I must remember the tireless services I got from Raka Jasmine, special-graded Radio Bangladesh artist who acted in above six hundred dramas since 1979, and in TV dramas such as Babar Kolom Kothai? where she played the central character, and in stage-dramas such as Noty Binodini highly appreciated in 1983. But she is now far from all these and feels honored to have sacrificed a lot for the ‘Little Magazine’ Movement indirectly. I thank her – our respected Bhabi – for the co-operation I had from her while preparing biographical notes for the translators, in fact, throughout the whole process of translating and editing stories for this collection. And of course, I have no other way but to thank Morshed himself (Selim Bhai we often call him) for his valuable time spent discussing the very complex – and insightful, so to speak – constructions of the sentences he used in his short stories. His efforts to make some complexities a lot simpler to me are praise-worthy.

And everything would have been useless or almost nothing significant in the end unless Shagor Nil Khan the founder of Ulukhar – Little Magazine Publication had not come forward to publishing this collection as soon as he could.


Sofiul Azam
Dhaka, 2009.

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