|Bangladesh Reflections on the Water
James J. Novak
ISBN 984 05 1251 X 1994 254pp 215x136mm HB Tk.300.00 US$23.00
"Of the classical elements-air, water earth, and fire - only one is symbolic of Bangladesh: water For Bangladesh is not so much a land upon water as water upon a land. One-third of Bangladesh’s physical space of 55,000 square miles is comprised of water in the dry season, while in the rainy season up to 70 percent is submerged Water is the central reality of Bangladesh, just as its shortage is the central reality of Saudi Arabia. At least 10 percent of the people live in boats, up to 40 percent depend on the sea and rivers for a livelihood, and 100 percent depend on the rain and floods for food Water is the main source of protein, the major provider of crop fertilizer and transport, and unquestionably the greatest source of wealth. Bangladesh’s main crops-rice, jute, and tea-cannot exist without huge amounts of water".
Bangladesh: Reflections on the Water is a personal and penetrating over view of the land and its people. James J. Novak examines the economy, the importance of seasonal fluctuations in the lifestyle and psychology of the people, geography, history, music, art, poetry, ways of thinking, and political life. He also offers a novel interpretation of the Bangladesh independence movement, the only full fledged expression of nationalism to appear in the country’s modern history. This nationalism, expressed in poetry, prose, and song, is used to illustrate the interaction between religion and secular thought, language and culture, cultural expression, poetry, and art, and the transformation of culture into political thought.
James J. (Jeremiah) Novak, a writer, has lived and traveled in Asia for thirty years. He was Resident Representative of The Asia Foundation in Bangladesh from 1982 to 1985 and has been a columnist and reporter for numerous newspapers and magazines.