|From the Delta: English Fiction from Bangladesh
edited by Niaz Zaman
ISBN 984 05 1754 6 2005 228pp 215x136mm HB Tk.400.00 US$25.00
This collection of short fiction begins with “Sultana’s Dream,” published in 1905, and ends with “A Small Sacrifice,” published in 2005, covering a hundred years. Both the stories critique prevailing injustices of a male-dominated society, with the element of class added to the latter story. Roquiah Sakhawat Hossein and Syed Waliullah wrote in both Bangla and English – as do Razia Khan, Munize M. Khasru, Dilruba Z. Ara, Maithilee Mitra, and K Anis Ahmed. The other writers in this volume – Mohammad Badrul Ahsan, Syed Badrul Ahsan, Shahid Alam, Raza Ali, Tulip Chowdhury, Towheed Feroze, Farah Ghuznavi, Khademul Islam, Syed Manzurul Islam, Razia Sultana Khan, Rubaiyat Khan, Nuzhat Amin Mannan, Shabnam Nadiya, Farhana Haque Rahman, Aali A. Rehman, Neeman Sobhan – write mainly in English. While many of the stories are inspired by social and political concerns, many are also inspired by the relations between men and women as husbands and wives, lovers and mistresses, fathers and daughters. Others are about aging and dying, about childbirth, about 1971 and its heroes and villains, about the pain of being an expatriate. Many of the stories have been published earlier in newspapers and magazines; some of them are award-winning stories; others are being published for the first time. Taken together, the twenty-four stories of this volume showcase English writing from this region and reveal the timeless as well as changing face of the Bengal Delta.
Niaz Zaman is professor of English at the University of Dhaka. Her writings include The Crooked Neem Tree, Didima’s Necklace and Other Stories, and The Dance and Other Stories. She has also published an anthology of poems, A Washington Journal, and a one-act play, A Celebration of Women. She is the author of a prize-winning study of the Partition: A Divided Legacy: The Partition in Selected Novels of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. She has edited Selected Short Stories from Bangladesh, The Escape and Other Stories, 1971 and After, Under the Krishnachura, and a new edition of Syed Waliullah’s Tree Without Roots. She has also compiled a collection of Makbula Manzoor’s short stories: The Vultures Are Everywhere. With Firdous Azim she has co-edited Different Perspectives and Galpa. She was editor of the Bangladesh Journal for American Studies and consulting editor, Arts and Humanities, for the Encyclopedia Project of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. From 1981-1983, Dr Zaman was Educational Attaché at the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, DC.