|From Naogaon to New York
A park with an enchanted garden. A pond with a bathing ghat. A tiny row of little houses on the bank of the pond. A playground with a school beyond. Reading by lantern light. A teacher father’s desperate bid to improve the family fortune. Akhtar Hamid Khan. Hindu-Muslim separation. Those are some of the images of an early childhood in Naogaon, the beginning of a long series of pictures of a life that the author draws with consummate skill, a life lived in so many homes, in native Naogaon, Serajganj,and Dacca, and in foreign lands.
Here on the bank of the Jamuna, comes the floodwater to dip into and swim in, while the peasants harvest rice paddies and jute. The rotting jute. The water lilies. The frisson of winter. Then comes the heat, and Baisakh storm shakes the mango trees and menaces homes. The ripening fruit. The eating of pitha. Going to school, barefoot. The evening, and time to read by lantern light.
There on the bank of Buriganga, is Bakshi Bazar, Dacca College, the University, the Language Movement, Central Jail, and bent head. And there is love.
With the same delicate care he sketches the rains of Bengal, and rains on the East River in New York, the madrasa in Serajganj and the universities in Dacca and Manchester, the little house in Naogaon, the tin-shed house in Serajganj, and the high-rise apartment in Manhattan, political turmoil, assassinations, friends at college and in New York society.
Then there is the frequent coming back to witness the inevitable: it is no longer possible to dip one’s feet in the floodwaters; the boro ghar crumbles; the lone light in far off rail station is gone; the flowering tree he adored as a child is lost forever. And yet, in the end, he finds himself in the old park in Naogaon where it all began, where now two young muchkunda trees rise past his head. It is his way to end a story that has no end.
About the author
Mahfuzur Rahman, a former economist with the United Nations, has authored a number of books. His publications include: World Economic Issues at the united Nations: Half a century of debate, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston( 2001), Flowers of Bengal, Agamee Prakashani, Dhaka(2000), Two collections of articles, Khoda Hafez vs Allah Hafez and Other Critical essays, The University Press Ltd, Dhaka ( 2007) and The Amnesiacs, Adorn Publication, Dhaka (2010), and Koto Ghare Dile Thai,his memoir in Bengali, Adorn Publication, Dhaka (2008 and 2009)
The author was educated in Dhaka, Manchester, England, and The Netherlands. He earned his Master’s degrees in economics from the Universities of Dacca (1955) and Manchester (1966) and Ph.D. from the Netherlands School of Economics (1973). He served as an economist in the former East Pakistan Planning Department and Bangladesh Planning Commission. He was assistant director for economic policy analysis, and headed a branch in the department of economic and social affairs at the United Nations headquarters in New York charged with the preparation of the department’s flagship publication, The World Economic and Social Survey.
Extracts of book reviews of Koto Ghare Dile Thai (vol.1) for use on back cover of From Naogaon to New York.
There are few autobiographies written with such an intimate view of life…The book has all the ingredients of a novel.
(Translated from Bengali)
The Jugantor, Dhaka. 29 August 2008.
An ordinary life, an extraordinary memoir. … The memoir is but a story of a sliver of a life, and yet with what loving care he pick up pieces of memory he has preserved, each like a flower, threaded into a garland. There is no self-congratulation, no inferiority complex, no excess of emotion…
The Prothom Alo, Dhaka, 20 March, 2009.
(Translated from Bengali)
From Naogaon To New York v Mahfuzur Rahman
An Unedited Memoir
Published in February 2013
Published by Syed Zakir Hussain v Adorn Publication
22 Segun Bagicha, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh. Fax : 9362949 Tel : 9347577, 8314629
website : www.adornbooks.com www.adornbd.com e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright : Author
Cover design : Sabyasachi Hazra
Price : Tk. 945.00 US $ 20 UK £ 15