Shawkat Ali’s Short story Translated by Rifat Munim
Author: Shawkat Ali
Shawkat Ali is a leading Bangladeshi fiction writer. His most notable novels include Prodoshe Prakritojon, Daksninayaner Din, Kulay Kalosrot and Purbaratri Purbadin, among many others. He has also written many excellent short stories. In the story ‘Lakhindar Babu, please listen’, he has attempted to deconstruct the mythical story of Behula and Lakhindar. In the original myth, Chand Saudagor, his son Lakhindar and his daughter-in-law Behula are devotees of Shiva and given a superior status whereas the goddess Manasa is relegated to a much lower rank. Gupinath, the snake charmer and a devotee of Manasa, revolts against this myth and claims that such mythical narratives are intended to protect the interest of the rich. His revolt, however, has a material basis. Identifying Lakkhikanto, a rich merchant, with Lakhindar, he demands the rich pay off all their debts to the poor, debts that have accumulated from time immemorial. Here we publish a truncated version of the story in English translation.
Shawkat Ali Translated from Bengali by Parveen K Elias In search of you The original Bangla story is titled ‘Kothai Amar Bhalobasha.’ It was probably here—yes, right here. There was the shade of trees. The…