Sunday, July 21, 2024

Roksana Parvin Shimul’s story of people on both sides of the river

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Roksana Parvin Shimul and her book of story of people on both sides of the river

There are many stories surrounding daily life. Those stories are sometimes seen in the eyes, sometimes heard in the ears, and sometimes the story knocks on the door of feelings. A writer writes those stories in black and white letters that give the reader a dreamlike world of stories, give new ideas. Roksana Parvin Shimul has written the story of happiness-sadness-joy-pain of people living on two banks of life that flows like a river in her book ‘Galpguloo Moner Thake Hela’. There are a total of 15 short stories in the book, where the love story of husband and wife, the love of children for parents, the image of the good use of in-laws, the sad story of love’s self-sacrifice against the cruel rules of family and society, the daily life of working women and several other types of stories. In the words of the publisher, ‘Each story in this book is a different dimension of life.’

Woman is a wonderful creation of God. Shamsur Rahman wrote, ‘I have never heard my mother sing any song./I don’t remember when the child used to make me sleep at night/I don’t remember.’ At the time of the creation of civilization, the beginning of literature began with mothers’ lulling songs. With the gradual progress of civilization, women moved away from literary practices due to social and family tension, but the presence of women in literature is always noticeable. Research shows that Chandravati (1550-1600) was the earliest female writer in Bengali literature. Then Nawab Faizunnessa (1834-1903), Swarnkumari Devi (1855-1932), Begum Rokeya (1880-1932), Begum Sufia Kamal (1911-1999), Mahasweta Devi (1926-2016) etc. wrote by women writers. Noorjahan Begum (1925-2016) among the women writers in independence North Bangladesh, Dr. Halima Khatun (1933-2018), Rizia Rahman (1939-2019), Selina Hossain (1947-), Akimun Rahman (1960-), Taslima Nasreen (1962-) are among them. Stories of love and heartbreak, war struggles, nationalism, Dalit rights, women’s life and world, betrayal and many other contexts have emerged in the writings of these women writers. Therefore, it can be said that despite many adversities, women writers have taken a seat of dignity in literary circles.

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A woman is sometimes a lover, sometimes a wife, sometimes a mother, sometimes a sister, sometimes a daughter. So many forms have made women mysterious. A woman who can act like a creature of life, that woman is the most loyal creature in society. Women are strong and weak at the same time. So the woman is sometimes under the father, sometimes the husband and sometimes the son. So women’s life comes up in women’s literature. American literary critic Ellen Meyers in her book ‘Literary Women: The Great Writers’ analyzed the writings of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Send, Simon Well and other writers and showed that the writings of women writers reveal the desire for domestic life, the fear and obstacles of women in a male-dominated society. Roksana Parveen’s Shimul’s book is like another chapter in the book Literary Women: The Great Writers which contains the stories of Jahura Begum, Senjuti, Priya, Nishu, Mili’s Bhabhi, Neela, Jaya, Ira, Priyanti, Shama and several other women on family and social tensions.

Writer Roksana tells the story of a happy marriage. In his ‘Senjuti A Day Story’, wife Senjuti struggles to take leave from work to spend her wedding anniversary with her husband Animesh. But on the morning of the anniversary, when her husband refuses to wake up, Senjuti wanders around the city alone with great pride. But finally Animesh finds him and wishes him a happy anniversary saying, ‘You thought I forgot, didn’t you? Do you know how long I’ve been waiting to surprise you?’ There was a time when civil life was not so much in the limelight. At that time, the bond between husband and wife was from birth to birth. Similarly, the love story ‘Akaaki Basar’. It is a heavenly love story of a couple. Old Johura Begum got married at the age of fourteen. She spent her entire life with utmost compassion and love for her husband. Even after her husband’s death, she goes to sleep with the memory of her beloved flower garland on her chest and with the memory of her husband’s love. This love of Jahura Begum is also a surprise for her granddaughter Shami. So Shami says to his friends, ‘I have rarely seen such a wonderful couple like my grandfather and grandfather.’

According to social rules, women leave their father’s house and step into their in-laws’ house with the dream of a new family, but that dream turns gray in the lives of many women due to the disrespect of the in-laws. In Rabindranath’s Haimanti story, father’s beloved daughter Haimanti gave her life to the cruelty of in-laws. This image remains unchanged even in this era of women’s empowerment. After Haimanti’s departure, husband Apu said, ‘I hear that mother is looking for a wife. Maybe one day I will not be able to ignore my request, this may be possible. The heroine of the story, Priya, endures a lot of abuse from her in-laws for not having children. Swami Tapas also dreams of another marriage on the advice of his sister and mother. Haimanti’s husband Apu’s character seems to be hidden in Tapas. Besides, another story in the book has opposite pictures. Many in-laws are now educated, sophisticated and in favor of social change. Therefore, the love of in-laws joins the fate of many women. In the story ‘Our Story’, Milly’s American brother’s wife is being hounded by the entire family. When Milli’s sister-in-law becomes mentally ill after spending her days at home without a husband, the in-laws are the ones who come forward with utmost compassion. Similarly, in the story ‘Fera’, Shoaib’s mother falls in love with her son Bandhu Ira, who left her parents with immense compassion. In the writer’s words, ‘Ira did not have much trouble adjusting to Shoaib’s family… and Shoaib’s mother sees her as a daughter.’

Women always think about family. Thinking of the peace of all, he gives up his will. The heroines of Roksana are no exception. Amni is such a joy. Educated, modern and self-reliant. After completing her studies, Jaya, who has a high-paying job in a corporate office, tells her office colleagues very candidly about her love story with Sanjay, a boy of another religion. Aasi says very strongly that she will marry Sanjay even if her parents don’t agree. But at the end of the story, it is seen that Jaya cannot be selfish enough to separate Sanjay, the only son of parents of other religions, from his own family. Rather, he left Sanjay and composed the grave of love. In Jaya’s words, ‘Later I didn’t want to separate her from her society.’ Even after marrying the man chosen by her parents, she quit her job and became a housewife just because of her father-in-law’s choice. Later, she tries to forget Sanjay with her husband who lost his leg in an accident. It can also be seen in the story ‘Shuvneela’, Neela likes Shub a lot but cannot respond to Shub’s love proposal just thinking about her parents.

Roksana is a socially conscious writer. Today’s child is tomorrow’s citizen. So for the proper development of the child, the affection of the parents is necessary together and the conflict between the parents hinders the mental development of the child. But not everything goes smoothly. So separation of children from parents happens for many reasons. In the words of the author, ‘I know how much a mother longs for her child. … He returned from that mortal path hoping to find this angelic girl’. The mother-child bond has been beautifully written by the author in her stories ‘Putul Mey’ and ‘Dharai Naam Swarg’; In which doll girl Ella and baby boy Johnny behave normally only when their parents can give them a loving home. Seeing the child returning home smiling with his parents, the writer wrote, ‘There can be no more beautiful scene in the world.’

The female goddess is the counterpart of Rupa. And so a woman is sometimes forgiving, sometimes not, even if she is a ten-faced woman. Women accept and adapt very honestly. This feminine form is found in some of the characters in Roxana’s story. Tapas, the hero of the story ‘Rupali Chander Aloy’ starts dreaming of a new marriage thinking that his wife will not have children. But when a medical examination reveals that he will never be able to become a father due to Tapas’ disability, Tapas assumes that his wife Priya will leave him because of this disability. But women are compassionate and forgiving. Priya then tells Tapas in utter pity, ‘I never thought of being happy alone. I want to be happy with you. Or we have a child. Again in the story ‘The time does not return’, the reader can see another Misha. Misha does not forgive her divorced husband Robin. After the marriage, Robin divorces Misha only on the words of his relatives. But later realizing the mistake, when Misha wants to come back thinking that he will accept her again, Misha says with a smile, ‘No, I can’t give you another chance. …Can I forget the faces of the people I saw behind the mask?’

Roksana wrote the story of society and world. Because most of the central characters of the 15 stories in the book ‘Galgulu Maner Tahe Hela’ are women, the book reflects the structure of women’s minds, feelings and women’s thoughts. These characters are the peaceful female characters around us who want to bring peace to everyone in the family.

Author Roksana Parvin Shimul graduated from the Department of Child Development and Family Education, Dhaka University with First Class BSc and First Class MSc Degree and is currently working as an Early Childhood Educator in Toronto’s Durham area. His stories ‘Putul Mayi’ and ‘Dharai Name Swarg’ are written in the context of Canada where his professional knowledge is revealed. He psychoanalyzes children like a skilled professional child trainer.

The book is published by Nri Prakashan. The cover of the book is done by Muhtasin Ahmed. On the cover is a lonely park bench, the blue water in front, the shadows of the evening city beyond. A red and a yellow circle on the leafless tree behind the bench. Looking at the cover, the reader will want to hear the story of lonely life of foreign background. Red color symbolizes joy, love, passion and anger. And yellow color is a symbol of happiness, hope and cheerfulness. If you think about it in that way, these two colored circles are very meaningful. Get ready to read the story of joy, love, passion, happiness and sadness of people living in a foreign city in the heart of the reader and the park. In that sense the cover will create an atmosphere for reading the story. The publisher rightly wrote on the front flap of the book, ‘In short, every story in the book is a reflection of human life, a mirror. If you stand in front of it, people will be able to see its counterpart.’ After reading the book, the reader will also agree with the publisher.

Congratulations to Roksana Parvin Shimul for publishing this new book.

Samina Chowdhury joined the teaching profession after obtaining a master’s degree in English literature from Jahangirnagar University. He also served in the Bangladesh UNESCO Commission while teaching in a government college. Joined Brac University in 2005. A total of nine peer reviews of Samina have been published at home and abroad. Samina, an immigrant to Canada since 2013, has been working in TD Bank’s customer care department for five years.

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