Gantha November19thVirtual Meeting

The Gantha meeting on November 19, 2022, was held online from 6.00 p.m. to 8 p.m. Themeeting was conducted by Marzia Rahman. The meeting was on the Women’s Writer’s project and there were fivespeakers.

The speakers were:

Tasneem Hossain

Razia Sultana Khan

Niaz Zaman

Nigar Sultana

Jackie Kabir

Tasneem Hossain spoke first on Rabeya Khatun (1935-2021), a short story writer and novelist. The author of more than 50 novels and 400 short stories, Khatun’s works also include essays, research and travelogues. A recipient of Bangla Academy Literary Award, Ekushey Padak and Independence Day Award, Rabeya Khatun’s stories have been translated into different languages.

Razia Sultana Khanspoke next on Jahanara Imam (1929-1994) who was a writer and political activist. Razia Khan mentioned how Jahanara Imam wrote down detail accounts of war in 1971, which later became the most important publication on the Liberation War of Bangladesh. Imam is also known for her efforts to bring those accused of committing war crimes in 1971 to trial. She has been fondly called ‘Shaheed Janani’. A recipient of Bangla Academy Literary Award, Independence Day Award, Rokeya Padak, Imam wrote novels and memoirs. Razia Sultana Khan read some excerpts from Jahanara Imam’s memoir Ekattorer Dinguli.

Nigar Sultana presented Roma Chowdhuri, a Birangona and writer. Roma was raped by Pakistani soldiers in 1971. Nigar Sultana mentioned how Roma Chowdhurilost herhonour and her two young sons during the war. After the war, she was socially castigated; she couldn’t continue her teaching job and started writing to earn her livelihood. Nigar Sultana read excerpts from Roma Chowdhuri’s novel, Ekattorer Janani.

Niaz Zaman spoke aboutSelima Rahman’s life and works. Selima Rahman wasa short story writer and novelist. Niaz Zaman mentioned how Selima Rahman travelled with her husband, who was a government officer, to different towns and cities in both East and West Pakistan. Selima Rahman began writing froma very young age, but she couldn’t continueit after marriage due to family responsibilities. When her children grew up, she began writing again. She wrote short stories, travelogue andnovels. Niaz Zaman read some excerpts from Selima Rahman’s novelChokmokiPathorer Mala, based on the Liberation War of Bangladesh.

The last speaker was Jackie Kabir and she presentedTaslima Nasrin, a writer, physician, feminist and activist. Jackie Kabir pointed out how Taslima Nasreen (1962) gained popularity and global attention for her essays and articles, published in different journals and newspapers. However, she was heavily criticizedfor her writing on women’s oppression and criticism of religion. Her criticism of Islam was met with strong opposition from religious fundamentalists time and again.Nasreen has been living in exile since 1994. Nasreen has penned poems too andJackie Kabir recited three of her poems that she had chosen.

The date of the next meeting was fixedforDecember24, 2022. It was agreed that the December meeting would also be online. Jackie Kabir, Jobaira Biswas and Nur Quamrun Naharhave expressed their wish to speak in the next meeting.

List of attendees in November Meeting:

  1. Niaz Zaman
  2. Razia Sultana Khan
  3. Jackie Kabir
  4. Nigar Sultana
  5. Kazi Medina
  6. Marzia Rahman
  7. Nasreen Kabir
  8. Sauda Akhter
  9. Tasneem Hossain
  10. Afroza Parveen

The photo is attached herein: