Dr. Rashid Askari: Fiction writer, critic, columnist, teacher, and social analyst.

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Dr. Rashid Askari is one of the handful of writers in Bangladesh who write both Bengali and English with equal ease and efficiency. Born on 1st June, 1965 in a sleepy little town of Rangpur in Bangladesh, he took an Honours and a Master's in English from Dhaka University with distinction, and a PhD in Indian English literature from the University of Poona. He is now a professor of English at Kushtia Islamic University.


Rashid Askari has emerged as a writer in the mid-nineties of the last century, and has, by now, written half a dozen books, and quite a large number of research articles, essays, and newspaper columns in Bengali and English published at home and abroad. His two Bengali books: Indo-English Literature and Others (Dhaka-1996) and Postmodern Literary and Critical Theory (Dhaka-2002) and one English book : The Wounded Land deserve special mention. He also writes short fictions in Bengali and English. His first short-story book in Bengali Today's Folktale was published in 1997. Another short-story book in English is awaiting publication. Currently, he is working on an English fiction.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nineteen seventy one and other stories: a collection of short stories

Book Review Author: Rashid Askari
Published in the Dhaka Courier, Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Rashid Askari is one of the promising storytellers of our time and an emerging talent in Bangladeshi fiction in English. He is firmly committed to the spirit of our Liberation War of 1971 and the indomitable ‘Bengaliness’ of our people. His intriguingly-named collection of stories Nineteen seventy one and other stories is the quintessence of his deep rooted emotional attachment to the land and its culture and fine literary craftsmanship.

Our national poet and his contemporary relevance

Dr. Rashid Askari
Published in the Dhaka Courier, Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Bangladesh is a melting pot of races and religious communities. Starting from the Dravidian-speaking tribe called ‘Bang’ that settled in the area around 1000 BCE down to the post-independence population, a wide variety of people has settled in this delta of the Ganges and Jamuna. As time went by, they have come in contact with different religions of the world. Ancient Bengal was the seat of Buddhism.

A tribute to the great leader!

Dr. Rashid Askari

Published in the Dhaka Courier, Thursday, August 15th, 2013

As George Washington is the father of the United States, Peter I of Russia, Sun Yat-sen of China, Sir Henry Parkes of Australia, Miguel Hidalgo of Mexico, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, William the Silent of the Netherlands, Einar Gerhardsm of Norway, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Carlos Mannel of Cuba, Mustafa Kemal of Turkey, Sukarno of Indonesia, Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia, Mahatma Gandhi of India, Don Stephen Senanayake of Sri Lanka and Mohammad Ali Jinnah of Pakistan– so is Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975), the father of the Bangladesh. He is the architect of our country and the nation by all implications of the term.

As a matter of fact, what we now call Bangladesh was never independent in the truest sense of the term before 1971. It was Mujib and only Mujib who gave the nation a real touch of freedom. It was quite a trek into the long way of freedom from all-out oppression through autonomy and home rule in which he gave the active lead. He was the fearless fighter of the Language Movement of 1952; the pioneer of the democratic movement of 1962; the architect of the Six-point Movement of 1966; the life-force of the Mass Movement of 1969; the enviable victor of the election of 1970 and, above all, the greatest hero of the Liberation War of 1971. He is undisputedly the founder of independent Bangladesh and, therefore, the Father of the Nation.

It is really shocking that we are not yet fully aware of this greatest national leader. There is still a vicious slander on his reputation! But who is to blame for that? As a matter of fact, there has been a long chain of conspiracy to make people oblivious of Bangabandhu. It began with his assassination on the inauspicious August night of 1975. Ever since then the country fell mostly under the sway of despotic military rule accompanied by the corrupt politicians, opportunistic bureaucrats, pseudo-democrats and religious fundamentalists. They had one thing in common i.e. Bangabandhu-bashing. They tried to indemnify the killers of Bangabandhu, and rewarded them with lucrative portfolios. They took sustained efforts to erase the image of Bangabandhu from the minds of the people by distorting history. They tried to obliterate the memories of Bangabandhu from the pages of history, inscriptions of monuments and from whatever holds the recollections of Mujib.

The anti-Mujib campaigners are not, however, as powerful as history itself. History takes its own course, maybe after quite a long time. But this is inevitable. So, the anti-Mujib campaigners have vainly tried to change the course of history eventually making a mockery of it. What they had done at best is that they had fooled some people for sometime or what they can still do is that they can fool some people for all time, but they can never fool all people into believing a false story for all time. People must be endowed with a true sense of history today or tomorrow.

To look into one’s own history and culture and to go for the quest for national identity and cultural heritage have become an imperative in these postcolonial days. Ours is not a poor socio-political and cultural legacy. We fought valiantly a war of independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu. We can very well come up with this political legacy and assert ourselves more. We can uphold the ideals of Bangabandhu to rebuild our nation.

Mujib is really Bangabandhu- friend of Bangladesh. And hence he could utter: “Standing on the gallows, I will tell them, I am a Bengali, Bangla is my country, Bangla is my language”. On the black night of March 25, when it was suggested that he go into hiding, he flatly refused and retorted: “I must share the sufferings of my people along with them. I must share. I cannot leave them in the face of fire. I cannot.” Really he did not flee to safety from the war-torn country. Rather he willingly became the first prey to the marauding force. Love for the motherland had prompted him to take such a risk. Afterwards, over nine long months, day after day and night after night in the dark cell of the prison camp, he longed for the freedom of his country. The unbearable suffering of the dungeon could not sap the strength of his patriotism. On his return home on 10 January 1972, addressing a huge gathering in Suhrawardy Uddyan, Bangabandhu declared: “Bangladesh has earned independence. Now if anybody wants to seize it, Mujib would be the first man to sacrifice his life for the protection of that independence”. His country was all important to him. He believed it was his calling to do good to his country, not to look forward to anything in return. He often used to mention the famous quote by President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”.

Such a big man was Bangabandhu! The undisputed Father of independent Bangladesh! To be unaware of this is sheer ignorance. To deny this is an offence against history.

Dr. Rashid Askari writes fiction and columns and teaches English literature at Islamic University, Kushtia, Bangladesh.E-mail: rashidaskari65@yahoo.com
- See more at: http://www.dhakacourier.com.bd/?p=13063#sthash.CehhgUH5.dpuf
As George Washington is the father of the United States, Peter I of Russia, Sun Yat-sen of China, Sir Henry Parkes of Australia, Miguel Hidalgo of Mexico, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, William the Silent of the Netherlands, Einar Gerhardsm of Norway, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Carlos Mannel of Cuba, Mustafa Kemal of Turkey, Sukarno of Indonesia, Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia, Mahatma Gandhi of India, Don Stephen Senanayake of Sri Lanka and Mohammad Ali Jinnah of Pakistan– so is Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Symbolic wasteland images

Muhammad Alamgir Toimoor hears the sounds of crickets and frogs
Published in the Daily Star, Monday, September 23, 2013

In past four decades, topics relating to 1952 and 1971 have become so much spent up that people run away from them. Honestly speaking, these two have become the biggest turn-offs of the century, lemons squeezed to death at the hands of politically or so-called aesthetically motivated copy-cat writers, columnists and blunt TV show producers. But quite interestingly, in his book Nineteen seventy one and other stories, Dr. Rashid Askari has picked up the cliché, and treated the in-betweens of the washed-out issues (pre and post 1971) from a new cone, which is substantially original and intensely rewarding.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nazrul … in our times

Published in the Daily Star, Saturday, May 25, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Is Bangladesh becoming a Taliban state?

 – by Rashid Askari
Published in the African Herald express, May 3, 2013



– The current state of affairs in the political arena of Bangladesh has been constantly gnawing at the peace-loving people with no immediate hope of catharsis. The rash and reckless acts of vandalism committed by the Jamaat-Shibir activists; the prolonged tug of war between the ruling and the opposition parties over power assumption and political ascendancy; the belligerent attitudes of the upstart reactionary group called Hefajat-e-Islam; the stubborn resistance put up by the Gonojagaran Manchya and the large sections of pro-liberation populace; and above all the untold miseries of millions of people caused by recurrent hartals, blockades and demonstrations are making people extremely suffer from nerves.

The biggest industrial disaster in Bangladesh

 – by Dr. Rashid Askari

Published in the African Herald Express, May 5, 2013
 
– The Bengali is a forgetful nation! Our public memory is far more short-lived than that of an aquarium goldfish which completely forgets about the things it sees in the other corner of the aquarium it has just left. We, the Bengali people do the likewise! Every year we are faced with many natural and man-made disasters which we dismiss from our mind much before the wounds are healed.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Savar Tragedy: Deaths of labourers and the death knell of economy

Rashid Askari
Published in the Dhaka Courier, Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
 
The Bengali is a forgetful nation! Our public memory is far more short-lived than that of an aquarium goldfish which completely forgets about the things it sees in the other corner of the aquarium it has just left.  We, the Bengali people do the likewise!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In defence of Bangladesh independence history

Dr. Rashid Askari
Published in the Dhaka Courier, Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Bangladesh was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She was born of a nine-month long bloody battle, a concrete and substantive armed combat with the occupation forces of Pakistan in 1971. She has earned her independence by fierce fighting, not by compromise solutions or peace negotiations.

Historic 21st February and the birth of nation

– by Rashid Askari
Published in the African Herald Express on February 17, 2013.
– So far as ethnicity is concerned, Bangladesh is a nation state. The vast majority of population (about 98%) is the Bengali. The country was founded on the basis of Bengali nationalism whose soul is the Bengali language.