Tuesday, September 04, 2001

Alaap: Abul Kasem's Article in NFB [Mac's response]

Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2001 18:43:27 -0000
From: hunter_bull@yahoo.com
Subject: [eshomabesh] Re: Abul Kasem's Article in NFB [Mac's response]

This is in response to post #3594, viewable below:

Dear eShomabesh members,

I write on this forum and I also co-moderate another forum, Alaap

We received the same article for a post on Aalaap. Because the names of one of Aalaap's prolific contributors, Mr.Maqsoodul Haque [Mac] and an eminent person, Farhad Mazhar, were cited on the article, Aalaap decided hold off on the post and first seek permission from both Mr.Haque and Mr. Mazhar, as we did not wish to guess their opinion on the nightmare-context in which their names were cited. We are waiting for Mr. Mazhar's response, while Mr.Haque has sent a response to my personal inquiry.

I felt it would be best for eShomabesh readers to read the relevant comments from the first person who might be humorously [?] insinuated into a nightmare episode, WITHOUT being offered the opportunity to exercise his FREEdom of choice!

Thank you.

~Syed Munir Islam

[Personal response from Mr.Maqsoodul Haque, slightly edited]:

Dear Munir,

I am pretty much used to taking insinuations of even very wild kind, and in comparison Mr. Kasem's looks quite benign and mild by standards. I do not think my reputation (if I have any!) is so fragile that this frivolous post will have it all shattered.

However, what I cannot seem to understand, is why Avijit is pushing so hard for Mr. Kasem's article to be posted in Aalap - when it really should have been the author of the piece doing so with you guys directly? Either Avijit is being asked to do this (which also implies that Mr. Kasem has no [strength] to stand by his own written words) or perhaps Avijit has some 'grudge' against me on some issue, which I do not know. I do hope I am wrong on both counts.

My comments are as under:

Mr. Abul Kasem wrote:

"Our national anthem will be replaced by one imported from Karachi, the seat of Urdu culture in Pakistan. Of course, Dhaka's Islamic Foundation with the help of Dhaka's poet "philosopher" Farhad Mazhar will modify it. Also, dHAKA-fame eminent rock artist Mac (Maqsood) will be requested to set tune to the Urdu-Bongo lyric in the fashion of Bollywood-Bangla-Bhangra fusion music, which is his forte these days. To purify the adulterated new culture of Bangladesh all works of Rabindranath Tagore and other Hindu writers, all works of Humayun Ahmed and other secularists as well as some selected writings of Kazi Nazrul Islam will be completely banned."

My comment:

Now these are nightmares of all the 'pro chetona', 'pro-independence' segments of our middle class who have nothing better to do. Obviously Mr. Kasem has not read any of my articles or knows nothing of my position, for if he had done so he would have known about my Marxist-Leninist background, and that I dislike India for the same reason I dislike Pakistan; i.e., I LOVE BANGLADESH.

Like the Pakistanis who would raise the fatwa of 'Islam being in danger' whenever we spoke for Independence, so are these 'neo-chetonawalas' who would say the country is in 'grave danger from anti-liberation forces'. Fact of the matter is Bangladesh has remained independent for 30 years and will remain so for many years to come. Also keep in consideration that 65 percent of the Bangladesh population is between the age of 15-35 and have really no time for the [frivolity] of these elements. I happen to stand for this generation - and it is ironic but true, that Avijit is also part of that generation.

Some people can be the product of a brainwashed mind, fouled by eczema of the soul - that uttering the word of a Muslim God is tantamount to prejudice on a Hindu God or vice versa!! ...Let me also remind them that I will fight till the last breath has left my body that Bangladesh does not become a theocracy. I am sure I am not the only one.

I cannot say anything in defense of Farhad because he has his own mind...- but I have sent him a copy of this article. However, knowing him, he may not have much to say that will make Avijit or Mr. Kasem engage him in any debates!!

Mr. Abul Kasem wrote:

"In cultural arena, all zari, sari, bhatiyali, murshidi, baul songs, polli giti, etc., will be banned. These will be replaced with hamd, nat-i-rasul,and qauwali. Only modern song you'll ever hear will be our new national anthem (Farhad Mazhar-Mac'; creation). Likewise, Dhaka University's Fine Arts building will be closed forever and the building will be fumigated first and then modernized to house Islamic arts and crafts such as display of decorated swords, and rehels (for holding Qur'an above the feet level)."

My response:

Unknown to Avijit or Mr.Kasem is the amount of time we have spent to encourage jari, shari, bhatiali, baul and murshidi etc. They have not heard 'Bauliana' or any of my murshidi songs or kirtan and bhajan. They do not know that Farhad Mazhar's 'Nobopran Andolon' (NA) have spent decades researching on these folk forms, and that NA have chapters in India and Nepal! How can they possibly think that we can ban things that we are trying so hard to make sure that they survive?

Last if not the least I strongly suggest that they both read Farhad's 'Ebadatnama' that is postmodern interpretation of Gita and the Upanishad and seeks the Unity of the Muslim and Hindu Gods and its many pantheons. Incidentally 'Ebadatnama' is a text in postmodern literary theology at Columbia University in the US. All of that happened very quietly - without much fanfare!

Regards,

Mac


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