English Voices in Monsoonland

Himal calls from Kathmandu. They want a piece on English writing in Bangladesh. Deadline is not so long away. Is it possible? I suppose so. Dhaka e-mails are all knocked out or virused to death. Infecting global networks and friends. Life is a bit unsettled as usual for me here. I pine for the Valley so much. Never been away from it for so long.

I call Asha Mehreen Amin of Daily Star who runs an excellent weekend magazine. Get a load of phone numbers from her including that of her mother, Razia Khan Amin, who is one of the recognised bilingual writers in town. Asha is putting the magazine to bed and has little time to talk till after the deadline. I start practising being brave about deadlines. The magazine she edits is a good example of what is wrong and right with English writing in Bangladesh. It is a potpourri of columns, some sweet and some pedantic. Travel pieces, belle letteres, art and literary reviews, occasional fiction and practically everything else that fit into the weekend insert of any major daily.

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Himal Southasian