Maria Helena Barrera-Agarwal: Nazrul was universal

সামিন সাবাবা | ১৬ এপ্রিল ২০১৭ ১০:৫৮ পূর্বাহ্ন


Kazi Nazrul Islam wrote in Bangla but he wrote for the world, says Maria Barrera-Agarwal, who was the first to translate the great poet into Spanish. It is this universality about Nazrul’s poetry that attracted her to the great poet.’s Samin Sababa caught up with her during her first visit to Dhaka in 2015.

Sababa: So I’m just going to start and ask you about where you come from and how you identify yourself in the literary world.

Maria: Thank you so much. It really is a special occasion to be here. I am from Ecuador in South America and my family has had a very special relationship with literature. My maternal grandfather was a poet. My parents were also interested in literature. I was brought up with an intense love for literature, mostly from the Spanish speaking world. Later, I married a gentleman from India. Through him and because of a number of life issues, I got interested in knowing more about sub-continental literature and particularly Bengali literature.

Sababa: So, it’s a huge sector, a huge platform, South Asia’s literature, and it’s very diverse. Was it difficult for you to penetrate the language barrier and differences? Was it difficult for you to understand?

Maria: It was very, very complicated in the beginning. Simply because, as you already said, it is so diverse. I found that we, from the Spanish-speaking world, knew almost nothing. So, no matter where I directed my interest, it was all new. I could do far more with that new material. It is not like European literature, about which everybody has spoken already. Exactly … it was so fresh for me. The most surprising thing for me was that I got a chance to avoid the pitfalls of the European gaze, while trying to reach a new realm such as the sub-continent’s literature. I believe this is a sort of ‘sieve effect’. The problem is that we always expect great writers or philosophers to come with a mark of approval from Europe or from the United States. It is necessary to avoid that effect, and I’ve been trying to avoid it.


Aparajito and Aristotle:

An interview with Gaston Roberge

| ৫ জুন ২০০৮ ৯:২২ অপরাহ্ন

By Amirul Rajiv and Ahsan Habib

Film scholar Gaston Roberge talks about Indian film, Greek and Indian theatre and the power of the internet.

Gaston Roberge, Photo by Amirul Rajiv

You are a Jesuit, a member of a religious society. Why did you go to study films?

– There are two reasons mainly. First as a member of a religious society I do what I am told. So, why I was told to work in the films? During the 1960s we became of the chitrabani.jpg
Chitra Bani: A Book on Film Appreciation, 1974
importance of the mass media in the life of the people. We are committed to education of the people, helping the people to take a meaningful place in society. But it is felt that the educational system alone cannot provide the education required and if this was true in the mid 1960’s it is still more true today. Also the situation of the media is very fluent and the media today are used for influencing people’s opinion much more then in the past. So, I was asked to look at that on the one hand—they needed somebody. (সম্পূর্ণ…)

An Afternoon with Jon Fosse

Ahmed Ahsanuzzaman | ৩১ জানুয়ারি ২০০৮ ১১:১৯ অপরাহ্ন

To Sabiha Huq, an Ibsen admirer and detractor,
who inspired me to write the piece at one go.

He is a living legend of Norwegian literature. He is an all-in-one — a poet, a novelist, a playwright and an essayist. Above all, he is a prolific writer — tirelessly fosse-with-ahmed-ahsanuzzam.jpg
Jon Fosse with the interviewer

contributing in all genres of literature. Norway’s Literature Abroad (NORLA) would describe him as the country’s “most popular dramatist both nationally and internationally”. Being labeled as the ‘most popular’ writer could be wearisome — as more often than not, popularity demands yielding to cheap taste.

Fortunately, however, it has never been so for Jon Fosse (b. 1959). Every inch an artist, Fosse, on the contrary, gives utmost importance to the ‘high’ level of the piece being created. In other words, for Fosse, it is the standard of the
Jon Fosse at work
piece that makes a writer popular, and not the other way around. He has always been conscious of the portrait of an artist as well as of the significance of the art itself. (সম্পূর্ণ…)

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