Bangladeshi English Novels: From Emergence to Efflorescence
Department of English
University of Dhaka
Department of English and Humanities
University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB)
The history and development of Bangladeshi English literature is closely bound up with the political vicissitudes of the Indian subcontinent. Some of the major events of the region—the partition of the Bengal Presidency in 1905 and its reversal in 1911, the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, the language movement of 1952 in East Pakistan, the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 and the socio-economic sea-change the country experienced in the 1990s—all had profound impacts on this tradition of literature. Although the first Bangladeshi English novel, namely Begum Rokeya’s Sultana’s Dream, came out in 1905, it is only in the 1990s that this category of literature gained some momentum. The second decade of the twenty-first century witnessed the publication of some of the best works in this category, such as K. Anis Ahmed’s The World in My Hands (2013), Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know (2014), Numair Atif Choudhury’s Babu Bangladesh! (2019) and so on, marking what Kaiser Haq, the foremost Bangladeshi poet writing in the English language, called an “efflorescence” to describe the present status of Bangladeshi English literature.
Khan Touseef Osman
PhD student, DIPSUM