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পার্থক্য না বুঝলে আমি বিরক্ত হই

বার্মা রাখাইনে রোহিঙ্গাদের জাতিগতভাবে নিশ্চিহ্ন করে দিতে চেয়েছিল কিনা, রোহিঙ্গাদেরকে তাদের আবাসভূমি রাখাইন অঞ্চল থেকে বিতাড়িত করতে নিপীড়ন ধর্ষণ ও হত্যার পরিকল্পিত পদক্ষেপ নিয়েছিল কিনা এই বিচারের জায়গাটা আন্তর্জাতিক অপরাধ বিচারের জায়গা এটা আমাদেরকে সবার আগে বুঝতে হবে। এবং এটা যদি আমরা বুঝতে পারি তাহলে আন্তর্জাতিক অপরাধ আদালতের মিয়ানমারের বিচার চাওয়ার সাথে একাত্ম হয়ে বাংলাদেশ সরকারের মিয়ানমারের বিচার চাওয়ার মধ্যে আর কোনো দ্বিধাই থাকতে পারে না।

বার্মার রোহিঙ্গা শরণার্থীদের বাংলাদেশ থেকে মিয়ানমারে প্রত্যাবর্তনের দ্বিপাক্ষিক সমাধান প্রচেষ্টার সাথে আমরা যখন বার্মায় রোহিঙ্গাদের উপর সংঘটিত জনজাতিনিধনযজ্ঞের বিচার চাওয়াকে হুমকি মনে করি তখন বুঝতে হবে আমরা দুটোর মধ্যে পার্থক্য না ধরতে পেরে ভুল পন্থায় চিন্তার দিকে পা বাড়াচ্ছি।

আর এভাবে পার্থক্য না বুঝলে আমি বিরক্ত হই।

বাংলাদেশের সামনে স্পষ্ট পথ হল বার্মায় রোহিঙ্গাদের উপর সংঘটিত আন্তর্জাতিক অপরাধসমূহের বিচার করার যে সম্ভাবনা তৈরি হয়েছে আন্তর্জাতিক অপরাধ আদালতের প্রাথমিক পদক্ষেপে সেই সম্ভাবনার প্রতি পূর্ণ সমর্থন জানিয়ে বিচারের ক্ষেত্র প্রস্তুত করার সম্পূর্ণ সহযোগিতার দিকে অগ্রসর হওয়া।

আর রোহিঙ্গা শরণার্থীদের প্রত্যাবর্তন ও প্রত্যাবাসনের ক্ষেত্রে দ্বিপাক্ষিক অবস্থানকে সমুন্নত রেখে বার্মার উপর আন্তর্জাতিক চাপ বাড়িয়ে এগিয়ে যাওয়া।

আমি চাই বাংলাদেশ কোনোভাবেই যেন বার্মায় রোহিঙ্গাদের উপর সংঘটিত আন্তর্জাতিক অপরাধের বিচার এবং রোহিঙ্গা শরণার্থীদের প্রত্যাবর্তন ও প্রত্যাবাসনের বাংলাদেশ মিয়ানমারের যৌথ প্রচেষ্টার সমঝোতা স্মারককে গুলিয়ে না ফেলে।

বাংলাদেশ উভয় পথেই নিজেকে উচ্চকিত রাখবে এটাই ঠিক কূটনীতি কারণ বার্মা যেমন রোহিঙ্গাদের উপর সংঘটিত আন্তর্জাতিক অপরাধে অপরাধী তেমনি বার্মাকে রোহিঙ্গা শরণার্থীদের প্রত্যাবর্তন ও প্রত্যাবাসনও করতেই হবে।

কমিউনিটি ব্লগে : রোহিঙ্গাদের উপর সংঘটিত জনজাতিনিধনযজ্ঞের বিচার এবং রোহিঙ্গা শরণার্থীদের প্রত্যাবাসন দুই পথেই চলতে হবে বাংলাদেশের কূটনীতি

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জিভভ্রমণ পেটভ্রমণ

এই যে যাকে রান্নার বই বলে সেরকম একটা বই লেখার ইচ্ছে আমার অনেক দিনের কিন্তু সময় সুযোগ ব্যবস্থা সম্মেলনের অভাবে এই বই আর লেখা হচ্ছে না আর কখন লেখা হবে বা আদৌ কখনও লেখা হবে কিনা তাই বা কে বলতে পারে তাই আমি ভাবছি কোথাও কোনো খাবার পানীয় ভাল লেগে গেলে বা কোথাও কোনো খাবার পানীয় খেতেই গেলে বা কোথাও গিয়ে কোনো খাবার পানীয় খুব ভাল বা অভিনব লাগলে তাই নিয়ে কিছুনাকিছু লিখে ফেললাম ব্লগে এটা হলেও বা মন্দ কী। তো লেখার শিরোনাম ভাবতে গিয়ে প্রথমে মনে এল পেটভ্রমণ পরে ভাবলাম খাবার পানীয়ে পেটটা আমার কাছে মুখ্য নয় আমি মূলত স্বাদ নিতেই পছন্দ করি পেট ভরাতে নয় তখন মনে এল জিভভ্রমণ শেষ পর্যন্ত ভাবলাম দুটোই থাক পেট না ভরুক কিন্তু পেটে না গেলে চলবে কেন তাহলে হল জিভভ্রমণ পেটভ্রমণ।

ভারত বাংলাদেশ সম্পর্ক শেখ হাসিনার চারটি চুনি মুক্তো

এক অসাধারণ কূটনৈতিক উদাহরণ – এক অসাধারণ ভবিষ্যৎ নির্মাণের দ্রষ্টা – আমি মনে করি শেখ হাসিনাকে উপমহাদেশ যুগ যুগ স্মরণ করবে, ভারত বাংলাদেশ সম্পর্ককে তিনি যেউচ্চতায় তুলে দিয়েছেন তা কূটনীতির এক অন্যধারার ‘প্রতিদান চাই না’ শিক্ষার সূত্রপাত করবে।

আমি কোনো প্রতিদান চাই না। প্রতিদানের কী আছে এখানে? চাওয়ার অভ্যাস আমার একটু কম। দেওয়ার অভ্যাস বেশি।

আমরা ভারতকে যা দিয়েছি সেটা ভারত সারা জীবন মনে রাখবে। প্রতিদিনের বোমাবাজি, গুলি; আমরা কিন্তু ওদের শান্তি ফেরত দিয়েছি। এটা তাদের মনে রাখতে হবে। কাজেই আমরা ওগুলোর প্রতিদান চাই না।

আমাদের মহান মুক্তিযুদ্ধে তারা যে আমাদের সমর্থন দিয়েছে, শরণার্থীদের তারা সাহায্য করেছে, লাখ লাখ মুক্তিযোদ্ধাদের ট্রেনিং দিয়েছে। যুদ্ধের ময়দানে একসাথে রক্ত দিয়েছে, আমরা কৃতজ্ঞতার সঙ্গে সেটা স্মরণ করি।

প্রতিবেশীদের মধ্যে তিক্ততা থাকতেই পারে। কিন্তু আমার কোনো বক্তব্যে এই তিক্ততা যেন না হয়।

The man who loved Proust

Reynaldo Hahn and the sounds of the beautiful age

By Sudip Bose

Today, at the Sotheby’s branch in Paris, a remarkable collection of papers associated with Marcel Proust will be put up for auction. Among the contents of this literary treasure trove are letters, until now in the guarded possession of Proust’s descendants, that the writer exchanged with the great love of his early 20s—the composer Reynaldo Hahn. Although the relationship was hardly a secret in the fashionable salons of late-19th-century Paris, the public was largely unaware of it while both men remained alive. To many people today, Hahn is merely a peripheral figure in the life of a great writer. But as aficionados of art song know, Hahn was a distinguished artist in his own right, indeed, one of the most celebrated composers of French mélodies of his time.

His father was born in Hamburg and moved to South America with hopes of striking it rich—he soon did just that, upon settling in Caracas and marrying a Venezuelan woman. The couple had 12 children, of whom Reynaldo, born in 1874, was the youngest. With connections to prominent government officials, the family enjoyed a life of wealth and prestige, until the country’s political situation deteriorated in 1877, forcing the Hahns to decamp for Paris. Though he continued to speak Spanish at home, Reynaldo grew up very much French. The cultural atmosphere of the capital, embodied by the Paris Opéra and the Opéra-Comique, nourished the artist to such a degree that it might as well have been his birthright.

He wrote his first songs at the age of eight, gaining admission to the Paris Conservatoire at 10 (a notoriously difficult feat at an institution that looked down on child prodigies with a skepticism bordering on scorn). There the boy studied composition with some of the leading lights of French music, including Charles Gounod, Jules Massenet, and Camille Saint-Saëns. Though he would, over time, compose works on a larger scale (including a bright and effervescent Violin Concerto), his true métier was art song, his work coinciding with the full flourishing of la belle époque. He wrote nearly a hundred songs—six were in Italian, five in English, but all the rest were in French. Stylistically, he did not stray very far from the models he inherited from Gounod and Massenet. The hallmarks of his music, which resides squarely in the Romantic tradition, are elegance, grace, beauty, tranquility, and charm, his unadorned phrases ever faithful to the nuances and imagery of his texts. Listen to Hahn’s mélodies, and you are transported at once to a very specific time and place—few other composers are so recognizably French, or so vividly representative of their era.

He wrote many of his most enduring mélodies as a teenager: hymns to love that exhibit a striking maturity and level of skill. Take one song that he composed in 1888, “Si mes vers avaient des ailes” (“If Only My Verses Had Wings”), set to a poem by Victor Hugo. Over a watery 16th-note accompaniment on the piano, the voice floats serenely, melodic and utterly natural:

My verses would flee, sweet, frail,
To your beautiful garden,
If only my verses had the wings
Of a bird …

Eloquence and simplicity are the governing principles here, but the song is not without its startling moments—the leap of more than an octave in a single measure, for example, the ascending legato phrase culminating in a stirring G#. Or, even better, the final bars of the song, when the singer whispers the word l’amour, descending a half-step from a G# to a G, lingering there for a haunting, uncertain moment, before the cadence is finally resolved. For me, the whole song is made by that one phrase. How much depth there is in that unexpected drop of a half-step, how much wisdom and feeling!

Even as a teenager, Hahn was a fixture in the Parisian salons, where he often thrilled the city’s artistic elite by singing his own music. His biographer Bernard Gavoty described Hahn’s voice this way: “Was it beautiful? No, it was unforgettable. The voice was nothing exceptional … a fine baritone voice, not very large, flexible as grass, ruled with a marvelous intelligence, a reflective divination. An interminable cigarette dangled from the line of his lip, not as a ‘pose’ but out of habit. He sang as we breathe, out of necessity.” Others interpreted his work just as enthusiastically. Once, in 1893, the American soprano Sybil Sanderson performed Hahn’s Chanson grises, at the home of the novelist Alphonse Daudet. In attendance that day was none other than Paul Verlaine, who had written the poems that Hahn had set. By that point, Verlaine was impoverished and an alcoholic, drug-addled mess, and when he heard his gray and melancholy verses sung that day, he broke down in tears. Listening to “L’heure exquise” (“The Exquisite Moment”), one of the songs in Chanson grises, one can understand why Verlaine would have wept. It’s simply one of the most moving mélodies in the repertoire, this nocturnal depiction of white moonlight, a pond’s reflective waters, and the wind weeping through the leaves of a black willow tree. Although the singer inhabits a fairly narrow vocal range, so much emotion simmers just beneath the surface of things. Much of this feeling is conveyed by the harmonies in a piano part consisting of rippling figures of triplets. After the second stanza, the singer declaims, Rêvons, c’est l’heure—“Let us dream, this is the moment!” It’s a truly exquisite moment, and when I hear it, I do not want it to end.

Throughout his life, many famous people were drawn to Hahn. When he met Proust, however, at the home of the artist Madeleine Lemaire in 1894, the writer was a fledgling artist of little renown. Proust was three years Hahn’s senior, and the two had deep mutual interests in music, painting, and literature. During the two years that their romance bloomed, they saw each other nearly every day, embarking on vacations in Venice and Brittany. Even after the affair ended, they remained good friends. It seems clear that Hahn was conflicted about his sexuality: he remained in the closet, had relationships with women, and was scathing about homosexuality in his correspondence. Still, the letters to and from Proust, those on auction today, reveal a touching, if veiled affection. In a letter dated March 1896, Proust writes: “I want you to be here all the time but as a god in disguise, whom no mortal would recognize.” “Mon petit Reynaldo” is how Proust addresses his friend, upon whom the protagonist of his sprawling, autobiographical, unfinished novel Jean Santeuil is based.

With the advent of the First World War, Hahn enlisted in the French Army (he was 40)—that’s when he wrote his English pieces, the Five Little Songs, set to texts by Robert Louis Stevenson. After the war, Hahn led the first performances at the Salzburg Festival (he was a well-regarded conductor of Mozart) and wrote persuasive music criticism for the newspaper Le Figaro, all the while maintaining his presence amid Paris’s music scene. In 1940, he left the capital with the arrival of the Nazis, returning only at the end of the war to take up the directorship of the Paris Opéra. The appointment would not last long, however. In 1947, Hahn died from a brain tumor.

His music may have spurred no revolutions, his harmonies and rhythms looking backward, not forward. And his legacy lies not in symphonies or operas but in fewer than a hundred songs. Yet Hahn well knew his own scope and limitations. “With each passing day,” he once wrote, “I grow fonder of balance, moderation, elegance. The Himalayas, Michelangelo and Beethoven are beyond my ken.” Some artists reach for the cosmos in their work. Others, like Hahn, are content to cultivate their small, satisfying plot on Earth.

অখিলকাম অখিলকামী

Pansexual, Pasexuality এর বাংলা কেউ করেছে কিনা আমার জানা নেই। আমি করছি

Pansexual – অখিলকামী
Pansexuality – অখিলকাম

pansexual
adjective pan·sex·u·al \ ˌpan-ˈsek-sh(ə-)wəl , -shəl \

: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation

Pansexual people are attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of their gender, sex or presentation. —Farhana Khan

বাংলার মফস্বল

ফুল ফল মফস্‌সল (প্রথম খণ্ড) ।। মৃদুল দাশগুপ্ত ।। প্রকাশক : পরম্পরা ।। মূল্য : ভারতীয় টাকা ২৫০

বইটি আমি প্রথমে কিনতে চাইনি, পরে ভাবলাম, কিনি উল্টেপাল্টে রেখে দেব, আর পড়া শুরু করেই ভাবতে শুরু করেছি পরবর্তী খণ্ড কখন বেরুবে।

এই পোস্টটিতে আমি বইটি নিয়ে তেমন কিছু লিখব না, বরং প্রচারের কাজ করব, বলব বইটি পড়ুন, বইটি সংগ্রহে রাখার মতো, সংবাদপত্রে যে লেখাগুলো হারিয়ে যায়নি সৌভাগ্য।

কলকাতা এমন এক নগর যেনগরে আমি থাকিনি কিন্তু সেনগর সম্বন্ধে আমি পড়ার কিছু পেলে দেখার কিছু পেলে শোনার কিছু পেলে পড়ে ফেলি দেখি শুনতে চাই। কিন্তু পশ্চিমবঙ্গের অন্যান্য ছোট শহর জেলা শহর বা গ্রামীণ শহর সব মিলিয়ে ওই যে বলে মফস্বলও আমাকে আকর্ষণ করবে এটা বুঝলাম এই বইটি পড়তে গিয়ে।

এরকম বইয়ের আরেকটা উপযোগিতা আছে নগর থেকে মফস্বলকে আলাদা করে চেনায় যেটা আমার মতো যারা শুদ্ধ নাগরিক যারা জীবনে নগর ছাড়া কোনো মফস্বলেই ছিলেন না তাদের জন্য এমন একটা অনুধাবন যা বোঝায় নগরলগ্ন বা গ্রামপ্রান্তের ওই শহরগুলোই নগরকে নগর করে নব নব উন্মেষের বার্তা পাঠায়।

মানে সত্যিই দেখুন কলকাতার রাজনীতিবিদ সংস্কৃতিকর্মী উদ্যোক্তা লেখক কবি শিল্পী পরিচালক কারিগর সমাজকর্মীদের মধ্যে কত কত ওই মফস্বল থেকে উঠে আসা।

কমিউনিটি ব্লগে, বইপ্রস্থ ১৪

One of the finest minds of our times, Ashok Mitra was anguished by poverty and inequality

Economic Graffiti: The angry intellectual

Kaushik Basu

It sounds a cliché, but the death of Ashok Mitra, on May 1, marks the passing of an era. He had been a professor, at Kolkata, Lucknow and Varanasi, a policymaker, in Delhi, Kolkata and Washington, and a politician, having served for long years as finance minister in the Communist government in West Bengal. He had been a consummate columnist, writing in the Economic and Political Weekly, The Telegraph and elsewhere. I don’t know if “obituarist” is a word, but for Ashok Mitra it deserves to be created. He was the master obituarist. His long life of 90 years gave him the opportunity to write many obituaries, for friends and foes alike. Always a gifted writer, on these occasions he rose to a level of poignancy that has few peers.

These varied activities allow us to describe him in many different ways but, above all, he was the quintessential intellectual. Over the years, I met him in many different locales and settings but the backdrop that captured him best was his book-lined home of the last years of his life, in Kolkata. There he would be in his study, the diminutive man, in his starched white dhoti and kurta, with books covering the walls and shelves and coffee tables, ever ready for an “adda” — conversation with no well-defined purpose, that could range over history, politics, economics and the genealogy of people. His home summed up a Kolkata of once-upon-a-time. It was the hub of left-wing thinkers. Like at the watering hole of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, friends came from all over the country, to debate, discuss, bond and fall out.

Ashok Mitra – MP – CPI (M), Express photo by Prakash Singh *** Local Caption *** Ashok Mitra – MP – CPI (M), Express photo by Prakash Singh

While mentioning Sartre and Simone, one cannot not mention the public spat Ashok Mitra had with Ashok Rudra over these two famed lovers and intellectuals. The debate was about who among the two was the greater mind. It was not clear that its resolution was of any consequence —for India, for the world, or for anyone. In fact, I have to confess I have forgotten who was on which side, but recall they argued with passion and fury as if their lives depended on it. You did not have to be prescient to predict that Ashok Mitra, undoubtedly one of the great intellectuals of our time, would not make for an effective finance minister. He did not.

One of my first encounters with Ashok Mitra was in the late 1970s, when my friend, the economist Pulin Nayak, and I invited Raja Chelliah and Ashok Mitra to give public lectures on Centre-state relations in India. It was a jam-packed auditorium. My most vivid memory of the event was just before it began: As I waited with Ashok Mitra outside the lecture theatre, he kept pacing up and down and I could hear him mutter the word “nervous”. As he went in to speak, I caught the full sentence: “Delhi’s audience makes me nervous.” The reason this is stuck in my head is because when he spoke he gave no evidence of any nerves.

The two most striking traits of Ashok Mitra were his intellectual honesty and compassion for the poor and the dispossessed. The inequities of the world appalled and angered him and led him to believe in the possibility of the Communist project of a classless society.

Despite my admiration for him, I must point out that his emotions sometimes overcame his reason and this led to some important policy mistakes. The ideal of a world in which people work according to their abilities and earn according to their needs is indeed a magnificent conception. Ashok Mitra’s mistake was to think that there was an easy way to get there and to hold the world in that equilibrium.

This is the reason why his policies as West Bengal’s finance minister did a lot of damage to the economy. For all his idealism and scholarship, the policies he advocated would not and did not take the economy in the direction he wanted it to go. Growth faltered and, more importantly, the state’s higher education was damaged beyond measure during his time. English education in schools had a setback. The destruction of these “elitisms” would have been worthwhile if they led to greater equality or marked a rise in education for the masses. But that did not happen.

Sadly, I got to see little of Ashok Mitra in his last years because of a falling out. When I was Chief Economic Adviser to the Indian government, I had in a paper proposed asymmetric treatment of those involved in cases of bribery. I suggested that in cases where bribery was pure harassment (being used to make citizens pay for things that are their right), bribe giving should be treated as legal; only bribe taking should be punished. Ashok Mitra wrote an angry article in The Telegraph, attacking not just my idea but me.

I was not upset because I knew Ashok Mitra well enough to have known that this would infuriate him. My idea sounded immoral and Ashok Mitra would not have the patience or clarity to see it was not. We exchanged some letters, but it was not the same after that. Also, the fact that I was Chief Economic Adviser to the Indian government and, later, worked at the World Bank, did not help.

But then he was also the Chief Economic Adviser to the Indian government (during Indira Gandhi’s time) and worked at the World Bank (for longer than I did). I was puzzled. Did he erase these from his memory? Did he carry a distaste for himself for these? I do not have the answers. I draw attention to them only to present a full picture of this complex personality.

Ashok Mitra was a person of great human warmth. He was anguished and angered by the poverty and inequality in the world. The anger at times hindered thinking through what should be done to banish them. And he made mistakes. But with all his contradictions, as an intellectual he was a towering figure, reminiscent of the left-wing French intellectuals of the mid-20th century, a person India can truly be proud of. I will deeply miss Ashokda and his writings, especially the obituaries of those who have the misfortune of dying after him.