Vol. 5 Num 855 Fri. October 20, 2006  

Readers' delight: Special publications on Eid

On the occasion of Eid, there are special treats for everyone, including the readers. Literature enthusiasts in the country eagerly await Eid as the newspapers and magazines bring out 'Eid-specials'. These special publications include novels, stories, short stories, memoirs, special features and more by noted and emerging writers, columnists and personalities from different arenas. Although some magazines have started bringing out special issues featuring new designs and trends in clothes for Eid, literature-based publications remain the readers' favourite.

The tradition of Eid-special magazines can be traced to post-Liberation War Bangladesh when Shahadat Chowdhury (founder editor of weekly magazines Bichitra and 2000) took the initiative to bring out a special literature-based publication on Eid. According to Golam Mortoza, acting editor of Weekly 2000, the idea and inspiration came from 'Sharadiya-specials' published in West Bengal. Says Mortoza, "Back in those days there was no quality literature-based publication in our country and Shahadat bhai wanted to provide a platform for our writers both popular and upcoming. That's how the first Eid-special issue of Weekly Bichitra happened. The issue featured fresh new literary works by authors and special features."

"Other magazines soon began to bring out their Eid specials but some of them included works of writers from West Bengal. There is an avid readership of Indian literature in our country. However the attitude of readers in West Bengal has been and still remains nonchalant towards our writers. Which is why Bichitra only featured Bangladeshi writers; 2000 is continuing that tradition. It's good to see that other magazines too have started following that trend," Mortoza adds.

The current Eid-special edition of 2000 includes novels by Al Mahmud, Anisul Haque, Faridur Reza Shagor and Dhrubo Esh. Special features include memoirs of renowned food connoisseur and nutritionist Siddiqua Kabir. We have all seen her glory days but the feature brings to light Kabir's fascinating and struggling days. Another interesting feature is a dance-drama titled Usha-Utshob by Selim Al Deen. And 2000 has not forgotten the young readers either. The Eid-special includes 10 short stories by young authors who won at the 'Nido-Weekly 2000' writing contest.

Prothom Alo's Eid-special publication has also found popularity among the readers for its insightful features, exciting fiction and appealing illustrations. According to Zafar Ahmed Rashed, in-charge of Prothom Alo’s literature page and chief assistant editor of the Eid publication, "We began working on the special issue six months ahead of Eid. However the last two months have been crucial." Rashed adds, "Mainly getting the features from writers takes time. However, it is understandable one cannot rush creative work, specifically writing and we have to deliver what we promised to our readers."

The Eid-special issue of Prothom Alo includes a science fiction novel by Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, a novel by Monica Ali (of Brick Lane fame) translated by Mustafa Kaisar and a fiction by Selina Hossain focusing on Rabindranath Tagore in Shilaidaha. A compilation of letters written by the recently deceased poet Shamsur Rahman, Syed Abul Maqsood's feature on 'Swadhin Bangla Biplobi Betar Kendra' and its role during the Liberation War and an insight on a possible female warrior in Dhaka during the '1857 Uprising' by the sepoys against the British in Shamim Aminur Rahman's write up have already created a buzz.

Anondobhubon’s Eid-special issue includes a feature on artistes who have become regulars in Humayun Ahmed's TV plays and movies, novels by noted author Rabeya Khatun, Alauddin Al Azad and Selina Hossain. Reminiscence of bygone days by singer Fakir Alamgir and a travelogue by Imdadul Haq Milon are special attractions of the publication.

Begum, the pioneering women's magazine in the country, has also published an Eid-special. Among its special features, Nawab Faizunnisa by Zeenat Azim stands out. The issue also includes poems, stories and more.

And this write up would be incomplete if Unmad’s Eid-special issue is not mentioned. The cartoon magazine with a cult following has as usual included their take on TV shows and films that have attained public attention. The spoofs include Daruchiruni Dwip, Close down one two 3, Amader Niranondo Bari and more.

With so many choices, the readers are definitely in for a treat this Eid.