Sanjukta Sharma laments the cold treatment that The Black Coat, a novel by Bangladeshi-Canadian author Neamat Imam, has received in his own country, Bangladesh
Recently, I was part of a chain mail with colleagues and writers about the grouses of Bangladeshi-Canadian author Neamat Imam. His polemical, Orwellian first novel The Black Coat has had little support in Dhaka so far. Imam believes reviews of the book have been suppressed in his country because it is a satire about the regime of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, leader of the Awami League now in power. Mujib led Bangladesh to independence from Pakistan in 1971. He is regarded as Bangladesh’s founding father, and the current prime minister Sheikh Hasina is his daughter. Mujib switched from parliamentary to a presidential governance, but his socialist zeal made him the hero, the Bangabandhu, that the new nation wanted. The euphoria soon waned. In its formative years, debilitating poverty and unemployment crippled Bangladesh. A famine in 1974 left tens of thousands dead.