200 years of selected Bangalee literature up for grab

Titled "Bangalir Chintamulak Rachana Sangraha", the 74,000-page compilation will be in 208 volumes, and cover 16 different subjects.


Bishwa Sahitya Kendra announced the initiative on October 14, during a ceremony at its premises in Dhaka. PHOTO: THE DAILY STAR

October 16, 2023

DHAKA – Bishwa Sahitya Kendra, in its bid to enlighten people through promoting reading habits, has taken the initiative to publish a vast compilation of selected writings of trailblazing Bangalee authors from different eras spanning over the past 200 years.

Titled “Bangalir Chintamulak Rachana Sangraha”, the 74,000-page compilation will be in 208 volumes, and cover 16 different subjects, according to the Kendra which announced the initiative yesterday during a ceremony at its premises in the capital.

The compilation will be launched gradually, in instalments. At present, 54 volumes covering– history, philosophy, women issues, science, and culture– are available. The rest will gradually be available to the readers by March 2024, said the Kendra officials.

Describing the reason behind selecting the past 200 years for the compilation, Bishwa Sahitya Kendra founder Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed said the 200 years are the “finest” period in the Bangalee’s lives.

Numerous important works could be found done earlier but those might not be as comparable as what Bangalees have done in the past 200 years, he said.

“There has been an extraordinary rise in Bangalee’s ‘intellect’ in the past 200 years,” he added.

Prof Sayeed is the lead editor of the compilation while authors from relevant fields did subject-based editing.

The subjects covered in the compilation are history (18 volumes), philosophy (20 volumes), religion (20 volumes), arts (11 volumes), literature (35 volumes), science (eight volumes), environment (five volumes), film (10 volumes), music (13 volumes), politics (25 volumes), language (10 volumes), culture (four volumes), woman issue (four volumes), society (eight volumes), economics (eight volumes), and education (nine volumes).

Shameem Al Mamun, director of the Kendra, said they started the initiative in 2000 and collected and selected the writings between 2000 and 2008.

It was a massive task to keep everything in order, he added.

The initiative has been delayed because of various reasons, as per Prof Sayeed’s editorial note.

According to a paper provided to journalists during the ceremony, the whole compilation will cost Tk 1.80 lakh at its actual price and Tk 1.26 lakh after a 30 percent discount.

However, anyone can make a pre-order for the whole compilation at Tk 90,000 now. Such offer will remain active till March 2024, reads the paper.

A reader can also browse through bcrs.bskbd.org website to know details about the compilation.

Iftekharul Islam, a trustee of the Kendra, said they want different universities and public libraries to collect the compilation as it will help reach the books to the readers.

Addressing the ceremony, Prof Abul Kashem Fazlul Haque, a former teacher of Dhaka University’s Bangla department, said in the medieval period, this part of the globe was ruled by people who were not Bangalees. However, Bangla as a language flourished at that time.

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