In search of one’s roots

Review by Wafiur Rahman
Wednesday, February 8th, 2017


 

Gazaria’r Itihash O Oitijjo by Shahadat Parvez Utsho Prokashoni 296 pages

 

One can only move towards the future if they know their past. If they are not well acquainted with their roots and how they came into being, they would flounder in an identity crisis.

 

That is exactly the objective with which renowned photojournalist and faculty Shahadat Parvez inaugurated his fifth publication titled “Gazaria’r Itihash O Oitijjo” at the ongoing Ekushey Book Fair on February 4. The 296-paged research publication digs deep into the origin and history of how the upazila of Gazaria, a part of Munshiganj constituency, came into being.

 

Shahadat, who hails from the said region, attempts to delve into how the tiny Char island of Bhaber Char transformed into today’s Gazaria populous almost four hundred years back. The book is a result of over seventeen years of research he accumulated so far.

 

As Bangladesh is known to be the land of rivers, it is also necessary to know about the river Meghna, which is the root cause of the formation of Gazaria as an island. Ever since the Mughal period, this 51 square-mile island was known as “Fuldi Gazaria” even up to the time of Partition, thanks to its proximity with the river Fuldi. It attracted more and more inhabitants over time, thanks to its fertile land. But this also drew the attention of the merchants, who forcibly made their presence felt and immediately established a status quo over the common people. Some even came to preach religion, but how they all became landlords forms a considerable segment of the book.

 

Published by Utsho Prokashoni, the foreword has been written by historian Professor Sirajul Islam and has been designed by Shishir Ahmed, with the cover designed by Mustafiz Karigor.

 

“Gazaria practically lies on water,” Professor Sirajul Islam wrote in the foreword, “which is why the people of this region derive the water-like simplicity of the rivers.” He wrote about how the displaced migrants, the first inhabitants on the island, were truly courageous but lost their clout over time, thanks to the shrewd Zamindars, who eventually laid the law for class divisions.

 

He also praised the writer’s fluid and succinct language for making it an easy read, even for those who are not into historical or research publications.

 

“While I do not consider myself a historian, I sincerely hope that this book will pave the way for actual researchers to conduct in-depth and scientific study into the actual history of Gazaria,” Shahadat wrote in his Author’s Note. “While working on the book, various questions raised in my mind automatically, which spurned me to conduct thorough research and extract credible findings.”

 

While the book is available for sale at Utsho Prokashoni’s stall at Ekushey Book Fair, readers can also order it online at Rokomari.com, Porua.com.bd and boimela.com.

 

Shahadat Parvez has four previous publications, which featured an anthology of poems in 1995, a photo album in 2012, another research publication in 2015 and a memoir last year.

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