A man from Kolkata, Amit Goswami is one of the noted living ambidextrous writers of Bengali literature.
With his innate poetic flair, the born poet has been presenting Bengali bibliophiles with special poems every time.
Through his writing prowess, the versatile writer has craved a special niche in the minds of bookworms of Bangladesh and West Bengal alike.
Besides finding great fame as an author, the multitalented man has garnered critical acclaim for his creations in Bengali literature from home and abroad.
The tested friend of Bangladesh recently arrived in Dhaka on a cultural tour to pay homage to language martyrs on behalf of his fellow countrymen.
Amit opened up his heart to Md Enamul Hassan of daily sun as the later caught up with the former at the city’s Caritas Guest House on Wednesday.
How are you?
I am pretty well and hope you are all doing fine.
How are you feeling in Bangladesh?
Since after the entering Bangladesh, I have been feeling so much better. I don’t know if Bangladesh is my second home. But it has turned into my shelter like Kolkata.
Did you go to Amar Ekushey Book Fair?
Yeas, of course, I went to the fair.
How is the fair going on?
To be honest, I have so far gone lots of book fairs across the world, but the fair in Dhaka always attracts me most.
Though Kolkata book fair is tagged as an international fair, that is not merely a book fair, but rather it is a trading centre as a number of stalls of foods, cosmetics, and other commodities are also set up on the fair premises.
As a result, a variety of people come to the fair and bibliophiles can’t concentrate on books there.
Moreover, a huge number of microphones constantly create annoying noises in Kolkata fair that is totally absent in Dhaka fair.
In my mind, Amar Ekushey Book Fair is the best as only bibliophiles come to the fair and it is genuinely a rendezvous for writers, publishers and readers.
How many books of you have come to the fair?
A total of three books of mine are available in the fair this year, but I am fully expecting to come up with some five books next year.
Is there any difference between the book fairs in Dhaka and Kolkata?
The two book fairs have differences like the sky and the land.Kolkata book fair is not a book fair at all. Rather that is a trading centre. People usually go there to eat Phuchhka and chicken and see celebrities. There is no place for bibliophiles in that fair at all.
Is there any difference between literature of Bangladesh and West Bengal?
Yes, of course. The literature of Bangladesh is filled with revolutionary feelings. Besides, the plots of Bangladeshi write-ups also differ from those of West Bengal as we did not have struggled for the Bengali language.
Though Pakistanis once wanted to erase Bangla from then East Pakistan, but Bangladesh is now sole custodian of the language. And it has happened just in a short span of time.
On the contrary, we are losing our own language to become Indians by learning Hindi and English day by day.
How do you see our Language Movement?
We see the historic Language Movement of Bangladesh in two ways.
On the one hand, those who love the Bengali language envy you, you have history but they don’t have. They also pay homage to language heroes every year.
On the other hand, the Language Movement doesn’t carry any importance to them who love English and Hindi and are in the race to become Indians.
Why do you write?
I write to express myself and to get a shelter for my mind as every mind seeks a shelter to express himself at the end of the day.
Which literary genre do you enjoy more?
It’s quite a difficult question for me as I am a disciple of Sunil Gangopadhyay who would write everything.
Though I started with poetry, I am actually a writer- not a poet, rhymist, or novelist. I want to write everything- be it poetry, novel, story or rhyme.
How did you get into writing?
It is an interesting story. I had an appointment with someone at Kurir Math Mor in Kolkata on October 3 in 1984.
I was waiting there and a man seemed to be known asked me where he could find a hairdresser to get a haircut.
I replied him saying if you wanted to get a haircut like Neel Luhit, you had to go to a roadside hairdresser. And if you wanted to do like Sunil, you had to go to a saloon.
Listening to my response, the man burst out laughing and told me you were invited to Parijat, his home, to have chitchat. This was how I first met Sunil Gangopadhyay.
I first started journalism, I was simultaneously writing poetry and rhymes that time though.
But I have exposed myself a bit later as I had no hurry to express myself. At the instance of my mentor Sunil, I published myself in 2008.
What is your first published write-up and book?
My first published write-up was a poem. When I was in class 12, I wrote it. Chharpatra, a little magazine, published the poem titled Tothagota in 1980.
My first published book is Rupsari, a poetry title that was published by Saptarshi Prakashan from Kolkata on September 25 in 2013.
It’s noteworthy that I have coined the word Rupsari in the Bengali language for the first time, in imitation of Talsari, a Bengali word means lots of palm trees.
What do you want to say for new writers?
They have to read, read and read as without reading one can never write well. The more things they will read, the more things they will be able to write.
What would you love to say about two Bengals?
I firmly believe in borderlessness. I don’t believe in barbed wire. Though we have been demarcated against a political backdrop, we don’t believe in any demarcation in the literary arena as we are all Bengalis.
I would strongly like to urge the governments of both the countries to abolish visa system for their citizens forever.
What would you like to say for your Bangladeshi readers?
Bangladeshi readers are assets and such best readers like them can be found nowhere in the world.
I am so much grateful to them as they have been showering fathomless love on me since the very beginning of my literary journey.
I would love to urge them to continue reading write-ups of promising writers along with prominent ones in the coming days.