A List of Offences
Dilruba Z. Ara
Bangladesh Today: October 1, 2007
A List of Offences is a novel – not only unique in its name, but an outstanding literary excellence from the pen of a Bangladeshi lady, educated at the University of Gothenburg and working as a teacher of English and Swedish language in Sweden. The artists of all descriptions, as appeared in the novel, owe their origin in Bangladesh, centring round a village, by the name of Gulab Ganga adjacent to a navigable river.
Daria the central figure of the novel, an accomplished girl – comes of an aristocratic middle class Muslim family of this village. Daria’s father Azad Chaudhry and mother Jharna Begum had all the endeavours to raise her like that. But the crisis starts when she marries Ali Baba, and would be lawyer. Azad Chaudhury agreed to this marriage much to the dissent of his loving wife Jharna Begum, with the solemn hope that his daughter would be happy.
From the very first day as Daria stepped into the house of Ali Baba at so called ‘Firingi Para’ of the port city of Chittagong, all the near and dear ones of Ali Baba started ill treating his dearest one Daria. Almost blinded by tradition Daria gets pregnant and even after the birth of her daughter Jhinuk, the hope bird of family happiness was far above the sky. As such, she comes back to Gulab Ganga. Azad Chaudhury, the sensible father comes to the rescue of Daria.
The story is a tragedy but an unforgettable episode to remember for a long time. From the quite long story one thing has come out that in our country even educated girls are not immune to maltreatments in the house of their in-laws and in most cases the gloomy picture is shown with artificial varnish.
The language of the novel is so lucid and attractive that I have been forced to go through few paragraphs more than once and in doing so I felt equally jealous on the mastery of the writer over English language to create a unique novel with the mayonnaise of literary flavour all through. With all the language at my command I appreciate the writer and her bright creation.
Reviewed by S.K. Rahim