Dhaka. 2 October 1977. A military coup is thwarted, but the exact sequence of events is shrouded in mystery. Soon after, Ayesha Begum, recovering from the birth of her second child, receives a letter from the air force stating that her husband Joynal Abedin has been sentenced to death, convicted of insurgency. But has the verdict been carried out? If it was, when and where was he executed? If he was indeed hanged, what has happened to his body? Trying to find answers to these questions, Ayesha embarks on a long and arduous quest to search for her husband, reminiscent of Behula's epic journey in her effort to resurrect her dead husband Lakhinder in the Bengali folktale Manashamangal. Set against the backdrop of a raging famine, political assassinations and coups that took Bangladesh by storm right after its independence in 1971, Anisul Hoque's The Ballad of Ayesha is as much a story of the newly created nation as it is the story of its people.
The Ballad of Ayesha is a fictional story set in Bangladesh written in Bengali by Anisul Hoque, translated into English by Inam Ahmed & published under Harper Perennial, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. The author is one of the most prominent contemporary writers in Bangladesh. He is the author of over 60 books & has won many awards, including the Bangla Academy Award for Literature. His works have been translated into several languages. The translator is an eminent journalist, working for the Daily Star, the number one English daily in Bangladesh.
The story revolves around the life of Ayesha Begum & how the rapidly changing situations in Bangladesh molded her life. Her father was a headmaster at a school & was determined for her daughter’s education, she was quite good at it too. She knew the Quran well enough & even when her father fell ill for a brief period of time she didn’t left her studies & kept going to the school on her own until a stranger fell in love with her & started harassing her. Fearing her safety her father marries young Ayesha to a Air Force personnel Joynal Abedin who fell madly in love with her. They had children together & were leading a happy life until the political situations in the country fluctuated & one evening Joynal didn’t came back. Broken, she had to move to the village with her in-laws where she receives a letter that her husband has been sentenced to death. But her hardships didn’t end there. Get this book here to get a wholesome political history of Bangladesh & how its uncertainty affected the lives of the people especially our protagonist,
Bangladesh might be a small country but it has gone through a lot, with no stability whatsoever the citizens had to suffer a lot. The author gave us a brief idea about it through the story of Ayesha. Her journey of trying to fight for her husband just like Behula did for her husband in the Bengali folktale Manashamangal. The story is heart wrenching & will surely move you, it also depicts the development of Ayesha as a tomboyish girl to a strong willed woman. The title is apt & language used is easy while the cover is beautiful. A tragic yet beautiful read.