Carlos Nuss (Argentina) has the opportunity to interview the poet fiction-writer, film and literature critic, as well as the director of Saudha, Society of Poetry and Indian Music, T M Ahmed Kaysher (Bangladesh) regarding his interest in Latin American literature, his work and the relationship between Begali and Argentine writers and readers. T M Ahmed Kaysher has been already invited to our podcast in the past (to listen to that episode click here), but La Ninfa Eco Magazine & Podcast was still interested in talking again with this acclaimed author.
Editor & translator: Gaby Sambuccetti
1. A writer has an identity, and homeland is part of our personal history. You have been based in Britain for a long time now, how is to write from far away regarding your homeland?
This is perhaps a very basic question that I ask myself almost every day. Sometimes, I think I would contribute my best if I was living in Bangladesh, as you need a strong affinity with the people that you want to depict through your poetry or prose; you need to stay in the vicinity of the soil, the clay, the mud and the water of the canvas where your characters are growing up; gain the taste of the changing life as all of your characters are experiencing in their day-to-day lives.
Then, I think about two major writers of Bengal literature Michael Madhusudan Dutta and Syed Waliullah who spent most of their lives away from their homeland, but created time-winning literature. I think writers are the citizen of the world as they actually delve into universal human emotion. So, staying away from the land where they were born, rather renders an opportunity, in the most cases, to observe the nature of fight, the nature of struggle as well as the nature of defeat of the same human beings in different geographic and cultural contexts.
I enjoy all good things that I availed here in Britain. I have a spiritual crisis, I admit, for the sense of emptiness sometime and that’s because I miss the beauty of rurality that I left behind.
You may find a similar sorrow of this void in Chinua Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart, because with the growing expansion of technology and the capitalization things have already fallen apart. All of a sudden, the beauty of simplicity and naivety in many extents, have been evaporated from the scene. That’s why my world is so melancholic, I guess! Even if I write something in instant pleasure, it’s destined to portray a layer of sad or sombre emotion.
Although life has led me to a point where pleasure seems almost like an illusion to me, I celebrate the opportunity of preaching the powerful arts and music of Indian subcontinent here in the west. I met here the one whom I count as soul-mate and inspiration of my writings and the dream that I see all day and all night. And this changes my perception about life and perception of writing.
Tagore’s idea of love lies in supreme form of submission. Therefore, this love sometimes comes as worship
2. Following an episode of our podcast, I can see you are a fan of argentine literature, I can see you are aware of the relationship between Tagore, Borges & Victoria Ocampo. Victoria Ocampo once said that Tagore’s visit in Argentina was the most important moment of her life. Borges was a big admirer of him too. What do you think about this? How’s your own relationship with argentine literature?
I was and I am still now a firm admirer of magic realism that Latin American writers developed as a new movement and a new trend of writing. I count myself as a spiritual disciple of Borges and Julio Cortázar, two literary giants from Argentine background and I think the world couldn’t produce many writers so far as genius and as mature as these two finest novelists of 20th century.
Argentina is in the heart of Bengali readers through Tagore for his very popular relationship with Victoria Ocampo. Many books have been published on this great relationship between two genius minds. Victoria arranged an exhibition of Tagore’s painting in Paris. Tagore visited Victoria’s place and wrote on this, too.
Then, at the time of exploring the new way of expression, magic realism was in vogue at our adolescence. We have related this movement more than anyone else because the idea of fables is seeded in our literature from ancient time. There are many writers in Bengal that include Troilokkonath or Tarashankar, whose writings are ideal example of this stream. But they died before the world had recognised their unique style of writing.
I count myself as a spiritual disciple of Borges and Julio Cortázar, two literary giants from Argentine background and I think the world couldn’t produce many writers so far as genius and as mature as these two finest novelists of 20th century .
3. Tagore used to think that love was a form of anti-power. Do you think we can apply that idea to poetry, arts? That we can question ideas of power making the right questions in our times?
Love doesn’t exist in the exercise of power –hope you meant this by saying the word anti-power. Tagore’s idea of love lies in supreme form of submission. Therefore, this love sometimes comes as worship, and this worship is as equal to God, as to the human being.
Of course, this stupendous idea is the only way to bring peace in the society, even in any relationship. The idea of power has actually swallowed the sense of peace all around the world.
4. Globalization facilitates access to literature & writers. However, writing shared in social media has a lot of negative critics too. Do you a position regarding that?
Although I am not always in favour of globalization, I am an admirer of social media and its impact in modern society. Media has come out from the control of few capitalists and anyone can build up his/her own audience – whatever form it is, through this beautiful platform. It’s actually teaching modern minds in different way, I think.
5. You are an organiser and you are related to music, poetry, paintings, Do you believe in art as a multidisciplinary form?
Exactly. I always believe in art as multidisciplinary form and through all of my activities I made my whole-hearted efforts to establish this. I see the profound inter-connection in each form of art and the flow of exchanges. Saudha, one of the leading platform for Indian subcontinental arts now, was established ten years ago with a torch bearer of Indian classical music here Chandra Chakraborty, purely due to, more or less similar reasons. We developed the philosophical inter-connection between different art forms and we tried to complement each by other through tactful amalgamation of different art forms. We have interpreted the abstract nature of Indian classical music through other art forms e.g. poetry or other global music, and then, music through paintings, etc.
Dynamics by T M Ahmed KaysherI can sense your obvious inhabitation in my blood and breath
I can feel the way you catalyse the whole metabolism in my each molecule
Now I wonder
The tree, remember, the tree…
that was stemmed from a sudden vacuum
whirling around the flowing stream of the river wharf
Look, it became so luminous today; so full of leaves!
Do I even care if I am captivated in a dark pre-historic cave now?
As long as I know almost for sure
an unshakable light
an unperishable smell of your music, Sindhu Bhairavi
will perforate through the darkness of the black-hole.
T M Ahmed Kaysher (Bangladesh) is a poet, fiction-writer, film and literature critic as well as the director of Saudha, Society of Poetry and Indian Music (www.saudha.org), one of the eminent Indian classical music promoters in UK. He is also the chairman of Eastern Arts and Media Network (EMAAN) that has been running an internet based television (www.emaan.tv) along with number of media projects and activities. He is the key organiser of RadhaRaman Festival, (www.radharamanleeds.wordpress.com), the largest Bengali cultural event in the North. Kaysher works for local government in library and information services. He performs his own poetry both Bengali and English in major literature and poetry events around UK.