Friday, September 6, 2013

The curious case of a Bengali writer being shot dead in Afghanistan

Sushmita Banerjee

How do you react to the news of a writer - a lady Bengali writer at that - being shot dead in Afghanistan by suspected Talibans?

Sushmita Banerjee captures the headline in all of Kolkata's morning dailies today. She is the author of Kabuliwala's Bangali Bou (A Kabuliwala's Bengali wife), a bestseller.

I haven't read the book - it's the not the kind of stuff I usually read - but I've come across her name in my newspaper  many a times. She was quite a daring lady, had her own set of rules in social life, but she was not what we call a non-conformist; she was also a bit of an adventurer. She married  a Kabuliwala who was a money-lender by profession, not by any means respectable to Bengali culture to which she belonged.

She had a miraculous escape from the clutches of Talibans when she went to Afghanistan the first time to live with her husband. Since then she had been living in Kolkata. But she went again recently, after a gap of some some fifteen years, to meet her husband. The Talibans did not miss their target this time.

How sad and bizarre!

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