Memory and Metanarratives: Recalling/Retelling ‘Life and Political Reality’ of Pre- & Post-Liberation Bangladesh in Shahidul Zahir’s Novella


  • Mansi Wilkinson & Shailendra P. Singh Guest Faculty, Department of English St. John’s College, Agra



Memory, 1971 War of Liberation, Bangladesh, History, Identity.


A close connection exists between literature and history, especially in times of major upheavals in the political and cultural climate of a nation. While history posits itself as fact, literature represents those facts by connecting disperse events and telling an overarching story of the historical record. When understood in this context, historical memory becomes the cornerstone of individual and collective identities. The shared experiences enable a community to pull an array of distinct memories together into a coherent whole. The paper discusses how Zahir delineates a diverse range of characters and incorporates multiple arcs and trajectories; thereby expanding the novella to form a collective history and national identity of the people of East Pakistan. From the vantage point of the third-person, Zahir analyses the retrospective memory of 1971 that not only shapes the present of the victims but also reclaims their past and rewrites their history. Since memory plays a significant role in shaping the national identity. One notion of national identity mainstreams one group of citizens and relegates the other to a marginal existence. Hence significant moments in a nation’s history are often interpreted in the light of conflicting metanarratives for pollical expediency. The paper explores Zahir’s novella ‘Life and political reality’ and depicts the clash of metanarratives in Bangladesh during the war of liberation and after the 1975 military coup.


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How to Cite

Mansi Wilkinson & Shailendra P. Singh , translator. “Memory and Metanarratives: Recalling Retelling ‘Life and Political Reality’ of Pre- & Post-Liberation Bangladesh in Shahidul Zahir’s Novella”. Creative Saplings, vol. 2, no. 4, Apr. 2023, pp. 1-15,

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