NEW DELHI: An epic historical novel by Bangladeshi literary great Mir Mosharraf Hossain centred on events that led to the battle of Karbala has been translated into English.
The plot in Hossain's "Bishad Sindhu" is dramatic, has a mythical undertone to it, and deeds of heroism and supernatural occurrences render an epic flavour to its narrative.
The storyline explores the sufferings and agonies of human life and the covetousness and hatred of men, and, at the same time, imparts a historical background to the bloodbath and killings that took place in Karbala, Iraq in AD 680.
Readers of "Ocean of Melancholy", translated by Alo Shome, can get an insight into the events that led to the battle of Karbala and its aftermath.
The book, brought out by Niyogi Books under its Thornbird imprint, revolves around the tragic story of Hassan and Hussein, grandsons of Prophet Muhammad, who were exterminated by their bitter enemy Yazid, the son of the king of Damascus.
"I am not a religious person myself, but am only objectively curious about religion as it is a part of human culture. Thankfully, 'Bishad Sindhu' gave me an opportunity to gain much knowledge about Islam. Through its translation I could express my respect and love for another faith other than the one I inherited," says Alo Shome.
The book was released this Thursday.
Publisher Trisha de Niyogi says "Ocean of Melancholy" is a work of historical fiction in which there is no distortion of facts, yet multiple imaginary characters and hypothetical situations have been brought in to not only to enhance the interests of the reader, but also to give a geopolitical picture of the time.
Hossain, a pioneer among 19th century Bengali Muslim writers, was born in 1847 to the zamindar of Padamdi.
He was deeply interested in Arabic, Persian, and Bengali literature.
He contributed his writings to various journals, mainly in "Sangbad Hitokar" and "Gram Barta Prakashik".
Mir authored 35 books of which "Bishad Sindhu" is considered his best.