Two Novellas (Translated novellas - 2015)

Library of Bangladesh Presents

Syed Shamsul Haq

Two Novellas

Translated By Saugata Ghosh

Edited By Arunava Sinha


Publishing Year 2015

Published by ULAB Press.

ULAB Press, formerly known as Bengal Lights Books (BLB), is the publishing imprint of ULAB.



Bangladesh 1971. Burnt and destroyed. Like a crematorium. Piles of corpses. Torture cells. Barbarian Pak army versus helpless Bengali common people. Syed Shamsul Haq’s two novellas are breathing, glaring bystanders of the war.

In ‘Blue Venom,’ a middle-aged employee of a private firm is arrested on the morning of 27th March and taken to a torture cell. There, he is tortured slowly to death – only for being a namesake of the rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Not only the viciousness of the captors but also their ignorance lies exposed.

In ‘Forbidden Incense,’ a woman returns to her paternal village after her journalist husband has been made to disappear on the night of the 25th of March. Here she meets a boy with a Muslim name – his entire family has been killed by the Pakistani army. The village has turned into a slaughterhouse. They are caught while gathering the corpses scattered everywhere to give them a decent burial. National and personal histories mingle.

Syed Shamsul Haq's flowing depiction of 1971 through the living language of these two novellas make readers who haven’t witnessed the war relive the terror and disgust of the sufferers.



Syed Shamsul Haq is an eminent Bangladeshi poet and writer. He was born in Kurigram in 1935. A versatile wordsmith working across forms – novels, short fiction, poetry, verse plays, essays and translations – he is the youngest writer in Bangladesh to be honoured with the Bangla Academy Award, at the age of 29. He has also received the Ekushey Podok, the National Poetry Award and many other literary prizes. His works are part of the school and college curricula in Bangladesh.