The Black Coat

Neamat Imam

The Black Coat

In the aftermath of Bangladesh's bloody war of independence in 1971, as thousands of migrants flood the capital, journalist Khaleque Biswas begins to feel the stirrings of disillusionment. The revolutionary spirit that had united the people under the leadership of Sheikh Mujib, the "Father of the Nation," is dissipating. The government's response to the crisis is inadequate and the country is sliding into political corruption.

Uncompromising and undiplomatic, Khaleque soon loses his job. Then Nur Hussain turns up: a simple young man from a remote village, his welfare has been entrusted to Khaleque by a passing acquaintance. Unable to turn Nur away, Khaleque attempts to secure him a job, but discovers that the placid fellow has no skills or ambition. He seems adept only at impersonating Sheikh Mujib, to whom he bears some resemblance. When the masses begin flocking to him, the authorities take notice with shocking results. (From Garnet Publishing)


Excerpt:

In all my articles, I attacked and insulted the Pakistani rulers present and past. I ridiculed them, invented stories about them, misspelled their names and designations to make them seem eccentric and trivial. They were cockroaches. Tikka Khan, the army commander in East Pakistan, should be massaged with fourteen spices and marinated for three nights before being roasted for hungry dogs on Pakistan's national holiday. We published the Pakistani flag with a Nazi swastika in place of the traditional crescent and star; superimposed mammoth, bloody, terrorizing horns on the head of Pakistan's President Yahya Khan. Using emotionally charged language, I narrated how Pakistanis had jumped upon us like beasts with sharp claws and would not give up until they had sucked the last drops of our blood and turned our country into a wasteland.


From The Black Coat by Neamat Imam ©2015. Published by Garnet Publishing.