IPDC Finance Ltd presents Ogroj takes place from 8pm-9pm every first and third Thursday of the month
As IPDC Finance Limited presents Ogroj returned with its seventh episode, Selina Hossain, a beloved Bangla novelist and rights activist, was invited as a guest.
The prominent female novelist shares a flashback on her early life stages, career, the colossal struggle and divine inspiration that helped her reshape into the person she becomes today.
Selina was born on June 14, 1947, in Rajshahi. She had a quality upbringing from her parents as they gave her enough space to practice radical philosophy within a progressive atmosphere.
On being asked about her early days by host Anis S Khan, Selina said: "A couple of years after my birth, our family had to shift to the nearest town in Bogra because of my father's work. I still could remember the picturesque panorama alongside the banks of the Karotoa River during the mid-1950s. The sprawling greeneries interspersed with vast paddy and jute fields, rivers and little waterbodies, etc. remind me of those long-lost golden days. Our house was just by the river, so we had ample chances to discover and explore the area. I used to wander with some companions of my age. On occasion, we would venture to other side of the river."
"There was a boatman known as Barua Majhi, a dark-skinned middle-aged man from a lower Hindu caste. We would ask him to give us a trip to the other side of the river. And each time, he showed great enthusiasm in our interest. When asked why he paid such attention to children, he replied that he wanted to become a companion to those who would grow up to be pioneers of the country. I see him as a great teacher to show me the value of early child-care for growth and development despite his perceived societal position and lack of education."
Selina fondly reminisced the influence of all her teachers. She received her primary education at Latifpur Primary School in Bogra. She completed her Secondary Education at Rajshahi PN Girls' School in 1962. Later, she was admitted into Rajshahi Mahila College to pursue higher secondary education.
"During the school assembly, our headmaster taught us to bloom like flowers. He would always encourage us to pursue strong moral and ethical values, to be empathetic towards everyone and not deviate from being human. He never let us down and there could not have been a better teacher in my early childhood."
Selina said the seeds of her authorship were sown in 1964.
"I was selected from our college authority to participate in a literature and cultural activity organized by the office of the Rajshahi deputy commissioner. I was initially uninterested to submit a short story. Later I learned that I stood first in six segments and third in the rest. I was awarded the gold medal."
Referring to her university life, Selina added: "The journey of getting into Rajshahi University was quite baffling. I was told that I would have to wait a whole year to enrol in desired course. But I did not lose hope. Instead, my friends and I approached the VC's office to persuade him to offer us an opportunity to study with the second-year students."
"I was a bibliophile at my university days. While my friends spent time with each other, I was this girl who would be busy exploring new books in the library. Marx and Engels had introduced me to the countless possibilities and the worth of different fragments of socialism, social values and socialistic policies in our day-to-day life."
Some of her professors nurtured her well. Zillur Rahman Siddique was among them who helped Selina to publish her first compilation of stories "Utso Theke Nirontor". This helped her land a position at the Bangla Academy.
She is a prolific writer. “Hangor Nodi Grenade”, “Poka Makorer Ghor Boshoti”, and “Bhumi O Kusum” remain some of her finest creations. Selina has worked as the director of Bangla Academy. She was also appointed as the chairman of Bangladesh Shishu Academy. She served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh and the representative of her government to the Executive Board of UNESCO.
Selina has always adopted a firm position against domestic violence and child abuse.
"We should not look to government policies to change these things, but we should change as people. We should come closer and raise our voices, teach our children proper societal norms, manners, and religious values."
Regarding youths who would like to have a career as an author, she advised: "Reading is an integral part of my life. It allows us to think beyond the circle. If you are a writer by profession, please read and explore different genres as it would help you to evolve differently. Please make sure that you are not being lazy in terms of writing regularly. Perseverance is the key"
IPDC Finance Ltd presents Ogroj takes place from 8pm-9pm every first and third Thursday of the month. Guests on previous episodes include Prof Rehman Sobhan, Dr Mohammed Farashuddin, M Anis Ud Dowla, AMA Muhith, and Dr Farashuddin Ahmed.