The Nari Jibon center in Dhaka, which provides valuable skills to Bangladeshi women, has incorporated blogging into their writing assignments for English- and Bengali-language classes. Recent posts in English from the Nari Jibon bloggers include “Effects of Poverty and Ways to Remove It” by Afrin and “Slum Peoples of Dhaka City” by Taslima.
Despite a few posts published in Bengali on their group blog, Amader Kotha (“Our Stories”), most Nari Jibon bloggers have had to write solely in English due to the lack of online and computer support for the Bengali language. Whereas English writers can simply type away on just about any computer keyboard, Bengali writers must type out their words phonetically and then use a software program like Avro, which converts phonetic syllables into proper Bengali script. Special Bengali keyboards do exist, but they are difficult to find, costly, and few Bangladeshis – despite their renowned pride for their language – are trained how to type on Bengali keyboards.
Over the past few months Taslima, the supervisor of Nari Jibon's computer section, has been collecting best practices regarding how to blog in Bengali. Yesterday she led a workshop at the Nari Jibon center focused specifically on Bengali unicode, the various Bengali-language blogging platforms, and how to set up a Blogger-based blog in the bloggers’ native language.
Taslima showing Nari Jibon bloggers how to publish in Bengali.
By the end of the workshop the Bengali-language blogosphere had eight new members in its midst:
Shazi's Idea : http://shazisidea.blogspot.com/
My Spirit: http://shakuratushti.blogspot.com/
Anananda Dhara: http://naoshin.blogspot.com/
Amar Showpano: http://zannatullisha.blogspot.com/
Ahonar Rhythm: http://ahonabangla.blogspot.com/
Pretty's Archive: http://prettysarchive.blogspot.com/
New bloggers typing away.
In the future we will translate selected excerpts from their blogs and publish those translations here on Rising Voices. For a hint of what's to come, here is Aparna Ray‘s translation of a poem by Nari Jibon blogger, Firoza Begum Poly:
তুমি কি সেই স্বপ্নের পুরুষ?
যাকে আমি লাল নীল রং
তুলি দিয়ে এঁকেছি ।
তোমার মনটা কেন
নীল আকাশের স্পর্শ করা
বিশাল পাহাড় নয় ।
এমনটি আমি চাইনি ।
ভালবাসায় এত দু:খ,
এত কষ্ট কেন?
তাহলে কি ভাববো কষ্টের আর এক
তাহলে চিৎকার করে পৃথিবীকে বলছি।
পৃথিবী, তোমার সকল নীল,
তুমি আমায় দাও, আমায় দাও।
He, whom I have painted with
red and blue strokes of my brush.
Why is your mind not vast like
the mountain range that kisses the sky?
This is not what I had pined for.
Why is there so much pain in loving?
Should I then glean that pain is the
other name for love? If that is so,
then let me cry out and say -
Oh Earth, rain on me all your blues.