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This second volume of Rehman Sobhan’s memoirs spans four eventful years from 1972 to 1975 when an independent Bangladesh began life. For the author, it was a period that was preceded and followed by political exile from the country he loves. Its elegant prose and engaging narrative are oral history at its best from an activist, participant and witness to that era. It will be most valuable for readers in Bangladesh and South Asia as well as for those elsewhere who wish to understand the complexities of nation building.
The first volume of Untranquil Recollections gave us a vivid account of Rehman Sobhan’s personal recollections of the liberation struggle in Bangladesh. From this volume, we can expect an equally vivid insider’s account of the first few years of the making of Bangladesh.
At a time when Bangladesh’ s economic and social advance is being hailed, the publication of the second volume of Dr Rehman Sobhan’s memoirs is very timely. He was a pivotal policy figure in the 1970s and continued to be an influential scholar thereafter. This book is as much a rich personal narrative as it is a deep contribution to the understanding of a fascinating country that, even as it faces many challenges, has proved all prophets of gloom and doom wrong.
‘Witness and actor at the founding’ could be the title of this exciting story by one of the original architects of Bangladesh’s economy. This second volume, following the first on the struggle for Bangladesh’s independence, describes Rehman Sobhan’s experience as a member of the first Planning Commission that charted the early economy of Bangladesh. The memoir contains rich remembrances of challenges, issues, debates and actors that launched an independent Bangladesh.
Rehman Sobhan is a witness and vivid chronicler of one of the most tragic, turbulent and eventually triumphant episodes of the second half of the 20th century, the liberation struggle and the creation of the nation of Bangladesh. Sobhan played an important role in the independence movement, discussed in the first volume of these memoirs, and formulated economic policy for the Mujib government, which is the narrative of this present volume.
Rehman Sobhan is not just the most eminent social scientist in Bangladesh but, as we saw in Volume 1 of Untranquil Recollections, he can also write gripping accounts of important events. This second volume takes us inside the post-liberation government and provides a perceptive, compellingly readable assessment of the crucial drama that emerged.
“This riveting memoir, well written and well published, with shafts of whimsical humour to lighten the sombre overall mood, is absolutely mandatory reading for anyone interested in the history of Bangladesh.”