ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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DACCA-A Conversation with Bhashani

AN open door. No personal guards outside. No people hanging around. An ordinary, single room in the Hotel Purbani, Dacca, where so many Indian journalists stay. April 2, 45 minutes before his first public speech in the capital of Bangladesh. He is sitting cross-legged on the bed in a not too recently washed greyish-white kurta and lungi. Collected and calm. A slightly bent figure with a pillow on his lap and his forearms relaxing on his knees. Short, probably not much more than five foot two, happily plump, a pleasant grand-fatherly face, only slightly wrinkled for his ninety eventful years. Wispy white beard, middling length. He is quiet, but a murmur of talk among the ten or twelve simply dressed, gentle party faithfuls and working class men and two or three pious looking women in the room. Happy to see a journalist. Do I speak Bengali? No. Urdu? Hesitation on my part. (Have been told that Urdu-speakers are not too popular.) So I say I speak Hindi, not Urdu. Decidedly he says, he will speak in Urdu. No opening question from me. But without any prompting he launches into a softly spoken, very articulate, unhesi- tant but rambling, discussion

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