Rapper and musician Anik Khan was born in Dhaka and grew up in Queens, New York. He raps about being Muslim, an immigrant, and his father, who was a freedom fighter in Bangladesh before they moved to the US. Last month his single “Too Late Now” reached the top of the stack of Spotify’s Top Viral Hits.
In browntown’s first episode, Anik talks about the neighborhood he grew up in, his favorite Bollywood actress Kajol, and his music.
browntown is a video series project from Kajal Media that aims to collect stories from the global South Asian diaspora
Today is a day to celebrate our native languages. Today is a day to fight the oppression based upon language. Today is a day to honour those who have fallen due to their struggle to speak their mother tongue.
On February 21, 1952, students in Dhaka, Bangladesh, protested against oppression of the Bengali Language. Those students were massacred by the ruling Pakistani police. In honour of that blood-smeared day, we move to encourage linguistic diversity and awareness of linguistic traditions.
Shaheed Minar or the Martyr Monument is a national monument at Dhaka.
It was established to commemorate those killed during the Bengali
Language Movement demonstrations of 1952. On 21 February 1952, dozens
of students and political activists were killed when the Pakistani
police force opened fire on Bengali protesters who were demanding equal
status for their native tongue, Bengali. The massacre occurred near
Dhaka Medical College and Ramna Park in Dhaka. A makeshift monument was
erected on 23 February by the students of University of Dhaka and other
educational institutions, but soon demolished on 26 February by the
Pakistani police force. The Language Movement gained momentum, and after
a long struggle, Bengali was given equal status with Urdu.
commemorate the dead, the Shaheed Minar was designed and built by
Hamidur Rahman a Bangladeshi sculptor in collaboration with Novera
Ahmed. The monument stood until the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971,
when it was demolished completely during Operation Searchlight. It was
rebuilt after Bangladesh gained independence.
Hi! :) Please tell me about Bangla and why you are learning it and how it is going and more! And what kind of language is it? (My language knowledge is very limited to only indo-european languages but I'd love to know more about other language branches too!)
Well hello there! Thanks for your curiosity and interest!
Bangla is an Indo-European language–it’s actually one of the most widely spoken Indo-European languages (by native speakers). It’s derived from Sanskrit and it’s native to the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent and is the official language of Bangladesh, which is the country I’m originally from.
I moved to the States when I was a baby, so while Bangla is chronologically my first language, I’m really bad at it now. I speak a mix of Bangla and English at home with my parents (with more English than Bangla lmao) and the other Bengali adults in my life, and I can read it a little, but I can’t really write. Also, my speaking skills are super basic, and so outside of very basic casual conversation, my comprehension is kind of limited.
If you talk to anyone in Bangladesh, it’s pretty normal to insert English words in conversation. So, while I have a horrible American accent and use more English than anyone else, my language isn’t too out of place when I go to visit, and so I haven’t been pushed too terribly hard to learn it better.
My main motivation for trying so hard to learn it now is, to be honest, that I’m trying to get out of my school’s language requirement. I just don’t have time in my schedule to take more language courses, and while I was taking Japanese this past year, I wasn’t able to put enough time into it. If I can learn Bangla, which I already speak, and have some professor from another institution who knows Bengali administer a test and write a letter to my school, the language requirement will be waived, so I’ll have more time to focus on my math and physics courses.
I do really want to learn Bangla for myself, though–it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for basically my whole life, and I keep starting and abandoning it, but I’m excited to be working on it now.
Anyway, the textbook I’m using right now is Teach Yourself Bengali by William Radice (I googled course syllabuses for Bengali courses at other institutions and this one was mentioned in one of them), so I found it online and I’m hoping it’s good. I’m also using books we have at home. Right now, I’m trying to get the script/letters down, and I’m going to try reading children’s books and collections of short stories that we have at home.
I might change the URL later, but I think I’m gonna use @goruchagol as my blog for Bangla stuff. Feel free to follow it if you’re curious to see my future progress, but it’s empty right now.