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Dr. Rashid Askari

Times Report - June 17th, 2014

Dr. Rashid Askari is a Bengali-English writer, fictionist, columnist and professor of English at Kushtia Islamic University, Bangladesh.
Early life and Education: Rashid was born in a sleepy little village called Askarpur situated in Mithapukur Thana in the district of Rangpur in erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during the country’s turbulent history in mid !960s. Off the beaten track, the village was a terribly backward place where days and nights would be determined by poultry’s exit from and entry into the pen, and metric measurements were all Greek. M. A. Mannan, an expert English teacher and headmaster, was his father and Setara Begum, a naive housewife, is his mother. Rashid showed considerable talent in all levels of learning. He passed the secondary school certificate and higher secondary certificate examinations in 1980 and 1982 with outstanding merit. He received an Honours and a Master’s in English from the University of Dhaka 1985 and 1986 with distinction. He holds a PhD on Nirad C. Chaudhuri and Indian writing in English conducted at the University of Pune in 2005. The University of Dhaka had been the seed-bed of the budding author in him. To his utter shock and horror, he saw the ravages of Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) with a child’s eye, and the sanguinary war has made a tremendous impact on his mind.
Career: A top-notch postgraduate, Rashid Askari joined Kushtia Islamic University as young English don in July 1990, and was promoted to professor in 2005. He served with King Khalid University- the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a professor of English for five years (2008-2013). He had occasions to work and mix with multinational and multicultural academics and scholars. Dr. Askari had flair for creative writing since his school days. His debut as a writer was marked in 1996 by his book The Dying Homeland. Until recently, he has authored seven books, and edited three volumes of English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore (2012-2013) published in commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of the poet. He has also written a large number of articles, essays and newspaper columns on a great variety of themes ranging from national to international and colonial to postcolonial, which have been published at home and abroad. One of his stories (Nineteen seventy one) has been published in the Journal of Postcolonial Cultures and Societies (JPCS) at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio,USA. CLRI(Contemporary Literary Review: India) has published three stories( Lottery, Locked-in Syndrome and Jihad) which have earned high literary acclaim. Besides many of his columns have been published in international newspapers like The Daily Star, The Brunei Times, African Herald Express etc. In addition to his scholarly and creative writings, he has considerable journalistic skills. He is the advisor editor of The Kushtia Times. The areas of his academic interest include Modern and Postmodern Fiction, Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures, South-Asian Writing in English, Literary Theories and Creative Writing. Currently, he is at work on an English fiction.
Writing style: Rashid Askari is an open-minded and free-thinking author. He has a refreshingly down-to-earth approach to life. He does not lead an ivory-tower existence, nor does he see things through fixed ideological glasses. Close and careful observations, compelling arguments, smart and scholarly analysis, carping and debunking criticism, above all, high linguistic excellence are the hallmarks of his writing. He is a writer with his own very personal style. He hates to imitate others and deliberately avoids offbeat approaches to directly reach an even wider audience. He picks the plots of his stories both from the bustling metropolis and the remote rural communities, and paints them in an unprejudiced light with consummate literary skill. He has developed an excellent command of the Queen’s English and exploits it with a view to enhancing the aesthetic of his writing. There always remains something original, something revealing in his writing which is aesthetically tinged with a scattering of wit and humour that adds extra spice to his style.