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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Nandankanan, Chittagong: once my home

What is my home?

Among other places, once we also lived in Jamila Manzil, in a lane off the main road where the Nandakanan Buddhist Temple is situated. The temple had a huge statue of Buddha, and I wondered why people prayed to it. I went to Chittagong Government College. And I went to many schools before that. At Chittagong, it was St. Placid's.

When I lived there, Chittagong was my home, or so I thought, until I was told that I was mistaken. I wasn't a Bengali, and so I could not consider it my home.

Most of my life up to age thirty was spent like that. I have lived in many places. Most of the time, I fell in love with that place, thinking it was home, and then discovered that no, it wasn't. I did not have the right identity, that I did not speak the right language, the color of my skin wasn't right, mine was not the right religion, etc. etc.

Until I figured this Earth couldn't be my home. It was just a transit camp. Since that discovery, I haven't been pushed out, although having the wrong identity has not left me.

It does not matter to me anymore. If people want false identities, it is their choice. On the Day of Judgment the only real identity that will count is whether you are of the people of Jannah, or of Jahannam; whether you have recognised your God as the One, indivisible, above everyone beyond comprehension, etc. or you follow false gods, including your whims.

Here is the entrance to the Buddhist temple there, that I passed every day to College:


Anonymous said...

i feel really so sorry for you. unfortunately, it had happened to millions of poeple who migrated to Pakistan and bangladesh and also to India. I am from chittagong and I wish all of you could have stayed there. But now the situation is ok to stay, why don't you go for a visit and catch up with your friends.

. said...

Thanks Anonymous. I no longer feel like traveling, but thanks just the same. I also studied at Dacca (now properly renamed Dhaka) University, and a few years back I met some of my classmates, one of whom was the Head of Department. I gave him 100 dollars to get my degree, but he did not. Eventually someone else took the trouble to get it for me.

Even that does not matter any more.

Anonymous said...

i was born in chittagong (east ferozshah)in 1970 and migrated to pakistan in 1979. i recall my memories of nandankanan. i was studying in municipal school beside newmarket(biponi bitan)and my elder brother was employed in Grand Hotel situated in nandankanan. now there is a shoping mall.most of the residensees and ex-residensees of chittagong must have known grand hotel. i visited chittagong 3 times and recently in dec-2009. the whole pictures have been changed. one who has left chittagong 20 years ago can not be able to recognize the areas and one local person will be required to guide him.
omair from doha.

. said...

well Omair

I do remember Grand Hotel. It was at the end of the street where we once lived.

We had lived in many rented houses.

Anonymous said...

In doha i have a circle of friends once lived in chittagong .i brought two of my childhood friends from ferozshah to doha, one is the son of the owner of Grand hotel. Jamila manzil is still existing with its deteriorating condition and i have a lot of photoes of chittagong. if interested please contact me thru

. said...

Thanx, omair. I have sent you an email. Plz check that it does not end up in the junk folder.

-- a sane voice

Anonymous said...

please add me thru facebook ID.......ferozshahwale

omair from doha-qatar

Anonymous said...

please send me email again thru


. said...

Eid MUbarak

Thanks Omair. I have sent you an email at the yahoo address. I don't visit my Facebook account much, so it would be no use.