Former ICORN writer in Bergen, Ratan Kumar Samadder, has published his first novel, Black Ants and White Pigeons, through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
Ratan Kumar Samadder was a bank manager in Bangladesh - and a popular blogger at night. On his blog, Samadder criticized the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and associated violence in Bangladesh. He called for secularism and social justice in politics and education and blogged about what he believed was wrong in Bangladesh society. This awarded him a place among 84 other writers and bloggers on a death list by religious fundamentalists.
The past decade, Bangladesh has seen an escalation of anti-secular violence and an increase in attacks on freedom of expression. A large number of intellectuals, academics, writers, bloggers and activists have been brutally murdered in a chain of attacks by Islamic extremists. Ratan Samadder survived. But he lived in constant fear of his life before arriving in Bergen with the ICORN programme in August 2015.
Since his arrival in Norway, Samadder has thought about writing a book about the changes Bangladesh has gone through in the past few decades, which, he says, have made Bangladesh an intolerable state. Samadder says he got his inspiration from Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini and British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie. But the idea of the novel came during the Norwegian Literature Festival in Lillehammer in 2016, where he made an outline of the novel in his hotel room after a discussion with his countryman, satirical cartoonist Arifur Rahman.
In the novel, I've tried to depict people's struggles to cope with the changes in the religiopolitical culture of the country, says Samadder.
Black Ants and White Pigeons by Ratan Kumar Samadder on Amazon