Art, literature, music and other intellectual expressions of a particular society are together regarded as the culture of that society. Ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society are also its ‘culture’. Contrary to what we think, it is not easy to describe ‘culture’, nor is it easy to write the cultural history. Writing the history of Bengali culture is even more difficult because Bengali society is truly plural in its nature, made even more so by its political division. The two main religious communities that share this culture are often more aware of the differences between them than the similarities. Nonetheless, the people remain bound by history and a shared language and literature. Ghulam Murshid’s Bengali Culture over a Thousand Years is the first non-partisan and holistic discussion of Bengali culture. Written for the general reader, the language is simple and the style lucid. It shows how the individual ingredients of Bengali culture have evolved and found expression, in the context of political developments, and how certain individuals have moulded culture. Above all, the book presents the identity and special qualities of Bengali culture.
The book was originally published in Bengali in Dhaka in 2006. This is the first English translation.