Representation of Deaths due to Misrule during the Famine of 1974 in Neamat Imam’s The Black Coat

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Rukunuddin Shaikh


Death is the irreversible cessation of organismic functioning and human death is the irreversible loss of personhood. Death occurs at different situations and moments and has important significance in various circumstances. The phenomenon of death is present from the beginning of the world and it has been represented differently in literature and culture. If we relate death only in relation to physical loss, the significance of death is narrowed to a specific space. But death has a wider spectrum than that of physical loss. Though most deaths are forgotten, some incidents of deaths are important because of various social, philosophical and historical circumstances. An important phenomenon relating to death is that sometimes mass deaths are caused by state administered misrule. As for example during famine the failure of government to take necessary steps results in loss of numerous lives. Such is the case with millions of deaths during the 1974 famine in Bangladesh under the regime of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Faulty economic policies, mismanagement, black market, corruption and power hunger of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made havoc on the poverty-stricken people who were forced to die of starvation. Almost 1.5 million people died, but Mujibur Rahman acknowledged only 27000 deaths from starvation. Not only that, those who raised their voices against the misrule of the government are put to death by the state administered mechanism. This terrible situation of Bangladesh during the famine of 1974 is nicely portrayed in Neamat Imam’s famous novel The Black Coat. In this novel Imam very deftly upholds the autocratic rule of Sheikh Mujib which caused so many deaths from starvation. The violent death of Nur Hussain by Khaleque Biswas represents not only the death of an individual but also the violent suppression of conscious voice that has the guts to hold the government responsible for the misery of the people of Bangladesh. The present research article presents the pathetic condition of the people of Bangladesh during the famine of 1974 which made havoc on their lives due to the tyrannical government of that time.


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How to Cite
Rukunuddin Shaikh. “Representation of Deaths Due to Misrule During the Famine of 1974 in Neamat Imam’s The Black Coat”. The Creative Launcher, vol. 7, no. 4, Aug. 2022, pp. 103-11, doi:10.53032/tcl.2022.7.4.14.
Research Articles


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Crow, Ben. ‘Warning of Famine in Bangladesh’. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 19, no. 40, 1984, pp. 1754-1758.

Imam, Neamat. The Black Coat. Penguin Books India, 2013.

Mascarenhas, Anthony. Bangladesh: A Legacy of Blood. Hodder & Stoughton 1986.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. Secker & Warburg, 1945.