The book “When My Name Was Keoko” gave me a flashback of the liberation war and the language movement of Bangladesh. The novel, written by Linda Sue Park, reminded me of the several novels I have read about the liberation war of 1971. The story is written in the plot of 1940, when Korea was under the control of Japan. As far as I have read the novel, Japan used to dominate Korea fully. Korean people had to speak in Japanese in public and study in Japanese medium. The condition of Bangladesh was about be to so in 1952. Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan, which was dominated and governed by West Pakistan. The people of East used to speak and study in their mother language Bengali, but suddenly the government planned to impose Urdu as the national language of Pakistan. They tried to snatch the freedom of speech from the people of East, but the Bengali speakers didn’t tolerate like Koreans. They protested against it. They even shed blood to gain their freedom of speech and that’s how we got back our language Bangla. One more thing I found weird and ridiculous that the people of Korea had to change their Korean name to Japanese name. During 1971, the condition of East Pakistan was sort of like that. People were not forced to change their name, but those whose name were in Bengali used to be abused by the oppressors.

The character of uncle reminded me of the freedom fighters who don’t have arms but a heart full of patriotism that gave them the courage to fight against the oppressors. He used to make plans against the Japanese army secretly inside his press. In the same way, our freedom fighters used to make plans and handmade arms to fight against the Pak army.

Moreover, I have found out some gender discrimination in the novel. As the novel is written in the plot of 1940, it’s pretty straight forward that there would be gender discrimination. Women have no right to interfere into men’s business. Keoko’s father only shares the current condition of the war with his brother and elder son. Though Keoko is too eager to know about the war, she’s not even allowed to listen to them. Instead of that, she is engaged to household works. As far I have read the novel, I have discovered that previously, cultures and values were all the same in different countries and there are similarities in the histories. There history has got war, oppression, domination, injustice, but at last patriotism prevails above all.

About fmoriam

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