(P@ul’s Coaching Home নামে আমার একটা কোচিং সেন্টার ছিল, যেখানে ক্লাস নাইন থেকে অনার্সের স্টুডেন্টরা পড়ত। সে সময় এসএসসি এবং এইচএসসি ক্লাসের স্টুডেন্টদেরকে ইংরেজি রচনা নোট তৈরি করে দিতাম। এরকম কয়েকটি রচনা নিচে দিয়ে দিলাম। আপনাদের কিংবা আপনাদের পরিচিত কারও কাজে লাগলে, আমার ভাল লাগবে।)
Essay: 1. MY INTENDED PROFESSION/ MY AIM IN LIFE
“Why then, the world’s mine oyster
Which I with my sword will open.” — William Shakespeare.
While men of philo¬sophical spirit and cultivated minds have been sent from England to ransack the poles, to penetrate the deserts, and to study the manners and customs of barbarous nations, it has been left to the scheming adventurer, the wandering mechanic, the Manches¬ter and Birmingham agent, and the most to the parishioners of lore and wisdom. Such sources present the most profound and momentous studies to the statesmen and the philosophers that are presented only by the accomplished writers. If I say that I want to be a writer; it will perhaps raise a grin; nevertheless, it is a fact that even today the Nobel Laureates have a strange fascination for me. The theme it offers for contemplation is too vast and lofty for those who are capable of judging only of the surface of things; of those matters which come in contact with their private interests and personal gratifications. “Such persons become embittered against the country on finding that there, as everywhere else, a man must sow before he can reap; must win wealth by industry and talent; and must contend with the common difficulties of nature, and the shrewdness of an intelligent and enterprising people.”— Washington Irving (English Writers on America).
Why I prefer to adopt it: Maugham’s idea on this respect diffuses in my psyche: “It is so pleasant a profession that it is not surprising if a vast number of persons adopt it who have no qualifications for it. It is exciting and various. The writer is free to work in whatever place and at whatever time he chooses; he is free to idle if he feels ill or dispirited.” But in this perpetually changing world, people are suspicious of novelty and it takes them some time before they can accustom themselves to it. Hence, I am fully sentient of the uncertainties of this hackneyed profession; yet the undue interest for gaining a cosmic eminence as well as affluence persistently urges me to prepare myself for that purpose.
It has scope for the liberal man: Literature, to me, opens an asylum for candid and dispassionate lovers of it and hence enables them to receive all with impartiality. In French or Germany literature is considered as an honourable occupation rather than a social obloquy. It is my pride to exercise the liberty of opinion over the huge platform both national and international, through my writing.
Scopes for performing social obligation: Shelley has called poets the unacknowledged legislators of mankind. The function of a legislator is to lay down the law, a settled course of action that men may follow. Poetry and literature generally do this in a quiet unobtrusive way. I would prefer to be a progressive writer like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens, Sarat Chandra to tend to show how old ideals act as a restraint on the natural freedom of the human mind, cripple the free movement of man and woman in an ambience of freedom, set for the liberating and liberalizing aspects of new ideals and forces, in a word show the value of a forwarded moving society that looks forward to newer ways of life. This spirit is best expressed in Pope’s lexis:
“We poets are (upon a poet’s word)
Of all mankind, the creatures most absurd.” (– Alexander Pope)
It is a profession for the intellectual and honest man: The over-enthusiastic intellectualism and integrity of the writers find a clear echo in Richard Aldington’s ‘The Eaten Heart’:–
“Still we have faced the facts, we have been pretty honest,
But sitting here brooding over the hard faces.”
Modern poets occupy a distinctive niche in the society by virtue of their ‘stream of consciousness’ to pursue the truth through a labyrinth of complicated mundane facts. I like to confront a cynic’s question, “What is the use of works of art?” by serving the aesthetic susceptibilities and tastes even of the highly materialistic persons. The lure of money, fear of persecution—would never dwindle my verve to crystallize largely the inarticulate thoughts and sentiments of the age, to sublimate artistically the snapshots of life.
Preaching universalism through the human mind: I believe that, “Knowledge is power, and truth is knowledge; whoever, therefore, knowingly propagates a prejudice, willfully saps the foundation of his country’s strength.”(–Washington Irving) So, I would speak of the prompt and spirited vindication of the supremacy of human mind keenly diffused in altruism. I feel I must always serve the needs of the people and I can discharge this function in two ways. For one thing, I must voice their inmost desires, their noblest aspirations. In the second place, by drawing the attention of the people to the emerging truths of life, the truths that come to the surface as a result of social struggles and conflicts, and lead the people forward to a novelty of life and contemplation, — help the people to come out of the shell of habits and traditions, and feel the imperative vigor of innovative arena. That is what Walt Whitman meant when he said that the object of literature was “to free, arouse and dilate the human mind.” Literature, in this sense, must emancipate the mind from its limitations, arouse it to a consciousness of the dynamic urge of life, and dilate its range so that it may not be encased within a limited sphere, but may feel a powerful sympathy with universal man.
Conclusion: We are a young people, necessarily an imitative one, and must take our examples and models, in a great degree, from the existing nations of Europe. Let it be the pride of our writers, therefore, discarding all feelings of irritation, and disdaining to retaliate the illiberal¬ity of British authors, to speak of the English nation without prejudice, and with determined candour. While they rebuke the indiscriminating bigotry with which some of our country¬men admire and imitate everything English, merely because it is English, let them frankly point out what is really worthy of approbation. We may thus place Bangladesh before us as a perpetual volume of reference, wherein are recorded sound deductions from ages of experience; and while we avoid the errors and absurdities which may have crept into the page, we may draw thence golden maxims of practical wisdom, where¬with to strengthen and to embellish our national character, by feeling the urge expressed subtly in Rubaiyat:
“Would we not shatter it to bits, and then
Remould it nearer to our heart’s desire?” (– Omar Khaiyam)
Essay: 2. MY FAVOURITE SPORT: SWIMMING
Swimming is growing in popularity every day. Of course, the art was known and practised all over the world and at all times. I live near a river and perhaps, for this reason, I am meant to be a natural swimmer. It is a natural gift, but it has to be cultivated and improved upon. To me, it is a form of recreation that is indulged in purely for fun or the joy of it. It is, says Swinburne, who was a lover of water if ever there was one,¬ —
A purer passion, a lordlier leisure
A place more happy than lives on land ;
Fulfils with pulse of divine pleasure
The dreaming head and the steering hand.
At first practised either for necessity or as a form of recreation, its utility as a form of exercise has been gradually recognized. In¬deed it shares with walking the distinction of being a perfect exercise. As all healthy exercises should do, it exercises the limbs without strain¬ing them, and the pace can be varied as one feels inclined. It can also be practised at any time of the day-morning or evening.
One should learn to swim, if not to exercise the limbs, certainly, to enable one, should the emergency ever arise, to save a drowning man’s life. In this case, it becomes an accomplishment whose usefulness far exceeds that of any other form of recreation. A good swimmer is a social asset. How many lives have been saved by, sturdy swimmers in a boat-wreck or even in a shipwreck; many can claim the honour of saving lives in accidents on land, but in the water, a good swimmer is our only helper. Thus it is an accomplish¬ment in which every one should try to acquire some mastery. A good swimmer is always a potential lifesaver and there is no other sport which combines so noble a service with pleasure and fun.
As an art, swimming is practised in many forms. The chief is, of course, the ‘breast-stroke’ which is the one practised every¬where and is needed for life-saving purposes. But other strokes have been devised for gaining greater speed. Of these the most interesting is the ‘side-stroke’, but it is very exhausting; the ‘crawl’ ensures the greatest speed. There are two methods of swimming on the back—one is an equivalent of the breaststroke, and the other is the ‘back-crawl’. These different forms are practised by experts who compete to gain prizes.
Swimming has come to have an important place in the competitive sport. The Olympic games have events ranging from 100 yards to a mile. Longer distances are attempted in amateur competitions. A variant of the sport is ‘the water polo’. Some even go so far as to attempt imitations of the ballet in water, but these are only curio¬sities and have no merit either as art or as a sport. The swimming of the English Channel is an annual affair, and the successes of Sri Mihir Sen, Dr Chandra and Miss Arati Saha of India and Sri Brojen Das of Pakistan have given a tremendous publicity to long-distance swimming in our subcontinent and I often dream of becoming their successor.
Essay: 3. PHYSICAL EXERCISE
The ancient Greeks, who planned their life on a scientific basis, imparted their education in gymnasiums. Plato regarded the Body Beautiful— which is another name for physical harmony—as an index and expression of a harmonious mind. So, ‘Build up your body if you want to build up your mind’—that was their slogan.
Physical exercise is now coming to be regarded as an important factor in the promoting of public health and social welfare. Schools, colleges, universities, athletic organizations, Scout Movement, tennis and golf clubs all have the same ideal. The scholar in the evening finds himself weak, tired, fatigued and languid but as soon as he takes exercises he feels gay as the morning sky lark. The people who take regular physical exercise no longer suffer from a feeling of inertia, sloth and inertness; no longer experience mental weariness, intellectual strain ennui, melancholy, and irritability with life. Exercise promotes health, increases bodily vigour and removes physical defects. The heart, the soul, the mind get enlivened, gladdened, animated and enlarged.
Physical exercise is essential for the harmonious develop¬ment of all parts of the body—the Temple of the Soul. Muths in Germany, Ludwig John in Prussia, Hitler and Nazis in Germany, Mussolini in Italy___ all the successful statesmen felt the inevitability of physical exercise for the presence of mind, stamina, the power of endurance, firm resolution, grit, the strength of character and pluck. They popularized swimming, weight-lifting, cycling, wrestling, boxing, high jump, running, dancing, climbing, jumping, hiking, horse-riding, playing several forms of sports and thus regenerated the state___ morally, spiritually, physically and mentally.
It is a good thing that in our country we are gradually regarding a gymnasium as the one thing needful in every one of our educational institutions. Though it is too much to say that we have become completely gymnasium-minded, the first steps have been taken: schools and colleges have been provided with limited facilities for physical culture, and an instructor for the purpose is a compulsory precondition for official recognition.
The Olympic or the Asian games have roused governments from their apathy. In Bangladesh, the different Boards for controlling sports and games are being gradually brought under State control. It is expected that this would help maintain a reasonable standard and promote the physical fitness of our people.
Essay: 4. THE IMPORTANCE OF READING OF NEWSPAPERS
The Newspaper is all-important these days. Carlyle called it ‘the Fourth Estate’. We read what is happening in all parts of the world and for a while get out of the narrow circle of our personal affairs. We are forced out of our egoism. We become alert, inquisitive and intellectually wide awake. So much is happening every day, so quickly are things changing everywhere, that unless we keep ourselves abreast of these changes you cannot adjust yourself to them or move with the times smoothly and easily.
A modern newspaper is a chronicle—and an encyclopaedia in miniature. It records events that happen and the advances in knowledge that are being made from day to day. It seeks not only to inform but also to interest, to stimulate, and to excite. ‘Newspapers always excite curiosity.’___ CHARLES LAMB (1775-1834) (Last Essays of Elia) Reading a newspaper makes a man fit to participate usefully in a cultivated society.
Newspapers help one to find an interest in the world in general. It tells us not only of political or sensational events, but also of new inventions and new discoveries, and what the world is thinking about, so that we may join in the pulsating life that is going on around us.
In the special articles, there will be found much that has an educative value; in the editorials, much that offers useful guidance. Even the advertisements have their value—not only to the businessman who finds them requisite in the discharge of his duties; not only to the student of economics to whom they offer useful hints in studying market-trends: but to the busy housewife as well as to the listless dawdler after the day’s hard work. In these days a newspaper is indispensable to life.
But if readers read newspapers in quest of sensationalism and thus encourage ‘Yellow Press’ journalism, it becomes a real evil in life. The owners often exercise an unwholesome influence and the overall policy of a newspaper is subservient to the interests of an owner or the class or party or community to which it belongs. But newspapers should labour no argument, favour no group or region. Newspapers cannot certainly be expected to give us only ‘the bare bones of life’; they must tell us the cause and effect of a thing as best as they understand it. A critical and indepen¬dent readership alone can bring the owner to heel, whenever necessary.
Still, modern newspapers have become a power in the land. Afraid of bitter and fearless criticism, governments of different countries often find it necessary to gag antagonistic newspapers in order to maintain their popularity. The freedom of the press is the first requisite for the freedom of the people. Because ‘We live under a government of men and morning newspapers.’ WENDELL PHILLIPS (1811-1884) (Address, the Press)
Essay: 5. A JOURNEY BY BOAT
During my last annual summer vacation, every evening I went to the Padma and witnessed my country before me and all around me—the heart of Bangladesh that had remained changeless through all changes. There was the moon rising on the east,—a silver disc that threw over the world a magical beauty. Then one day some of my friends broke in upon my meditation and proposed a boat-trip in the celestial moonlight, and I cheerfully agreed to join, because “One of the pleasantest things is going on a journey”. ___ WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778-1830) (On Going a Journey)
A boat was engaged, and soon we were sailing merrily westwards. The moon shed its lustre on wavelets, which twinkled and shimmered all around. On the banks, we could see the temples and minarets rise high up towards the blue sky that bathed in silvery light, seemed to be transformed from brick and stone into something dream-like. On the other bank, which seemed far-off, there were the wraithlike figures of trees, shadowed mistily in the moonlight. In addition, up in the sky, “the Queen-Moon was on her throne clustered around by all her starry fays”. We heard the sound of temple bells wafted towards us by a zephyr, calling the heart to quietness. Here was all that the mind could desire — beauty, serenity and a profound sense of sacredness.
The moving moon went up the sky,
And nowhere did abide:
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside.
___ SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772-1834) (Ancient Mariner)
Soon we were turning back. One of us sang softly a devotional song of Mirabai; another, a folk-song of Rabindranath. Then I realized why our deepest emotions find no echo in common speech but must seek an outlet in poetry and music. When once again our boat touched shore, we had a profound sense of fulfilment.
“And open face of heaven—to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile if the blue firmament.” ___ JOHN KEATS (1795-1821)
I can only describe the trip, but hardly the sensuous and emotional quality that remains beyond the reach of ordinary words. We had drunk our fill of the beauty of moonlight and were, if only for the time being, lifted up in spirit to the blue star-studded sky, and the bejeweled waves of the river twinkling in a fairy light, and the shadowy trees that stood solemnly along the bank, and the temples that raised their heads in the clear moonlight;—they induced a mood which I still try to recall.
This is what I felt during that haunting trip by moonlight on the Padma—with the myriads of twinkling lights on the banks, the bells chiming from a hundred shrines, the hum of human voices coming from the banks, the shadow of the hills, and the fragrance of flowers carried by the breeze; sight and sound and smell woven into the “strange delicate tracery” of moonbeams lapped me for the time being in an “Elysian reverie.”