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The Black Coat by Neamat Imam: A Review

The Black Coat is a novel by Neamat Imam, a Bangladeshi Canadian writer living in Edmonton. It was published in 2015 by Periscope, an imprint of Garnet Publishing Ltd. The novel is set in the aftermath of Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971, and explores the themes of disillusionment, corruption, and identity through the lives of two characters: Khaleque Biswas, a journalist who loses his job for criticizing the government, and Nur Hussain, a simple villager who bears a resemblance to Sheikh Mujib, the "Father of the Nation" and the leader of the ruling party.

The novel is divided into four parts, each corresponding to a season in Bangladesh: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. The first part introduces Khaleque and Nur, who meet by chance when a mutual acquaintance entrusts Nur's welfare to Khaleque. Khaleque tries to find a job for Nur, but realizes that he has no skills or ambition. He also notices that Nur has a striking similarity to Sheikh Mujib, who is revered by the masses as the hero of the liberation war. Khaleque decides to use Nur as a tool to expose the government's failures and corruption, by making him impersonate Sheikh Mujib and deliver speeches that criticize the ruling party.

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The second part shows how Khaleque and Nur's scheme becomes successful, as they attract large crowds of people who are eager to hear Sheikh Mujib's voice again. Khaleque writes the speeches for Nur, using facts and figures from newspapers and magazines to highlight the problems facing the country, such as famine, inflation, unemployment, and human rights violations. Nur delivers them with conviction and charisma, wearing a black coat that resembles Sheikh Mujib's iconic attire. Khaleque hopes that their act will create a public outcry and force the government to change its policies.

The third part reveals how Khaleque and Nur's plan backfires, as they become targets of the government's wrath. The authorities discover their identity and arrest them, accusing them of treason and sedition. They are tortured and interrogated by the military intelligence, who want to know who is behind their conspiracy. Khaleque and Nur are also betrayed by some of their associates, who are either bribed or threatened by the government. They are eventually sentenced to death by a kangaroo court.

The fourth part depicts how Khaleque and Nur face their execution, which is scheduled on August 15, 1975, the same day that Sheikh Mujib is assassinated by a group of army officers in a coup d'état. Khaleque reflects on his life and regrets his actions, realizing that he has wasted his talent and potential for a futile cause. He also feels sorry for Nur, who has been manipulated and exploited by him. Nur, on the other hand, remains loyal to Sheikh Mujib and his ideals, believing that he has done his duty for the nation. He also expresses his gratitude to Khaleque for giving him a purpose and a voice.

The Black Coat is a dark and satirical novel that portrays the tragic consequences of political disillusionment and deception. It also raises questions about the role of media and propaganda in shaping public opinion and influencing history. The novel is based on historical events and facts, but also uses elements of absurdism and humor to create a fictional narrative that challenges the official version of Bangladesh's history. The novel has been praised by critics for its originality and relevance, as well as for its vivid depiction of Bangladesh's culture and society.

If you are interested in reading The Black Coat by Neamat Imam, you can buy or download it from various online platforms such as [], [Scribd], or [Google Books]. You can also find more information about the author and his other works on his [website](


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