Green Fire is a fictional account of a group of teenagers from an elite high school in the former East Pakistan who were suddenly confronted, upon graduation, with the much wider world that their privileged upbringing and exclusive schooling had largely sheltered them from having to deal with. The story centers on the principal protagonist, Tanvir Mahmud, and is layered in the context of time, space, and social class. The period that Green Fire covers is from the beginning of 1967, when Tanvir and his classmates were high school seniors to the end of 1971, when most were university students and were caught up in Bangladesh’s liberation war that was to end with the emergence of Bangladesh as a sovereign independent nation-state on 16 December 1971. The characters reacted to the events of 1971 in different ways, but what emerged out of their experience was their final loss of innocence in a world whose harsh realities visited them before they were adequately prepared to meet many of those. The fictional account is interspersed with factual political events that led to the growth of Bengali nationalism and the military crackdown of 25 March 1971. But the story is essentially about a rarefied section of society in the former East Pakistan who had to cope with progressive time and space that encompassed issues and people that its children had largely ignored throughout, or were sheltered from, their days in an elite high school. In one sense, Green Fire portrays a society that was shattered by the traumatic events immediately leading up to, and during, Bangladesh’s liberation struggle.
Shahidul Alam has had a varied career. He has taught at the University of Dhaka and Boston University (USA). He has been a diplomat. He is a writer of fiction, an actor, and a screenwriter. He has acted on stage and in television dramas in the USA, Great Britain, and Bangladesh. He has also directed television dramas including Kuhelika Chhariya (Alpha Bangla TV, India, 2001-2004), Moho (Ntv, 2004), and Chhobi (BTV, 2005). One of his short stories is included in the anthology From the Delta: English Fiction from Bangladesh (UPL), and a collection of essays, entitled Moving Horizon, selected from his writings in different newspapers and magazines, is forthcoming. A novel, Green Fire also awaits publication. Shahidul Alam continues to