An Indian Citizen in Our Town by Mashiul Alam

Published in Words Without Borders, January 2013.


An Indian citizen has arrived in our town. This isn’t really news. The Indian border is very close to our town and many people cross over every day. They are ours, they belong to this land. Most are smugglers. Though bona fide businessmen and those who are visiting relatives are not small in number either. This coming and going takes place every day. Although not many from that country come to ours, we don’t have the same interest in them that we have for people of other countries. And because West Bengalis do not have white skin or a different language, like Europeans, they don’t seem like foreigners to us. Therefore, nothing about an Indian citizen visiting our town should give rise to curiosity or surprise. Until we found out that the gentleman had come here to die.