Thursday, November 27, 2008

Delicious Halim !

A few days back, I along with two of my colleagues Bikas and Erfan happened to go Hotel Tsunami, located at Zigatola of Dhanmondi. The name of that hotel is obviously bizarre. It was 9 pm. We didn't have light refreshment of the evening and so were exhausted. Nevertheless, I didn't feel intense urge to eat anything other than usual rice at that time - it was time for supper. Halim and nan were ordered. When the ordered items were served, I found the smell of halim intensely appetizing. I savored it and it was so much delicious and as I was savoring the halim, I felt as if I were enjoying ambrosia !!! It was a so much pleasant gustatory experience for my jaded taste. I liked it very much and hope to frequent there ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Idiosyncrasy of chm file

An hour ago I downloaded a chm ebook on C# through utorrent. The default path for storing the downloaded files on Windows is usually
C:\Documents and Settings\user_name\My Documents\Downloads\
I opened the downloaded file in order to verify whether the downloaded file is valid. It opened and displayed pages correctly. I copied the file and pasted it in another drive under the folder name "C#". When I attempted to read the copy, the file opened but didn't display the pages properly. All the pages displayed a single page with the header - "The page cannot be displayed" like the message we sometimes encounter while browsing. After a little googling, to my utter surprise, I found out that chm file doesn't work properly if the file name or file path contains the "#" character! For more cases where chm file doesn't work correctly, visit Tamir Khason's page.

I searched more to know the reason behind this idiosyncrasy of chm file but didn't find any helpful information.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"I'm happy with all my sorrows"

In this age of sophisticated motorized vehicles and in a country where everyone seems to be completely callous to the casualties caused by road accidents, the news of a road accident and 10 persons' spot death may seem trivial and the failure to ensure safety while traveling may even seem venial on the part of the government.

Nevertheless, some road accidents make us shudder by the sordid way they occur. The recent road accident caused by head-on collision between a bus and an acid-laden truck on November 6, is one of them. It could pinch my nakedly thick sensitivity and made me pensive, yet for a brief time. Sometimes I wonder why we are so insensible. May be it's because we are not close to the persons who die in the accidents and to their families. But when we come to learn the stories of those families, we can't but feel deeply sad.

Mohammad Al Faysal, 25, final year student of Civil Engineering at BUET, is an introvert with an always-smiling face. His father has been suffering from parkinson disease for the last 5 years. Since his father's ailment, he has been playing a pivotal role in running his family with the help of the money he earns by tuition. His final exam is knocking at the door scheduled on November 24 and he's dreaming of a better life after his graduation.

Faysal's struggling life has been put to an end
on November 15 after fighting death for a week and the above paragraph is now in need of a change of tense.

A family whose dreams have been woven around a young man is now left devastated.

Faisal will never login to his facebook account. Yet he will remain in his friends' friend list and they will always be reminded of him whenever they go through their friend list. His bereaved friends are now writing on his facebook wall but he will never read. His friends will always see on his facebook profile the terse description of Faisal describing himself, "I'm happy with all my sorrows".

May Faisal's soul rest in eternal peace.

Battered and Bruised

On last Friday, having purchased a few books on GRE preparation at Nilkhet, I was crossing the nearby road to avail a rickshaw to go office because of an exigency. There was the usual cacophony of street hawkers' loud cry to the prospective customers, pedestrians' louder voice to make his words intelligible to the intended person they are talking to and the nerve-grating blaring horn of buses and other motorized vehicles. While I was crossing, a rickshaw-puller in the middle of the road caught sight of me. He was arguing with a traffic police. Well... that's a commonplace in Dhaka. But what distinguished him from the other incidents was his vehement expression of grievance. He was about to break into tears. The story was as simple as this : the rickshaw-puller attempted to go in a direction that is made inaccessible for rickshaws. The traffic police beated him on the leg. The rickshaw-puller got infuriated and got into a brawl with him. I stood at a safe place near the brawl to know the reason. Pointing towards the ankle, the hapless rickshaw-puller yelled at the police, "You could just tell me not to go in that direction. Why did you beat me here? Can you see the mark of bruise?" The police remained callous and said impassively, "sod off !" The rickshaw-puller then started pulling his rickshaw by hands grimacing his face in excruciating pain. Right then I felt an impulse to go to the police and say with a sombre voice and a straight face, "Try to behave like a human ! Most of the people around think of you as inhuman creatures. You could go well without beating that rickshaw-puller." Nonetheless, the thought couldn't overshadow the fact that these traffic police lead a miserable life and left me ambivalent. I was hesitant and eventually left the spot.

Battered and bruised the rickshaw-puller was, so I was.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm the Gluttonous Guy!

I've never been home in weekend after getting entangled with professional life a few months earlier. Two days ago, I made a hasty decision to go home, leaving the chaos and cacophony of yet much-cared city life of Dhaka. I took an early leave and started for bus counter after 4 pm from my office. I reached the bus counter at about 5:20 pm and to my utter disappointment, no bus was available until 7:10 pm! I passed the next an hour brooding over my propensity to making a decision without much deliberation and subsequent sufferings.

Suddenly, I bolted upright when the duration of journey as told by the man seated over there behind the counter popped up in my mind - almost 7 to 8 hours! But, for a few moments, I was ambivalent as to whether I should gorge myself so that I don't feel hunger for the next 7 or 8 hours. Because relishing food in good amount increases the possibility of the need to go toilets and obviously the bus would not halt as per my wish :( I would not be even able to make such a request! Nonetheless, the thought of hunger lurking ahead after 3 or 4 hours helped me muster enough courage to squash the qualms.

I entered a restaurant and ordered halim and nan. I savored every mouthful, as if, the anticipation that I'll not be able to have supper on time, added tremendous taste to the mundane food. Then I approached the counter to pay the tab. One halim costs 25 tk and 2 nans cost 20 tk. Total 45 tk. Disgruntled at the outrageous price of nan, I mumbled, "That thin nan costs 10 tk each!" The manager at counter replied with a reassuring voice, "You must have eaten patla nan which costs 6 tk, not the special nan. In fact, you won't be able to eat 2 special nans at a time." When I was about to hand over the tab to the manager, just about 5 seconds after the manager made that remark, the waiter emerged and blasted out, "45 taka, 45 taka". Ohh... I ate 2 special nans! I disproved what he said a few moments earlier. Amused by how quickly his guess about my appetite proved wrong, I continued looking at him. His eyes were fixed on money. Then he turned around to the other people inside his restaurant, trying to evade the fresh embarrassment and thus he deprived himself of an opportunity to see the big grin on my face from ear to ear :-D

I lifted my bag and swaggered out of the restaurant.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lost in Legacy Code

The company I work for has a number of complete projects and my current assignment is to improve the run time of one of them by optimizing certain routines. I've been going through that legacy code for the last one week. It has no documentation. No UML diagrams. Nothing except the code itself. So I am forced to go through the enormous amount of code day after day. On the first place, I am trying to learn the basic modules. But it's so monotonous and tedious that I feel lethargic after a few hours. Although I'm not kind of irascible person, this time around I find myself seething after working few hours, execrating the programmers who didn't feel an iota of compunction for leaving the successors with no comment/documentation!

However, I will try my best. I'm not going to give up :)

It's quite a long time since I wrote here. It's not that I did it intentionally. There are two reasons. First, I didn't find topic to write about. In fact, the kind of urge I feel for writing was not in me at all. Secondly, I didn't have ample time to relish in writing. Nonetheless, now I feel I should continue my worthless writing ;) I can't be oblivious to the thrill I enjoyed writing about miscellaneous topics.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Owners of Daily Amar Desh

In Bangladesh many newspapers are patronized by political figures and industrialists. On October 6, the ownership of Bangla daily Amar Desh was changed and Mahmudur Rahman, energy adviser of former BNP government was selected the chairman of the publication. That did not bother me anyway. But I could not but stare in utter disbelief at the list of prominent figures who attended the consultation meeting of Amar Desh on that day. Two names startled me most - Prof Anisuzzaman and Prof Sirajul Islam. As far as I know, reputation of these two venerable figures have always been beyond question. Were not they aware of the dubious distinction of Mahmudur Rahman's character who was caught red-handed while holding a clandestine meeting with government officials at his residence in the dark of night? How could they attend a meeting presided over by a person like Mahmudur Rahman?

Only a handful of people are available in Bangladesh whom young generation can follow and get inspiration from. It filled us with dismay when we are to observe their affiliation with an organization backed by a dishonest political figure.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lovers' License

Well, let's talk silly and have some fun.

I intend to develop a few softwares which will be distributed under a new kind of license. Call it The Lovers' License. It will definitely evolve over time and will be updated here. Here it is:

01. The product will be freely distributed to anyone who have fallen or otherwise risen in love at least once in his/her life

02. Technical support will be available only to those who have dared to send a flower to their beloved one.

Any suggestion from you? :-D

Friday, August 22, 2008

Higher Education in Cyprus and Prothom Alo's Unethical Practice

I can't remember precisely when I started seeing alluring advertisements in the Bangladeshi newspapers promising a prosperous future for higher education in Cyprus. In our country where pursuing higher education has become difficult even in undergraduate level due to a severe lack of seats in public universities and exorbitant tuition fees in private universities, this kind of advertisements is sure to catch hordes of naive, unsophisticated yet aspirant people.

Each and every day, a noticeable portion of the pages of various popular newspapers is occupied by ads of different agencies located in Dhaka who purport to make sure your higher education in Cyprus. While I was going through today's issue of Prothom Alo, the leading Bangla newspaper in Bangladesh, a news item caught my eyes - "Going Cyprus for education has become a nightmare" where a myriad of adversities faced by the unfortunate students who went Cyprus were described and tales of torment of a few students were also narrated. In a nutshell, these students didn't get what they had been promised by those agencies. Out of sheer curiosity, I opened the ad page immediately and saw a tiny puny ad of an agency named SK INTERNATIONAL which confirmed visas for Cyprus with facility of bank loan and no IELTS score and described many advantages such as credit transfer to UK, USA, EU countries.

I have been a regular reader of Prothom Alo for the last 7 years because it, in my opinion, presents objective news and views. But today's contradictory approach on their part filled me with dismay and I decided to make a phone call to their office. When I managed to talk to someone after passing a few minutes listening to their promotional ringing tone and computerized instructions, I introduced myself as a reader of Prothom Alo and wanted to know the justification of publishing a news item describing the plight of expatriate students in Cyprus and the deception by numerous agencies here in Dhaka in its last page as well as an ad of an agency for higher education in Cyprus in its page 14. The man on the other side told, "This news is a warning to the aspirant students who want to go Cyprus. Now it's you who have to decide whether you'll go there or not. Before you fly to Cyprus, you must investigate the claims of different agencies and assess the prospect." When I termed it unethical practice, he, in an attempt to enlighten me, immediately told, "A newspaper needs both objective news and ads for its survival. We don't know which agencies are honest and which are fraudulent. We publish ads of only those who are approved by concerned authority." He tried to assuage me by saying that he would convey my displeasure to the news editor. When asked, he told me that he worked at 'service desk' and gave me the official phone number of news editor in case I wanted to talk to him directly. I thanked him and ended the conversation, being even more disgruntled.

I don't think, a newspaper of that stature like Prothom Alo is badly in need of ads from fraudulent agencies since its circulation is huge and it can easily manage ads from other sources. I believe it can smoothly go without these ads which are luring many young people to a seemingly prosperous and improved future behind which a dark life fraught with lots of predicaments lurks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Threat by BGMEA and RMG workers

The recent threat by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to resort to strike certainly bodes ill for the economy of the country.

RMG sector has been thriving since the 90s thanks to country's huge manpower and in the process contributing to the country's economy to a great extent. Nevertheless, the workers have been persistently exploited by the owners who never deemed it necessary to increase wages during inflation and they did it only when the workers became violent and forced the owners to meet the demand. As a result, a culture of violence as a tool to press home the very just demands has flourished and now the RMG sector is being plagued by this insidious phenomenon.

BGMEA's disregard for workers' way of venting pent-up frustration attributing it to some miscreants' misdeeds will prove foolhardy. In spite of recent low profit caused by, as the owners claim, increased production cost and declined prices of finished products, BGMEA cannot afford being callous to the plight of workers who are bearing the brunt of price hike. For the owners, it's a question of amount of profit. On the contrary, it's a matter of making both ends meet for the workers. Can we expect progress with a half-fed dissatisfied work force?

The workers who toil from dawn to dusk deserve wage raise. The BGMEA shouldn't exploit them as hostage when dealing with the government with regard to security and improvement of infrastructural facilities.

[ published as a quick comment in New Age on August 18, 2008 ]

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Shameless Yet Innocent Boy

On my way back home from office, I felt hungry as usual. So I decided to go to a restaurant. Just before entering, I felt behind a soft touch and instantly looked back to find an innocent-looking boy of around 12 years. Before I managed to ask him anything, he shyly asked me to give him 10 taka so that he can buy a cup of curd.

"Why do you want to eat curd?", I asked being intrigued by the way he approached me.

"I saw people around me eating that and now I wish I could have had some also", he replied even more shyly.

"But a cup of curd costs at least 15 taka now. So what will you do with just 10 taka?"

"Then buy me a cup of curd from there", He pointed at a nearby restaurant.

Then I could realize his mind. This kind of wishes may spring up in children's mind but approaching strange unknown people for money is obviously unexpected. Immediately an eerie fear that this boy may fall victim of nefarious acts of wicked people while approaching money in this way in future came to my mind. So I told him that I would buy him a cup of curd but he had to promise me that he would not ask money in this way in the days to come because wicked people may take this opportunity of his childish wish and take him with them to a dark life - a life of a mutilated begger lying on the overbridge - a commonplace in Bangladesh. The boy agreed with me. I took him to the restaurant and started chatting while eating.

"Where do you live?", I asked.
"At T&T colony, building number 1"
"hmmm... What does your father do?"
"My father doesn't live with us."

I thought his parents had a divorce and so didn't want to further talk about his father.

"What does your mother do?"
"Nothing. We live with my maternal grandfather."

I thought his family isn't solvent enough to indulge his childish wish. I felt sad for him. This boy reminds me of my childhood when I used to do trivial daily market for my family and take 2 or 3 taka from my mother, as though I deserved this money for the job I used to do. When I wanted to eat or buy something for me, I bought that with my money. I thought this boy didn't have such opportunity.

"Okay. Then what class do you read in?"
"Class 5"
"Fine. Which school?"
"T&T high school"
"As far as I know, high school starts with class 6. But you read in class 5!"
"yes. I read in class 5. The name of the school is T&T uccho biddalay."

I was confused as to whether this little boy was deceiving me or not by providing wrong information.

"What's your roll number?"
"Study hard. If you study hard, then you'll get a good job and lead a happly life. Otherwise you won't be able to make both ends meet." I tried to make him envisage a life of that much simple!

A hiatus of silence in the insipid conversation.

"Have you come back from abroad?" Suddenly the boy asked with his eyes glowing.
"No. What has made you think so?" I asked with a skeptical voice.
"Nothing. My father has been living in Saudi Arabia."

I heaved a heavy sigh recalling the hazardous condition the expatriates of our country had to cope with over there. May be his father had not been able to send money to Bangladesh for a long period of time and lots of crises beset his family living here. The possibility of divorce of his parents didn't come up this time around in my mind.

"My father had been in Australia before going to Saudi Arabia." He told with an air of pride. I couldn't figure out why he made it a point of pride. I felt intrigued about his expatriate father but resisted myself from making further queries because I thought this little boy would not know much regarding this kind of matters.

The boy finished eating a cup of curd and I was almost done with mine. It was time to say him good-bye. Just before leaving, to my astonishment, he asked for 5 taka for buying an ice-cream. I was speechless at his request! For the moment, it seemed to me that this boy has an incorrigible inherent instinct of asking anything from unknown persons! I chided him saying that for his this kind of behavior his parents would be humiliated in the society since he was doing something that is very very bad and asked him if he wanted this and if he would like his family humiliated. He replied negatively. I told the boy to leave. I intended to ask his name at the end of conversation but he spoiled my mood.

While walking from the restaurant to home, I thought about this and felt I was lucky that I didn't have to pass my childhood in a time of recession and inflation. The way children of today are being forced to inhibit their small petty wishes due to their parents' poor financial condition, this kind of incident may no longer remain rare.

I pray the tough days will be over soon and we'll be able to indulge children to fulfill their little wishes.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Militancy Issue in RCC Election

Today I've gone through a news item published in The Daily Star regarding Rajshahi City Corporation election candidates' reluctance to express a firm stance on militancy issue during their campaign.

AL backed candidate AHM Khairuzzaman Liton defends himself by saying that he expects to draw large number of votes from BNP-Jamaat supporters which could swing if he talks too much against militancy and so it is better not to talk about this issue. Surely he has preferred votes to the spirit he professes to have. A man of integrity can never do what he has done by being reticent about a crucial issue of Rajshahi. His reticence is tantamount to being lenient to the militants. AL frequently claims to be on the pro-liberation axis of Bangladeshi politics. Nonetheless, when weak-minded people like Mr. Liton are strongly supported by AL, their commitment to the great spirit of Liberation War is again called into question. Mr. Liton fears that his words against Islamist militants could be wrongly interpreted by conservative Muslim voters. If he isn't determined to convince the voters of his message, then what's the point of his becoming a candidate? Islam doesn't permit terrorism and militancy and he should have persuaded his voters in favour of him by getting across this message to them.

BNP-backed candidates Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and Rezaunnabi Dudu showed lame excuses for their silence - none of their competitors has raised the issue, talking about the militancy issue would create disputes among candidates and will not bring them any positive results rather it would impact negatively on their vote tally. How could they blatantly ignore the voters who bore the brunt of militants during the last BNP-Jamaat regime and now want to know their stance on militants? Those who can ignore the constituents now can surely do so when elected.

It's really frustrating that people of RCC are going to vote for a mayor without even knowing their chosen candidate's precise position on militancy issue.

[ published as a letter on The Daily Star on August 08, 2008 ]

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cover girl of TRENDZ, a lifestyle weekly of New Age

Of late I happened to go through the lifestyle weekly of New Age, a leading English daily of Bangladesh. The cover of that weekly was embellished with a big picture of a beautiful young girl wearing a slightly skimpy top and skin-tight jeans and was accompanied by the text title 'GAME TIME'. Completely baffled with the contradiction of text title and the highlighted picture, I decided to delve into the cover story. To my utter disbelief, I found little relevance of that cover girl with the contents of cover story - description of different gaming zones across the Dhaka city. There were more pictures of her inside the cover story - sitting on a sofa (probably in the waiting room of a gaming zone), standing beside the bunch of teenagers playing games and herself playing a game. It would have been justified even to some extent if that cover girl was a teenager representing the generation crazy for computer games. Then what purpose did that cover girl serve to the subject matter of that cover story? Moreover, to my sheer dismay, the editor of that weekly was a woman!

While we're struggling for establishing women's rights and due dignity in our society, this propensity for unnecessarily exploiting physical beauty of women in everywhere is downright despicable!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dhaka University steps into 88

It's surely something to be proud of, isn't it? Yes, it is, but only when we take into account its age and past glory in leading the nation through many revolutions. Of course, DU has been producing scholars every year. But is that up to the nation's expectation? Are DU teachers sincere enough to teach their beloved students? Are the students attentive enough to their study? Aren't their concentration and devotion being distracted every now and then by political violence? Has any effective action on the part of concerned authority been taken yet to preclude rampant demonstration of political muscle power on the campus leading to couple of months' long unscheduled unbearable closure? Is there sufficient lab and research facility in all departments? The problems stated in these questions must be addressed as early as possible. Otherwise, the glory this very institution has achieved thus far will continue to diminish further and be overshadowed by its failure to uphold the quality of education.

We expect DU will gain the capability to bear the torch of knowledge and to guide this directionless nation towards prosperity.

[ An abridged version of this post was published as a quick comment in The New Age ]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

1971 : Indo-Pak war?

Going through a news item regarding Field Marshal Manekshaw's demise in The New Age today, courtesy to Press Trust of India, New Delhi, I've been startled observing how the Indian press thinks of our 9-month long struggle for independence in 1971. The news started with

A legendary soldier and a national hero, Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw crafted India's greatest military victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war that led to the emergence of Bangladesh.

What does that imply? Bloody birth of Bangladesh was a by-product of that so-called Indo-Pak war? With this statement, the sacrifice of our freedom fighters and martyrs has been brazenly belittled. It's downright despicable!

India's help in our war of liberation has always been aptly appreciated by us except some anti-India freaks. We're indebted to India for its help throughout our liberation war. But exaggeration of their contribution on the part of the Indian press is reprehensible. A war waged by Bangladeshis and fought fiercely in which Indian Force helped us cannot be dubbed as Indo-Pak war in any way.

It's liberation war of Bangladesh, NOT 1971 Indo-Pak war.

[ A moderated version of this post was published as a letter in The Daily Star on July 06, 2008 and in New Age on July 02, 2008. ]

Friday, June 27, 2008

Simply Outrageous!

The decision taken recently by CTG to prefer expatriates' wards in college admission is simply outrageous! This is a glaring violation of equality among citizens.

Expatriates are the source of remittances, our second highest foreign currency earner and thus they have been playing a laudable role in our economy. We're indebted to them. Notwithstanding, they have long been neglected when it comes to taking effective and immediate actions to resolve cases of exploitation and repression inflicted on them abroad. The recent move seems to serve as a compensation for that negligence. Yet that's a wrong way to do so!

Almost all the citizens of Bangladesh LIVING here are contributing to the country to a degree limited by their capability. Think about the rickshaw pullers, farmers, honest businessmen and service holders who are working hard for a better life and in the process, constantly contributing to the country more or less. Are they the dregs of society?

Aren't the youngsters of today going to feel that their fate is being controlled by where their parents stay for earning money? Isn't it a violation of human rights and basic principle of a democratic society? Special privileges must be well justified against ethics.

[ published as a letter in the The STAR, a weekly magazine of The Daily Star on August 08, 2008 ]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bhut er Mukhe Raam Naam!

Of late, Khaleda Zia observed that upcoming local polls had been planned to place chosen people in offices.

If we take into account the pattern of attempts military rulers like Ayub Khan and Ershad exploited to establish their rule in the past, as was pointed out in many articles, Khaleda Zia has aptly expressed her suspicion. Notwithstanding, this statement from her sounds like the Bangla phrase, "bhut er mukhe raam naam"! Needless to say, it's the BNP-led 4-party alliance that planned to stage a farcical election in January 2007, paying little attention to create a conducive and credible atmosphere for a free and fair election, ignoring the participation of another main opposition party Awami League and in order to ensure their victory they left no stone unturned to place their own chosen people at all levels of the administration during their last regime, keeping in mind the fiasco of 1996.

True words from crooked to the core politicians, however, sounds irritating!

[ An abridged version of this post was published as a quick comment under the title 'Khaleda's claim' in The New Age on June 30, 2008, as a letter under the title 'Who is saying this?' in The Daily Star on July 03, 2008 ]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

End Result of 1/11

By now, it's palpable that Hasina and Khaleda - both belligerent Begums would no longer remain behind the bars. They have already threatened CTG with a mass movement and keeping in mind their yet overwhelmingly prevailing supporters or activists who are poised to get to streets at the slightest chance available leading to unrest and havoc countrywide as was manifested before thanks to DU August incidence, CTG has now deviated from its hard line.

Although some of the corrupt people have already been convicted by court and sentenced and they are lamenting in jail cells, most of the big guns are still far from being proved guilty because of lack of sufficient compelling evidences. It has been speculated that they would be free soon on bail through an amendment of Emergency Act.

It's obvious by now that the attempt of CTG to conjure up a dominant third force in the political arena has failed miserably. At present the best CTG can do is to conduct election within their pledged time frame and handover power to the elected government. As there's no third force as powerful as BNP or AL, it's certain that either BNP or AL would assume power. So we are back to square one! We have fallen in a loop: Khaleda, Hasina, Khaleda, Hasina, Khaleda, Hasina.... (in between there may be some unelected governments)

I can vividly recall the backdrop of the so-called and much talked about 1/11. BNP-led 4 party alliance was resolved for getting to power by hook or by crook, trying to stage a farcical election on January 22 2007, ignoring the participation of main opposition party AL. Nazmul Huda, an influential individual in BNP, minister of the last regime, even made a statement in a conference with Khaleda present in person there, "our prime minister is now on leave, taking rest for a while. She will again lead the nation soon after the upcoming election". Such kind of fawning the flatterers were! On the contrary, AL was dogged in its determination to foil BNP's nicely sketched see-through conspiracy. Both party was greedy for power - grab it! By any means! No time to look at the greater interest of Bangladesh! Time of election! Another chance to plunder the rest of resources this country is left with after unbridled corruption of last regime!

Dhaka University (DU) had been closed for a couple of months due to political unrest and violence at campus. It was an unbearable situation. With no significant work to do apart from doing tuition, I had to pass that couple of months just worrying what was going to happen. No clue! The future seemed bizarrely bleak. A civil war was looming large. What a horrible scenario!

And then army-backed caretaker government rose to the occasion. I was greatly taken aback at the news of opening DU on Saturday, just after newly formed CTG assumed office on Friday! It seemed that everyone in Bangladesh except the crooked politicians heaved a sigh of relief. High hopes flooded everywhere. We were looking forward to better days this time around. CTG would rein corruption in because it would punish the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. As was expected, CTG made a flying start with Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) putting top corrupt suspects in jails. This war on corruption culminated with the arrest of Khaleda with her two sweet sons and Hasina. Yes! This time these two would be taught a good lesson for their misdeeds, if not by themselves then by their cronies obviously with the connivance of the head of party.

Alas! How fool people like me are! Corruption and dishonesty with the help of apathy among commoners have found its root to such a deep level that corrupt people can now hope to regain their power.

It's a fiasco on the part of CTG. Of course, they tried but failed because of poor plan. Their effort has degenerated into a breath-taking drama, raising hopes among the common people and disappointing them in the long run.

It's almost the same bunch of people who plundered our country in their past regimes and we're going to have them again after election.

One possibility that the army can come out to the forefront and military rule may prevail in the future, can't be ruled out outright. It's true we have seen ugly face of democracy, but it's also true that we have seen uglier face of military rule - murder of Sheikh Mujib by the hands of some military officers, terrible tenure of Ershad.

In either way, the end result of 1/11 is a big zero!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Our National Flag on Our Blogs

Patriotism is not something we need to flaunt. It lies inside us. With that said, we do love to see signs of our country in a positive way in international arena, be it the success of a Bangladeshi living abroad or the presence of our national flag in web pages.

Yes! As a proud citizen of though poor country Bangladesh, I have put the picture of our national flag on my blog. It's a google gadget and it was pretty simple adding it to my blog as a page element. Interested people are requested to visit that google gadget for national flag.

Hope bloggers of Bangladesh will add the national flag to their blogs.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rickshaw free Dhaka?

Regular readers of The Daily Star may have already known that its TO THE EDITOR page provides its valued readers with a nice and effective platform to express their views on different aspects of current affairs of home and abroad. For the last two months, this page is flaming with the debate on whether Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh should be made rickshaw free or not.

I was sceptical that the Editor of The Daily Star was biased towards the opinion that Dhaka should be made rickshaw free because of its propensity to highlighting the letters promoting rickshaw free capital more than those of opposing it. Finally, the Editor published an editorial making clear its stance on this issue.

Today DS's stance got a sore slap from Nasreen Khundker, a professor at Department of Economics in University of Dhaka that delighted me much. Interested readers are requested to go through this thought-provoking letter.

What do think regarding this issue?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Erratic behaviour of Bangladeshi Blog Aggregator

Of late, I came to know Bangadeshi Blog Aggregator from Mr. Adnan Quaium's Blog and linked my blog to it. It's really a great experience to get exposure to a wider platform.

But one thing that frustrated me is that my posts are being displayed under the name of another author - Rezwan ! I don't know what to do or whom to inform this erratic behaviour. Hope the administrators of that site will take immediate steps in order to fix this.

Anyway, in time of exams, my blog adventure is serving as an effective means of getting relief from tension! :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Watching TV after a long time!

Yesterday when I was returning from Humayun's house, I forgot to take my varsity bag. I always keep my umbrella in the bag so that I can keep myself protected from rain and scorching heat alike. Now is summer and the rainy season is very close. So it would be imprudent to be away from my umbrella and that's why I went there again today to take my bag.

Humayun and Obayed are cousins and they live at adjacent flats (actually turned into mess for students). After taking my bag, I went to Obayed's flat. He has bought a TV. I love watching TV though I don't have one here in Dhaka. So I passed about 2 hours there, switching channel frequently and watching different programs. I haven't watched TV for so long for the last 3 months, I guess.

Obayed and one of his flat-mates were watching - Waqt, a Hindi movie portraying a father trying to introduce his son with the harsh reality of this world. The story was as a whole moving. Yet I was surprised to see both mothers of hero and heroine so young!!! They looked at most 40 and the hero and heroine were shown 27 years old.... :( How can it be possible? The reality should have been reflected in this kind of social movie.

Banglalink's recent ad about a little girl writing her departed mother a letter complaining about the people who look after her was tremendously touching. The letter was like this:

Ma, you know I can't take my breakfast without you. Then why do they coerce me into doing so? You know I can't sleep without watching cartoon. Then why don't they let me watch it? What's wrong with me being naughty? Isn't a little bit naughtiness alright? Ma, everybody says people become stars of the sky after death. What do you do over there being a star? Can't you see me? Then why don't you do anything?

The little girl buys two balloons and attaches her letter to and finally flies them away.

Telecom companies have now adopted a policy of exploiting people's feelings towards their near and dear ones. This recent ad was a beautiful addition. As for the little girl of the ad, she looks like next-door one, not that much cute and innocent. I don't know whether the ad maker was deliberately defiant about conventional practice when most of the ads shows too cute, too innocent little girls when needed or the reason was the mother of that little girl, not-so-famous singer Munni.

Switching to ETV, there was a program about our Bangla cinema, I guess. A song from the film Akash Choa Bhalobasa was going on. I was startled to see the get-up of the host! He looked just like a clown, clearly showing an imitation of Hindi MTV hosts. Bangladeshis' tenacious tendency to imitate everything of indian programs is downright disgusting!

I also watched some Bangla dramas on different Bangla channels. It seemed to me that the stories were deliberately made slow, having not enough pace to make me entertained.

There was another program on ETV about current much talked about issues of home and abroad. The theme and make-up of the program was different and I liked it to some extent. The host was like a clown, talking in a way that made its viewers laugh. He interviewed two persons who pretended to be Parvez Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan.

I must have a list of good programs the next time I watch TV; otherwise it would be a complete loss of time...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shawkat sir

Today I got a phone call from Anis, younger brother of my friend Humayun at about 4 PM. He informed me that he happened to meet our school teacher Shawkat sir at Shahbag today noon and invited him to their house at about 7 PM. It has been so long since I met any of my school teachers. I confirmed Anis that I would come.

The moment I saw Shawkat sir, I was reminded of his impressive personality. He was one of the good teachers I have ever seen in my life because of his wholehearted effort in the class to help his students to assimilate the lesson.

He is now ill. I could see the inevitable effect of aging on his face. But it could not be felt during the adda we had. We, 6 of his ex-students were present. We had an about 2 hour lasting lively conversation that ranged topics from financial crisis of middle-income people to socio-political scenario of the country to the bureaucratic procrastination and corruption in the education sector of the country. He looked exhausted from the very beginning but his enthusiasm and vigour in talking about these different issues belied it!

Some teachers are unforgettable. Shawkat sir surely stands out among others and that's why we, his students, love him so much. He represents that community who are the silent shapers of the country. May Allah bless him.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Due Punishment

I've been duly punished for my blatant indifference to study. I did horribly bad in the exam on Compiler Design.

I know it's tough to overcome the shortage of marks. But I'm left with no other choice. I must try hard to fill the gap created here...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tough Time Ahead

My whimsical nature and propensity to waste time ignoring the gravity of the consequences have brought me to my knees. I’m about to appear for the exam on Compiler Design tomorrow. But many topics are yet to be studied! I’m so much tensed up. Yet I can realize the best solution for me right now is to try to cover as many topics as I can. My classmate Azam is helping me a lot in this regard. I’m indebted to him.

There must be an end to this practice – just passing time without any fruitful work! Only Allah knows when I shall be able to overcome this seemingly innate characteristic. Nevertheless, I must give it a try, an all-out try! Oh! I can’t remember how many times I’ve already told this myself! In the end, it didn’t work out. Some people continue to act as before until they are stopped by something terrible. I fear I belong to this group.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Prospect of Getting a Job!

Today, while doing group study with Azam at his residence, I got a phone call from the company I was interviewed by in the first week of this month. The person who talked to me informed me that I along with my classmate Riyad had been selected primarily and asked me when my exam would be over and I’ll be available. I replied that my exam would be over on June 19 but I would have it quite difficult to join due to my year final project that was scheduled to be submitted within mid-July and I would have to do much work on that because I had done little as yet. He asked me to come to office the day after the exam and to negotiate on this issue. I assured him of that and thanked him.

Ineffable joy flows through mind when something like that happens. First job on the very first interview. But I couldn’t let myself indulging in complacency because of its existing uncertainty. It has not been finalised as yet and that’s why I can’t be sure of it. A different kind of situation to experience for me!

Whether I’m eligible for a job with handsome salary or not is a subject to debate. But what is indubitable and I believe is that I’ve wasted my potentiality in my varsity life. I’ve led a life full of foolish acts, never thinking of what they meant to the whole life. So I should be satisfied with what kind of job I get. Thinking of job satisfaction is a luxury for me.

It’s never late to be on right track of life.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tired of spelling mistakes?

This is weird, but interesting! Try to read the following paragraph. I could read and understand fully. I found this in Kanto's Blog.

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Music of Windows!

Before the first exam of my 4th year final, as a naive attempt to relieve my tension, I was just wandering around the blog world and happened to find, thanks to Mr. Eamon, the link to this amusing music that was composed of solely the sounds we are used to hear while using Windows.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wrong... everything I do!

Sometime everything we do goes wrong!

Although my final year exam is knocking at the door, being encouraged by observing the interest of some of my classmates in dropping CVs to a particular software firm after they got prompted by a senior brother who is now doing job there, I too got interested as usual and dropped mine! This incident happened quite a few weeks ago.

Yesterday evening I got a phone call from that firm and a man informed me that they had arranged interview for me and asked if I would come at 4 pm. I took time and replied that I would tell him later that night. After consulting with that senior brother, I could gather confidence at last and confirmed my consent to face the interview board.

Now here come the points of painful experiences:

1) I thought I would wake up early in the morning, if possible at around 7 am to go through some books as part of my preparation. But the moment I opened my eyes after having a sorely sound sleep, it was already 11 am!

2) I tried to make myself look less ugly. So I shaved my beard. Oh! Bloody blade!

3) I was at my wit’s end trying to figure out what I should take with me to the interview board. I called my senior brother and he referred to a printed copy of CV as a must. Ok. No problem. I copied my CV to my pen-drive to get a printed copy in a nearby cyber cafe. But the moment I went there, electricity was out!

4) The moment I got down from bus and started walking, rain happily poured on me. Rain could not resist itself from consoling my pain!

5) Should I narrate the apparently sweet yet horrible experience in my interview session?

Friday, May 2, 2008

DU Teachers' Stand

It was reported in The Daily Star on May 01, 2008 that a total of 201 white panel teachers of Dhaka University (DU) demanded immediate release of the detained former prime minister Khaleda Zia and other political leaders. In that statement DU teachers said "Reconstitution of the Election Commission (EC), withdrawal of emergency and, above all, holding of the parliamentary election are needed for the welfare of the nation".

It's heartening that DU teachers remain concerned about socio-political situations of the country and express their valuable views publicly.

It would be even more heartening if they could do something like this when DU gets closed due to political clashes among the student wings of political parties and ultimately students have to suffer from unbearable session jams. It would definitely be a great help for the helpless common students who want uninterrupted and conducive academic atmosphere on the campus.

[ This post was published as a letter under the anonymity of "an optimistic student of DU" in The Daily Star on May 14, 2008. ]

Thursday, May 1, 2008

International Workers' Day and our RMG workers

Just before the International Workers' Day, RMG workers, as was reported in DS, once again blocked roads in Dhaka and Chittagong to press for payment of salary arrears. What an irony!

RMG workers of our country have grown over the years a propensity to block roads or highways whenever it comes to the issue of 'forcing' their employers to pay their salary arrears or to raise their wages. It seems that they have no other option at hand. So they do it disregarding the sufferings of commuters and causing loss of valuable working hours of other people. I don't understand why the owners of garment factories aren't brought to book for their unjust delay in paying the meagre salaries to their workers.

I think this prevailing practice in the RMG sector must be stopped without any further delay by taking effective steps for the benefit of the economy of our country as well as the poor workers.

[ This post was published as a letter under the title "RMG workers" in The Daily Star on May 11, 2008 ]

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bangladesh celebrates Pahela Baishakh with Hindi songs!

I wrote a letter (published on April 21, 2008) in The Daily Star regarding James' rendition of Hindi song at a concert on Pahela Baishakh. A rejoinder, vehemently opposing my point of view, from one reader Nazmus Saquib was also published in DS on April 27, 2008. You can take a look of these two letters at my post Hindi Song on Pahela Baishakh.

In this age of Internet, news and views are hard to conceal from other parts of the world. There are lots of forums around the world of Internet which discusses social and cultural events of various countries. I happen to come across this issue put forward by me posted in one such forum - soc.culture.india. Here they have focused this issue with a title like - Bangladesh celebrates Pahela Baisakh with Hindi songs!

As a minute part of Bangali nation, I can't but feel ashamed. Cause of my repentance is two-fold.

i) As a Bangali or Bangladeshi whatever you say, I had to swallow the news of Hindi song performed on Pahela Baishakh.
ii) Because of my letter, this issue is now being publicised in other parts of the world.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bad Day ...

An absolutely bad day for me. Lots of long-lasting expectation but nothing in the end!

Question paper of CSE-303 was formidably hard. For me, it was an improvement exam. I did horribly bad.

Now I'm profoundly perturbed with the thought of getting 1st class. Nevertheless, preparation for this exam gave me the impetus I badly needed. I've made up my mind to give my 4th year final exam a hard try, when I'm just a month away from it. There's nothing wrong in trying it late.

Allah knows what is stored for me. Only time will reveal the outcome. This may sound sort of inclination to fatalism, but I do believe in diligence.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Political Leadership or Constitutional Dealership?

Benefits of 1/11 - this concise write-up may serve as a mean for ventilation of grievance for many of us.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Equal Rights to Property for Women in Islam

In innumerable articles by the so-called feminists that I've gone through so far, Islam has been dubbed as giving women unequal rights to property - half the share of a man. As a firm believer of Islam in the sense of the ultimate complete code of life, I was disconcerted and googled to know what lay behind this kind of apparently dubious discrimination. Surprisingly, the findings were really impressive. The subject matter is not that straight forward, taking into consideration other factors such as responsibility entitled to men on the part of Islam.

Extraction from one enlightening article:

... The rights and responsibilities of a woman are equal to those of a man but they are not necessarily identical with them. Equality and sameness are two quite different things. This difference is understandable because man and woman are not identical but they are created equals. ... Equality is desirable, just, fair; but sameness is not. People are not created identical but they are created equals. With this distinction in mind, there is no room to imagine that woman is inferior to man. There is no ground to assume that she is less important than he just because her rights are not identically the same as his. Had her status been identical with his, she would have been simply a duplicate of him, which she is not. The fact that Islam gives her equal rights - but not identical - shows that it takes her into due consideration, acknowledges her, and recognizes her independent personality. ...

It's worth your time to read an article with lucid explanation - Status of Women in Islam.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Perspicacious Police!

Kudos to Khalilur Rahman, a police constable who has saved lives of many people.

The story is really heartening.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Powerless Police!

The above picture, thanks to Star Weekend Magazine, shows a pitiable police who was being beaten by a man and whose gun and helmet were snatched away from him by other twos during the clash occurred at the premise of Baitul Muqarram Mosque between police and activists of Anti-Quran Law Resistance Committee formed to foil National Women Development Policy.

No doubt substantive police reform is the dire need of the hour. No more bliss from bribe. It's time to give them rewarding salary which will effectively purge their proclivity to pecuniary gain.

Nonetheless, how about recruiting the belligerent bigots in the police force taking into consideration the great gusto with which they handled the hapless riot police?

Hope for a skilled and polite-to-people police force may be dim, yet we look forward to that.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Equal Rights of Women to Property?

Nowadays feminists are fierce in demanding equal rights of women on properties, in accordance with CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women) which Bangladesh has ratified.

Today I came across a different dimension of thought to this proposition as highlighted in a letter by Md. Shah Jahan published in The Daily Star and I found it thought-provoking. Here's the letter:

Whenever questions of inheritance under Shariah Law are addressed, it seems that people take for granted that each and every parent would leave behind huge properties and their heirs have to share and enjoy the same. In fact this is a misconception. Many a father leaves behind huge debts. Who pays back the debts of the deceased parents? Usually in our society a girl is not asked to pay the debt of her parents.

If a law is passed that boys and girls would inherit equally the assets of parents, then the question of liabilities would also come up. In that event if a poor girl is required to pay the debts of her parents, then I can guarantee that it would become a doomsday for hundreds and thousands of poor girls, including the married ones. They will lose their husbands and their families will be broken.

It is the microscopic wealthy section of society, which may claim equal rights of inheritance for boys and girls but the majority of the girls will not be able to pay debts of their parents. They are far greater in number, but their voice is not heard.

Allah knows best what is good and what is bad for His creation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hindi Song on Pahela Baishakh!

On the hilarious occasion of Pahela Baishakh, a concert entitled "Nokia Fusion Baishakhi Concert" was held at Gulshan Youth Club. I could not attend that music feast but later came to know which artist performed which songs through The Daily Star dated April 16, 2008. To my utter dismay, James, my most favourite singer since childhood, performed Bhigi Bhigi, one of his popular hits in Hindi, on this very occasion whose spirit is nothing but BANGLA!

James has enviably created and given voice to, no doubt, a good number of tremendously hit Bangla songs throughout his long and colourful musical journey. By virtue of his uncommon voice together with inherent talent, he surpassed many of the singers of our country contemporary with him in terms of popularity and has showed the world once again that Bangladesh can produce world-class singers.

With popularity comes responsibility. In an interview with a leading national Bangla daily, James tells that he enjoys most singing in Bangla, no matter how much popular his Hindi hit numbers are. That sounds really nice but this latest incident made me sorely sad. There are at least ten more Bangla songs more popular than Bhigi Bhigi that he could have performed in the concert celebrating this Bangla occasion - Pahela Baishakh! Given that Hindi songs are very popular among the young here, performing a Hindi song on part of an immensely popular singer on such an occasion is indubitably inopportune.

I strongly expect that my most favourite singer would act more sensibly in future.

[ published as a letter in The Daily Star on April 21, 2008. ]


Nazmus Saquib from Department of English, Stamford University, Dhanmondi sent a rejoinder to the above letter published in The Daily Star dated April 27, 2008. Here it is:

This is in response to the letter of Ahmed Ferdous Bin Alam published in The Daily Star on 21 April. The writer got hugely disappointed with the Hindi song performance of the popular singer of our country James on Pahela Baishakh. He even went as far as saying that a singer like James should not have rendered a Hindi song on Pahela Baishakh in order to show his true patriotism!

I think what James did was not at all something for which we should blame him. Rather, we as Bengalees are proud about the fact that our very own singer James has brought international name and fame not only for himself, but also for the whole country and its people in the field of music. Moreover, Mr. Alam should understand that to refrain from singing in Hindi for just one particular day would not prove our true love for our mother tongue. If we blame the fm radio stations for broadcasting Hindi songs, it will not help us in any way to establish our true love for our language. Rather, we all should respect our language from our hearts. The love for our country is not something which we should demonstrate. The love for our country and language should come from within ourselves.

If we really love this country, then we should try to protect its true identity, culture and tradition. These days some so called modern music composers are composing Bangla songs using vulgar words, and thus trying to destroy our language. So, instead of shouting at Hindi songs, we should condemn those singers and composers who in the name of experimenting with Bangla songs are actually doing great harm to our language.

I've sent a response to his rejoinder. Here it is:

In response to my letter published in DS on April 21 regarding James' rendition of Hindi song at a concert on Pahela Baishakh, Mr. Nazmus Saquib, in his letter in DS on April 27, 2008 tried to enlighten me and I aptly appreciate his kind effort. But I'm sorry to say that he misconstrued the message I intended to pass. So I feel I should make my point unambiguous.

Mr. Saquib said that we all should respect our language from our hearts. I do agree. He also said that what James did was not at all something for which we should blame him. I can't but disagree! No doubt it's a matter of great pride when we see our own singers make their powerful presence felt on the international arena. But that doesn't mean that a singer of that high stature can act irresponsibly by singing a Hindi song at a concert celebrating an occasion that signifies the identity, culture and tradition of our Bangali nation. Personally I enjoy melodious Hindi songs. Nowhere in my letter did I "shout at Hindi songs" as he told. I simply expressed my opinion that it was indubitably inopportune and irresponsible to sing a Hindi song on Pahela Baishakh and James should have been careful of this. That's it.

"To refrain from singing in Hindi for just one particular day would not prove our true love for our mother tongue", He says. Does that justify stage performance of Hindi songs on Pahela Baishakh either? Really ridiculous!

Respect and love for our own country and mother tongue are something that need not be flaunted, rather are felt in the way we act. Irresponsible behaviour on part of a popular celebrity can mislead his ardent fans in their realization of the spirit of Pahela Baishakh.

[ published as a letter in The Daily Star on May 07, 2008. ]


Mr. Nazmus Saquib had been tenacious and sent again a rejoinder to the above response that was published in DS on May 12, 2008. Here it is:

This is once again in response to the letter of Mr. Ahmad Ferdous Bin Alam published in DS under the above title on 7th May.

I don't understand why he is trying to make an unnecessary argument over a simple matter. I made my point very clear by saying that James didn't commit any mistake by singing Hindi songs on a Pahela Baishakh concert, simply because his intention was not to hurt the sentiments of the audience, rather the audience present on that concert were requesting him consistently to sing Hindi songs. Being a born and professional singer, he just obliged to the request of the audience. As songs have neither religion nor any language, so we shouldn't take a parochial view of the matter.

Moreover, if we stop listening to Hindi songs on Pahela Baishakh, then why not on 21 February, 16 December and 26 March? It doesn't make any sense to me why people are always eager to show off even a serious thing like patriotism.

Patriotism is something which should come naturally, showing our true Bengalee identity by stopping Hindi songs on one particular day or some particular occasions will not make us great to the rest of the world. We all love our country and love our language and therefore we know how to value others' language and culture as well. The bottom line is that respect to our mother tongue should come from within ourselves.

I've already sent the response:

This is in response to the letter of Mr. Nazmus Saquib in The Daily Star on May 12, 2008 regarding the above issue.

He said that James performed Hindi songs on incessant requests from his fans in that concert. I have to reiterate - with popularity comes responsibility. A singer is not supposed to swallow every request of his fans. He must have sense of appropriateness and should have reminded his fans of the spirit of an occasion that signifies the identity, culture and tradition of our Bengali nation, instead of gleefully singing Hindi songs.

Nevertheless, I do agree that we should not be complacent with our 'patriotism of one day'. Add to that, patriotism is felt in the way we act, no matter on an occasion or in our day-to-day life.

My dissent with Mr. Saquib lies in the sense of appropriateness. I think performing Hindi songs in a concert arranged on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh was inappropriate. Mr. Saquib thinks it was alright. Both of us have made our points clear and I hope the matter ends here.

[ published as a letter in The Daily Star on May 14, 2008. ]

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pahela Baishakh 1415

Today's Pahela Baishakh. Shubho Nababarsha!

One of the key centres of celebration for this occasion is Dhaka University Campus. I went out at around 9 AM and joined the carnival at DU campus. It seemed to me that this year the throng diminished than past celebrations. I could easily manage to make my way through watching the festive faces of the crowd.

However, I had a hard time in finding out my other friends. I was having difficulty in contacting them due to congested mobile phone network. Luckily at last I could finally contact and met at the premise of Institute of Fine Arts. We rode 'nagordola' but didn't enjoy it much. The riders were all adults and hence the manual operators couldn't make it move fast enough to be enjoyable. Anyway, I rode it again after my childhood and I'm happy with that!

After mediocre lunch at Public Library canteen, we went to Suhrawardy Udyan and had a tremendous adda.

Finally, already exhausted due to the enervating weather, I returned home and had a late-day sleep!

Thanks to my friends - Sherita, Shabnam, Mufti, Tariq, lomba Zami, Wali, Elin, Muna, Zereen, Sadia, Banna, Tawhid, Ripon for making my day an enjoyable and memorable one!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Joy Bangla!

In the above picture, the cover of Time Magazine, you see a freedom fighter shouting in hard-earned jubilation. What was he shouting at the top of his voice? Most probably, "Joy Bangla!"

Today while I was going through an article entitled "Joy Bangla!" by a writer under the pen name Chintito in Star Weekend Magazine, I could realize for the first time what an unceasing source of intense motivation the chant "Joy Bangla" was to the valiant freedom fighters and the Bangalis alike during that turbulent time of 1971.

But the very next moment a question popped in my mind - how the Bengali nation which is now painfully plagued by factionalism could be united in that glorious way in 1971 and chanted in unison? With hindsight, the answer that came to me was - in 1971 we had a clear vision of what we wanted, what we were going to do and above all a very well thought out guidelines by our great leaders. Unfortunately, after hard-fought independence we lost our vision and submerged ourselves into greed for power and wealth disregarding the interest and cause of our own country, so much that we confined that immortalised chant to a particular group! Perhaps the final straw was the alleged controversial activities and attitude of the very Father of the Nation Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujib and his subsequent assassination.

We all know that Bangabondhu used to put an end to his speech by uttering these two words. But that doesn't necessarily give pro-AL people the exclusive right to chant it.

No matter how much dissent exists among us regarding our socio-political views, the chant that infused the Bangalis with patriotism and passion for independence shouldn't belong to a certain quarter of the nation.

[ An abridged version of this post was published as a letter in Star Weekend Magazine on April 18, 2008. ]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hasina's Mockery of Potato Consumption

Despite being incarcerated, Sheikh Hasina has been vocal about different crises Bangladesh is now facing. As for present food crisis, she frequently refers to her tenure's success in food production.

Running a small country with such a large population is indubitably a daunting task. Every government faces myriads of crises, so does the current CTG. Devastation of crops by unprecedented repeated floods compounded by cyclone Sidr has made its task much more difficult. We expect that Sheikh Hasina would consider these facts in earnest and instead of mocking potato consumption she would give CTG her well-thought advices to overcome the food crisis.

It would be really nice for us to observe that it's the people of Bangladesh who matter most to our allegedly corrupt politicians rather than the CTG, even when they are behind bars.

[ This post was published as a letter entitled "Sheikh Hasina's stand" in The Daily Star on April 17, 2008. ]

National Women Development Policy and Fights at Mosque Premise

It's deeply disheartening that police and activists of Anti-Quran Law Resistance Committee, on the very premise of a sacred place like Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, engaged in clashes and turned the premise into a battlefield.

Most people of Bangladesh are religious-minded and we believe that Islam is a complete code of life. So whenever it comes to formulating some policy like National Women Development Policy (NWDP) that may be misinterpreted by opportunists as anti-Islamic, the policy-makers must exercise extreme caution and be proactive deeming it a very delicate issue, with a view to dispelling false fear and grievances of pious people as well as preempting violent agitation among the activists of Islamic parties. But unfortunately, CTG has miserably failed to show its foresight regarding this.

History says that Islam is the first religion that had given due rights to women but its various doctrines have been misinterpreted by some evil people and thereby misunderstood by common people. There are Islamic scholars in Bangladesh who are very well knowledgeable about the rights of women in Islam. Before thrashing out different delicate issues of NWDP, they should have been consulted and their views along with necessary references to Quran and Hadith should have been propagated effectively.

A little learning is a dangerous thing. Mere assurance on the part of government that the policy isn't anti-Islamic can't be enough, rather why and how the policy doesn't go against Islam should be publicised. Therefore, sufficient information must be disseminated to the common people in order to get them enlightened and preclude this kind of unrest.

[ An abridged version of this post was published as a letter entitled "Shocking indeed" in The Daily Star on April 16, 2008. ]

Birds of same feather flock together

Honestly speaking, the news of ex-MPs' unity to resist govt move regarding allocation of Nam Bhaban flats made me laugh out loud. How funny! As the news had it, our "honourable" ex-MPs have taken a firm stance to protect the "dignity and property" of the parliament. I had nothing to say if the word 'dignity' would been been omitted but when it comes to the question of dignity of parliament, I could not resist myself from saying a few words.

Do our ex-MPs really know what dignity means? When they used to make the parliament ineffective by boycotting or being absent, did they dignify it? When they used to hurl indecent words on each other in the parliament, did they dignify it? How long will they continue to pretend shamelessly before the whole nation? We do know that it's not the dignity but the property of the parliament that engages their interest.

[ This post was published as a letter under the title "Dignity?" in The Daily Star on April 04, 2008. ]

Media Exploitation

Presentation of women in many TV commercials in a derogatory manner has brought to the forefront the issue of exploitation of women by the media. A good number of write-ups by renowned columnists, personalities and even by the readers have already appeared on the different leading dailies with regard to this issue. But as far as I'm concerned, a crucial point that can be very effective in order to address this has been missing all the way.

Whenever an ad of a company turns out to be sexist, we vehemently come down on that company. But should we ignore the fact that society can't be fully free of exploitative elements and so there's always a chance, be it little or great, of being exploited? Companies are always there on the lookout for making money by hook or by crook and no doubt, this practice on the part of advertising companies is utterly reprehensible. Nevertheless, at the same time women should guard themselves from being exploited. Performers must exercise caution and use their own intellect while scrutinizing the script of an ad, especially whenever it comes to ads of cosmetics products. Models performing in sexist ads must be brought under severe criticism and this way they can be discouraged to perform this kind of role. If women themselves don't agree to perform in sexist ads and are not sold, exploitative companies will be left with no choice but giving up this policy. This can be an effective way for getting rid of media exploitation.

After all, it's better to look at our faults before blaming others.

[ This post was published as a letter in The Daily Star on April 02, 2008. ]

Women in Student Politics

For more than the last two decades, student politics has been subjected to demoralisation by growing intolerance and rampant violence perpetrated by unscrupulous activists of most political parties'. Student fronts have made it more difficult for female students to participate actively in politics, let alone to make their meaningful presence at the policy-making level felt. If we have a look at the policy-making committees of student fronts, few women may be found which is really regrettable. I have hardly come across a female student leader declaring her party's stance on issues of political interest.

Universities are the playgrounds of brilliant minds who play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the country. In a time when the demand for meaningful representation of more women at the policy-making level of political parties and the parliament is gaining acceptance, the need for active participation of female students at different universities in politics has been reinforced. Breaking the barrier of discrimination against women in this arena, we can easily ensure enough qualified female leaders for working efficiently at the policy-making level side by side with their male counterparts.

[ This post was published in SWM as a letter on March 21, 2008. ]

Quota or Merit?

With tangible development in quality of education and immense increase in the number of students at all levels of education leading to an unbelievably huge number of competent candidates in job market, a fierce competition comes as no surprise. Keeping in mind the fast-evolving nature of the current world which requires veritable competence in order to survive as a dignified nation, we can't afford compromise with the quality of public administration, a crucial organ of the state.

Needless to say, our country achieved independence through the nine-month long liberation war and the supreme sacrifice of the sons of the soil, the freedom fighters. Hence our valiant fighters, no doubt, must be duly honoured. With a view to repaying our debt, they along with their offspring have been privileged to enjoy a quota in many sectors. With due respect to them, it's time to say that the quota system in BCS exams warrants a thorough revision.

We are now in a situation to make a fair trade-off. Reducing the current 55% quota boils down to reducing 30% quota for freedom fighters to an acceptable extent resulting in a fair overall quota of, say, at most 15%. Many have opposed this in a derogatory manner trying to tag a 'mercy' flavour with the issue. This kind of attitude is utterly reprehensible. Our freedom fighters, who could risk their own lives during the liberation war, were not so narrow-minded as to insist on recruiting their children, if incompetent, into government service through an unfair quota system that has reportedly been exploited by the past ruling parties to place their party men in the administration.

We can't expect good prospect of our country if we further indulge in wholesale rejection of competent candidates in one of the most important state organs at a time when the country is already plagued by innumerable inefficiency problems in various sectors. Now is the time to ensure quality at all levels of administration by giving the deserving candidates a real chance to prove their worth.

[ This post was published as a letter in The Daily Star on March 21, 2008. ]

True Leaders

Many of you may already know the story of our two environmental heroes.

Some successful people go through life unnoticed simply because they excel in areas that are unable to catch our immediate attention, but in the long run tremendously affect our very lives. Two such people are Saleemul Huq and Atiq Rahman, who have become leaders in the field of climate change by dint of their extraordinary efforts in their research on the adverse effects of climate change.

It feels really good when we see people of our own country conducting leading research in a field relevant to Bangladesh. Although they are already recognised outside Bangladesh, the unfortunate fact that these two people go without due recognition in their motherland is unacceptable. They are the heroes who are relentlessly making a crucial contribution to the purpose of future survival of mankind.

[ This post was published in SWM as a letter on February 29, 2008 in response to their cover story on environmental heroes ]

Machiavellian Manoeuvrings by Bangladeshi Politicians

Nowadays there is tangible sign of politicians trying to be clamorous again. Conscious people wonder how they dare to be oblivious to the suffocating pre-1/11 situation they themselves created being driven by the greed for power.

Do the politicians regard people of Bangladesh as having fickle minds and now try to capitalize on this? Then they must be warned that people may be so but not so much to forget the grim memories of pre-1/11.

Are they encouraged by the success of DU students' peaceful movement? Then they must be cognizant of the fact - DU students' unfeigned expression of exuberance was palpable when DU was reopened right after imposition of state of emergency after a several months' painfully long unscheduled closure in 2007 due to political turmoil and surprisingly DU students except some sycophants of student fronts didn't show a whit of protest. Things could go otherwise if DU students' had felt it unjust. Politicians should take lesson from this if they ever feel ecstatic expecting to exploit the example of DU success to hinder the tortuous journey of caretaker government further.

There must be an ulterior motive behind the demand of early poll made by political parties - they intend to steer clear of the tribulation of trials! They do know but pretend to forget that EC should be given sufficient time to prepare itself for the cause as good as possible. But they seem to be desperate to escape the trial.

It's unfortunate to hear the invariably vacuous remarks our 'beloved' politicians are doomed to frequently make. Two blatant examples follow. After showing a sign of sagacity by giving consent the party leaders to take part in the election regardless of her being incarcerated, Hasina's hollow remark "If Awami League was in power, we would have kept the price of rice at 16 taka a KG" is utterly unexpected. Secretary general of pro-Khaleda faction make us laugh by stating, "Current difficult situation can be best handled only by an elected government". People have already seen enough of the ugly face of elected governments and they no longer trust them. But they are helpless to get out of this vicious cycle of current political parties.

There's a limit to everything. If politicians regard the common people as inhabitants of fool's paradise and continue exploiting their helplessness, they will inevitably be thrown out of the country. Politicians better stop playing with the people right now!