March 2006


R P Saha

First he started a small business in salt and coal in Calcutta. Did very good in this venture.
Then he bought a ship and named it ‘Bengal River’, ran a very efficient steamer liner.
Became the agents to buy food grains for the Government and famed as a trusted merchant.
He owned and ran 3 powerhouses at Narayanganj, Mymensingh and Comilla.
His ‘George Anderson Company’ used to make jute bales in Narayanganj.
He first saw the potential and started tanery and leather business in this part of the world.

This man was Ranada Prasad saha. R P Saha. Ranadaprasad grew up in extreme poverty and could not have much education. He lost his mother at the age of seven. He fled home to Calcutta at the age of 16. He participated in World War I in the Bengal Ambulance Corps and was stationed in Iraq and Karachi. After war, landed a small job in railway but later lost it.

When he was one of the richest man of Bengal, famine of 1943 struck. During the famine, he maintained 275 gruel houses to feed the hungry for 8 months.

He established a charitable hospital, 750-bed Kumudini Hospital, at his native village Mirzapur on the river Lauhajang. On 27 July 1944 Mr Kessy, the Governor of Bengal, formally opened this hospital.

To spread female education, in 1942, he founded a fully residential girls school at Mirzapur and named it ‘Bharateswari Bidyapith’ after Bharateswari Devi, his grandmother. For many years it remained the only residential girls school in Bengal/Bangladesh. Till today, in any national program or international sporting event, the gallery display and choreography display of Bharateswari homes girls are essential.

He also founded the ‘Kumudini College’ at Tangail in 1943 to commemorate his mother .

The ‘Debendra College’ of Manikganj established in 1944 commemorates his father.

Subsequently he set up the ‘Mirzapur Pilot Boys’ School,
Mirzapur Pilot Girls’ School, and
‘Mirzapur Degree College’.

Till today, these fine educational institutes cater college education to a large portion of Bangladesh.

The Maternity Wing of the Dhaka Combined Military Hospital was established with his financial support!!! ( BTW, who gets cared there now?)

After the partition of 1947, rather migrating to India, RP Saha stayed back, and donated his entire property in the name of the ‘Kumudini Welfare Trust’ for the realisation of his ideal ‘Education-Service-Unity-and-Peace’. These trust ran and still running the above mentioned establishments.

And on 7 May 1971 he was killed along with his son by the Pakistani occupation army.

R P saha’s Kumudini welfare Trust still serve his dear Bangladesh as a non-profit organization focusing on the needs of women and the poor in Bangladesh. The 750-bed Kumudini Hospital offers free treatment to the poor from all over the country; Kumudini Hospital School trains 250 nurses a year; Bharateswari Homes, a residential school, offers elementary and secondary education to over 1000 girls; and Kumudini Handcrafts helps over 16,000 artisans, mostly women, generate income by providing training and encouraging the development and preservation of traditional handcraft skills. Kumudini operates its own vegetable dyeing plant using leaves, petals, bark, and roots and has also developed a handmade paper line using the pesky water hyacinth plant.

We give Swadhinota padak to Sharshina Pir, we give away all the medals to all with no significant contribution. Hunmndreds of thousand of padaks will not be able to pay back our respect that is due to him.

Mourn this hero. Hope this can wash out our collective guilt of thirty five years.

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These two posts by russoue says it all.

While we keep focused on pseudo-shames, this is no doubt a real formidable national shame.

You need to be a who’s who in Bangladesh to get into national olympic team ( Commonwealth games in this case).

One national team player fleeing the village to stay illegally and one caught for sexual assault! Bravo, great medals you are bringing for Bangladesh!

Then in the television we see two groups of girls in a upscale capital city college are involved in ugly fighting, one lying over the other, pulling each others clothes, hair.
Dirty! Ugly!

You see father and son are killed and bodies are cut in 300 plus pieces and thrown in different parts of Dhaka. Only because these father and son refused to budge to extortionist. Horrible! Horrible!

What is at stake here?

In the line is our national honesty, our moral integrity. And in the line is our existence.

We can keep on reciting jamaat, jamaat, jamaat day, night, awake, sleep; but we are really doing them a favor by letting the nation loose it’s moral ground. Like taliban came to power in Afghanistan utilizing the dacaying national infrastructure, a morally decomposed nation is the best breeding ground for jamaat to grow.

Stand up. Fight the real enemy.

Beaware friends. Don’t miss the forest for the tree.

In 2003 , 19 years old Fahima Begum Rina married one Siddiqul Islam, who later became known to the world as infamous Bangla Bhai. Nobody has to do a lot of guessing to conclude that Fahima Begum Rina didn’t have any say in this marriage. And even after marriage, I don’t know how much this young wife had to do in supporting the outdoor activities of Bangla bhai. Especially the world Bangla bhai wants to create doesn’t give women any say in anything. So I must assume that in personal life Bangla bhai practiced what he preached.

Bangla Bhai Wife and daughter

Nurjahan Begum Rupa, at the age of 12, was forced into wedlock to Shaykh Abdur Rahman. Forget about consent, I am not sure whether Rupa ever saw the man she was marrying.

Abdur Rahman Family

The militant, Molah Omar alias Shakil,who killed himself in comilla did so with his wife and minor children.

Unlike Maoist militants, Islamist militants can’t apparently lead the underground life without sex, wife and the resulting children. All militant captured so far were hiding along with wife and children.

Anyway, I don’t know what happened to those children. Especially those very minor ones who suddenly stopped seeing both their parents. And all the militant’s women are in police custody now. Remand after remand. Then jail, “jenana” ward. Probably in a small room floor with arrested street prostitutes, criminals, homeless vagabonds etc.

In Bangladesh culture, how common is it for a wife to go against husbands professional life or ideology? Even a bandit’s wife lives a life supporting justifying and tolerating husbands profession. Occassionally to protest or to question is something that they don’t have in their culture. Often they tolerate for the sake of the children. In other times, they are kept captive to imposed religious decree.

I feel these women are not terrorists. They are rather victim of the circumstances and faulty ideology of their husbands. I believe our human rights groups and woman’s rights group should stand up and rehabilitate these unfortunate women and the children.

This daily star article talks about the less known but more significant side of a legend. The legend is Azam khan. Without any reservation I call Azam Khan the father of popular rock culture in Bengal.

Azam Khan

Although Azam Khan started his career in the 60s, he left music in 1971 to take up arms and fight guerilla war at Dhaka.
Soon after our War of Liberation in 1971, Azam Khan, soon to become a legend in the rock scene, with his band, Uchharon and the Akhand Brothers (Lucky and Happy) created the hype in the music industry with their straight-down-the-line magnetic songs around early and late 70’s……Azam Khan the imaginative composer, the inspired musician and lanky bearded lyricist ignited something that caught the attention of plenty of listeners. His songs had a pathos never before heard with such uninhibited emotion. Obhimani, Ashi Ashi, Highcourt er Majare, Ami Jare Chaire, Orey Saleka, Jibone Kichu Pabona Re and many more of his outstanding compositions became instant hits. Even today, these songs are the ones that still keep the audiences on their toes.
Azam Khan is known as a guru amongst the rock ‘n rollers of the country for his contribution to band music in Bangladesh.

However, many of us have little idea about his heroic deeds during our Liberation War in 1971. He is one of the few cultural activists who had taken part in the front line war against the Pakistani Army.

A section Commander of the guerilla troop, Azam Khan led the guerilla fighters in Jatrabari-Gulshan belt. Azam Khan details his operations in the above mentioned daily Star Interview..

Bangladesh rock music history can never be written without Azam Khan occupying the most prominant position. His life in fact characterizes the turbulant evolution of bangla rock.

It was snow all over the ground. So what! It was the first day of spring. I woke up this morning with this amazing dawn looking at me through my bedroom glass panels. And before evn getting up, I took the camera….

Dawn

It was a gorgeous sunrise over lake Michigan. Let the first sunrise of spring bring peace back to this planet.

Sunrise

Vernal equinox

March 20, 2006, is a date that most of us recognize as symbolic of changing seasons. As we welcome spring, people south of the equator are actually gearing up for the cooler temperatures of autumn.

Far from being an arbitrary indicator of the changing seasons, March 20 (March 21 in some years) is significant for astronomical reasons. On March 20, 2006, at precisely 1:26 P.M. EST (18:26 Universal Time), the Sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator. This moment is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. For the Southern Hemisphere, this is the moment of the autumnal equinox.

Translated literally, equinox means “equal night.” Because the sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes. A second equinox occurs each year on September 22 or 23; in 2006, it will be on September 22 at 11:03 P.M. EDT (Sept. 23, 03:03 UT*). This date will mark the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Southern (vernal denotes “spring”).

Bangladesh prime Minister is visiting India. And a lot of roaring is coming out of Indian media quarters on how to give a good lashing to the visiting premier.

This calcutta Telegragh editorial predicts that Bangladesh prime Minister is expected to get some good lashing from her Indian counterpart. This editorial goes on saying, ” Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is likely to encounter some plain-speaking when she arrives in India on March 20 for a three-day state visit……After fighting Pakistan-sponsored terrorism with US help, India is now determined to slam the brakes on terrorism out of Bangladesh and will mince no words during meetings with Khaleda, a home ministry official said. ”

Over the last years, a portion of Indian media has been busy promoting Bangladesh as the bottom of all hell. In this pursuit, India had generous help from some western media.

This frontpage magazine article The Threat of Bangladesh starts like this “..Recent developments in Bangladesh have been of increasing concern to India — and for good reason…”

Another prominent Indian Media outlet put’s it this way,

Bangladesh crackdown on terrorism is a farce

“Bangladesh is paying lip service to fighting terrorism ahead of Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia’s visit to India next week, arresting two Islamist leaders it earlier allowed to operate with impunity….”

Now it has turned into a fashion to blame Bangladesh for anything bad that happens in India, like this article blaming Bangladesh for Varanshi incident. It says “..The presence of a wide range of terror affiliates, some with organic links to Al-Qaida, in Bangladesh has been an object of intense external intelligence gathering operations. Militants of Afghan, Chechen and Pakistani origin are believed to be operating from hundreds of camps.”

And while our prime Minister listens to all these bashing, complains, she should respond.

In her response she should mention of a more serious threat, coming out of India through it’s border into Bangladesh.

She should remind India that rather than spending money in rocket, nuclear science, and not pretending to be world’s most advanced country, India should focus a bit more into some basic issues.

She shoukld tell that ..”Only 4 countries are still polio-endemic – : Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. ” This deadly polio virus is more dangerous than any possble terrorism.

Bangladesh is a succes story in immunization campaign agaist different deadly diseases. Polio was eradicated six years ago. But as India ( While focused on showcasing herself as world’s super power, did a poor job eradicating Polio; and this polio is spreading Back to Bangladesh.

Seattle Post Intelligencer reports,
” Bangladesh confirmed on Friday the country’s first case of polio in nearly six years, prompting plans to resume mass vaccinations against the crippling disease next month….Samples confirmed the type of polio that infected the girl was genetically similar to the virus circulating in India.”

She should also mention that, “While Bangladesh so far has extreme low prevelance of AIDS/HIV, it is in increasing danger of an HIV pandemic thanks to uncontrolled spread out of bordering India.” She should assert that, ” Globally India is second only to South Africa in terms of the overall number of people living with HIV.” She should warn her Indian couter part that “A 2002 report by the CIA’s National Intelligence Council predicted 20 million to 25 million AIDS cases in India by 2010, more than any other country in the world”.

While India media keep on reciting Bangladesh as the desperately poor terrorist country in the world, Bangladesh Prime Minister should state these facts before Indian people,

Sumita Kale in business standard emphasizes this point…”Over the past 15 years, India reduced its infant mortality rate from 84 to 62 per 1,000, even as Bangladesh’s achievement was from 100 to 56 over the same period”

She should further say that, ” 95 per cent of infants in Bangladesh are
vaccinated against tuberculosis, and 77 per cent are vaccinated against
measles. The corresponding figures in India are only 81 per cent and 67
per cent, respectively.
Similarly, 97 per cent of the population in Bangladesh have access to an
‘improved water source’, compared with 84 per cent in India; and 48 per
cent of Bangladeshis have access to ‘improved sanitation,’ compared with
28 per cent of Indians.”

She should also mention that, ” the maternal mortality rate is much higher in India
than in Bangladesh: 540 and 380 per 100,000 live births, respectively.
Contraceptive prevalence, for its part, is higher in Bangladesh than in
India.
Bangladesh appears to be closer to universal primary
education than India: it has achieved a “net primary enrolment ratio” of
87 per cent, higher than India’s 83 per cent. ”

She should emphasize that the so called Islamist terrorist Bangladesh ” has eliminated the gender bias in primary education, in sharp contrast with India where school participation rates continue to be much higher
for boys than for girls. Other gender-related indicators also put
Bangladesh in a relatively favourable light, compared with India:
Bangladesh, for instance, has a higher female-male ratio and much higher
rates of female labour force participation.”

It was crushing defeat, one after another. They lost 0-6 and 0-10 to teams from Kazhakystans and India.

They are the women’s football team of Bangladesh, participating in their first ever tournament and the first international tour.

However despite these crushing defeats, at the end of the tournament, the face of each of the Bangladeshi players glowed like the victorious.

Indeed it was a victory for bangladesh women booters. They came out of typical women’s indoor sports, stepped into traditionally men’s arena, and now they have just finished their first international fixture.

It was history of sorts for the Bangladesh under-19 women’s football team as they made their way through the tunnel. It was the first time they were competing in any junior tournament in football. So much so that, most of the players who are part of the squad though are sportswomen, have never played football.

. You can read the full article here.

This story, as ancipated, was missing from Bangladeshi Blogosphere. However it would have been all over the blog if this trip had been cancelled by governmnet, or some zealots issues some threat, or something bad happened with it etc.

Fairness While Blogging, is it too much to ask?

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