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.

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?

Last year I saw crow while driving through remote, wild lush green upper peninsula of Michigan. The site of crows made me a little nostalgic. During my childhood and boyhood days, crows were the only companion during those slow “everybody napping” afternoon hours. ” Ka Ka Ka” by a crow used to part of Bangladesh sound landscape. Most amazing scene were those late evening gatherings of thousands of crows gethered from all over the places. I still don’t know why they had those occassional large gtherings. Similar scenerio developed if a crow died anywhere. Thousands of crows from all sorrounding neighborhood will crowd with continuos ” ka Ka Ka..’

You don’t see as many crows in Dhaka anymore. Espeially those lazy afternoon are no longer filled by noisy crows.

The pictuture of this crow couple was taken last winter from a roof of house in Dhanmondi, Dhaka.
Crow Couple

In my boyhood, ( Not too long ago, by the way) I, with a bunch of mates, used to walk to school!!!!! Can you imagine with current day Dhaka lifestyle, walking to school? And on my way , there was a palm tree and hanging from it, dozens of weaver nests, ( Babui Pakhir Basha). During my last several visits, I looked hard, but couldn’t trace a babui pakhir basha anywhere in Dhaka. Probably this generation grew up without having look at a single babui pakhir basha in the lifetime.

Babui Pakhir Basha

Bangladesh is changing. For Good or bad.

Yes, here are some more crimes. Will there be appropriate justice? Justice will be served on whom? RAJUK? The Corrupt Engineer? Garments factory Owner? BGMEA?

Crushed

The crushed factory building? Is only arresting the owner will do the justice?

Imagine someone you love in this scene

Have you tried to imagine yourself or a loved one in this situation?

Trapped

These are horrible death!!

Burried

This is real grief

The problem, these people belong to a class which often miss our radar screen.

Lost

Drishtipat did it’s part to help these people. The polashbari project did it’s part to raise awarenes and some fund.

But punishment, Drishtipat is not in a position to do it!

The Daily Star editorial glorifies RAB for it’s bravado and efficiency.

I agree.

Daily Star says,

The blitzkrieg raid in Comilla is a sort of baptism in fire that the Rab went through launching itself into what appears to be the most daunting phase of the anti-terrorism offensive.

Sure, it’s the baptism in fire.

Much as we are opposed to the crossfire killing phenomenon that has tainted the human rights reputation of the country, we find the effectiveness of Rab’s Comilla operation highly laudable, particularly in the loaded sequel to the arrest of kingpins Sheakh Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai.

Remember Chittagong court house suicide bomb incident. When a suicide bomber, with visible bomb strapped to the body, was threatening to blow himself up, RAB could keep fingers away from trigger. Mind it, it is tough under that intense pressure. They innovated new methods to contain suicide bomber; water hose. The bomber was effectively deactivated and contained with high pressure water flow.

Under all the threats, they remained patient and could arrest Shayekh Rahman, and Siddiqul Islam alive.

And even in explosive situations like that in Comilla, they kept their cool and could nab Sahyekh’s son nabil alive.

This is impressive.

Especially if you compare them with trigger happy SWAT teams here in USA or other western nation.

If an American team was asked to conduct the operation to arrest Abdur Rahman/Bangla Vai, you would have seen hundreds of soldiers well protected with armors, helmts, bullet proof vests. You would have seen helicopters hovering overhead, F 16s and laser guided missiles. You would have seen heavily armed soldiers hiding behind armored humvees.

And Media, live TV coverage? Forget about it!!!

And at the end of the operation, you may have seen dead Shayekh Rahman, Bangla vai and dozen of dead innocent civilians of the neigbourhood. And may be some dead SWAT member in friendly fire.

We tend to blame RAB for all the extra judicial killings. I feel this is like blaming the executioner for all the capital punishments. If RAb does some extrajudicial killing, it only did it because they were ordered to do so. They were ordered because policy makers decided in favor of it. Policymakers, often politicians, decided in favor of these extra judicials killings because these killings are wildly popular to the general masses in Bnagladesh. And this general mass will decide who will rule Bangladesh for the next five years.

Read the full editorial here.

PICT0172

Rafiq is an immigrant in his own country. At least, he belongs to a group which is known as the group of immigrant workers to the local people.
Rafiq, looks much older than his stated age, hails from Jamalpur in north central Bangladesh. He “immigrated” approximately 100 miles far as a teenager to Kathpotti, near narayanganj. Kathpotti is the main hub of the rice trading in Bangladesh.

Rice, after being pruduced and processed locally in rice growing belt, are all transported to Kathpotti, where it is stocked, dried ( Occassionally), rebagged, traded and shipped out to all of Bangladesh to meet the hunger of rice eating bengalis.

We all know how Dubai Ports World does the cargo handling in different ports. Now let’s hear how Rafiq does his cargo handling job.

Rafiq’s job is to pick up sack full of rice, weighing 100 to 200 KG, once they arrive by boat and head carry them to the processing area ( May be miles away), and transport these back to the baots once processing and tading is complete.

Rafiq dreams of ending his immigrant life, go back his village. However before doing so, he is eager to see his 13 year old son pick up this job.

PICT0206

If you travel through riverine Bangladesh, you will be saddened by the generalized culture to use river as the ultimate dumping ground, starting from personal-family sewage to commercial trash to toxic heavy industry waste.

The stunning beauty of rural riverside life and the comfort of river transport, all gets eclipsed by this inconsiderate murderous rampant act of river pollution.

This picture was taken at Dhaleshwari river bank . Will there be anymore river left for this duck couple to habitate?

Mgan

p069

doc1a
doc1b

Let me end this tribute with one question. We speak of distortion of history, we complain against the others of misrepresenting historical events and facts for petty political gain.

Most of the texts of 7th march speech will end as it has ended in this blog. However probably those were not the last words of Bangabandhu in that speech. He went on and spoke something else after these statements, however that text is surprisingly missing from all possible documents I could find today.
Can anyone please give me the full text of 7th march speech and tell me why the last paragraph is missing from most of the available documents?

-Rumi

Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation.

The Australian company taking care of some of the technical and managerial activities of several airports and ports in USA are outsourced to a South African company. Several days later, the news came out and it raised a big hue and cry in the US political world. Politicians around the isle, commentators, talk show hosts started delivering fiery statements, sermons, allegations and vows. Impossible. It won’t be allowed to happen.

Why it won’t be allowed to happen? It is unsafe for national security. After all south africa is an african country.

And african americans are responsible for majority of the crimes, murders in USA. And as african americans are involved in most of crimes in USA, an african company taking over US ports from an australian company will not be tolerated.

*************************************************************************************************************************

Yes it sounds quite impossible for current US standard.
It sounds very ugly too. It sounds unfair for an african country. And unfair for African americans too. It sound illogical.

And I believe the majority of African American are law abiding, family oriented, hard-working honest people. They don’t deserve to be stigmatized as race of criminals as a handful of this community resort to all sort of violence. Plus there may be reason that a portion of african americans are breaking the laws.

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Anyway, surprisingly ( ?) , it does not al all sound ugly, unjust or unfair when the african american word is replaced with the word ” Arab” or ‘South Arica’ is replaced with ‘Dubai’. Rather it is the way to go now. It is politically prudent for the politicians to make an angry speech against the US port-Arab deal.

-Rumi

Writer Anisul Hoque responds to recent blog on his novel Maa

This is Anisul Hoque, writer of Maa. Thanks to everybody associated with this site and to those who have placed comments on this site. I am really inspired. Specially I am overwhelmed to see Dr. Sarojini Sahoo’s comment, who is a major writer in Uriya language.Her comment is valuable because she can judge this book or 71 from a non-concerned perspective. THANKS.

Thanks Anisul Hoque for visiting Drishtipat blog.