If you hadn’t already seen the landmark oscar winning 1956 movie “Around The world in 80 days” based on Jules Verne’s famous novel, please see it.

All of the India episode of the movie was shot in Bangladesh, the then east pakistan. You will see, with surprise, how less and huch much our landscape has changed over the last 50 years.

When the train was going through riverine planes of Bangladesh, you will find that there is little change in the sight. Exactly the same paddy fields, the canals, rivers, fishermen etc.

However the deep forest scenes of the movie was shot at Lauachhara reserve forst at Moulvibazar area of Sylhet. These specific forest was slected and the several thousand strong crew flew all the way to Sylhet only for the deep wild nature of the forest. Even 20–30 years ago, the jungle used to be pitch dark during the brightest of the days. This forest, loosing almost 70% of it’s flora and fauna in last 50 years, still is the richest biodiverse forests in Bangladesh.

The dense canopy of the forest is the unique home of magnificient Dhanesh bird.

In addition to rampant deforestation, settlement, poaching; the recent Magurachhara gas field explosions damaged this natural resource extensively. And now the propsed gas pipeline threatens the remaining of the reserve forest.

While talking about Lauachhara, off course, we must not miss out on Holook Gibon, for which this forest is so famous and which attracts thousands of scientists, visitors, wildlife photographers every year. Lauachhara forest is the home of this most exotic creature, the rare ‘holook gibon’, locally called as ‘ulluk’. A recent census counted the number to ‘ulluk’ to be 300 now while it was 3000 only a decade ago.

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While we are worried that the number of real ‘ulluks ‘, the holook gibon is receeding alarmingly, another kind of Ulluk, the holook humans are, no doubt, abundant in Bangladesh. One famous example is our ex president HM Ershad. His repeated sommersaults around the Bangladesh political sprectrum is sufficient to wipe away any remaining interest a sane human may have left on Bangladesh politics.

Similarly if we could spend a fraction of the energy that was spent blocking the filming of the movie, Brick lane, this ‘Sylheti Forest’ would have been in much better shape today.

While we need to save the holook gibons, it’s about the time we come forward, face and deal with these holook humans, the socio-political Ulluks .