November 2007


I saw Elachi’r Ma several days ago. She was in TV news. She probably will be in late twenties or early thirties. She was wearing what all Bangladeshi poor women wear. A plain grey/green Sari with Black Par and a Nakful. She was looking exceedingly fresh, most likely she just had bath before talking to TV crew.

And the poor people of Bangladesh, My God, are very camera smart. They will talk clearly and in an articulate manner without any shyness, nervousness or hesitation.

The TV crew wanted to talk to Elachi’r Ma because only half an hour before arrival of the TV crew, Elachi’r Ma buried the decomposed body of her six year old daughter. Her daughter is one of those killed in Cyclone Sidr.
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In Satyajit Ray movie Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen the ghost king (   ভুতের রাজা ) gave three ” বর” (Boon) to Gupi and Bahga. With these three boons Gupi and Bagha conquered the kingdom and his two daughters and did a lot of good things. Although the Ghost king only had three boons to give away, he ghost kings that has been running our Ghost kingdom apparently have a never ending supply of boons. And their boons usually are in one single form, i.e. ambassadorship to foreign kingdoms.


Three recent ambassador posting reminded me of the ghost king.  Some of these postings definitely raise concern about their appropriateness and justification. Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya was given the most vital post of the permanent rep at Geneva UN mission. This very important diplomatic job usually went to brightest of the foreign service officials. And this job needs diplomatic depth, experience and insight. And for sure this is definitely not a job where you need expertise in conspiracy. Dr Bhattacharya’s activities of last five years are laudable. But with change of government, his sudden silence, sudden collapse of his good candidate movement, his sudden blindness on what is going on in the election commission made people wonder about the real intentions of his last five years activities. Now his reward job tend to clear up many confusions.
Then comes two other top missions in Canada and Australia. This government has decided to award one Syed Fahim Munaem as ambassador to Canada. First it’s worth mention that with increasing number of Bangladeshi migrants in Canada and as a country with huge potential for a labor/manpower market as well as an importer of our RMG products, the Ottawa mission needed an experienced and dynamic diplomat. This Syed Fahim Munaem was a disaster as CA’s press secretary.  I can’t believe his abject failure is a reason for his reward. So there must be something else that won him the boon. And it does not need too much wisdom to guess that his managing skill as managing editor of the Daily Star helped pave 1/11 and the benefactors of 1/11 owe someone some payback. (more…)

When in 1952 the students of Dhaka university took to streets in demand of announcing Bengali as the state language, defied rule 144 and was fired upon, the leader of pakistan was Khawaja Nazimuddin of Dhaka Nabab Bari. And clearly his ordered the police shooting that killed Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiur, Salam, Barkat and 9 year old Ohiullah. Khawaja Nazimuddin took over the governorship of Pakistan after the sudden death of Mr M A Zinnah and became the prime minister after assasination of Liakat Ali Khan. Even after the killing of 21 st february when there was strong pressure/emotion both from the east and the west side of the country to announce Bangla as the state language, Khawaja Nazimuddin refused to yield to any pressure to recognize Bangla. And he did not let it happen as long as he was the prime minister. Later Mohammad Ali Bogra of Bogra Nabab Bari, after becaming prime minister, did take the steps to recognize Bangla as the state language. (more…)

[26 Nov Update: Verdict was not given yesterday. Six imprisoned teachers — RU vice-chancellor Professor Dr Saidur Rahman Khan, Professor Abdus Sobhan of the Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, Associate Professor Moloy Kumar Bhowmik of the Department of Management, Selim Reza Newton, Dulal Chandra Biswas and Abdullah al Mamun of the Department of Mass Communications — were brought to court in a prison van. They were taken to the courtroom downstairs instead of Judge Ruhul Amin’s scheduled courtroom upstairs, at 10.00 a.m. the court peshkar came and announced that the verdict would be given on Tuesday Dec 4, 2007. Interestingly, defence lawyers had not been informed of the change of plans as is courtroom norm. According to courtroom gossip, the honorable judge suddenly went off to Dhaka on Nov 22, reportedly for 4 days training. All concerned had assumed that scheduled verdict date of Nov 25 would be postponed. However, on Nov 24 it was learnt that the court would convene (as scheduled) on the 25th. On the 25th morning, prisoners were brought to court but the judge did not come. Some say he had not returned to Rajshahi, that he was on his way back from Dhaka. Others say he had returned, but had not come to the courthouse, he was at home. Court gossip says he was asked to go to Dhaka because someone way up, high-up had wanted to talk to him. Why the change in verdict dates? The other RU teachers case — Professor Sabbir Sattar Tapu, Professor Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan Sajal, teachers in the Department of Geology and Mining, both have been accused of setting fire to a vehicle belonging to the DGFI — is drawing to a close. The argument is scheduled for Nov 27, on that same date, the verdict date will be announced in court. Court hearing for Dhaka University professors Anwar Hossain and others is scheduled for Nov 28, charges to be framed on that day, charge-framing has been twice postponed this last one month. (more…)

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Urir Char 1991                            Ashar Char 2007

Your help is needed to feed the cyclone ravaged hungry children, women and men. Footage from Bangladesh TV channels have been very disturbing to watch lately. Poor people, as always, have been worst affected. Men lost his teenage son, mother waiting for her missing children. Over that they are all hungry.  All they need some rice to cook and eat.  Please donate. Even $1 from you can buy a family much needed rice.

Follow this link for ways to help.

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[Source: the Daily Star]

1. Bangladesh Ravaged By Massive Cyclone Sidr . Hundreds of human lives are lost. The death toll is rising every passing hour as news keeps trickling in.

2. So far 587 687 693 1000 1595 3114 are believed/reported dead.

3. Hundreds of densely inhabited islands around the Genges delta and northern Bay of Bengal so far remain unaccounted for.

4. Unprecedented damage to property and cattlehead are being reported from Bhola ( eye of 1970 Bhola Cyclone) and other southern districts in Bangladesh. Aerial footages show that miles after miles, villages after villages have been turned into a total rubble. It feels like 10,000 tornados simulteniously ravaged a 200 mile radius area.

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Photo: AFP

5. While all form of communication including electricity, telecommunication, road-river transportation remain disrupted in the southern Bangladesh, rest of Bangladesh remains under darkness

6. As the category 4 cyclone had its landfall near Sundarban, irreparable damage have been done to the flora and fauna in the Sundarbans. It will take many years to know how mnay of several hundred Bengal tigers survived the 20 feet tidal waves.

7. Although the capital city of Dhaka ( around 100 miles inland) historically was never affected by bay of Bengal storms, this time Dhaka has been badly affected. Several death have already been reported from Dhaka, mostly by tree or building collapse. [ On apersonal note: a very nostalgic and loved spot of mine was the bat tala, benyan Shade inside PG Hospital / BSMMU campus. That 100 year old benyan tree has been uprooted by the storm, keeping a security guard trapped under it for four hours]. Hundreds of thoyusands of much needed greenery around bangladesh has been destroyed. Dhaka has no power supply all day. Non stop rain and sudden drop in temperature have made the life of the homeless people more miserable.

Update 1:

This email was sent from Dhaka earlier tonight,

… entire country is without electricity for last 24 hrs! We started getting power for an hour from 10:30PM tonight & no cable connection is available . Dhaka is like a deserted ghost city with everything closed even including the gas stations ! I tried to get to the net from my pocket PC couple of times but couldn’t get any net connectivity ! Lets hope that things are back to normal tomorrow .

Update 2:

Rezwan has an excellent round up of experiences from Bangladesh and analysis from abroad.

In 1970 we were not independent, communication and cyclone warning system in coastal Bangladesh as well as good will of the government was abysmal. Hence 300,000 to 500,000 lives were lost.
In 1991, there was adequate warning, government had all the good intentions but adequate shelter infrastructure and awareness among coastal population were missing. And we lost 100,000 to 300,000 lives.
Another 1991 style category five storm just had the landfall in southwestern Bnagladesh. I can tell, from what I see in Bangladesh TV, the warning is not bad at all ( ALthough not as good as 1991, when Kahleda Zia herself gave an address to the nation over radio TV only to advise the coastal people to take shelter). Massive infrastructure and awareness have been built since 1991 cyclone.

We can hope that not a single life will be lost in this cyclone of November 2007. I also can hope that adequate steps have been taken to protect the post cyclone food supply chain. The eye of the storm will cross the Sundarbans. Hope the several hundred strong Bnegal tiger population survive 40 feet tidal waves.

God bless Bangladesh. God belss the people of Bangladesh.

BNP 1983

1. The founder and all in all Ziaur Rahman is dead. Legtiimate-demoratic heir, Justice Sattar failed to stand up to the expectation.
2. A military General unlawfully removed elected and constitutuional BNP government. BNP is in serious zeopardy.
3. All top brass BNP politicians deserted the party. In fact at some point, starting BNP number 2 Shah Aziz, , top 20-50 leaders deserted mainstream BNP to fomr the king’s party fraction of BNP. Rest of the leadership were in jail with corruption charges. Prominent among the jailed were Moudud Ahmed, Saifur Rahman etc. Many leaders with corruption charges were hiding . Col Oli Ahmed was one of the leaders in hiding.
4. Khaleda Zia was brought in to hold the party from imploding and was appointed vice Chairman of the party by party chairman Justice Sattar. But no one ever thought in their wildest dream that Khaleda could hold the party. She was alreday marked ( by huge propaganda machine) as a ‘matric pass’ ( High school graduate) housewife.
5. The turncoats with Shah Aziz, Matin, Shasul Huda called for reform in the party. They called for a council in ‘Beauty cinema hall’. They sacked party Chairmen Justice Sattar and Vice Chair Khaleda and other jialed or hiding leaders like Saifur Rahman, Moudud Ahmed, Col oli etc and adopted a resolution to elect Shamsul Huda as president and MA Matin as SG.
6. There was open government backing to promote the turncoat group led bu Huda Matin.
7. Khaleda Zia was made unwanted in Naya Paltan party office and the party office in Naya Paltan was given away to the turncoat fraction. ( That office efefctively remained out of BNP hand until BNP took back power by 1991 election).
8. Any midlevel or grass roots leaders who dared speak out against turncoats like Shah Aziz, Huda, Matin etc. were arested and tortured by army led joint forces.
9. Khaleda Zia continued her relentless struggle to rebuild the party out of scratch. She was first put on house arrest in 1984, less than 3 years after her husband’s death.
10. Khaleda Zia boycotted all the election under the illegal regime. Her party office, party election symbol were hijacked under the patronage of the government.

The rest is history.

BNP 2007

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 500,000 people died tonight 37 years ago as a result of the perfect storm that lashed southern coastal bangladesh. Certain islands in north Indian ocean lost all its inhabitants. Deatails of this storm is available in the following wikipedia article.

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The 1970 Bhola cyclone was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and India’s West Bengal on November 12, 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 people lost their lives in the storm, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. This cyclone was the sixth cyclonic storm of the 1970 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, and was also the most powerful, reaching a strength equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane.
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বাংলায় ব্লগর ব্লগর করুন। অভ্র ব্যাবহার করে খুব সহজেই যে কোন ওয়েব ব্রাউসার এ বাংলা লিখা যায়। অভ্র কীবোর্ড ডাউনলোড করাও খুব সহজ। এটা আপনি যে কোন ফ্লাশ ড্রাইভে করেও বহন করতে পারেন।

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I grew up in the back lane tin shade colony in Banagram near Narinda of old Dhaka. For me, mere going to school was a big leap, doing well or thinking of continuing beyond high school was not even in my dreams. School was no fun for me also. How would you like to be confined to a place where you are always rebuked and yelled at by your teacher for being the bad backbencher of the class? In addition, not only academically, I was also the social backbencher too. When my friends used to come to school with nice dress, nice shoes and school bag, we had to wear the same dirty shirt, pant, and sandal throughout the year and carry he books in hand. Tell me, how I can be a good student. Who will help me with homework? The 1/1/2 room shanty my auto rickshaw driver father manages to rent, does not enough space for us 5 brothers sisters. So most our day and evening are spent on the streets.
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Awami league

Curent Status:
About to or already swallowed the bait set up by the military government.
RATS are back in full form and effectively in Control.
Conformist leaders like Motia chowdhury, Shahara Khatun, Abdul Matin Khasru, Subid Ali Bhuiya etc are mysteriously silent.
Getting ready for starting the partnership with the government. Alreday started local election process.
Party activists, intellectuals, well wishers are however gloriously  against this military government.
Rationale:
Prefer pragmatism over idealism. Three bird in one stone. Make friendship with army, destroy BNP. Destroy Jamaat and thus destroy center rights election hopes.
Future:
1986 style election and credibility loss. Will in turn make Khaleda popular again.
Not Clear:
How they will handle Hasina. Can’t go to election keeping Hasina in jail. Released of Hasina keeping Khaleda in jail will be suicide for both AL and king’s party.

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Looks like political dichotomy started taking shape in Bangladesh. Jaijaidin apparently defied DGFI directive not to publish the photo and description of jutapeta of ex military chief and BNP ( Moeen U) fraction leader Lt Gen Mahbubur Rahman.
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BDNews24.com reports:

The police arrested ASM Hannan Shah, adviser to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, Wednesday night. His special assistant Babul Ahmed told bdnews24.com that Hannan Shah was arrested at his DOHS home in Mohakhali at 11:40pm. Babul spoke to bdnews24.com when police were still at Hannan Shah’s home.

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Courtesy: Bohurupi

This is how ex BNP leader, currently a founding member of Moeen U’s party, Le Ge Ma Ra ( Lt Gen Mahbubur Rahman) was given jutapeta ( Shoe treatment) by BNP grass roots today.

UPDATE: Here is E-Bangladesh topless Photo and story of Le Ge Ma Ra.

The following interesting thing happened today at Zia’s mausoleum:
1. CTG totally shunned 7th November. ( This is not a problem if they did not believe in 7th Nov.). But the problem is in the fact that, those who are running the government are all believers of 7th November change. But they are trying to wear a facade of center-left to be able to use Awami league to reach their goal.

2. BNP ( Moeen U fraction) leaders Saifur and Hafiz along with a dozen leaders visited Zia mausoleum under heavy RAB/police escort and left the scene ASAP. Still Le Ge Ma Ra got a good shoe beating on his way out. After telecasting this beting scene once, most channels blacked it out in their 7 PM news.

3. When the real BNP came with RA Gani and Hannan Shah, the police swiftly changed their job description. From protections of leaders, they resorted to crowd control when thousands of activists followed these leaders inside the mausoleum

While this military government slowly takes their mask and gloves off, they needed a smoke screen to hide their dirty jobs. Hence they created the greatest ever smokescreen in Bangladesh politics. This smoke screen has many layers with ever increasing number of layers to make it more perfect. Here is the composition of this smokescreen now.

1. The spirit of 1971 and an the overwhelming hatred against the collaborators of 1971. Just ignite the anger.
2. Rekindling the friction between Mujib and Zia’s followers. Channel I suddenly comes up with an interview of a mastermind of 1975 coup, Kh Rashid. To the maximal convenience of the rulers, He blames Zia for Mujib killing.
3. Drug, women and sex. Or more specifically Yaba-Nikita-girl friend-yaba induced media imagined sexual perversion.

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This Bodi Majumdar was the instrumental intellectual warrior against politicization of EC during Khaleda Zia rule. He was all over, all vocal in favor of EC which will be free of political influence. And he did leave no stone unturned in finding out every possible fault the previous EC could make.

But today, on the eve of another politically motivated, ill-intentioned act of EC, he is already out with sword to defend the decision.

The shocking unlawful and immoral election commission rule of depriving mainstream BNP of EC recognition came late yesterday evening. I presume prothom-Alo went to press within a couple of hours. And in that couple of hours, he came up with this rather long piece of garbage in the name of BNP constitution analysis to defend the catastrophic decision of Election commission. Look at this Bodi Majumdar! What, then, did he preach all these years!! And after his menacingly long piece of trash analysis he concludes that the decision of EC should be supported in greater public interest. Which public you are talking about Mr Bodi the Majumdar? And what interest you are talking about? And what was your real interest all these years?

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