Bangla Diaspora

Heavyset discussions regarding some documentary against Grameen Bank galore in our media and blog scene lately. National and international media, quoting a documentary, reported that Grameen founder prof Yunus embezzled a big sum o money from NORAD, a Norweigian development organization. Capturing that report, our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina developed a diarrhea of verbal abuses aimed at prof Yunus, even the org, NORAD, whose money has been reportedly embezzled, is saying that nothing wrong was done by Grameen.

So this blog cannot keep mum on this very important issue and taking cue from all high profile media and blogs, wants to present an in depth analysis old, over-used joke.

At the gate of the hell, one observer noticed that there is a hell guard at the hell holes for every nationals. There are few guards in the hole for American hellers, some guard for the hell of the British people, similarly a lot of guards for the hell of the Indian folks. But there was no guard near the hole for the Bangladeshis. When the hell’s guard in chief was asked about it, he told, ” we do not need to put a guard at the Bangladeshi hole. If one Bangladeshi tries to get out of the hell, the other Bangladeshis jointly pull her/ him down.”

I know you could not laugh at this old over-used joke. But that is all this blog has to say about the recent Grameen issue.

The value of Bangladesh Supreme Court apparently took a big plunge under it’s new leader Justice Khairul Haque.

Few months ago, the market rate of the honor of Bangladesh Supreme Court was 100,000 taka and six months jail sentence. That was under the leadership of former Chief Justice Fazlul Karim.The full bench of the court decided that rate when they sentenced newspaper editor Mahmudur Rahman for a report what they thought was truthful yet contemptuous of court.

So it was a matter of huge public curiosity when the same editor Mahmudur Rahman was brought back to the highest court for a second contempt of court case against him. And again the three men ( two men short this time, as two seniormost judges are not working out of ‘oviman’ as they were superseded by JusticeKhairul haque to be Chief Justice) found editor Mahmudur Rahman guilty of contempt of court.

However there was a difference in sentencing. Justice Khairul Haque led court  only sentenced editor Mahmudur Rahman a fine of 100 taka and no jail term. A major plunge from 100,000 taka and six months jail fixed by previous court.

Well, this is only the first month of Justice Khairul Haque’s Supreme Court. Let’s see what comes next. From 100,000 to 100 taka in a month. Then what?

Last time I was ready with my contents to write this post, it did not happen. My candidate lost the Detroit Mayoral election unexpectedly that time. But the opportunity has finally come this time. Yesterday a young energetic state senator Hansen Hashem Clarke defeated a long term incumbent in the Primary of US State Michigan’s overwhelmingly democratic 13th Congressional district in Detroit.


Latest update from New York. Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed’s talk tonight @ Asia Society is sold out.

Security  blanket has been announced.  Part of the audience will be moved to a different room and watch the event via satellite fed. This is in anticipation of trouble– either in form of questions or protest. Attendees have been told they cannot take  photos.

In Detroit’s west side, life nearly comes to a halt as soon as the night falls. Mohammed Masuduzzaman preferred this semi-graveyard shift as a laundry-mart attendant as he could use the time to catch up with some studies. A PhD candidate at Wayne State University College of Engineering, Masuduzzaman probably typifies the middle class Bangladeshi who, after being disgruntled with the anarchy at home, sailed abroad in search of a better life. Masud was apparently a little late to start his voyage. With an eleven year old daughter and 3 year old son and a bachelor’s degree from BUET, several MS degrees in civil, environmental and urban planning, at the age near 50, he was still struggling for a safe existence in USA, the land of his dream.

On Monday, some assailants attacked Masud at his laundry mart, mercilessly chopped him over his face, head and all over the body. Masud was finally declared dead on Wednesday. When some of Masud’s BUET batch mates met his wife Dr Rubina Yasmin, she had an anticipated expenditure of around 12 thousand dollars including funeral arrangements and travel cost and had not more than a couple of hundred dollars in savings.

I haven’t yet seen all the contestants. Yet I already have an early pick. Her stunning voice, illuminating presence on the stage has mesmerized me. I am definite she will be in top ten and very hopeful that she would be in top three.

Listen to Nishita Barua.

Today is the 107th birth anniversary of our rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

One of my early childhood memories is that of visiting Nazrul. It was probably the fashion of early seventies to go visit Nazrul. I remember, me with my mother and some aunts, waited in line for long time before getting to enter the room where Nazrul was sitting.

Nazrul, as I can remember, was visibly angry and probably uncomfortable at being treated like a zoo inhabitant.
The room was full of people, visitors like us was passing in a line, and a room full of musicians singing Nazrul’s songs.
And Nazrul’s attention was apparently on the fly which was trying to sit on his nose.
After falling ill in 1942, Nazrul quickly became irrelevent. Wife Pramila died, financial, physical handicap slowly overwhlemed the rebel poet. Wikipedia puts the rest of his life this way,

He entered a world of increasing isolation, until 1972, when the newly formed nation of Bangladesh rediscovered him. He was taken to Dhaka and honoured as the national poet. However, Nazrul’s physcial and mental condition never improved, and he died on August 29, 1976. In accordance with a wish expressed in one of his poems, he was laid to rest beside a mosque on the campus of the University of Dhaka.

Now three decades later I ask myself, was, what we did with Nazrul those days, fair way to treat a severely demented person? May be he was the national hero. Did any of us ever saw Ronald Reagan after he got Alzheimer’s?

I still don’t understand the rational to ship Nazrul out of calcutta to Dhaka. Nazrul was born in Bardwan in West Bengal and spent most of his adult life in Calcutta. Does it mean that Nazrul, because he is a muslim is ours and Rabindra Nath Tagore not ours because he is a Hindu?


Or, Bangladesh, a new born state, needed a national icon like Nazrul to promote and solidify Bengali muslim nationalism? Did it serve it’s purpose?

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