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Bangla Band Songs 11

Presidents in Bangladesh 17

FRIDAY JUNE 21 2013

vol 1 Issu e 10

Match Fixing 26


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CONTENTS

A Weekly Pro ducti o n o f

DhakaTribune Vo lume 1, Issu e 1 0 J UNE 2 1, 2 0 13 Editor Zafar Sobhan Magazine Editor Faruq Hasan Weekend Tribune Team Fahim Razzaq Sumaiya Shams Faisal Mahmud Tamoha Binte Siddiqui Sheikh Mohammed Irfan Yusuf Banna Fuad M Hossain

6 Feature The invisible champions

Photography Syed Latif Hossain Cartoonist Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy Contributors Naheed Kamal Zain Mahmood Ikhtisad Ahmed Albab Masud Bassema Karaki Dina Sobhan Muktasree Chakma Sathi Design Mohammed Mahbub Alam

Production Masum Billah Advertising Shahidan Khurshed Circulation Wahid Murad Email: weekend@dhakatribune.com Web: www.dhakatribune.com Cover Photo Lawachara National Park by Syed Zakir Hossain

17 Realpolitik Hail to the chief!

26 GAME ON Dark days ahead

2 This Week in Pictures 4 Whose Line Is It Anyway? The money talk 5 Big Mouth Strikes Again My father’s daughter 10 Post-Riposte To whiten or not to whiten 11 Top 10 Back to the classics 12 6° of Connotations A tribute to history teacher dads 13 Photo Story Lawachara National Park 18 Digital Bangladesh To the moon and back 19 Interview Khaled Mashud Pilot 20 Culture Vulture A maestro in dire straits 21 Stranger in a Strange Land When the law goes awry 22 Tough Love 23 Backbenchers’ Club 24 Day in the Life of A rickshaw puller 25 The Way Dhaka Was Eidgah Masjid 27 Obituary Abdul Khaleque 28 Last Word

EDITOR’S NOTE

The unforgivable mistake W

hat does Ashraful mean to Bangladeshi cricket? Some would say he is Bangladeshi cricket. His meteoric rise and ensuing career fluctuations mirror that of his national team’s performance in the international arena. Of course, his rags-to-riches story captures the imagination of non-cricket lovers as well. So, does that mean his impending demise as a cricketer signals dark days ahead for Bangladesh cricket? Or does punishing Ashraful actually sends a signal to the world that we are serious about cleaning up the only sport that we seem to be good at? Read this week’s Game On to find out more. Elsewhere, we debate whether it is pragmatic to whiten money at the cost of opening up a Pandora’s Box, Ikhtisad Ahmed walks us through the role of a president in a Parliament-based politics, and Zain Mahmood celebrates a special breed of fathers on the occasion of Father’s Day. Have a relaxing Friday everyone! n

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THIS WEEK

REUTERS

INTERNATIONAL

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron (C) sits with U.S. President Barack Obama (CENTRE R), French President Francois Hollande (CENTRE 2nd R), Russian President Vladimir Putin (CENTRE L), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CENTRE 2nd L), and other G8 leaders, during the second Plenary Session of the G8 Summit on June 18

Iraqi security personnel inspect the site of the bomb attack in Basra on June 16

REUTERS/Jewel Samad/Pool

REUTERS/Nacho Doce A demonstrator holds a sign during one of the many protests around Brazil’s major cities in protest of poor public services, police violence and government corruption on June 17 A wildfire rages on in Black Forest, Colorado. Fire crews battled a wind-whipped wildfire that burned at least 80 homes near Colorado Springs, while another blaze shut one of the state’s top tourist attractions and forced the evacuation of more than 900 inmates from a prison on June 12

Britain’s Andy Murray lifts the trophy after defeating Croatia’s Marin Cilic in their men’s singles final tennis match at the Queen’s Club Championships in west London on June 16

REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

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REUTERS/Rick Wilking


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NATIONAL

Dhaka Tribune

Police take position on a rooftop in Barisal as Opsonin Group workers demonstrate, demanding salary raise and other benefits on June 18

Pedestrians drinking lemon juice near the National Press Club due to summer heat that gripped the capital on June 17

Dhaka Tribune Focus Bangla

A mobile court of Chittagong City Corporation, led by executive magistrate Najja Sharmin, evicted illegal billboards at Garib Ullah Shah Shrine on June 16

RMG workers protest as police fire shotgun during a demonstration for reopening Euta Garment Factory in the city’s Tejgaon area on June 17

Focus Bangla

Mahmud Hossain Opu

Newly elected Khulna mayor Moniruzzaman Moni exchanges greetings with his predecessor Talukder Abdul Khaleque on June 16

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whose line is it anyway?

The money talk

Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy/Dhaka Tribune

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Big Mouth strikes again

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Naheed Kamal

My father’s daughter

In my family, rituals mean nothing, and holidays pass without cards or presents exchanged

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Men, just like women, are subject to sexist stereotypes. Men are expected to play the role of breadwinners, or they are mocked as lazy, sleazy and/or useless. Dodd found these images widespread in popular culture, upsetting enough to want to change the perceptions by celebrating fatherhood

ast Sunday was Father’s Day; you probably know that and did something appropriate to celebrate, even if it was just a card. I missed it completely, naturally. Just like Mother’s Day, arguments for and against Father’s Day celebrations can go both ways. Just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day started in America and was hijacked, to a degree, by Hallmark and commercialisation. But it started as a way to honour fathers. A century ago, a lady called Sonora Smart Dodd, inspired by the success of Emily Jarvis’s Mother’s Day campaign, thought it appropriate to have a day dedicated to fathers, naturally. It helped that her father was out of the ordinary, raising her and her five brothers alone when their mother passed away. Unlike Jarvis, who turned against the day she helped to establish, Dodd’s campaign did not become hateful to her, though she had to continue in her efforts for years. It wasn’t until 1966 that they paid off, with June 20 announced as Father’s Day and officially a public holiday in the US. In my family, we hardly ever go for such tawdry celebrations, or so I have come to say as consolation. I am sure my father, who is thousands of miles away, would have been happy to receive a card/email/text message from me as a token of appreciation, but I doubt he minds I didn’t do so. My father and I may not see eye to eye. I admit I’ve spent years fighting everything he stood for and trying not to be anything like him. But you can’t fight nature. Resistance was futile, as teenage rebellions so often are. Sooner or later, we must admit, all things being equal, our parents always do know what is best (for us). I can’t recall ever celebrating Father’s Day, but I found a card dating back to 1992, which I gave him on Father’s Day. So I must have celebrated it, at least once. It is easier to become a parent then to actually be one, but few can claim to be the perfect parent. It is a learning curve, or so I am told. My father isn’t the ideal father. He has many flaws, but he is only human and I give him credit for teaching me, without my realising and so fighting him tooth and nail, the

value of decency, being truthful and living by a few simple rules in life. He is scrupulously honest and won’t bend, which has earned him a great deal of respect and a reputation as an honest man with firm principles. When I was younger, I wished he was less honest and therefore richer. I have only come to appreciate my father’s morals and ethic in recent years. Fathers get a bad rap; negligent parents, regardless of gender, should be named and shamed. And good parents should be praised and celebrated, because all too often we take pot shots at them for failing to live up to unrealistic and archaic expectations of masculinity. Evidence shows the group most likely to take action effectively in the fight for women’s rights are men who have daughters!

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y father has always been a realist and didn’t try to shield me from the harsh realities of life. Whether it was boys, drugs, education, life choices or the hours I keep, I have had to earn them one at a time from him. Just saying I am an adult was not enough; until I proved myself capable of being responsible like an adult, I wasn’t going anywhere. Because we tend to get our wires crossed, we communicate sensitive topics through my brother, who does an ace job as go-between. We are a classic example of a dysfunctional family: divorced parents, father remarried and lives abroad; mother lives elsewhere, kids left to their own devices. We wouldn’t have it any other way. When a friend’s mother, to make a point, asked a series of pointed questions about how and where we lived, ending with “Why is your family spread all over the place like this?” I had nothing new to add. I wasn’t going to apologise to her, much as I respect her, for not meeting her idea of what a respectable family must look like. We are not big on rituals or showing our affections in ways everyone else does. We tend to forget public holidays and can easily pass Eid days sleeping, avoiding guests and ignoring the doorbell. But when my father brings me a present – and he is the master of unex-

pected presents – they are perfect. The best gift he gave me, though, would be my independence, his trust and allowing me to think for myself, make mistakes and learn from them so I can rely on myself. And then there are the books! From Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, to All Quite on the Western Front, to Kafka and Camus, and every imaginable author with a book worthy of reading – they find their way to me. We are so often told how important it is for boys to have good male role models in their lives, and it is true. But we tend to forget how important it is for daughters to also have positive male role models. Forget Freud, it is the importance of fathers in daughters’ lives I speak of. Just like mothers can make or break children’s self-esteem, the contribution of fathers is equally significant. Fathers or alternatively good male role models show girls (daughters) how to be strong and effective navigators in life. Women with strong male role models are unlikely to settle for less from other men in their lives, or allow men to manipulate them. Positive father figures create confident women and daughters. The older I get, the more I appreciate my parents. But it is my father who helped me by always challenging and supporting my choices to grow into the woman I am today. Because as children we really do learn what we see, and there is no better proof then my current and chosen profession. For years, I was unsure about what I wanted to do. I flitted from one job to another, until I found myself as the de facto editor of a newspaper supplement, and had to admit to myself finally, because there was no denying it any more – I am my father’s daughter. Happy Father’s Day! n

Naheed Kamal is an irreverent and irreligious feminist. An old soul of indeterminate age, with one too many opinions and a very loud voice (for a little person), she laughs a lot, mostly at herself. She lives in Dhaka, against her best judgement. Mostly, Ms Kamal rants, a lot!

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FEATURE

Special Olympics

The invisible champions Sheikh Mohammed Irfan is a pragmatist, bringing spotlight to the persistent problems in Bangladesh

Sheik Mohammed Irfan sheds light on the unacknowledged athletes in Bangladesh

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his year, Bangladesh defeated Canada at floor hockey. Not only did our athletes beat their Canadian rivals, but even more striking was the fact that they learnt to play the game by watching videos and practising with mops. It goes without saying that most of us are unaware of these native sportsmen who have won major championships on an international level. In addition, very few of us know that for the first time ever, Bangladeshi athletes participated in the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2013 in Pyeong Chong, South Korea and ended up winning gold medals. The Special Olympics World Games is an international competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities, which is organised by the Special Olympics. The World Games feature more than a week of competitions involving thousands of athletes from around 180 nations. With over 25,000 volunteers, coaches and athletes, this event may be the world’s largest sporting event of the year. Here, athletes can compete in 32 Olympicstyle summer or winter sports. The age group ranges from adults to children, and they are matched up accordingly.

Photos: SWID Bangladesh Archive

The intellectually disabled were excluded from this year’s Bangladesh Games on the government’s pretense of saving a mere sum of Tk200,000; whereas it spent Tk80m on lighting and fireworks during the games

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Did you know? n

Bangladesh is yet to have any regular field hockey team n

Bocce is a ball sport closely related to bowls with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire n

Medal haul of Bangladesh: A glimpse Gold

Silver

Bronze

Year

37

17

6

2011

33

12

2

2007

6

7

7

1995

For years, Bangladeshi athletes have participated in the Special Olympics World Summer Games, and their achievements surpass those of any others. During these games, they won 60 medals – 37 gold, 17 silver and 6 bronze – which is by far one of the biggest successes for our country in any form of sports. Their medals are a display of courage, determination and dedication – a rare combination in our country – and their accomplishments despite the challenges they face should be an inspiration for all. Unfortunately, these accomplished athletes receive no recognition because they are intellectually disabled. If we are willing to celebrate our national cricket team’s appearance in the Asia Cup final, then we should rejoice over the colossal triumphs of our intellectually disabled sportsmen, who deserve nationwide applaud and

appreciation. The first Special Olympics World Summer Games was held in Chicago in 1968, while the first Special Olympics World Winter Games was held in Colorado in 1977. Bangladesh first appeared in the 1995 Special Olympics, and during their very first appearance, the athletes won six gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals. In the last Special Olympics World Summer Games, held in Athens in 2011, Bangladesh participated in six events: athletics, swimming, badminton, table tennis, football and bocce. During this event, they broke their own record of 33 gold medals, achieved in the Shanghai Olympics in 2007. In 2011, Bangladesh won a total of 37 gold medals against the 40 athletes participating. In total, our athletes achieved 60 medals, meaning each participant won a medal. Their

A BBC survey in 2003 ranked “retard” as the most offensive disability-related word

greatest achievement came from football, when Bangladesh beat Spain – which in regular football has been a dominant force – 11 to 1 and received 16 gold medals. Bangladeshis also excelled in athletics, receiving 11 medals, of which seven were gold,

three were silver and one was bronze. In table tennis, they won five gold and two silver, and in badminton one gold, three silver and a bronze. They also won a gold medal in swimming, accompanied by two silver and three bronze. To the uninitiated, W E E K E N D TR IBUN E FR I DAY, J U N E 21 , 20 1 3


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Have you ever heard of blind cricket? This game was first demonstrated during the tea break of the Inaugural BangladeshIndia test match in 2000

FEATURE

Special Olympics

these games may sound easy, but the reality is far from so. Preparing for these events require extensive training and physical labour from the athletes. Physical labour is never easy and in sports is especially rigorous. Considering the amount of skill these athletes demonstrated despite their disabilities, they can only be dubbed nothing short of being gifted. Despite their inspirational accomplishments, these athletes never cease to face the constant prejudice and neglect of our society, which cripples them further than they already are. The taboo of looking down on or pitying these sportsmen has made their existence difficult and has intensified their already predominant disabilities. In a country where playing sports is still not considered a dependable profession, these intellectually disabled sportsmen face double the hindrance in contrast to our regular sportsmen. The social stigma associated with our invisible athletes has made it increasingly difficult for them to receive support or financial aid. In

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addition, our government has played a very limited, minimal at best, role in incorporating them into national and international games. In fact, the Bangladesh Olympic Committee is yet to recognise them as national sportsmen and has yet to sponsor

Events that Bangladesh participated in n n n n n n n

Athletics Table Tennis Football Badminton Swimming Bocce Floor Hockey

them. Instead, our athletes are being sponsored by various nongovernmental organisations like Grameenphone, which has made an agreement from 2007-2011 to sponsor more than Tk160m for the participation of these sportsmen in

the Special Olympics. No organisation has worked more for intellectually disabled athletes than the Society for the Welfare of the Intellectually Disabled (SWID) in Bangladesh. In fact, it is through them that Bangladeshis were able to


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participate in the Special Olympics for the first time. It all began in 1994, when the Special Olympics requested Bangladesh to participate in their Summer World Games of 1995. During that period, there was no organisation established well enough for the intellectually disabled, such as the SWID, which eventually hand-picked candidates for the event. Today, the special candidates are selected through district-level school competitions with more than one organisation involved. The main reason these organisations hold the Special Olympics in high regard is due to the fact that it is solely for the intellectually disabled. For the disabled, sports are one of the few ventures in which they can establish their confidence and kinship with society. Through these competitions they become more self-reliant and can drastically improve their life skills and economic needs. The Special Olympics runs its programme from Washington DC

and provides these NGOs a good level of support and assistance. Most notably, through them the athletes receive three monthly health checkups. Nowadays, they even train some of our national coaches and other volunteers for the Special Olympics in addition to sending foreign coaches and volunteers to help the athletes. Organisations in Bangladesh, such as the National Association of Sports for the Persons with Disability (NASPD), are maintaining the financial conjecture of the sports events. On the other hand, our government is yet to incorporate disabled sportsmen or their councils into their nexus of concern. Although these organisations have repeatedly tried to persuade the government to recognise these athletes as part of our national sports councils, they have been left disappointed every time. While our government has never blatantly denied absorbing them into the system, no official progress has materialised so far. Jawaherul Islam

Most of these organisations are NGOs that, for the last 10 years, have worked with the help of the Special Olympics and implemented its structural method of selection Mamun, president of SWID and vice chairman of the Special Olympics in Bangladesh, says: “The government officers are enemies of the government itself, as they constantly sabotage the government’s work.” However, he appreciates the role of our heads of state, as they have regularly donated funds towards these athletes and hopes to see these disabled sportsmen participate in national events like the Bangladesh Games. Despite all hindrances, there remains a glimmer of hope for our disabled nationals. The government recently took the initiative of building a multi-purpose sports facility in Savar. This will not only create more opportunities for our disabled people to expand their horizons, but will also

motivate them to perform better in the future. Lastly, it is our responsibility as a society to rid ourselves of all prejudice towards them and to instil faith in their capabilities. Today, they have highlighted Bangladesh in a truly positive manner, which is a rare occurrence. As Mamun said: “We Bangladeshis have achieved freedom through the Liberation War, so let us liberate the disabled as well.” n

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POST-RIPOSTE

Black Money

To whiten or not to whiten Y

es, because that would give our economy a much-needed boost. In a country where most “legal” businesses are shady to the core, setting a limit on undefined sources is hypocritical as well as a little impractical. Simply labelling it black doesn’t necessarily stop the generation of such income; it simply sends it outside the country, as a

sizeable portion of that money is laundered abroad. To actually stop the flow of black money would require intervention at the basic level, and for that to even happen the government would need a much larger fund. Rather than function on ideals and ignore reality, the government should allow black money to be legalised to facilitate the betterment of the

nation. The utilitarian principle states it is rightful to cause harm to a certain sector if that will eventually benefit the nation on a broader scale. n

YES

Sheikh Mohammed Irfan

Rio Shuvo

NO

Faruq Hasan

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B

lack money is your income from undisclosed sources – sources that you keep hidden from the government. Now, why would you not want to declare your income source? I can think of a variety of reasons, none of which speaks very highly of you as a decent human being. Keeping your income source hidden is not only unethical; in most cases, it’s also illegal. There are economic, social and even philosophical “excuses” (not reasons) for that, but they all

collapse when you consider that making kosher unbegotten wealth is basically promoting the mostly illegal ways in which that wealth came into existence in the first place. And let’s not forget that normalising illegal channels of making money is a strong deterrence to us humble folk who earn money and actually pay taxes on it. If the government makes it legal to not only earn money and avoid paying taxes on it, but also to make more money out of that hidden stash of

cash, that’s essentially a slap to the face of transparent, taxpaying citizens. So let’s reward those who work hard and consider paying taxes as their civic duty, and let’s punish those who practise the dark arts of cheating the government coffers. After all, there’s a reason why it’s called “black” money, and it has nothing to do with colour. n


TOP 10

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Bangla Band Songs

Back to the classics

They say old is gold, and they couldn’t be more correct. Band music in Bangladesh during the 70s, 80s and 90s has left a lasting impression our hearts and minds. The WT team selects the 10 best songs from the hoard

10 Odbhut Shei Chheleti “Odbhut Shei Chheleti” is an evergreen song by the “Bass Baba” Shumon. Composed by Russel, this song was from the album “Trimatric.” After making this hit, Shumon, arguably the best bass guitarist in the country, left Warfaze and formed his own band Arthohin, and later he made it his signature song for the band.

9 Ekaki

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Melay Jaire No other song has rocked the Bangladeshi culture like “Mela” sung by Feedback. Every year, on the occasion of Pohela Boishakh, this song is blasted everywhere to enhance the festive mode. Composed and performed by Maqsud, who later left Feedback to form his own band named Maqsud of Dhaka, “Mela” continues to be a national hit. n

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Bigstock

In his whirlwind career, Hasan composed and sang some songs that will be listened to by thousands of people for a long time, and “Ekaki” is one of them. Performed in Hasan’s high-pitched voice, the song was, and still is, a major concert hit, covered by several other bands.

James wrote and sang this timeless piece on a son’s love for his mother. You can’t help tearing up when you hear his plea for the comfort and love that only a mother can provide. A truly heart-breaking song.

ma

Sraboner Meghgulo

Phiriye Dao

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4

3

2

Shei Tumi

Cholona Ghurey Aashi

Bangladesh

“Shei Tumi” is probably one of the most popular songs in the history of band music in Bangladesh. This 90s hit was written and composed by Ayub Bachchu’s LRB, and a rendition is still requested during his concerts. Everyone is familiar with the heartache that comes with seeing a beloved person changing for the worse, and this song captures that feeling beautifully.

An evergreen romantic hit, this song, composed by Lucky Akand, was used in the super hit movie “Ghuddi,” released in 1980. The song has been sung in almost every event that the singer participated in and widely influences its listeners. It can be counted as one of the most listened to and sung romantic songs of Bangladesh even today.

This timeless hit about the life of a slum boy who symbolically represents Bangladesh has become an icon. It was sung by Pop Guru Azam Khan, who became a pioneer in band music following the formation of his band Uchcharon in the early 70s. “Bangladesh” was first broadcasted on BTV in 1972.

Different Touch is an evergreen name in the pop history of Bangladesh. Some of this band’s songs became synonymous with romance, especially during the 90s. “Sraboner Meghgulo” used to be played as a background score in TV dramas and movies to depict a romantic situation. Even these days, the song holds the same popularity.

Miles gifted the nation with their infectious song “Phiriye Dao” in the album “Prottasha” in 1993. The song’s timelessness lies in its relatable nature: anyone who has suffered heartache will feel the song was written especially for them. Its immense popularity can be fathomed from the number of people who still sing along passionately when the song is performed by Miles or any other band.

Mon Shudhu Mon Chhuyeche Souls released the popular song “Mon Shudhu Mon Chhuyeche” in 1980 with their first album “Super the Souls,” which is one of the first albums released by a music group in Bangladesh. The song remains a classic due to its melodious and soothing tune coupled with beautiful poetic lyrics. Even 33 years since its release, Bangladeshis can’t help but hum along when they hear the song. W E E K E N D TR IBUN E FR I DAY, J U N E 21 , 20 1 3


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6o of connotations

Zain Mahmood is a blogger who writes about social injustice. He is also a happy father

Zain Mahmood

A tribute to history teacher dads I would like a few more days being the annoying ol’ man to my kids, thank you very much

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ur Sundays are usually bright and sparkly; on a typical, school-year Sunday morning, I embark on making breakfast for my two princesses. While enjoying nutella-covered paratha and freshly sliced bananas, we discuss the upcoming week, homework, projects, field trips and many other things about school and how we may navigate through the next week. Later, we decide to jump into the pool and splash around together, or maybe take a walk down to the beach to play in the Atlantic. In the evening, we fire up the grill for some hamburgers and hot-dogs and enjoy it with a spectacular sunset on the balcony. This is our typical Sunday: some food, some play, some homework and a lot of relaxation – rejuvenation for another week of work/school/routine. I want to keep my eight-year old energised while enjoying our time together. This Sunday, when a friend came to visit, Shania seemed overjoyed, almost ecstatic. I asked her why she was so happy to see my friend; her answer was quite blunt: “Dad, you’re like a history teacher. Your friend is more fun to

Fatherhood is rewarding, and a little sentimental too. Watching you kids grow up and be out in the world would make you proud, but knowing that they don’t need the “superman” in their lives anymore can make you feel a little laid off

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play with!” When did I become the history teacher? I thought I was the fun dad! I’ve taken my daughters to their first rock concerts, I swim with dolphins with them, we discover exotic lands, and build castles out of cardboard boxes. Learning and manoeuvring through the different challenges of parenthood, I realise, at some point, routine and familiarity does cramp one’s “style” and the day-to-day monotony sets in. I remember my father as a quiet, serious man. I can count, with my fingers, how many times my dad spent time with me for the 18 years that we lived together. I don’t remember him ever laughing out loud with us. I remember him playing cards with me, or Monopoly, or reading books. I remember playing tennis with him once. But that’s the extent of our interactions. I don’t remember him swimming or biking with us, or taking us to the ice-cream store for spontaneous mint chocolate chip ice cream. It makes me wonder whether I have become the “history teacher” because I just don’t have a great example of a “Fun Dad” to emulate. Striking that delicate balance of craving to be a fun dad (or parent), while setting boundaries or maintaining routine sanity, is one of those most difficult, yet nuanced, decisions in our lives. In fact, similar to a photograph, it’s not a particular decision or snapshot; it’s a series of decisions, more like continuously playing video. Every day you adjust, focus and continue to move forward. I have found that while most children enjoy the “fun dad” spectre once in a while; they continue to like and respect boundaries, they like some structure, as long as it’s not burdensome, illogical, irrational or suppressive. With the relentless encouragement to do their best, children seem to thrive, push our boundaries and make us better parents.

This morning, my eight-year-old Shania tells me that she doesn’t want me to prepare her morning cup of hot chocolate anymore; she adds: “I like your hot chocolate, but I like the way I make my own.”

Keeping your kids happy at all times is no piece of cake. Times change, and with that, their tastes and preferences change. If you can’t keep up with that, you’re easily labelled “old” in their books It’s awesome when children grow up and take over their own responsibilities, and from far away, we can sit back and watch them grow up – and silently reminisce (almost crave) for that last Sunday morning, when the pool water was warm. I know these days of being a “history teacher” are limited and not going to last forever. Suddenly, being a history teacher for a few more days doesn’t seem like too bad a role. n


PHOTO STORY

Lawachara national park

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Lawachara photo story by

Syed Zakir Hossain W E E K E N D TR IBUN E FR I DAY, J U N E 21 , 20 1 3


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PHOTO STORY Lawachara national park

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awachara National Park, located in Maulvi Bazar District, is a major national park and nature reserve in Bangladesh. It was declared a national park by the Bangladesh government on July 7, 1996 under the Wildlife Act of 1947. Biological diversity in the Lawachara National Park comprises of 460 species, of which 167 species are plants, 4 species are amphibians, 6 species are reptiles, 246 species are birds, 20 species are mammals, and 17 species are insects. One of the species that is critically endangered is the western hoolock gibbon, of which only 62 remain in the area. It is among one of the top 25 most endangered primates and one of the six non-human primate species found in Lawachara. The

park plays host to the biggest surviving gibbon population in Bangladesh. This population of gibbons is considered of critical importance as it is likely to be the last viable population of western hoolock gibbons that will survive into the next century. Other such endangered species found only in Lawachara include the Phayre’s leaf monkey and the flying lizard. Lawachara is also the home of a number of threatened indigenous plant species. According to Abu Naser Mohsin Hossain, assistant conservator of forest, the government needs to be proactive in conserving Lawachara’s endangered species through adaptive management and co-management activities. n

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PHOTO STORY

Syed Zakir Hossain is the chief photographer at Dhaka Tribune

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Lawachara national park


REALPOLITIK

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Presidents in Bangladesh

Hail to the chief!

Ikhtisad Ahmed is a writer and an erstwhile lawyer. He is bound by absurdity, and exists, therefore he is

Ikhtisad Ahmed looks into the role of a president in a Cabinet government

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he late President Zillur Rahman was the first Bangladeshi president to die of natural causes while in office. While the death of this political giant is a huge loss to the nation, the manner of his passing offers consolation in the form of the stability it represents. His was an office that, shorn of its current largely ceremonial characterisation, saw his predecessors face controversy, assassinations and ignominy in darker days when it was given undue prominence. The Constitution established Bangladesh as a parliamentary democracy. By virtue of the same, Bangladesh, unlike the 15 Commonwealth countries in addition to the United Kingdom that retain the English monarch as the head of state, has entrusted the President with this title. Similar to the Crown, however, the President has nominal powers insofar as governance is concerned. He (or she, though the post has never been filled by a woman) is elected by the parliament for a term of five years (Article 50[1]), can’t serve more than two terms and, subject to being impeached (Article 52), enjoys immunity for his actions (Article 51). This changed in 1975, when the Fourth Amendment replaced the parliamentary system with a presidential form of government. Besides removing limits to the President’s power, Part III of the Constitution that dealt with

fundamental rights was repealed, amongst other changes. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became the first heads of state and government to enjoy almost absolute power. The parliament, its powers curtailed, existed under him. Following a coup and his assassination, the redefined ambit of the office of the President allowed his successor, Khondaker Mostaq Ahmed, to proclaim the Indemnity Ordinance. In simple terms, it legalised political murder and paved the way for, in retrospective, state-sanctioned assassinations. The former is an instrument, and the latter a perceived justification, that have shaped and defined Bangladeshi politics. This was set in stone when, in 1979, President Ziaur Rahman effected the Fifth Amendment that made all proclamations and constitutional amendments made between 1975 and 1979 valid, including those made by the military. He had, of course, resumed the top office in the land following a series of coups, and his fall came about in the same manner as his rise. Bangladesh had, therefore, endorsed, agreed upon, and allowed the implementation of autocratic governance. This continued to be reinforced by subsequent regime changes and constitutional amendments, which served only to further legitimise and strengthen the presidential system. The 12th Amendment in 1991

Factually speaking Bangladesh has had 17 different presidents before Speaker Abul Hamid succeeded President Zillur Rahman in accordance with the line of succession laid out in Article 54 of the Constitution

Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

reinstated the parliamentary form of government. The President reverted to the position of the head of state with limited powers and a largely ceremonial role. The now defunct 13th Amendment, passed in 1996, briefly extended the powers of the President during caretaker regimes since these non-party, non-elected interim governments would be responsible and answerable to him. All of this should amount to the president being of little consequence. Heads of states enjoy immunity and sign bills into law in civilised nations, as does the president of Bangladesh.

Theirs are offices of rituals, as is his. Lost in all the ceremony, however, is the strength inherent to Article 142 of the Constitution. A two-thirds majority allows it to be amended. Previous amendments have only served to increase the importance and power of the office of the president, who is elected by the Parliament, not the people, and who enjoys immunity. What exactly history has to teach Bangladeshis with regards to the president office with distinction depends on what Bangladeshis choose to learn from it. n

Presidents and the Constitution: A chronological summary 1971 Syed Nazrul Islam takes the oath to become the first president of Bangladesh on April 17, in the absence of the incarcerated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He remains in office until January 12, 1972, when he is succeeded by Abu Sayeed Chowdhury 1972 The Constitution of Bangladesh establishes a parliamentary democracy. The president is made the head of the state with a limited role in governance

1975 The Fourth Amendment is passed on January 25. It establishes a presidential form of government. The president is granted almost absolute powers Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the president of Bangladesh, is assassinated on August 15 The Indemnity Act is promulgated by Khondaker Mostaq Ahmed, at the time the president, in the form of an Ordinance on September 26

1979 The leadership of President Ziaur Rahman oversees the Fifth Amendment coming into effect on July 9

1991 The 12th Amendment is passed on August 6, re-establishing the parliamentary system of democracy

1981 President Ziaur Rahman is assassinated on May 30

1996 The 13th Amendment is passed on March 26, broadening the scope of the president’s powers during the regime of caretaker governments

1983 President H M Ershad takes office on December 11, the last person to do so while Bangladesh remained a presidential form of government

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman were assassinated while incumbents. President H M Ershad was pressured into resigning in December 1990, effectively bringing an end to the presidential form of government and the autocratic rule it had entailed Presidents Abdur Rahman Biswas and Shahabuddin Ahmed were the first two to serve full terms as heads of state after a return to parliamentary democracy

2011 The 15th Amendment is passed on June 30, abolishing the system of interim governments

W E E K E N D TR IBUN E FR I DAY, J U N E 21 , 20 1 3


18

DIGITAL BANGLADESH

Ham Radio

To the moon and back Faisal Mahmud writes about radio transmission between the Earth and moon

Faisal Mahmud is a staff reporter at Weekend Tribune who specialises in writing IT and telecom articles with depth and analysis. He is also in charge of the weekly Tech page for the newspaper

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ending a voice signal 382,720km away to the lunar surface and back is not as simple as it may sound. Ask the amateur radio buffs, or “hams,” - as they like to be addressed - like Muneem Hossain Rana, and he could explain the nitty gritty behind the why. “It has been my lifelong ambition and, to an amateur radio enthusiast, Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) radio communication is like what conquering Everest is to a mountaineer,” Rana said. In fact, he finds ample similarities between amateur radio and mountaineering. “There is no

monetary interest involved. It’s just an expensive hobby that requires real technical expertise and a lot of your time,” he said. Also, during times of disaster, when regular communication channels, internet, mobiles and telephones fail, hams can play a significant role during emergency situations and in working with public service agencies. “We can do so because we use a variety of voice calls, texts, images, and data communication modes. We also have access to frequency allocations throughout the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, hence enabling

Interesting facts about EME Using the moon as a passive communication satellite was proposed by W J Bray of the British General Post Office in 1940. The “moon bounce” technique was developed by the US Military in the years after World War II. The first successful reception of echoes off the moon was carried out at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey on January 10, 1946 by John H DeWitt

Bigstock

W E E K E N D TRIBUNE F R I DAY, J U N E 21, 2013

communication across a city, region, country, continent, the world, or even into space,” Rana said. This communication technique is reliant on the propagation of radio waves from an Earth-based transmitter, directed via reflection from the surface of the moon, back to an earth-based receiver. “In other words, it’s a two-way communication system via radio, where the moon’s surface is used instead of atmosphere to bounce back the radio signal,” Rana said. EME requires a higher grade of ham radio technology than what

is used for traditional Earth-bound communication across parts of the radio spectrum, approved by governments for amateur use. “Currently, EME provides the longest path any two stations on Earth can utilise for bi-directional communication. Only about 1,000 hams worldwide have stations capable of moon-bouncing,” he said. Why is this particular EME communication proposed and planned by Rana unique? “It is unique because I plan to transmit signals from my house in Dallas, Texas, which will be received by a team stationed in Bangladesh after the signal bounces back from the moon,” he said. Explaining the process, he said the moon must be above the horizon in order for EME communication to be possible. Bangladesh and the US, however, are in opposite directions with reference to the moon. “We only get a couple of minutes during early morning or evening, to release the signal, during when the moon can be sighted from both Bangladesh and the US. No one in the amateur radio community has tried this sort of communication yet,” Rana said. EME communication needs absolute precision, as the moon makes for a poor sounding board, meaning it’s spinning and rough surface can disrupt signals. “The hams’ voices must survive atmospheric interference over the long round-trip journey in a discernible form,” Rana explained. In the backyard of his home in Dallas, Rana has already started arrangements to set up his side of the communication system. His first attempt will be with 32-element beam antennae, and then it will be an array of four beam antenna. He will then start transmitting a signal initiating at 20MHz frequency leading up to the GHz frequency band. Rana, who recently came to Bangladesh, said he had already met with the Bangladeshi team. “There are about 100 registered hams in Bangladesh and I teamed up with some of them. We are now laying down the groundwork to select a suitable location in Bangladesh, from where the signal can be received barring interruption after it bounces back from the moon,” he said. Considering all the complexities involved, Rana said their experiment might not be successful. “We may have to spend six months or even a year, but that’s the way our hobby works. Theoretically it is possible; hence we shall keep on trying.” n


INTERVIEW

19

Khaled Mashud Pilot

Faisal Mahmud is a staff reporter at Weekend Tribune who specialises in writing IT and telecom articles with depth and analysis. He is also in charge of the weekly Tech page for the newspaper

Still up and running

Mumit M/Dhaka Tribune

Faisal Mahmud chats with the former cricket captain

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lad in a chequered shirt and white sports trousers, Khaled Mashud Pilot looked very relaxed. Bare-footed and cross-legged, he was sitting on a chair that looked too casual for an office. The whole ambience was somewhat homely, set for the interview with the cricketer who has been occupied in the cricket field for the best part of his life. “I am still busy with cricket,” Pilot said. “I am a brand ambassador for Clemon, an Akij Group product. Under Clemon’s banner, Akij Group has been running seven cricket academies across the country. I am in charge of the academy in my home town in Rajshahi.” Clemon’s initiative has been effective in finding out young and promising cricket players from various parts of the country, as he said. Bangladeshi cricket has evolved for better due to the initiatives taken to build a proper infrastructure across the country, in Pilot’s opinion. “Cricket was not facilitated much even 15-20 years ago, when I used to play. Parents didn’t approve of the game for a profession. The table has turned now; cricket has become a respected and coveted career option.”

“Even after retirement, cricketers have several career choices. This is the result of a strong sports infrastructure. I still think we have a long way to go, but the process has been initiated,” he added. Pilot also believes the current Bangladesh team has improved a lot over the years, as the cricketers have been having a more international exposure. “We grew up idolising players like Lara and Sachin, wondering if they were from a different planet. Eventually, we got to play against them, but cricketers these days don’t need to look at other international players in that manner. They, in fact, grow up playing against them,” he said. Pilot has several favourites in the Bangladeshi team. “Obviously, I like Shakib. I think Jahurul Islam and Nasir Hossain have great potential too. Mushfiqur Rahim is turning out to be a very good batsman-slash-wicketkeeper.” Pilot has always been a great fan of Brian Lara. “I was mesmerised by his batting ability. The best cricket innings that I have watched so far by any cricketer is the one that Lara played against Australia in a test in

1999, where he scored an unbeaten 153 to win the test. It was an unbelievable knock.” Pilot thinks his own best innings was against Lara’s West Indies in Gros Islet of St Lucia. He scored an unbeaten 103, which helped draw the match. “St Lucia is also my favourite tourist destination. It’s like a small piece of heaven on earth,” he said. Pilot has been the first name on the Bangladesh line-up for more than a decade. Besides wicket-keeping, he batted in the seventh position and was the last man standing in many a lost battle, nudging and hurdling singles in his bid to keep the show going.

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hen he was reminded about his tenacity, Pilot laughed. “Yes, the best in me used to come out under stress. I learned it from Wasim Akram. During the Independence Cup in Dhaka 1999, right before the highvoltage India-Pakistan match, I found him listening to music, very relaxed. I asked him whether he was tensed about the match. He said he didn’t think about the match much. He just played and performed. I learned that from him,” he said The only black spot in Pilot’s career

perhaps was his stint as team captain. He was the second test captain of the national team; during his tenure, Bangladesh played 12 tests and lost all of them. Another low point of his career was leading Bangladesh in the 2003 World Cup debacle, particularly the defeat against Canada. He was alleged to have spent the night before the match out. BCB put up an enquiry committee after the team returned, with Mashud being dropped for two tests against South Africa right after the World Cup. “That was one of the worst phases of my life,” Pilot said. “But I eventually got over it.” After the World Cup, he concentrated on his game and developing the Rajshahi divisional cricket team in the domestic firstclass competition. He was successful in reviving the division’s cricket legacy, helping to create a core group of cricketers, some of whom would go on to play for Bangladesh. “Life has not been easy for me as a cricketer. It’s still not. But I learn to live with it happily and with a sporting attitude. Maybe years of wicketkeeping for the team has made me accept life the way it is,” he said. n

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20

CULTURE VULTURE

Abdur Rahman Boyati

Yusuf Banna is a staff writer at Weekend Tribune. He would be happier if he could be a poet, 24x7. He also dreams of being a painter and is envious of those who can paint

Influenced by Mohammad Rafi and Mehedi Hasan, Boyati started with Kawali, but later in the 50s Yusuf Banna writes about the life and burden of the folk icon he explored his horizon he man who thought of the clock Dewan, Malek Dewan, Halim Boyati commercials too. and mastered as a metaphor for human body and Rajab Ali Boyati used to reside Among his long list of achievements and put it into the lyrics “Mon there during their visits to Dhaka. At and awards, Baul Academy Padak and the genres deho ghori, shondhan kori” is night, when they used to sit together Lifetime Achievement Award from of jari, sari, amar none other Abdur Rahman Boyati, the and sing, Boyati used to participate Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy are palli, marfati, folk maestro of Bangladesh. Anyone as a keen listener. Consequently, noteworthy. murshidi and listening to the song would mull over his ingrained talent for poetry was charismatic vision rendered into nurtured, which led him in the is life took a distressing turn in dehati the the verses and the truth it depicts direction of writing songs, composing 2003 when, while performing

A maestro in dire straits

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pointing towards nirvana. With thousands of songs of this magnitude to his name, Boyati contributes to our culture being so rich and alive. He can be called a true descendent of Lalon and the mystic verses of Rabindranath. The globally recognised artiste is presently at the ICU of JapanBangladesh Friendship Hospital (JBFH), his breaths numbered, and his family in several financial crises. Thousands have been moved by listening to his songs, yet in this era of consumerism songs are a commodity and no one seems to care about the voice behind the song, the creator of the tune and lyrics. Boyati began to learn singing at the tender age of 10. His father Tota Mia’s hotel in Dayaganj Bazar was the hub for folk singers in the late 40s. Legendary folk artists such as Khaled

W E E K E N D TRIBUNE F R I DAY, J U N E 21, 2013

them and giving them voice. In 1982, he formed the Abdur Rahman Boyati group. The musical instruments used by Boyati and his troupe were dotara, violin, harmonium and khunjuri. Members included Nazrul Islam (dhol), Md Jahangir (flute), Alam (harmonium), Baul Arshad (ektara), Musarraf (percussion) and Md Mojibor (mondira). He toured more than 32 countries with his troupe and, according to his son Alam Rahman, there is hardly any place in Bangladesh where he hasn’t performed. In 65 years of his singing career, he has released a total of 500 audio albums, in addition to acting in films like “Kashai” and “Hridoy theke Hridoye,” and sang as a playback singer in highly acclaimed films such as “Shankhanil Karagar” and “Gunahgar.” He has worked in some famous TV

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on BTV, he suffered his first stroke. Over the past years, his health kept deteriorating as he could not afford treatment. This led JBFH to come forward and bear all responsibilities of his medical treatment. This is the second time he has been sent to the ICU due to a drastic change in his health; his first time being from May 5 to June 2, 2011. In addition, it is the sixth time that he has been admitted in JBFH and his present condition is critical. Though the board formed for his treatment isn’t specifically giving the details, it was revealed that Boyati is currently suffering from neurological disorder, which has affected his sight and movement. Alam, his son, said the family is having a tough time bearing the cost of his treatment, despite JBFH’s help.

Courtesy

“Even though my father is regarded as a prominent voice of our country’s folk music, we are yet to receive any support from the government,” He said. However, in March 2011, Cultural Minister Abul Kalam Azad paid a visit to Boyati and sanctioned a good amount of money for his treatment from the government fund, according to Alam. Top of Mind, AV Graph and Green Planet jointly organised a fundraiser concert at the then Hotel Sheraton on August 19, 2011 for the ailing bard. Popular artistes and bands such as James, Arnob, Krishnokoli, Maqsood O Dhaka and LRB performed at the concert to support the cause. With passing time, Boyati’s condition is becoming rather critical. Those who would like to contribute for Boyati’s treatment are requested to contact Alam at 01712848776, or make donations to the account named Abdur Rahman Boyati Shohayota Tohbil, A/C no 33016666 at Agrani Bank, Hatkhola Branch, as early as possible. n


21

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND Bangladesh Police

When the law goes awry

Bassema Karaki deplores the ridiculous state of Bangladesh’s police force

Bassema Karaki is a LebaneseAmerican married to a Bangladeshi. She shares how strange, crazy, and humorous life in Bangladesh can appear to an outsider looking in

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hen a country’s police force runs on corruption and illegal activities, you know there’s something wrong. Unfortunately, that is exactly what’s happening in Bangladesh today. Not all cops are bad cops, of course, but here are some ridiculous, true accounts of how far most police are willing to go to get what they want. One day, I witnessed a decent truck driver being stopped by a couple of “bad cops” and told to submit his license and registration. With everything in check, the police still insisted he get down from the truck. Objecting that all his papers were in order and they had nothing against him, the innocent truck driver was sworn at and threatened to do as he was ordered to. When he got down, the two men in uniform scanned him, and then asked sneeringly: “Why are you wearing a lungi? That’s so dangerous! When it’s windy, the cloth can fly into your face and stop you from seeing the road, and then you’ll get into an accident. You are fined Tk100 for this violation.” Outraged with disbelief, the driver had no choice but to give in to the demands of the bullies. The police were waging a war on lungis, and it had nothing to do with Baridhara or rickshaw pullers this time. Another truck driver was not so

Mishu

easily manipulated. When he was stopped and demanded money of, he pretended like he had no change. Just as the driver had counted on, one of the policemen hopped into the truck and told him to drive ahead to the next gas station, where they would find change. Reassuring the policeman that they would stop soon enough, he sped past the gas station, and did not stop till he reached a truck drivers’ hang out zone. The two then got out of the truck, where the driver called over his companions. “Now pay up,” the policeman arrogantly demanded. Snickering slyly, the truck driver replied: “The nerve of this guy! Still demanding a bribe! Let’s give this crook a taste of his own medicine.” And with that, the policeman was beaten mercilessly and learned his lesson not to take bribes from dangerous drivers of large vehicles. Perhaps most policemen have faced similar situations, which is why they allow reckless bus drivers to occupy the roads while they bully the less fortunate – mostly CNG auto rickshaw drivers and rickshaw pullers – when looking for an easy catch. A couple of weeks ago, I was riding a rickshaw whose owner decided to take an illegal shortcut through the Banani bridge. Before I could speak up, the rickshaw puller was stopped by a policeman.

However, to my utter disbelief, the rickshaw puller simply pulled out a little red token and flashed it in the policeman’s face, who gave a nod of approval and allowed the rickshaw to continue down the opposite side of the bridge. The rickshaw puller later explained that for Tk5 each month, the policemen handed out tokens that allowed rickshaws to take illegal routes without being stopped. Apparently, organised crime was now in uniform.

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ne night, an acquaintance of mine happened to pass a checkpoint on his way home that looked more like a disco club with flashing lights. Two policemen made him pull over and came tapping on his windows with their flashlights. They demanded to search his car, claiming their uniforms acted as their search warrant. Delighted to find a stash of marijuana in his dashboard, they demanded a large sum of money to let him go. Knowing better, the man demanded to be taken to the police station and speak with their officer, claiming forcefully that there was no law against possessing weed. To this unexpected response, the police officers looked at each other in confusion, questioning whether this was true. Clueless as they were, they let my friend drive away out of fear of getting beaten by their superior. In a

country where the law enforcers have no clue what the law states, it’s no wonder corruption runs free. When in trouble, policemen are the ideal place to turn, except if you’re in Bangladesh. About a year ago, my husband and I returned from a store to find our parked car missing a wing mirror. In a panic, we approached the nearest policeman to report the crime. Instead of providing any sort of help, the policeman snickered at us and said: “Once you find the culprit, bring him to me.” His attitude made me wonder if he was the one who stole the mirror! All jokes aside, police exploitation is a shameful deed with countless negative effects on society. People who should be upstanding protectors of the law and providers of security can actually be bought off quite easily. With a corrupt police force, people are handicapped by the lack of safety and security in society. One thing’s for sure: as long as you’ve got pocket money, you’re safe from the menacing bars of jail. n

I watched in horror as a traffic police stopped a speeding bus in the middle of the highway only to hitch a free ride. As the bus was halted suddenly, the car behind it swerved to the left only to collide into a CNG auto rickshaw. When a traffic police is causing accidents, there’s not much left to say

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22

TOUGH LOVE

Dina Sobhan

Dina Sobhan is a freelance writer and cautions readers not to take her “advice” here too seriously!

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I have recently returned to Bangladesh after living in the US for the last two decades. Things have changed a lot, but it seems hygiene standards have gone down significantly. I am constantly trying to keep my house germ-free. I feed my kids only home-cooked meals, we use boiled water even to brush teeth (and drink imported mineral water) and I have bottles of hand sanitiser everywhere. My family thinks I am overreacting, but they don’t understand that I am only trying to keep the germs and bacteria away. How can I make them understand that it’s a war out there and I am just trying to protect my family?

Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy/Dhaka Tribune

I recently found pornography in my teenage son’s computer. Now, I understand that young people are curious, and I admit I haven’t really had the “talk” with my son yet. Can you give me a few tips as to how to go about talking about sexuality with my son without both of us getting really embarrassed and awkward?

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Yeah, here’s the thing: there is no way to go about talking about sexuality with your kids without it being awkward and embarrassing. If you insist on embarking on this crazy mission, arm yourself with the requisite knowledge as opposed to the usual “birds and bees” thing and know that he will probably think you’re a bigger, more ignorant loser than when you started off in the first place. I think you should let this sleeping dog lie. Instead,

go buy some more pornography and strategically place it where he can “discover it” and allow him to enhance his own education. These days, most teenagers understand at least the basics and could probably teach you a thing or two! n

If you’re talking about dust using war metaphors, then you really need to chill out, lady. I know you think you’re all foreign now that you’ve lived in “Aamrika” for 20 years, but you’re just a Bangali with pretensions. Yes, Bangladesh is dirty and dusty and polluted, and it’s not so much that “hygiene standards have gone down,” but that things have changed such as industrialisation, urbanisation and all the other “-tions” that have taken place in the last two decades while you were living out the white picket fence dream in suburbia. But what you seem to forget is, while it’s prudent to be cautious in some regards, it’s sheer folly to think you can encase your family in a bubble of safety for the rest of their lives. They need to accustom themselves to living in Dhaka, and that will entail some level of dirt and bacteria entering their systems. In fact, you will only be considered locals again once you’ve had a bout with food poisoning or dysentery. While I don’t really wish that on you or your family, you will only fortify your immune system properly once some germs are allowed to penetrate the holy land of your bodies. Live a little: go eat some phuchka in Gulshan 1 market! n


23

BACKBENCHERS’ CLUB

Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy/Dhaka Tribune

Across 5 Vase holding coin confused rare beast (7) 6 As found in Italian repast always (5) 9 Eve rang about Emma Peel (6)

Down 1 2 3 4 7 8

Regret French thoroughfare (3) Copies Blackbeard’s crew (7) Price of mailing after time (7) All together on everything initially (3) Heavily criticise Greek god (3) Cook a young fish (3)

Solution and clues for last week’s crossword

Across 1 5 6 8 10 11

Vegetable placed to incriminate (5) Fifty-one nil return for black gold (3) Boozy card game (5) A cereal nut (5) The Spanish mast initially made of wood (3) Game used to relight your fire (5)

Down 1 2 3 4 7 8 9

Real spy chopped herb (7) Weapon found up your sleeve (3) Play with small dog (3) Carrot-top thinner and less grubby (7) Waterproof computer (3) Current unit for a politician (3) Absence of ace king for older 8 Down (3) W E E K E N D TR IBUN E FR I DAY, J U N E 21 , 20 1 3


24

DAY IN THE LIFE OF

A Rickshaw Puller

Pedalling with pride Yusuf Banna talks to Md Al Amin Hossain, a rickshaw puller in Dhaka

Yusuf Banna is a staff writer at Weekend Tribune. He would be happier if he could be a poet, 24x7. He also dreams of being a painter and is envious of those who can paint

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l Amin is different from most of the rickshaw pullers in the capital: he is physically disabled. He drives a specially designed rickshaw with a metal plaque instead of a paddle and a motor run by four batteries, which is connected with a chain. It is similar to what we know as an easy bike, but Al Amin started working long before easy bikes were introduced. It all started when he pricked his left leg on a thorn. The small wound rapidly grew worse, and soon his entire leg was swollen and numb. As the local herbal treatment failed, he finally went to a doctor, who amputated his leg from his knee. “Who should I blame? Fate, ignorance, illiteracy, and false Ayurvedic treatment – all are the connecting dots for my loss. I used to put all the faults on fate when my leg was amputated, because suddenly I was jobless, worthless and a burden upon my family. My life was a living

hell as I was helplessly watching my family struggle,” Al Amin said. “Then one day, tired of using the crutch, I sat and moved myself, holding my whole body with two hands. It was like an epiphany to me: If God has strengthened my hands so much, I will use them to work,” he added. Before the incident, Al Amin used to work as a rickshaw mechanic, and so he thought of a motorised rickshaw for himself. His garage owner was kind enough to help him make it. Now, he carries all the tools needed to fix rickshaws with him, and for the work he can’t do by himself, he relies on fellow rickshaw pullers. Al Amin lives in a rented house in Pirerbag, Shaymoli, with his family. He pays Tk3,000 in rent, which includes the electricity, water and gas bills. He works around Farm Gate to New Market, seven days a week in two shifts: 8am-12pm and 3pm-9pm. He usually makes around Tk400-500 a

day, from which he pays Tk200 in rent for the rickshaw, less than the usual as the owner sympathises with him. Al Amin wishes he had a rickshaw of his own; that could save him a lot more money. He gets mixed reactions from his passengers. Most people seem afraid of getting on his rickshaw, feeling they can’t completely rely on a handicapped man. Others are completely the opposite. They willingly take rides in his rickshaw, in which case three out of four ask him about his life. “I don’t want sympathy from anyone; that’s why I work. But what to do? If my passengers ask about my legs, I have to tell them. Even though I don’t ask for it, if someone gives me extra money with the fare out of sympathy, I have to take it. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings,” Al Amin said in a husky tone. For a 33-year-old male, his statement seems logical. At the age

Al Amin is one of the licensed rickshaw pullers in the capital. Nearly half a million rickshaw pullers ply Dhaka’s streets, and of them only 80,000 hold a licence

Photos: Yusuf Banna/Dhaka Tribune

W E E K E N D TRIBUNE F R I DAY, J U N E 21, 2013

of four, he came with his parents and three other siblings to Dhaka from Daudkandi, Comilla for a better life. His father was also a rickshaw puller and lives with his eldest brother beside Al Amin’s house. Al Amin has two sons and one daughter. His eldest son is currently studying in a Hefazi madrasa. His other children are still too young for school. Being uneducated, he realises the value of education and hopes to give his children proper education. After speaking with him for an hour and a half, I gave him some money as a token of appreciation for taking his time. As he took the money, he said with a whimsical smile: “Money, the reason behind all the chaos. The world would have been so much better without it. Wouldn’t you agree?” n


THE WAY DHAKA WAS

25

Eidgah Masjid

Bangladesh Old Photo Archive

Friday prayers at the Eidgah Masjid at Dhanmondi was a ritual for my family. My father and two brothers, resplendent in our punjabis, were a weekend fixture. Even in the 80s, the mosque was filled with people, especially during the Eid prayers. Over the years, the masjid was expanded with a library in place now, and even a specialised place for wadu. Nowadays, the whole mosque is flanked by shops and it’s almost a commercial district. But for us, the Dhanmondi Eidgah Masjid will always be associated with piety. Akbar Hossain, 47, Dhanmondi resident

Eidgah Masjid 1983

Syed Latif Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Today W E E K E N D TR IBUN E FR I DAY, J U N E 21 , 20 1 3


26 Albab Masud is currently studying at the Australian National University. He also plays a little bit of cricket and has recently represented the Australian Capital Territory U-21 team

GAME ON

Match Fixing

Dark days ahead

Albab Masud shares his disappointment in Ashraful for ruining the face of cricket

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he beauty of cricket is in the uncertainty and the inexplicable twists and turns. Take that away, and it’s just a game where 13 men are on the field with no definite purpose. Mohammad Ashraful, with his heinous crime, has brought the game down to a level of meaningless among Bangladeshis. I have always advocated the fact that cricket is much bigger than just a sport in Bangladesh. A country that

constantly struggles against the ugly side of bureaucracy, where people are often let down by the government and tradesmen, and where news is synonymous to bad news, cricket has been a bright exception. Looking at our history, all major news in the past decade has been negative, either emphasising the failure of our government, or transferring heartbreaking news of innocent people losing their lives. Cricket gave

our people a reason to smile, a reason to forget about all the havoc that runs around us. Cricket was an occasion where people from all backgrounds could celebrate together and say with immense pride: “I am Bangladeshi.” By corrupting that sport at an international level, Ashraful and the ones involved with him have hurt the nation, deterred many fans and forced many tears. The same Ashraful who gave us one of our proudest moments in Cardiff is now the reason for one of our most dreadful memories. What Ashraful and Co have done has taken the innocence out of the game.

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Dhaka Tribune

reviously, when a player could not smash a half tracker out of the park, I used to tell my father: “This can happen to anyone.” Can I still provide the same reasoning? Can I put my hands on my heart and say confidently that what I saw was not part of a fixed plan, and was certainly a part of the game? By stealing the innocence of the game, Ashraful has done the worst thing that could have happened to our cricket. The damage is such that the victims of spot fixing have gone beyond just fans. Now, when the pride of our nation, Shakib Al Hasan, bowls a half tracker in the 49th over, eyebrows will be raised and questions will be asked about his commitment. Does he or any member of the cricket team deserve such scrutiny? Failure is part of a game, and anyone who has played cricket will tell you it’s extremely easy to miss your spot with one ball. But now a bad ball will be looked at with considerable doubt. As sports fans, we always want the surprise, the excitement of what-ifs and the prolonged discussions that follow. Fixed matches completely mar the excitement and take away the beauty of the game. I will not be surprised if a large number of people turn their faces away from the game – some in disgust, some in

shock and others just disappointed. Till last month, we were proud of the fact that our cricket was clean, where other cricket nations were struggling to keep bookies out of the game. We were proud that Mashrafe and Shakib bravely fended off bookmakers. In a country that has been the frontrunner in corruption, we were proud of our cricket team and its honesty. Our pride has been destroyed, our emotions toyed with and our beliefs crushed. As sad as it may be, our cricket needs to find the culprits that have polluted the game and make sure they never have any interaction with the game again. There is no point running away from the problem. It’s time to face it, eradicate the virus and move on. In the hands of Shakib, Tamim and Mushfique, I have no doubts our cricket will move ahead. But the shock Ashraful and Co have given us will last for a while. n

Ashraful’s story is that of a heartbreak; it’s a story of placing one’s trust in the wrong person - a story of a modern-day Mir Jafar

Highlights of Ashraful’s career Bangladesh team captain from 2007 to 2009

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Scored the fastest 50 in Test cricket

Youngest debutant centurion in Test cricket

Slapped a fan for calling him “rubbish” in March 2008

Caught and suspended for “spotfixing” games on June 4


OBITUARY

27

Abdul Khaleque

A walk of grace

Yusuf Banna writes about the life of the ASK founding member

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bdul Khaleque was a multifaceted personality; he was a freedom fighter, the first inspector general of police, home secretary, principal of Dhaka Law College and a passionate writer. In his life, he worked on and wrote about social, cultural and economic issues faced by ordinary citizens. Some of his books are “Political Economy of Foreign Aid,” “Transfer of Technology” and “Bangladesh Educational Reforms.” He wrote books on Bangabandhu and the Liberation War as well. Abdul Khaleque died on June 10 in Dhaka, at the age of 86, due to old age complications. He left behind his wife Selina Khaleque, a son and a daughter. Khaleque was a founding member of Ain o Salish Kendra, or ASK. He was among the few people who would always side with the people to whatever capacity they could. The reason behind ASK being such a dependable, humanitarian organisation is people like Khaleque, a true activist and an honest wellwisher of the people. After his retirement from government service, Khaleque studied law and took up legal practice. He led the police force soon after the war, creating a force responsible for the protection and well-being of the citizens. Many of those policemen were killed by the Pakistan Army on the night of March 25, 1971. After independence, protecting the public was Khaleque’s top priority. He worked hard to create a professional police force, while he also tried to provide them with proper salaries and other facilities, making them aware of their duties as the men of law. He played a great role in the formation of Bangladesh Police.

He joined ASK as a founding member and advised others on working with the police. He was very honest and constantly encouraged all at ASK to work with the law. His contribution through ASK in a village in Comilla during the floods and famine in 1974 made a huge difference. He used to attend meetings at ASK regularly as an executive committee member, but also kept in touch as a general member at all times. He was instrumental in promoting legal mediation and guiding its methodology. He was opposed to the extra-judicial killings and human rights violations at the hands of the police force.

Yusuf Banna is a staff writer at Weekend Tribune. He would be happier if he could be a poet, 24x7. He also dreams of being a painter and is envious of those who can paint

Abdul Khaleque’s absence will be felt in our society, where he has left a vaccum in the human rights movement of Bangladesh ZI Khan Panna, advocate and secretary general of ASK His venture with ASK was not only professional, but personal as well. His work life has become an example for people who are in the field of justice, law and order. n

Courtesy

Abdul Khaleque’s like at a glance 1927 Born in Dhaka 1971 Participates in the war. Heads Bangladesh Police for the first time

1986 Joins ASK as a founder member

2011 Receives an honorary accolade from Sultana Kamal and ZI Khan Panna for his contribution on the 25th anniversary of ASK

2013 Passes away at the age of 86

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28 Muktasree Chakma Sathi is a selfproclaimed feminist and humanist. She loves to point out things that she believes are wrong, but she’s open to logical counter-points. You are welcome to confront her if you want

LAST WORD Muktasree Chakma Sathi

Generation lost

I find the attitude of most young people these days a little disturbing

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nce in a restaurant, I couldn’t help overhearing a conversation between a smart girl and her friends. “You know, the other day, I was with my mum and was bored to death,” the girl said. “Why?” her friend asked. “Because I was surrounded by old ladies!” the girl answered. I stopped eating, trying to hold myself in place. ”Calm down, honey,” I said to myself. “This girl is a moron; it doesn’t matter how smart she looks. She was bored to death just because she was surrounded by old citizens? As if she would not get old? Don’t be mad at her … calm down.”

I believe the time for us to shun things we don’t understand is long past. Let’s not judge a book by its cover; even the mostmundane looking one may hold the most fascinating story It’s so easy, making such snide remarks about the elderly, isn’t it? Do we ever stop to wonder about how we would feel should we ever have to hear our children brushing us off because of our age? Let’s forget karma; what happened to respecting our elders? Aren’t we taught to do that while we’re growing up? For me, respect isn’t something you show people only in their faces. It’s a virtue others can see, even when the person you’re paying your respects to is not in front of you. My taxi was once held by a traffic police for half an hour. The reason: he thought the taxi driver blabbered when he was asked whether he was charging me by the meter or we had a verbal agreement on the fare. When Samir (not real name), a friend of mine, heard about that, he commented I should have bribed the law personnel. I asked Samir, “Why should I have done that?” “Because it is the system! If you want your life to be simple, follow the system. Simple!” said Samir, a youth icon in the country particularly known

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for his leadership skills. A few scenarios played in my mind then. In one such scenario, Samir told me the fault was mine; I shouldn’t have gotten on the taxi when the driver asked for an illegal fare. In another scenario, Samir suggested I should have asked the traffic police how long a legal procedure took. In a more “courageous” scenario, Samir told me I should have asked the driver if the police was asking him for bribe in exchange of exemption from a ticket, and confronted the police should that be the case. In reality, though, Samir told me I should’ve offered the police bribe to make my life easier. “Is that how you plan to bring change in the country and the world?” I asked him. He didn’t answer. If this is how a youth leader thinks, what is the point of him having the goal of changing the world? I don’t know … How often we label things as “girly” or “manly”? I’ve often seen my female friends giving me particular gifts because they think they’re “girly.” My male friends refuse to bring me my things because they think doing so is hazardous to their “masculinity.” Seriously? Things are just things, if you ask me. Can you really categorise inanimate objects according to human gender, or if they’re more suitable for men or women? It is us who label things as such, because we choose things catering to our particular tastes. And then there are the advertisements run 24/7 by big corporations. When will we stop behaving like that? I hear people passing judgements on what others are wearing all the time.“His or her attire is inappropriate,” I hear this coming from my friends and acquaintances, who range from extremist to progressive, religious to atheist, rural to modern, educated to uneducated, old to young and Bangalis to indigenous. I still haven’t gotten used to it, sadly, and I don’t think I’ll ever be. The truth is, how people would

dress is dictated by the environment they have grown up in, their lifestyle and most importantly, how they like to dress. Do I, who is on diet, have the liberty to take offence if/when you’re enjoying a delicious bite of pudding, cake or chocolate? No? Sounds absurd? It’s the same thing. Every individual has their own preferences of living; it suits them and makes them happy. We have to be open-minded about others’ lifestyles, even if we don’t agree with them, if/ when we want to be respected for our choices. Criticising someone because they’re different than us or forcing them to change their ways to suit our comfort isn’t the way to go. You would think that, living in this time and age, the young people would be more considerate, open-minded and fascinated by different things and people. What I see, instead, worries me. Still, I keep hoping that thing will get better. n

Progress won’t come if we talk about the changes, yet cling on to the tradition of illpractice and narrow mentality. We have the world at our disposal, courtesy of technology. Why should we waste time in petty things like who wears what?

Disclaimer Any similarities with the readers in this article are unintentional. Even then, if anyone feels I was talking about them all I can say is: Think before you act! A little change in your attitude would help in changing the world, in a good way.



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