Publish: April 1, 2013

Editor’s Note

With this issue of Forum, we draw the curtain on this publication. Seven years since its inception that the monthly magazine has been in continuous print, it does sadden us to bring it to a close. Much that we would

No Longer the Elephant in the Room

HANA SHAMS AHMED shows how religion cards are used by the powers that be.

Blogger and Shahbagh activist Ahmed Rajib Haider’s murder on February 15th has opened a can of worms that goes by the name of ‘atheism’. While within the Shahbagh movement’s main demands of justice for war crimes and more recently the

Unpacking the Islamist Agenda

ALI RIAZ expounds on the rise of Islamist alliances in the present political context of Bangladesh.

Since the Shahbagh movement began in early February, demanding the maximum punishments for the war criminals and the banning of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), there has been a flurry of activities among the Islamists. Various groups and alliances have emerged. The organisers

To Awaken the Conscience of People

DR. NUZHAT CHOUDHURY makes a personal appeal for the trial of war criminals.

It is a logic which a simple child would understand that a crime should be investigated and criminals should be punished. But the usurpers made simple logic seem impractical and unimaginable cruelty easily ignorable. Forcing a raped woman to see

The Role of Narrative

History is how we remember and write it according to our own theories and narratives, suggests TAWHEED RAHIM.

The unfolding of recent political events is now subject to endless interpretations of what happened and theories on why it happened. We live in a particular time and society where there is no common reality, but rather divergent realities where

War Crimes, Justice and the Politics of Memory

Four decades into the war of independence, Bangladesh has re-initiated a domestic war crimes trial process that contains its own power dynamics, exclusions and silences. In this article, BINA D'COSTA weaves through divergent layers of the complex politicisation of memory by various actors. It provides a brief background of the current impasse, the fractured process and the hierarchical nature of various international discursive interventions delegitimising the trials and considers popular protests in Shahbagh, Dhaka, through which collective remembrance becomes a distinct and disputed social and political practice.

In 2010 the Bangladesh government established an International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) to try war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. In the 40 years that have elapsed since the liberation war, the

Shahbagh: The Garden of Kings

Shahbagh has proved that the vision of 1971 lives on, says SAMIER MANSUR.

  Four centuries ago, Abu Fazl, the Chief Advisor to Emperor Akbar wrote, “In the country of Bengal…owing to the climate’s favoring the base, the dust of dissention is always rising.” But on the passing heel of winter last month,

When Nature Lashes Out

A Photo Feature by SK ENAMUL HAQ

The tornado which hit Brahmanbaria last month has left 31 people dead, hundreds injured and over 500 homes damaged — all in a fury of about 15 minutes. The government grants and relief can help to only begin the process

The Paradox of Dual Identity

ZIAUDDIN CHOUDHURY contemplates over the seemingly complicated relationship between national and religious identity.

  In the tenth year of our independence while attending a reception in our embassy in Washington DC I was asked by a person of Middle Eastern descent if I thought Bangladesh was better off by breaking away from Pakistan. 

Bangladesh: A Repository of Cultural Diversity

In today's, world becoming ever so small, in terms of reach and understanding, the word Diversity brings forth a very important connotation. We see words like bio-diversity, racial diversity, linguistic diversity, religious diversity, artistic diversity, etc. highlighting whenever the comity of humankind bring nations together for a world free of fear. The interesting point to note is the fact that before humankind started thinking of diversity, nature endowed it on us to be able to live in harmony. ALY ZAKER dedicates his piece to Mother Nature, which is a protector and guardian of humankind, always showing them the path to peace and tranquility.

As we proceed, Bangladesh is known to be a homogeneous country. But at the same time it has been a storehouse of diverse culture. We laid down our lives for our mother tongue in 1952, fought a war in 1971,



  The original Forum of the 1960s was begun at a time of political upheaval and acted as a platform for voices of change — political, economic, cultural and social. Over 30 years into its closing, we resumed Forum with

We wish to inform you

N AEEM MOHAIEMEN traces a history of censorship in Bangladesh (1972-2012).

I first started researching Bangladeshi censorship cases as a counter-ballast to an ongoing case in 2007­. A list of post-1971 cases was meant to be the appendix to a larger argument about the fragile state of the fourth estate. As

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Our All-powerful PM

SHAKHAWAT LITON describes the vast power of Bangladesh's head of government.

The Constitution in Article 7(1) declares that all powers in the Republic belong to the people, and, their exercise on behalf of the people shall be effected only under, and by the authority, of this Constitution. For proper exercise of

In the Claws of the Next Asian Tiger

SHUDEEPTO ARIQUZZAMAN studies the prospects of Myanmar as well as its Rohingya community.

The new international significance of Myanmar can be judged by the fact that the US president chose this country as his first destination abroad. This first ever visit by an US president to the hitherto forbidden land also signals the

Tajuddin, a Biopic and our History

SYED BADRUL AHSAN pays tribute to the unsung hero.

  Tajuddin Ahmad’s moment of glory came through the rattle of Pakistani gunfire in March 1971. The saddest part of his brief life was arrived at in the few minutes the men who had only months earlier murdered Bangabondhu Sheikh