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Jose Mujica, the poorest president.
Impressions

A Cut Above the Rest

Meet the poorest president of the world – Jose Mujica, the head of state of Uruguay. He lives in his ‘wife’s farmhouse, off a dirt road outside the capital Montevideo’. He has spurned the luxurious house reserved for Uruguayan leaders

Under the spotlight …
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Under the spotlight …

HOW Bangladesh has swung into the spotlight of world’s concern! John Kerry calls Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, virtually questioning the integrity and standards of the War Crimes Trials. He enters a plea with her not to go ahead with the

Let self-respect propel us
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Let self-respect propel us

Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told senior journalists in Dhaka on Wednesday that “the world’s eye is on Bangladesh … we keep discussing with our strategic partners” (the developing scenario in the country). It is a perfectly meaningful statement couched

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Land of promise turned hell house of human stories

BANGLADESH is having more than its share of martyrs. And, incrementally at that, so we are losing count of them. They are not even entombed, many would have died unnoticed, unsung and as nondescripts. None but their near and dear

PM shows her hand, now what?
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

PM shows her hand, now what?

THE curtain has been drawn on the ninth parliament with a ring of finality, if not quite a swan song. The prime minister is to continue in office heading the interim government till the general election and power transition. The

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

All in the name of the people …

PAKISTAN-TIME political lexicon contained a blood-hungry slogan: Hum khun se holi khelenge (we will play holi with blood). Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy’s response was elemental as a champion of democracy. He would say: “We will fight will ballot.” But the walkway

Replay of 2006, chapter and verse!
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Replay of 2006, chapter and verse!

ARE we any better off after the announcement of proposals and counter recipes by the ruling Awami League and the opposition BNP? Notionally perhaps, but not in reality — as yet. On the contrary, the signs and symptoms are ringing

A Goldmine for Tourists
Impressions

A Goldmine for Tourists

It hurts to know that Dhaka city’s liveability ranking is just a notch above Harare’s, the bottom-most city in the latest global habitability reckoning. But things are not all that miserable when you discover Bangladesh’s better standing on the happiness

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Polls, tantalisingly close, yet so far

IT’S a pity that national election, a festive occasion for the people of Bangladesh, a civilised means for peaceful transfer of power, and a vehicle for expression of popular sovereignty is being approached with unqualified trepidation. At a time when

Mr. Salman Khurshid and Mrs. Sujatha Singh
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Populism, vision, reality …

INDIAN external affairs minister Salman Khurshid’s welcoming remarks to Bangladesh media delegation around the third week of last month in New Delhi exuded extraordinary warmth towards Bangladesh and its people. He began by saluting the land that produced the famous

Photo: Star

A glimpse of the Indian mind

TIMES of India Group’s senior editor, foreign affairs, Indrani Bagchi, literally took the words from our mouths. In an interactive session between a 12-member Bangladesh media delegation and a distinguished panel of interlocutors in the Indian capital on September 17,

Indo-Bangla rail links strengthen relations

Indian Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has said Bangladesh-India cooperation in railways has been contributing to enhancing people-to-people contact, a mature professional relationship and sharing technology and management practices. He was interacting with a group of Bangladeshi journalists in New Delhi

Land Boundary Deal

Bill to be tabled in next session of Lok Sabha

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has hinted that the constitutional amendment bill on the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh might be placed in the winter session of the Lok Sabha. While meeting with a media delegation from Bangladesh in

A positive spin to the story
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

A positive spin to the story

WE are masters in the art of misreading positive signals in politics whenever they glimmer in a corner. Soon they would disappear from the radar, thanks to misinterpretations. Khaleda Zia has apparently settled down to a moderate line. She would

Photo: Zahedul I Khan
Impressions

The Burden of Ingratitude

Those who read Prothom Alo’s takeaway Saturday supplement Chhutir Din-e (on a holiday) of 24 August must have been touched by bus conductor Humayun’s single-handed act of bravery on Chittagong-Dhaka highway. The story goes like this: On 25 July, 32

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Clarity, the crucially missed link

MY esteemed colleague in this paper, Executive Editor Syed Badrul Ahsan, wrote on what he terms ‘Sheikh Hasina’s legacy’ in his last Wednesday column. One would have much rather he had phrased it as Hasina governments’ ‘performance’ or ‘scorecard’ spanning

Is Syria going the Libyan way?

Is Syria going the Libyan way?

The spectre of ‘no-fly-zone’, air strikes, carpet bombing and cruise missiles whizzing ashore from the warships stationed in the Mediterranean is rising over Syria. Damascus has ‘crossed the redline,’ according to a US set threshold based on what is touted

Try a committee of elders to melt the ice
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Try a committee of elders to melt the ice

MAJED Sardar, an old Dhaka icon, much revered in that part of the capital city well into the eighties, when asked about his reading of the prevailing political situation, said: “During the British we saw administering (shashan), in Pakistan times

Give yourselves a break

Give yourselves a break

INVARIABLY, a hartal call has a casual and cruel footnote to it. The armchair bound announcer implores people to put up with the shutdown in greater national interest, imbued with a spirit of sacrifice. What ‘greater interest of the country’

Photo: AFP
Perceptions

Turning Emotion into Positive Energy

It is usually said that people after fifty who are away from their ancestral abodes must feel bonded to their roots. This is an innately human pining for the lost or occasionally visited land of one’s own! You might call

Waltzing in dynastic politics
Pleasure Is All Mine

Waltzing in dynastic politics

The inevitableis happening: Dynastic lineage is coming on to the frontline of national politics. Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia slipping into their twilight years are looking to their progeny to take up their mantles. But it is hardly swan song

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Impressions

The Compulsive Veneration

The US Congress broke into a rapturous standing ovation to Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s as he had finished his address to a joint audience of Senate and House of Representatives last year. The applause went on for what seemed like

To hit the bull’s eye
Pleasure Is All Mine.

To hit the bull’s eye

Three trends have been watched with concern lately. The first one is the virtual launch of election campaigns by AL and BNP chiefs without having settled their differences over the modalities of the next election. They do not even talk

None is coming to the point yet
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

None is coming to the point yet

ONE would have thought in sequel to AL-backed candidates’ defeats in recent mayoral contests that the ruling Awami League would immerse itself in serious soul-searching. That they have gone in for some introspection cannot be in doubt but judging by

Photo: Star File
Impressions

Nano or Mega Tyranny!

I know of one classic case of a ‘blessing in disguise’ sending an ill-fated fugitive to a better life in USA, all because he had fisticuffed a traffic policeman. This is how it happened with a youngster, and happens to

A learning curve for AL and BNP
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

A learning curve for AL and BNP

NORMALLY, reactions are calibrated to the level of a contest, and collateral damage to the losing side is by definition supposed to be peripheral. These two rules, however, do not apply to the consequences of Gazipur City Corporation election. A

The India factor
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

The India factor

KOLKATA daily The Telegraph, in its online edition on June 26, published a report by Charu Shudon Kasturi titled “Delhi does not lose sleep as Khaleda scores.” This piece informs that India is not unduly worried over BNP-backed candidates’ clean

Myth about Clapping
Impressions

Myth about Clapping

A Swedish study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface makes one sit up and take note of the strangeness of human nature. Conventionally, one would have thought that audience applause is a recognition of good performance on

Amdadul huq/drik news
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Cast adrift or ashore

THE city corporation polls have left some carbon footprints. The first among them was the attempted vote buying behind the scenes. This allegedly was done in two ways: Cash passing hands and the glitzy postering far beyond the campaign spending

Flip-flopping detours
PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Flip-flopping detours

  WHICH is the elephant in the room? Obviously, ‘the missing of the most important item by most’ i.e. ignoring the vital and paramount agenda of conflict resolution over a nonpartisan poll-time government versus an extended elected interim government. Constitutionally,

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Stick with the parliament

A leopard never changes its stripes. Chameleon, literally a certain species of lizard, however, keeps changing the colour of its skin. The first one is a metaphor for political rigidity and the second of expediency and opportunism. Both are used

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Just cool it!

A global social attitudes study has put a badge of dishonour, so to speak, on our lapel. It claims that most racially intolerant populations are in the developing world, with Bangladesh, Jordan and India in the top five. Respondents from

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Playing by the wrong book!

LEADERS everywhere in the world face difficult choices. They often have to navigate rough waters but a steady hand stewarding the ship coasts home with the best possible harvest. Take for instance, President Barack Obama. Acting commissioner of the Internal

Undeserved Brickbats

If it wasn’t for the media playing its role with passion, vigour and commitment, the flow of information about catastrophic human tragedies would have been under-whelming rather than overwhelming. The naturally hyped coverage has served as a scanner on evacuation,

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Melting ice frosting

A Bengali proverb captures the mood of the moment. A disputant tells the judge: “Whichever way your ruling goes, the palm tree is mine.” When the bone of contention is fleshed out to make a meal for one, the other

Impressions

RIDER CLAUSE OF LIFE

What went through every citizen’s mind on Sunday was a living hell unfolding before one’s own eyes. We have seen nothing like this before, let alone experienced it at first hand. Even by the standards of our convulsive history, the

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

From cheapening of life to culling!

IT felt like a horror replayed from Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds. The film showed seabirds invading Santa Cruz township in California in 1961 leaving the dwellers petrified, utterly helpless and fleeing their abodes to safety. Those who had seen

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Take the glimmer of hope to fruition

AT long last, clouds are clearing over the political horizon. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in a dramatic move, following the opposition leader’s withdrawal of the May 2 strike in response to her request, has offered a dialogue with the opposition.

Impressions

Cultural Intoxication?

Dhaka is a happening city with slowed down mobility. This is not a contradiction in terms but a reality on the ground. One could almost say, considering the still-photo-like congestive traffic, that in a queer way, it’s an exciting metropolis

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Unbounded inflexibility, why?

ASK any politician on either side of the aisle, he or she will feign complete ignorance of his or her party having an anchor point — I mean overseas. But in private, they will confide in you that such indeed

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Making sense of PM’s interview with BBC

PRIME Minister Sheikh Hasina in her latest interview with BBC Bangladesh correspondent, Ambarasan Ethirajan, came into her elements like she did in Stephen Sackur’s HardTALK encounter on July 30, 2012. She refuses to be cornered by any question, however provocative

Impressions

Obama-Michelle Mix-up

The world’s most celebrated couple, US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, has come under spotlight for a gaffe each of them mouthed out to their audiences. President Obama waxed effusive about Indian-American Kamala Harris, a Democrat top

Pleasure Is All Mine

Impunity: No end in sight

Bangladesh’s economic growth is regarded as something of an enigma, a veritable puzzle, by most economists. The conditions of the economy are far from ideal. Sustained political instability over the last two decades, if only worsening with time, and lack

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

How can our leaders sleep?

AN anecdote goes like this: Abraham Lincoln, the legendary US president, when asked by a youngster, why was he so serious-looking that he couldn’t put up a smiling face, the great man replied that he found nothing to smile about.

Reflections

Sublime to the Ridiculous …

When the economy creates a brighter image for Bangladesh, politics destroys it. In a world where primacy of economy is accepted and rooted for, politics usually takes a backseat. Even historically inimical countries do not piggyback on any past baggage,

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Shahbagh: A missed opportunity?

NOT quite, I would say. This is because of the life and fight left to Projonmo Chottor’s Gonojagoron even after one and a half months of its sprouting into a phenomenon. The spirit of Shahbagh lives on in some form

Pleasure Is All Mine

What’s ventured, is what’s lost!

The maxim you know is: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” But given the highly negative and incendiary political gamesmanship being traded between the AL and the BNP, I have turned the dictum around to say something ventured, something lost. For, the

Impressions

About Entertainment

“Television has raised writing to a new low”, said Samuel Goldwyn, the famous American film producer of late twentieth century. Obviously, as a man connected with films, most probably, he had script writers on his mind. He must have been

Pleasure Is All Mine

Did we vote for insanity?

The answer is, yes. We voted for change by massively mandating the AL to govern the country while the BNP found itself in the opposition, thanks largely to its misrule. But what we have got now is insanity all around.

Impressions

Like a Trapeze Artist

One time during hartal, I decided to walk from our office back to my residence, some 5km away. The trek easily stands out as one of the most memorable of my experiences on the streets. This is how it opened