Let me begin with the announcement that Forum has moved from a 15th of the month schedule to a 1st of the month schedule, so that from this month on you can enjoy Forum at the beginning of each month.
With this month's issue of Forum, we reach the half-year mark, corresponding to a half dozen issues. We could never have predicted, back in November, that we would be where we are today, either as a nation or as a publication.
Today, it is clear that the nation stands at a cross-roads, but this is pretty much the only point of clarity on an increasingly opaque horizon. Where things stand, where we are going, and whether the outlook is promising or portentous -- all remain unanswered and unanswerable.
To the extent that answers are possible and that light can be shone on the issues of the day, Forum is the place to come for illumination. We may not be a light-house of blinding luminosity, but we strive to be the candle by which current events can be read.
For policy addicts, in addition to the most comprehensive piece you will read anywhere on the third decade of Saarc by the executive director of the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies, this month we also include detailed and well-argued pieces on food security and the need to end the state's media monopoly by experts in the fields.
We also introduce a new feature this month, It's No Joke, a clear-eyed, wry, witty take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in Bangladesh, the first of what we hope will be an increasing number of columns devoted to looking at how we live our lives in the 21st century.
Once again, our arts and literature section offers both the provocative and the unexpected. In addition to an original translation of a Rabindranath essay by Andaleeb Shahjahan, Rubaiyat Hossain trains her sights on Humayun Ahmed, Bangladesh's most popular novelist, and Syed Ashraf Ali recounts the fascinating story of Washington Irving's introduction of Islam to an American audience.
There is nothing like this on the market, no publication that provides a platform for such a knowledgeable discussion of contemporary issues or for such a daring exposition of interesting and innovative thoughts and ideas about the world in which we live. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together!