says Dhaka is not rising? How could we have any doubt of the process
of city development when thousands of concrete structures are growing
in the name of decent accommodation, covering every inch of the city
like an epidemic on the loose?
It has literally swallowed almost every open space in the city and wetlands
while single-handedly raping the very beauty of the city's landscape.
Helplessly, city dwellers are witnessing all the nuisances that have
been taking place in the name of the construction of "necessary"
infrastructure, falling prey to these developments that virtually deny
the basic civic amenities while molesting the authentic spirit of the
capital's urban environment. No matter which area you visit, it won't
take long to notice the newly established or on-going construction of
some high-rise structure that stands like a monster, ready to claim
it's toll on what we call the decency of city life.
Nobody can deny the need for a home that provides a sense of belonging,
security, peace and comfort. Had the development of these high-rises
been systematic, planned and law-abiding then there would not have been
any debate, but the way that these infrastructures are now growing is
certainly not praise-worthy. Resembling the characteristics of "vertical
slums" these anti-civic constructions have been taking place for
quite a long time under the very nose of the authorities. Approving
the construction of buildings with doctored designs, meticulously abiding
by all the building construction rules, ignoring the demand of basic
civil amenities, violating RAJUK rules and disregarding the issues of
urban environment, these constructions of "urban silos" have
simply created a menace to the city's environment.
is really frustrating is to see the direct involvement of some governmental
institutions in this mockery of housing development. On the one hand
the unrestrained activities and indiscriminate muscling in hope of some
profit-making real-estate agencies, while on the other the infamous
corruption of government institutions like RAJUK have deteriorated the
overall situation and polluted the sound atmosphere that once upon a
time existed in this capital.
It's not that there is any lack of laws or regulations that could guide
the construction of these infrastructures. The laws are enacted are
sufficient to control such situations. But the truth is, there is hardly
any enforcement of what the constitution says. The developers neither
properly comply with these rules, nor are the authorities responsible
enough to monitor the actual situation. The crookedness of some authorities
is so pervasive that if a developer wants to develop a 20 storied building
at a location marked for 6 storied buildings, an approval is managed
with the use of money, muscle power or both. The severity of this situation
does not stop here. On May 2003 two women died in separate high-rise
building construction sites as developers, violating the National Building
Code guidelines, were reluctant to maintain safety requirements at the
construction sites. Some real-estate developers and their agents are
so desperate that they continuously threaten landowners who refuse to
comply with their unlawful acts.
Leaving the tales of corruption and physical impact, the social stresses
that are being caused by these new high rise structures are largely
affecting the capital's social structure and the mentality of its inhabitants.
It is easily understood that new infrastructure leads to the demand
of electricity, water, gas and other basic amenities. As a result the
demand for these facilities is constantly increasing while the supply
level is gradually shrinking. No wonder that the capital has so much
load shedding, water and gas shortage, and breakdown of garbage and
sewerage systems. Many localities are losing their originality as well
as people are losing their privacy, giving rise to a certain kind of
social tension among the citizens.
With its lost beauty and chaotic landscape, Dhaka City has been deliberately
pushed towards catastrophic danger. It is tragic that the law-abiding,
peace loving, civilised and decent people of this city have turned into
the victims of this haphazard growth of structures and unplanned development
while the "social miscreants" of this situation are always
give life to a man
is implied in certain cultures that cars act as "girlfriends"
when a man loses his freedom after marriage because, henpecked as he
is, cars offer that close companionship that becomes more and more rare
as household duties come in the way of a husband and wife.
The wife starts to consider the car a competitor, as the man, happy
that the car looks beautiful, listens to its command when the ignition
button is turned on and speaks the same language of fun and unbounded
freedom, and starts to give more time to his car. We saw a funny adaptation
of this, as the story line in the sitcom, Home Improvement where the
leading man uses his passion for cars as the perfect foil for the various
pulls and pressures of life.
Cars are second nature for western men where that expensive habit can
become a part of a man's escape routine from the ups and downs of adolescent
life, the drudgery of work or home routine or just life itself. Buying
a "Hot Rod" or an engine and building a full car from scratch
is well known in the west. For those who cannot make time, you have
the Indy Car racing, demolition derbies where cars crash into each other
till they cannot run anymore!
You also have "daredevils" who use cars to catapult themselves
right through the air and jump over large distances to create records!
The successful/rich use their cars to project an image of wealth and
upper class exclusivity. This goes a long way to attracting the ladies
In Europe, the significance of the car is a little less from the social
point of view. You have the Formula One races that are used to project
the power of the engine and these races act as advertisements for the
various engine makers. Various cars like the Rolls Royce, BMW, Jaguars
are sublime in their style and make, and project the Old World grace
and aristocracy that Europe has as its tradition, the same tradition
that keeps the different monarchies still in place!
European racing and sports cars are also brand names that have more
than just speed attached to them. You have the Ferrari, which combines
feline grace, feminine charms, the speed and pace of a cheetah and comes
across as the car of the ultimate aristocrat. Lamborghini, Porsche are
some of the other brands that have the same quality but in varied ways
that do not quite match the Ferrari.
In Bangladesh, cars have started to become a middle-class commonality
signifying that there is a middle class worth mentioning. The blue-collar
professional, the salaried man as well someone who has the length of
service as a professional can easily buy a car these days. The ubiquitous
use of the taxi has also made the car a day-to-day vehicle for many
who need to reach a destination quickly.
In fact, having a car is no longer a big deal for the middle class of
Bangladesh. However, cars of expensive taste and brand as tools of pleasure
and prestige are still the preserve of a handful of rich families. Yet
you would see virtually all major carmakers of the family sedan (luxury
and non luxury) category represented in the road. However, cars as a
hobby that consumes one are still very rare in Bangladesh and that is
normal in a poor and conservative country.
Cars are an essential thing for everyone. But the man to whom a car
somehow projects the same charm and allure that a woman does, is a little
misguided! Cars can't and shouldn't compete with women for a position
in a man's life! So beware cars are only machines, do not let them steal