Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 43, Tuesday March 30, 2004






Special Feature

Bhutan or India?

In our last week's issue we discussed little pieces of our history in our 'Essentials' column. We gave the name of the person, who designed our national flag, wrote a little piece on the brave attempts by the teachers of Engineers University during the war of Independence and more. We also wanted to tell you, which was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign nation. In order to do so we had to do a little research, go through a few books. Our intention was to give you authentic information.

While doing our little research on the recognition topic, we came across some very confusing information. Few books ascribe Bhutan as the first country that recognised Bangladesh as an independent country. In some other books the name India keeps coming up. Our memory recalls the name Bhutan whenever we tried to read up on it. Amidst all these confusion, the whole idea was dropped from the write-up.

A dispute about such an issue is obviously very pressing. It seemed that a very important part of our history is in disarray. We wanted to clear the confusion that made us delete some very important lines from our write-up. To eliminate the confusion we decided to do some more research on the topic.

Here is how it went. We spoke with Rashed Khan Menon, president of Bangladesh Workers Party and also a very prominent face in our politics. We wanted to hear from someone who belonged to the 1971 generation and also from a person who felt the passion during the war of independence. "It was Bhutan", he said. "I was in Calcutta during that time and heard about it on the radio" he added. We randomly questioned senior citizens around us who experienced the heat of the war and witnessed the events during that time. Trying to rearrange all the memories each and everyone pointed out on Bhutan.

We also wanted to see what the History Department of DU teaches on this issue. We spoke with Dr. Zaheda Ahmed who teaches "Emergence of Bangladesh". Among the reference books she gave us the names of two that she uses as support document. The books are Bangladesh: Constitutional Quest for Autonomy by Modhu Dey and Bangladesher taarikh by Muhammad Habibur Rahman. Both these books support India as the first nation. In page 49 of the book Bangladesher Taarikh, it said "on December 6th India recognised Bangladesh and on 7th December Bhutan followed".
The Department of International Relations has a regular course named "Bangladesh in International Relations" that also deals with this issue. It appeared that this department also teaches India as the first country to recognise Bangladesh. Bhutan was mentioned as the second country.

While speaking with scholars we also went through some more books written about the War of Independence, about the emergence of Bangladesh. In page 336 of Doosho seshotti diney shwadhinota written by Muhammad Nurul Quadir it is said, "Bhutan was the first country to recognise Bangladesh. But it did not get that much publicity because Bhutan was a very small country". No date was mentioned, however it was mentioned in the book that, "India recognised Bangladesh on December 6th". We also went through the book Bangladesher shwadhinota juddho, dolilpotro. It is an 18-part book published by the Information Ministry, research conducted by Hasan Hafizur Rahman. Part 14 of the book is about the public opinions from around the world. This part deals with news that was printed in different newspapers around the world in 1971. In page 951 there is a news clipping and an editorial in the next page. Both the items were taken from the Indian newspaper Jugantor, December 7, 1971. These two items were written on Bangladesh getting recognition from India on December 6th and emerging as a sovereign nation. There was no news on Bhutan.

Now we are even more confused. Feeling helpless we went to the Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh hoping that they would be able to help. There was no written document but some officials told us that it was Bhutan. Verbal information was obviously not enough. Our last resort the Ministry for War of Independence. We discovered with disappointment that they have no written documents either. However they cited part 3 of Bangladesher Shwadhinotajuddo, dolilpotro. This part consists of the letter from the Indian government that announced the recognition on 6th December 1971.

After all these books, research and all, the question still persists in to our minds. Which country was it to recognise Bangladesh first? Was it Bhutan or was it India? This small piece of our history may appear insignificant to many of us after all these years, yet it is this little course of event that helped us appear as a recognised sovereign nation in the face of the earth. We need to recover it from getting blurred, without any further delay.

By Shahnaz Parveen

Shop talk

For your baby…
Babies like to chew something when they are teething. There are colourful teethers available at Pick n Pay, Banani just for the tiny tots. These plastic teethers are lovely and are filled with liquid inside. So if you have an infant at home whose first teeth have just started to grow through the gums, then buy one teether for him or her. Each of these teethers will cost you tk.75.

Igloo- a world of great taste
Igloo has introduced mouth-watering single sundaes for their consumers. With three palatable flavours namely chocolate cheers, caramel combo and strawberry sparkle, these ice creams are simply irresistible. Each of these single sundaes will cost you tk.20 and are available in your nearby general and superstores. Sundaes are also available in large boxes that would cost you tk.150.

Cotton balls
Cotton balls are handy indeed. You can use them for make-up purposes, for first aid purposes and so on. Fay has introduced cotton balls in pastels like baby pink, yellow and sky blue. Each pack weighs 40 grams and costs tk.40. These soft, hygienic and absorbent cotton balls are also available in plastic containers. You can check out the superstores for these Fay cotton balls, which are truly useful.

Packaged Indian foods
If you have a tongue for the Indian foods then it's good news for you that Ready to Eat Indian meals are now available at PQS. No cooking is required, you just have to heat and eat these foods. Items like dal dakshin, chicken darbari, palak paneer, pav bhaji, dal makhani, aloo mutter etc are available in two brands namely Kitchen of India and Aashirvaad.

Want to bring a little variety to the way you eat? There are eye-catching pairs of chopsticks available at Jatra. Each pair of Jatra's chopsticks is accompanied by an artistic holder and costs tk.50. So instead of gobbling down pasta and noodles with mundane steel forks, try using chopsticks for a change.

Candle stands
Candle stands add loveliness to your home. Small candle stands on your bedside table or in the centre table of the living room will look lovely indeed. Banglar Mela has a really wide collection of attractive candle stands made from wrought iron and painted in black. With artistic curves and designs adding to their charm, these candle stands are available within tk40 to tk.50.

By Wara Karim




Essentials Special

Did you know…
that at least nine million people in Bangladesh, who constitute 8 percent of the country's total population, are affected with hearing-related diseases? A seminar organised by Society for Assistance to Hearing Impaired Children (SAHIC) on March 1 revealed this information. They recognised noise pollution as one of the major causes behind hearing impairment and other related diseases. (see The Daily Star March 2nd)

Here is how noise hurts
Continued exposure to noise damages your hearing. The louder the noise, the less time it takes to cause hearing loss. There are some sensitive nerves in the inner ear. Each time we are exposed to prolonged intense sound, these nerves are destroyed, which deteriorates hearing. Once damaged, nerves do not grow back. They cannot be repaired either. So, noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and incurable. It is however, preventable.

What is noise?
Answer to the question is simple. Noise is any sound that irritates us. It creates stress and stress is a response of our body to any outside disturbances. Stress is hazardous for health.

Sources of noise
There are dozens of sources that can hurt us. For instance, honking horns, loud music, loud speakers, shouting, jet take-off or even dog's burking. All these sources create noise level up to 120 decibel. Human ears can tolerate up to 90 decibels maximum without any risk of injury. However, continued exposure to noise level over 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. Loud music in concerts is considered the most extreme source of noise. Rock concerts can get up to 140 decibels. Stereos with head set may not be noisy for others but it can cause serious damage for those who use it regularly.

How you can prevent it
City dwellers of Dhaka would agree that Dhaka is a very noisy city. We need to prevent it to make our city a better place. Refrain from honking unless it is necessary. Do not use powerful horns in your car. 'Sound-treat' your home. It is an unusual term in our country and expensive too. The cheapest way to do it is, using heavy curtains on the window. Unruly used loudspeakers are another source of noise in our country. It should be restricted. You can form an anti noise group in your locality and create social awareness to this problem, which is generally ignored. Respect your neighbour's right to a quiet and peaceful environment. What is a party for you can be a torture for your neighbour.

By Shahnaz Parveen


We hail Ayub Hossain and Laxman Chandra of Bagherpara upazila in Jessore for inventing a very innovative pest control tool. It is called the Ferromon trap. It controls pests without the application of any harmful pesticides on the crops. We need more endeavors like this.




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