Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 54, Tuesday August 29, 2006




One ring to rule them all?

Or maybe just one to wear for luck! Popularised through the Japanese horror film and Tolkien's recently cinematographed stories, and sold as junk jewellery by the dozens along the Gausia and New Market footpaths, the symbol of the Ring, is as old as the earth itself! In the ruins of the oldest of civilizations, the relics of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa in the Indus Valley, were found bronze and other metal rings, worn by both men and women eons before our modern fashion statements were born! The Egyptians had their Shen Rings worn by their Pharaohs as symbols of their divinity and power followed by the Cartouch, which was also used as royal seal. The Celts arranged their mystical monoliths around rings drawn on the ground. Throughout history, rings have symbolized the circle of life, everything coming round a full circle to where it was born, life and death, completeness, wholeness. The symbol has sanctified sacred beliefs and ideas for generations. According to Chinese astrology, Vedic scriptures and other cultures, the right stones and metals worn on the right fingers could change your life forever- bring you good fortune and love, give you magical power over those who challenge you. While we may not be magically inclined or believe in following history by the word, we may just like to look hip in the many varieties that are crawling all over Dhaka this summer. Here's where you can get them and how cruel they will be to your wallets!

New market
Lining the narrow congested footpaths of Gausia and New Market is probably the largest, most exciting place to shop for junk jewelry! It certainly has the most varieties- big, small, circular, triangular, gemmed and oxidized. You name it, they have it! And the prices are unbelievable, ranging between Tk 20-100. They can always get lower or higher depending on your bargaining abilities! Beware of off seasons when you will only get the same old things and always check whatever you buy very carefully for broken edges or parts where the colours have come off (goes with buying things so cheap!)!

There are some stores inside Gausia in which you might get some more varieties, gold plated silver with gems, etc that will be slightly more expensive and less attractive than those you find in the footpaths. They cost between Tk.100-300.

Other attractions: You can get anything from embroidered shalwars and blouses to glass bangles to mehendi in these stores.

This is another place famous for jewelry in Dhaka that never goes out of style! Their latest collections have green and red gems as well as meena work on rings. If you are up for more than that, there are also pearl and other more precious gems to choose from. There are varieties in regular as well as oxidized silver ranging in price between Tk. 85-1000. If gold is your metal, you too will have something to buy in Aarong ranging between Tk.1300-4000.

Other attractions: Bibi Russel designed coloured bangles in different sizes are back with a BANG so go ahead and spoil yourself.

Purple haze
A relatively lesser-known place, near Cooper's in Gulshan 2, this store definitely has a lot of interesting jewelry for young people. Especially if you like the 70s look, you will love their plastic rings that come in every colour and cost only Tk.60-70 each. They also have oxidized rings at a little more and gemmed rings all within the price range of Tk.60-150. If you are sick of running into people who have the exact same jewelry as you, this is the place you might want to go.

Other attractions: They also have different shaped plastic bangles in a variety of colours that can add colour and excitement to your wardrobe.

The rings here are sometimes more intricate than the ones you get in Aarong and within the same price range, but here you have to be on the lookout for when they have the best collections.

Décor Idee
Although primarily a home décor store selling candles, furniture, trays and other goodies, this place has an impressive jewelry collection in the back with prices a little above the Aarong and Mayasir range. However, most of their stuff is genuine silver, oxidized or with rare stones, so it's usually well worth the higher prices.

By Diya
Photo: Munem Wasif

On the cover

With her long, braided hair, and her kohl-lined eyes, the Bangali woman is a sight to behold.

Behind the lens: Munem Wasif


Politics? What politics?

It is that time again. The time when the politicians scramble to gather themselves. The time to get their acts together- prepare their camera-smiles, rehearse their 45-minute long speeches, draw up the same old hollow promises and pretend to forget their last parliamentary session. It is time for yet another General Election in the country, and the struggle for votes have begun…

This time, the Election Commission (EC) has promised us a "proper and decent" election. In the past there have been numerous conflicts over the voter list- the list was not updated, certain groups of people were being excluded, while many were registering their names from different areas.

The Commission is apparently working on updating the voter list, with the declared deadline of August 20, 2006. This time limit has been subject to much modification and extensions. But Abdur Rashid Sharkar, the Secretary of the EC Secretariat has stated: "We are hoping that 95 per cent of the task would be completed by the scheduled time. If anyone is left out, he/she would have to apply to be registered."

To make the already-bad situation worse, a large percentage of the population above eighteen years of age are not willing to vote at all. Under a democratic governance, it is important for everyone to vote. Only in this manner can it be ensured that the government elected is the government desired by all.

Moreover, with the election candidates changing parties so frequently, confusion looms heavy over the public. One of the most debated switches was that of Ershad joining the BNP-led ruling four-party alliance. Needless to say, the aim for switching parties for anyone would be to widen the voter support- i.e., in Ershad's case, to earn votes from both the BNP alliance supporters and the Jatiya Party supporters. But is the outcome of the different switches likely to be fruitful?

There are also many under-the-table transactions. Buying votes from people are common. There has even been buzz of votes being bought at Tk.10! Nonetheless, the EC ensures that this time there will be strong security at the voting centres to prevent such problems.

We, as citizens, keep criticizing the political power-play. But it is time that we realize that this is our country and we are the ones responsible for upholding democracy. More of us should voluntarily register as voters and vote for those who we think are qualified. Although given the candidacy of the nominees that might be more than a little difficult. Do not depend upon the government staff to come up to your doorsteps offering registration, because there is a high chance that they will not.

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky



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