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Spot Light

Radio recollections

When it comes to the evolution of the radio in Bangladesh, there are few that would know more than Ashraf-Uz-Zaman Khan, who has been involved in this medium since its inception in the 1940's, and has been with it during its rise, fall and rebirth.

Ashraf was one of the 16 employees selected by the British authorities of the time. He joined as Programme Assistant at the Calcutta relay station of All India Radio in 1940. To quote Ashraf, "Radio was the major source of entertainment for the elite class in those days. At that time the aim of radio was to extend support to culture, including music and theatre. My field was music. News was broadcast from the Delhi station. We also relayed BBC programmes in those days."

The early days with All India Radio are still etched in Ashraf's memory. Many music exponents of the Sub-continent like Sachin Dev Burman, Pankaj Mallick, Angur Bala, Indu Bala, Manobendra Mukhopadhyay and other noted singers regularly performed in the musical programmes he produced. In his hey days he had the experience of recruiting renowned musicians like Kanika Bandyopadhyay, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay.

Ashraf-Uz-Zaman informed that the programme patterns in those days were different. In those days both Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti were also regarded as modern songs. Moreover, radio had to broadcast live performances from theatre halls, as recording systems in studios were unavailable then. As a result they took advantage of live broadcast of theatre performances of professional theatre troupes of Kolkata such as Natyamandir, Star and Minarva Theatre in Calcutta, which staged Bangla plays. To quote Ashraf, "The plays continued throughout the night and using telephone wires we transferred the performance to the relay station. From the station we aired the live stage plays. We used live acoustics at the relay station as fillers between the scenes."

After the Partition, Ashraf joined the then Pakistan Radio as the Director (programme). The programme patterns and the government's approach to broadcasting changed. "Broadcasting of Tagore songs was banned for three months by the then Pakistan government. Later, they allocated 15 minutes to broadcast Tagore songs each day. Genres like bhajan and kirtan were totally banned. Live broadcast of stage plays were not possible as no professional theatre troupes were available at that time. It created opportunities for the younger generation, however.

"Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal, a few others, and I began writing lyrics to fill up the vacuum. Later, we began working on radio plays and I wrote a good number of them, which I still do."

Ashraf retired as the Director General (DG) of Bangladesh Radio in 1972. Commenting on a memorable incident during his kaleidoscopic journey at different positions of radio, Ashraf says, "In 1971, I was the Regional Director of Pakistan Radio. It was scheduled to broadcast the historic speech of 7th March delivered by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, live.

Ashraf was the co-ordinator of the first talent hunt, titled Nabokallol. Many renowned singers of the country came in to the spotlight. "Singers like Abdul Hadi, Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya, Subir Nandi and others were introduced through the programme.”

By Ershad Kamol

Tangy & Healthy

By and large, it is true that our traditional dishes, although very delicious, are not necessarily healthy. These dishes are high in sugar content and usually deep fried or cooked in oil or fat. Universal medical wisdom generally lays down five basic rules for a healthy diet. They are:

1) Low sugar
2) Low fat (lean cuts, lesser fried foods)
3) High fibre
4) Green and yellow fruits and vegetables (as antioxidants)
5) Low salt

In the stressful world that we live in, and the sedentary lifestyle that most of us have wittingly or unwittingly adopted, it is imperative to maintain a right balance in our food habits. With this backdrop in mind, I have attempted to provide a few recipes for a comprehensive menu retaining the traditional flavour and at the same time being mindful about the requirements of a health-conscious person.

I have sought to strike a balance between the palate and nutritional requirements, and hope that connoisseurs of our traditional dishes will acquire a taste for these recipes after savouring them a few times.

The following recipes are suitable for all persons. Whatever we eat, we must all have a sizeable intake of seasonal fruits and vegetables to bolster our immune system and detoxify our bodies.

Tomatoes 3
Celery 7
Carrots (unpeeled) ½ lb
Horseradish (peeled) 1 piece
Coarse salt ¼ tsp
Lemon juice (fresh) 2½ tsp

Press the vegetables through an electric juicer one by one.
Stir in salt and lemon juice.
Strain vegetable mixture through a fine sieve.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Per serving: 140cal; 1g fat; 32g carbohydrate; 5g protein; 401mg sodium; 0g fiber, 0mg cholesterol.

Mugh Dal ¾ cup
Channa Dal ¼ tbsp
Onions (chopped) 1
Tomatoes 1
Green chilli (chopped) 1
Ginger (grated) 1” piece
Coriander leaves (chopped) 2 tbsp
Lemon juice (fresh) 2 tsp
Canola oil 2 tsp
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Hing (asafoateda) 1
Salt (to taste)

Mix the two types of dal, wash thoroughly and soak in water for about 1 hour.
Add dal, onions, tomato, ginger, green chili and the powders to 3-4 cups of water in a skillet.
On medium heat, cover ¾ of the skillet and cook till dal softens (approx. 20 minutes).
Stir vigorously to mix the dals well and obtain a thick consistency.
Remove from heat and mix the lemon juice and coriander leaves.

Optional: heat some oil and add the hing (asafoateda), then mix with the lentil soup.
Note: Fat and cholesterol free.

Whole wheat flour 1½ cups
White flour ½ cup
Dry yeast 2 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp
Black cumin seeds
Salt (to taste)

the yeast with ½ cup lukewarm water and set aside for 10 minutes.
Mix salt with the whole wheat and white flour and slowly pour in the oil and yeast-water mix.
Mix gradually adding just enough water to make a soft dough (it should not be sticky)
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (it should leave the sides of the bowl clean).
Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours.
the dough again, divide into 10-12 balls and roll them out into ¼” thick circles
Sprinkle some black cumin seed on the naan.
Bake in an oven at 400° F for 8-10 minutes.
Naan can also be cooked on a skillet over a low fire with no oil.

Chicken pieces 8 (approx. 1½kg)
Fat-free yogurt 1 cup
Ginger 1 piece
Garlic 8 cloves
Lemon juice 3 tsp
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder ½ tsp
Vinegar 1½ tsp
Salt (to taste)

Blend all ingredients together and marinate chicken for 6 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator.
Bake chicken pieces at 350° F (or barbeque) for 30 minutes or until golden brown (turning the pieces over once).
Note: Healthy because no oil is used.

Bananas 200g
Fat-free yogurt 150ml (5 fl oz)

Cut the bananas into thin slices, place them in a plastic box and freeze.
Blend the frozen banana slices in a food processor with the fat-free yogurt.
Serve immediately for a soft creamy dessert, or freeze and serve later as ice cream.
Per serving: 60 Kcal; 10g carbohydrate.

Photo: Amirul Rajiv


Cut your own hair

You will need these tools to cut your own hair:
· A big mirror
· A hand mirror
· A sharp pair of scissors
· Hair clippers or electric razor

Step 1: Wash your hair, then towel dry it enough for it to stop dripping. But make sure it is still wet.

Step 2: Brush your hair. Then part it down the middle (don't worry if the parting isn't completely even; this is not an exact science). Bring each half forward over your shoulder. Brush your hair so that it falls straight down your chest on either side of your head.

Step 3: Decide where you want to cut. Define the point in terms of some independent landmark on your body - remember that once you've cut one side it will curl up a bit and look shorter, so don't rely on it as a guide for the other side. If you want a long bob (just touching the shoulder), cut directly in front of each clavicle.

Step 4: Grab one half of your hair firmly (so that the top of your fist is just below the cutting point) and pull down slightly. When deciding the length to cut off, remember that if you leave only a half- inch to an inch on your head you will have very short hair.

Step 5: Now cut it. It will most probably slide around a lot while you're cutting and look like it's going to look terrible. It is vitally important that you do not stop at this point, whatever you do.

Step 6: Now do exactly the same thing with the other side.

Step 7: Brush your hair forward again. Stop and look your whole head over. You should be able to see all sides of your head, top, left, right and back, by using the big mirror and the handheld mirror. Determine what you need to trim to even things up all around. If you do need trimming, this can be done with electric hair clippers or an electric razor.
And there's the new you!

-LS Desk

Check It Out

Griha Sukhan opens its new outlet

Griha Sukhan, a popular women's enterprise covering various avenues of women's interests like cookery, clothing, health and beauty and craft-making, inaugurated their second branch at Capital Market on the 15th of October. The inauguration ceremony was headed by Rokeya Afzal Rahman, advisor of the previous caretaker government. Renowned actress and TV host Nima Rahman and vice-president of Women Entrepreneurship Association Bangladesh Sabrina Islam were also present as special guests. The ceremony was chaired by Rima Zulfikar, the director of Griha Sukhan.

In their speeches the guests congratulated Griha Sukhan for their successful expansion over the last few years and hoped for its success in the future. They commended Griha Sukhan's contribution towards the underprivileged women and mentioned that such an endeavour is an ideal step to bring these deprived women out of the darkness.

After the inauguration ceremony, the guests looked around the various stalls. There were 25 stalls exhibiting various kinds of products such as saris, salwar kameez, punjabis, fatuas, children's wear and so on. Besides these, there were nakshi katha, bed-sheets, cushion covers, plastic and wax showpieces and jewellery on display. Home made pithas (rice cakes) and other food like pickles and chutneys were also available.

By Nusrat Khandker




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