Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 5, Tuesday February 6, 2007



Special Feature

Penning today's songs of patriotism
Mora ekti phul ke bachabo boley judhdho kori…

Amidst all the chaos, confusion and disintegration of the past 30 years, patriotism nowadays is by far a very low-key word for one of the smallest nations of the world. The love for a language, which resulted in the freedom and birth of our beautiful nation, now seems to be getting lost further amidst the so-called brainwashing tactics of the Western culture via the media. But is that really the true scenario?

The new age youth of today, regardless of which part of the globe they're from, does speak out about the socio-political stances of their countries through the one channel or medium that has again and again shown it's power in reaching the masses, touching the hearts of millions and making an irrevocable stance music. Although it does remain to be seen whether all the members of the youth are on par with the subject, one only has to look at the recent examples of concerts like LiveAid and the Princes Royal Trust (both of which have been running for years now) to realise one undeniable fact: music can reach the mass public and trigger mass awareness; it can make people come together to celebrate with the music and in turn raise issues or help the needy.

Because of the amount of exposure and coverage bands and musicians get these days, especially due to the much-appreciated entrance of two FM radio stations, Radio Today and Radio Foorti, a lot of people might have the misconception that Cryptic Fate's latest album “Danob”, with songs like “Danob”, “Raag”, and “Political” and Hyder Hussein's now-famous number “Teerish Bochor” are the only examples of how musicians, especially those from the young generation, are expressing their feelings and frustrations about the country's on-going socio-political status quo.

But be it mainstream or underground, harnessing the power of music to convey social dissatisfaction and political protest has been a trend amongst local bands and musicians for a long time now. Warfaze is undoubtedly the band, which has been the most pro-active in this aspect. One of their most notable numbers which springs to mind raising serious questions about the socio-political stance of the country is “Jibondhara”. The song, with the signature Warfaze sound of high pitched vocals backed up by loud instruments, claws away at the state of our plight as citizens of this country.

Though when they started out there were serious doubts about how well their works would being conveyed to the mass audience, time and again bands like Warfaze and Aurthohin have raised these issues in their albums, and to this date they still do with numbers like “Dinbodol” and “Notun Diner Michile” whose lyrics literally shout out about issues on patriotism and winds of change for the country. Miles, in their groundbreaking albums “Protisruti” and “Prottasha”, gave us songs like “Keno Ora Rajpothey” and “Shanti Chai”. “Bongabdo 1400” by Feedback gave us two gems of songs called 'Uchho Podostho Todonto Committee' and 'Shamajik Koshtokathinno'.

And the Blacks, Artcells, and Arboviruses are not far behind either. The youth of today are playing their respective parts in penning songs of protest and frustrations. Examples include the heart wrenching patriotic number “Cholo Bangladesh” from Cryptic Fate, Raaga's “Ahoban”, and “Ami Protibaader Kotha” in Fuad's soon to be released album “Bonno”. Though how much these works have brought about any visible change in us the audience is a debatable topic, such efforts deserve praise. Young hearts respond most to music; a speech they won't recall but a great song they will remember and spread around. The air of change lies in the hands of the youth, and giving the youth the power to bring about that change is integral for any country to progress and prosper.

Tagore might have stated “Shatkoti Shontaner He Mughdho Jononi, Rekhecho Bangali Korey…Manush Koroni”, but one cannot deny the fact that rather than shying away, our youth are very much trying to show their 'Jononi' all the love they hold for her in their being, through the universal appeal of music.

By Simin Saifuddin
Photo: Munem Wasif

Bangla on the fingertips

Some things are better expressed in a particular language. For instance, 'I love you' is a lot easier on the tongue than saying ami tomake bhalobashi. Then there are popular Bangla sayings that lose their flavour if you try to say them in another language. Remember the tagline for the TV commercial that says “khaile chatben na khaile postaben”? Take a moment to translate this into English keeping the meaning as it is. No matter how hard you think, you can't do it without losing some of the humour in the original line. It is this innate characteristic of our mother tongue that often inclines one towards using Bangla when writing an SMS or typing a mail.

Writing in Bangla is not only patriotic; it's also quite effective in expressing a lot of things in a few words. Let's face it; seeing any message in your own mother tongue adds a certain flavour to it that is totally absent in any other language. Certain words in Bangla are irreplaceable when writing an SMS or a mail, like the words dosto, ki re…the list goes on and on. Translate any of the words into any other language, and you will see that the humour, plus the gist, of the words is totally lost.

There is a rising trend in the number of people opting for writing sms or mails in Bangla. Teenagers of nowadays have suddenly this newfound enthusiasm in using the Bangla language for conveying messages of varying importance, from taking someone out on a date to the usual 'where are u' thing. The important thing to notice is that writing an SMS in Bangla is far more strenuous than just writing in English, because almost all the cell phones do not have incorporated Bangla dictionaries. Hence, in these cases, the user has to spell out each Bangla word to be stored for later use, and although many would proclaim the Bangali nation as being lazy, it is surprising that teenagers and their older counterparts actually go through all the trouble. This, undoubtedly, shows the patriotism in each of us, and although some might argue that it's the ease of handling the Bangla language that prompts us to write Bangla SMS, it still doesn't make the patriotism case any weaker, but in effect, it makes the patriotism case even stronger. Why bother with other languages when you can convey the same message in a much nicer way in your own language?

Bangla is the language we fought for, our forefathers gave their lives for it. Even though the sorry state of our country is no way to repay the millions of people that gave their lives in liberating our country, the small ways of showing appreciation sometimes counts a lot. Writing SMS and mails in Bangla is not a big deal, but it does show a part of you, a part that is proud to be Bangladeshi.

By Asifur Rahman Khan
Photo: Munem Wasif

On the cover

February is here, a most significant month for any Bangladeshi. The events of this month are always enough to stir up our national pride. This week, we take a moment to explore what it means to be Bangladeshi, whether you're at home or abroad, so flip through the pages, and check out the stories.

Photo: Munem Wasif


If you're in the vicious cycle of class-khawa-ghoom (class-eating-sleeping) or kaaj-khawa-ghum (work-eating-sleeping), maybe it's time for you to break away. And what better way to break away, than to join a gym? Exercise releases endorphins in the body, and endorphins boost your spirit and make you happy! Why a gym? Well if you had to leave it to yourself to exercise on your own, then would you be in that cycle in the first place? And as for buying a machine, why limit yourself to one expensive machine when you can choose from a variety of equipment, facilities and trainers?

The right fit…
If there's anything more stupendous than joining a gym, it is finding a gym that works for you. Don't ever enroll into a gym without thoroughly checking it out first, just because so and so said so. Access your requirements firsts. Decide what sort of exercise you want to do, how long you want to work out and what auxiliary facilities you want. Check out the facility to see how the machinery works. Speak with the trainers to see if they know their deal. Be sure check out the cleanliness of the facility too.

Finding the right gear…
Before you head out, invest in some gym gear such as track pants, head bands, trainers and bags. Keep an extra pair of each piece so that laundry doesn't become the excuse for you to break your new lifestyle. Invest in a MP3 player because music is a great energy pumper while working out.

Creating a new cycle…
Going to the gym is a commitment. Working out is a lifestyle and you have to make time for it, especially if you're in for it on doctor's orders or to lose weight. Set aside a time for when you can go. Sacrifice that coffee date if you must. And when you start, keep track of your weight and whatever else you want to workout for such as cholesterol, joint aches and such.
When you're done finding the right gym and buying the right gear, don't procrastinate. Forget that rerun on TV, ignore that decadent midday yawn and plunge in, both feet together.
So what are you waiting for?

By Tahiat-e-Mahboob



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