Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 42, Tuesday, October 26, 2010



News flash

A story of legacy: Pala Dynasty

“A Story of Legacy” is an exhibition to be held on 9, 10 and 11 December, 2010 at 12 Gulshan Avenue. With a sense of great pride, the organisers -- Arts Council Dhaka -- hopes to open a window to the philosophy and discipline of the Pala dynasty. This exhibition will also create an opportunity to link our present culture to the phenomenal renaissance of our historic past, and provide a guiding light to investigate and study the phenomenal aspects of Pala art.

The Palas ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal. Under their rule, this region became the centre of the art, culture and knowledge in South Asia, and Bengal rightfully earned the title “Mistress of the East.” The long reign of the Palas formed a glorious period of excellence. Ruling over four centuries (750-1174 AD), they instilled the concept of Bengali nationalism in the people of this region.

Gopala was the first Pala ruler, who was elected sowing the seed of conceptual democracy for the first time in the sub-continent. Through him and succeeding rulers, they ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal. They created many works of art as well as established various universities. Somapura Mahaviharaa, Paharpur, Rajshahi is the greatest Buddhist Vihara, an institution of magnificent scale of learning and scholarly pursuits in the Indian Subcontinent.

On 23 October, 2010 Arts Council Dhaka organised a seminar that featured lectures by eminent researchers Dr Enamul Haque and Dr A K M Shahnawaz. While Dr Haque stressed on the Pala school of sculptural art and shared his life-long research on sculptural art, Dr Shahnawaz shared his insight on the socio-cultural history of the Pala Dynasty.

An important fact that came out through the lectures of these two distinguished speakers is that during the Pala Dynasty Bengal was a seat of learning, and its fame reached lands extending far beyond Bengal and reached Nepal, Tibet and even South East Asia. Focusing on contemporary art of the period, Dr Shahnawaz focused on the communal harmony that existed, a fact that can be derived from the terra cotta figurines, sculptures and art.

The most brilliant side of the Pala Empire was the excellence of its art and sculptures. Palas created a distinctive form of Buddhist art. The Somapura Mahaviharaa, a creation of Dharmapala, at Paharpur, Bangladesh, is the largest Buddhist Vihara in the Indian subcontinent, and has been described as a "pleasure to the eyes of the world." UNESCO made it World Heritage Site in 1985. Pala architectural style was followed throughout south-eastern Asia, China, Japan and Tibet.

"Through this session we believe the participating artists will gather food for thought and be inspired for their work to be featured at the exhibition in December" said Selim Ahmed, Trustee, Arts Council Dhaka.

In the past, Art Council has worked towards highlighting glorious aspects of our lives -- academic, social and cultural. They strive to create a platform and welcome participants to interact and experience “Art”. The exhibition to be held in December will showcase paintings, sculptures, ceramics, metal and various print media and hopes to represent the works of 25 artists.

Trustees of Arts Council Dhaka include Maheen Khan, Nipa Sarwar, Afroza Jamil and Selim Ahmed.

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif


Wear your seat-belt it's the law

In a welcome move, beginning November 1, 2010 the government has decided to strictly enforce existing traffic laws, seat belt rules in particular. According to newspaper reports, all motorised vehicles will need to have seatbelts. Mobile courts will be in operation in order to ensure that the laws are strictly followed.

The job of the seatbelt is to primarily hold the passenger in place so that s/he is almost part of the car, which prevents the passenger from flying forward as the car stops abruptly in the case of a collision.

Adjusting to seat belt rules requires practice and nothing more. In developed countries, and some underdeveloped ones as well, this law is strictly enforced and people are habituated. In Bangladesh, citizens may take some time to sink their teeth into the affair, but that is expected.

Only time will reveal how sincere the government is in enforcing the law thereby ensuring that roads are safer for the people but the duty also befalls all users of motorised vehicles to adapt to this new change. In cases where a suitable seat belt is not installed, one should take measures so that the facility is available to all members of the family using the car.

This will not only ensure that roads are safer but also keep your loved ones free from any danger!

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif

Surgical robot da Vinci

Although it may have been inconceivable to many that robots would one day perform surgeries on humans, this has fast become a reality. And not only in surgeries, robots are used in many countries to wash hospital floors, clean equipment, measure specimen for lab testing, count pills in pharmacies, carry food to patients' bedsides and even carry and lift patients. Although the tasks just mentioned really do not require any fine-tuned human skills, performing complex brain, heart, urological and gynaecological operations does require robots that are defter that humans.

The da Vinci Surgical System is a robot manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., a NASDAQ-100 company based in California, U.S.A. Da Vinci has four hands which it can move more efficiently than humans can move theirs. The robot is controlled from a distance by a doctor with the help of a console. On a monitor, the surgeon sees the patient's body.

Da Vinci now is used at hospitals in countries like the U.S.A, U.K., Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, India and others. One may wonder about the reasons behind naming this robotic surgical system da Vinci. Its manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical says that part of it was because Leonardo da Vinci designed the first robot, which is now known as Leonardo's Knight, in the 15th century.

There are over a thousand da Vinci robots across the world. The use of robots such as the da Vinci is making possible successful completion of complex surgeries of the human heart, brain, bones and reproductive organs with a much higher degree of precision.

Surgeries performed by the da Vinci results in less blood loss, infection, scarring and shorter hospital stays. By making a dime-sized cut da Vinci can perform many complex operations in a lower time frame. However, da Vinci is expensive, one machine costs about 1.5 million dollars, and there are also other disposable costs associated with making it run during each surgery. The high cost of purchasing and operating it along with the considerable amount of time required to train a doctor to use it have limited its sales.

Such groundbreaking advancement in robotics has resulted in reduced human effort and increased surgical precision, however many question the morality of using robots in healthcare. One of the biggest downsides of using da Vinci is the lack of tactile feedback -a doctor cannot feel the human tissues while performing a surgery using da Vinci. Besides, surgical systems like da Vinci are so expensive that a portion of its cost is passed to the patients in the form of higher fees. At the same time, questions arise as to whether the use of highly proficient automated surgeons will make the job of human surgeons redundant in the future.

By Wara Karim

Check it out

Italian Food Festival @ Radisson

Radisson Water Garden Hotel Dhaka is committed to offering new and exciting experiences to food connoisseurs. As a part of this commitment, the hotel is now presenting an “Italian Food Festival”.

The seven day long Italian Food Festival will serve delectable Italian cuisine at the “Water Garden Brasserie” from 21 to 27 October, 2010.

Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, abundance of different flavours, and known to be one of the most popular cuisines of the world. Diners can enjoy the world's richest and most varied cuisines at this food festival. The finest imported produce from overseas will ensure world-class Italian food and beverages to the guests.

Diners can enjoy tantalising dishes such as Salad Caprese, Classic Italian Chicken Salad, Shrimps Salad a la Napoli, South Italian Green Salad, Lasagna al Forno, Calamari in Zemino, Petti Di Pollo Farciti con Mozzarella, Angello Scottadtido and many more mouth-watering food items. There is also a live cooking station from where the diners can select specially cooked food items like Saltimbocca a la Romana, Cubes of Yellow Fin Tuna and some more delicious items.

For reservation, please contact: 8754555.

Bexi Lungi Best Fashion Designer 2010

The award giving ceremony of Bexi Lungi Best Fashion Designer 2010 was held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on October 17, 2010.

Four designers were selected in Sari, Panjabi, Salwar Kameez and Children's Attire categories at the event jointly organised by Bangladesh Cultural Foundation and Fashion Bazaar, a fashion and lifestyle magazine. The participating designers came from remote areas of the country.

The award winners were Shahanara Parvin for Sari, Rakibul Islam Rakib for Panjabi, Shamsunnahar for Salwar kameez and Nilu Chowdhury for Children's Attire designing. Each of the designers received a cheque of Tk.50, 000. Forty primarily short listed designers were given honourary awards.

Later, an exclusive fashion show of the award winning dresses was held. A cultural show with the participation of celebrity artists followed.

Minister for Information and Cultural Affairs Abul Kalam Azad was the Chief Guest of the ceremony while Group Director of Beximco Iqbal Ahmed and Chairman of the Japan Bangladesh Group, Salim Pradhan were present as special guests.

By Mahtabi Zaman

Kay Kraft wedding couture

As fall fades away, and winter becons, Dhaka prepares for a long wedding season.

Bangladeshi weddings are extensive affairs, numerous rituals that pave the way for the highlight of the event -- the wedding day itself and the following walima.

To dress the bride and the groom, along with the entire wedding entourage, Kay Kraft presents their wedding collection for 2010.

Pajabis have been designed with matching churidar pajamas along with the uttario. For women, the attire of choice has been the sari; also available are salwar kameez sets.

If you are going for a theme-based design for the holud shondha, be sure to place your orders 15 to 20 days in advance.

Kay Kraft wedding couture is available at all KK outlets.

Beauty Dissected

Beauty dissected

DR.FIRDOUS QUADER MINU, M.B.B.S, D.L.O ENT, Head-Neck & Cosmetic Surgeon, Phone: 01199845531

Scar revision
A scar or a mark can be psychologically disturbing for a person, especially if it is on an exposed part of the body.

Scars usually happen due to some kind of trauma where there is breakage of skin and healing occurs by remodelling of that particular area. How a scar will develop depends on the type of skin, age of that particular person as well as type of injury, like burns, cuts or even a disease process like an abcess. Besides scars, a person may also have marks or skin tags of different types that occur not due to breakage of skin but due to the development of skin either during intrauterine periods, like birth marks, or as the person is growing up, like freckles on the cheeks or a neavus, moles or warts.

Birthmarks can become lighter as a child grows and sometimes even disappear. But that is not always the case. Some of the marks will grow as the child grows older and can look very bad, like neavus-dark pigmented lesions which can be elevated or flat. Occasionally, they even have hairs on them.

When a patient comes with a neavus we always recommend excision or sometimes Q-switch laser. It usually depends on the size and type of skin. If the lesion is big, we advise serial excision if possible. This means excising parts of the lesion at intervals of three to four months. The skin is usually very elastic and will grow or stretch so that after the excision we don't have to fill up the gap by skin grafting.

If it is not possible to perform serial excision and the lesion looks bad, sometimes we use skin grafting, that is, we take skin from another part of the body and place it on the gap. In these cases there may be a difference in the colour of skin, and it will also be visible where the skin joins the normal skin. But usually it will look better than before. Depending on the size and age of the patient, general or local anaesthesia is used and usually no hospital stay is required.

In cases of lesions like freckles, these develop as a person grows as well as with sun exposure. Usually freckles don't reach down to the deeper layers of skin and can be treated by Co2 laser ablation, by which process there is no residual scar. Local anaesthesia is used and only one or two sessions are needed.

Moles may be of many shapes and sizes, and they can be excised very easily by local anaesthesia and they leave very faint linear scars that disappear over time. Warts are skin tags of viral origins that can spread over a long period of time. There are usually many warts in one area. These can easily be removed by Co2 laser ablation and leave no scars.

Scars that are caused due to injuries like cuts or road accidents can also be remodelled or revised. Sometimes after an accident, the repair of the injury is not done properly and that leaves an unpleasant scar. These can be revised to make them look better. It has to be remembered that there is no magic treatment for scars that will make them disappear. Scars can be revised to make them look smaller or more presentable but they will not disappear totally. There will always be a linear scar where the skin heals. These usually become fainter with time.

Self-inflicted scars on the forearms can cause mental as well as social problems for the patient. These are hard to treat as the skin on the forearm is very tight and does not stretch. Thus the whole area has to be excised and replaced by a skin graft. This takes away the original scar but leaves skin that is of a different shade.

Scars caused due to burns are also hard to treat. Burns usually heal by contractures and so the scars are excised and replaced by skin grafts, sometimes only Z-plastyrs are done to release the contracture.

Some people develop keloids as a result of scars. Again, these are hard to treat. These should not be excised as keloids tend to recur. These can be treated by local steroid injections and silicon ointments.

So, whatever the cause, each scar or mark is treated differently and an experienced cosmetic surgeon should always be consulted to recommend the best method of treatment.


While you are stuck in traffic

Congestion in Dhaka city has reached an excruciating level. Everyday, you spend many hours simply sitting idly in traffic, entirely frustrated about the condition. Here are some ideas that will help you utilise the hours otherwise wasted in traffic congestion.

First things first- calm yourself down
You know well that all the grumbling will not get you to your destination. Try to relax, because fussing about it will definitely not help. Taking deep breaths is a common yet very effective technique of relaxation.

Pick up the phone
Remember how long you have not been in touch with a long lost colleague or relative? Give him a call. Have a small chitchat with him. This will kill some time and also take your mind off the annoying traffic. On top of that, it's a great way to stay in touch with people.

Play games
Get a Rubik's Cube or a jigsaw puzzle for your car! These intelligent games will not only make time fly away, they will also be a good brain exercise for you. Or, if you have someone else in the car with you, say a friend or a carpooler, offer him a game of cards.

By M H Haider






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