<%-- Page Title--%> Dhaka Diary <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 137 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

January 9, 2004

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Pick pockets

A few days ago I was going from Paltan to Shantinagar by bus. The bus was fully crowded and as there were no seats available, I had to stand. When someone touched me, I began looking around to see who it was and focused on a man nearby. I was shocked to see a pickpocketing taking place. There were four pickpockets. Two were standing at the entrance of the bus while another was cutting pockets and the other was talking to the victim. Once the man who was cutting the pocket had finished, he transferred the money to his accomplices at the door. As I watched, one of the pickpockets looked at me and realised that I had seen the whole incident. I had been looking all right but was unable to do anything for fear as I was in a crime zone. Sometimes we see crimes take place but are helpless to do anything.

Thowhid Fattah, Bangabandhu Hall, Dhaka University

Looking inside ourselves

I have trouble seeing and was going to Islamia Eye Hospital for treatment. I was getting off the bus at the Farmgate turning when I saw a man eating pineapple. Suddenly I heard a sound and saw the man fall to the ground, unconscious. A hawker on the roadside said the man had epilepsy. A large crowd gathered around the man but no one offered to help him. They were like an inactive audience enjoying a drama. I helped the man sit up and after some time he regained consciousness. He told me about his headaches and the illness. I thought about the people in the crowd. The saying in Bangla goes, "Manush manusher jonno" ("Man is for man"), but it hardly seems that way. People are selfish and uncaring about others. How do we expect to maintain law and order in a country where first the hearts and minds of people need to be cleansed?

Md. Mahbubur Rahman, BUET, Dhaka

Still some hope

A few days ago I went to the Secondary and Higher Education Board to correct my date of birth which was wrong in my certificate. Though it was the Board's fault, I had to go through a long and difficult process of correcting the mistake, going from person to person and table to table offering bribes and being cheated. I was surprised at one of the section officers, however. He gave me a blank paper and pen for my application and instructed me on what to write and who to submit it to. He even checked my records on the computer and addressed ma as "Baba". I was astonished at a government officer being so helpful, kind and cordial -- and without any "honorarium" -- as they like to call it -- either. I was prepared for the corruption of the officers, but not this. Now I'm more optimistic and believe that there are some honest -- though struggling -- people in society still willing to help.

Saad, Jahangirnagar University



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