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

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 138 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

January 16, 2004

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Might is Right

I was walking on the footpath of Badda some time back. The people there had blocked the road, demanding water and electricity. As a result, a large traffic jam had developed. All sorts of vehicles were caught in the jam except for motorcycles. They were eagerly plying the footpath, causing problems to the commuters there. A rickshaw was crossing one such footpath and crossed paths with a motor bike. The motor biker shouted out, "Hey, rickshaw, is the footpath for driving rickshaws? Move away quickly." The poor rickshaw puller was speechless. He quickly moved away. I saw the whole thing and wondered: who does make the decisions in our democratic country?

Moniruzzaman Dept. of Sociology, Dhaka University

Modern Beggars

My wife decided to feed two beggars at lunchtime after having a bad dream from watching the Hindi horror serial, "Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat" on cable television. Before lunchtime, I was supposed to send the guard out to get some beggars. After a while, the guard came back with a sad face and told me, "Sir, I cannot find any beggars in our area." I told him to search further in the nearby Mohakhali Rail Gate area. This time the guard returned with some positive news, "Sir, I found two beggars at the Mohakhali Rail Gate. One of them can come tonight to have dinner -- he is booked for lunch somewhere else. The other beggar is one-legged. He can come but he needs conveyance fees for the trip to and back." I was totally baffled. This was surely something I had never heard before.

A Reader

Insolent Rickshaw Pullers

A few days back, after finishing our classes a classmate and I were looking for a rickshaw to return home. We asked some rickshaw pullers but as they wanted unreasonable fare, we started to walk. When we had come a little way from where the rickshaw pullers were, one of them came up to us and said, "Ki Apa, jabenna? Naki paisa nai, na thakle magna nimu." (Won't you go, Apa? Or don't you have any money? If you don't then I'll take you for free.) We were stunned. It was so insulting! When I told my friends about this a friend of mine told me another such embarrassing incident. She had hired a rickshaw to her destination and on the way there was a huge jam. She was in a hurry so she suggested another route to the rickshaw puller. They faced no jam on this route but when she was giving him the fare, the rickshaw puller demanded more. She refused but later gave some extra money, though not as much as he had asked for. She then went about her business but the sly rickshaw puller followed her and told her that he had been calling her. He started to behave very rudely with her, seeing that she was decent and all alone. Do these rickshaw pullers behave in the same way with guys? I think that all people, especially girls, should stand up to such insolent rickshaw pullers.

Farhana Tahsin, Dhaka University



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