cover story on Solar Power
I really enjoyed your cover story "Harnessing
Power from the Sun" in the February 13 issue
of SWM. It was a ray of light in the darkness. It
is no doubt the only way to substitute our conventional
grid energy. We need to give more emphasis on producing
SHS (Solar Home System). I would also like to suggest
renaming the device SRS (Self Reliant System) because
introduction of the device on a mass level can help
our government cope with the problem of load-shedding.
SRS may be a good substitute for UPS (Uninterrupted
Power System). I hope the cost of SHS will be a little
cheaper so that the rural poor can afford it. The
government may substitute high cost transmission lines
from the national grid with the device.
Praising Brick Lane
I would like to thank Jackie Kabir for her excellent
article on Monica Ali's Brick Lane and people's response
to it. It expressed my appreciation of the book and
the international accolades it has received as well
as my exasperation with the likes of the Greater Sylhet
Welfare and Development Council and Tazin Abdullah
with their meaningless criticisms, along with my disappointment
with the authorities for refusing Monica's visa. Can
we not simply celebrate the fact that for the first
time a well written book by a Bangladeshi (by origin)
author has received international acclaim instead
of holding forth on how "shameful" it is
or that it is yet another tale about an immigrant
woman? I don't understand what is "despicable"
about saying it the way it is. I would also like to
point out that books about immigrants have been, and
will be, around for a while. It is the insight and
sensitivity with which Monica Ali handles the subject
-- the isolation and loneliness of a Bangladeshi woman
-- which raises her work above the ordinary and reaches
it to a wider audience. It is strange that all criticisms
of Brick Lane come from Bangladeshis and all appreciation
from the world over! We are so full of ourselves yet
when genuine praise comes our way we are unable to
acknowledge it graciously.
"Bread and Traffic Jam"
I found your article, "Bread and Traffic Jam"
in this weekend's SWM both funny and insightful. It
gave me a more entertaining and, thus, a more acceptable
perspective on life in this city (and indeed in this
country) that I had come to regard as chaotic, desperate,
and fatally sad. But, now, I see that some of my more
pleasurable (and valuable) moments were spent in the
suffocating air of Dhaka city traffic- rediscovering
Dostoevsky's insight and wicked humour, cleaning and
organising my laptop, updating the PDA, and capturing
those subtle and fleeting tremors of creative thought.
Or, perhaps, it was the potholes or the train tracks
or the various nondescript piles of trash littering
the roads that I felt. I have yet to take my drawers
with me on the road but surely, seeing that on this
score the writer herself has failed to live by the
words she preaches, I can be forgiven this small transgression.
Your article was arguably (forgive my cheap effort
at irony) my one definite moment of Zen here in Dhaka.
I am a regular reader of SWM and I particularly look
forward to reading your articles. Your article "Bread
and Traffic Jam" was brilliant. You couldn't
have put it any better the frustration one has to
go through in this city. I am a resident of Chittagong
but often visit Dhaka for business purposes. Unfortunately,
I don't like to be driven around, thus I drive my
own car all the time. Just imagine the frustration
one feels sitting in the back seat of a car. Now imagine
what the driver goes through. I wish I knew how to
explain it. I have a bad temper and often tend to
lose it when I am stuck in traffic. My girlfriend,
on the other hand, does not understand what it's like
to drive in this crazy city and often we end up arguing
about my temper, which I tend to lose while driving.
Someone should tell her! I just wanted to say how
much I enjoyed reading your article. I wasn't having
a particularly good day yesterday but when I came
home at night and sat down to read SWM, your article
made me feel much lighter.
a Mathematics Section
I would like to thank Abdullah Imran for his idea
in the January 23 issue of SWM of including a section
on mathematics in it. I absolutely agree with his
opinion because mathematics is a subject that sharpens
the mind and helps the brain to work faster. I think
SWM should start this section. I look forward to the
editor taking this initiative.
S. M. Mahfuz Alam
Loss Plan (part deux)
I liked your article on weight loss in SWM. Your advice
to keep fit was very encouraging and your techniques
matched with some of mine. My suggestions are totally
different, however. If you have any plan to start
a business of your own in our country please try and
find out how feasible it would be to a open a swimming
pool for ladies only, which will be open from dawn
to dusk (keeping in mind the ladies who work). Although
there are lots of clubs and hotels with such facilities
but the majority of the females are not comfortable
in a unisex swimming pool. So such a step would really
be helpful for over weight working women like us,
who are willing to pay to lose weight and who really
want to do it by working out after office hours. Swimming
is the best way to keep fit and getting rid of all
The Poor Dhaka Zoo
I was shocked to see the condition of the Dhaka zoo.
Instead of improving, even the number of animals is
decreasing. The zoo probably receives large funds
to maintain and improve the zoo, its condition is
extremely poor and the animals are underfed, dying
of starvation and given poor treatment when sick.
The public, especially the large middle class, does
not notice this. It has gone so far that domestic
animals are being placed there instead of wild animals.
It is really pitiful. I wonder what the government
A factual error crept into our cover story on Bangla
Academy published on February 21. Burdwan House, which
later became Bangla Academy, was the official residence
of the then Chief Minister Nurul Amin and not Monem
Khan. In fact Monem Khan was governor of the then
East Pakistan in the '60s.
The cover of many of the issues of February 21 was
disfigured due to a technical glitch. We sincerely
regret the errors.