Sylhet is known as a "spiritual city" because
it is the abode of Hazrat Shahjalal (r) and 360 saints.
However, the sanctity and austerity of this city are at
stake after a sequence of bomb blasts within a short span
of time. According to a Daily Star report on August
7, 2004, 23 people were killed in 14 explosions in the last
seven years in Sylhet. Amongst these blasts, two consecutive
bomb attacks at Shahjalal (r) shrine cost seven people their
lives. The apparent target of the second bombing was British
High Commissioner to Bangladesh Anwar Chowdhury, who miraculously
escaped death. The latest explosions, which killed a young
man, took place at two cinema halls on August 5. No headway
has been made in the investigation of the other blasts,
which has probably encouraged the culprits to continue their
killing spree. These explosions are glowing examples of
debacles on the part of the local administration and police.
These two key sectors have to be revamped in no time. The
local political bigwigs should contemplate on the prevailing
deterioration of the law and order situation. I urge them
to make on all-out effort to combat crimes and restore peace
and security for the people of Sylhet. We do not want to
see the spiritual city turn into a killing ground.
Md. Nazrul Islam Sumon
Department of English
University of Dhaka
the August 6 Issue
SWM's belated cover story on the floods seemed to be a job
reluctantly done and could surely have been better. Another
article with the conspicuous title "Service to the
Nation" had little to do with the subject matter. It
should take something more than some aristocrats sacrificing
their "gala dinner" on one particular occasion
(they did enjoy the beats of Miles ) to justify the use
of such a weighty title. Trivia is often repetitive and
I think New Flicks could use two pages. I loved "The
Golden Years are Beginning to Tarnish" by Jan Zeh and
hope to see more of her writings. It is easier for people
with modest command over the English language to read articles
like these rather than ones like "Eternal Fascism".
City Submerged in Misery"
SWM's in-depth cover story last week on the recent flood
situation in the country was an interesting, though somewhat
sad, read. While some of the information was new, some of
it was not. It is just a pity that measures for the prevention
(or at least the extent) of the disaster caused by floods
are apparently known but not much seems to have been done
-- even year after year of the same tragic situation. It
almost seems unjustified to refer to floods as completely
"natural" disasters anymore because there seems
to be a lot we could do to offset the extent of the calamity.
Neither does the relief work seem adequate. What will become
of this country which places such little value on human
life and suffering?
in Our Culture
Here are some thoughts emanating from reading Imran H. Khan's
piece "What's brewing in the melting pot" (SWM,
July 23, 2004), on our cultural changes of the past, present
and future. The Faraizi and Wahabi movements were aimed
to inculcate an Islamic way of life among Bangali Muslims
for whom Hindu culture reigned supreme. This effort gave
rise to the Islamic syncretistic tradition in Bengal, where
Islamic and Bangali traditions blended. As an aftermath
of the famine in 1942-1943 and the deluges of 1954, 1987
and 1988, we saw millions of rural people lose their homes,
which ultimately forced them to migrate to city slums. The
partition of the sub-continent in 1947 and our own independence
in 1971 had not only created a vacuum in the ownership and
management of commerce and industries, but also left only
a few qualified people to man the bureaucracy. Almost all
such professional positions fell vacant with the migration
of Indian Hindus and Pakistani Muslims respectively. The
vacuum thus created provided an opportunity for Bangali
Muslims (particularly the vast majority of farming-Muslim
community) to occupy these vacated positions in due course.
There are three types of changes by which our culture has
been affected. The first is man-made, which brought about
and influenced direct changes in our beliefs, morals, knowledge
etc). The second change is due to devastating natural calamities,
which destroyed the land and property of the rural population.
Thirdly, our way of life was also changed by technological
innovations such as industrial machinery, satellite television
and the mobile phone. Changes in culture include those in
knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, customs and any other
capabilities and habits acquired by us.
Language Teaching at the Secondary Level
The government has implemented a new curriculum for English
language teaching and learning in the secondary level known
as the Communicative Method of Learning English. Students
in the secondary level have been studying in this curriculum
for the past couple of years, but is it really benefiting
them? Our English teachers (I don't know how they can be
English teachers without an English language background)
don't have any idea about what is Communicative English.
Many of them are not properly trained, and are actually
taking classes as per the traditional method. They even
conduct English classes in Bangla, throwing translations
and rules of grammar at the students. I am quite anxious
about the teaching system at the secondary level. I would
request the government to take necessary steps to properly
train all English language teachers for it is only through
this that the government's aim and the new curriculum will
be successful and the students will truly benefit from learning.
Sakhua Adorsha Bidyaniketon
"Poison in my Bloodstream"
In the July 30 issue of SWM, there was an article by Voyager
called "Poison in my Bloodstream" on his experience
of drug addiction and the light of life. I thank the writer
for his realisation and advise him to consult with a doctor
immediately. I also invite Voyager to join our website www.positivebangladesh.com
to discover the good things in life.
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