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     Volume 4 Issue 48 | May 27, 2005 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   Straight Talk
   Food For Thought
   In Retrospect
   Time Out
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
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On "Left in the Lurch"
I greatly appreciated the cover story "Left in the Lurch" by Shamim Ahsan. I was shocked to read the stories about Mozzafor, Shafiqul and Rafiqul who became disabled after the garments factory collapse at Savar. Compensation has been demanded for the victims but can it give them back their lives? I think the government should implement a rehabilitation programme for them. I was horrified to know that in the last 15 years, some 450 people died and 2,000 were injured in garment factory disasters in Mirpur, Uttara and other places due to the negligence of the owners and government authorities regarding inspection of proper facilities like fire escapes, etc. If the government does not take necessary steps immediately, many more workers will lose their limbs and be fighting for their lives.
Ataur Rahman Robin On Email

Thanks to Nandini
Last week, while I was reading the Dhaka Diary page of SWM, "A Woman's Tale" written by Nandini caught my eye. I was already interested as one of my college-mates had written it, but I also have a keen interest in gender issues, the dowry system and other issues faced by women in our country. These are all harsh realities of our society but the united effort of everyone can change these social circumstances. But for this, people must first change their outlook. Only then can we hope to have a society with no disparity, deprivation and exploitation. I would like to thank Nandini for her write-up and hope to see more writings on this burning issue.
Wasi Dhaka City College

Our problem
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Srabonti Narmeen Ali for her wonderful feature titled "What's Your Problem?" published in the May 6 issue of SWM. The story was very interesting and though short, drew the readers from start to finish. As a human being, I always keep in mind that everyone's life is a mixture of good and bad, joy and sorrow, victory and defeat, laughter and tears. Good and bad are both part of our character. If there was nothing bad then we would not value the good. But it is our nature to always focus on the negative aspects of a person or thing. Ali wrote, "Is it always possible to be a hundred percent correct all the time?" As this is quite impossible, we should always try to find out the positive sides about others which will also be an expression of our own broad-mindedness.
Moontaha Muneera Department of English Chittagong University

In response to "A Real Mess"
This is in response to the letter titled "A Real Mess" (May 6, SWM). I agree with the writer that the piece really had a "great" effect on its readers.
However, nowhere in my letter (April 22, SWM) was it mentioned that "it is possible to know how to have sex and not know the result of it". What I have tried to convey is that most teenagers are immature -- this does NOT necessarily mean that they do not know about the consequences. It is just that in spite of their knowledge, they are still eager as it works like a "forbidden fruit."
Moreover, I don't understand why teenagers should not be informed about "safe sex". I don't think it has got anything to do with "our own culture and tradition" and I firmly believe that there is no parent on Earth who would want his/her beloved child to be in a situation the four in the story were in. The fact also remains that our society is being Westernised and I believe that many will agree that it is better for us to prepare ourselves to tackle the new challenges that may arise.
A Reader On E-mail

In response to "Dear Devdas"
I must thank Srabonti Narmeen Ali for her article published in SWM on May 13.But I must say that most of her views about Devdas were totally irrelevant. Based on the actual story, Devdas was never categorised as the person who was playing with two women at the same time. The story clearly states that Devdas was in love with only one woman in his life and that was Paro. He only spent time with Chandramukhi to channel his grief and frustration at not having Paro in his life. I just don't get how a person can be flirting with two women at the same time when he is drunk most of the time. The writer called the character Devdas "spineless" for not having the guts to stand up and fight for his love. But Devdas actually was caught in a dilemma between his love and his parents. He loved his parents as well as Paro. Now what would we do if we were caught in a situation like that where on one side we have our love and on the other we have our parents? Is this decision so easy to make? Now for some people it may be a simple question to answer but Devdas was a normal human being who got scared in the confrontational situation he was in and wanted to escape from it. The writer clearly stated that Devdas should be hated by all of us because of the way he treated both women but I couldn't see where Devdas exploited women. He always had a firm control over his morality if not over his personality. I think the writer should see the movie a couple of times more to actually get an idea about Devdas's character. I believe Devdas should be praised for his immortal love. He dedicated his entire life to the woman he loved. Now is not that a worthy payback for his mistake? I believe that the writer got it all wrong trying to compare a tragic romantic story with the miseries that women nowadays endure. I think movies like "Murder" and "Zeher" would be much more relevant for what the writer was trying to say. "We gain immortality by our dedication and not by our mistakes" -- I believe that is what works for "Devdas".
Walid Ibn Matin Dhaka

Not hypocrisy but unawareness
In her letter (April 29, SWM), Farhana Deeba expressed her annoyance of those who eat panta ilish in the morning and spend the rest of the day watching Hindi movies on Pohela Boishakh. She termed the attitude hypocrisy. But in this age of satellite culture when Hindi movies are our chief source of entertainment, watching Hindi films and having panta ilish simultaneously is not due to hypocrisy but lack of awareness. People are simply unaware of the contradiction between the two. In this situation, it is the duty of those who are conscious of the difference between our culture and others' to inform those who are not. This is the only way to stop people from watching Hindi movies, at least on days of cultural significance for us, when we should distinguish between our own culture and others'.
Ashik Reza Dhaka University

To the right-honourable finance minister
As you have significantly increased the pay scales for the public servants at the cost of the taxpayers' money, please ask them to change their anti-people attitude, and to be pro-people and friendly -- not masters like they think they are. Please brief them on how to behave with their real bosses -- the common people of Bangladesh -- and ask them not to take bribe for the public services they provide to their real bosses. Thank you very much.
M A Obaydullah Melbourne Australia

Untimely demise of Mobin
We are greatly saddened by the tragic death of Imran Ahmed Chowdhury Mobin, a young and leading sound engineer in our country. I can say without hesitation that he was a born musician and a creative instrument player. He was also a groovy bassist and played a major role in our music industry. He was popular in both underground and mainstream music. We will forever miss his talent and pray for his peace in the afterlife. Bangladeshis at home and abroad want to know more about this great personality and his successes. As a regular reader of SWM, I suggest you bring out a special issue dedicated to the life, struggles and successes of Mobin.
Md. Toufiqur Rahman Rothkhola, Kishoreganj

Submission Guideline:
Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary and Write to Mita, with the writer's name and address, should be within 200 words. All articles should be within 1,200 words. A cover letter is not necessary, but every write-up should include the writer's name, phone number and email address (if any). While SWM welcomes unsolicited articles and photographs, it cannot accept the responsibility of their loss or damage. SWM does not return unsolicited articles and photos. Response time for unsolicited write-ups range from three weeks to two months. All articles submitted are subject to editing for reasons of space and clarity.
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