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     Volume 4 Issue 51 | June 17, 2005 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   Food For Thought
   Time Out
   In Retrospect
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks

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Stringent law enforcement
A new law has recently banned smoking in public places. It is a timely and good move on the part of the government. Several times I've seen smokers about to light cigarettes but non-smokers around them stopped them. But in public places like college or university campuses and restaurants, if the majority are smokers, than those who don't smoke cannot stop the former from smoking. Some people even smoke in "No Smoking" zones with no regard whatsoever for the law. The authorities should monitor smoking in public places. Not only does smoking pollute the environment but is also bad for children. There should be smoking and non-smoking zones for the incorrigible smokers.
Fahad Osmani Medical College Sylhet

JCD cordoning the campus
At the very threshold, I would like to clarify that I am not against student politics but its current trend is disgusting. After the tragic demise of Shammi, a student of Psychology Department of Dhaka University, it has become a common phenomenon for the general students to express mourning through bringing out processions and wearing black badges. But student leaders trying to gain politically from this is horrid. Where are our morality and ethics? Is DU really the Oxford of the East? Leaving aside their books our reputed institution's young scholars are now cordoning the main entrances of Dhaka University. Their target is to thwart BCL leaders and activists from entering the campus. For whose interest are they doing it? Will it really do them any good? No, but they have Utopian dreams that will never come true.
Bazlur Rahman Dhaka University

On "Tigers"
It's been frequently noticed that the national cricket team of Bangladesh has been called "Tigers" by some newspapers, especially The Daily Star, which is quite unexpected. The name "Tigers" refers to a hidden and underground political party in Sri Lanka and this is how a lot of people here in North America are familiar with the name. I don't think there should be such nicknames for the Bangladesh cricket team which may create a lot of confusion among the multicultural people living here in Canada.
Mohammed Toronto, Canada

Some thoughts on Devdas
Walid Ibn Matin's reaction to Srabonti Narmeen Ali's article cleared up the misconceptions I had about Devdas. However, I could not understand why Devdas should not be called a "coward" and a "spineless" person for not marrying Paro. Was Devdas's love not true or deep enough to defy his parents' wishes and make his own decision? Devdas was certainly a person in command of his morality. His willingness to be the "good boy" was as strong as his love for his parents but sometimes, a person may need to take some decisions in his/her life which may be labelled as "immoral" judged by the standards set by society. If he was so truly in love with his parents, he should have remained happy with the woman of their choice. Or, rather than hitting Paro for having the guts to break some rules and coming to his house in the middle of the night.
Arefin Dhaka On e-mail

In response to Sabiha Mowla
It was amusing to read the myopic and ludicrous comment from Sabiha Mowla (June 2005) that obscenity and indecency play a major part of Indian entertainment and that Indian shows and movies are copied from the West.
While the indecency problem plague film industries world-wide (Wasn't there a recent furore about the vulgarism and crassness in the local film industry?!), the Indian industry has also delivered clean and internationally acclaimed movies such as Lagaan, Devdas, Black, Munnabhai MBBS (whose copyright is being sought after by a foreign production house), My Brother Nikhil and so on...The list is endless. Vulgarity is the least that drives audiences to view these. Moreover, how many of these movies does the author feel have been plagiarised? Yes, the likes of Indian Idol and KBC are modelled on similar Western shows and is rather an adaptation to suit local needs.
My humble request to the author and others of his ilk -- you are free to voice your opinion but avoid a jaundiced eye and stereotype!
Last but not the least -- are the Kasautis, Kyunkis and Jassis -- the staple diet for the local populace -- also vulgar?
A. Roy

A writer in the making
In my opinion, the SWM issue of April 29, 2005 is one of the best issues in recent times. The cover story "DU's Smelly Secret" by Kajalie Shehreen Islam exposed the extreme indifference or ignorance of people about hygiene at DU's. The "4/11 -- The killing tower of Savar" by Chintito revealed the worst kind of negligence by the owners that lead to the end of so many innocent, precious lives. And the article by Shamim Ahsan about encouraging children to read was an invaluable article indeed. These articles have shown that, besides the senior writers and contributors of the paper and magazine, the in-house writers of SWM have made phenomenal progress, which is very encouraging.
"Baby I love your ways" and some other articles by Srabonti Narmeen Ali in recent issues of SWM determine the fact that a great writer is in the making. Srabonti has been exhibiting her subtle insight into the human and social psyche with her passionate writing. She's quite honest and straightforward in expressing her conviction. I wish her and all the young talents of SWM success and humbly remind them that we all still have miles to go! Congrats and keep it up!
Rafiqul Islam Rime Agrabad, Chittagong

In response to "Dear Devdas"
I should thank the writer of "Dear Devdas" published in SWM on May 13, for writing on an important issue. I am not defending the movie but I cannot accept the way she has treated our society. Yes, I agree with her that Devdas played two women at the same time. He is spineless, a lecher and exploiter. Paro was unlucky that she loved such a man. But my question is, does the movie necessarily represent our society? I should say it does not, because the movie is a foreign one made on a distorted story of a Bangla novel. And seeing such a movie we cannot say that those lechers and exploiters are seen as heroes in our society. It would be dangerous if we try to get the actual news of our society from an alien movie that is totally aimed at making money. People see such movies not for their stories but for something else as stated by the writer: "In fact, with the sounds of Dola Re forever playing in my head, the sequins of Madhuri and Aishwarya's costumes blinding me and the sheer brilliance of Shah Rukh being Shah Rukh, I had never really thought about the actual story or what it stood for."
Similar female characters are found in Bangla novels such as Madhukori (Rusha) by Buddhadev Guha, Durbin (Remi) by Shirshendu Mukherjee, Kobi (Sajjad's mother) by Humayun Ahmed and many others. But society is not calling all of them "a shameless hussy".
Amimul Ahsan Rajshahi University

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