On the cover story
My heartiest thanks to Kajalie Shehreen Islam and Shamim Ahsan for a fantastic cover story on physical abuse of children at school. It was a timely issue following the death of schoolboy Dipu Islam. The report focussed on the cruel treatment of teachers at school.
Dipu, a 13-year-old schoolboy, was brutally caned by his "favourite" teacher and died in fear and humiliation. Dipu is among the thousands of victims of such torture, but most of them do not disclose it, whether in fear or shame. Psychologists claim that any kind of physical or emotional abuse has a bitter impact on the mind of a child. I myself endured such brutal treatment from my teachers, which made school a disgusting experience for me. I remember being caned 42 times in Class 8, for the slightest naughtiness. My whole body was covered in black marks. Since then, I never felt comfortable in class. I was always afraid and had trouble interacting with my teachers. I remember how in Class 9 one of my classmates was hit by a teacher on the eye and he turned blind. I was always afraid of going to class after that and prayed that the teachers wouldn't come. I often avoided classes because of my fear and sometimes fled school after the lunch break. This obviously hampered my studies and I believe I would have done much better had my teachers been better. To this day, I cannot think of school without fear and though I respect my teachers, a great part of it is fear.
Md Kamrul Hasan Regan
Second Year, Department of English
University of Dhaka
On the Fiction column
I often used to read the Fiction which amused me a lot as a student. But I haven't seen the column for a few weeks now. I request SWM to publish regular fiction pieces to make the magazine even spicier and more interesting.
English being an international language, its importance cannot be stressed enough. I am a student of mathematics (Honours) at Chittagong College. Most students in my department and elsewhere do not want to study in English. But knowledge of the language is very important in higher education because one must read many books and most of them are in English. But it being a foreign and difficult language, most students obviously do not opt to study in English medium. I therefore request the honourable prime minister as well as the vice-chancellor of the National University (NU) to make English compulsory under the NU. Not only will it benefit the students but also the country as a whole, helping us to compete abroad.
Dhana Joyti Chakma
Department of Mathematics
On "My Favourite Teacher Killed Me"
The life of an yet-to-blossom bud was cruelly cut short. It was brutal, barbaric and inhuman to beat a child of 13 years to death, whose only fault was that he was not attentive or did not do well in class. I remember, when I was a child, I was badly beaten by the headmaster for hurting a girl's foot while kicking a piece of stone which accidentally hit her. It was a nightmare which still haunts me. The physical wounds and bruises can be healed, but the emotional scars of humiliation and demoralisation stay with you throughout your life. I agree with Dr Mehtab Khanam that there are many different ways to discipline children without resorting to physical punishment. For example, the child can be made to sit in the sin bin, finishing unfinished work, and they can be rewarded for their efforts through a point system, certificates, smiley faces or any sort of positive reinforcement. It is not always about there being too many students in class. It is about teachers knowing about alternative strategies to old and unkind physical punishment. We also need to ensure that all schools and educational institutions have punishment policies closely monitored by the government or relevant authorities. Only then can we stop such barbaric treatment and premature deaths of rising stars like Dipu.
I have never missed any issue of SWM in the last two years. When I was at Rajshahi Cadet College, all my batch-mates also used to wait eagerly for the magazine every week. We used to talk about the writings, which helped us to think about things and express our own opinions. The SWM staff deserves much credit for publishing such an attractive as well as informative magazine. Bravo, SWM!
Abdullah Al Mahmud
On "Fool's Paradise"
Instead of teaching our children how to cope in difficult situations, I wonder why Munize M. Khasru is perpetually making accountable newspapers, parents, husbands, friends, in-laws and finally . . . At least spare the dead! It proves that we are very good at putting the blame squarely on others. We should teach our children from the very beginning that no parents or guardians can destroy their lives unless they destroy them themselves. Sometimes children from very well-off families don't know how to behave properly as they are used to getting everything even before asking for it. If parents and families cannot discipline their children then the latter are really unfortunate. But where millions of children are not even sure about getting their next meal, all this is a luxury reserved for people like us. Maybe family counselling would help.
Why are we being deprived?
I am a second year student of English at Dhaka University. Our classes were supposed to start from July 23 (even after the month-long summer vacation in June) but now the date has been set in our department for August 6. The authorities have given no reason for the delay and classes in other departments have already started. Such unscheduled delays are very frustrating for students and ultimately hampers their studies. We are already half a year behind the business faculty and now we're falling behind the other departments as well. I hope the authorities will take the matter into consideration.
Md. Kamrul Hasan Regan
Department of English
Tata and Bangladesh
Multinationals are essential to a country's development. Recently, the Indian giant Tata has shown interest in Bangladesh. If Tata starts operation in Bangladesh, unemployment problems of the country could be solved, as it would need a large labour force to fuel its industries. It will also earn foreign currency for us and may develop infrastructure for their interest. In the past we have seen China arouse the interest of transnational companies (TNC) by making Special Economic Zones for them. The BNP government can follow such policies but must also limit the freedom of such companies so that they cannot exploit us. Low quality goods produced by Tata like their cars should not be allowed to find a place in the domestic market for the greater interest of the people.
The Aga Khan School, Dhaka
Fixed taxation on cell phone connections
Recently, our government imposed a fixed tax rate on cell phone connections. But there are many types of cell phone connections such as pre-paid and post-paid, cell to cell, with BTTB incoming and outgoing facilities. It is silly to charge the same rate of tax on all the different connections. Rather, the government could impose a percentage-based tax instead of a blanket fixed amount. We want to contribute to government revenue, but not in a way which will burden us so much. I hope the government will take the matter into consideration.
Aziz Halim A. K. & Co.
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.
All materials should be sent to: Star Weekend Magazine,
19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Fax: 880-2-8125155 or emailed
It is recommended that those submitting work for the first
time to the SWM take a look at the sample copy beforehand.
Our website is: http://www.thedailystar.net/magazine
(R) thedailystar.net 2005