"Our Inclusive National Past"
It's surprising to note the ideological grip that the Pakistani ruling class has on the mind of Rubaiyat Hossain. The garrison state has always proclaimed that it is the bastion of Islam in South Asia and defending Pakistan is equal to defending Islam. The Punjabi dominated Civil-Military rulers considered Bangalis as crypto-Hindus. Rubaiyat says that we have distanced ourselves from the history of Islam by distancing ourselves from Pakistan. She also has this strange idea that Bangladeshi Islam was first brewed in Pakistani soil by Persian Sufi philosophers and then brought here.
However I fully endorse her statement that we are suffering from a collective amnesia about our past and by neglecting our intellectual and spiritual heritage. I would advise Rubaiyat to look at the extremely rich Hindu-Buddhist and Muslim cultural heritage in her own motherland before turning to Pakistani brand of Islam. There is nothing wrong with our Bengali Islam. It has absorbed plenty of non-Muslim elements, which is very natural. No amount of correct Arabic lessons would make us Muslims like Pakistanis who are regularly murdering fellow Muslims in hundreds with satanic hatred. This is not Sufi Islam but primitive tribalism.
We shall be able to appreciate the sublime beauty of Urdu ghazals if we cultivate ideals of liberal-humanism and rise above the bigotry of medievalist ideas. Rubaiyat is mistaken if she thinks that Pakistan is the home of Urdu and Muslim culture in South Asia. Urdu was born and flourished in Uttar Pradesh the home of South Asian Muslim culture and civilisation and also in Deccan or Hyderabad.
The confusion about our national identity Rubaiyat speaks of arose due to the division of Bengal. If she accepts that all Bangla speaking people irrespective of religion constitute one indivisible Bengali nation and Bengal is their historical homeland then confusion evaporates. But will Rubaiyat admit that?
Why do they all go abroad?
I don't understand why the Prime Minister and other big leaders always go to Singapore, Thailand and other foreign countries when they fall ill? Do they not think that doctors of our country are up to the standard? What about the doctors who leave our country and work abroad? If they think that the equipment and infrastructure are not strong enough then why don't they build specialised hospitals and improve the medical education system instead of wasting our money on other countries?
How long will it take to implement the submarine cable?
Recently the government has officially started working on the submarine cable in Cox's Bazar. The same government discarded the idea in the early 1990s. It was a big setback for us not to pick up the opportunity then. It will take a decade for us to accelerate with the fast moving world. The question is how long will it take before we can enjoy the conveniences of the submarine cable in our offices, houses and educational institutions? Looking beyond the glittering ceremonies the government has to guarantee us the fullest of this opportunity as soon as possible.
Dept. of EEE, CUET
Pahela Baishakh in Banglatown
I would very cordially like to thank Nadia Kabir Barb for her exclusive write-up 'Pohela Baishakh in Banglatown' (May 19, 2006). We have a very bad perception of Bangali people living abroad as they usually forget their motherland and never come back.
However, I have to admit the reality of the proverb 'everything returns to its roots'. This is clearly depicted by our people in Banglatown who embrace the Baishakhi atmosphere with an open heart. The procession of musicians and dancers with scenes of people eating jhaal chaanachur and kaacha amer bhorta really bewitched the visitors and participants of Baishakhi fair in Banglatown.
Zahurul Haque Hall, DU
The Unforgettable Nasreen Huq
The death of Nasreen Parvin Huq, the Country Director of Action Aid Bangladesh was very shocking news. The person who spent most of her time with a mission to serve the people went away from us very silently. It's love for humanity that can make quite an unknown person so close. Her compassion and love for the suffering persons made her unforgettable.
Shirin Sharmin Bubly
Dept. of Civil Engineering, BUET
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