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     Volume 7 Issue 10 | March 7, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  Straight Talk
  Special Feature
  Human Rights
  Writing the Wrong
  A Roman Column
  View from the   Bottom
  Dhaka Diary
  Book Review

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On 'A Place to Call Home'
Human rights organisations may argue that they have compelling reasons for focusing on more complicated and delicate issues than the plight of 'Bihari' people living in Bangladesh while the governments of both Pakistan and Bangladesh may avoid dealing with this issue by arguing that they are already overburdened by innumerable crises that need to be solved first, but two decisive aspects of this problem should be more than enough motivation for solving it once and for all.
The first is that in time, the 'Bihari' population will get bigger and bigger resulting in the problem becoming even more complicated, maybe even eventually leading to a problem that is intractable. The second is that if this issue is handled with a proper plan and due effort on the part of both countries, there is little chance of this problem blowing out of proportion and becoming worse. After all, nothing good comes out of keeping problems alive.
Ahmad Ferdous Bin Alam
Department of CSE, DU

Bucknor Should be Out
Famous Jamaican Umpire Steve Bucknor raises the question of whether he should be umpiring a cricket match again, after wrongly judging Rafique as an LBW victim in the 1st test match against South Africa.
Bucknor's poor performance during the infamous Sydney test in January led to the BCCI threatening to boycott the series against the Aussies, if Bucknor further umpired the series. Later he was sacked from umpiring for rest of the series.
61-year-old Bucknor has umpired in more test matches than anyone else and stood in five successive world cup finals from 1992 to 2007. But the recent slump in his umpiring abilities raises many questions about him.
Saurav Ganguly is not getting a chance to play these days not because of his performance but because of his age, as the modern day's cricket motto is becoming “pick young”. If this is the case why is the ICC not adopting the same attitude in the case of selecting umpires as, because of his age, Bucknor is not being able to perform up to standard.
Majumder Isnad Ahmed
BBA Student, Southeast University

Love for the Mother Tongue

The cover story 'Preserving Purity' (February 22, 2008), which sheds lights on different perspectives and instigates thoughts on our evolving culture and language, was indeed a very insightful write up. The article aptly described the present scenario in our country and also our lackadaisical and diminishing loyalty to our mother tongue. The tone has also been reverberated by noted scholars of our country and its potential impact on our Bangla Literature.
We certainly want our next generation to learn our beloved mother tongue properly, and at the same time we also want them to learn English in order to equip themselves for global exposure. Children who are barred from speaking Bangla in school should not be admonished. Rather the responsibility lies with the parents to ensure proper practices at home.
The author said in the article that Bangla is now becoming an occasion-based language and it is probably true. However, I would not be surprised if when I go to a victory day mela there is a catchy Hindi song playing in the background!
Recently we have started to hear more and more Hindi songs being played on radio. We are so accustomed with the presence of this in our lives be it visual or otherwise that no one even finds it even slightly odd.
English is the language of the world and we simply cannot afford to hinder its growth at this present time of rising globalisation. Without this we would just delay our progress as an emerging Asian country. We should be really careful and vigilant and not let anything put us in the back gear.
A Khan
Edgware, London


I agree with Professor Serajul Islam Chowdhury and with Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed quoted in 'Preserving Purity' (February 22, 2008) and though I do not fully accept, I understand Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's argument. However, not everyone living in Dhaka speaks in '69' or 'djuice' Bangla. It is because of these particular distortions of the language that such people get so much attention in the first place. Unfortunately, our national media is so obsessed with politics they can never fulfil their mission of nurturing the language. It is for this reason that the Bangla Academy and our universities should take more initiative. If it is impossible on the institution level, at least on the individual level our best professors and intellectuals should take up the responsibility. Here I would like to pay my respect to Professor Sayeed for creating a Biswa Sahitya Kendra generation. We cannot forget that the so many lives were lost to earn the right of speaking Bangla and that language movement led to our freedom fight. We should keep that in mind next time when we speak 'Ekannoborti' or Hindi-ised Bangla.
Kamil Khan
Varby, Sweden

Information on Ship Breaking
Your feature article 'Breaking Ships, Broken Hearts' (February 29), contains misleading and incorrect information, which as a retired person with hands-on steel making and rolling experience at the Chittagong Steel Mills, I feel needs to be corrected. The fact is that all the steel recovered from the breaking up of ships is not melted down. Rather, quite a lot is recovered in large sizes and used directly as sheets and plates, particularly from the deck plating and vertical hull sections. Thicker pieces over one inch thick are cut into slabs or squares, and rolled directly as sheets and rods in re-rolling mills without any melting. As stated there is no such product called “strong corrugated iron rods”, it is rods or wire-rod another name for a thinner diameter rod which is rolled into wires. Many wide scrap end pieces around three feet long and around a foot wide is rolled into sheets which may be galvanised and corrugated to produce CGI sheets (Corrugated Galvanised Iron sheets) used as roofing or wall material in the rural areas in semi-pucca structures.
Finally, the name of the ship is "ORESTIS" as seen clearly in the photograph; not "Orestic" as printed! Maybe this is the printer's devil, or just carelessness on the part of your editorial personnel. In generic terms it is a cargo ship; but from the view in the picture it seems to be a recently beached bulk oil tanker which can carry various types of bulk petroleum products in it. I believe the write-up was based on very superficial idea, and not properly researched which is needed for such topics.
S.A. Mansoor
Retired Engineer, Dhaka

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