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     Volume 7 Issue 48 | December 5, 2008 |

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A Role Model for Teachers
Teachers sometimes have more of an influence on people than parents. But things have been changing, possibly for the worse.
I'm not trying to blame all the teachers of course. I also don't want to go the general way of always searching for problems, not solutions. There are many who still remain idols for others. Such a man is Jalal Uddin, who is neither a teacher belonging to any institution nor is he an employee. He is a man who acquired his M.Sc in two different subjects from Rajshahi University and since 1977 is serving the people in the remote areas of Rajshahi.
This man took the responsibility from his own accord, and never asks for payment. He not only teaches the students in their institutional course, but also does many other things such as giving singing lessons and fighting for social problems such as child marriage and women's education.
Kamol Krishna Roy
Khulna University, Khulna

Breast cancer
We know that breast cancer is a silent killer of women. But only some of the educated women are interested to learn about this disease and how to prevent it. It is a matter of sorrow that our health policy makers have not yet set up a nationwide screening programme. There are no definite statistics or population based studies that can estimate Bangladeshi patients suffering from breast cancer, or how many women are affected each year. We urge the government to begin studying this issue.
Pradip Gope Rony
Department of Business Administration
Shahjalal University, Sylhet

Dowry and Marriage
Though Charles Dickens and PB Shelley consider winter the season of despair and sorrow, for us it appears to be the season of weddings and festivity due to the tropical climate. It is my firm belief that hardly anyone can deny the importance of marriage. Indeed, it is the ancient norm of mankind through which civilisation was established.
As the native of the sub-continent, we usually celebrate our wedding ceremony in keeping with our age-old traditions, religious norms and clinical codes. But sadly we often fail to uphold the solemnity and significance of it during the ceremonies. Instead of these things we usually prefer some ill norms and traditions.
For example we give priority to wealth and social class rather than education, morality and religious pathos. Moreover, the poor have to organise a colourful and expensive event in order to satisfy their neighbours and relatives. Dowry has become an important issue. My opinion is that marriage cannot be a matter of stress, conceit and charity. Rather, it is a matter of faith, co-operation and commitment.
Aiman Bin Shaofiqul Hamid (Jasim)
International Islamic University Chittagong

'Londonis' in Sylhet
It can't be denied that the Sylhetis living in London are very enthusiastic about investing their money in their hometown and country. Moreover there are a good number of talented young people who want to contribute to their country. Unfortunately they are not getting enough help from the Bangladesh government. There are no large industries or other commercial institutions in this city where the poor can find jobs. If the government takes the initiative and creates an environment for investment for these people it will be a blessing for the poor of this area as well as the unemployed from other parts of the country. Because of these lack of opportunities, the Sylhetis from London are investing their money in unproductive sectors. They are competing with one another to build luxury houses and buy expensive cars.
Surya Kanta
Bagbari, Sylhet

Rangamati: a Silent Bracket?

Kudos to STAR magazine for featuring neglected Rangamati, within Chittagong Hill Tracts, in last week's photo feature. It made a welcome change from the city-centric stories that our newspapers print.
I was rather surprised that the accompanying text made no mention of the political context of the region. The CHT is not simply a National Geographic tableau, with peaceful natives as local colour for our regional sports meets and international events. The region's history should not be made a silent bracket in your magazine.
Shambhu Rahmat
Dhanmondi, Dhaka

Use of Roadside Plantation as Conservation Site
In Bangladesh, the total forest area is decreasing at an alarming rate in recent years. The pressure of a rising population is the main reason behind this. Because of destruction of both homestead and wild forests, a lot of indigenous plant varieties are going to become extinct. Our indigenous plant varieties are a source of medicinal and genetic resources. In our country extensive physical and biological characterisation of these plants are not yet done. As a result we do not know their potential in future environment.
Because of a lack of sufficient raw plant products of different plant species, the century-old herbal medicine is now fighting for its existence. The organic chemical derivatives of these medicinal plant species have not been discovered. Sadly there is no initiative at any level of our government and commercial entrepreneurs to discover these chemicals as tools for future commerce. It needs a lot of investment but it would yield a high rate of return.
As it is not practical to create an artificial forest, we need to look for new conservation places. There are many vacant spaces besides the roads and highways. At present when there is planting in these places, only a single species is considered. Because of density of a single species, disease and pest infestation easily kill a lot of plants. So if we plant different types of indigenous plants one after another, then this will help to conserve a lot of indigenous species. This will help to maintain a sound environment as they have a positive effect on our ecosystem.
Abu Kausar Mohammed Sarwar
MS Student, Department of Agricultural Chemistry,
BAU, Mymensingh

Saving Banani
It is really frightening and claustrophobic how the peaceful residential area of Banani is turning into a chaotic place. I do not understand how the government is sitting idle and saying nothing.
I would like to request the authorities as an old resident of Gulshan and Banani to relocate the development of certain establishments to another place; for example schools and Universities, manpower offices and endless commercial buildings. The roads are already clogged and arrogant driving has become common here too. I really hope someone relieves us from this pain.
Shakila Paveen Khan

We wish our readers and contributors a very happy 'Eid Mubarak'. Because the offices of The Daily Star will remain closed over the Eid Holidays we will be unable to bring out an issue of The Star magazine on December 12, 2008. We regret any inconvenience caused to our readers.

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