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    Volume 9 Issue 8 | February 19, 2010|

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Deadly Politics

o conscientious student can subscribe to the idea that student politics is carried on by bright, diligent and freethinking students. Nowadays student politics is overrun by a bunch of hooligans and thugs who tend to browbeat the common students to participate in so-called political activity. Sycophancy, nepotism and extortion have become common practice. Factional fighting for supremacy has been the norm in all educational institutions. They tend to unleash a reign of terror by engaging in armed showdowns. Students who reside in halls or dormitories know the sinister effects of politics far better than anyone else. They are forced to attend political programmes even during exam time. They are beaten up mercilessly if they are reluctant to attend. Deaths of Abu Bokkor and Faruque Hussein should be a wakeup call. It has not only left a scar on our collective psyche but also outraged our sentiments. The authorities always claim to be tough on hooliganism. But they never take the grievances of common students into consideration. Should they not take all-out measures to purge student politics of these aberrant specimens?
Md. Jamil Akhter
Dept. of English
University of Dhaka

On Finding a Flat
I'm writing to comment on the piece "Finding A Flat in Dhaka" by Ms. Jessica Mudditt in the February 5 issue of the Star Magazine. The article was not without its charms, but I was struck by a number of inaccuracies and sweeping statements. Let me say at the outset that I'm not a Gulshan resident, since my home is in DOHS Mohakhali but I do spend a fair amount of time in Gulshan. While no one would deny that Gulshan is an upmarket and expensive area within Dhaka, I feel it's outrageous to claim that it's “hard to find a quick and tasty hot meal”. I am at a loss as to why with a ton of fast-food joints (KFC, A&W), cafes and youth hang-outs (Cuppa Coffee Club, Red Shift, Teen Street), Desi snacks (Chaat Street, as well as Dhaba etc a stone's throw away on Rd 11 Banani) and “proper” restaurants around, she should find it so hard to find a quick, hot, tasty meal. We Bengalis take our food very seriously, no matter which part of town we live in, so this is hardly a credible accusation!
Furthermore, Ms. Mudditt's blithe assertion that Gulshan is “prone to muggings (mostly of foreigners) at night” is another somewhat wild allegation. Most parts of Dhaka are “prone to muggings at night”, many in the daytime as well! As for foreigners occasionally being mugged, that might be because there are more foreigners in this part of town! But frankly, I think that's additional misinformation, because Dhaka remains one of the safer mega-cities in the developing world for foreigners, especially white ones. If for no other reason than that by attacking a foreigner, any criminal invites the possibility of a stronger law enforcement response!
Emmy Islam
Mohakhali DOHS, Dhaka

The Mechanics of Love

The divine gift of love doesn't come to everyone. It is supposed to come from heaven. But at present, we seem to be in love with love. Love is everywhere -- from advertisements to novels. It has become a vehicle to exhibit smartness, status -- even a topic for entertainment. In our society it has become very easy to "fall in love" because of the proliferation of mobile phones and satellite channels. But is this really love? We see romantic relationships form easily and break up even more easily. It is not a good sign for our society. Love is about commitment, tenderness and sharing. Easy infatuation is a poor substitute for what should be a truly special emotion.
Subrata Ray
Department Of Business
Shahjalal University
Of Science & Technology, Sylhet.

Open Letter to A Misfit
Dear Abu Baqar,
Sitting amidst eternity, you must be covering your face in shame as you have failed to live up to the law "survival of the fittest". What a shame that you have embraced death being hit by a "tear-gas shell" rather than falling prey to a noble weapon such as a nine shooter gun, sawed-off shot gun or machete which is frequently brandished by your fellow campus mates like Pasha Bhai. When political bigwigs were showing their non-academic prowess with heavy arms and muscle power on campus, you were busy taking notes to earn good marks with a view to bringing sunshine to your family. You were intent on finding a job and replacing your thatched hut with a tin roofed house instead of demonstrating on campus. Why did you go to the village during the holidays and work in your paddy field as a day labourer to supply some extra income to your family rather than becoming the sidekick of a senior Bhai and helping to snatch a tender? Haven't you seen how some of your mates are now millionaires using the political ladder? Sorry Abu Baqar, you have miserably failed to add Shahid before your name, as you were not branded by any political party as one of their own! Your home minister Sahara Khatun termed your death an "isolated incident" because you were not one of them. If you were, the police would be carrying out "combing operations" following your death. However, don't feel lonely -- many foolish souls similar to yourself are waiting to join you in the next few years.
Shakawat Hossain
Department of Accounting
Govt City College, Chittagong.

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