A Gentleman's Game?
Travelling by rickshaw on Gulshan, I had the opportunity to encounter some distinguished gentlemen travelling in a nice car, (which lacked a registration plate), wearing nice clothes and smelt of nice perfume. Except there was one anomaly- these young gentlemen were wielding machetes and knives and wanted me to give them my wallet and mobile phone, which of course I did.
Traditionally, educated youth from well to do families are unlikely muggers. After all, it is a risky albeit profitable occupation. But things have changed. In a society where lawmakers and government ministers are involved in criminal activities, the breakdown of morality and honour is inevitable. Many offsprings of powerful politicians have also earned a reputation for their active role in the lowliest of criminal activities, and that includes mugging, carjacking and extortion.
A Lesson on the Road
A few days ago, after coming out from my office I was looking for an auto-rickshaw for a speedy ride home. Luckily, I got one auto-rickshaw but the driver parroted the usual “contract system” that always exploits the passengers. Vexed and desperate, I boarded on the auto-rickshaw and planned to give the driver a lesson that day. Politely, I told the driver to keep the fare meter on. He gave a diabolic grin that spelt meter on koira r ki hoibo? (What will happen if I turn the meter on?).The driver’s such remarks ignited my disturbed psyche. Nearby my house, I told the driver to stop the auto-rickshaw beside the police check post. The driver was having qualms to park the vehicle. Then I shouted loudly and he did park the auto rickshaw; I called in the attending police and asked for redemptive measure of such system. The driver was fined immediately. I paid the money that the meter showed and said “See what happens if you turn on the meter!”
University of Dhaka
Mankind or Money?
Bangladesh is not a stranger to casualties from natural disasters such as cyclones and floods. However, on the June 15, another natural disaster resulted in the deaths of at least 53 people, the death toll is likely to increase. The occurrence of landslides and its depressing effects are often overlooked. Previously, at least 130 people died in the worst landslide in the port city of Chittagong in June 2007. I am surprised to realise that Bangladesh now is more like a flat pancake. Landslides should be a rare occurrence. However, though there are only a few hilly areas in Bangladesh, landslides have claimed many lives and ruined numerous families.
The increased phenomenon of landslides can be attributed for a large part to the deforestation of hills and its subsequent soil extraction for commercial purposes that makes the surface of the hills vulnerable to soil erosion. The disaster of Chitagong in 2007 should have been a wake up call for us, but unfortunately hill cutting at the expense of the environment and human lives has continued unabated with the government failing to take the necessary measures.
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