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|Volume 11 |Issue| 15 | April 13, 2012 ||
Riding Towards Freedom
I went to Dhorla Bridge a couple of days ago to spend a holiday afternoon on the bank of the river. The place is a favourite among the people of Kurigram for its natural beauty. As I went for a walk along the river, I could feel the cool breeze on my face and felt very elated. There is a large field near the river bank. Children were playing cricket and football on the field. Grownups were also tempted to take part in a sport.
After walking a little further, I saw a couple with a child on a motor bike. They pulled over at a corner of the field and the man was showing his wife some techniques and a few useful tips on riding the bike. I was impressed to see that the woman was a quick learner. The child was particularly ecstatic to see her mother riding the bike. What fascinated me most about the whole scene was the glowing confidence of the woman. It also made me wonder if women in other regions of the country would be allowed to ride like that.
Md Azam Khan
Yesterday, I went to a local drug store to get some adult diapers for my mother, who has recently started using it due to her deteriorating health. Since this was the first time I was buying it, I had to ask the shopkeeper about the price. But I was completely shell-shocked when I heard the price he quoted. He said that adult diapers cost around Tk 750. With a blank and amazed face, I paid the shopkeeper and left the store with the diapers.
Out of curiosity, I started going through the internet to find out why Pampers, a foreign diaper brand, are so expensive and after searching for a while, I found that it was because of the excessive import duty and other charges that this product is so expensive.
I completely understand that diapers are a high quality branded product, but does that mean that the government has to impose a high import duty on it?
Feminism in Our Country
At age 30, I was travelling abroad with my husband. At Shahjalal Airport immigration, my husband and I stood in different queues. The immigration officer asked me several questions, the final one being, “Who are you travelling with?” I had answered all the silly questions and put up with all his snide comments but I paused at that and wondered why a 30-year-old woman would need to travel with someone. Instead of wasting my time, I answered and passed through.
Yesterday, a Bangladeshi friend of mine, who is visiting from abroad, went to apply for her National ID card. Her husband, also a Bangladeshi, had not come here with her due to work engagements. Her request for the ID was rejected on the ground that she failed to provide her husband's ID. She could not provide her parents' identification either since they had both passed away years ago.
This morning, she went to apply for a Machine Readable Passport (MRP). She was told she would not be able to apply without her kabin-nama (wedding certificate). Since both her parents were deceased, she would have to provide certification of her husband. Once again, she was rejected.
Now I want to ask the following questions:
Over the recent years we have been celebrating International Women's Day like other countries. But how can we celebrate this day when the aforesaid situations exist? Women can't walk down a street without having men gawk at them as if they are zoo animals.
This year, during International Woman's Day, a colleague of mine said to me “This is Your day!” I replied “Bhaiya, with all due respect, I spend 364 days a year fighting for respect; dedicating just one day for me just isn't enough”.
I'm not a feminist or activist of any kind. I'm a humble citizen requesting respect and equal rights as a human being.
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