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|Volume 12 |Issue 03| January 18, 2013 ||
Our visits to the Lalbagh Fort and Ahsan Manzil right at the beginning of the new year were refreshing as well as enlightening. We experienced the stateliness and the splendour of the lifestyle of the past Nawabs of Bengal. Among other things, we wondered how the soldiers moved about donning the iron-clad arms coats. The weapons, utensils, pieces of furniture and all the other artifacts literally took us back in time. The phrase-'As if history unfolded before our very eyes', often used by us in the essay of 'A Visit to a Place of Historical Interest' actually materialised. The disconcerting aspect during these visits, however, was the way history was being preserved and placed before the world. Many places were sealed off whereas with proper measures, I am sure, more of the history of our elegant past could be put forward. There were hardly any docents and even if there were, all they did was walk with us and warn us not to take pictures. The places were littered and they were more being treated as just an open space or a park to spend some time in, instead of exuding the vibe of the magnificent part of history that they are. We have no dearth of historians who can help in the proper preservation and in putting up a fitting portrayal of these places, as they truly deserve. It is high time to assign due importance to the past that we should be proud of; for the foundation of the future can never be strong if the past lies in debris.
I was waiting on a bus stuck in a long queue at Paturia ferryghat as dense fog stalled ferry services. A member of a local Hijra community boarded the bus to collect what s/he said “toll for them.” When s/he took the liberty to harass and wangle money out someone, the others were watching the show and a few were giggling. All hell broke loose when an elderly person requested others to keep quiet during the toll collection. The member of the Hijra community took it as an interruption to the way s/he thought she was entertaining the people. She verbally abused him in the most obnoxious way possible and threatened to bring the whole gang to beat whoever comes in the way. Incidents like these are not new but the gravity of this maltreatment left me wondering why some people just keep generalising human rights, freedom, tolerance, peace and love for all but don't realise that all things in the society are not 'lovable'. 'Hating' certain intolerable behaviour is a good way to alleviate an unacceptable culture in the society. Ventures like social entrepreneurship and community development have involved peoples from different levels and taken diverse initiatives but turned a blind eye to acculturating the Hijra community. It is about time someone did it to put an end to abuses like this.
Waiters Need to be Better Behaved
This is the wedding season and most of us have had the pleasure of going to some event or the other wedding-related event. I went to a wedding recently at a fairly decent club. The decorations were beautiful and I was expecting to have a pleasant experience. Everything was going quite well - until we sat down for dinner. The waiters attending to us were unbelievably obnoxious. They were not bringing adequate biryani to the table, it was cold and it was only after we repeatedly told them that they brought it. Then as we were almost finished they brought in the mutton rezala as if it was an afterthought. One of the ladies asked for a paper napkin and he brought one out from his pocket. We were quite shocked but didn't want to make a scene. Then just as we were about to leave about three or four of them stood around the table expecting to be tipped! I was amazed at the gall of these fellows and quite irritated by the caterers. Obviously these people are not trained or briefed properly. These days the decorations are so sophisticated and well-planned as is the entertainment. But what is being overlooked is the way people are served food which is also a very important part of the wedding. The hosts, organisers and caterers should place special attention to the way the waiters behave and there should be some sort of training programme to teach people how to behave and do their job in a courteous, civilised manner.
Kazi Nazrul Islam
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