Photo: Amirul Rajiv
Where Elephants Once Tread
After reading about the Hatirjheel project in your esteemed magazine, I went there for an evening walk. The wide walkways are truly a welcome sight; something that one does not see very often in the streets of Dhaka. As I walked on, I noticed a number of things that kind of marred the beautiful view. Among those are the illegal establishments – first the BGMEA building, then the tin-shed madrasa right in the middle of the lake and lastly the unfinished brick structure that probably housed an orphanage and a mosque standing on brick pillars on one side of the lake. One wonders why these structures could not be removed. They definitely cannot be part of the Hatirjheel project but then why didn't the government take steps to evict these places? I have read in the newspapers and in magazines that slum dwellers living in the Hatirjheel project were evicted during the construction. Then why have these structures not met the same fate? Another thing of concern is the lack of security in the area. Except for the army personnel guarding the bridges, none of the link roads or the lake sides has any police patrols. Since people are flocking to see the area, littering is bound to happen. I only noticed three garbage bins along the four kilometres I walked. The lighting is also not sufficient. I fear that in about six months time this place will become a notorious crime zone and popular dating spot with all sort of illegal food stalls sprouting up along the lakeside. Before this happens, the authorities should take appropriate measures.
Abdul Ahsan Kabir
Karwan Bazar, Dhaka
Tired of Waiting
I have to agree with the frustrated mind of Sharbari Ahmed, the writer of the article “A Savage December, 2012”. She is on point that “only time will tell,” but when will this time come and tell us the reason and true solution to this curse that is rape? I don't know much about democracy, power etc but I just want peace and real tranquillity. Day after day we are being 'civilised' and making this world a 'jungle' as a result! Where, on this earth, are women and children safe and secure? Everybody is acting out their role given by God – teachers are teaching, students are studying, politicians are bluffing, soldiers are killing, police are investigating, journalists are publishing, judges are judging, writers are writing, criminals are being punished, protesters are protesting. Everyone is performing their own duty. But nothing is changing. Why? When will the moment for that time come to tell the truth?
Witty Wish List
I always start reading the Star from the last page. Sometimes I cannot keep myself from reading the article online before it arrives on Friday. I loved last week's 'Postscript' titled “A Winter Wish List”. The writer's wish list was amazing and facetious. She wished that schools and offices be closed during winter until the weather changes. She also wished that office work be done at home with technological aids; the urgent meeting to be done by video conference; wedding party attendance not to be compulsory and one's absence to be guilt-free. She also came up with the wishes that fashion be changed by some eccentric dresses for winter use; the government officials be catered with endless supplies of free tea and coffee; school tests be postponed indefinitely; different political programmes be rescheduled for the monsoon; different programmes like raffle-draws be arranged in parliament; the people, who live from hand to mouth, to be given special incentives like cash and warm clothes; the beggars be dispatched to resorts for some fun. The wish I liked most was the relocation of homeless people. And she impeccably described how our parliament squandered money.
I want to vote “NO”
Late in 2008, the present government was elected with a resounding margin exceeding 75 percent of the seats in Parliament. In four years, this vast majority has whittled down and according to the latest opinion poll, they are just a nose in front. In another nine months, when elections are due, the position might well be reversed as per the norm of the previous four elections.
In 42 years, Bangladesh has had the misfortune of being ruled by dynastic families and their camp followers, and one dictator who thrust himself upon us for about eight years. The last caretaker government tried very hard to set things right, but they were not allowed to do so. Is there any collusion between the two ladies, always at loggerheads with each other and who have never sat down together and discussed national development for over 21 years? They have become permanent fixtures in their respective parties (democracy is NOT practised there) and alternatively in national government.
Dynasties cannot nurture democratic aspirations and at 80 years of age I have seen most of them died nastily. The next election may possibly be my last and if the ballot again gives me the same old stale choices, I would like to be able to vote with a resounding “NO”. But even that has been removed from my democratic rights.
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