News of: Saturday, 12th of July, 2008
The inland water transport sector of the country virtually came to a grinding halt yesterday leaving thousands of passengers and goods stranded, as water transport workers went on a countrywide strike demanding a salary hike.
The dialogue between the government and political parties seems likely to drag on with both sides declining to budge on issues like withdrawal of the state of emergency and parliamentary polls.
Awami League's (AL) top leadership is still bogged down over its mayoral nomination for Rajshahi City Corporation polls although 14-party coalition led by the party announced on Thursday that its nominee there is Fazle Hossain Badsha, a politburo member of Workers Party, a component of the coalition.
The price of green chilli that sharply came down last week amid heavy downpour shot up again on the wholesale market yesterday while onion prices kept going up.
The National Coordination Committee (NCC) to Combat Serious Crimes has recommended that the state-owned North Bengal Paper Mills be reopened and be handed over to the army to run it properly.
Thirty-year-old Morsheda Begum (assumed name) had sold a piece of land and paid Tk 1.2 lakh to Tofazzal Hossain for a job in Saudi Arabia. He sent her to the Gulf nation through a recruiting agency on April 29. Soon after she landed on the airport, she realised she fell victim to fraud.
A clash between Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) and Islami Chhatra Shibir of Chittagong Medical College (CMC) left around 25 students injured and around 30 dormitory rooms ransacked Thursday night.
The number of cases pending investigations in police stations has been brought down to 4,164 from a staggering 35,000 over the last year and a half.
Scientists have developed a submergence resistant variety of rice that can withstand inundation, compensating for the yearly loss of yields to flash floods.
A freedom fighter (FF) was yesterday assaulted by Islami Chhatra Shibir activists at Diploma Engineers' Institute in the city where Jamaat backed “Jatiya Muktijoddha Parishad” was holding a representatives' conference.
Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday called for strengthening the motivational programmes for workers, landless and floating people, urban slum dwellers and the destitute in char and remote hilly areas to reduce the number of poor people.
Five people died and 20 others went missing after a boat capsized in the river Kongsha at Thakurakona under Netrakona Sadar upazila yesterday afternoon.
Army chief General Moeen U Ahmed yesterday urged the people to elect honest candidates in the next national elections to move the country towards prosperity.
Wild elephants killed four members of a family at Tirer Deba village under Lama upazila of the district on Thursday night.
Indigenous Khasia community at Jaflong in Sylhet is passing their days in fear of attacks by organised criminals who have been trying to grab their betel-leaf plantations.
The Public Servant (Marriage with Foreign National) (Amendment) Ordinance 2008 has been promulgated allowing a public servant to marry or promise to marry a foreign national with the permission of the president.
Leaders of Uttarbanga Chaulkol Malik Samity Federation, organisation of rice-mill owners of the north, is to meet food department officials Tuesday to press home their nine-point demand including Tk 3 "bonus" on each kg of rice they sell to the government.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) and the US treasury department are investigating the cases of money being siphoned out of Dhaka by corruptionists, said Bangladesh Ambassador in Washington DC Humayun Kabir.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Thursday night rescued 18 people, including 14 of a joint family, at a hotel in Rajshahi city as they were being trafficked to India.
The head of India's ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, said yesterday she was certain the government would win a confidence vote triggered by the withdrawal of support by left-wing allies.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi reached a tentative deal with UN chief Ban Ki-moon Thursday on setting up an independent panel to probe the slaying of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the world body said.
Oil prices rocketed to record highs above 147 dollars yesterday as traders seized on the weak US currency and tensions over Iran and Nigeria at the end of a very volatile trading week.
The Election Commission (EC) has created a laudable example by taking a firm stand against the additional divisional commissioner of Rajshahi for allegedly clearing the candidature of five contestants for the Rajshahi City Corporation poll after they have been rejected by the returning officer during scrutiny. The senior government official in his capacity as the election appeal authority had declared their papers valid on appeal but it leaves us wondering as to how he could certify them when some of them turned out to be bank defaulters while others were open market sale (OMS) dealers. As per the electoral laws they did not qualify to contest the election and EC has prudently referred the case to the ministry of establishment to take disciplinary action against the ADC for such gross violation of the EC rules.
Headlines of our newspaper and a prominent Bangla daily at the weekend screamed: 'City of potholes' and '700 kilometers of Dhaka roads damaged', respectively. Officially, some 30 percent of the thoroughfares is in dire straits while unofficial sources put the figure at 40 percent. Dhaka city corporation has 2,289 kilometers of a road network of which 687 kilometers are so scarred with potholes and trench-like cleavages that they are unfit for use.
We have just entered the nineteenth month of this interim caretaker administration. To modify Charles Dickens, one could describe it as 'the best of times' for some and 'the worst of times' for a few. However, to a great many like me, it is as confusing now as it was a year ago. I am referring in this context to the evolving political process.
The withdrawal of the Left from the ruling United Progressive Alliance in India has not come as a surprise. The left parties were mulling with the idea for the last several months, and had warned of the possibility of calling off their support if the government went ahead with the controversial nuclear deal with the United States.
The current happenings around the proposed role of Brac in training of primary school teachers have provoked discussions on issues like the quality of primary education. The teachers have a taken firm stand against any involvement of Brac in supervising and monitoring the primary schools. Brac stated in a press-conference that there wasn't any intention on their side of intruding into the supervision, monitoring and administration of primary schools.
On April 28 this year, Kazi Salahuddin was elected president of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), winning an election that was termed 'impartial' even by his opponent Maj General (retd) Amin Ahmed Chowdhury. His predecessor SA Sultan called it 'the first fair, neutral and democratic election in our football history'. The former national football captain and arguably the greatest striker the country has ever produced, Salahuddin's two months at the hot seat have been busy to in a bid to prepare future plans as well as giving shape to the cash-starved federation's operations. Here he opens up and explains his recent activities to The Daily Star Sport's Al Musabbir Sadi in an exclusive interview at his Gulshan residence yesterday.
Ian Bell's Test-best score of 171 not out left England in a commanding position in the first Test against South Africa at Lord's here on Friday.
Indirectly taking a dig at India Twenty20 and one-day skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni skipping the upcoming Sri Lanka series citing exhaustion, former captain Sourav Ganguly said during his captaincy days he would not have 'afforded' pulling out of a Test series.
Sri Lanka Cricket chiefs have agreed to try and postpone or reschedule next year's England tour to allow its players to take part in the lucrative Indian Premier League, officials said Thursday.
Beijing Olympics organisers were upbeat on Friday after a secret but apparently successful first full dress rehear-sal of the opening ceremony of the Games.
Zunaed Siddiqui returned among runs as Bangladesh A scored 117-2 against Warwickshire before bad light stopped the proceedings on the first day of the three-day match at Edgbaston in Birmingham yesterday.
The second phase of the Dhaka City Corporation Pioneer Football League will begin at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium from July 18.
Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, has criticised Shoaib Malik for his captaincy and for not bowling his offspin regularly, and called for the inclusion of Mohammad Aamer, the 16-year-old left-arm seamer, into the national team.
China is offering rewards up to 500,000 yuan (73,000 dollars) to anyone who provides information on major security threats during the Olympic Games, state media reported Friday.
British marathon runner Paula Radcliffe is making strides in her bid to get back to full fitness in time for the Beijing Olympics next month.
Barcelona's under-fire president Joan Laporta on Thursday survived an emergency board meeting, but eight other leading officials resigned in protest at the Spanish giants.
Cristiano Ronaldo believes FIFA president Sepp Blatter was right to controversially describe him as being treated like a "modern-day slave" by current club Manchester United.
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez signed Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri from Palmeiras on Friday.
English Premier League side Arsenal on Friday completed the signing of French international midfielder Samir Nasri from Marseille.
Striker Robbie Fowler is set for a return to the Premier League after Cardiff announced he is joining Blackburn Rovers.
Real Madrid are quietly satisfied with the comments by FIFA president Sepp Blatter urging Manchester United to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to leave the club, Spanish newspapers said Friday.
AC Milan have banned star midfielder Kaka from playing for Brazil at the Beijing Olympics, the Italian giants said on their official website, www.acmilan.com.
David Beckham believes Cristiano Ronaldo faces the hardest decision of his life as the Manchester United winger contemplates a move to Real Madrid.
Champions League winners Manchester United still owe a Moscow transportation company 150,000 euros (237,000 dollars) for carrying their fans during the tournament, company manager Pyotr Ivanov claimed on Friday.
Roma's Brazilian midfielder Mancini is expected to switch to Italian champions Inter Milan in a deal reported to be worth around 13 million euros.
It was 40 years ago this summer that Dick Fosbury revolutionised the high jump to win gold at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City with his 'flop' style pushing him to an Olympic record of 2.24 metres.
The ICC's annual conference in 2009 will be held at Lord's, David Morgan, the ICC president, has confirmed. Lord's had held the yearly conference since the first in 1909, but the meeting this year was hosted in Dubai, the first time it had been moved from the body's former London headquarters.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has postponed the announcement of its preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy after a dispute with fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar over the payment of a fine.
The ICC has taken the first significant step towards resolving the contentious issue of unauthorised cricket -- including the status of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) -- by setting up a high-powered committee to study its legal aspects. It has also discussed the issue of global agreements to prevent cricketers from appearing in such games, Cricinfo has learnt.
The zonal round matches of National Women's Kabaddi will begin on July 22.
Five players continued their winning run to share the lead after end of the fourth round of the 10th Standard Chartered School Chess tournament yesterday.
Bangladesh continued their dismal show against South Korea as they suffered a massive 0-8 defeat in their opening encounter of the 6th Men's Junior Asia Cup Hockey in Hyderabad yesterday.
Former Pakistan cricket captain Aamir Sohail Friday asked President Pervez Musharraf to convince Australia, New Zealand and England not to pull out of the Champions Trophy over security fears.
Sri Lanka Cricket has agreed to raise players' fees and perks as part of a deal to settle a long-running dispute over contracts, officials said Friday.
The government should hold local government election taking all political parties into confidence so that development can be achieved at the grassroots level, speakers at a roundtable said yesterday.
Even after six months of the incident of question leakage of Political Science department at Dhaka University (DU), the investigation committee could not identify anyone involved in leakage process clearly.
Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) has registered a total of 2,92,576 people under the birth registration programme as of last month while over 14 lakh applicants are yet to be registered.
Incidin Bangladesh, a research-based organisation, called on the government to adopt a comprehensive Child Protection Policy and ensure separate sleeping arrangements for the street children to protect them from violence and abuse.
The BNP will take stern action against its leaders who would contest the upcoming local government elections, going beyond the party decision of boycotting the voting, said a party leader.
Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), angered by a newspaper report against them, again harassed some students of Suriya Sen Hall of Dhaka University last night.
A special court here on Thursday sentenced four robbers to three years' imprisonment each in a robbery case.
Speakers at a discussion in Rajshahi on Thursday urged the government to implement the National Women Development Policy 2008 for establishing women's rights.
Non-wood raw materials are now being used by the state-owned Khulna Hardboard Mill (KHM) to increase its profit by reducing production cost.
Five people, including three women, were injured in an attack by a Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal man and his accomplices at Sadhurpara Galganda village under Ghatail upazila in Tangail yesterday.
Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) in separate drives in the last two days in the city seized 120 Yaba tablets, about 350 bottles of phensidyl and huge cannabis and arrested eight people in this connection.
A man, who filed a corruption case against former BNP lawmaker Nazim Uddin Alam, sustained burn injuries in an acid attack by miscreants at Char Fashion upazila on Thursday night.
Former BNP lawmaker Joynal Abedin Faruq was released from Dhaka Central Jail on bail last night.
Two people were killed and three others injured in separate road accidents in Dinajpur and Munshiganj yesterday.
Sector Commanders Forum (SCF), a platform of the sector commanders who led the country's independence war, has appealed to all to reject the anti-liberation elements in the upcoming local government polls.
Twelve shops were gutted in a fire at Baby Stand Jame Mosque market in Tangail town on Thursday night.
Police arrested eight robbers with looted gold ornaments, firearms and a motorbike from different spots in Chittagong in a two-day drive ending on Thursday night.
A fisherman was killed in an attack by a tiger at Keyakhali in the Sundarbans under Shyamnagar upazila in the district yesterday.
A gang of robbers looted valuables worth about Tk 3 lakh from the house of a former civil officer of the Air Force at East Manikdi in city's Cantonment area early yesterday.
Teachers, students and officials of Mass Communication and Journalism department at Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday launched a campaign on the campus to raise funds for the treatment of a student.
A man was killed and another injured when a lightning struck them at Badaghat in Sunamganj yesterday.
Today is the fifth death anniversary of Barrister Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed, an eminent lawyer and former adviser to a caretaker government, says a press release.
Detained Awami Swechhasebak League General Secretary Pankaj Debnath was hospitalised after he suffered a cardiac arrest yesterday.
An iron factory worker died at a city hospital yesterday seven days after he was beaten up by his fellow worker.
About 20,000 people living in houses built by cutting hills in Rangamati town, are vulnerable to landslides during rain.
Rajshahi district unit of National Awami Party (NAP) at a meeting here yesterday formed a new 31-member district committee with Fazlul Haq as its president and Mustafizur Rahman Khan as secretary.
Three candidates for councillor posts in Khulna City Corporation (KCC) have withdrawn from the polls race in protest against participation of a few people who are 'hated by peace-loving people and wanted by law enforcers'.
A dumb young woman rescued from delinquents in August last year, is still staying in safe custody at Khagrachhari district jail as authorities failed to find out her identity or any of her relatives.
Kapotakkha Banchao Andolon Samannay Committee (coordination committee to save River Kabodak) have demanded re-excavation of the silted river.
Three people died while three others were attacked by an unknown disease at Bharapara and Mazikandi villages in Kendua upazila in five days, hospital sources said.
Chief adviser's special assistant on forest and environment, Raja Debashish Roy has said the present Forest Act will be amended, if required, to protect the interests of indigenous people.
Satkhira Workers Party (WP) yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Chief Adviser through the deputy commissioner Md Kefayetullah to press its 16 point demand.
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) killed an unidentified Indian national and left the body inside Bangladesh territory. Local people found the body lying near Bhadiali Jame Mosque at village Bhadiali in Kalaroa upazila yesterday morning.
Ghatail upazila Jubo Dal secretary Altab Hossain and his two brothers were arrested yesterday for allegedly attacking neighbous at Sadhurpara Galganda village, injuring five people including three women earlier on the day.
Pakistan's army spokesman accused Indian forces of violating a 2003 cease-fire in Kashmir on Thursday, but a top Indian official denied the country's army had fired on Pakistan's positions in the disputed Himalayan region.
As the UPA government prepares to face a trust vote in Parliament, the US has appreciated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's "commitment" to the Indo-US nuclear deal and said New Delhi has taken a "significant step forward" by submitting the draft text of the safeguards agreement to the IAEA.
Pakistan will not permit its soil to be used against other countries nor would it allow foreign troops to operate inside the Pakistani territory, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the UN Security Council on Thursday, rejecting a standing US offer of military assistance also intended to help Afghanistan.
An official investigation has found that US-led air strikes a week ago struck a wedding and killed 47 Afghan civilians, most of them women and children, an official said yesterday.
Pakistan's ruling PPP has decided to go ahead with a move to expand Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's council of ministers after failing to persuade its coalition partner PML-N to rejoin the Cabinet.
Record numbers of American voters are keenly following the campaign for the White House, auguring for a much higher than usual turnout in November, the Pew Research think-tank said Thursday.
Indian Kashmir was put under federal rule Friday following the collapse of the state government over a land row that prompted more than a week of rioting in the Muslim region, officials said.
Ethnic Madhesi parties seeking autonomy for Nepal's Terai belt bordering India have rejected Maoist chief Prachanda's offer to join the new government to be formed under his leadership, claiming their key demand was ignored by top political groups while drafting Constitutional amendment bill.
At least four people were killed and 26 injured yesterday when Tamil Tiger rebels opened fire on a bus in southern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said.
Suspected CPI(Maoist) guerrillas blew up railway tracks and a portion of government complex housing the office of Block Development Officer (BDO) in Bihar's Naxal-hit Jamui district in the wee hours of Friday to protest the recent arrest of its self-styled area commander.
New evidence has emerged that a large plate of floating ice shelf attached to Antarctica is breaking up, in a troubling sign of global warming, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Thursday.
Arts & Entertainment
Who does not know Abdullah Al-Mamun in this country? Abdullah Al-Mamun by any measurement is definitely one of the pioneers of the theatre movement in this country and has a profile that is well recognised in our culture.
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Dhaka City, theatre troupe Palakar is going to stage its new production Bayanno Hajar Tippanno Goli, written and directed by Aminur Rahman Mukul, on July 17 at the National Theatre Stage.
“Know yourself and then decide your spiritual practice.” “One day everything will dissolve.” “ Why is there this division between Hindus and Muslims?” These are the voices of the fakirs of Bengal captured on film by Kolkata-based filmmaker Amitabh Chakraborty in Bishar Blues. Recently screened in New Delhi, the film has bagged the Golden Lotus this year for the best non-feature film at the 54th National Film Awards. The film also won in the Editing and Audiography categories.
An interesting group exhibition of ceramics under the banner "Penta Dots" took place at the Zainul Gallery recently. Five friends, Fouzia Abedin Tani, Mohammed Ronnie Habib, ASM Abdullah, Sharif Ahmed and Anwar Hossain Jony had put in their combined efforts in the display of art objects in burnt clay.
When two Italian films won the top runner-up prizes at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the reaction at home was akin to that usually reserved for victorious national soccer teams.
Robert Downey Jr. is trading Iron Man's metal suit for Sherlock Holmes' deerstalker hat.
POLITICS has often been described as the art of wise people, and alternatively as the last refuge of scoundrels. There is, however, no doubt that efficient politicians are artful people who are driven by an admirable urge of public service. As such, their altruism has been appreciated and recognised in all societies and politics has been deemed to be an edifying activity.
I knew him since 1950 when we were enrolled in the 1st year BA (Hons) class in the University of Dhaka, he in the Economics Department, and I in the Department of Political Science. It took me some time to realise that he was not a Bangali by origin (he and his family came from Gazipur, Uttar Pradesh, India), because he was so fluent and flawless in Bangla and injected so much of colloquial corruptions into his Bangla conversations that it was difficult to discern any non-Bangali trait in his origin. It is only when I came into personal contact with his parents, his four elder brothers and one younger brother (who remains the only surviving brother till today) that I came to know of his roots. Later he told me that he started in infancy his elementary education in a toll run by a single Gurumashai under a banyan tree at Hilli, Dinajpur where his father had a business.
THE recent survey report by the National AIDS / STD Works Programme on the spread of HIV infection in a section of the intravenous drug users ( IDU ) in a certain area of Dhaka city is alarming. The report indicated that the prevalence of HIV among such drug users has reached as high as 10.5 per cent in that area (the name of the area has not been made public) of the city. ICDDR, B conducted the survey by collecting blood sample of more than 10,000 IDUs in selected 19 areas of the country and the result indicated HIV infection among such users to be less than I per cent but the average infection rate among IDUs in the Dhaka city has been found to be 7 per cent and in a certain area as high as said above. With prevalence rate of 5 per cent or more considered as epidemic for any disease, the large incidence of HIV infection in a concentrated population in the city is a chilling message to all vitally linked with the development of the country.
THE term 'white elephant' is said to originate from Thailand where the ancient Siamese King punished problematic members of his court by presenting them with the animal, the upkeep of which would ruin the courtier. Providing our poor with only housing, as limited to a house as a place to live, is such a stiletto dressed in veil of sugar, and designed by a higher echelon.
DHAKA, a city of teeming millions, requires improvements in housing situations. Persistent housing shortagethe gap between demand and supplyis one quantitative aspect of this housing situation. Sustained delivery of affordable and liveable dwelling units and land to all people, then, becomes a priority in housing. A recent initiative for housing delivery is the “Proposal for Comprehensive Housing Development for Dhaka City”, presented at a seminar on 19 June 2008 by Prof. Nazrul Islam and Ms. Salma A. Shafi. They authored 'a vision for housing programme by 2025'; the 'philosophical stand' concerns housing for all, satisfying affordability, equity and environmental sustainability. The proposal was prepared as an 'immediate response' to the desire of the Honourable Chief Adviser to suggest a comprehensive programme for housing development in Dhaka city. Noting several recent events focusing different housing issues, including PRSP 2 initiated and REHAB participated ongoing discussions, a review of this proposal is felt due to contribute to a public debate.
I was taking in John Lennon's psychedelic sky while standing off the highway leading from Rangpur to Kurigram. It was October 2005. The late autumn afternoon sky was painted in vivid green, orange, marmalade, red, and maybe even violet and indigo against a backdrop of soothing blue. If that, indeed, was what induced his psychedelic vision, the Beatle really did not have to be galvanized by any hallucinatory drug to have it. The view was, to use a hackneyed word, breathtaking.
Theatre-related activities in this southern part of the country date back to the 19th century. But the practice in the form of modern theatre kicked off only after our liberation in 1971. Since it would be an arduous task to cover all those events together with an account of the rich cultural tidbits, tThis letter therefore includes only those events and influences that have significantly shaped theatre activities in Bagerhat. In fact, recent upheavals and some obvious changes in this field gave me the idea for writing this piece.
While the cover art of Kali O Kolom tends to be chosen from among the works of some of the leading artists of Bangladesh, even by those high standards the cover of the current issue of our premier literary journal acts like a magnet for the eye. It is, the journal informs us, the work of Murtaza Bashir, part of his famous Romoni series.
You didn't heed my warning
spread your wings
and took off
and flew around
zigzagging all night
didn't take me on your back
tall deodar tree
heard Yama's wail
in the whistle of the nightwatchman
saw with your eyes
all the corpses of the past
coming from the future
refusing to be a tree again
now I want to be born again
from your roots.
The night of a primitive storm sad yellow leaves
Fall from the lips of a feverish woman;
As the sleeping city steams beneath a hairy old blanket
An old, hunched-over artist searches for colour, solitude, brush.
Relaxation techniques are a great way to help your quest for stress management. Relaxation is not just about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. Relaxation is a process that decreases the wear and tear of life's challenges on your mind and body.
Worldwide, approximately 5 million people die from tobacco related illnesses each year. Every smoker has the right to know the health consequences associated with smoking. And whether literate or not, products need to contain pictorial depictions of the harmful effects from tobacco smoke.
People need physical and emotional intimacy almost as much as they need food and shelter. Sexuality helps fulfill the vital need for human connection. It is a natural and healthy part of living, as well as an important aspect of your identity as a man or woman. But when chronic pain invades your life, the pleasures of sexuality often disappear.
Food-borne illnesses affect millions of people each year. Foodstuff can cause illness if they contain toxin or poison produced by bacteria growing in food.
The addition of the type 2 diabetes drug metformin to a lifestyle modification programme may help female adolescents lose weight loss if they also make dietary changes, according to a new study.
General Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has recently launched Ostocin Cream in the local market, says a press release. The cream is indicated for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Arthritis is a common disease, specially in old age.
The newest low-tech fertility treatment may be a diet, researchers said after learning that obese men have more abnormal sperm and make less semen.
Star Books Review
There have been all the analyses of the events and incidents that led to the Language Movement of 1952. You could therefore ask if there is any particular need at this point for a new interpretation or presentation of the case for the Bengali language. Of course, there is, if the work you have in hand is AMA Muhith's. There is a particular charm in reading this book, and it is that the writer goes to extraordinary lengths to examine the political situation obtaining in Pakistan before and after the tragic deaths of Bengali young men on the streets of Dhaka on 21 February 1952. In conditions where much of haze yet dominates our understanding of the nature of the movement that reached a climax in 1952, Muhith does an exemplary job of researching the micro as well as macro aspects of the old struggle.
Times were, and this I remember from my childhood though I probably shouldn't say it since it is revealing of my advanced age, when cooking was a mystery wrapped in enigmatic colours and smells and was the sole monopoly of our mothers. Cooking signalled its presence every day with the ritual trotting off of either the household help, (a small tart-tongued boy in our case), or in more traditional households the head of the household, to the market with a bajaarer tholi. The day's middle passage was garnished, marked by sounds of activity, along with the occasional din of pots and pans and slices of old-fashioned tongue-lashing at ham-handed kitchen help, emanating from the kitchen which in those days was so eminently women's domain. It would end with Mother emerging after a cleansing bath clad in a fresh sari late in the afternoon for her ceremonial lunch, eaten only after everybody else had. In a habit picked up from her mother, the onion slices and green chillies laid on a separate plate had to be arranged just so!
A House for Mr Biswas is the story of a man's search for his own address. Does every individual have an address, an abode, a house, a shelter, a home of his own? Is Mr Biswas a vagabond, a rootless identity with no place of his own? It is a man's quest to free himself from the social shackles, to break away from tight traditions of joint family and conservative community customs and find a place and an identity of his own.
Creative writing gurus say the title of a novel or a book always matters to readers. If a book has an attractive or meaningful title along with good content, the book has all the chance of being gleefully accepted by the audience, readers as well as critics. Many opine that the title tells half the story of a book, even a collection of short stories.