News of: Saturday, 19th of December, 2009
In the last minutes of the UN climate change summit yesterday, heads of state were discussing draft texts of a political agreement they were to sign later in the day (early today in Bangladesh), which were actually inadequate for reducing emission as also for the affected countries' adaptation needs.
President Zillur Rahman yesterday urged the expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry for immediate special action to stop harassment of the Bangladeshis going abroad for employment.
President Barack Obama and other world leaders took stalled climate talks into their own hands yesterday, holding an emergency meeting to come up with a political agreement to salvage a conference marked by deep divisions between rich and poor countries.
Local goons under the banner of fake union of transport workers and owners' association are realising extortions from different bus counters in the capital.
The Third Buriganga Bridge in Basila has been completed without ensuring proper approach roads on both sides of the bridge, which could render the bridge almost useless, said locals and sources in the Roads and Highways Department.
After the appointment of new chief justice, the government is now going to appoint some 15 to 20 new judges to the High Court (HC) division of the Supreme Court.
The office of the three-member Information Commission, which has been functioning from the National Institute of Mass Communications in a haphazard way for about three months, will be shifted to another temporary office by the end of this month.
A suicide bomber rammed a car into a mosque during Juma prayers yesterday killing 11 people in northwest Pakistan, while a US missile strike pounded the troubled region leaving seven militants dead.
Several versions of "Copenhagen Accord" were leaked yesterday while the heads of state were struggling to finalise the declaration of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Rab personnel arrested two people including an executive of Dhaka Phone Thursday night in connection with running illegal Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business. They also seized some equipment from an office and a BTS room of Dhaka Phone in the city.
The mass graves of Liberation War martyrs in different upazilas of the district have remained uncared for due to lack of proper initiatives to preserve them.
A youth, one among the gang involved in ransacking government offices in Rajshahi, Natore and Bogra for three consecutive days from December 11 to 13, was arrested early hours yesterday.
Former Jatiya Party (Ershad) lawmaker Maulana Sakhawat Hossain was arrested and sent to jail yesterday on charges of extortion and swindling teachers of Masud Memorial College in Jessore.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday took her dinner with Queen Margrethe and Crown Princess of Denmark Mary Elizabeth at Royal Palace in Christiansborg.
Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal are yet to respond to India's proposal for a goods train corridor connecting Bangladesh with Pakistan through India and Nepal, Indian Minister of State for Railways E Ahamed said today.
A Pakistani court yesterday summoned the interior minister over corruption charges, as the government grappled with the fallout from a court ruling scrapping an amnesty for a raft of politicians.
A mob set fire to a bus and beat up severely its driver as the vehicle hit a garment staff leaving him dead on the spot in the city's Shewrapara bus stand yesterday morning.
In a generational shift in top leadership of India's main opposition BJP, L K Advani yesterday stepped down as leader of the opposition, making way for much younger Sushma Swaraj, seven months after the party suffered debacle in parliamentary poll.
Iranian forces took control of a southern Iraqi oil well on a disputed section of the border on Friday, US and Iraqi officials told AFP.
A majority of Russians admire the leadership of Joseph Stalin, a poll showed yesterday amid renewed controversy over the reputation of the wartime Soviet leader 130 years after his birth.
IT is good not only to see enquiry committees, formed to investigate accidents and disasters, complete their task on time but also nice to have the major findings disclosed to the public.
THERE has been a marked improvement in the volume and quality of credit flow to the agriculture sector. The quality is in the timeliness of, and easy accessibility to, farm credits. To top it off, real farmers are being the beneficiaries with an outreach to the rural doorsteps. These features have had a multiplier effect with the marked increase in the volume of credit.
E-parliaments provide better service delivery of parliaments to citizens of their respective country. For the Bangladesh Parliament, ICT can be used as a tool for greater transparency and accountability, and a platform for public consultation and interaction with citizens. A survey conducted by an international organisation, about e-parliaments and use of technology, finds that parliaments are increasingly using new technologies to reach people mostly in a passive way -- making more information available in different formats. Of the 90 countries surveyed, 77 stated they use ICT in some way to improve their work. They found disparity between the work done in the developing world and the developed world, but the hunger and desire for using new technologies is very strong in most of the developing countries.
AWARE of my interest about Afghanistan, one of my friends recently presented me with a copy of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, an author of Afghan origin currently living in the United States. A bestseller (has sold more than two million copies), the book vividly portrays the social background of that war-torn country and the societal effects that has taken place over the last thirty years in Kabul and the adjoining regions, as a result of insurgency and terrorism. I hope President Obama has read it. It provides a rare insight into what is happening in Afghanistan and why.
THE word "Nuclear" disallows people to not think deeply about its benefits. However, radioactive and stable isotopes are used peacefully throughout the world in many sectors, including agriculture, medicine, industry, and research. Isotopes are different types of atoms (nuclides) of the same chemical element, each having a different number of neutrons. In many applications, isotopes have no substitute and in most others, they are more effective and cheaper than alternative techniques or processes. About 50 countries have significant isotope production capacities, and many others have smaller capacities.
It is all set for a humdinger of a final round in this season's Premier Cricket League as traditional rivals Abahani and Mohammedan will face off in the final round for the title. Both sides won their penultimate round games yesterday to set up this fantastic finale.
The local football arena will be abuzz again after a one-and-half month break when the Citycell Bangladesh League returns to action today. Defending champions and current joint leaders in the table Dhaka Abahani will take on Muktijoddha Sangsad at the Bangabandhu National Stadium while Chittagong Abahani will take on Sheikh Russel KC at the MA Aziz Stadium in the afternoon kick-off.
Doug Bollinger was responsible for a sudden swing from flooding runs to raining wickets before West Indies surged back to remain in contention at the end of fourth day of the deciding third Test in Perth. Despite falling to a worrying 8 for 137 in their second innings, Australia still managed an enviable position and will enter the fourth day with a 345-run lead following the scare.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed a robust century to help India post a challenging 301-7 in the second one-day international against Sri Lanka here on Friday.
David Beckham is set to return to Old Trafford after Manchester United were drawn with AC Milan on Friday for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Uttara Sporting Club registered a 47-run victory against Eskaton Sabuj Sangha in the First Division Super League match at BKSP yesterday.
English Premier League side Everton announced Friday they had signed United States striker Landon Donovan on a short-term loan.
Left-arm spinner Paul Harris took four wickets as South Africa kept the England batsmen under pressure on the third day of the first Test against England at SuperSport Park on Friday.
Younus Khan could make his international comeback during the ODI leg of Pakistan's tour of Australia in January. Younus stepped down as captain and opted out of the tour of New Zealand claiming he had "lost command" of the side, and was not picked for the Test series in Australia as he had not played first-class cricket since the start of his temporary break.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday cleared French tennis player Richard Gasquet of doping and dismissed appeals by sports authorities for a tougher penalty.
Legspinner Danish Kaneria has said Pakistan have a distinct advantage against Australia during the upcoming Tests because the hosts do not have a wristspinner in their squad. Kaneria was successful during the Test series in New Zealand, taking 13 wickets in two matches, including a seven-wicket haul, at 20.69. He will be backed up by offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who was impressive in the first Test in Dunedin and has been a regular fixture in the ODI team.
The IPL will include two more teams from the 2011 season and will auction the franchise rights at a base price of 225 million dollars, the league's commissioner Lalit Modi announced on Thursday. That figure -- double of what the most expensive franchise was sold for in 2008 and more than four times the base price in that first auction -- is, in an uncertain market, a sign of the league's confidence in itself and the Twenty20 format.
Lotus F1 boss Tony Fernandes on Thursday accepted a challenge from Richard Branson that the loser of their two Formula One teams will dress up as a flight attendant on the winner's airline.
US Olympic superstar Michael Phelps said Thursday he sympathises with Tiger Woods's spectacular fall from grace.
Sulieman Benn has been suspended following an ugly incident with Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson at the WACA on Thursday and will miss West Indies' next two one-day internationals. Benn was handed two suspension points by the match referee Chris Broad, which equates to a ban of one Test or two ODIs, while Haddin has been fined 25 percent of his match fee and Johnson 10 percent.
Opportunity knocked for a host of teenage hopefuls in the Europa League on Thursday with 16-year-old Romelu Lukaku making the biggest impression as Anderlecht reached the last 32.
AC Milan face a tough trip away to fellow Champions League second round qualifiers Fiorentina on Saturday as they bid to keep pace with leaders Inter Milan ahead of the Christmas break in Serie A.
Real Madrid aim to capitalise on Barcelona's World Club Cup distractions by closing the gap at the top of La Liga on Saturday with victory over relegation-haunted Zaragoza.
Fresh from putting Chelsea's Premier League title drive back on track, Frank Lampard returns to West Ham this weekend admitting he fears for the future of his relegation-threatened former club.
Germany striker Mario Gomez is hoping to score his sixth goal in seven games for Bayern Munich against Hertha Berlin on Saturday as his side aim to enter the winter break as Bundesliga leaders.
Stuttgart's director of sport Horst Heldt said Thursday ex-Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has accepted the fine imposed by club bosses for criticising the sacking of former coach Markus Babbel.
Guus Hiddink turned down offers from both Premier League side Manchester City and Italian club Juventus, the Russia manager's agent claimed on Friday.
Five Italian AS Roma fans are being probed for hooliganism, following a Europa League match between their team and local side CSKA Sofia earlier this week, Sofia prosecutors said Friday.
Barcelona's midfield star Andres Iniesta has been ruled out of Saturday's World Club Cup final against Argentina's Estudiantes in Abu Dhabi because of a torn thigh muscle, the Spanish champions said.
Veteran Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos played his last match for Fenerbahce on Thursday, helping the Turkish side to a 1-0 win over Sheriff of Moldova in the Europa League.
Argentina striker Sergio Aguero insisted Friday he would fit in nicely at Premier League side Chelsea.
Speakers at a roundtable yesterday underscored the need for a unified education system, incorporating English medium and madrasa education into the mainstream with a view to putting an end to discrimination in the sector.
Labour and Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain yesterday said the government is planning to build separate dormitories for female workers of garment sector.
With a view to making the young generation familiar with the valiant freedom fighters of the liberation war, a CD (compact disc) containing biographies of 56 freedom fighters was released yesterday.
Speakers at a seminar here yesterday underscored the importance of gathering experiences from other war crimes trials held in different countries across the world to make the trial of war criminals in Bangladesh successful.
Thirty-five shops, four shanties and three jute godowns were gutted in separate fire incidents in Chittagong, Magura and Chapainawabganj in the last two days.
The result of the Primary Education Terminal Examination, the newly introduced public exam, is likely to be published simultaneously tomorrow.
Mobarakganj Sugar Mills Limited, the only sugar mill in the south-western part of the country, started its operation yesterday.
Speakers urged the government to make specific law to preserve rights and privileges of internal migrants.
At least 10 people were injured when some activists of Jonojuddho, a faction of outlawed Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP), made an attack on a village at Belkuchi upazila here on Thursday night.
Police recovered body of a girl from a graveyard at Teligati under Khanjahan Ali Police Station in Khulna city on Thursday.
Members of Rapid Action Battalion unearthed 134 rounds of bullets beside a sewerage drain in the city's Hazaribagh area on Wednesday night.
With the slogan, 'My flag is my identity, let my flag be the largest one', a group of Dhaka University (DU) students have taken an initiative to make the largest national flag in the world.
The High Court on Thursday directed the government to provide winter clothes to cyclone Aila-affected people in the southwestern areas of Khulna and Satkhira districts.
Leaders of Asia-Pacific countries yesterday agreed on formulating integrated policies and decision-making frameworks on transport through strategic assessments of economic, environmental, social and poverty-related aspects.
The police rescued a schoolgirl from Nil Dumur in Shymnagar, Satkhira, yesterday about two months after she was abducted from Jessore.
The United Nations South-South Day will be observed today in the country as elsewhere across the globe.
The two-day second grand conference of organisations working for disadvantaged people in the country will begin tomorrow on the Ganosastho Kendra premises in Savar, says a press release.
A group of former student leaders of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) yesterday alleged that propaganda is being conducted against Tarique Rahman, senior vice chairman of BNP, and accused the government of the smear campaign.
Children with disabilities took the stage as they danced, recited poems, sang and staged drama in front of hundreds of people at the Shishu Academy auditorium in the city yesterday.
Owners and workers of sand-carrying cargoes plying on the rivers Meghna, Dhaleshwari, Turag and Buriganga began a 48-hour strike yesterday protesting extortion by the leaseholders.
A member of Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) was killed when a train hit him at Mohakhali level crossing in the city on Thursday night.
Defence Minister AK Antony Friday said nearly 30,000 Indian Army soldiers have been withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir in the last one year and more troops will be withdrawn if the situation improves.
After two years of languishing in a diplomatic fog, the key issue of climate finance is at last taking shape in the final phase of the UN global warming talks in Copenhagen.
Lebanese and UN rescue teams stepped up the search yesterday for about 40 people still missing after a freighter sank in stormy seas off north Lebanon with 82 crew and passengers on board.
The accused gunman in last year's bloody siege of Mumbai retracted his confession Friday, saying police tortured him into admitting his role in the attacks that left 166 people dead.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Thursday a resolution aimed at making its regime of sanctions against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other extremist groups fairer and more transparent.
A tribunal charged the Khmer Rouge's 78-year-old former head of state with genocide Friday, adding new momentum to long-delayed trials against the brutal regime that ruled Cambodia 30 years ago.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is unfazed by the Supreme Court's judgement declaring the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) as 'unconstitutional', and has vowed to face the challenges.
Pledges tabled so far at the UN climate talks for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions would doom the world to warming of as much as three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), an internal UN memo showed Thursday.
A bomb planted at a fair celebrating the ethnic Karen minority's New Year holiday killed eight people and wounded 11 others, state media reported yesterday.
India's resort state of Goa -- popular with foreign tourists, particularly from Britain, Israel and the United States -- could be the target for a major terror strike, a local minister said.
Amid high drama in the Lok Sabha Friday, opposition parties walked out in protest against the government passing bills without discussions amid noisy protests over proposed statehood for Telangana. Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house sine die, slamming the unruly behaviour of some MPs.
Islamic terrorists have been able to hack into CIA state-of-the-art Predator drones with the help of just a 25.95 dollar off-the-shelf software, raising fears of remote control operated unmanned crafts being taken over and used against British and American targets.
A strain of natural human proteins have been found to help ward off swine flu and other viruses including West Nile and dengue, in a discovery that could spur more effective treatments, US researchers said Thursday.
India and Britain are likely to sign a civil nuclear agreement during British Business Minister Peter Mandelson's six-day visit that starts Friday.
There is great news for diabetics. A revolutionary technology is on its way to help them measure blood sugar levels without drawing blood daily.
Two officials in the Afghan government say President Hamid Karzai will keep half of his current Cabinet in place as he begins his second five-year term.
Doubts have been raised over the authenticity of a 'Michelangelo' work of art, which cost the Italian government 2.9 million pounds.
Arts & Entertainment
Tanwir Hasan, A student of Dhaka Medical College, won third prize at the photography contest of 'Celebrating Life 2009'. For Tanwir, winning the award is a giant leap in his career as a photographer.
Once you get past the fact that lovely Emily Blunt doesn't look anything like the dour historical pictures of Britain's longest-reigning monarch, "The Young Victoria" is an appealing and well-crafted, if staid, portrait of a fascinating ruler.
Different organisations in Rangpur held cultural programmes in observance of the 38th Victory day.
Snacks and junk foods prepared with traditional cooking oils have numerous bad impacts on our health, especially on our heart. Rice bran oil, relatively new edible oil can replace those oils or trans fats and make our foods healthier.
Banglavision will air the drama serial "Rong-er Dunia" tonight at 9:05 pm. The serial has been written and directed by Hassan Jahangir.
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan seems to be in a mood to surprise people.
TV serial "FDC" will be aired on Rtv tonight at 10:10pm. The serial has been written and directed by Kochi Khondakar.
Marking the Victory Day, a two-day exhibition of photos taken during the Liberation War and cartoons denouncing corruption were held at the premises of Mymensingh Railway Station.
FOR folks inclined to fret that that the earth is heading for an environmental abyss the population problem has always been one of the biggest causes for worry. In the slums of Dhaka city, tens of thousands of people shelter in huts made of cardboard with polythene roofs. There is no running water and no sanitation. The stench is overpowering: garbage and human waste heap up in piles. With 13 million residents -- up from 320,000 only 30 years ago -- Dhaka is considered the most populous urban centre on earth.
I was Information Officer of the then India's Home Minister, Govind Ballabah Pant, when the Fazl Ali Commission submitted the report on Reorganization of States in 1954. While working on the proposals, Pant would often say why they had taken up the controversial task of redrawing the map of India first when there were so many urgent problems facing the country. Fifty five years later, the nation can rightly pose the same question to the rulers. In fact, the problems have increased: insurgency, terrorism, price rise or unemployment.
CLOTHING items are certainly the most wanted and most sold ones during festivals like Eid and Puja. And those involved from manufacturing to trading of these are believed to make a hey day of the occasion. Promila Devi and her husband Nani Gopal Singha of Lala Dighir Par, Sylhet were also supposed to get a share of the bonanza, because they are very much in the process.
Climate change resulting in sea level rise would cause severe environmental impact on the living resources including people and biodiversity in the affected areas. There are so many coast line associated islets and islands in the Bay of Bengal in the southern part of Bangladesh, e.g. Shandip of Chittagong, Shahpari and St. Martin of Teknaf, Kutubdia, Moheshkhali and Sonadia of Cox's Bazar and islets like Nijhumdip, Char Kukrimukri, Char Dale, Char Fashon, etc of Patuakhali, Barguna and Bhola districts. Lakhs of poor and homeless people live in these areas. Sea level rising 0.5-1m there will be catastrophic for these affected areas and people. They might need immediate shifting to nearby high lands.
The Prime Minister of Denmark Mr. Lars Løkke Rasmussen said on Decemeber 07, at the beginning of the climate change conference (COP 15), “ Copenhagen will be 'a city of hope' for the next two weeks (December 07-18) because of climate change conference”. Dr. R.K. Pachauri, IPCC Chairman, urged the world to stand by Bangladesh. He has been able to show the world that Bangladesh is going to be a most-suffered victim of climate change. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote in the Guardian: “Copenhagen must be a turning point. Our children won't forgive us if we fail. We need to build a low carbon economy across the world, with a deal that helps developing nations and ensures trust”.
The west pacific islands [such as the Territory of Guam, Republic of Palau, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and American Samoa (Fig. 1), and other neighbouring islands are among the world's most vulnerable communities to climate variability and change, especially sea level rise, as many parts of these islands are regularly affected by erosion and inundation. The small size, lower elevations and extensive coastal areas of the islands, their remoteness and limited financial resources, and in some cases, poor economic and social decisions contribute to great ecosystem and human vulnerability to disasters.
Surrealism has been a widely-used and often misused element in art and literature of the modern era. The misuse can solely be attributed to half-literacy of the users about what it is and how to apply it. Although the misconception is widespread on a global scale, a single example may confirm the low level of understanding about surrealism among our writers. In 2000, a national institution like Bangla Academy published an English version of the Lekhok Ovidhan with a noisy title 'Dictionary of Writers' (to mean directory of writers) in which the Bangla term porabastob [meaning surrealism] was ridiculously translated as 'supernatural' in delineating the rhetorical features in the works of a poet. However, the Academy stopped circulation of the book immediately after its publication, this being a 'dictionary of errors'!
We arrived at our son Salman's one bedroom apartment in Irvine last Tuesday. It was bright and sunny but quite cold for us just come to LA from Bangladesh. Temperatures of 16 max. and 6 min. Celsius. Irvine is in Orange County, reputedly the richest or one of the richest counties in the U.S. It's one of 90 cities that form the conurbation of what is known as Los Angeles. For us neophytes it is a bit difficult to comprehend that LA is not really a city in itself but a vast area comprised of so many satellite cities. Yes and why not? To put it in perspective Salman's home in Irvine is 80 miles distant from our daughter Tina's home up north, in Santa Clarita. That's the distance from Dhaka to Comilla!
The butterfly used to fly in our garden
With her strong wings of leadership;
She beautifies the lives of neglected flowers
But has gone too far recently leaving us!
Under-nutrition and malnutrition in pregnancy period are the major problems in Bangladesh that threaten the health of both mother and their babies. Maintaining proper nutrition during pregnancy is specially considered to be of importance for the high prevalence of low birth weight, fetal growth retardation and perinatal death (death around birth period). Experts identified limited access to high quality foods, traditional food habits, food taboos and limited knowledge as the factors contribute to under-nutrition.
A 30 year old woman Rupa Akhter (not a real name) is married for 10 years living in a village. She planned to complete the family with her existing 4 children. But all on a sudden, she became pregnant unintentionally and mistakenly that made her very upset. Like many women, it was a matter of embarrassment for her talking intervention in a hospital after consulting a physician. Six months latter, she went to a traditional birth attendant (locally known as Dai) who induced her abortion through inappropriate way. The result was very dreadful. She delivered a dead baby with retained placenta (which covers and protect the baby in womb). She died after few hours of reaching a Subdistrict (Thana) Health Complex due to server bleeding and many others complications.
Will a gene bring healthful blessings or the curse of disease? It may depend on whether it is inherited from mom or dad, researchers reported recently.
For back health, don't sit up straight
Straight-as-a-board upright posture that you may have been striving for in the interest of ergonomic correctness is not what it is cracked up to be, according to a research. The research was conducted at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Scottish and Canadian team presented its findings to the Radiological Society of North America.
ON 6th December, the Indian Prime Minister paid a three-day visit to Russia for the Annual Summit Meeting with the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev.
YEAR 2009 is not 1971. If India should not take Bangladesh for granted just because it helped the nation attain independence some forty years ago, Dhaka also cannot afford to ignore the facts of history and say today that New Delhi has done precious little for it. We cannot do away with either history or geography in so far as India and Bangladesh are concerned, and, therefore, the best way to move forward is to take pragmatic steps, taking into account the geo-politics and market forces. The question to ask at this juncture is whether the two prime ministers, Manmohan Singh and Sheikh Hasina, can manage to remove the trust deficit between the two South Asian neighbours and take Indo-Bangladesh relations to a real high. This question is more than valid because trust deficit between New Delhi and Dhaka is the main reason for the blow-hot-blow-cold relationship between these two most populous neighbours.
Medvedev, Obama discuss deal to cut nukes
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on December 13 held talks by phone to discuss a new accord on cutting nuclear arsenals, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Star Books Review
Local government can be termed as the linchpin of good governance for any modern state, specifically to attain political, economic and social welfare of the marginal groups of people within the state. It is vastly acknowledged in today's development paradigms that decentralization can be conducive to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because local governments are presumed to have better information and higher rewards on the basis of which the central government can afford to plan and implement policies, thus responding to local needs and preemptions. It appears that the reasonable gaps between the political community and the civil society propagation of democratic decentralization are getting widened. They need to be bridged through sincere and stringent academic efforts. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Talukdar, a young researcher, has brought forth a work relating to this particular arena in a modest way. In Rural Local Government in Bangladesh, Talukder has tried to touch upon a number of pertinent issues, such as democratic decentralization, gender mainstreaming in the local government and the regeneration of the upazila system.
Shamsuddin Abul Kalam died lonely and forlorn in Rome on a January day eleven years ago. As this very appreciable compilation of his letters demonstrates amply, there was in him, ever since he left what once was East Pakistan and took up residence in the West, a defining degree of nostalgia that often comes to men who think. And Kalam was a thinking man, steeped as he was in literature and the making of it. The problem, as he saw it and not without reason, was the big hurdle that was always there when it came to an appreciation of his literary talents back home in Bangladesh. And the hurdle was geography. As the war for Bangladesh's liberation went on in 1971, Kalam was enthused by the prospect of freedom for a country he did not quite plan on going back to. He kept in touch with Justice Abu Sayeed Chowdhury and with others he knew were directly involved in the cause. Once Bangladesh became a de jure state, Kalam travelled to the new country, met its important men, including Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and came away with the belief that the future appeared bright despite the travails that yet dotted the path.
Mukhtar Mai, also known as Mukhtaran Bibi, was subjected to gang rape in the village of Meerwala in Pakistan's Punjab province on the recommendations of a village council in 2002. It was an incident as horrible in its perpetration as it was powerful in its ramifications. Mukhtar Bibi, like so many others before her in Pakistan and elsewhere, could have opted for the traditional suicide after the shame that was heaped on her even as a whole village watched, tongue-tied, what was being done to her by men on the higher perches of feudalism in her country. No one lifted a finger, no one said a word, there was none to protest the scandalous behaviour of the Mastoi tribe. Mukhtar was only a Gujar, a member of a community that had for ages been poor and therefore resigned to its fate, which again was what people like the Mastois made of it.
Having just finished reading an enjoyable book on parent-offspring attachments and detachments, coming across another novel dealing with the same subject, but with a very different story, was a welcome coincidence.