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News of: Saturday, 30th of January, 2010

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Front Page

SA Games kicks off

The 11th South Asian Games got underway with a dazzling opening ceremony at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday with thousand of athletes and performers taking part in the three-and-a-half hour programme.

Victory of the rule of law

Seldom has a founder of a new state and the supreme leader of any independence struggle met so brutal an end as Bangabandhu. Not only was he gunned down at the prime of his life (he was only in his mid-fifties) his whole family was also killed including his 10-year-old son Russell. Both Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana would have also been killed but for their fortuitous trip to Germany. There have been other instances of assassination of leaders in history, but seldom if ever, can we find anything remotely similar as the barbarity, the brutality and ruthlessness shown in this case where the whole family was eliminated, including the two newly wed wives of Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal.

BNP may return to JS soon

Main opposition BNP is planning to return to parliament this week, ending its long boycott of the House since June last year.

Irregular workers in Malaysia brace for hard time

Bangladeshis working in Malaysia on irregular basis and staying there for over a decade will face repatriation or arrest as the country has moved for more stringent visa renewal process and a crackdown on illegal foreigners.

Send SMS for train tickets

Bangladesh Railway will introduce SMS ticketing service through mobile phone next month to ease sufferings of commuters.

New regulatory body for NGOs on cards

The government plans to form an inter-ministerial committee headed by the finance minister to regulate and monitor the activities of non-governmental organisations, said a source at the social welfare ministry.

Ruet students clash with workers, cops

Over 50 people including teachers and a journalist were injured yesterday as bus workers and police clashed with students on Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) campus and at Rajshahi bus terminal.

All damaged embankments to be repaired by March

The government plans to repair within March the embankments damaged by cyclone Sidr and Aila in the country's coastal areas, BBC Bangla Service reported yesterday.

AL's extended meeting today after a break of 20 months

After around 20 months, the ruling Awami League holds an extended meeting today in efforts to revamp the organisation.

Special prayers offered at mosques

Shukrana munajat was offered in all mosques across the country after Juma prayers yesterday expressing gratitude to the Almighty Allah following the execution of the death sentence of five killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Students vandalise over 100 cars at trade fair parking

Cadres of Bangladesh Chhatra League and students of Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University last night vandalised more than 100 vehicles of visitors to the International Trade Fair, looted valuables and clashed with police, injuring at least 20 persons including law enforcers.

Pasha says he was 'hired by JCD rebels'

Saiduzzaman Pasha, who was photographed brandishing a firearm during the clash between Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal factions at Dhaka University, is an ex-army man, Detective Branch of Police officials said.

6 Nepali athletes injured in lift crash

Six Nepali players and an official have been injured when an "overloaded" elevator at Hotel Imperial adjacent to the Bangabandhu National Stadium crashed just hours before the start of the opening ceremony of the 11th South Asian Games yesterday.

BD women booters lose opener

Bangladesh women football team's bid to win the gold medal of the South Asian Games suffered an early blow when they were beaten 1-0 by Nepal at Birshreshtha Mostafa Kamal Stadium yesterday.

Saddam wasn't big threat after 9/11

Former British prime minister Tony Blair acknowledged yesterday that Saddam Hussein didn't become a bigger threat after September 11, but said his perception of the risk posed by terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction was dramatically changed by the attacks.

AL leader murdered in Kishoreganj

Awami League leader and a former member of Union Parishad was hacked to death by criminals yesterday afternoon in Hossainpur upazila of Kishoreganj district.

Reazuddin Bazar still tense

As the section 144, clamped following a clash between hawkers and traders on Thursday, continued for the second day yesterday Reazuddin Bazar and its adjoining areas wore a deserted look.

4 get life for throwing acid on housewife

A Habiganj court awarded life imprisonment to four persons on Thursday for throwing acid on a housewife over land disputes.

Global climate deal hinges on money

The success of talks this year to salvage a global climate accord hinges on money, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon said yesterday, urging executives at the World Economic Forum to pay more to fight climate change.

Asian nations craft plan to save tigers

More than a dozen Asian nations aim to double the numbers of wild tigers by 2022 and prohibit the building of roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects that could harm their habitats.

Laden blames rich nations

al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden blamed industrial nations for global warming, and urged a boycott of the US dollar to end "slavery," in an audio tape aired by Al-Jazeera television on Friday.

4th convocation of JU today

All preparations have been completed for holding the fourth convocation of Jahangirnagar University today.


Leakages in the distribution of school textbooks

REPORTS have it that illegal trade in primary and secondary school textbooks, meant for free distribution among the students in the districts and upazilas, is going on in the different book markets of the city. Such sales by some quarters in the market in collusion with a section of dishonest education officials in the districts have put a clear challenge before the government's stated policy of zero-tolerance against any irregularities in the distribution of the textbooks by the end of this month.

Addressing nation's housing problem

FACED with the crisis of ever shrinking land-man ratio, meeting the constitutionally guaranteed basic human need of a shed over every citizen's head is becoming a big challenge before the policymakers. The challenge is still bigger in cities, where rural migrants--people dislodged from their village homesteads for various reasons, environmental or otherwise--are flocking to in droves and landing in the unhealthy shanties.

Graduating from the LDC framework

WE have recently had an important regional conference in Dhaka -- the 'Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue' -- on the 'Brussels Programme of Action.' It was of particular interest to me as I was closely involved on behalf of Bangladesh (as its Ambassador in Brussels) in the deliberations carried out during the Third UN Conference on the LDCs held in May 2001 in that city.

JU: Convocation and commitment

THE 4th convocation of Jahangirnagar University (JU) is to be held today, on Saturday, January 30, 2010. The university that I proudly headed once is about 40 years old. It implies that the campus so far embraced one convocation every 10 years. This is undoubtedly not good news as far as formal awarding of degrees to the students is concerned. In other countries, and even in private universities in our country, convocation is considered to be an integral part of the performance of the university. Convocation is a dream for students and that dream should not be dashed to the ground.


The show begins with a bang

The 11th South Asian Games, the biggest sporting extravaganza of the region, got underway at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday with a spectacular opening ceremony marked by great fanfare and enthusiasm. A spectacular cultural show, a scintillating aquatic display caught the audience gripped while the dazzling pyrotechniques lit up the night sky of Dhaka bringing the perfect ending to a three-and-a-half hour spectacle.

Booters ready for Nepal

Hosts Bangladesh will look to put up a spirited show when they take on Nepal in their first Group A match of the football event of the South Asian Games at the Bangabandhu National Stadium today.

Roger-Andy showdown

Roger Federer cruised into his 22nd Grand Slam final with an effortless straight sets win over listless Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open on Friday.

Fairytale v reality

Justine Henin's fairytale is set to collide head on with Serena Williams's reality when the pair resume their fierce rivalry in the Australian Open women's final on Saturday.

Masrafe's departure delayed

Fast bowler Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's departure for New Zealand for the T20 & ODI series was delayed due to his fever.

Khulna thrash Barisal

Khulna continued their excellent run in the National Cricket league when they handed a 179-run defeat to Barisal at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Colourful rally in Khulna

A big colourful rally was brought out from Nirala in the afternoon on the occasion of the inauguration of the eleventh South Asian Games (SAG) yesterday.

Australia make it 4-0

Australia mercilessly ripped through a feeble Pakistan at the WACA to keep alive the prospect of inflicting upon the tourists only their second 5-0 whitewash in ODIs. Michael Hussey and Nathan Hauritz starred with the bat, before Ryan Harris tore through the batting with a second successive five-for to set up a crushing 135-run win. Remarkably, given how poor Pakistan have been in this country, this was Australia's first win over them in an ODI in Perth.

D/N Test worries Clarke

Michael Clarke has raised doubts over the types of balls that could be used for day-night Tests and outlined his concerns about batting under lights. Cricket Australia is trialling pink and white balls in domestic Second XI games this week as it attempts to find ones that can last for 80 overs.

'Smith & batting key'

Kepler Wessels is convinced a strong batting line-up and Graeme Smith's 'strong personality' will hold South Africa together and help them tide over the coaching crisis on their tour to India. Only four points separate the top two Test teams -- if South Africa manage to win the two-match series they will displace India to go No. 1 -- and Wessels believes they will pose a stiff challenge for the hosts in what has been billed as a world championship bout.

U-16 school cricket final today

The final of the Standard Chartered Young Tigers under 16 National School Cricket Competition will be held at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium today.

United champs

United Club became champions in the 5th Bangabandhu Cup cricket tournament defeating PK Club by eight wickets at the Satkhira Government College ground yesterday.

Fed unbeatable: Tsonga

Stunned Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had bad news for Andy Murray on Friday -- no one can beat Roger Federer.

Taylor made 'stand-by' captain

Ross Taylor has been named as 'stand-by' captain for the upcoming Bangladesh and Australia series, giving him a more senior role with the national team. A statement by New Zealand Cricket said Taylor was not vice-captain but will take over as leader if Daniel Vettori is unavailable for any match over the home summer.

Gunners visit Old Trafford

Chelsea will welcome Didier Drogba back from African Nations Cup duty this weekend and club captain John Terry believes the Londoners are ready to put their foot down in the Premier League title race.

Barca to keep up pressure

League leaders Barcelona head into the second half of the season unbeaten and their imperious form shows little side of subsiding to allow Real Madrid to close the five-point gap at the top.

Egypt crush Algeria

Defending champions Egypt thrashed bitter rivals Algeria 4-0 to reach the Africa Cup of Nations final on Thursday and stay on course for an unprecedented seventh title.

Gyan sinks Nigeria

Ghana are into the Africa Cup of Nations final for the first time in 18 years after a 1-0 defeat of Nigeria at the 11 November stadium here on Thursday.

Ferrara facing sack

Ciro Ferrara's troubled reign as Juventus coach could end this weekend, even before Sunday's Serie A home clash against Lazio.

'Bayern must keep winning'

Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez believes the German giants will need to win all of their remaining Bundesliga games to be sure of the title - starting with Mainz on Saturday.

Zaccheroni replaces Ferrara

Juventus on Friday named Alberto Zaccheroni as their new coach in place of Ciro Ferrara, who was sacked after a string of poor results.

Mutu tests positive

Fiorentina's Romanian striker Adrian Mutu tested positive for a banned stimulant after a Serie A match against Bari earlier this month, the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) announced on Thursday.


Nation to feel freed of stigma after trial of war criminals

The nation will not get rid of stigma fully until war criminals are punished, though trial of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has partially relieved the nation of shame, said British era revolutionary Binod Bihari Chowdhury yesterday.

Plan for tackling possible quake aftermath stressed

A comprehensive contingency plan involving all the relevant agencies and organisations such as the Police, Fire Brigade and Ministry of Health needs to be taken for effectively tackling the aftermath of any possible quake in Dhaka city, according to experts.

Mosques to be made centre of dev activities: PM

The government wants to establish mosques across the country as centre of all pro-people development activities like Masjid-e-Nababi, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday.

Gas emission thru' different points go up

Gas emission through different points around the abandoned Tengratila Gas Field under Doarabazar upazila in Sunamganj went up in recent days.

Rally at Korokdi today

Bangladesh Literary Resource Centre (BLRC) and Korokdi Samabesh Udjapan Committee will jointly organise a rally at Korokdi under Modhukhali upazila in Faridpur today to highlight its glorious history and cultural heritage.

2 killed in Satkhira road accidents

Two people were killed and another was injured in separate road accidents in the district yesterday.

Fair probe into Kibria murder case demanded

Speakers at a discussion yesterday demanded impartial investigation into the murder of former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and exemplary punishment to the killers.

BSF returns body of Bangladeshi

The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) returned the body of a Bangladeshi cattle trader to Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) yesterday after a company commander level flag meeting at Wahedpur border in Shibganj, BDR sources said.

Execution of killers a sign of strengthening of secularism

The execution of five killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman should not be seen as an act of revenge but as a sign of justice against violence and the strengthening of secularism, two former Indian High commissioners to Bangladesh said.

Opening of new building demanded

The students and intern doctors of Dinajpur Medical College and Hospital formed a human chain wearing black badges at Dinajpur Civil Hospital yesterday demanding opening of the newly built 500-bed hospital building immediately.

AL implements political agenda thru' execution of killers

BNP standing committee member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury yesterday said the ruling Awami League had implemented its political agenda through execution of the verdict in Bangabandhu Murder Case.

Ananda Mohan College to be full-fledged university

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday said the present government will make Govt Ananda Mohan College a full-fledged university.

EC to appeal to HC for quick disposal of issue

Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday said the Election Commission will appeal to the High Court to dispose of a rule regarding demarcation of Dhaka City Corporation areas immediately so that the election to DCC can be held in March.

'Eliminate math phobia'

The Dhaka Divisional Mathematics Festival was held at Govt Laboratory High School in the city yesterday amid festivity with a call for eliminating math phobia.

Full implementation of CHT accord demanded

Speakers at a discussion yesterday underscored need for full implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord to ensure rights of the vulnerable segment of people, especially women.

Tension mounts in Rangamati

Tension is mounting in Gangaram Mukh area under Baghaichhari upazila in the hill district over a clash between settlers and indigenous people on January 21 that left 12 people injured.

Take steps to contain bird flu

Bangladesh Poultry Farm Protection National Committee (BPFPNC) demanded the government to take immediate and effective measures to contain outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) to save the poultry sector from being ruined.

Housewife stabbed to death in Sherpur

A housewife was stabbed to death by her brother-in-law at Ghilagachha village at Sribardi in Sherpur yesterday.

1,000 Phensidyl bottles seized in Feni, one held

Police arrested a drug peddler and seized 1,000 bottles of Phensidyl syrup in Feni on Thursday night.


US Senate votes to slap new sanctions on Iran

The US Senate voted Thursday to slap tough new sanctions on Iran, targeting its thirst for gasoline imports in a bid to force Tehran to bow to global pressure to freeze its suspect nuclear programme.

Haiti criminals raping quake survivors

Bandits are reportedly preying on vulnerable earthquake survivors, even raping women, in makeshift camps set up in the capital after the disaster, Haiti's police chief has revealed.

15 Somalis killed in Mogadishu fighting

Somali insurgents sparked the heaviest day of fighting in the capital in months Friday, launching simultaneous attacks on government forces and peacekeepers that killed at least 15 people, residents and a medical official said.

Hamas blames Israel for death in Dubai of top militant

The Islamist Hamas movement blamed Israel yesterday for the death in Dubai earlier this month of one of the founders of its military wing who a relative charged was killed by electrocution.

Cyber thugs attacking power-water plants

Power plants, oil refineries and water supplies increasingly dependent on the Internet are under relentless attack by cyber spies and thugs, according to a McAfee report released Thursday.

Obama to propose abandoning US return to Moon

President Barack Obama's 2011 budget, to be submitted to Congress Monday, will propose abandoning a programme to return US astronauts to the Moon, two Florida newspapers said Thursday.

Anti-war protesters stage demo against Blair

Anti-war protesters accused former British prime minister Tony Blair of being a "coward" Friday after reports that he was driven into the building hosting the Iraq war inquiry through a side entrance.

Russia unveils stealth fighter seen as rival to F-22

Russia yesterday unveiled a new fighter aircraft touted as a rival of the US F-22 stealth jet and developed amid the highest secrecy as part of a plan to modernize the armed forces.

West backs $500 fund for Taliban militants

World powers supported Afghan President Hamid Karzai's plan to woo moderate Taliban fighters who disarm, as it emerged that senior figures in the Islamist militia held secret talks with UN officials.

44 militants killed in Pakistan

Pakistan security forces battled militants close to the Afghan border yesterday in fighting that has killed 44 suspected insurgents over the last three days, a government official said.

Cops raid office of Fonseka

Police raided yesterday the office of defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka as monitors and rights groups criticised the Sri Lankan election that returned President Mahinda Rajapakse to power.

Lost Gandhi ashes to be scattered on sea in South Africa

Some of the last of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes, kept in secret for decades by a family friend, will be scattered at sea off South Africa's coast today, 62 years after his assassination, his family said.

US aid programme failing in NW Pakistan

A $46 million American aid programme aimed at strengthening the government in Pakistan's tribal regions and blunting the appeal of al-Qaeda and the Taliban has achieved little since it began two years ago, a US government audit found.

5 Afghan militants die in 8-hour shootout

An eight-hour shoot-out in southern Afghanistan ended on Friday with the deaths of five insurgents who had occupied a building near government offices, officials said.

India to court martial top general

India's army has ordered the court martial of one of its top generals over his alleged involvement in an illegal land deal, officials said yesterday.

Journalist jailed for 13 years in Myanmar

A Myanmar court has handed down a 13-year jail term to a man accused of working with exiled media, his legal counsel said yesterday, as the ruling junta continues its crackdown on dissent.

Arts & Entertainment

Towards a mystical realm with ‘Lalon Konya’

The latest instalment of Bengal Foundation's musical soiree "Praner Khela" was held on January 28 at Bengal Gallery, Dhanmondi. Renowned Lalon singer Farida Parveen and flutist Gazi Abdul Hakim performed in the evening. 'Lalon Konya' famed Parveen was the main artiste of the evening, as her soulful rendition of popular Lalon numbers captivated the audience for nearly three hours.

“Poush Phaguner Pala”: Recreating the past

"Poush Faguner Pala" by Afsana Mimi is a TV serial based on three timeless tales-- "Kolkatar Kachhey", "Upokonthe" and "Poush Phaguner Pala" by Gajendrokumar Mitro. The story is about a 13-year-old girl Rashmoni who is married to a 50-year-old zamindar. Having lost her husband in a conspiracy by some unscrupulous people, she finds herself battling life for the sake of her three daughters Komola, Shama and Uma.

“The Lamp of the East” burns bright

Rabindranath Tagore unites not only India and Bangladesh culturally but also India with many other countries and the latest rekindling of this bond is with Korea whom he had once described as the “Lamp of the East”.

Folk music festival at BSA

A week long folk music festival is on at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). On the fourth day of the festival (January 28), discussants, artistes and people from all walks of life flocked to the BSA premises to enjoy Hason Raja's compositions.

“Jiboner Joyogan” Radio Show

The FM session at Radio ABC 89.2 FM every Saturday heats up with eminent film directors, photographers and lyricists at exactly 12.30pm. Hosted by RJ Pompa and RJ Shaon, this new arrangement is a medley of music and discussion and is a welcome addition to the FM playlist of the town. The discussion primarily centres on “Celebrating Life”, a regular yearly contest organised by Standard Chartered Bank and The Daily Star.


Climate change: Whispering from the Sunderbans

Due to increased rate of emissions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and chlorofluorocarbons) from different sources such as burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activities, the rate of global temperature increase accelerated from +0.6°C over the past century to an equivalent rate of +1.0°C per century in the past two decades (Natural Resource Defence Council, USA 2006). Sea-level rise as a consequence of global warming is caused by increase in seawater temperatures resulting in thermal expansion of water and melting of glacier and polar iceberg (Kennedy et. al. 2002). The climate change has already affected the ecosystems of northern hemisphere including the coastal forests.

Butterflies: Best 'biotic-indicators' of climatic change

When biotic factors, abiotic-biotic and biotic-biotic interactions, biotic-biotic association stand responsive to forecast future happening by the cause of climatic changes or of any changes in any ecological area or in an ecosystem then the factors/interactions/association may be called the “biotic-indicators”. Use of biotic-indicators is applicable in taking mitigation approaches to combat calamities caused because of unusual climatic changes. This is applicable especially in the case of forest conservation and for the conservation of forest biodiversity.


When the spirit soars . . .

All journeys have destinations both to and from. There are physical and emotional aspects involved in all such journeys but when added to those is yet another aspect, that is, the spiritual, that makes all the difference. Such a journey that is wrapped in an essence of metaphysical or transcendental realm does not have a full stop. It keeps on calling the seeker time and again. An ecstatic state of the mind is felt, a state of unfulfilment stirs up an urge to make one's purpose more meaningful by repeating the path not only to make it more in terms of mere number but also to make it better, to make it near-perfect, which can very well be described as the best way of elevating oneself spiritually. After all, are not we all spiritual beings? The Holy Kaabah as it stands in the middle of Masjid al-Haram as an epitome of highest level of spirituality, bears witness to an expression of intense urge of human hearts converging there from all corners of the globe round the year for centuries together.

Narcissist . . . . . . . .

On the weekends she became the Avon lady selling cosmetics door to door to unattractive suburban wives. She often laughed when she told me stories from that time. She would say with her soft and husky voice, "Frankie, those women thought I was a gene and I could make them beautiful for their husbands with greasy fingernails." I didn't know what she meant by that but I laughed with her anyway. My mother told all these stories about her young life and struggling family while she was setting up her art studio when we moved into our new home.

In Purabi Basu's company

Just think of it for a moment. Isn't it a puzzle that in spite 'of declining reading and downsized bookshops' book launch events are so much the 'in' thing these days? Publications of new books call for celebrations, and this is what is happening every day in Dhaka.

In her silent eyes . . .

Through the twilight zone, through mist and haze
She plods on, as sunray and cloudshade play
Hide and seek with the dreamland of her face.
A tired face, with exhausted contentment, is poetry
The world reads this wild afternoon.

Morning Rain

Wrapped in pieces of unspent pleasure
I paused to touch the palette of silence, the desire
I drifted inward to the consciousness of pain
And then, appeared a visage in the morning rain

Strategic Issues

About secret pacts

THERE are important lessons to be learnt for Bangladesh from the Japanese experience with secret deals. While the LDP was in power for over five decades, except for a brief period in 1993, there was persistent accusation from the opposition with considerable public support that Japan had entered into secret deals with USA on security. However, the LDP led government was not willing to lend credence to those accusations and perceptions without being able to prove there were no secret deals. When the LDP lost power in the elections last September to the Democratic Party of Japan, one of the first tasks of the new Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada was to instruct the Foreign Ministry for a report about the secret deals. He gave his Ministry a year to come up with its findings, acknowledging the fact that it is easy to accuse about existence of secret deals but quite another thing to prove it.

Which way Afghanistan?

WITH 30,000 American and 7,000 NATO additional troops, it still difficult to judge which way Afghanistan is going. There is no cut and dry situation in the treacherous war that is increasingly asking for more blood and money. Americans are getting jittery because of few thousand casualties suffered since 9/11 on both fronts. No matter how sophisticated and overbearing the position is it is irrational to think of counterterrorist effort without a price tag in blood and money. Military compulsion in Afghanistan and political expediency in Washington appears on a collision course. The fallout of war on US economy and politics in the sensitive midterm election at the yearend remains as unpredictable as the outcome of the surge of additional troops in Afghanistan.

India ends Nepalese arms embargo

India has decided to end its four-year self-imposed embargo on supplying small arms to Nepal and plans to provide the country with a range of assault rifles, machine guns, pistols and revolvers in addition to bomb-detection and disposal equipment.

US prepares new Taiwan arms package despite Beijing hysterics

The US appears unwilling to stop selling arms to Taiwan despite aggressive lobbying and pressure from China. Sources in Taipei and Washington have confirmed the United States is preparing the release of US congressional notifications for new arms on hold since the Bush administration.

Star Books Review

The ailments that undermine education

As I have taught in colleges, including cadet colleges, and as my present position assigns me to work with and for secondary school teachers, Samir Ranjan Nath's Shikkha Asha Bastobota Naba Asha easily drew my attention, making me read it more than once. The information presented in the book seems very relevant, necessary and fruitful for those who work in education.

For women, the hard way to success

The Bangla literary giant Shomoresh Majumdar holds the reader completely engrossed with the gripping story told in Heere Boshano Shonar Phool. The characters and the plot of the story are so real that the reader feels as if he or she is witnessing the events as they unfold with each page. The story is a spellbinding drama of a family that comes out of the stereotyped roles of men and women. It is about a young woman, Titir, who finds the courage to go out of the four walls of her home defying the old conventions and finding a place of her own in the outside world.

In search of one's roots

India remains, especially for people in the West, a land of mystery and mysticism. Paul Hyland happens to be one of those drawn to a land that is noted as much for its political history as its cultural heritage. Hyland focuses on the latter, a particular reason being that his ancestors once made what was, back in the 1830s, an arduous trip to India and then stayed on to breathe in the aroma and the pungency of a country as varied in its landscape as it was, and is, in its cultural diversity. The author's hundred year-old grandmother, not in the best of health in Devon, perks up when grandchild Joy speaks of Narsapur. And Narsapur is what the centenarian associates with her own past. For she was born Lily Bowden 'at Kakinada, on the eastern delta of the River Godavari which flows into the Bay of Bengal'. As Hyland takes care to let readers know, only forty years earlier, her grandfather William Bowden had been an apprentice stonemason in Barnstaple but soon took off, along with his newly-wed wife, for Madras.

Writers link up in Jaipur

Once again, the Jaipur Literature Festival brought the world of books to life. Jaipur in January has become the spot to air ideas, to hear fresh voices, and to enjoy the simple pleasures of writing, reading and intelligent debate. The festival, which ran from January 21 25, featured 140 authors from fifteen counties and 20,000 people in total. Bangladesh's Shazia Omar, author of Like a Diamond in the Sky, who was invited to attend, was recognized as a 'star' at the show by one of the festival organizers and fellow writer, William Dalrymple, in India's Outlook magazine.

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