The Daily Star

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Saturday, August 2, 2014


News of: Saturday, 4th of December, 2010

Front Page

New rice to withstand drought

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) with the help of two organisations has successfully field-tested a drought-tolerant rice variety in the northern part of the country.

Razzak hattrick levels series

Abdur Razzak's hattrick, only the second in ODI history by a spinner, inspired Bangladesh to a series-levelling six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday in the second one-dayer of the five-match series.

CJ may place wealth report to president

Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque is planning to submit his wealth statement to the president within the first week of January.

Reports baseless

Here is the full text of Grameen Bank's response to press reports:

Artificial crisis of bamboo cuts production

Two units of Karnaphuli Paper Mills are shut down due to an 'artificial crisis' of raw material, bamboo, allegedly created by a vested quarter.

Three killed in Rab 'shootouts'

Three 'gunfights' between members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and criminal gangs left three offenders dead in the capital, Meherpur and Barisal districts early yesterday.

Grand alliance to back candidates

The ruling Awami League-led grand alliance will back a single candidate in every municipality in the polls to the local bodies next January, said Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam yesterday.

Govt to go tough on overloading

The government has decided to install weight-measuring machines across the country and increasing punishment for overloading vehicles as such vehicles are damaging roads and bridges.

Hosts hopeful of climate deals

Mexico's environment minister said Thursday that a UN climate conference in Cancun would likely reach at least two accords, rejecting criticism from Brazil's president that it would be inconclusive.

Khaleda collects effects from cantt house

Representatives of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday started collecting her possessions from the Dhaka cantonment house she lost in a legal battle. It might take another day to remove all her belongings from there.

Yunus' letter to ambassador

Following is the letter Grameen Bank Managing Director Prof Muhammad Yunus wrote to the then Norwegian ambassador in Dhaka on January 8, 1998 about the agreement between Grameen Bank and Grameen Kalyan:

JS begins 7th session tomorrow

The ninth Jatiya Sangsad goes into its seventh session tomorrow without main opposition BNP.

4 held at DU for harassing female students

Police yesterday arrested four bike-riding youths from Dhaka University campus for harassing a number of female students of the university.

Anti-tobacco law to be toughened

The government is moving to amend the tobacco control act and introduce powerful pictorial warnings on cigarette packets and other tobacco items in a bid to reduce tobacco consumption drastically.

Capital dredging of waterways soon

Capital dredging of nearly 5339 kilometre waterways under 53 river routes of the country will be carried out soon for reviving and developing navigability.

'Robber' beaten to death

An alleged robber was beaten to death by a mob in Ashulia on the outskirt of the city early yesterday.

Social welfare minister for new regulator

The government will form a regulatory organisation under the Ministry of Social Welfare to bring micro credit loan system under a law, said Social Welfare Minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shahid.

Fake pir's treatment kills woman

A woman died and two of her family members fell sick allegedly due to drinking "blessed water" from a pir (spiritual healer) in Sylhet city yesterday.

Fake pir's treatment kills woman

A woman died and two of her family members fell sick allegedly due to drinking "blessed water" from a pir (spiritual healer) in Sylhet city yesterday.

2010 to be among warmest years ever

The year 2010 will be one of the warmest ever, climaxing a record-breaking decade, the UN's World Meteorological Organization said at global climate talks yesterday.

Chinese train breaks world speed record

China's railway ministry says a Chinese passenger train has set a new record for speed, hitting 302 miles per hour (486 kilometers per hour) during a test run.

Weather across UK to become "much, much colder

The UK will be "much, much, colder" on Friday, forecasters say, as disruption caused by snow continues.

Notice

Yesterday we published the verbatim transcript of the Norwegian documentary on Grameen Bank without editing for the sake of authenticity.

Editorial

After Sheikh Hasina's trips abroad . . .

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's twelve-day trip abroad appears to have opened up some new possibilities for Bangladesh in its dealings with the global community. In broad measure, the prime ministerial visit as also the flurry of diplomatic activities observed in the nearly two years the government has been in office reflects a clear emphasis on a strengthening and reshaping of foreign policy priorities by the administration. It goes without saying that in these times, a nation's global significance depends in large measure on how it utilizes the opportunities which diplomacy opens up before it. From that perspective Sheikh Hasina's visits to Belgium, Russia and Japan, as her earlier visits to India and elsewhere, can be looked upon as an opening of new windows for the country.

A question of food security

The food ministry is preparing to stock up granaries with quick imports. This preparation is due to delayed monsoon and less-than-average rainfall that is casting uncertainties over the expected output in Aman production in the southern districts. It is indeed worrying that the foodgrains stock has almost halved over the past year. It was 7.19 lakh tonnes in August 2010, compared to 13.75 lakh tonnes in the same period last year; and within the time limit set for the procurement drive, the government could buy only 4.66 lakh tonnes of rice. That is what the food ministry noted in a report to the purchase committee a few months ago.

Sports

Razzak bowls into history

Probably the expectation of fending off the hattrick ball got to Christopher Mpofu. The tall strapping paceman from the small town of Plumtree in southern Zimbabwe looked ill at ease wearing pads and helmet as he traipsed to the middle. The noise at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium was a deafening cacophony as skipper Shakib Al Hasan moved Junaed Siddiqui to first slip and Rokibul Hasan under the helmet at silly mid-off. The No 11 took strike, unusually wearing bowling boots rather than the half-spiked options for the batsmen.

Comfortable all around

With two changes to the team Bangladesh bounced back strongly in the series by securing a convincing six-wicket victory in the second game thanks to the batsmen who didn't let down the bowlers' efforts as in the first game.

Cornered tigers roar

The 1992 World Cup. held in Australia and New Zealand, saw many innovations that had appeared in the intervening period between the last tournament and the current one. Most of the 39 matches were day-night affairs, with players wearing coloured uniforms that had the players' names emblazoned on the back. For the first time, the balls used were white, and unlike today, there was a separate ball for each end to guard against the ball becoming too dirty and dark to spot in the night sky. Rules for the thirty yard fielding circle, introduced in the previous World Cup were refined; now only two fielders were allowed outside the circle during the first fifteen overs. After the fifteen overs, the old rule of four fielders inside the ring at all times applied.

Anderson swings England to top

James Anderson reduced Australia to their worst start to a Test innings in 60 years and despite a stirring fightback from Michael Hussey, England remained well on top after the opening day in Adelaide. Few venues in the world are kinder to batsmen than Adelaide Oval, and after winning the toss on a 34-degree day, for Australia to be dismissed for 245 before stumps was not only sub-par, it was potentially ruinous.

Five to get AFC awards

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has decided to reward five Bangladeshi football organisers with gold and silver awards for their contribution to the game and their long association with the Bangladesh Football Federation.

Eto'o loses appeal

Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o has lost his appeal against a three-match Serie A ban for headbutting but a 30,000 euro ($39,570) fine has been dropped, the Italian soccer federation said in the statement on Thursday.

Tendulkar in fray for a Laureus

Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar will be competing with the likes of tennis star Rafael Nadal and Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel for the 2011 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award.

'Pakistan not fully ready'

Pakistan's one-day captain Shahid Afridi said Friday he was not fully satisfied with preparations for next year's World Cup, acknowledging low expectations of victory.

PCB accused of favouritism

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is indulging in favouritism in the national team's selection, by including its "blue-eyed players" in the squads and showing the door to the rest, a Pakistani newspaper has said.

Gambhir warns against complacency 3rd ODI against NZ today

India might be comfortably placed to wrap up the five-match series going into the third ODI against New Zealand with a 2-0 lead on Saturday, but skipper Gautam Gambhir warned Friday about the dangers of complacency creeping into the mindset of his team.

Siddikur in 32nd place

Siddikur Rahman was placed 32nd on the leaderboard with a par score of 144 and six shot off the leaders after two rounds of play in the Hero Honda Indian Open at the Delhi Golf Club yesterday.

Rain spoils Day 3

It was all one-way traffic at Pallekele Stadium as rain dominated proceedings on day three. An intense period of sustained drizzle, highlighted by two spectacular, heavy downpours meant that most of the players didn't even arrive at the ground and the media twiddled their thumbs for much of the day.

Division-II football

Garpara Association emerged champions in the Second Division Football League with a convincing 3-1 win over Kowri KCH Muslim Sporting Club at the Shahid Miraz-Tapan Stadium in Manikganj yesterday.

Lara aims for IPL stint

Former West Indian captain Brian Lara wants to take part in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) next year after ending his three-year retirement from cricket recently.

Russia rejoices honour

President Dmitry Medvedev wrote "Hurray!" on his blog Thursday and his prime minister hailed both his country and FIFA as Russia rejoiced in the honour of finally being picked to stage the World Cup.

C'Ron likely to recover

Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to make Real Madrid's home clash with Valencia on Saturday, after pulling out of Spain/Portugal's bid presentation for the 2018 World Cup finals to focus on recovery from a bruised right ankle.

L'pool lead charge

Liverpool, Paris St Germain, Besiktas, Dynamo Kiev, Sparta Prague and Villarreal reached the knockout stages of the Europa League on Thursday in contrasting fashions. Freezing temperatures continued across Europe but the hardy souls who braved the weather were treated to a flurry of goals.

WC 2018, 2022 quotes

"I think it was the wrong decision."

MU match in danger

Manchester United's bid to maintain their position on the top of the Premier League with victory at Blackpool on Saturday is in danger of being scuppered by the freezing temperatures in England.

Voting results

Twenty-two members of the FIFA Executive Committee were entitled to vote in the race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups with 12 votes needed for an absolute majority and therefore to obtain the right to host the World Cup.

Qatar choice pleases Zizou

Former Real Madrid star Zinedine Zidane said Thursday he was "upset" that Spain and Portugal's joint bid to host the 2018 World Cup had failed but was "very pleased" with the choice of Qatar to host the tournament in 2022.

Real eyeing Dzeko

Real Madrid want to replace the injured Gonzalo Higuain in the winter transfer window with Wolfsburg's Bosnian star Edin Dzeko a key target, Spanish media reported Friday.

Metropolitan

State-run Pragati starts assembling Pajero jeeps

Pragati Industries Limited (PIL), the lone state-run automobile assembling industry of the country, has started assembling Mitsubishi's most modern Pajero jeep in Bangladesh.

Introduce green economy to cope with climate impacts

Considering the country's extreme vulnerability to the effects of climate change, an integrated green economy system needs to be introduced to cope with the challenge.

Cycle journey to save nature

A cyclist in his odyssey on pedal from Teknaf to Tetulia in 65 days is now in the city with a message to "save the nature."

The Colour of Jhal-Muri

I love the Laxmi Bazar neighbourhood because children from local schools fill the street, and they happily pose for a photo. During one of my visits, I was walking with my camera when I noticed a man on the footpath close to St. Gregory's. His unusual attire caught my attention. I quickly took a picture and moved on.

Discharge duties for rule of law

Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque yesterday urged the women judges to discharge professional duties, defying their social impediments, for establishing rule of law and justice in the society.

Check corruption in public sector banks

Speakers at a workshop here urged the government to take steps for reducing corruption in state-owned commercial banks (SCBs) and easing the loaning system to develop the industrial sector.

Trucks to be made in Bangladesh

Bangladesh will soon turn into an automobile manufacturing country that will pave way for exporting 'Made in Bangladesh' trucks to the global market for the first time.

Musa Ibrahim on web

The world from now on can learn about the story of Musa Ibrahim's Everest triumph and his activities from his personal website.

Stop sand lifting from Meghna

Speakers at a press conference yesterday demanded a bar on sand lifting from the Meghna River near Sonargaon to protect Mayadwip, a natural island on the river.

'Clear toxic drinks, juices off market'

Speakers at a discussion yesterday demanded strengthening the monitoring system to check adulterated soft drinks and juices in the market for the safety of public health.

Unite against government

Pro-BNP professionals yesterday voiced for united movement to resist what they termed the “fascist government,” alleging that the ruling party is oppressive to the opposition party and violating people's basic rights to speech and justice.

'Implement laws for the challenged'

Laws related to the challenged people should be implemented and transparency and accountability maintained in all the allocations directed to them, speakers demanded at a discussion yesterday.

Butterfly fair held at JU

A panoramic butterfly fair was held at Jahangirnagar University yesterday.

Dhaka city Jamaat ameer re-arrested

DB police yesterday re-arrested Dhaka city Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Rafiqul Islam Khan from the Dhaka Central Jail area soon after he was released from the jail.

Zonta's three projects for women development

Zonta International Clubs of District 25 area 2 at a meeting decided to take three projects at district level to improve women's status.

Banning communal politics urged

Shamprodiyekota-Jangibad Birodhi Mancha yesterday at a district representatives meeting demanded of the government to speed up the process of the trial of war criminals and ban communal politics.

Solo exhibition of Hamiduzzaman begins today

A 12-day long solo exhibition of sculpture and watercolour by Artist Hamiduzzaman Khan begins today.

Bhasha Matin's anniversary of birth observed

The 85th birth anniversary of language movement veteran Abdul Matin was observed yesterday.

Burn victim dies at DMCH

One of the people receiving burn injuries during the torching of Gokunda union BNP office at Mostofi village of Lalmonirhat sadar upazila on early hours of November 30 died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) yesterday morning.

Law and order deterioration responsible for women's repression: Justice Habibur

Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman yesterday said the deteriorating law and order situation is the sole cause behind the increasing acid violence and repression against women across the country.

Mohiuddin calls for AL unity

Former mayor of Chittagong City Corporation and President of Chittagong city unit Awami League (AL) ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury called all the party leaders to be united.

International

US, Japan begin war drills; China denounces

In an ongoing show of force following a deadly North Korean attack on a front-line island, the US and Japan began one of their biggest-ever military exercises yesterday, mobilizing more than 44,000 troops, hundreds of aircraft and a US super carrier.

India wants Bhopal compensation doubled

India is seeking to more than double to $1.1bn (£700m) the compensation paid by a US chemical company for the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.

S Korea raises rhetoric against the North

South Korea yesterday threatened to bomb North Korea if it tries a repeat of last week's attack, raising its rhetoric after the United States warned of an "immediate threat" from Pyongyang.

Arsenic-loving bacteria may help in hunt for alien life

The first organism able to substitute one of the six chemical elements crucial to life has been found.

Journalism ethics row grips India

Senior editors in India are considering putting in place systems to ensure ethical practices in journalism.

Lankan protesters try to storm UK embassy

Demonstrators have tried to storm the British embassy in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo over Tamil protests that marred President Mahinda Rajapaksa's UK visit.

China stops prominent artist leaving country

Chinese police have prevented artist Ai Weiwei from traveling to South Korea, he said on Friday, linking it to a crackdown on dissidents ahead of the formal awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a prominent rights activist.

Ivorian military says it sealed borders

The Ivorian military has sealed the country's borders and blocked foreign media as tensions rise over the outcome of the presidential election run-off.

Karzai seen as weak by US, own cabinet

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's own inner circle considers him weak and sometimes unscrupulous, leaked US diplomatic cables show, a domestic vote of no confidence that may be more damaging than foreign criticisms.

WikiLeaks forced to change domain

WikiLeaks was forced yesterday to switch over to a Swiss domain name, wikileaks.ch, after a new round of hacker attacks on its system prompted its American domain name provider to withdraw service.

Assange boosts security after death threats

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said yesterday in a question and answer session on The Guardian newspaper's website that his team was taking security precautions due to "threats against our lives".

Hillary and Zardari play down US cables

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Asif Ali Zardari played down leaked confidential US embassy cables exposing tensions between their nations as "out of context" in a telephone conversation Thursday, a Pakistani official said.

Arts & Entertainment

Unity in Diversity

With the slogan 'Unity in Diversity', a three-day cultural festival featuring indigenous groups from different parts of the country, is being held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. Titled 'Cultural Diversity Festival 2010', the programme began on December 2.

Kamaluddin Nilu directs Norwegian play “Giddagasas”

Noted Bangladeshi theatre personality Kamaluddin Nilu is directing an international production titled “Giddagasas” (Prison). The play is being produced by Norwegian indigenous theatre group Beaivváš Sámi Teáhter. A global production in every sense, “Giddagasas” has been written by a Greek playwright, directed by a Bangladeshi, produced by a Norwegian troupe and performed by a Finish actress.

“Moner Manush” wins top award at Int’l Film Fest of India

“Moner Manush”, the India-Bangladesh joint production directed by India's Goutam Ghosh, won the top award -- the Golden Peacock -- at the 41st International Film Festival of India.

Debut theatre performance at Chhayanaut

Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Goshthi staged its acclaimed production “Bou Bashonti” at the main auditorium of Chhayanaut Shangskriti Bhaban on December 2. Through the show, Chhayanaut opened its doors to theatre enthusiasts in the city. The venue will have theatre performances regularly from now on.

Patriotic songs at Prothom Alo’s anniversary celebration in Rajshahi

Leading Bengali daily Prothom Alo celebrated its 12th anniversary at regional level at a community centre in Rajshahi last Wednesday night.

OP-ED

Summary trials and the worries

There is no denying that criminal offences cause worries in the minds of citizens and thus it was not surprising for many concerned Bangladeshis to be worried about the increasing incidents of the so-called eve-teasing. There was widespread criticism of the lack of speedy and prompt action from the authority in tackling the offence and the offenders. One remedy that followed the public outcry was the application of summary trials to counter this dimension of juvenile delinquency.

The king is naked

However strident the voice of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it lacked the ring of sincerity. She had to defend the indefensible but she could have been more transparent and more forthcoming on the leakage of the US classified documents (popularly known as WikiLeaks expose). This might have revived confidence among the countries which the United States has hurt. They would have got some justification to give it the benefit of doubt.

Strong adaptation strategy needed

In a bid to curb the loss of the world's species due to human activity at a rate some experts put at 1,000 times the natural progression, the United Nations marked 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.

A matter of roads -- elite panaceas and encroached commons

I have been to Houston and other American cities. Europe too. Traffic is fast. People wait for the traffic signal to walk. They are so disciplined.There are few people walking anyways. When will our city become like that? Possibly never. Not with people like this. Not with so many people.They are not fit for a modern city."

The secret of the blurb

GOT an Email ad urging me to buy tickets for a theatre show called "Insane in the Brain." The blurb said, "Violent and sad!" Isn't it strange what people choose to boast about?

Environment

Native plantation for biodiversity restoration

Tropical forests are considered the most endangered due to deforestation, degradation, fragmentation, shifting cultivation, clear cut, illegal logging and other types of anthropogenic disturbances. Now these forests consist of only 10% of their former areas and 12% of their former primary vegetations. About 1.8% (in Amazonian forests, probably 2.6%) of the tropical forests is disappearing annually. These rates indicate that one Florida per year is being destroyed; one football field is logged per second. Tropical forests are also subject to destructive natural forces -- cyclones, landslides, floods, mud flows, volcanic eruptions, fire, drought, and climate change.

Women and climate change

When natural disasters strike, they hit poor communities first and worst. And since women make up an estimated 70 percent of those living below the poverty line, they are most likely to bear the heaviest burdens.

Literature

The invitation

Hillol jumped over the railway track. The train was approaching and the gate had been shut. The gateman could not keep up with the little rogue. Merely telling him off was not enough. Like a dragon-fly he flung himself all over the place and feared no one's scolding. One who was so carefree outside would definitely fear no one at home! In spite of everyone's spanking, he remained cheery twentyfour hours a day. No, not exactly twenty-four hours, he laughed away till he went to sleep.

In the glow of a sleepy sun

There are great loves that make the world go round. And if you think of the relationships that have impacted on history, or made some dents in the way the world carries itself, you need to go back to how Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir longed for each other's company. They loved greatly, and they contributed hugely to the shaping of literary and philosophical perceptions among their contemporaries and in the young who flocked to listen to their discourses.

Facing the inevitable

Mati by name and major general by age fifty five, he had a tough life. At the time of his death he was adjutant general at army headquarters. He had lived hard, and had always been a bit of a loner, spending time regularly in a quiet corner of the room with a cigarette. He was a devout Muslim, a loving husband and a caring father. He had been in the army, fought for the liberation of Bangladesh. A grateful nation conferred the Bir Protik gallantry award on him for his bravery in 1971. But he always told young people, “There's nothing special about me; it is all about determination and it is self-belief that makes you a soldier. There's nothing ever more satisfying than serving your country as a soldier”.

In the light of the parasite moon

When the support of ground under feet
dissolves away, darkness devoid of love comes closer
from all around.
Playing restless hide and seek, unbridled memory
cannot hide the mind for long.
Once overpowered with the heatless light
of the parasite moon, the one, that took rest
in the eyes, took it for his rebirth, the yard of autumn.
The sculptor of earthen myths has understood,
but the one who has passed his only life
being a parasite
has not.

Star Health

Attaining optimal physical activity for health

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Globally, 6 percent of deaths are attributed to physical inactivity. It is estimated as being the principle cause for approximately 21–25 percent of breast and colon cancers, 27 percent of diabetes and 30 percent of heart disease burden.

Health in the workplace with ergonomic approach

Sufferings from neck pain, back pain and many other work related musculoskeletal disorders like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow are very common among many corporate officials and workers at different office and industries. This is specifically a problem in garments industries, tanneries and textile factories in Bangladesh.

Negative calorie diet to lose extra pounds

A negative caloric effect means that the number of calories your body has to expend to chew, digest, metabolise and eliminate the food is more than it gains from the food itself.

Beating begins at home

Not only ‘courtesy’, but ‘beating’ also begins at home. It has been proved that discipline without shouting or spanking offers effective, practical and non-violent options for correcting the most common behavioural problems of children.

Laser showed hope as an alternative to Angioplasty

People whose arteries (blood vessels) get blocked due to cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes may now get a quicker treatment as a high-powered laser, which unblocks or clear arteries in minutes, has been designed in the UK.

Strategic Issues

When trees are gone, stories turn into histories

Our life is fraught with stories of mission and intermission. Both missions and intermissions are polyphonic. Deleterious missions of destroying the environment of collective well-being through commercializing process call for salvaging mission of social activism. Intermission on the other hand is both a desired and unwanted procedure of action. It is understood both as the deliberation process of our action having to do with environmental degradation as well as our lack of concern amongst other things for the vegetation. It is in the phase of intermission (understood in the second sense) that the depraved stories are woven around the theme of denial which has a direct bearing on deprivation because of the commercial destruction of the trees. We seem to suffer from an untreatable amnesia regarding the importance of trees in our lives. The way trees are being extirpated throughout the world and particularly in Bangladesh is already taking its toll on our physical and mental health, as well as on the ecosystem we live in.

Nuclear arms reduction between the US and Russia is in disarray

On 8th April, 2010, US President Obama and the Russian President, Medvedev, have signed a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty in the Czech capital, Prague. The deal replaces the expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) of 1991.

Russian tactical nuclear missiles a US concern

Washington: Russia moved tactical nuclear warheads to within miles of its borders with NATO countries as recently as late spring, complicating US ties with Moscow, a report said Tuesday, as Congress mulled a new arms control treaty.

Star Books Review

Revisiting a people's struggle in its vocal totality

MILITANCY has been part of the Bengali political psyche. Add to that a dash of poetry, for poetry is what has consistently defined the Bengali, and what you then have is a powerful expression of nationalistic sentiments. Siddikur Rahman Swapon does, in the work under review, the very creditable work of reminding the nation not only of the various phases of political struggle it has gone through over the years but also of the stridency that was brought into that struggle at successive phases in history. The growth of Bengali nationalism, as it were, was fundamentally a rise of gradual political awareness among the people of this country. You could argue that nowhere around the world can you spot a society as radically inclined as Bengalis, for whom politics has historically been a ceaseless struggle against oppression at various stages of time. Go back to the seminal struggle for language that has come to be known as Ekushey. It was in February 1952 that political slogans first began to acquire a pattern, with such demands, voiced collectively by young Bengalis marching in defence of their language, as rashtra bhasha Bangla chai. It was, at that point, a simple enough demand. After 21 February 1952, though, it not only came by a new potency but also spawned songs that only intensified the militancy. Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury's amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February and Abdul Latif's ora amar mukher bhasha kairha nit-e chaaye went a good many steps further in hastening the march to Bengali disillusionment with Pakistan.

Ancient desires coming alive

ATIKA Cherry is very young. As a poet, she is also brave, with that element of the profound which must define one who is acutely conscious of modernity. In Nachchhi (Dancing, in Bengali parlance), she gives you all the reasons why you should take her seriously as a maker of verses with all the underpinning of imagery and pathos such poetry entails. Observe the obsessions, a tiny sign of them, in the poem Oshshosti (Discomfort):

Of the poor and the hungry

THE history of famines as well as of regular hunger is full of blood-boiling tales of callousness and malevolence. It isn't just regular starvation that one sees in 436 B.C., when thousands of starving Romans 'threw themselves into the Tiber'; or in Kashmir in AD 918, when `one could scarcely see the water of Vitasta (Jhelum) entirely covered as the river was with corpses;' or in 1333-7 in China when- we are told- four million people died in one region only; or in 1770 in India, when the best estimates point to ten million deaths; or in 1845-51 in Ireland, when the potato famine killed about one-fifth of the total Irish population and led to the emigration of a comparable number.

Old love and passion, rekindled

IF Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet is a manifest love story of two young lovers, Antony and Cleopatra is a mature version of love between two mature lovers.


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