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Saturday, August 2, 2014


News of: Saturday, 6th of October, 2012

Front Page

Buddhists brace for a backlash

After the irreparable loss of Buddhist heritage in last week's mayhem, the people of Ramu now fear damage of community relations as time has come to disclose the names of local instigators and perpetrators.

Forgive us, please

The National Human Rights Commission chairman yesterday apologised to the Buddhist community for the recent communal violence that left 12 Buddhist temples burnt down.

Ministry flouting its own rules

The housing and public works ministry has approved five private housing schemes violating its own laws.

Tk 74 lakh was going to house of Suranjit

Appearing on the TV for the first time since the April 9 railwaygate scandal, whistleblower driver Azam Khan has said the Tk 74 lakh stashed in his car was being taken to the then railway minister Suranjit Sengupta's house.

Fatal crash takes 13 lives

At least 13 people, twelve of them from the same family, were killed and 30 others injured in a head-on collision between a bus and a microbus at South Surma of Sylhet yesterday morning.

A teacher with a difference

Md Bahaz Ali Fakir, an English teacher of a secondary school, has not taken even a day's leave for the past 33 years, setting an example of great devotion to his profession.

Attack planned, police inactive

Questioning the role of police during the attack a week ago, opposition party BNP's team probing the attack on Buddhists in Ramu yesterday said it was a premeditated strike.

BCL expels 4,suspends 3

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) central committee has expelled four leaders and activists of its Chittagong University (CU) unit and suspended another three on charge of their involvement in the factional clash on the campus on September 29.

800 shanties demolished

About 800 more shanties were demolished at Bhandari slum in the capital's Kafrul area yesterday, on the second-day drive by the National Housing Authority (NHA).

Aussies caught in Gayle force

Chris Gayle smashed an unbeaten 75 off 41 balls as the West Indies stormed into the World Twenty20 final with a record 74-run demolition of Australia in Colombo yesterday.

Move fast

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday pitched for "speedy implementation" of the decisions taken by India and Bangladesh to improve bilateral ties saying people should be able to see things happening quickly on the ground.

Kim signals WB reforms

The head of the World Bank said on Thursday he was preparing broad reforms at the development lender to make it more effective in ending global poverty and would discuss the changes with member countries at meetings in Tokyo next week.

Dubai to build new Taj Mahal

Glamorous Dubai already boasts palatial hotels, sweeping desert and its very own city of Atlantis complete with dolphins.

New hope of a cure for infertility

Japanese stem cell scientists yesterday raised hopes of a cure for infertility in humans when they announced they had created viable eggs using normal cells from adult mice.

France to propose Mali resolution at UN

France will soon propose a resolution to the Security Council paving the way for United Nations approval of military intervention in Mali, the French ambassador said Thursday.

Philippine president defends cybercrime law

Philippine President Benigno Aquino defended a new cybercrime law yesterday amid a storm of protests from critics who say it will severely curb Internet freedoms and intimidate netizens into self-censorship.

Editorial

UAE barring entry of Bangladeshis en masse

In what may be termed as nothing short of a dramatic step, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has stopped the issue of all forms of entry permits for Bangladeshi passport holders due to security concerns over identification and fake documents. What came as a greater shock is that our officials in the Bangladesh mission in Abu Dhabi have expressed ignorance over the issue. The move by UAE authorities is not altogether surprising given the fact that earlier in August the country imposed entry restrictions for our citizens as evidence mounted on the steadily increasing usage of forged travel documents, expired passports and issue of overstay beyond visa timeline.

Private school and college teachers' demands

The fact that some 70,000 teachers of around 7,000 non-government schools and colleges have been receiving their salaries irregularly, some even for more than a decade, is an educational problem with a human dimension. Underlying all this, is of course, education ministry's, or for that matter, government's failure to grapple with the bread and butter issue impacting on their professional work with timely interventions so that these did not go out of control.

Sports

Driven by impulse

"I do everything spontaneously," Chris Gayle stated after his devastating knock of 75 helped West Indies to reach the final of the ICC World Twenty20 with an emphatic 74-run victory over Australia in the second semifinal at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium last night.

4th time lucky?

Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene goes into Sunday's World Twenty20 final confident of winning the title after failing at the last hurdle in three previous world meets.

Room for improvement

A tension-filled four-wicket victory for Bangladesh A marked the end of the home side's battle against the young West Indian High Performance Team. The series also concluded Stuart Barnes' short stint with Bangladesh A team.

Wasim points at pitch

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has lashed out at the authorities for preparing an unsporting track for the ICC World Twenty20 semifinal between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

A team outplay West Indies HP

Bangladesh A edged past the West Indies High Performance team as they chased down a below-par total of a 105 with two balls to spare and four wickets in hand at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday.

'Proud of my team'

Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said he was proud of his team's World Twenty20 campaign despite a semifinal defeat to Sri Lanka, adding the hosts deserved to be in the final.

Plain sailing for big guns

It was smooth sailing for all three favourites -- Sheikh Russel KC, Mohammedan SC and Team BJMC -- in the opening day of the Grameenphone Federation Cup held at two different venues yesterday.

Farah again Europe's best

Britain's double Olympic champion Mo Farah has been voted the European Athlete of the Year for the second straight year.

Retirement on Sachin's mind

Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar admitted on Friday that he is contemplating retirement and said he would reassess his future next month.

Akmal fined

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal was fined 50 per cent of his match fee for an "offensive" snub of the umpires' authority during his team's 16-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the World Twenty semi-finals on Thursday.

Neymar dresses as a cow

When you're an extremely talented young footballer, it's quite normal to have promotional obligations. Why? Because money. And sometimes those promotional obligations can put talented young footballers in ridiculous situations just because they can. This is Neymar in one of those situations.

Death-threats & Djokovic

Roger Federer will have to shrug off a bizarre death threat as he returns to action at the Shanghai Masters from Sunday to combat Novak Djokovic's attempt on his world number one crown.

Novak, Maria in semis

World number two Novak Djokovic raced into the last four of the China Open in straight sets on Friday as home favourite Li Na set up a testing women's semifinal with Russian tennis queen Maria Sharapova.

23 sign for Muktijoddha

Last season's professional football league runners-up Muktijoddha Sangsad formed a mediocre squad as the freedom fighters' side completed their registration formalities by signing up 23 players at the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday.

Local Snippets

The semifinal line-up of the 15th Delta Life Women's College/University Handball Tournament was completed when Eden Women's College, Siddheswari Girl's College, Home Economic College and Dhaka Cantonment Public Girl's School & College emerged as group champions to qualify for the last four.

Pakistan sad at T20 exit

Former players spoke for millions of disappointed fans Friday after Pakistan crashed out of the World Twenty20 semifinals, blaming defeat on poor planning and lacklustre batting.

Aussies to face Eng in final

Defending champions Australia will face England in the women's World Twenty20 final after cruising past the West Indies by 28 runs on Friday.

Newcastle cruise

Liverpool crumbled to a 3-2 Europa League defeat to Udinese at Anfield on Thursday as their roller-coaster season continued while Premier League rivals Newcastle cruised past Bordeaux 3-0.

No derby fever in Milan

The Milan derby is traditionally one of Serie A's biggest matches but this weekend the fixture could be played in a half-empty stadium due to AC Milan's poor start to the season.

Barca wary of C'Ron

Real Madrid face Barcelona in a make-or-break El Clasico this weekend aided by a resurgent Cristiano Ronaldo but acutely aware that defeat would see them trail their bitter enemies by a massive 11 points.

Black Cats await City

Joe Hart admits Manchester City could be destined for a season of failure unless they come to terms with their new status as a prize scalp for the rest of the Premier League.

Europa League Results

Anzhi Makhachkala (RUS) 2 (Eto'o 62-pen, 90) Young Boys (SUI) 0
Liverpool (ENG) 2 (Shelvey 23, Suarez 75) Udinese (ITA) 3 (Di Natale 46, Coates 70-og, Pasquale 72)
Coimbra (POR) 1 (Cisse 47) Hapoel Tel-Aviv (ISR) 1 (Damari 90+2)

Dinamo's bid to fill stands

In a bid to fill empty stands players for Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb pooled to reward one fan who will attend the Champions League match against French side Paris Saint Germain with one million kunas (134,000 euros, $174,000).

Mano blasts Argentine FA

The Argentine FA (AFA) insulted fans by trying to stage Wednesday's friendly against Brazil in a small, provincial stadium that was cancelled by a floodlight failure, said Brazil coach Mano Menezes.

Metropolitan

Mikey's Quest

Mikey Leung likes to promote Bangladesh as a tourist destination to the rest of the world. He wrote (with Belinda Meggitt) the guidebook Bangladesh: the Bradt Travel Guide, one of two traveller's guides on Bangladesh available internationally. More recently, he started the project Positive Light, which, in his words, “will show the stunning beauty of Bangladesh to the world.”

Dhaka, Delhi agree to curb drug trafficking

Bangladesh and India have expressed their concerns over the increasing trend of smuggling of synthetic and “party” drugs -- largely used by youngsters -- across the open border.

Stop rental power plants

Speakers at a seminar yesterday stressed the need for shutting down rental and quick rental power plants and repairing national power plants to meet the country's power demands.

Pro-liberation lawyers blame 'internal rift'

Stating that the defeat in the July 18 Bangladesh Bar Council election was “for internal rift”, pro-liberation lawyers yesterday emphasised staying united to protect the country from “national and international conspiracy”.

Youth dies in freak accident

In a freak accident, a youth riding a motorcycle died after kite strings, sharpened with abrasive materials like glass shards, slit his throat near AGB Colony in the capital's Motijheel yesterday.

Rainwater plagues port city

Almost a third of Chittagong city has been crippled by rainwater due to heavy downpour over the last two days since early Thursday.

Road crashes kill 8

Eight people, including a freedom fighter, were killed in separate road accidents in Dhaka, Jessore, Munshiganj, Thakurgaon, Khagrachhari, Naogaon and Magura on Thursday and yesterday.

Tagore's philosophy vital to resolve crisis

Resorting to the philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore is now essential to overcome the environment and humanity-centered crisis on earth, said an authority on Rabindranath Prof Anisur Rahman yesterday.

Teachers living 'miserable' lives

Teachers in Bangladesh are living 'miserable' lives and their socio-economic conditions, compared to those living in other South-Asian countries, are poor, said speakers at programmes in the capital marking World Teachers' Day yesterday.

2 Bangladeshis win bronze

Two Bangladeshi students bagged bronze medals in the 24th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) hosted by Italy in Lake Garda from September 23 to 30.

DNCC to set up three new cattle markets before Eid

The city authorities have decided to lease out three new temporary cattle markets at the northern part of Dhaka for facilitating the trade of sacrificial animals ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.

Lawyers unleash unprecedented hatred against Adivasis

In an unprecedented manifestation of hatred, the lawyers of Joypurhat Bar Samity asked Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) to replace 26 water glasses which some Adivasi people used to drink water on Thursday.

Fake Indian notes seized in Naogaon

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) personnel seized a huge amount of counterfeit Indian currency worth Rs 10 lakh and arrested two persons in this connection from Adda Bazar in Niamotpur upazila of Naogaon yesterday.

Schoolboy murdered in capital

A schoolboy was killed by miscreants at Joarsahara in the capital yesterday.

Krishak Dal leader hacked to death

Some unidentified criminals hacked a BNP-backed Krishak Dal leader to death and blasted a bomb injuring two others last night.

Two die from electrocution

Two people died from electrocution in Chittagong and Thakurgaon yesterday.

Man crushed under train wheels

An unidentified man was crushed under the wheels of a train in Thakurgaon Railway Station area yesterday.

One kills wife in Netrakona

A house wife was killed by her husband at Koilati village under Kalmakanda upazila in Netrakona yesterday

Minor's body recovered in park

The decomposed body of an unidentified baby boy was found in the capital's Osmani Udyan yesterday.

Boiler blast kills rice mill worker

A rice mill worker was killed and his three co-workers were injured when a boiler at the mill exploded at Panbazar Mithipur village in Pirganj upazila in Rangpur yesterday morning.

Obituary

Mia Abdul Halim Miraj, a freedom fighter of Magura, died of cardiac arrest at Magura Sadar Hospital at about 9:00pm on Thursday. He was 67.

Death anniversary

Today is the second death anniversary of Barrister Syed Mohammad Ali.

International

Upbeat job data blessing for reeling Obama

An unexpectedly upbeat jobs report yesterday gave President Barack Obama a shot in the arm in the wake of a listless debate performance and pushed the economy center stage one month before the election.

Turkey won't start Syria war: Erdogan

Turkey's PM said his country has no intention of starting a war, after parliament in Ankara authorised military action inside Syria.

Mamata threatens govt with no confidence vote

A former coalition ally said yesterday it would bring a no-confidence vote against India's government over its reform proposals, pointing to the fierce legislative battle lying ahead in parliament.

'Bangladesh-model govt' functioning in Pak: Gilani

Months after the Supreme Court unseated him, former Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has claimed that an "unannounced Bangladesh-model government" is functioning in his country in the presence of a "worthless" parliament that has no say in decision-making.

Pak court grants more time to govt

Pakistan's top court yesterday gave the government more time to meet its demands about corruption allegations against the president, indicating that a solution to a nearly three-year showdown was imminent.

Democracy most unsatisfactory form of government

Have empty rituals become substitutes of principles on which our parliament and democratic system stands? Whom actually do our governments, any of them represent? Where did India stand in the comity of nations earlier and what is our role in international affairs now? These are few of the questions raised by former Union minister Jaswant Singh in his latest book.

Israeli FM predicts 'Persian Spring'

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday he believes "the Arab Spring will be followed by a Persian Spring," with international sanctions against Iran leading to renewed domestic unrest.

Libya assembly rejects government line-up

Libya's national assembly rejected on Thursday the government line-up put forward by new Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur after protesters stormed its headquarters, a representative told AFP.

Last will of Alfred Nobel

Swedish inventor and scholar Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), who made a vast fortune from his invention of dynamite in 1866, ordered the creation of the Nobel Prizes in his will.

Tunisia offers 'state apology' to rape victim

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki on Thursday offered a state apology to the women allegedly raped by two policemen who is waiting to hear if she will face indecency charges, Marzouki's office said.

Kenyans win right to sue UK

Three elderly Kenyans who claim they were victims of torture and sexual abuse at the hands of British colonial rulers during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising were given the right to sue Britain yesterday.

Americans protest US drone strikes in Pakistan

About 35 American activists dressed in pink took part in a demonstration in Islamabad against US drone strikes yesterday that target militants in Pakistan.

India's rupee at near 6-month-high

The Indian rupee yesterday soared to its highest level against the dollar in almost six months after the embattled government pushed ahead with more measures to attract foreign investment.

All 18 children confirmed dead

The bodies of all 18 schoolchildren buried under a landslide in China have been recovered, officials said yesterday, as authorities defended returning them to school following recent deadly earthquakes.

Venezuela poll campaigns end

Venezuelans packed the streets of Caracas and other cities Thursday to hear President Hugo Chavez and opposition rival Henrique Capriles make their final pitches ahead of weekend elections.

Britain to extradite Hamza

Radical Islamist preacher Abu Hamza and four other men are set to be extradited to the United States after a British court yesterday rejected their last-ditch attempts to block their removal.

S Korea resumes Iran oil imports

South Korea has resumed imports of Iranian crude oil after halting them in July due to Western sanctions targeting Tehran's nuclear programme, a report said yesterday.

Two die in Israel hotel shooting

A US national opened fire at a hotel in the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat on the Red Sea yesterday, killing a hotel employee, before being shot dead by the security forces, Israeli police said.

Arts & Entertainment

Autumn in the air

Weeks before Sharat (autumn) hands over it's crown to Hemanta (late autumn), artistes of Chhayanaut celebrated the season yesterday morning through a cultural programme at Bakultala, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka. So what if autumn is almost gone? It's never too late for a celebration.

Tribute to poet Mahbubul Alam Chowdhury

A solo flute recital by Ustad Azizul Islam will be held this evening at the Main Auditorium of National Museum in Shahbagh, Dhaka. The programme is a tribute to poet Mahabubul Alam Chowdhury, who wrote the first poem on 'Ekushey'.

Bangladeshi film to open 'Dok Leipzig’

“Shunte Ki Pao!” (Are You Listening!), a documentary by Kamar Ahmad Simon, will open one of the oldest documentary festivals, Dok Leipzig, in Germany. The film has also been nominated (among 12 films from all over the world) for the festival's 'International Documentary Competition'. The weeklong festival will begin on October 29.

Cosmic Turtle in Cox's Bazar

Standing 18 feet high, 35 feet wide and 57 feet long against a serene landscape, no passerby could miss the 'Cosmic Turtle Visiting Green Earth' at Mermaid beach, Cox's Bazar -- an initiative undertaken by Mermaid Eco Concern for protecting sea turtles in Bangladesh, according to a press release. Sea turtles have habituated this planet for at least 110 million years but in this modern age, they are disappearing at a very alarming rate.

The Queen of '80s Bollywood returns

In India, the post-Colonial hangover includes a peculiar English-language elitism, where those even halfway in control of the language thumb their nose at those unable to speak it.

Close Up 1 in Barisal

The Barisal regional round of the ongoing countrywide primary audition and selection of musical talent hunt “Close Up 1-2012” started at Barisal Club Auditorium on Tuesday.

OP-ED

Bi-partisanship imperative

In our disturbingly charged political climate, even the incorrigible optimists might scoff at discussions geared towards inculcating a bi-partisan approach in our political culture. They cannot be faulted as one sees a menacingly manifest partisan posture in all the discourses affecting public life.

How Karzai could make himself a hero

Every four years Americans are reminded that presidential politics is raw, nasty and rough-and-tumble. We yearn for the time to pass quickly, for the votes to be cast, for the sniping to end, for life to return to normal. For Afghans, things are starkly and sadly different.

Let not Churchill's dire prophecy come true

It is unfortunate that Sir Winston Churchill's gloomy prophecy about this sub-continent should be coming true in such a spectacular way, much to the dismay of the lovers of democracy and freedom.

Honing language skills in schools

One important reason for the low skill-set of the local workforce is their lack of language proficiency. Not that linguists are naturally more talented but professionals without strong background in languages will eventually expose their lacking. School-level education has to partly take the heat for falling behind in this important area.

Notional airline or a national airline?

People expected stern reactions from the government on the current incompetence of Biman in handling flights. During the last few weeks Biman has operated its Hajj flights and other international flights in such an unprofessional and unplanned way that it caused not only tremendous hardship to the passengers who were booked for the Hajj flights, or for other destinations, but it caused strong public resentment.

This Day In History

1923
The great powers of World War I withdraw from Istanbul

Environment

Planned tree plantation can enhance beauty

Not once upon a time, rather just a few decades ago, Dhaka was a beautiful green city. Due to infrastructure and building construction by felling trees, and unplanned plantation to at least partially replenish that, the green views of Dhaka city has already disappeared. Now Dhaka is a city of shops, a city without water bodies, green fields and with lots of bad things which demerit human health condition and also the environment. The greenery started declining day by day from both surroundings and inner parts of Dhaka city conspicuously from 1980s. Only the DU and BUET campus, Ramna Park and Suhurawardy Uddyan and Agargaon could survive the onslaught as yet. The plantation now we can see only on the island between two ways of some roads. The footpath is treeless in most parts. And the species diversity is not good or proper. The city was beatified by the British and other leaders of that period. But we failed to preserve that beauty and we ever did not think to do something like them. We have done so called plantation and also political tree plantation here and there. We did not think it deeply. As a result we can see although initiatives are taken to improve the situation, but not systematically and scientifically.

Joint effort imperative

The international communities unanimously came to an agreement for a legal obligatory contract in Kyoto of Japan in 1997 as to who would reduce up to what quantity of their green house gas emission. But in reality, even after having accepted all conditions, the industrially developed countries are unsuccessful to a considerable extent in fulfilling their promise till today. The anxiety about this is that the United States who is responsible for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emission has not yet signed the Kyoto protocol. With it there is also Australia. But the hope is that many states of the United States have taken different steps to reduce the greenhouse gas on non-governmental initiative.

Literature

Borobudur: 'Prayer in Stone'

“The human task of architecture is not to beautify or to humanize the world of everyday facts, but to open up a view into the second dimension of our consciousness, the reality of images, memories and dreams.” Jubani Pallasmaa

How many Buddhas can they destroy?

When you cling to things you have
Or crave a little you don't have
And a voice whispers
Let go
For everything is impermanent
It's the Buddha speaking

The clairvoyant's tale

When my granny married my grandpa, she brought a maid with her, from her parental house. Eventually she became a family member. This lady had a peculiar ability to see into the future. Her inborn power of clairvoyance benefited us in many ways. I can still remember one incident.

Star Health

Depression: get help, be helped

At its worst, depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition. Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don't know where to turn for help. However, depression is largely preventable and treatable. Recognising depression and seeking help is the first and most critical towards recovery.

Bedwetting in children: When to worry

Bedwetting can be worrying and frustrating for parents. Bedwetting, medically called enuresis is considered when children repeatedly urinate into clothes or bed at least twice a week for at least 3 consecutive months. It is normal until 5 years of age.

Bangladesh to eradicate Rabies

The on-going battle to control rabies has created another victim-man’s best friend. Twenty million dogs are brutally killed every year worldwide, many as a direct result of the fear and miscomprehension around rabies. More than 55,000 people die from rabies every year globally — with authorities recording up to 2,100 of those deaths in Bangladesh.

UN warns over impact of rapidly ageing populations

The world needs to do more to prepare for the impact of a rapidly ageing population, the UN has warned — particularly in developing countries. Within 10 years, the number of people aged over 60 will pass one billion, a report by the UN Population Fund said. The demographic shift will present huge challenges to countries' welfare, pension and healthcare systems.

Painkillers are the cause of millions of headaches

Up to a million people in the UK have completely preventable severe headaches caused by taking too many painkillers, doctors have said recently. They said some were trapped in a "vicious cycle" of taking pain relief, which then caused even more headaches. The warning came as part of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's (NICE) first guidelines for treating headaches.

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Strategic Issues

Who will win the race of US presidential election?

The question that peeps into everybody's mind ahead of the US presidential election is who will turn victorious in this electoral race? A number of electoral surveys and other analyses predict Obama's victory. Such conclusion is made based on the failure of the pre-Obama Republican regimes in both their domestic and foreign affairs. Although this hypothesis may be supported by too many arguments, the possibility of Romney's victory may not also be blown out.

The Korean Peninsula: The future of a geopolitical nexus

Korea has returned to the world stage as a crucial geopolitical nexus in the coming decade. It will affect in important ways the future of China, Japan, the United States, and perhaps Russia as well. Yet, paradoxically, its future depends primarily on itself.

Why East and West never met

In the tumultuous March of 1970, the Planning Commission convened an advisory panel of economists from East and West Pakistan to provide input to the outline of the Fourth Five-Year Plan. The panel consisted of 12 economists, six from each wing, and held six meetings in three different cities.

Star Books Review

In a state of denial

Revisionist history is what Sarmila Bose gives us. In Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh War, she begins her search for the truth on a false premise: that Bengalis seceded from Pakistan in 1971 and that what happened in that year was a clear case of civil war between the two parts of Pakistan. In 1861, states in the south of the United States decided to secede even as Abraham Lincoln prepared to take over the presidency. And what followed was four years of civil war as both Union troops and Confederate soldiers struggled for supremacy. The struggle ended with Robert E. Lee's surrender to the Union army in April 1865. In 1967, Odumegwu Ojukwu's Biafra seceded from Nigeria, to spend the next three years waging war against the Nigerian army in defence of its land. Biafra collapsed in 1970.

A thread of sadness runs through

“'The gods created man,' said Srikanda Satpathy, 'but here we are so blessed that we - simple men as we are - help to create the gods.'” This is how one of the stories in William Dalrymple's book, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India, begins. This seeming contradiction plays through most of the nine stories in the book: a nun who sweeps the steps before her with a peacock fan when she walks so as not to inadvertently step on any living creature, ritually starves herself to death; a dalit untouchable not allowed to use the water of the very well he helps to dig, is revered as a god for three months of the year and illiterate villagers who are still the guardians of an entire oral culture, able to recite a 4,000 line epic by heart.

Stepping on to different shores

After conducting my regular classes, I go to the chairman's room to say hello or to discuss some important matters concerning classes, examinations or the upcoming seminars. One day while waiting for my chairman and other colleagues to come for a formal meeting, a book having a light blue color, which is my favorite color, drew my attention. The book, titled Kalapanir Hatchhani : Bilete Bangalir Itihas, seemed a very interesting one from the very opening paragraph and after I had read several pages, I felt it would make such compelling reading that I could not put it down until I had finished it, although I was very busy with conducting examinations, checking scripts and preparing results.


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