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Of Ramadan and hypocrites

Apparently, Ramadan is supposed to be a month of restraint and self-denial. It's the time when we're expected to practise austerity by cutting down our expenses and dining modestly. Indeed, with the price of the veggies and the everyday groceries going sky high, we have to cut down our expenses and dine modestly even if we don't want to. God is cheeky. Isn't He?

Ramadan happens to be one of the biggest religious occurrences for the Muslims, and in our country we observe it in style. Here we not only fast fourteen hours a day, but also refurbish our business arrangements, so as to make even more money out of the month of Ramadan, thereby taking 'religious awareness' to a new level. Hence, the bazaar sharks stock away vegetables and charge a king's ransom for silly egg plants. And our T.V. sets get infested with all sorts of cheap advertisements where models who had been dancing in the rain in skimpy skirts only a couple of weeks ago, drape themselves in veils and go mumbling about the so-called food values of stinky sherbets. Thanks to our utter gullibility, such products even get sold.

The fast food shops and the restaurants don't do that badly either. In day times, they have their usual horde of 'non-fasting' customers. Perhaps its the appetite the month of Ramadan brings, or perhaps its the sheer celebration of being able to eat while most other people can't, this crowd always looks rather voracious inside the food courts. Provided that they can afford it, they usually end up ordering for meals extravagant enough to abate famine in a mediocre African nation.

In order to cater to the growing demand of their customers, most reputed restaurants even have special menus for the Ramadan afternoons. They charge a bit extra. Then again, why wouldn't they? They're not sinning for nothing.

Come evenings and the food shops adopt the form of fiestas. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) used to consummate his iftar with only a few dates, but we tend to make up for all the delicacies he turned down by transforming ourselves into a horde of wide-eyed, saliva-dripping zombies, during the month of Ramadan. We try to gobble at anything and everything, which is unfortunate enough to lay on the dinner table, and by the time we finish our iftar, voila, its dinner time! All in all, life in Ramadan for a typical Bangali is nothing but a prolonged dinner session, with a bit of a respite only in the day times.

When it comes to iftar-items there's an unwritten rule that the more oily and calorifically disastrous a food item is, the more popular it has to be. These junks over-flow the iftar stalls, and in the end of the day people swarm around these stalls to book themselves an appointment with stomach cancer and heart attack. Some reputed restaurants even have their individual iftar recipes. Readers may find it exaggerated, but there's a renowned iftar-item in Old Dhaka known as 'Boro baper betara khai' (Only the sons of the rich can afford)!! Talk about self-denial, eh?

A wise (and conveniently plump) bureaucrat who happens to live in our neighbourhood once said that the best achievement in the month of Ramadan is that we get to co-miserate with the indigents. If that's the case, who do the indigents co-miserate with?

Imagine a pious, sixty-year old richshaw puller. He's fasting. And yet he's out working, because he has a family to feed. Imagine him under the sun, his haggard face sapped in exhaustion, and the veins on his forehead bulging out and throbbing with pain as he struggles with every surging stroke to pull the paddle of his dilapidated richshaw. Now, imagine our eloquent bureaucrat in his air-conditioned office-room, presumably massaging his potbelly and dreaming of the fiesta that lies ahead. Imagine both men at the time of iftar; one with a glass of tap water and at most a lump of course bread, and the other with lemonades and chicken fries. Now think...

Who's co-miserating with whom? And, who's being the hypocrite here? Ramadan, as I've mentioned earlier, is supposed to be a month of restraint and self-denial. Instead, we're using it to our own advantage. We're using it to show-off our wealth and devoutness. We're using it to make some extra money. And, some of us are even using it to lose weight!

God has laid down the rules. If we don't follow them, can we possibly blame Him for our own miseries?

By Tawsif

Study Buddies

DU admission test prep Kha, Gha and Umo units

Last week, we gave you the test dates and decrees. This week, we're getting intensive as we go deeper into the tests themselves and take them apart for you.

The students from Science, Commerce and Humanities groups will be sitting for the admission test of Kha, Gha and Umo units. The admission tests of these three units follow an identical pattern. From the Kha unit you will be allowed study in the departments under the Arts Faculty. The departments are Bengali, English, History, Islamic History and Culture, Islamic Studies, Information Science and Library Management, Linguistics,Ê Mass Communication and Journalism, Philosophy, Sanskrit and Pali, Theatre and Music, Arabic and World Religion. From the Gha unit you will be able to get admitted in the Social Science Faculty. The departments are Anthropology, Economics, International Relations, Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, Population Sciences, Peace and Conflict, Women's Studies and Development Studies. The Umo unit is very competitive. Last year more than one hundred students contested for each available seat. From the Umo unit you will be able to get admitted in the Law Faculty which contains the Department of Law.

In the Kha, Gha and Umo units, the questions are prepared from three subjectsBengali, English and General Knowledge. The pass mark for both Bengali and English is 8 and 17 for General Knowledge.

Prep for Bengali: The questions from Bengali carry 30 marks. For the first paper read the stories, poems, meanings of difficult Sanskrit words and info about the writers from the HSC textbook for literature. For the second paper read the SSC Level text book of Bengali Grammar. For GCE/O and A Level Advanced English is allowed instead of Bengali.

Prep for English: Questions from English also carry 30 marks and achieving good marks in English is important to get the subject of your choice. Grammar and good vocabulary are two key ingredients for a good grade. To build your vocabulary for a good number of synonyms and antonyms, practise from SAT prep books and read a good English-language paper like The Daily Star everyday. In fact, extensive reading is the best way to improve your English.

General Knowledge: it carries 60 marks but the questions cover random topics. There is no fixed syllabus. To do well in General Knowledge, read the newspaper everyday. Keep up with the mainstream world politics. Give MTV a break and National Geography and the Discovery Channel an hour of your attention everyday.

You have to know the basics of sociology, economics, agriculture, industry, history, geography, famous personalities (BD Bytes can help) and religions of Bangladesh and the international arena. Read the latest edition of the BCS guide. Be informed about the significant amendments in the Constitution of Bangladesh.

Different departments have different requirements for the marks a student will get in the admission test.

English: to get admitted you will need to get 20 in English out of 30 in the admission test and at least C in English in HSC.

International Relations: you will need to have 14 in English in the admission test and at least C in HSC English.

Law: you will need 16 in both Bengali and English in the admission test.

Economics: you need 14 in English in admission test and either B in Economics or an A in Mathematics or Statistics in HSC.

Anthropology: 14 in English in the admission test.

Political Science and Women's Studies: 14 in both Bengali and English in the test.

Mass Communication and Journalism: 12 in English in test and B in both Bengali and English in SSC and HSC. The candidates from GCE/O and A Level will need 14 in English in the admission test.

Sociology, Public Administration and Social Welfare: 14 in English in admission test.

Bengali Dept: C in Bengali in HSC.

Theatre and Music: C in Music in HSC.

Arabic: 8 in either Bengali or English in the admission test. Only those who passed in the Aalim exam are allowed to get admitted.

There you go, an insight into the DU entrance exams. The rest is in your hands. Best of luck!

By Durdana Ghias

Campus News

Alliance Francais de Dacca

Within the framework of internationalization of culture and economic exchanges, multilingualism seems to be a value to develop. With the growing competition, multilingualism is a necessary asset for all those who want to stay in the game. Alliance Francais de Dacca is offering French Language Courses, along with the wide range of other services.

In conformity with ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe), Alliance Francais offers tests prepared by two different establishments.
· Certificates Issued by Alliance Francais de Paris
· Exams of DELF and DALF offered by CIEP (Centre International d'Etudes Pedagogies). A DALF course allows students to get admitted in French universities without prior language tests.

Alliance Francais offers two types of courses, one of which is the extensive course. This is a thirty-six month long course. It consists of three levels, each level being twelve months long, while each sub-level is three months long. The course fee of each sub-level is ranged between 1800 Tk. 2500 Tk. Books are provided by the institution too, at a price of 1200 Tk. There are two exams prior to the diploma which charges 1400 Tk. Per exams as exam fees, while the diploma is 1600Tk. The copies of these exams are sent to France, where it is checked and the scores are thus sent back. Classes are 1.5 hours long and held between 4 PM- 9PM. Each session is about 33 hours long in total.

Intensive courses are also offered, with the class duration being twice that of the extensive course. This is a year long course without the diploma offer at the end. The course fee ranges from 4000 Tk 5000 Tk; while the exam fee is the same.

Approximately 600 students are currently learning the most romantic tongue on earth at the centre. The institution is open seven days a week since it is blessed with students beside Dhakaities. The campus is strictly a French-speaking zone for the students and officials, while for holistic knowledge about arguably the most culturally rich European nation; they broadcast French TV channels.

Assistance is provided for students seeking admission into French universities. Alliance Francais also offers the TEF course, which is the French form of IELTS exam for those seeking immigration to Canada, which is bilingual nation whose second language, after English, is French.

The Alliance Francais was established in Dhaka in 1959, and since then it has been a well-recognized name. It has an extensive library, consisting of 6500 books at present, with other facilities such as Internet access and audio-visual systems. Almost all through the year this institution holds photo and painting exhibitions for connoisseurs of art.

The aura of Alliance Francais will definitely drag you there sometime, because this place is worth a visit in the very least.

By Taskin Rahman

BD Bytes

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose A scientist and a visionary

During our school years, we learned a simple fact from our science books: that plants have life. Sounds almost basic, doesn't it? Would you believe it if you heard that it took considerable time and patience for a scientist to discover this fact, and when he told people about this discovery, he became a laughing stock amongst them? That scientist is Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose.

Jagadish Chandra was one of the greatest scientists in this subcontinent, a pioneer in the field of physical, electro-physical, and plant physiological research in India. Born in Mymensingh in 1858, he was the son of Bhagwan Chandra Bose, a deputy collector.

At the age of seven, Jagadish went to Calcutta to study at St. Xavier's School and College. He enrolled at the Calcutta University in 1875 and obtained his BA in the science group in1879. Rev. Father Lafont there, influenced him to specialise in physical sciences, and in accordance, Jagadish joined the Christ College in Cambridge to prepare for the Natural Sciences Tripos Exam. He obtained a BA degree from Cambridge University, and followed it up with a BSc degree from the London University in 1884.

After completing his studies, he came back to India, and was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at the Presidency College. There began his career as a teacher and researcher.

In 1894, he began his research. He made important revelations about the optical behaviour of electrical waves such as reflection, refraction, total reflection, polarisation, and diffraction. The results of his investigations appeared in leading scientific periodicals such as The Electrician, The Journal of the Asiatic Societyof Bengal, and many more. His findings earned him a DSc degree from the London University in 1896.

Between 1899 to 1907, he studied the responses in living and non-living substances. He showed how animal and vegetable tissues, and certain inorganic systems responded to electrical stimulation. His findings were published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society.

He retired from the Presidency College in 1915, and two years later, set up the Bose Institute of Plant Physiological Researches. Later on, research in plant and agricultural chemistry, physics and anthropology were incorporated into the programmes at the institution.

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose presided over the 1927 session of the Indian Science Congress Association. The following year, he was inducted into the Vienna Academy of Science.
This great scientist died in 1937.

By Durdana Ghias
Source: The Banglapaedia




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