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RS Hall of Fame

Rising Stars is like a huge, ever-expanding family that has seen many talented writers come in, make their mark on its eight pages, and move on to other things. This week, on our birthday, we're revisited by some old, familiar names who are no longer between our pages, but always in our hearts:

Munjulika Rahman

* Munjulika Rahman (Joined in 1996 as a contributor, as sub-editor in 2001, till 2002) : This versatile young writer had given us many enjoyable reads, including an expose on popular dating spots which had all our teen readers hiding the paper from their parents that week, and a review of an ice-cream shop that earned her plenty of free ice-cream (why don't I get that lucky?). Right now, she's at the North-western University, Illinois.

Message to readers: Learn to write well...it will come in handy, no matter what career you chose. And writing for RS is a great way to practice!

Nayeem Mahbub

* Nayeem Mahbub (RS tenure 2001-2003) Best known for his Write to Pintu column, Nayeem entertained us with his sardonic spoofs. He's also known to the relatively newer RS members for The Jhari, a motivational lecture that had them scrabbling for their word processors. Right now, Mr Pintu is at the Oberlin College, USA, studying History and Cinema Studies. "I'm graduating in May and am using my last year to mostly focus on film-making. In fact, this weekend, a film I had made was a nominee for Best Undergraduate Comedy at the Ivy League Film Festival at Brown University (I lost to a really brilliant film though)" he tells us.
Message to readers: You are wonderful.

Hamdu Kabir aka Hamdu Mia

* Hamdu Kabir aka Hamdu Mia (RS tenure 2001-2005) Now this guy seriously needs no introduction. The legendary guru of sarcasm, he's managed to diss just about everyone and everything, and somehow the fans and critics simply couldn't get enough of him. Currently completing his final year at the BBA programme at IBA, he recalls 'fond' memories of controversies, and jharis from our erstwhile boss DBB.

Message to readers: Be mean to maintain the balance between good and evil. Read RS and feel an urge to write for RS because there are fewer better feelings than seeing your name in print on your favourite teen mag. Feel free to express yourself because your opinion matters, and on a more personal note, it touches my heart to hear that there are readers out there who still remember me despite the fact that I've gone all prehistoric. You people make me feel sad that I don't write anymore.

Tahiat e Mahboob

* Tahiat e Mahboob (2001-2007): From her mushy romantic stories to fashion advice, there are not too many things this writer hasn't tried in RS. Perhaps best known for her advice column 'It's not your problem anymore', she is at the moment waiting out her time in Dhaka till August to go to the Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy.
Message to readers: Don't let anyone tell you who you should be


Sumbal A. Momen

* Sumbal A. Momen aka Slayer (2004), and Shoaib Alam aka The Hitchhiker (2004-2006). She's getting ready for college; he's taking a break before he starts doing the same. Together, they gave us the short-lived but wildly popular 'Shout Out' column
Message to readers: (Sumbal says) It can't get better than RS. (Shoaib says) Read RS!

Shoaib Alam

* Asheque Shams/AES (2004-2005) He came, he gave us funny, satirical covers like 'Weird Teachers' and 'Small Men', he got into all manner of scrapes for those covers, he left. Right now he's at Williams College, Williamstown, US.
Message to readers: Read RS or else....



Compiled by Sabrina F Ahmad

Calling a spade a spade
Concept of gender cleared @ NSU

This is one of society's biggest issues, one that is discussed and disseminated in many countries. There's been a lot of talk in the air about 'gender', but do we really understand what it actually means? A workshop on “Gender” was arranged at North South University to clear up the fog. Gender orientation program (GOP) for university students has been included as one of the significant activities of the project: “Institutionalizing the department of Women's Studies.” This is a collaborative project between the Women's Studies Department, university of Dhaka (DU) and the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, the Netherlands.

It has been assessed that there is a lack of knowledge, understanding and misuse of the concept of 'Gender' and other related concepts among the university students. That is why the objective was to introduce the concept of gender and deepen understanding of the issues pertaining to it. It was a two-day training workshop for students of NSU, on April 29 and 30, 2007. Among others was present Dr. Nazmunnesa Mahtab, former Professor of Public Administration and the founder member of Department of Women's Studies, University of Dhaka. She is also the coordinator of the Gender Orientation Program. Dr. Sadika Halim, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Dhaka. Vice chancellor of North South University Dr. Hafiz G.A. Siddiqi was present at the closing session and awarded students with certificates. Also present were Chairman of the Department of General and Continuing Education (GCE) Professor Khaiquzzaman Elias and Ms. Gigi Asem, Faculty, GCE department, NSU.

The workshop covered issues like “Gender and sex”, “Violence against women”,” Empowerment of women” and “Feminism”.

The students in the workshop were enthralled to know about the great works of many feminists like Mary Wollstone Craft, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Virginia Woolf, Betty Friedan, Kate millet and others. One of the quotations particularly stands out, which said, “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman.” While learning about the history of feminism and its change over time we came to learn that 'Equality, Freedom and Fraternity' the slogan of French Revolution was meant only for men. Women were not even considered as citizens back then.

The Department of Women's Studies, encouraged by the responses they got from NSU students, expressed hope for further discourse with private universities. The students and teachers of NSU in turn, pronounced themselves impressed by the efforts of the Department of Women's Studies to dispel the antiquated ideologies prevalent in our country.

By Adnan Quadri

Campus news
Death has a new colour

Campus 5 at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) was abuzz with speculation as attendees filed in for a seminar titled 'The Colour of Death is Green' on Thursday last. This was a presentation by the students of the Environmental Communications course under the Department of Media and Communication at IUB, based on their findings from a study tour at Modhupur.

The event kicked off with what Taskin Rahman, one of the participants, calls a 'philm', which is a film made from still photographs worked into a narrative. Set to the tune of Vanessa Mae's 'Classical gas', it summed up their shocking findings on deforestation, social forestry, and the maltreatment of the indigenous community at Modhupur. Interested parties can check out the philm at http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=HEtDkVUJ2Hs

The event moved on to a series of speeches by the other participants. Attired in a theme of black, white and green, they covered topics like deforestation, impact of monoculture, social forestry, loss of biodiversity, and the plight of the Garo community. They went on to show how greed for money (green-backs) motivated ecocidal practises that has led to the death of a forest, hence the mystifying seminar title. The presentations were made interactive via slideshows of photographs, and recitation of Bangla poetry. The presentations, as horrific as the findings were, managed to conclude on a positive, pro-active role as the team outlined suggested policies involving co-operation between lawmakers, environmentalists, the government and the media, whereby the disaster at Modhupur could be turned around and made into another success story like Lawachara.

Dr. Ahaduzzaman M Ali, Head of the Department of Media and Communication, spoke on the occasion, lauding the efforts of his students, and got into the spirit of things with a very emotive rendition of poems by Pete Hay.

The show was wrapped up with a 20-minute screening of 'Our Sal Forests' a documentary video by Dr Ronald Halder.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Bangladesh Astronomical Association Celebrates its 19th Anniversary

Shakespeare was wrong; there is absolutely nothing romantic about stars. This was amply proven at the celebration of the 19th Anniversary of the Bangladesh Astronomical Association. However, if you want to learn astounding volumes of knowledge, beyond our narrow imaginations, about what goes on in outer space, then this was definitely the summit for you.

The event was held at Russian Cultural Centre in Dhanmondi on 5th May 2007. Many eminent personalities in the field of astronomy and astrophysics were present at the packed house. The program was arranged to award noted and devoted astronomer S.M. Mozammel Huq with the prestigious Bruno Award, named after Giordano Bruno, a 15th Century philosopher and cosmologist who was burnt alive by the church on charge of heresy.

The show began at the very beginning…we're talking of the Big Bang theory. A menagerie of reputed personalities in the field went on to speak about the evolution of astrophysics and of the nature of the space-time continuum.

The speakers also lamented that very little astronomy is taught as a subject in Bangladesh and there is a general culture of apathy regarding this “boring” subject.

Astronomer S.M. Mozammel Huq had spent a lifetime in providing dedicated services to interested stargazers at the Science and Technology Museum and managing a mini planetarium. In this, he had little official support from any organization. After the award presentation ceremony, a Q-&-A session with the audience was arranged, followed by a short film show.

The audience comprised mostly of the older generation, with a smattering of younger enthusiasts. Promiti, an ECE student from BRAC University said, “The show was alright. I felt it could have been better if the speeches were cut short, since most of it went over my head.” Kakon, an interior designer and long-time member of the association found the show quite informative, if somewhat boring. A transfer student from Mexico, Selim Hayek, said, “As a student of astronomy, I'm impressed by the zeal and devotion shown by many of the speakers. However, I feel this country needs better equipment and more thorough courses to progress in this field.”

The field of astronomy has a long, if obscure history. This was a good opportunity for local enthusiasts to understand the topic and get together to share their opinions.

By Aaqib F. Hossain and Sabhanaz Rashid Diya


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