Sadique was returning home in a rickshaw. The streets were eerily dark, the street lights were not there as was always the case (they were there, but they just did not work!). Then the fact that all the malls in town were closed (due to the government asking the market authorities to shut them up at 7 to provide electricity to the farmers for irrigation) went through his mind which dressed his face with a silent smile.
The country is in turmoil, the houses abandoned, and the fields not wearing their delicately mown nature. The roads were missing their commuters, no matter how unsophisticated they may have been. The odd bicycle making a turn right, preceded by its rhythmical bell, was nowhere to be seen.
The odd bird moving nervously around in the trees could be heard loud and clear. The howl of the solitary wolf cracks through the growing mute sky. During the day, however, the scenes were far from this calm and stationary environment. The vultures were seen pillaging through the skin and bones of the Departed. They seemed to have joined in the party with the “Brothers” from the West.
On the 7th of March the Bengal revolutionary Sheikh Mujib seemed to have brought out the Tiger from the depths of the Bengal Tigers and rallied them to a goal-Independece. We had been stampeded on for long enough; now was the time for freedom, time for breaking through all shackles, tearing all nets, and breathing free air. It was time for the Bengalis to finally reap what they have sown.
This upheaval had infuriated our “fellow” countrymen in the West. Have they not done enough for their fellow Muslim brethren? How dare they try to break free! They must be punished for such heinous acts. So arrived the “patriotic” regiment to take care of “business” in the East.
On the eve of 26th March they launched a clean-sweeping attack to crush the rebels and crumple them to impunity so that they dare not ever raise their heads up to fight again. But Bengalis did not give in. They were not a nation of timid sloths. They have earned all they had. So they entered the war with their own military masterminds such as Ziaur Rahman and General Osmani. What ensued was nine months of hell unleashed on Earth, erasing three million lives off the face of the Earth. The scenes mentioned above were the norm in previously manned neighbourhoods. In the end we had won our greatest right, the right to call a country our Motherland.
The information above will not be unfamiliar with any decently knowledgeable Bengali. The country was then in a major crisis. So was the country a few months back from now when the lust for power drove two sects of people in the country to a situation which was the mirror image of two big bad bulls with locked horns together that would do anything to win the match. They cared little about the lives which they extinguished in the process. The economy of the country mattered little to them. They were supposed to be the peoples' leaders, but they failed to express that in their actions. The two leaders of these so called political parties (more like self-help parties) could not meet to save the country from such chaos. The rickshaw-puller, the garment worker, the house-maid, who all could not earn their livings, mattered little to them. They wanted the right to rule these people, but not the responsibilities for providing these hand-to-mouth people with proper food and shelter. The hardships of the commuters to work and school were negligible in comparison with their contrasting agendas.
But then came the correct, strict, unadulterated (by politics) minds to power. They immersed themselves into the previously overlooked development works and corruption files. They revealed to the people that their rights to knowledge have been impeded upon. Out came the truth that in the fifteen years of so-called democracy in our beloved homeland have bred and nourished politicians who were more interested in making money by exploiting their powers rather than build a better nation. People suddenly felt that their so-called voting rights were nothing at all. The “people” they were electing and re-electing alternatively were none other than re-incarnations of the Devil himself. And now when they were being put through the judicial system, the two parties were having similar rings of dissatisfaction at the government. Birds of a feather do really flock together.
So that was why the parties were so bent upon getting to power! To make their fat purses even fatter! Well then, shame on the three millions who sacrificed their lives for this country. These thoughts peeled the smirk off Sadique's face.
But surely they have not merely wasted their lives. Surely they could see in their sacrifice the birth of a nation which would one day fight it out with the top nations of the world (not in corruption, but in development!). So there must be something which made them think along those lines.
Our rider's train of thought suddenly got derailed as his rickshaw came to a halt. The man at the reins announced the arrival at the desired destination. Sadique gave him a smile and paid him 5 taka more. What was going through him? He felt that these poor men had been exploited long enough. It was time they received their due reward. He felt it was time to forget our differences and unite to give a better future to our successors than what we have received from our ancestors. After all, we are the youth of the nation. We think ourselves different from the past generations. Let that difference materialize not only in the way we dress and talk, but also in the way we think and work. We will do what many could not do. We have the Language Martyrs and three million others among the stars to help us through. Whenever we need inspiration, we have the heavens to look forward to them. We are the Nation Builders of Tomorrow and what better time to start out on than that of our independence. There will only be one line running through our minds “We will win” the fight against all evils which had gripped the nation.
By Rashed Al Ahmad Tarique
The IAC (Independent Artist Club), presented by Nokia is aiming at becoming a platform for underground musician with little or no previous exposure. Nokia has launched this campaign a number of other countries in Asia with the same goal in mind.
In Bangladesh the program was initiated by requesting all interested musicians to upload their songs in the IAC website. And after that all the songs in the website are voted by the registered voters of the IAC website for one month, at the end of the month the 5 bands with the highest number of votes are selected to perform in the IAC concert which is also broadcasted on TV. Three famous musicians of the country - Suman of Aurthohin & Warfaze, Komol of Warfaze and Buno of Bangla are tagged with Nokia IAC to guide and mentor these bands. They will groom and accompany them at the practice pads and also during the concerts.
The bands that performed in the first IAC concert were- Cynic X, Severe Dementia , Demise ,Karnival and Lucifer's Throne. And the second monthly concert took place on Saturday, 22nd march, and Chromatic Massacre, Silent Scream, Biloy, Waterways and Owned. Warfaze also produced a stellar performance as the guest band.
Without going too deep into individual performances I can say that the new bands were quite good, especially Owned did an amazing cover of Nirvana's “Smell Like Teen Spirit”, Waterways was also very impressive. The atmosphere was lively and the crowd were generally quite cheerful. However during Silent Scream's performance there was an unfortunate incident that shocked everyone. In the future we hope that both musicians and audience members will have a better mutual understanding and respect for each other. The show ended with a crowd pumping performance by the legendary Warfaze.
The concert will broadcasted on Banglavision, this Friday at 9PM.
The IAC however, isn't only about rock music, any interested new musician from any genre can upload their songs and participate. But to make it easier to get votes the songs should be uploaded during the beginning of each month, and they should also let people know to vote them. Musicians who have already performed in the concert won't have their songs available for voting. However if they upload a new original song they'll once again be eligible for voting. Anyone willing to vote for the bands need to go the website and become a registered members, members can listen to and download songs as well as voting on them. So if you are an aspiring musician seeking exposure or a music lover looking for the next big name in the music industry then go to the IAC Banladesh site- web-iac.nokia-asia.com/Bangladesh and make your opinion count.
By Sadman Alvi & Salman Hassan
Heroes of our time
What actually are heroes? Spiderman who keeps on swinging from his web and razes the evil? These heroes are fictional and they can never exist, because in every person lies a hero. A hero is just an average human being who does not do anything but being himself.
Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy have two children. They have a small family and yet they have to struggle to earn a living. They want their children to get a good education, a secured future. But the schools charge too much, which the rich only can afford. Despite of this problem, the children go to these schools, but at the end of the month it becomes hard for the parents to fulfill their wishes. They still survive. Thus the heroes are the hard working parents.
A student who has studied with the determination of getting a good job is now in the streets. He still continues to fight valiantly with the clutches of unemployment. Another student, who is in the first year in university, tries to do the best. But she becomes the victim of acid burns. With this burned face, she still continues to breathe, to live the life she deserves. Two more heroes…
He pulls rickshaws and sometimes drives the three-wheeled cars. All he can manage is some scrap money and food for his family. He works hard in the scorching sun, and gives hundred percent efficiency of his muscles. Nobody appreciates this person and everybody neglects him. But he survives, becoming a hero.
A widowed woman is not allowed to eat fancy food, drape herself with colourful clothes, and she is not allowed to go to any events. But one day she breaks free all these obstacles and flies towards success. Another woman has to “pay” her husband money in order to continue their relationship because of the cruelties of the society. Still she finds joy in her life. They gain the title of being heroes of their own hard life
Nobel laureates like Dr. Md. Yunus are the heroes who will be written in histories of future. But these trivial heroes' names will wash away, with their last breath. We should salute to all the heroes of out time, starting from your parents. Without them, the earth would become empty and void…
Eid Milad-un-Nabi at Academia
Academia International School organized an event to observe Eid Milad-un Nabi, for the elementary school-goers. It was a novel effort to uphold the norms of the Islamic religion. However, there was a certain difference in the event. Instead of mainly focusing on the holy milad only, the children were given an opportunity about Islam. Talks were held regarding the significance of the day and certain aspects of the religion were focused on to provide a picture of Islam.
It wasn't an event catering only to Muslim students but rather it was taken a step forward by inviting children and parents from all religion. This gave them the chance to learn about Islam, partake in this culture, discover and understand yet another way of life.
The event managed to hold the interest of the teachers and children, alike and will prove to be a sure learning experience. It was a delightful evening and one which play a vital role in the children's lives. More such functions should be held in order to commemorate special occasions, specially religious ones, in which our individual religions and explored and discussed so that each of us can know about each other's religion, culture and way of life and thus we can hope that such an event would not only enlighten us, but also perhaps pave the way for a future of harmony and tolerance. Let us all applaud Academia International's effort.
By Osama Rahman
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2008 The Daily Star