On Insight's First Anniversary
So Star Insight is now a whole year old. I wasn't here at the time of its birth. I joined halfway through its first year. I had worked as a feature writer here before, but this time things were different. I had the task of editing articles that came from all over Bangladesh, outside of Dhaka. There are already a huge number of publications dealing with the problems and solutions of Dhaka. For most of us living in Dhaka, that is, understandably, all we care about. For someone like me, this was an unlikely task. For me, there was a lot to learn from the many articles sent by our correspondents and other contributors outside of Dhaka. In the process, I did get to know Bangladesh a little bit better.
This “Anniversary Issue” is a little different from our regular issues of Insight. It doesn't have all those sections you normally see. It is also not what you might expect when you hear the term. It's not fatter and it doesn't really have showcases down the memory lane. We wouldn't want to re-do anything. Instead you'll see the works of the winners from Insight's cartoon contest against corruption, for which the judges had the tough job of picking a handful of winners from hundreds of pretty competent entries. Consider this kind of an anniversary card. I'll allow myself to reflect a little on some of the work we have done here in the past months.
Insight already had its basic template. There were the regular pages. There was a cover story, usually but not always, on an individual. There were other regular sections. “Journey Through Bangladesh” was a page about some interesting, but usually neglected site in Bangladesh. These are places that although you may never have heard of them, they are worth visiting. The place might be a dilapidated mosque where not a single prayer has ever been offered, it might be a house where Rabindranath himself spent a large chunk of his life in, or it might be a banyan tree that may or may not be the largest in the whole continent. Often, failures or abortive attempts are more fun to hear about than the things that people talk about ad nauseum. This extends to Insight's other pages. “She” is about the accomplishments of a woman whatever field she may have succeeded in. These people would not be defined as “successful” in any absolute sense, but success is relative. It's all about what you have now relative to what you had before. There are no rich people, only people who are better-off. The “Guru Griho” page is a reminder of how many century-old schools there are in this young country, all with rocky histories as they had to withstand the births of deaths of nations.
The “Learners' Club” page has always been an important part of Insight. It is obviously not for those of us who already have some proficiency in English. This is targeted to the huge groups of people outside of Dhaka who desperately want to improve their English and be a part of a world with much more opportunity. As a fairly unimportant side note, their English gets better and they probably read The Daily Star a little more! We try to keep the language fairly simple here. If the English is too sophisticated it will get lost on most of its eager readers, for who reading English dailies is a challenge. Insight isn't full of literary flourishes. We like to keep it that way.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007