Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5 Issue 95, Tuesday, December 15, 2009



LS special

Patriotism or flair?

AWAEREA Tahrin Jamil is a toddler aged eight who loves national occasions, like the one just a day away. She enjoys the holiday, and the fact that on such auspicious events, she gets to fly the national flag up on the mast on their rooftops. A visit to the Charukala Institute gives her a chance to paint her face red and green, sometimes with alphabets while on other occasions, tigers, horses and elephants!

“She is too young to understand what these stand for. However, I feel she must wet her hands in lessons of history though a mode that she can relate to. It is easier for her to relate to a green and red tee shirt rather than the concept behind the flag and what it stands for.

“The gravity of the occasions will be understood with age and maturity, but for now they must learn to feel the occasion,” says Shubhro, her elder brother, while we caught them both browsing through a selection of tee shirts at one of the leading fashion houses of the country.

Bahar Rahman is one of the many voices that have brought about the renaissance of patriotism through fashion. Through his outlet Nitya Upahar, a trendsetter, he has popularised the re-invention of national identity through garbs that are en vogue.

“We must look at things from a broader perspective. If we look closely, we will witness a generation gap that exists in society. To bridge this difference, we must take the extra step. This is an obligation that Nitya Upahar has answered to.

“Patriotism is something you must learn to blend with our lives. We cannot cry 'patriotism' but rather live by example. Following nationalistic trends and fashion is just a mere expression of the feeling, but not necessarily the feeling itself.”

Tareq Iftekhar Islam, aged 28 and a teacher of Mathematics at a reputed school voices similar thoughts, “I personally do not subscribe to patriotic fashion trends. My belief is that the significance of Victory or Independence cannot be captured through mere trend-following. But we must learn to accept that the only way to popularise something to a younger crowd is to speak their language.

Speaking to some legal professionals we found out that certain rules need to be followed in order to maintain the sanctity of the national flag and also the national anthem.

The rules state, “The 'Flag' except with the permission in writing of and in accordance with the conditions, if any, imposed by the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh shall not be used in any trade-mark or design or the title of any patent or for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession or for any other purpose whatsoever.”

These rules however do not extend to consumer products bearing designs inspired from the colour scheme of the national flag.

According to the Statutes issued by the Government of Bangladesh regarding the “Maintenance of the dignity of the 'Flag'” there are clear-cut regulations that also need to be followed while hoisting the national colour.

Further investigation on the National Anthem yielded some pretty interesting results, “When the National Anthem is being played and the 'Flag' displayed, all present shall face the 'Flag'. Those in uniform shall salute. When the 'Flag' is not displayed, all present shall stand and face towards the music. Those in uniform shall salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note.”

“When we were at school, I remember strict rules were followed when the Anthem was sung. We had to stand in attention, hands on our sides and look straight at the head of the person standing in front. These days, we find, and most astonishingly on National TV, that people sing the Anthem with hands on their chest. Well that may just be the American way of respecting your country, but definitely not the Bangladeshi way!” reiterated Islam.

So is it patriotism or flair? Nowshin Fatima, a young Telecom Executive explains her position, “I am not a history buff. I have never read a book of history on 1971 in my life. But I love my country and wearing a red green sari on 16 December is my way of expressing my love. There are other ways of showing it of course. But this is my way.”

Purists will decry the seeming trivialisation of an event of historic significance, while others will argue in favour of the freedom to express oneself and one's political or cultural views through fashion, and that the very act of re-interpreting patriotism through use of symbols and colours lends meaning to what is mainly an abstract view for the younger generation. The debate continues, and in the meantime, the streets are flooded with the glorious colours of green and red.

By Mannan Mashhur Zariff

LS Shuffle

Weekly buzz

VICTORY! The smell of freedom is in the air. As opposed to Independence Day, which is a sombre occasion, 16 December is a celebration of life. Freedom comes at a price, there is no denial to this universal truth, but one must learn to honour the past not by dwelling on it but by stepping ahead, move forward and build upon the foundation laid by the thousands demised.

'Cranes are flying' is a Russian film released in 1957, an epic drama of life, love and loss in the backdrop of World War II. Ever since its theatrical release it has been considered a masterpiece of World Cinema, winning major awards, critical acclaim and commercial success. It is not only the narrative, the plot of the film but also the cinematography and detailed production that makes it timeless. One must remember that in the days of the cold war, subject matter in the likes of 'Cranes are flying' could only be told with subtlety as compared to the censorship that we now observe. War takes its toll, but people move ahead. It's not an easy task, but with time we learn to move on. That's victory of the heart. 'Cranes are flying' makes a compelling story with a plot as simple as that…Our Pick #1.

On a national note, green and red are the colours to embrace with utter respect and sheer patriotism. Green represents the vivacity, youthfulness, greenery of our beloved country and the red stands for the blood of thousands killed.

Red bangles with an assortment of rich green and a red bindi worn with a traditional sari will awaken the true Bangladeshi within you. Patriotic imprints on panjabis and tees are found all over the city in a wide array for you to choose from. Also remember to hoist up the flag on pillars and renew your vows as a Bangladeshi. Pick #2…National Colours.

Google for 'Bangladesh Flag Rules' and 'Bangladesh Anthem Rules'. Regardless of our loathing for protocol and civics, one issue that can never be overly emphasised is to express patriotic zeal within the bounds of laws and protocol. There are CLEAR CUT rules regarding the hoisting of the flag, or singing the National Anthem for instance. Patriotism within the bounds; Our Pick #3.

As already evident, this week we are in a mood for retrospection.

Zahir Raihan has been a stalwart in films and Bengali literature. His works often centre around vibrant political and social issues, 'Jibon theke neya' for instance, which are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. The Life and Works of Zahir Raihan, Our Pick #4.

Winding the shuffle, we prefer to take a lighter note. Our Pick #5. A piece that appeared on Chicago Tribune in the late 90s Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.

The spirit that lies within the youth often comes across a premature death. Lead life free, in a land that is free.

Until next week. Ciao!

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif

News Flash

Wake up!

IT is as if we need a boost of energy, the oomph to shrug off the drudgery and build this nation as the generations before us had envisioned.

Kay Kraft's Victory Day collection is all about 'Waking Up.' The shade scheme cry out for vigour and make a bold statement. Red and green predominates naturally, but the shades are not limited to the national colours. Woven in textures prepared by the KK Studio, the collection has something to offer for all fashion connoisseurs.


ASED on the colour of the occasion, Anjan's paint their Victory Day collection in shades of red and green on cotton and khadi. Skilled execution of prints and embroidery adds an aura of celebration to the assortment of designs of saris, fatuas and panjabis.

Available at all Anjan's outlets.

Adroit celebrates Victory Day

LOTHES, to a designer is wearable art, a canvas to draw inspirations and reflect moods and flavours. The national bi-colour makes a deliberate statement in Adroit's collection for Victory Day. The colour scheme however does is not limited to green and red, but embraces shades of white, and sky blue.

The prices, kept well within a mediocre range, will appeal to the mass clientele who prefer frugal pret-e-porter.

Sale @ Aarong

THIS year, on the eve of 'Victory Day' Aarong is offering a grand Sale for its valued customers. The sale is starting from15 December till 25 December at its selected outlets.

This exclusive offer will only be available at Aarong's Gulshan outlet (in the car parking area), and Sholashahor, Chittagong outlet.

Come and experience Aarong's 'Victory Day Sale' with your friends and family and grab the exclusive deals before others put it in their shopping cart!



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