Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 6, Issue 03, Tuesday, January 18, 2011




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As we inch closer to hosting the event that is being termed the biggest of our 2011 national calendar, a sense of disappointment is becoming increasingly more difficult to shrug off. While widespread confusion and commotion continue to grip cricket lovers, Star Lifestyle takes a look at all that is seemingly amiss with the preparations of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

The build-up that should have been

Bangladeshis will celebrate anything if you let them. Yet no more than 30 days before we co-host the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, a sense of deprivation is undeniable.

I realised something was wrong when I stared down at my pair of bathroom slippers - two sizes too large - designed with a football in the middle. Seven months after the end of the football World Cup and only one before the start of the Cricket World Cup, it should be red and green jumping at us from every corner, not Brazil's blue and yellow.

Cricketing memorabilia that should have submerged the country by now are yet to hit stands anywhere; I dare hope that team jerseys and the odd keychain or wristband will be available at the venues of the 8 matches to be played in Bangladesh, but with the smacking elusiveness of tickets countrywide, how many of us are actually making it to the games? Let's get real.

The Pandora's Box worth of all that is amiss with logistics fist fights in ticket queues, painfully disappointing 100 day countdown ceremony, malfunctioning floodlights can well be left to accreditation-denied sports commentators, but common people with common sense must be allowed to grow increasingly restless as February draws in but so little seems to be falling into place. Not many, for example, command enough expertise to know what is or is not being done to revamp stadiums, but that Mirpur is not being aesthetically enhanced ahead of the opening ceremony even I can ascertain.

In a country where a dozen local TV channels churn out a wildly excessive number of advertisements before, after and during every programme, alarmingly little has been done to sell the event that will touch Bangladeshi soil for the first time in its 36 year history. No celebrities can be seen exchanging quirky one-liners with sports personalities over packets of chips, no steely faced team has been lined up to a patriotic background score and no posters have been plastered across our cities forcing us to acknowledge the event in the offing. But of course, the World Cup is no Shahrukh Khan.

The respective authorities, who or wherever they may be, have grossly underutilised the opportunity to nurture any sort of attachment or sense of identification between the fans and the championship. The kind of attachment that is birthed only when faces, songs, colours, flags, advertisements, billboards, magazines, mascots and memorabilia can be associated with an event and hence, become emblematic of it.

Come January 2011, a face painting, air punching, adrenaline pumping theme song should have long become our anthem; or if not, at least our ring tones. And small but effective things should have been employed to breathe life into this championship. As yet the elephant that I can only assume is the official mascot of the event stands as a silent two dimensional guard to (occasionally dysfunctional) countdown clocks as opposed to having a name, a voice, or a personality recurrently flashing onto our TV screens to sing us a little jingle or do us a little dance. Or maybe it has a name and an endearing personality. Maybe it can sing or dance or do both. But as is the fate of every other aspect of this World Cup, all we know for sure is that we don't know anything.

An opportunity has further been missed to properly brand Bangladesh and showcase itself to all those who care to listen. Nothing is really in the public focus and the local activation "Catch Bangladesh Catch" has proved woeful. The sad fact of the matter remains that there has also been a failure to draw distinction between fans and followers and drum up the event to each accordingly. While the former may be prepared to spend hours combing through the Internet for obscure details on the World Cup, the latter will not actively go on a rabbit hunt for information but lap up fixtures, timetables, team profiles and autographed bats should they be made available. To them the onslaught of the World Cup remains as a peripheral fact, doomed to a fringe existence that will creep up on them largely unnoticed.

Ideally, the World Cup should have been marketed. Ideally, the country should have been gripped by its hype. And ideally, hosting instincts should have been pulsating through our collective national vein.

Until that is being done, if you have somehow managed to lay your lucky hands on fixtures or pin-up timetables - or dare I utter it - tickets, I suggest you buy a safe. Or better yet, bury these rare possessions in a garden.

I end where I began. Bangladeshis will celebrate anything if you let them. Why won't they let us?

By Subhi Shama


For the love of the game

Whoosh went my otherwise inflated ego. Just like a fancy balloon at a child's birthday party, it fell flat on the ground, totally deflated and I think cut miserably to a size that was not mine.

And as the newspaper headline read the next day, it was all because of a ticket I desperately wanted to the much-awaited World Cup. I thought that keeping my hoodlums (meaning my Jack-of-all-trades chauffer, my guard and his brother) on vigil in front of the marked bank from the crack of dawn would be enough to get the desired tickets. However the denizens of my city, whom I literally thought would not be able to match up to this ingenious plan of mine, beat me to it. Honestly how stupid or rather, slow was I? Me, a forty-something woman competing with some few thousand zealous young boys, who started queuing up from as early as seven in the evening before.

When I sent my emissary to verify the truth of the matter, I knew I was done for. At 9 pm there were at least four hundred plus people eagerly waiting for the bank to open at 10 am the next day. The police, who were my unwitting allies, came to my aide that night, they started using their batons, and breaking up the crowd, not allowing any one to stand near the bank.

My men armed with heavy artillery like blankets and bread and bananas stood their ground from 3 in the morning. At least this time they were behind some 150 boys. Well nothing good came of this tedious wait; even I went in to stand in the women's line but had to give up my position around 11am for an 'important' meeting at work.

My anger reached its boiling point when I realised that I have no good contacts, a minimum requirement for a journalist who has been working in a newspaper for the past nineteen years. I don't know any powerful banker, I don't know any sports personality, and I don't know any Member of the Parliament, and least of all, no one from the Bangladesh Cricket Board, neither am I pals with any sports journalist. People I thought I knew I realised I didn't know.

On top of that my uncle with whom I was planning to watch the matches kept pointing out how journalists can get anything they want, and asking where that particular shade of yellow was in my career?

Totally ego shattering; this was one time I wanted to cross the line, but instead till date I am begging for tickets. From six for each of Bangladesh's matches I came down to just one in any.

Someone offered to sell his for Tk.5000, someone offered to buy me a television instead of tickets. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed I am still roaming the streets of Dhaka hoping for a miracle to happen (in reality just wanting someone to read this and take pity on me and let me buy the tickets).

However if all else fails I have decided to snatch the accreditation card of the only sports journalist I know and totally change my look from a chubby middle aged lifestyle journalist to a young (thank god for the chubbiness) aspiring sports journalist and cover the event from the press box. I think this will work.

-Raffat Binte Rashid


Deshidosh for Liberation War Museum

On 14 January, 2011 Deshidosh initiated a month long drive to collect funds for the establishment of a permanent premises for the Liberation War Museum. Dr Sarwar Ali, Akku Chowdhury, Ziauddin Tarek Ali, and Rabiul Hossain amongst others, were present on the occasion. Craftsman Sushanto Pal and weaver Raghunath Basak shared their memories of the War.

Speaking on the occasion, Ashrafur Rahman Farooq said that Deshidosh has always been associated with everything that makes us proud as Bangladeshis. The efforts of the Liberation War Musem in the previous decades have been exemplary.

Talking to Star Lifestyle, Khalid Mahmud Khan of Kay Kraft reiterated “Liberation War Museum has played a significant role in maintaining the history of our Liberation War. By collecting funds for their permanent complex, it is our way of paying homage to the martyrs of the War and also of recognising the efforts of the museum.

“So far funds have been collected from the boutiques that form the Deshidosh conglomerate, the employees of this association and through voluntary donations from the people.”

Volunteers will man a booth at the Deshidosh premises and will help motivate people to extend their hands in assistance for this noble pursuit. Interested individuals can collect leaflets issued to facilitate the drive.

The fundraising will continue till 21 February, 2011.

Rangeen Utsab

Over the last two decades, through their pioneering contribution to reviving and upholding the use of natural dyes, Aranya has become a name synonymous to heritage and elegance in Bangladesh. Their saris too have become statements of cultural perseverance and intellectual awareness; cherished widely for their glamour in simplicity.

The revival of natural dyes in Bangladesh began in 1982. In 1990 Aranya was set up as a fair-trade social enterprise to study their cost effectiveness and marketability. In the last two decades it has established the commercial viability of natural dye products beyond a doubt, and has created a demand that at present far outstrips supply. Aranya has achieved a special status in the international movement for its contribution to the revival and promotion of organic dyes.

The completion of their 20th year sees the fashion house embark upon new beginnings, as the ownership changes hands from Ruby Ghuznavi to Bengal Foundation.

“Aranya is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but our work with the revival of natural dyes began nearly 3 decades ago. Aranya was set up in 1990 as the result of a debate - almost a controversy about whether natural dyes can be cost effective, and therefore commercially viable. In the last two decades, our experience has proved beyond a doubt that natural dyes can be a viable proposition.

“Now production needs to be expanded further, building on the momentum already gained to take things to the next level. We are pleased to announce that we will be handing over to Bengal Foundation, who will take this mission forward with the same passion, principles and commitment to excellence that led to the creation of Aranya,” says Ruby Ghuznavi.

Bengal Foundation, a private trust, began its journey in the late eighties. The founder Abul Khair's personal regard for the arts, coupled with his vision of projecting a culturally rich Bangladesh that will rise above the typical portraiture of a country steeped in flood and famine, led to Bengal Foundation's initial sojourn. In the course of its work, the Foundation has been abetted by an enlightened body of thinkers. After more than twenty years on the trail, Bengal Foundation's work now encompasses various forms of the arts.

The Foundation's current endeavour is to promote the revival of organic dyes and generate awareness about its ecological and economic benefits.

The exhibition, Rangeen Utsab Festival of Colours, started from 14 January, 2011 at the premises of Bengal Foundation. This event also marks the 20th anniversary of Aranya. The nine-day-long event was inaugurated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Dr Dipu Moni. Ruby Ghuznavi, Abul Khair and Luva Nahid Chowdhury spoke on the occasion. For their outstanding contribution to crafts, three artisans Latifa Begum, Kun Thi Mro and Hossain Ahmed (posthumous) were awarded felicitations.

The event will continue till 22 January and will remain open for all from 12 noon to 8 pm. The current exhibition celebrates twenty years of Aranya's efforts to revive a craft that had been lost for more than a century.

While we welcome this new dimension, we can but hope that the new collaboration will carry on endorsing the use of organic dyes in clothing and thus uphold Ruby Ghuznavi's inspiring legacy.

-LS Desk





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