Chintito never fails to amaze his readers, but I especially
loved his piece "Fiction and Fact".
He has spoken about something that has been on my mind for
a long time. We are not very careful with our use of the
word "fundamentalism." Western countries have
used this term loosely and ignorantly and, as a result,
caused confusion and misunderstanding. In Germany a Green
party member proposed a holiday to mark the holy month of
Ramadan. He was ridiculed in a local publication in a political
cartoon in which he was drawn with a long beard and turban.
I cannot even think what would happen if something like
this took place in Bangladesh. There is a part of our society
who is always eager to discriminate against fundamentalists.
I want to add that sometimes I am disgusted with the artificial
secularism showed by The Daily Star. A good newspaper
should have the courage to call a spade a spade.
Friday is exceptional to me not only because it's a weekend
but also because it's a day where I get to read SWM. The
first target is to read the Letters page after which I go
to other items of the magazine. In the November 26 issue
an article entitled "Writing Gracefully" by Dr.
Syed Saad Andaleeb pages struck me as very interesting.
I agree with the writer's evaluation and accusations whole
heartedly. The negligence of English in higher studies is
the only cause of deficiency in writing and speaking fluently.
It sometimes becomes clear to me that the difference between
a student of Rajshahi University and a student of Dhaka
University is easily comprehensible in terms of English
proficiency. This may also be the reason why students of
Rajshahi University are less likely to get prestigious job
offers and are having trouble competing with students of
Dhaka University. Almost all the teachers of Rajshahi University
are in the habit of delivering their lectures and speeches
in Bangla. This is nothing but a lack of communication between
teachers and students. We need to declare the medium of
study as English. Continuous exercise and study in English
will promote the graceful writing and speaking of English.
I think the administrations of educational institutions
should do this soon.
Md. Masud Parves Rana
University of Rajshahi
I'd like to thank Neeman Sobhan for her last column on "The
Hijacking of 'V'". As a "probashi" student,
I keep in touch with family and friends mainly through instant
messaging, and it's incredibly frustrating to watch them
type "v" instead of "bh" (although the
typing of Bangla in Roman characters is itself a matter
of linguistic compromise). While I realise that her column
is tongue-in-cheek, I would seriously implement most of
her suggestions if I were in charge of the language. Another
recent practice I've come to absolutely hate is how people
type "hai" or "hain" instead of the
affirmative "ha". I don't know whether they're
trying to establish a nonexistent khandan or whether
they're trying to sound more West Bangali with the suffixed
"n" becoming the "chandrabindoo" of
Calcatian wisdom, but the only narrative purpose it serves
is to annoy the receiver of such messages. Ms. Sobhan points
out how other languages have overcome their limitations
to speak English without error and, more importantly, deal
with using it as a global lingua franca. The Bangla alphabet
and phonetic system is such that we can pronounce almost
all sounds from most modern languages. Given our natural
advantage, our rich heritage and what I believe is our native
intelligence, we really should make more of an effort to
not mangle our own language or anybody else's.
I would like to thank Imran H. Khan for the excellent travel
article titled "Where cloud gives way to roads".
It's an excellent piece (though incomplete as mentioned
at the end) of writing and I must also give credit to his
observant skills alongside his words. I met the writer at
the border and later, momentarily while he was browsing
through some artwork, at the mall. I was also amongst the
many Bangladeshis who demanded a break from their regular
tight schedules. This was a great piece and I hope to read
more of the article in later issues. I would like to end
by saying, "Since the time I left my school in Darjeeling,
I have grown old but the city and my school (St. Paul's
School - or "the Main Hoon Na" School) looks young
and fresh as ever".
I like to give many thanks to the "Dear Mita"
editor because in this column, people write about all kinds
of personal matters and get advice on how to deal with them.
However, I have noticed that sometimes, the Mita column
is missing from the issue. Since it is one of my favourite
columns in SWM my request to SWM is to please try and include
it every week for those of us who really enjoy reading it.
Neeman Sobhan's article in the first issue of December was
fantastic. She talked about an important subject with touches
of humour. That is the best thing about her writing, which
undoubtedly makes her the best writer of SWM. Her language
is lucid and eloquent. What I like best about her writing
is the way she finishes off every article. The finishing
is so powerful that the reader is convinced of the whole
article. The last few lines of Sobhan's last week's article
were so well written that I must thank the writer. Keep
it up Neeman Sobhan!
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