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The way we look at Ramadan

The way we look at the holy month of Ramadan definitely changes as we grow older. The older we grow, the more difficult fasting seems to us. Is it supposed to be that way? I mean, did God make us that way (so that we can 'feel' the motive behind fasting), or do we become'unholier' with age? Scary thought! Here is how I classify the different groups with their different outlook on Ramadan.

Ages 6 to 12:
This is when we are first allowed to fast, though occasionally. Fasting for the first time is like an adventure… waking up in the middle of the night with everyone else, having a late night dinner or lunch or a 'mid night party,' praying using whatever surahs we know, and at the end, going back to sleep. Not eating until sunset is like a blessing. Moms not stuffing food into our mouths is probably the best part. You can play all day, go wherever your feet take you, for as long as you wish, not bothering to return home for lunch. At that age, you do not really know what an empty stomach feels like. It is the excitement of finally spending a day without eating which is too overwhelming.

Ages 13 to before marriage:
During this time, you are forced to fast all throughout the month even if you do not want to. The 'excitement' of fasting diminishes until it becomes zero. You get to understand what an empty stomach actually feels like. And what more, you have to pray more than once in that empty stomach. (Why does everyone suddenly become all 'holy' during Ramadan and pray five times a day, but once Ramadan's over, goes back to the normal routine, that is say his/her prayers once in maybe six months?) Waking up in the middle of the night is like the most strenuous job on earth! Nothing could make life worse if, even with all this fasting, there are regular classes in the morning. All you and your stomach look forward to throughout the day is the Maghrib azaan and the iftar. Time passes so slowly! Could this month not end faster?

After marriage to before growing old:
This is when the month of Ramadan is the worst month of the year. You have to wake up at least one hour before everyone else wakes up at night and cook the seheri, but that is only if you do not have a bua to do all the work for you. (Why is this applicable to woman only? Hmph!) With drowsy eyes, you have to cook, wake everyone else up in the household, eat, pray, and wash the dishes! Life is so unfair! When you are finally done with the dishes, or decide on being smarter and leave them for the morning, and finally creep back onto the comfortable bed, you get to sleep for around an hour before you wake up again and see your child or children off to school. Yawn! You hardly get any sleep this month!

Old Age:
The world revolves around religion and you tend to make sure that God forgives all your sins. You fast all throughout the month out of duty towards God. Praying is accompanied by completing the Quran a few times. You forget about how you used to feel about fasting when you were younger and force your grandchildren to fast and pray along with you. You are able to grasp the meaning and motive behind fasting… you understand and feel how the poor people, who do not get three meals a day feel. The month of Ramadan does seem holy to you. (Finally!) After all, this might be the last month of fasting you get before you are forced to succumb to eternal slumber! God forbid!

By Marwa

Book Review

Ubhochor Manush

Ubhochor Manush is a translation of the book The Amphibious written by Alexander Belayev and translated by Noni Bhowmik. Alexander Belayev was a Russian writer who drew many imaginary portraits in his stories. Ubhochor Manush is one of these stories. In this story the writer has created an amphibious man named Ikthiandor. A talented but lunatic doctor called Salvador set the gill of a shark alongside the lung of Ikthiandor, who was a Red Indian baby boy then. Baltazar, a diver, is Ikthiandor's father. He knows that his son is dead since his brother Christo took his sick son to Dr Salvador, who is known as God to the Red Indians because he is a miraculous doctor. So the miraculous doctor does this ridiculous experiment on Ikthiandor and thus Ikthiandor becomes an amphibious! Ikthiandor lives mostly in the sea. The people living in the coastal area know him as the monster of the sea because he disturbs them so often. And so he is well known to his diver father also. Jurita is a dealer of pearls and Baltazar is his partner. They want to catch Ikthiandor for collecting pearls from the deep sea. In the mean time Ikthiandor falls in love with his father's foster-daughter Guttiere! He often goes to the shore to meet her. Thus he becomes sick, as he is not used to with the polluted shore. Baltazar and Jurita send Christo to work as Dr Salvador's servant. But still they fail to catch Ikthiandor and Ikthiandor fails to get his love. Guttiere marries Jurita and is not happy. Ikthiandor goes to meet her crossing the La Plata Sea. He becomes sicker and is caught by Jurita. He is sent to the police and in the court Dr Salvador has to describe how he created this 'creature'. Then he is imprisoned for two years. Ikthiandor escaped from the jail and goes to a coral island to live with Arma Vilbua, a French scientist and oceanographer and Salvador's old friend. There he may get a family and some friends. Guttiere is divorced and runs away with Aulsen, her well-wisher. Meanwhile Baltazar comes to know that Ikthiandor is his son and becomes crazy to get his son back. When storm rises in the sea, he runs to the seashore and cries: 'Ikthiandor, my boy…'

Bishyoshahityo Kendro first published this book in 1993. The theme of the story is great but the translation is a little boring. So I prefer everyone to read the original copy. If you don't get that, read the translated version but don't miss it cause it's a great story.

By Fahmina Nahid.

Discovering the hidden glory

BANDHU, a voluntary organisation, launched a Seminar,title "Discovering The Hidden Glory" last week. It was held at their officepremises at 4:00 pm on October 17, 2003. They arranged an exquisite seminar about the historical glories of the northern part of our country & I wasthere reporting on the seminar. I felt completely different environment while I had been there. General Secretary, Advisor, other members of BANDHUand distinguished guests were present on the spot. The Associate Program Coordinator Soma Dutta welcomed the audiences.

Well, the resource person of this seminar Tracker and Photographer Mr. M.A. Moohit was conducting his lecture on our hidden and splendid heritage ofthe northern part of Bangladesh. He was giving his presentation of different historical area with brief historical background. Mohastangar,Govinda Bhita, Dinajpur Rajbari, Kantonogor Mondir, Putia Rajbar, Chini Mosque, Dighpotia Rajbari, Dighpotia Rajbari, Shompur Buddha Bihar, Shona
Mosque etc. places were described by him. The most attractive part of that seminar was the presentation of these beautiful places with huge collectionof slide pictures.

I got lots of information about ourcountries northern zone fromthis seminar. Mohastangar (established near about 2500 years ago) was thecapital city of Mourjo, Gupta, Pal kingdom and the shrine of Shah SultanBalkhi Mahi Sawar is located there. Govinda Bhita known as Govinda or Bishno Mondir is situated in the bank of river Korotoa.
Dinajpur Rajbari
was build like European style approximately 100 years ago. Tales of the history relate that Dinajpur derived its name from Raja Dinaj or Dinraj, founder of the Dinajpur Rajbari. But others say that after usurping the
Ilyas Shahi rule, the famous Raja Ganesh of the early 15th century was the real founder of this house for a brief period. The Dinajpur Rajbari is one such building that precariously stands as ruins on the northeastern out- skirts of Dinajpur town and comprises a residential building, temples and puja mandap, large backyards, gardens and ponds- all fulfilling the luxurious lifestyle of the rajas.

Another attraction of that seminar was Kantonogor Mondir. Jamindar Moharaja Pran Nath and his adopted son Ram Nath were made it in between 1704-1752 A.D. at Kaharol, Dinajpur. Government announced it to preserve this old heritage in 1960.

The area of Rajbari is popularly known as 'Mondir Nogori (City of Temple)' because there is Ahnhik mondir, Govinda mondir, Shib mondir and Dol mondir.
The endless panels of Govinda Mondir portray Radha-Krishna images and scenes from the Hindu epics. The terracotta art dates back to the Pala-Chandra period when the Buddhists temples at Paharpur, Mainamati and Vasu Bihar and Sitakot were covered in terracotta plaques representing the popular folk art. The temple built sometime between 1823 and 1895. Chini Mosque was established in 1863 at Sayedpur. It has 32 minar.

King Proshonno Nath Roy was made Dighpotia Rajbari in Nator. Monayem Kha was given its name 'Governor House' at 1967. Jamindar Gopal Lal Roy was made Tajhat Jamindarbari in 1905 at Rangpur. The size of the jamindarbari is 58 acre and there are 28 rooms, which is made by mejh-shet stone. High court Bench was established in 1984. The second King of Pal family Darma Pal was made Shompur Buddha Bihar also known as Paharpur Buddha Bihar,
which is located at Bodolgachi, Nowga and it is the biggest Buddha Bihar in the south of Himalaya.

Mr. Moohit also showed few more slide pictures of Choto Shona Mosque in Shibgonj, Chapainobabganj; Nator Raj Bari and Gokul Medh at Mohastangar.

A group of children and adolescents were present in the seminar and they enjoyed a lot. When a child asked that does our government has any law for preserving this rich heritage, Advisor of BANDHU Mr. Khaled Mahfuz Saeef answered, 'we have the preservation act but our government does not bother to implement it. We are citizens and duty is ours. Now it is up to us
whether we would at least let our imagination flow back to the past and touch our splendid heritage.' Attended audience including children and their guardians are very much interested to visit these areas. The seminar ended soon afterwards, with a concluding message from Mr. Anisur Rahman,
Secretary General of BANDHU. He thanked and his message for everybody was, 'we have to know our country neither we cannot introduce our Bangladesh to anyone.'

BANDHU (Belfry Association for Nations Development & Human Unison) is an
organization, which is run by group of student, works for betterment of the earth with children, adolescents and youth. We hope they will keep up this
kind of encouraging seminar more in their future program.

By Samiha Esha

The astonishing results of not eating!

Although it is a practice that's more than a thousand years old, fasting is suddenly "the" health fad of today in European countries. Obviously one can fast anywhere, but being at a Thai beach, or any other exotic place, makes it relatively easier. Weight loss, of course, is one of its side effects, but believers claim far greater benefits they say it can save lives!

The theory behind fasting is very simple. Normally, our bodies are in digestion mode. But, if we stop eating for just 36 hours, our bodies move from digestion to detoxification mode, and start cleaning the debris and toxins left behind by years of less-than-ideal 20th-century eating, drinking and living habits. In fact, after just 36 hours of fasting, the millions of enzymes normally used for digestion are converted into "scavenger enzymes".
These "scavenger enzymes" enter the bloodstream and go on a search-and-destroy mission against parasites, toxins and potentially cancerous, damaged cells. These are then broken down and dumped into the bloodstream for excretion through the kidneys, skin, lungs, and, of course, the colon.
In fact, volunteers trying this out have been astonished by the results. Guest books, at health resorts where this is practiced, are brimming with proof photos of what we all carry inside us; picture after picture of cleared out "matter". It looks like shiny, black, melted rubber, and, astonishingly, people pass up to about 15 pounds of it over the course of a week. One just has to see the photos to believe them!"

The black rubbery stuff is hardened mucus mainly," the owner of one of the health resort explained. To protect ourselves from any unwholesome foods, pesticides or parasites we take in, our bodies produce mucus, which lines the walls of out colon to prevent absorption into our bodies.

If we ate the right kind of foods, we would only need to produce this every now and then, and it would disperse naturally. However, because we do not always eat well, this mucus is almost constantly manufactured, until a wall an inch or more thick lines our colons.
This hinders our body's functions; the way dirty engine oil reduces a car's performance. Suddenly, starting to eat the right foods won't clear it away, but fasting will! Those who fast believe that many illnesses are connected with the residual mucus and toxins in our bodies. This is one way of getting rid of them.

Although there are no estimates for other parts of the world, according to the US Health Service, over 90 percent of Americans are walking around with clogged colons and could therefore do with a detoxification fast.
The removal of this horrific sounding (and looking) mucus debris and toxins is achieved with daily colon irrigations - most fasting resorts have private in-room set-ups so the fasting people can do it themselves, using a water-coffee-and-apple-cider-vinegar cocktail, which loosens any hardened substances. One volunteer claims to have "passed dozens of red little buttons" and many unidentified "black buttons" as well as "black rubbery
stuff". "It's too strange for words," she says.

People fasting should also take large doses of vitamin C and several other herbal supplements, fruit juices and a thin broth in the evening to keep them going. This is, in fact, ancient health therapy. Pythagoras required his students to fast for 40 days before receiving his higher teachings.

Fasting is also claimed to rebalance pH levels in the bloodstream. In Russia, it's been used to combat mental illness (the reportedly successful treatment is known as "the hunger cure"). Fasting is even said to help clean out wastes that cause dysfunction in many of our body's organs.

Despite the apparent evidence, Western medics are divided on whether or not fasting is a useful tool and the key to better health. One thing they do agree on, however, is that anyone should check with his or her own personal doctor or physicians before beginning even the shortest of fasts. Anyone with any kind of comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at jenniash@hotmail.com

By Jennifer Ashraf





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