Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, August 5, 2004





As for sale

Sayeed Mahmud Nizam

DId you do badly in your O-Levels? Are you fretting about how you will show your certificate to your parents? Take a chill pill! After all, with a place called Nilkhet around, who needs to worry?

You heard me. If your report card needs a makeover, you should just head straight to Nilkhet. Over there you will find shops that make fake certificates that apparently look just like the real deal. In fact, the makers of these certificates purport that the fakes are so good that even an expert will not be able to distinguish between a fake and an original certificate.

Think I'm taking you on a ride? I promise, I am not. After hearing about fake certificates being made at Nilkhet, I personally went there to verify whether the practice actually takes place or not. Within the matter of 10 minutes I managed to find a shop that was willing to prepare a fake certificate for me (I am not going to disclose the name of the shop because if I do so then they will send me on the fast track to death!). The man who would carry out the task said to me: "Ami onek loker jonno certificate banaye dise, karo kono oshobida hoy nay. Banaye deyar pore apni original er shate milaye loyben, dekhben kono partthoko payben naa (I have made certificates for many people, and none of them have faced any problems. After I finish making your fake certificate, you can compare it with an original and I can assure you that you will not find a difference)." For this 'noble' service of his he asked for a mere TK 1000, and said that I would not have to pay any amount in advance. As for delivery, he said that if I placed my order at 6PM, he would have my certificate ready by 10PM.

Besides making fake certificates, I was told by the man that he could make a fake identity card for me. According to him, I would find life very difficult without such a card. He said: "America gele to ar Bangladesher moto eto shohoje mod paben naa. Boyosh ekush na dekhaite parle hera apnar kase mod bikri korbe naa (It's not as easy to get alcohol in America as it is over here. You have to prove you're 21 before they let you drink)." If I placed an order for both a fake certificate and a fake identity card, he promised to provide me a substantial discount. When I enquired exactly how much I would have to pay, he said: "Dui hazar Taka to rakha lage, tobe apnar jono atharosho rakhbo (Well, I normally charge TK 2000, but for you I will do it at a special rate of TK 1800)."

So, did I actually get the fake papers? I didn't. It didn't feel right, cheating my parents. Were I to go abroad and use those fake ID's to get into bars, and spend my parents' hard-earned money on alcohol, I doubt I'd be able to live with myself. However, if conscience is not a problem for you, feel free to pay those ingenious counterfeiters a visit. If you ever get caught and thrown into jail or something, don't forget to send me a postcard.

Coming back to the fake certificates, sure, the people at Nilkhet promise exact duplications, but you might consider the fact that these people don't have the technology to reproduce those hi-fi magnetized strips you find on GCE certificates. So while you might just get away with fooling your folks, don't expect the universities to buy it. Even if you do get away with it, if you haven't earned the kind of grades that show up on those pieces of paper, then you are bound to get caught. There was this one fellow I know, who managed to get into a renowned private university using fake certificates. A semester or so later, his poor performance compelled the authorities to perform a background check, whereby, he was caught and expelled. What a disgrace!

So, there you have it. Just like a 'true democracy' our country offers you the choice between an original and a fake certificate! The buffoons cannot resist the temptation of owning a fake certificate showing excellent results, and end up living their lives with the fear of getting caught. On the other hand, the smart people study hard so that the question of doing poorly in an exam does not arise. These smart people end up getting an ORIGINAL certificate that certifies that they got 6 or more A's in their O-Levels. What kind of loser brags about grades that he didn't actually get?

So if you don't want to have to resort to such desperate means as making fake certificates to save your hide, start studying hard and I assure you that you will have an ORIGINAL certificate proclaiming excellent results. Trust me, it can be done. In other words, you do not have to go to Nilkhet to obtain 6 or more A's!

NOTE: We at Rising Stars do not support this act of faking certificates or Ids rather we insist that you should study hard and think about getting the original like our writer suggests.

Driving Us Crazy

Ayesha S. Mahmud

LAst week I had a huge problem in my hands. I needed to get a driver's license as fast as possible, preferably within a couple of weeks. Now that wasn't really the problem. The truth is I do not know the first thing about driving and the only thing I have ever driven is my toy car. I soon found out, though, much to my shock, that no problem is too big when you are in Dhaka.

So there I was with my not-so-small problem, thinking how I could possibly get a license in so short a time. As I soon discovered, I had no reason to worry. I contacted a few friends of mine (and their driver's, of course!) and a few phone calls later I found myself in front of a small building in a rather shady part of town. It had a large signboard perched on top, proclaiming it to be a driving school, but there was not a single car to be seen anywhere. My pocket was bulging with a thick bundle of crisp notes that I had picked up from the bank, on my way. I was quickly ushered in and taken in front of a rather creepy looking man who invited me to sit down. "Aapni deeriving paren to?" he asked. "Oh, yes, yes! Of course!" I replied, hoping that the smile, on my face, didn't look completely fake. That was the end of my driving test. I filled out a form and the money exchanged hands underneath the table. I left the building with my mind and pocket both feeling lighter and the promises of a license within two weeks ringing in my ears.

So I finally got my license yesterday and it is absolutely perfect. No way to detect any fraud whatsoever. The thing is I never actually planned to drive around Dhaka with my fake license. I do not want to die young! The reason why I needed the driving license, to begin with, is another long story so I won't delve into that today. But the whole incident made me think about what is happening in Dhaka. Can it really be this easy for people to get a driving license in Bangladesh? Can anyone who has a little money, the right contacts and a couple of stamp size photographs get a license this easily?

Driving in Dhaka is actually quite a frightening experience. If you ask me, being a passenger is pretty scary too! There are cars coming from every direction possible. There are huge trucks and buses trying to establish their authority and almost pushing us, mere mortals, aside. Traffic rules are things of the past and everyone seems to have their own rules for driving. Everyone is in such a hurry that it makes one wonder if the end of the world is near! It is almost like a jungle, where the animals are fighting to defend their territory and where only the strongest will survive. How many of these drivers have a proper license? How many of them learned the rules of driving? How long will it be before someone makes a fatal mistake?


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2003 The Daily Star