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By Adnan M. S. Fakir
Photos by Finding Bangladesh

When you're an Egyptian pharaoh everyone will love and respect you because otherwise you will chop their heads off. Then you can build a shnazzy pyramid to lovingly preserve your mummy inside. Sadly, we don't have shnazzy pyramids or crazy people-killing pharaohs in Bangladesh.

When you're a powerful Muslim leader like Khan Jahan Ali (pbuh) what you do get is a crafty tomb that can house crocodiles who apparently determine your eligibility for going to heaven.

Built in the 15th century, the tomb of Khan Jahan Ali (pbuh) is located at Bagherhat, Khulna and to this day the site draws hundreds of followers who come to pray and to visit the famous crocodiles - Kalapahar and Dholapahar. These crocs would guard his place and stuff. Cool shit.

The two crocodiles at the Tomb of Khan Jahan Ali (pbuh) are magical, mystical beings. Certain Khadems at the tomb spend their time taking care of them and selling chicks (the edible kind) to followers of Khan Jahan Ali (pbuh) so that they can feed the crocodiles. It is widely believed that any follower who visits the crocodiles but leaves without feeding them, will experience heavenly wrath of herculean proportions.

What many of the people don't know is that Kalapahar and Dholapahar have been dead for over 100 years. The crocs that currently infest the waters were brought in from Madras, India and contain no mystical powers. Oops.

I'm not sure if you have ever tried it but raw chicken tastes funny. Even for a crocodile, a diet consisting entirely of raw chicken is tragic. Besides, getting into heaven is a complicated procedure. I doubt that the crocodiles would want anything to do with this admission process. The real reason why Khadems are encouraging such beliefs is because they want, you guessed it, money.

These folks charge Tk. 300 for one chicken to feed the crocodile. The chicken is usually missing half their body parts. Did we mention that the crocodiles are also force-fed, poked and abused? Guess who's not going to heaven now.

Despite repeated reports of crocodile abuse in national newspapers, no sincere steps have been taken against it. Because, you know, no one wants to mess with the whole heaven-hell entry pass thing. But this only reflects poorly on our awareness as a nation. The legacy of Khan Jahan Ali (pbuh) who almost singlehandedly established an empire from the jungle that Bagherhat used to be deserves to be free from such petty exploitation.

Catch more of Khan Jahan Ali (pbuh) and his conquests at www.facebook. com/findingbangladesh.

Hey students, leave those teachers alone

Loud laughter - that's what we do when a good joke is cracked, sometimes even when we don't understand the punch-line. For instance, in a classroom where the student burst into laughter in chorus, most of them don't get it. Some laugh because others are laughing; some do it because laughter is infectious. People today (most people) laugh at anything and everything. They just need a faint hint of humour, of a pun, of an innuendo and there goes the green light. Yes, it is good for health and laughter is the best medicine and all that, but sometimes we cross lines.

Cracking jokes on teachers; mimicking, mocking and posting teacher memes are currently the trend. But is it a good trend? Laughing at their expense once in a while is acceptable and yours truly does it too, but hey, they're teachers. They practically build us, our character. No matter what they look like, what 1960s Hawaiian shirts they wear, how they say 'social' (read: shoshal), how they put on make-up like a wannabe lady-gaga...

See? I did it again.

Teachers really deserve better than this. There are plenty of them worthy of all the appreciation, approbation and regard we can provide them with. The least we could do is not ridicule them wholesale.

It is high time for us to realise that 'pochafying' people who deserve respect should be stopped or at least practiced at a minimum level. Treat others the way you wanted to be treated. And we should all try to be a little more empathetic, a little more decent as human beings.

By Farhin Ahmed Mim, 9th grade


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