Image by Rezwan

Overcrowded passenger ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj, Bangladesh

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

Remnants of Kiandra gold mine at New Chum Hill, #nsw #australia

February 29, 2004


Let them hate, so long as they fear.

- Accius

A word after a word after a word is power.

- Margaret Atwood 1939-, Canadian Novelist, Poet, Critic

The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum.

- Adlai E. Stevenson 1900-1965, American Lawyer, Politician

The fundamentalists strikes a blow to the free speech in Bangladesh

Humayun Azad, a professor of Dhaka University and a prominent writer (published 50 novels, poems, essays) was attacked by knife and seriously wounded on 27th of February night. He is fighting for his life and his family is getting death threats. Read more here.

It is believed that Humayun Azad's recently published satirical book 'Pak Sar Zamin Saad Baad' caused anger among the fundamentalist party activists in the country. The book focuses mainly on the psyche of an Islamic militant who wants to eliminate all opposition to his beliefs and establish a Taliban-style Bangladesh. The title of the book was taken from the Pakistani national anthem and symbolizes repression of the Pakistani rule till the 1971 War of Liberation, which gave birth to Bangladesh. The militant hero of the book wants to take Bangladesh back to the middle ages by creating a 'distorted Pakistan'. Some excerpts:

"We must seize power. Right now, we are with the power and the main party. At some point, power will come to us, we will become the main party. We are entering everywhere. Islam will be established. Pakistan will be created. There won't be any infidels, Hindus. There won't be any Hindu or Jew under the guise of Muslim. There won't be any university. Universities are places for illegal sexual activities where men and women sit together, walk and the devil lurks among them ..."

Read more about the book here.

However, this attack on Azad has put the "Nation in fury". Numerous protests and condemnations are taking place all over the country. The University teachers decided to suspend taking classes till the assailants are nabbed and the home minister resigns.

The protests in the Book Fair "Ekushey boi mela" was very well voiced as many people from all walks of life joined it spontaneously.

So it seems the time has come for another war. I am inspired by the fact that people are slowly seeing the evil in the double faced fundamentalist politicians. Lets see how the secular & peace-loving people of Bangladesh resist these fundamentalists, the ghosts of Pakistan from coming into power.

February 28, 2004


Recently a Saudi Arabian Tourism Web site, promoting a new program to encourage more foreign visitors, lists four groups not entitled to tourist visas:

* An Israeli passport holder or a passport that has an Israeli arrival/departure stamp.
* Those who don't abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behaviors.
* Those under the influence of alcohol will not be permitted into the Kingdom. &
* Jewish People

and important instructions include:

*If a woman is arriving in the Kingdom alone, the sponsor or her husband must receive her at the airport.
*Every woman must have confirmed accommodation for the duration of her stay in the Kingdom.
*A woman is not allowed to drive a car and can therefore only travel by car if she is accompanied by her husband, a male relative, or a driver.
*All visitors to the Kingdom must have a return ticket.

Here is the cache of that webpage. However upon protest of many concerns they removed the information and regretted for posting the erroneous information.

It seems that the Saudi rulers are showing their true colors. Alcohol consumption by wealthy Saudi Sheikhs is tolerable, but its a no-no for foreigners. Their hatred towards Jews of any nationality is explicit. Does Islam tell to boycott the Jews?Is anywhere in Quran written that women cannot drive a car or even a camel? Upholding Saudi tradition is always welcome. But except for the holy places like Mekkah & Madina, sshould all foreigners have to adapt to Saudi appearances?

Are Arab people going backwards? It seems that the bloody history of religion ruling countries, civilizations is going to be repeated with this rise of Islamic nationalism (err.. fundamentalism). What does the hatred against other religion indicate? Where these all are leading to?

Link via LGF

February 26, 2004


Mr. Mollah Mohammad Shaheen sums up the situation:

The political landscape in Bangladesh is turbulent now. The AL, the main opposition party, has decided to resort to street agitation to unseat the government. The government has completed only half its tenure. Actually, the BNP-led alliance suffers from superiority complex due to its majority and the AL suffers from inferiority complex due to its poll debacle. But a strong opposition is the mainstay of functional parliamentary democracy. The country lacks it at present.

There is a lot to say about the parliament boycott by the opposition party and the hartal (general strike) culture. If we look at two things:

* a member of the Parliament is under oath to 'faithfully discharge the duties'
* that he will not allow his/her 'personal interest to influence the discharge' of his/her duties.

A boycotter of the Parliament by alienating himself/herself from the proceedings of the Parliament has clearly broken his/her oath. The concerned member is thus guilty of violating the constitution. They have thus also broken the promise to the voters that "if elected he/she will represent the voters to the Parliament". Members of Parliament are definitely not above everything. They must be made accountable.

Hartal disrupts normal life and causes much economic damage and it is absolutely undemocratic.

Meanwhile Awami League has declared that "the alliance government is a great disaster". Its true that Awami League activists are harassed and attacked (check here for a more superfluous claim) by ruling party activists, but their fight should be in the parliament, not in the streets. But their claim is:

Awami League had been in parliament but the government's gesture forced us to stay away. We were not allowed to speak on public misery and national issues... Treasury bench members used filthy words against us. In such a situation, we can't join parliament.

The above is somewhat true and there is a ploy of the ruling party using the Mastans (hooligan) to stem Awami League and other opposition party activities against being a threat to the ruling party for the next election.

Nobody wants to lose power. Power is the root of all evil. No party is bothered about the common people. They want be elected and remain in power screwing people. Its the time when we all should screw them. But where is the alternative?

Initiative to end extreme poverty

The Seattle Initiative for Global Development is an alliance of business and civic leaders of United States whose goal is eliminating extreme global poverty. They have identified that the necessary elements in eliminating extreme poverty are: political will and increased resources, a long-term commitment, a multilateral approach and a coherent policy strategy. Their policy paper outlines the critical need for U.S. leadership in the following areas:

Investing in People: Promoting Development Through Healthy, Educated People and Economic Opportunity.
Investing in Countries: Supporting Good Governance and Open Political and Economic Systems.
Making Markets Work: Opening the Global Marketplace to Poor Countries and Poor People.
New Initiatives: Encouraging Innovative Approaches and Public-Private Partnerships.

I wish there were more such initiatives in every developing country.

Link via Worldchanging.

February 25, 2004

And finally, the Everest

Dalchhut, an adventure magazine arranged a countrywide competition to chose the team comprising of 3 students of Dhaka University, who will go on an expedition to Mount Everest. They will go to the Base camp-1 of the Everest in May after a mountaineering course at Uttar Kashi in India. The expedition is sponsored by Mountain Dew, a soft Drink of the beverage company, Pepsi. If they reach the mountain peak they will be the first ones to raise Bangladesh's flag there. Their team emerged as champions from 100 teams competed across the country.

How low can reality TV go?

Steve Johnson of Chicago Tribune reports:

Asked for the most outrageous show idea he turned down, Endemol USA President David Goldberg said, " 'Bangladesh Roulette,' which was filling a stadium in Bangladesh with 100,000 people and one person being chosen to come down and put a gun to their head, and if they survive, they win a million dollars."

Goldberg is not joking. A person really came up with this idea to him. He did not buy the show. But the question is how low can reality TV go?


Lets hear some soothing vocal excellence supported by cords, drums & strings and no electrical instruments:

Hat Tip: Pedram

February 23, 2004


Meet Abez, her sister Aniraz and her Mom all happily blogging.

February 22, 2004


Haloscan introduced trackback features for free! Don't forget to incorporate this feature if you are using Haloscan. Its easy to install but I am trying to figure out how to use it. This should allow other bloggers to show the connection of my post with their related posts and vice versa.

For information on "Ekushey February" please read this & this .

The international mother language day page of UNESCO is here.

February 21, 2004


A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.

- Gaston Bachelard 1884-1962, French Scientist, Philosopher, Literary Theorist

Everything can change, but not the language that we carry inside us, like a world more exclusive and final than one's mother's womb.

- Italo Calvino 1923-1985, Cuban Writer, Essayist, Journalist

To have another language is to possess a second soul.

- Charlemagne 742-814, King of the Franks, Emperor of the West

Those who know nothing of foreign languages, knows nothing of their own.

- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe 1749-1832, German Poet, Dramatist, Novelist

How many languages are there in the world? How about 5 billion! Each of us talks, listens, and thinks in his/her own special language that has been shaped by our culture, experiences, profession, personality, mores and attitudes. The chances of us meeting someone else who talks the exact same language is pretty remote.

- Source unknown

February 19, 2004

Same-sex marriage

Judging from the pros and cons (?) of same-sex marriage can you hear a revolution coming up in the western society?

I doubt whether it will make an impact like living-together or cohabitation. Although these experiments are not trouble free they follow the procreation rules of nature.

To sum up, my opinion is that homosexuality is not natural. The accumulation of wealth in the western society and no children of homosexuals to inherit them will cause an unbalance someday. And threats like Aids will increase among the gay-lesbian societies. Nature has its own revenge on the malpractice of the society.

Update: In reply to some of the comments I am clarifying one issue here. I said "threats like AIDS" not AIDS in particular. Who knows what could be nature's next revenge.

Its surprising though that homosexuality is prevalent in affluent and open societies rather than conservative and developing societies. For conservative societies, sex before marriage is a taboo and craving for opposite sex remains alive for many years since childhood. But in societies where you can have sex easily (ofcourse with consent) anytime you like since puberty, the attraction towards opposite sex diminishes as the the years progress. Human beings' nature is to discover new things and ideas. So sexual attraction to same sex is the hottest meme so to speak. I am not arguing that there should be laws preventing this. But I think let the behavior progress at its own merit. And you can imagine how it will be dealt in conservative societies, whereas it has aroused many controversy in the open society itself. E.g. Shanti & Jivha had some angry
comments to deal with after ranting on the same subject. Its unlikely that same-sex marriage would be a burning issue in Bangladesh in the near future.

February 18, 2004

Valentine the infidel

The times of Oman reports:

Saudi Arabia's religious police arrested more than 200 workers from Bangladesh and Myanmar as they celebrated St Valentine's Day outside the holy city of Makkah, where the traditional event for lovers is banned by fatwa.

The kingdom's grand mufti and highest religious authority, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, condemned the party-goers.

"What these workers did in a holy place by celebrating and singing and drinking alcohol is a very grave sin," he told the daily. "Committing a sin in a holy place is doubly sinful. Valentine's is an infidel tradition that has no place in Islam, " he said.

In my view, those who drunk alcohol, committed commited a crime under local law. But for singing and Partying? My gosh! Is that a place to live? And I have heard that the wealthy Arabs like to drink and partying and they do them discretely. I guess there is a different law for them. Those poor workers, who are only exploited and have nothing to cheer about in life get the axe.

If Valentine's tradition is infidel, then how do Saudis express love? Keeping their loved one's in Harem?

February 16, 2004

Is the recent image of Islam based on false notions?

The Charlotte Observer has published a review on the book "FOLLOWING MUHAMMAD: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World" written by Carl W. Ernst. There is a widespread belief that the greatest security threat to the United States is a possible confrontation between the West and Islam.

Ernst believes that almost all Americans lack a clear understanding of the religion that claims more than a billion adherents. He writes that many Americans are bound to a false notion of Islam as a backward, women-oppressing, fanatical, and fundamentalist religion that is responsible for the Middle East-based terrorism with which US is at war.

He claims, "the subject of Islam has become so controversial that some people cannot confront it." In this context, Ernst insists that the US citizens should come to terms with the great variety of Islam as it is practiced across the world.

Arabs represent only about 18 percent of the total Muslim population. More than half of all Muslims live in Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, and nearby areas. These peoples, their customs, their culture, their dress, their laws, and the Islam they practice vary from region to region.

He discovers one spot-on reason for the current disdainful state of the middle-east based Islamic countries:

between 1980 and 1999 the nine leading Arab economies registered 370 patents (in the U.S.) for new inventions. Patents are a good measure of a society's education quality, entrepreneurship, rule of law and innovation. During that same 20-year period, South Korea alone registered 16,328 patents for inventions. You don't run into a lot of South Koreans who want to be martyrs.

Quite true, the rise of fundamentalism which had hit distant places like Philippine & Africa stemed from these Arab countries. Because of the affluent oil money, people were not keen on education and self development. The absence of literature & cultural development (quite contrary to their old tradition) has made a vacuum in the understandings and depth of knowledge of the people in these region (with some exception). A certain kind of Islamic nationalism began to grow during this period because of the backwardness of mind. Now they are trying to spread this to all Islamic countries in the world. E.g. Islamic parties had no place in Bangladesh politics till the early eighties before the Ershad govt. rehabilitated them. But with those middle eastern money these parties spread like a virus in this country specially in the nineties.

The review says "Following Muhammad" is an important contribution to an informed understanding of Islam and its place in the modern world. It should be the required reading for those, who are trying to make sense of the challenges of the post 9-11 world.

Everybody should remember that the majority muslim nations are running their own version of war against the threat of fundamentalism and Islami nationalists in their country. People should not neglect this and make all muslim their enemy. Remember, only fundamentalists make religion important then anything else in life.

I picked this up from a Malaysian blog "Eric Mudasi's World View". Daily Times of Pakistan claims that:

reportedly an angry member of the Saudi royal family sprayed bullets on a number of foreign workers at a place 300 kilometres from Riyadh on February 4 when they were resting at a combination of picnic spots and agricultural farms. The firing left six people, five Bangladeshis and a Sudanese, dead. Later the killer burnt their bodies. The Saudi police rushed to the spot and arrested a man identified as a son of Abdullah bin Fahd, a member of the royal family.

Earlier I heard from local news that five Bangladeshi workers are missing in Saudi Arabia and presumed dead. But no such news has surfaced in the media till today.

Now the problem is that I could not find more about this news from any other source. If it is true then Bangladesh should take this up seriously to bring the guilty persons to justice and ensure fair trial to punish them.

February 15, 2004


You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.

- Sam Keen

True love begins when nothing is looked for in return.

- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.

- Mark Twain

February 14, 2004


We love ourselves more than anybody else. Those who like what we like, are our friends. They can participate in a prolonged discussion with us. Then we have a consensus. We love them too. Because they are like us not like the others. We do not want to listen to other thoughts, other religions, other views. They may dilute us, make us leftist, soft. We believe in nationalism. We want to make this world a civil place. We need to ensure everybody's freedom whether they want it or not. We want to make sure that our precious lives would be secure from all threats at any cost. We want every country to destroy WMD but we would keep some just in case.

I love that beautiful girl because she thinks I am the strongest guy in the block. And if I win her love then I can show everybody that I am the hero in the block worthy enough for a girl like her.

Now, do I hate those "we"s and "I"s? Narcissism rules everywhere. Where are the compassion and real love for others? Love means understanding and caring for others without "I" in it. Greatest loves involve greatest sacrifices.

When love can be free of the selfish us?

February 12, 2004


Alas a blog! posts an anotomy of rape culture. Although it is in the context of US, the problem is universal. The findings are:

* The overwhelming majority of rapists are male.

* The Myth of Masculinity - Masculinity is defined by power-over. The man who is overpowered by others is less then a man; the man who has power over others is a man among men. Once boys become teens, masculinity is additionally defined by the absolutely crucial task of getting laid.

* Low regard for women- women aren't respected as equals, by and large. Many rapists don't rape because they hate and want to hurt women; it's not that personal. Rapists rape because they want sex; they don't consider the woman's feelings at all, because a woman's feelings aren't worth considering. They're just women, after all.

* Sexuality is something possessed by women, which is given to (or taken by) men -it's pretty obvious why men's magazines, wanting to sell copies with a sexy cover, usually use photos of mostly-undressed women. But why do women's magazines do the exact same thing? Because to do a sexy magazine cover, you generally have to show a photo of a woman. Sexuality equals women in our culture; it is something possessed by women, not by men.

That's also why women are taught to wait to be asked for a dance (or for a date), while men are taught to do the asking. Women have it; men ask for it.

The reasons for rape cases prevailing in Bangladesh are:

*All of the above and
*Women and children are soft targets as many of them are less educated and ignorant of precautions.
*Its easy to get away with rapes in this country. Lack of witness does not make a firm case against rapist. Rape victims must produce proof of evidence to doctors within 24 hours, which is not possible allways.
* Rape victims are socially abhorred. So rape is used to take revenge or disgrace somebody.

So whats your view on this? Are there more reasons? What do you recommend to prevent this universal threat?

February 11, 2004


A friend writes to me on his expat life in Sydney:

....materialistic life is unable to turn out much more than the better. Existence like mouse � just move toward from hole to procure foods and get back again � the difference we make, we gotta find for the forthcoming, a budget estimated all over the life cycle.

Indeed, no difference between life of Sydney and Bangladesh unless style of life- Somewhere you�re gonna pull your Ford wheel and somewhere carts wheel- At the eve of your juvenile stage it had been said ahh!! We had not had a life!!!!- Does Sydney seize a good life! An Irish gal had been asked in the pub while dancing, she was furious �What�s life- Come on it�s been boring!!! Turn out guys!!!�

Life flourishes only into mind, shows your path in your way- miles to go � the miles are unhurried inside you. For me, better live for generation after generation, effort for generation. just say about life, wherever you are, the taste is same! The myth is �Live and let live�......

Spot on, my friend.

February 10, 2004

A 450 Seat Parliament - ploy of ruling coalition to win the next election

After spending a pleasantly unproductive two and a half years of parliamentary life in December 2003 BNP leadership announced out of the blue to go ahead for 450-member parliament including 50 nominated women members.

M. Shafiullah, who is a former Ambassador writes in The Daily Star:

BNP needs to accommodate all aspirants in 300 plus seats to turn tide lest the deprived and the dejected join other parties. To ensure much-promised 20 years in power, BNP needs to further strengthen Jamaat-i-Islami and other Islamic parties as powerful alliance. They need to be built as counter weight to secular forces. Islamic parties can be allocated a generous number of constituencies in an enlarged 400 seat parliament with adequate representation in the cabinet. Once the BNP alliance is re-elected with majority it would bag almost all 50 women's nominated seats.

How scary the ploy is if it is true.

Mr. Shafiullah also says:

The enormous cost involved for electing 450 members, in their accommodation, transports, perks, allowances and privileges, as well as in running and maintenance of the majestic parliament building need to be projected for public information. But in today's politics transparency and accountability is the last thing in the line. This culture has degenerated into gimmick and comic without which politicians seem to have no other alternative to amuse the nation.

Would the nation remain to be amused or do something to change all this?


If you have experience of living in Dhaka, then you know how common it is to see the newly paved road being dug out to install some utility lines. These dug out roads then wait for an indefinite period until the next round of repair adding much to the misery of city dwellers. After many sufferings and hue and cry the much awaited repair happens. Then again some other utility service provider is ready to dig out. It is really painful to see so much waste of resources in a poor country like Bangladesh.

The Daily Star tries to find out in this article why this indiscriminate digging prevails :

Some Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) engineers blamed foreign donors for such indiscriminate road digging. In many cases, donors, who sponsors new development projects suddenly release funds and ask service providers to complete the tasks in a stipulated time. In their view: "No matter how much co-ordination we maintain with one another, with the receipt of funds for work organisations concerned become desperate to obtain our permission to dig."

After carrying out recent expensive repairs, which were expected to last long, Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) is now going to allow service providers to dig up about 13,643 square metres of the newly repaired road surface.

Who said donors care about our infrastructure development? They are keen to install their own techologies and hardwares which this poor country will maintain by some other donated fund.

And the Bangladeshi Authorities are dishonest enough in endorsing such donor sponsored projects for their own benefits rather than thinking about the implications and the total mission of development.

February 09, 2004


We are for aiding our allies by sharing some of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs, but we are against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world. We set out to help 19 countries. We are helping 107 We spent $146 billion. With that money, we bought a 2-million-dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity.

- Ronald Reagan 1911-, Fortieth President of the USA, Actor


Receiving aid can sometime be discomforting when it comes with some conditions. Most NGOs and other projects with foreign aid active in Bangladesh are using latest model SUVs and full furnished offices. I have heard that the AID comes with the condition that all materials purchased would be from the originating countries. E.g. ignoring that clause, if an NGO choose to buy a Tk. 1 million Maruti SUV (including duties) instead of Tk. 5 Million Range Rover SUV (including duties) at market price then that would have saved Tk. 4 Million and would buy school books for 4000 students in a year. I am not mentioning here the high perquisites and remunerations of the NGO workers and consultants.

So you see many aid initiative detours its course in the process of implementation.

Bangladesh govt. is in a fix over payment of a Tk 310 million fine sentenced by a court in The Hague for canceling a contract with a Dutch company for supplying computers.
In December 2000, the Netherlands government had agreed to provide about Tk. 499.5 million as grant for introducing computer courses at secondary and higher secondary levels in 3,382 educational institutions under a project. The Dutch government selected Amsterdam-based Tulip Computers as the project implementation agency. But the Bangladesh Cabinet Purchase Committee on December 20, 2000 canceled the procurement initiative, finding the price offer to be 'inflated and unsolicited' as the revised unit price of Tk 70,000 (initial attempt for Tk. 99,000) for the computers were way above the market price (almost half of that).

Following the suspension of the project, Tulip Computers lodged complaint with a Dutch court accusing Bangladesh government of breaching an international contract. Bangladesh could not even contest in the case due to time constraint. Read more here.

I believe the third world countries would do better without those aids with conditions.

There is a huge controversy in Bangladesh regarding reuse of Plastic Water Bottles which is widely popular these days. The Daily Star has published an article claiming that there should be a statutory warning against reuse of this bottle.

Their concern is that several sources has confirmed:

The plastic (called polyethylene terephthalate or PET) used in these bottles contains a potentially carcinogenic element (something called diethylhydroxylamine or DEHA). The bottles are safe for one-time use only; if you must keep them longer, it should be or no more than a few days, week max, and keep them away from heat as well. Repeated washing and rinsing can cause the plastic to break down and the carcinogens (cancer-causing chemical agents) can leak into the water that you are drinking.

But some argue that US food and drug administration are allowing PET for food grade using & bottling medicine. So it is safe for multiple use.

Now the people are in a fix what to do who are so habituated in reusing plastic water bottles.

But before that many people are more concerned at the moment about another "Bottled danger".


The group of economic cooperation consisting of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand (BIMSTEC) has recently signed a free trade agreement between six countries. The group has included Nepal and Bhutan and Bangladesh decided to stay out of the treaty.

The reason behind Bangladesh's dithering is that it insisted on including a clause that would compensate Dhaka for the losses it is likely to suffer because of lower import duties on manufacturing. Sources said Bangladesh's tactics did not go down well with the other countries, particularly India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. However, the others decided to go ahead with the pact.

Bangladesh said it would sign later after compensation issues were sorted out and cabinet approved the agreement. Read more here.

Well I don't have anything to say if its true. But I have heard from somewhere that there is a propaganda of the present government that the past government (Awami League) tried to flood Bangladesh with cheap Indian goods in shadow of this treaty. Apart from the political hogwash, Bangladesh has the right to protect its own growing manufacturing industry. But the govt. has to take measures diplomatically so that the honest efforts are not maligned politically.

The free trade pact, if implemented, would span South Asia, which has a population of more than 1.3 billion and Southeast Asia, home to 500 million people. The seven members of the regional economic cooperation group have a combined gross domestic product of more than $700 billion.


Worldchanging discusses about the pro and cons about electronic voting and the importance of homogeneous ballot paper designs. While some people argue that a paper audit trail is impossible for electronic voting machines, The Scientific American outlines this concept for a future machine:

"Electronic ballot boxes would be equipped with a glass screen and a printer. Each vote would be printed out on paper and the result dropped behind the glass screen for the voter to review before choosing to cast or void it. Such a system, [Mercuri] says, would reduce voter error and provide for a recount, if needed. Meanwhile the electronics could tabulate votes quickly, as our impatient society demands."

This might be possible for affluent countries but how the poor countries will embrace new expensive technologies only time will tell. As far as I know every country has developed their own ballot paper designs according to their convenience and wealth. For exampleBangladeshihi ballot papers have big symbols and the South African one (of 1994) includes pictures of the candidate. These matters ofcourse as Bangladeshi people are moracquainteded with the voting symbols and South African people with the Picture of candidates (I recall that many uneducated tribal people came to the polling booth and was crying Mandela with the seal in their hand).

So would homogeneous electronic voting system be effective and viable in all countries?

February 07, 2004


Our right is only over our actions, not over the fruits (outcome) of the actions.

- The Bhagabat Geeta -47th verse/2nd Chapter


Our good friend Laura had faced some struggles. She prayed to God for solace but she felt that God is million miles away and asked this question in her post:

Lately I've been thinking that the notion of God 'having a plan' is purely ludicrous. I know there is God's will , but does he really have a plan? Could it be that Love isn't about anybody's agenda, even God's?

I have received one email from another friend which goes like this:

Before rushing helter skelter to find God, let us start the search, by looking within ourselves. What we find is sometimes not very pleasant. Most people complain that they cannot change themselves. What I feel and say to them is, don�t be too hard on yourself.

Look back! Do you react less to circumstances, than you used to, a few years ago? If yes, then you are on the right track. If one learns to communicate with oneself, one progresses spiritually, and one is never lonely. If one learns to really meditate, one will look for only one boon, that of �peace� And that happens when one accepts, that things are, the way they are.

See! No one is asking you to give up trying to change circumstances; to the way you would like them to be. You can study hard and you may be a very bright student, but you could fall ill and fail the examinations. One has to renounce oneself to the above outcome.

Wow. Good stuff.

February 05, 2004


8 Bangladeshis were among the 244 pilgrims who were trampled to death during the stoning of the devil ceremony of Hajj on 1st of February. When questioned about the safety measures that were in place, Iyad bin Amin Madani, the Saudi minister for the Hajj, replied: "I assure you that all preparations are always made, but we don't always know God's intentions."

Glenn Reynolds quotes an American Muslim who performed Hajj recently:

The Saudis couldn�t even organize the hajj safely. Each day, as I performed the rituals of the hajj, I was part of massed crowds of Muslims from all over the world: Turks and Pakistanis, Nigerians, Malaysians, Arabs. We would shamble forward without order or seeming direction, endangering lives as we knocked over women, the lame and the elderly in our hurry to get from one ritual to the next. Once, in a street so filled with pilgrims that I could not take one step forward, I was forced to jump into the back of a truck to avoid being killed in a stampede.

At the stoning ritual, I watched little girls fall under the crowds of pilgrims: Turks shoving Arabs, Africans shoving Indians until each day a few more pilgrims were trampled to death. The next day I would read of the incident in the Saudi Times (FOURTEEN PILGRIMS KILLED IN STAMPEDE) which would quote a hajj official who never took any responsibility for the deaths. He would only say that since the pilgrims had died on hajj they would �surely enter Paradise�. There was never any promise to cut the number of hajjis or control the outsized crowds to prevent these needless deaths.

Andrew Anthony of the Guardian writes in an article:

no one else is interested in bringing attention to this recurring carnage because western governments - some of whose citizens are part of the pilgrimage - are afraid of offending the Saudis. And most westerners probably dismiss the whole thing as the strange workings of religious fanaticism...

Andrew Sullivan says:

the constant mass deaths that accompany the annual Muslim Hajj is more to do with bad organization than with a "death-cult." I don't believe all those victims chose to die and others glorified it.

He also raises the question:

If, say, 244 people had been killed at the Vatican in Holy Week, do you think that we would have moved on from the story by now? People would have been held accountable; journalists would have gone over the catastrophe in excruciating detail; relatives of the dead would be interviewed; and on and on. But in Saudi Arabia? It's just God's will. May happen next year as well.

True indeed.

February 04, 2004

Australians prefer to work overseas

According to this article in "The Age", some new generation Australians have these to say about their country:

"I love a sunburnt country, but I'd really rather live and work elsewhere."

"Our child will be exposed to an array of experiences; Australia is not going to be able to provide more for my child."

According to figures from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, the number of Australians moving overseas on a permanent or long-term basis has grown steadily from 74,000 a year in 1993 to almost 120,000 last year, many of them heading to the commercial hot spots of London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Frankfurt. Almost 1 million Australians are currently living overseas. Now there is a growing concern that some of the bright Australians emigrated abroad might never come back to their native land.

Via Lost in Transit.


Don't be shocked or worried seeing the title, however I feel many might be having this thought considering Bangladesh's political uncertainties and deteriorating law-and-order situations.

A regime has changed in Bangladesh cricket when Khaled Mahmud (Sujan) has been replaced by Habibul Basar (Suman) for the upcoming Zimbabwe Tour. There have been much fuss in the sports arena regarding Mahmud's stripping of captaincy from the test side and his declaration of retirement. But the drama did not end there as he has been requested not to as he will remain to be Bangladesh's one-day team captain in the Zimbabwe tour. Andrew Miller writes an interesting article covering the strange goings-on in the Bangladeshi captaincy stakes.

Meanwhile Bangladesh is touring Namibia, a country close to claiming One-day eligibility status to prepare for the upcoming tour. However the two outing they have had produced two wins for Bangladesh but they are not at all convincing. Check this & this results.

The batting side is improving with Ashraful playing more sensibly. But the bowling department clearly lacking the sting of Masrafee who is unavailable for injury. Bangladesh might fancy a win in the Zimbabwe tour, but it will still be a tough ask as everybody has to perform well and be consistent.

February 01, 2004


In olden times, sacrifices were made at the altar, a practice which is still very much practiced.

- Helen Rowland 1875-1950, American Journalist

Sacrifice, which is the passion of great souls, has never been the law of societies.

- Henri Frederic Amiel 1821-1881, Swiss Philosopher, Poet, Critic

The whole point of a sacrifice is that you give up something you never really wanted in the first place. People are doing it around you all the time. They give up their careers, say -- or their beliefs -- or sex.

- John Osborne 1929-, British Playwright


Tomorrow is Eid-ul-Azha, one of the two biggest religious festivals of Muslims. For Muslims all over the world, the celebration is mainly slaughtering sacrificial animals on this day after the Eid Prayer.

Some 3800 years ago, on this day, Prophet Ibrahim (A) offered to sacrifice his beloved son Prophet Ismail for the satisfaction of Almighty Allah. But in spite of his willingness, Ismail was spared by Allah and a ram was sacrificed instead. That's how the ritual began.

The sacrifice of animals is symbolic. Hazrat Ibrahim's sacrifice conveys something noble and something ideal. That is the Muslims who sacrifice animals every year on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha in consonance with Lord Creator's commandment should sacrifice atleast a small portion of their wealth keeping in view the symbolism in order to bridge the wide gap between the haves and havenots. As it is stated in Quran:

"It is not your meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is piety that reaches Him:"

But it will be a sorry state of Dhaka city tomorrow as mostly the goats and cows would be sacrificed openly in the streets. For lack of sufficient slaughter houses in the city and ample space inside own house compounds most people have no option than to choose the streets. There are also competitions among the riches for purchasing the costliest and the largest animal. Many slaughters more than one animal in one family. They do not think that the cattle and goat population in our country cannot meet their demand. Every year during Eid-ul-Azha many cattles are brought from India through legal and illegal channels. For Hindus these cattles are a symbol of God. They do not eat beef. And we, the Muslims in Dhaka are not well mannered enough to keep the sacrifices away from a public place like the street. For children and weak hearted also cattles lying in a pool of blood is not a good sight. It is said that slaughtering your own animal is advisable. How savage! I would never endorse it. And what happens to all the flesh? One-third of it has to be given to the poors. One-third for the relatives and one-third for own consumption. I see everytime many families are really in dire straits not being able to manage storing all the meat given by the relatives. And you would not find real poor persons to give away. There are some professional meat collectors disguised as poors who will sell away the meat to some others (or even to some restaurants!). What an waste!

I thought we are living in the twenty first century not 1700 years BC. We always forget that the sacrifice is symbolic. There has to be some other way to sacrifice a portion of our wealth. Considering the growing population and increased purchasing power, there will be more demand for sacrifice animals. Will they face extinction or will the agriculture or dairy industry will have problems because of this; only time will tell.

I wish I could spend these holidays in some other place. I hate to see blood.