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

August 31, 2005


"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me."
Shappir's take on life has prompted me to write this. If I consider an average Bangladeshi's life expectancy then I have crossed half of my life. Sometimes I ponder about what significant things I did in my past. I try not to think much about afterlife but I am interested in doing things right at the current time as a sound present leads to a better future. I am a bit laidback in preparing for disaster management and planning the financials but I should do it as I am responsible for a family now. My wife tells me I can never be a businessman because I can't say no when it’s required. But I don't regret the way I have been.

I think a person should always try to be positive, creative and enjoy every bit of life in his own way. One faces many struggles in the life to achieve the set goals. But I think its better not to have a fixed goal rather some alternative choices to lead one's life. Sometimes its better and refreshing to listen to your heart rather than mind.

From the life and religion I have learnt that these things are required for a happy and carefree life:

* Never expect something from others (especially close ones) even if you deserve it and try to be self sufficient. Your life will be filled by tiny to big unexpected loves from others.
* Never do injustice to others and never borrow money which you cannot repay.
* Don't waste a minute, there is always something better you can do, like learn a new language/art or help others.
* Don't compare your life with others. A bike can give you better satisfaction than a Mercedes.
* Have good company. Engage in social activities to your taste. When like-minded people are around you can share your laughter and cries easily. There is no worse confinement than a lonely life.
* Respect others, even if it is your enemy.
* Don't leave anything for tomorrow if you can do it today.

And lastly don't give advice to others, you don't know what they are capable of (I am just blurting out btw).

August 30, 2005


Nir Ofir, an Israeli blogger first noticed that the date 3108 (August 31st) looks like the word "Blog". He started to promote an idea based on this.

David Sasaki of 'Global Voices Online' writes about Nir's idea:

He had also become increasingly aware that as more weblogs from around the world make their way onto the internet, the more we get stuck in our regular reading habits without searching for new content and new voices from other cultures and viewpoints. Despite the rhetoric of the internet making the world a smaller place, most weblogs still link to bloggers from their same country and with their same political outlook.

His solution?
In one long moment on August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post a recommendation of 5 new Blogs, Preferably, Blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

There are specific instructions on how to format your blog post in English as well as 10 other languages.
In the spirit of this day, I hereby tag five blogs that others may find interesting:

1) A sunshine too brief: Writings of Tasnuva, a Bangladeshi-Canadian girl on her personal life and the challenges faced by the Bangladeshi Diaspora.

2) Black Looks: Musings and rants of an African women promoting her continent and humanity.

3) Sepia Mutiny: Sepia Mutiny is a blog begun by a number of South Asian American bloggers in 2004. Since its inception, it has become a space for many Desi people--and particularly individuals of South Asian descent who are now in the United States--to talk about issues of interest to them. (Wikipedia)

4) The Religious Policeman: The satirical diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

5) United we Blog!: A group blog dedicated for a peaceful & democratic Nepal.

I would request all the bloggers who read this post to promulgate five blogs of interest in their own blog.

Let us take some time and read some besides the fraternity and make this day a success.


* BlogDay2005 wiki, Bridgeblog Index

* Tags: ,

* BlogDay Buzz at: Technorati, IceRocket, Feedster and BlogPulse

* Increase your IQ by blogging

* If bloggers had been around throughout history

* One breast beats being dead

* Football is un-Islamic

* BBC TV channels will be put on net

* Jamdani is not for the poor

* Google in Bangla

August 28, 2005


What do the terrorists hate in Bangladesh? Probably the empowerment of women, the development of Bangladesh and the democracy. Just one example: Bangladesh is headed by women prime ministers since 1991. While the institutions like Grameen Bank, BRAC and other NGOs are revolutionizing the country by reducing poverty and promoting women, the antagonists (mainly the Islami fundamentalists) are seeing these as a threat.

When the government is not taking initiatives, the pioneer of microcredit & chief of Grameen Bank Dr. Md. Yunus has chalked out a plan for an all out effort to eradicate Monga (a famine-like situation that comes round in North Bengal every year). This will make you realize his brilliance. Sadly the fundamentalist terrorists responded to these efforts like this. The government is not patronizing the NGOs as it should.

This blog suggests that:

these changes -- especially those affecting gender roles -- are seen as enormously threatening to the fundamentalist worldview, and hence are likely to continue to be favorite targets of hostility.

So we should work in unison to make democracy effective, eradicate fundamentalism and the terrorists it brews and thus diffuse the antagonists of empowerment of women & development of Bangladesh.

Related: Small Fortunes is an one hour documentary describing the impact that microcredit is having throughout the world.

More and more shocking details are coming up from the investigations of the 8/17 bombings in Bangladesh.

According to today's news:

Two arrested militants confessed that United liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), a separatist militant group of India had a link with the serial bomb blasts. The arrested militants confessed that they were the activists of Jamayatul Mujahedin (JMB) and Shaikh Abdur Rahman was their leader. Prior to the bombings a group of 50 persons including the arrested two received a month-long military training at Delduar Upazila under Tangail district. During the training they met Abdur Rahman and Tapan Malitha, leader of another outlawed leftist organisation, Janajuddha.

The Home Ministry sources said that Shaikh Abdur Rahman and some other terrorists left the country following the blasts and are now staying in India.

The links between these terrorist outfits do not fit to logic and point to a deeper conspiracy than mere a terror attack to establish Islamic sharia law, as the JMB leaflets claimed.

There are more shocks:

All the fanatic militant leaders of India and Bangladesh used to maintain close international links and had connections with Kuwait and they were provided with funds for carrying out terrorist activities by some billionaires of Kuwait, according to a competent source.

Eight instructors came from three states of India–Bihar, Hariyana and Punjab–over the last three years and trained nearly 100 followers of the religious zealot Abdur Rahman in using sophisticated firearms.

As Bangladesh is doing the house-cleaning, I think India should do it too by extraditing the Bangladeshi terrorists.

I have said it before that the illegal border trades and the involvement of the security forces people are the key causes for the India-Bangladesh border strifes.

Now the Indian media is taking notice as it finds that the headache of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel is the smuggling of cattle from India to Bangladesh, which is valued approximately at Indian Rupees 1000 crore per annum (approx 2% of Bangladesh budget). Although they aim to fence much of the land borders, there are 4000 km waterways acting as borders which are very difficult to police.

'The Economic Times' also finds that:

India would have earned some revenue, if it had legalised the cattle export to Bangladesh. But no government can take the initiative of legalising it because of the sensitivity of cattle export.

Legal trade would also be beneficial to Bangladesh as instead of those middlemen, the government would get customs revenue. So I think its high time to legalize the cattle trade between Bangladesh, which will also help reduce the recurring border problems.

August 27, 2005


* The alleged mastermind of the 7/7 London Bombings, Haroon Rashid Aswat, is a British "Intelligence Asset".

* Terrorism draws its strength from undisclosed fund.

* August 17 bombings: Just a dress rehearsal?

* Bangladesh Bombings: the most sophisticated attack since 9/11

* When is a terrorist not a terrorist?

* The makkah of the future: between the ka'bah and kfc

* Fanatical Preacher issues Death Fatwa - The Christian & Muslim versions

* Why do Saudi Arabians treat the Quran so literally? Ask Alhamedi.

August 25, 2005


The above is a tagline of a training course on leadership (and other corporate aspects) in which I am participating. It is really a slendid course sponsored by my employer and contain participants from local & multinational organizations. I was amazed to see that the local concerns are spending much on automation and training to bring professionalism into their affairs. The trainer is a competent Bangladeshi professional who has extensive practical knowledge in many of the industries. We are learning to look at every problem positively and ways to develop leadership qualities.

Leaders are driven by visions rather than dreams (like some of our politicians). A vision is a dream with required actions to make it a reality. We have learnt about team building and managing team members. A leader conquers the mind of his/her team members and guide them towards the objective. He replaces the word I with we and mean it.

Although aimed for the corporate sector , I find that this training is also applicable to our politicians who lacks these qualities. You can assess the requirement from the following. The growth and development of Bangladesh so far is contributed by the local entrepreneurs, ngos and some multinationals. It is the local entrepreneurs of garments factories who worked hard towards quality and speed to clinch the international market. It is the local manufacturers who produced world class batteries, lights and medicine to export them to other countries after catering domestic needs. The ngos have done extensive work on changing the socities and bettering the lives of the have-nots. The government is only backing up afterwards but did not intiate any of this. These private organisations had understood the potentials of human resources and provided them training to thrive towards there visions. If the political leaders had the qualities, they could lead Bangladesh to another level.

I was also pleased to learn that now a days there are many private universities coming up to create leaders for tomorrow. BRAC University has a vision to be the best University in the region in five years. They have a two month long offsite program for the students, which trains them in communications and basic etiquettes. Surely these will make good use of the abundance of our human resources and build our future leaders to steer our country towards prosperity.

The training schedules have made my life very hectic as I had to squeez my regular official and family commitments. Still I could manage time for this & this. I did not break down under pressure. From the training I have learnt to be positive. Leaders are created, not born.

August 24, 2005


* Detrerrent democracy

* Bangladesh's political bombshell

* Bangladesh: Impunity encouraging killings of human rights defenders

* Why aren’t 350 bombs exploding simultaneously big news?

* Water is a necessity but SAFETY FIRST!

* Would you 'Adam and Eve' it?

August 23, 2005


The Bangladesh government has atlast taken an all out effort to catch the terrorists who were behind the 18/7 near-simultaneous bombings across the country. The daily Star reports that police offloaded and arrested a top cleric Moulana Fariduddin Masud, a former Director of Islamic Foundation, from a London- bound flight of Emirates Airlines on monday morning for his suspected involvement in the attacks. Newspaper reports say that police have issued warrants againt hundreds of Islami activists including declaring a bounty for JMB's guru Abdur Rahman. Hundreds have been banned to leave the country.

The government is also looking for nine foreigners who were involved in this attack.

Meanwhile the JMB's leaflet found at the scene is being proudly presented in this Jihadi site. It is obvious that there is an international link to the bombings.

August 20, 2005


* an open letter to all bangladeshis - Electric Blues

* Bangladesh : Islamists Press their Agenda Displaying Strength through Bomb Blasts -SAAG

* In Bangladesh, terrorists signal their arrival - Robi Sen & Nitin Pai

* Bangladesh bombs overlooked in US media - The Lawson review

* Political instability in Bangladesh and the failure of democracy -Shakeer Rahman

* Killing Your Own Brothers And Sisters -Common Folk Common Sense

* Jihadists murder Muslims -Austin Bay

* They are nihilists - A way in the world

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August 19, 2005


The above picture (courtesy the Daily Star) sums up the interesting political situation in Bangladesh. The oppositions are blaming government, the government and the Islami parties are blaming Awami League and its allies and the general people are confused as it is pretty clear that the banned Islamic terrorist organization Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is behind this. But who is behind them is still unclear.

If you read the leaflets (translated by Imtiaz) of JMB you will see that they have threatened the government also:

If the government does not establish Islamic rule and instead arrest Muslims for seeking Allah’s laws and suppresses ulemas (learned in religion) the JM will go into action against concerned people and authorities

I don't understand why the ruling qualition is taking this lightly? There are still patrons of JMB within the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party(BNP).

They are failing to comprehend that (As Nitin puts it):

"Far from scaring the West out of Muslim countries, the attacks will further bolster the international perception that Bangladesh is on the brink of state failure."

And what this state of failure will trigger? A civil war or another military coup, any one of which won't be good for Bangladesh.

Today I have heard some weirdest of remarks from the Islamic party leaders (actually they become very active only on Friday after the Jumah prayers).

* Shaikhul Hadis said: How can a banned organization have this much power to launch a coordinated attack? It must be the work of the ones who are trying to portray as a taliban state.
* Jamaate Islami spokesman Kamaruzzaman said: It is a ploy to defame the Islami parties.
* Another said: Islam does not support extremism, so these people are not really Islamic, some other force aided by another country is doing this in disguise. He expressed concern that Islami party activists may be harrassed during the police actions.

You have heard these lines before. I am surprised that they did not even consider a bit about the threat to the general people. Even if they wanted to disown these extremists (which is expected from them), they should have been a bit nice about asking the government to nab the perpetrators and demand their justice.

I think like many other previous unresolved attacks (Awami League, Kibria, British Highcommissioner) this issue will die down with the perpetrators ready to strike their second wave of attack.

The chance of the nation responding to the threat as one will remain an illusion.

"As a deadly virus infects the blood unnoticed
Then scary infections erupts from the skin.
We see a dreadful disease in the nation’s body
Slowly infested by an incurable germ, in disguise of
The fundamentalists and the afterlife lovers.

Once religion brought light in the society’s dark corners.
Now the bones and rotten flesh of its skeleton
Are peddled by some selfish and hypocritical human beings,
Who misinterprets the holy texts by their made-up stories,
The religious extremists have no religion
They have only greed and wicked intentions."

- translation from a Begali poem by Rudro M. Shahidullah

Life in Bangladesh is becoming normal after 2 days of the blast. But a question mark is hanging on everybody's mind. What will happen next? The 7/18 blasts were a wake up call, to let everybody know the power of the killer virus that has infested Bangladesh.

All the evidences and confessions of some nabbed terrorists point at the banned Islamic extremist Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), who carried out Wednesday's countrywide bombings. Their tentacles spread in the last decade aided by the internal security authority's laid back approach. In some places they even encouraged them as these outfits were diffusing the communists extremist outfit 'Sarbahara', which they could not control. You cannot keep a snake as a pet and always control him. The serpent has many heads:- Jama'atul Jihad, Jama'atul Mujahideen, Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh (Ahab), Ahle Hadith Jubo Shangha, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), Harkatul Jihad, Hizbut Tawhid, Tawhidi Janata, Islami Jubo Shangha, Islami Shangha, Al Falah A'am Unnayan Shanstha and Shahadat-e al Hiqma are believed to be missions of the Al Mujahideen. They have grown like a deadly virus and is now bound for total kill of the nation.

According to todays news the police are yet to make any fix at JMB as the perpetretors. They are still apprehending more people. Even one JMB activist apprehended on the first day was released in Dinajpur.

After this are our lives secured? It is the government's responsibility to protect the people from these extremists. But the question is who is controlling whom?

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August 17, 2005


When around four hundred small bombs explode in 63 districts out of 64 districts of a country simulteneously it shows what kind of network the attackers possess (imagine 50 states out of 51 in US). The mostly hit city was the capital Dhaka with around 30 bombs explosions including key installation like the Zia International Airport, Supreme Court, Secretariat etc.

The casualties and injured numbers are so far incredibly much less (2 deaths and 150 hospitalized). The question may be why is that. The bombs were confirmed as small IEDs (Improvised explosive device) containing not much explosives. From the TV reports of the unexploded ones I have seen that each contained four batteries and some small devices and a switch attached to the bomb by red tape. Most probable the switch activated the delay device and it exploded sometime later allowing the carrier to leave it and flee away. The most remarkable thing of these bombs is that they contained wood saw dust instead of splinters. That is why there are fewer casualties although they were exploded at manned places. Actually many received minor wounds of saw dusts hitting the body with the power of explosion and went home after emergency medical attention. If these were loaded with more explosives and deadly splinters, we could have seen thousands of dead people.

That brings us to this question why would anyone try to create panic in this manner. This is unprecedented in this world. This is a total mockery of the country's internal security system as the attacks were at the key installations. It shows that using the right kinds of explosive they can destabilize Bangladesh. It is n planned attack on Bangladesh's existence. But do our intelligence know why?

The Arabic and Bengali leaflets as mentioned in my last post had names of the banned Islamic terrorist group Jaamyat-ul-Mujahideen (Assembly of Holy Warriors). They said the blasts were its "third call" to establish Islamic rule in the country.

"If ignored and (if) our people are arrested or persecuted, Jaamyat-ul-Mujahideen will take the counter-action."

Now the paradox is that the government is denying existence of Bangla Bhai, the spiritual leader of JMB since long and their actions against these extremists on international pressure was seen with different angle. Some comments by the ruling party lawmakers:

Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer and Industries Minister Matiur Rahman Nizami on July 22 last year said, "Bangla Bhai was created by some newspapers."

Now what would Nizami say? That these bombs were planted by Awami League, the main opposition party framing JMB? The home minister said they had some information of an imminent attack but they did not expect it to be this much extensive. I think he failed miserably in raising the alarm. Because if the people had this information earlier they could have protected themselves. We really do not require a bunch of incompetent people eating up our tax money. The RAB disposes of suspected criminals in the name of encounters, now will we see some of the Islamic terrorists nabbed according to the police killed in encounters? I guess not and the question is why?

The Bangladesh political arena is not so civilized. One of the major leaders of Awami League reacted first to the news of this biombing incident "now we have more issues to go against the government". They have already declared a general strike on 20th of August. Was there any strike after the London blasts? Oh I forgot that we were talking about civilized and uncivilized people here. Now amidst all the chaos the real perpetrators will still be at large. The Bangla Bhai will only exist in paper.

This is the time when we all ought be together against these terrorists irrespective of our political leaning for our national interest. Otherwise they just had their dress rehearsal. You have witnessed the might of our internal security. The main deadly attack will soon come with our pants down. The end to the story.

More news of the blasts.

I was attending one seminar in Dhaka and the mobile phones started to ring at around 11:30 AM. Keens were checking whether we were alright as a series of bombings were reported across the country. Some people who came in that moment were wondering why the busy streets and hubs like Farmgate were so lean in traffic. We were hearing of some really confusing reports. But the scene looks like this as of now from reports of the private satellite TV Channels:

* Around 100 bombs exploded in 58 different locations.

* The bombs appeared to be homemade and capable of causing only limited damage. sophisticated timing device were used to synchronized these explosions across the country to cause maximum panic .

* Blasts reported in 36 of the 64 districts in synchronization between 11:00 -11:30 AM today.

* There are some wild speculations about casualties but about 120 are reported injured. So far no deaths reported. More figures to come as the situation develops.

* Key installations like government offices (even the secretariat in Dhaka), high courts, press clubs, busy squares and universities targeted.

* Leaflets of a Islamic terrorist organization Jamayetul Mujahideen were found at blast sites in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and Mymensingh. The leaflet said:
"It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangladesh. There is no future with with man-made law. Bush and Blair be warned and get out of Muslim countries. Your days of ruling Muslim countries are over."

* At least 45 people were arrested from different locations across the country.

The local TV and radio channels are covering the situation but I am unable to access them at the moment. As we reached office the traffic looked normal. This site also does not report any unusual activities. The information in the internet are not much.

It is the total failure of this government whose security forces were overpowered by the synchronized attack in many locations showing the might they possess. The government and the political parties politicized the investigations of the previous bomb blasts and hence let the perpetrators running lose. They still don't have a clue who did it. Now the general Bangladeshis are paying for it. Its time to tackle them with a cool mind. No need to panic which they want to inflict upon us. 'We are not afraid' - this is the message we should send to those bastards.

Update: One injured rickshaw-puller dies. The poor man did not have anything to do with 'Bush', 'Blair', 'jihad' or any other world affair. Yet some freak minds want to establish anarchy at the expense of these people.

More Update at 23:00 hours: The government sources confirmed-

* 393 bombs exploded in 63 districts out of 64 districts of Bangladesh.

* Around 150 are hospitalized but hundreds more received minor injuries and went home after treatment. 2 confirmed dead till now.

My analysis coming up in next post.

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August 16, 2005


* Why Iran must not be invaded.

* Global voices going truly big & global rapidly.

* A Bangladeshi software developer Omar Al Zabir has developed an open source RSS Feed Aggregator and Blogging Smart Client for many platforms.

* If the Titanic was made in Bangladesh.

* Saudi youths flirt with Blue tooth.

* An analysis of the US Dependency on Saudi Arabian oil.

* Some sources on Hizb al-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), the group who has made Islam into a political slogan.

* The Bollywood hero Aamir Khan has a blog.

August 14, 2005



- Tazzy writes more episodes about a typical South Asian arranged marriage. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

- 'Allah hafiz' or 'Khuda hafiz'- Asif discusses the controversial Indo-Islamic phrases for "good bye" used in Bangladesh.

- Ishtiaque writes a series of posts about his recent trip to Cox's Bazaar, the longest natural sea beach of the world.

- Robin posts pictures of an unique car sculpture in Dhaka, which is made out of bicycle chains, car parts and other scrap metal.


- Bhutani cable operators stopped telecasting of some Indian news and entertainment channels, which were accused of undermining Bhutanese cultural values, besides distracting students from their studies.


- Preetam Rai posts a tribute to India's Independence Day.

- Manish of Sepia Mutiny reports that the new Oxford Dictionary of English has a Desi flavor.

- 'Even the Indian Gods are now being outsourced from China' - discovers Amit of 'India Uncut'.

- Kozhikode is the first litter free city in India - via 'The scientific Indian'.

- Nitin of 'The Acorn' predicts the name of the next Pakistani ballistic missile.


- Dinesh Wagle of 'United We Blog' interviews Miss Nepal 2005 contestants and asks about their dreams.

- Vishnu discusses the Nepali government sponsored vigilante groups which according to him will worsen the bloody situation in Nepal.


- KO pleads to UK to extradite the most wanted terrorist of Pakistan, Altaf Hussain, whom UK granted asylum.

- Pakistani Perspective links to an article which says that the Pakistan military took up four percent of the country GDP and a Maj General of the armed forces is worth a staggering Rs 300 million.

- The Glass House harshly criticises Pakistani president Gen. Musharrof's pledges, which are yet to be fulfilled.

Sri Lanka:

- Sri Lankan blogosphere is mourning the death of Mr. L. Kadirgamar, the foreign Minister of Sri Lanka assassinated by the alleged LTTE terrorists. Prabhath writes "they silenced the most eloquent voice of Sri Lanka that fearlessly spoke against terrorism." Selvarajah suspects that because of the declaration of emergency, the authorities can harass Tamils by detaining as suspect. Mahangu prays that this doesn’t mean another war.

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August 12, 2005


After the 9/11 incident it has become very difficult for the general Bangladeshis to get US Visas. Even amongst the thousands of diversity lottery for immigration winners many get rejected after the screening. Many Bangladeshi students/immigrants are living in US. Naturally their family members need to visit USA from time to time. Below is a touching tale of a parent about their experience in the US embassy of Dhaka which is translated and summarized by me from the original published in the Bangla daily Prothom Alo.

(AZM Abdul Ali is a retired government official in his Seventies. He and his wife went first to USA in the mid nineties to visit his brother and his daughter studying in USA. )

This year Mr. Ali & his wife needed to go to USA for two reasons, to be with his brother who was critically ill and in his deathbed. And second to see his newly born child of his another daughter, who is studying in USA. They applied for a VISA paying about $200 and here is a snippet of the Visa Interview:

Visa Officer: (after some discussion about his previous visit) I think you won't come back if you go to US.
Mr. Ali: Why are you saying that? My two children are temporarily living in US. They have not applied for immigration although they are there since long and they are not sure whether they will be staying in US for long. So for what reason I should sacrifice my settled life in Bangladesh to stay in USA on my own?
Visa officer: Everybody tells the same story. (refusing the VISA)

Mr. Ali said that he wouldn't have complained if he had not been given one letter from the vice consul, which says:

Your Visa has been regretted under US immigration and nationality act 214 (B). Under this law applicants for nonimmigrant visas are presumed to be intended immigrants. You have failed to prove that you have strong ties in your home country.

Mr. Ali was surprised because he was not asked at any time in his interview to prove his ties in the home country. He had all the relatives, property certificates, sufficient bank balances and influential references which could prove his status and bonds in Bangladesh. He wrote back to the consul citing the thing that it is wrong to accuse him that he has failed to prove something which was not asked to prove.

He never got a reply. But to see an end, as in the letter of the vice consul it was stated that he can apply again to another VISA officer, he paid another $200 to apply again after three months. He and his wife faced the same Visa official who asked the same questions and got the same answers. Then he mentioned to her that according to the norm another officer should take their interview. She let another officer take their interview. He asked the same questions like a robot and the discussion continued:

2nd Visa Officer: You are not coming back. So according to our law I cannot grant you VISA permission.
Mr. Ali: Could you please specify what the law of your country regarding this is?
2nd Visa Officer: No you have to honor our law. You don't have strong ties in Bangladesh. You did not visit other countries recently.
Mr. Ali: Because I did not need to visit other countries. I can prove you that I have strong ties in our country. Would you like to see some documents or you can check my references.
2nd Visa Officer: No our law is different for each individual. We treat each case differently.

Mr. Ali: I have heard the phrase "show me the man, I will show you the rule", I did not know it is applied in US also. (They were refused).

Mr. Ali laments on this with heavy heart because his brother had died in the mean time and he is yet to meet his granddaughter. Mr. Ali ironically tells that he had the chance to contribute to US budget $400 even little it may seem. The winner is ofcourse the US government who did not have to lose anything.

August 10, 2005


* The latest carnival of the liberated is up.

* Dude, Where's My Car?

* Scrupulous conspiracy behind attack on Ahmadiyyas in Bangladesh.

* Where is oil in the new world endgame?

* Inside the Mind of a 'Suicide' Bomber - Part I - by Yamin Zakaria

* Macroeconomic modeling and rising oil prices.

I have come across this interesting tool. Its creator Rusha says:

All Bongs or Bengalis have a tragedy in life. In spite of having bestowed with beautiful names they end up being called by the most outrageous nicknames all their lives.

Find out what you could end up as , if you were a Bong!!

Bong Nickname generator
And if you are wondering what my nickname in childhood was. It was 'One'.

The Detroit News reports:

Senior clerics called on Saudis to take their "bayah," or oath of allegiance, to the new King Abdullah, saying it was a religious duty.

Tens of thousands of Saudis -- tribal chiefs, Islamic clerics, army commanders and commoners -- have been flocking to the Riyadh governor's palace to pledge loyalty to Abdullah, vowing to "hear and obey" the new king.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Seedes, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, went so far as to compare the oath to the king to that taken by Muslims to the Prophet Muhammad 14 centuries ago.

"I urge all Muslims to take the 'bayah' because it is part of the creed and a religious duty," al-Seedes said in his Friday sermon, broadcast live on television. He added that those who failed to take the oath would go to their graves as non-Muslims.

Well what can I say, I am speechless. Islam does not allow worshipping of Icons and persons. How can a King's oath be compared to a prophet. And why the ones not taking the oath should be declared non-Muslims? The Muslims outside Saudi Arabia are non-existent? Are they eying for a Muslim Reich ruled by their King with their brand of Islam?

From the picture in the article it seems the US delegations headed by Dick Cheney is happy with the developments.

August 08, 2005


* The ugly side of beauty.

* Hiroshima - An anniversary to forget.

* Salman Rushdie wants an Islamic reformation.

* Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli finance minister resigns in protest of pullout from Gaza as he thinks it will not bring peace. Still, peace is inconceivable without such a pullout.

Just when the world is outraged by the Arab hard-line views and breeding of radical Islamofacism, we keep forgetting that there are also humane voices in Arab world muffled by restrictions and oppression.

One such voice is Alhamedi of Saudi Arabia who has a blog called "The religious policeman" named in protest of the Saudi religious police, who among other mischiefs stopped 15 schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress nor allow the Firemen to enter causing their death.

Schooled in UK, Alhamedy has a great sense of humor and posts his progressive perspectives. Sadly he stopped blogging around August 2004, after only seven months for unknown reasons.

The good thing is that he is back after one year and he says that he can now post without fear as he has moved to UK. Straight away he is back in business with his humor and puns:

* The King is dead, long live the King.

* His comments on the alleged anti-Islamic "Little Green Football blog"

* No need to 'nuke Mecca', Saudi Hardliners have demolished 95% of the millennium old buildings in Mecca.

* The war on terrorism - lets get real - part I & II blaming UK's inefficiency in tackling the homegrown 'insurgency'.

A random comment in my blog prompted me to write this post:

Please send me a statement that a person does not have to be an arab to embrace Islam. My friend tells me that only Arabs can be Muslim. DOROTHY WARD 08.08.05 - 10:01 am #

My reply was:

Well Dorothy, you tell your friend that Muslims represent 27% of world population. And a major portion of that are non-Arabs. They are the living examples proving your friend's claim wrong. If he requires more proof then he can try this link.

Jokes apart, I think many need to have a clear understanding of the demographics of the Muslim world. From this table, we find that 60% of the world population lives in Asia and naturally the percentage of Muslims are also high in this continent (68% of world Muslim population). But what is the demographics of this population? According to Wikipedia, there are 284.4 million Muslims in Arab League including Iraq. That means roughly 19% of total Muslim population are Arabs (in broad sense). There are 260 million Muslims in Pakistan & Bangladesh (I wish there were separate stat available because there is a vast difference between cultures and practices of both the countries), 254 million Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa and 209 million Muslims in Indonesia making up the other large clusters.

So we need to understand that it would be wrong to generalize all the Muslims on the basis of one of the cluster above.

August 07, 2005


Jatra, the folk theatre/village opera of Bengal has been popular since the ancient days. But in the last century, with the advent of cinema, radio and television 'Jatra' has diminished to a dying art in South Asia. Jatra usually consists of four-hour-long, high-energy plays featuring loud music, harsh lighting and extravagant props played out on giant stages under open skies at night. Unlike theatre, Jatra is answerable to the paying public at every moment. So there is no shortage of skills required to be a Jatra actor. A Jatra troop travels to villages from villages with their productions specially in winter season just like a nomad circus troop.

Although the usual scripts of Jatra contains melodramatic tales from mythology or history, it also covers the current affairs. This BBC report discovers that plays based on "sensational breaking news" are now becoming very popular with rural audiences in Bengal. Digbijoy Opera - one of Calcutta's 55-odd jatra troupes is scripting a new play titled "Bisphorone Jolche London" (Explosion Scalds London), which would begin its tour of the rural areas of eastern India in October. Blair, Bush and Al Qaeda terrorists are naturally the characters of this play. Digbijoee Opera, which is also coming up with a play on the tsunami disaster, had earlier produced plays on the World Trade Centre bombings and the hanging of rape and murder convict Dhanonjoy Chatterjee.

The power of Theatre/Jatra has always been a scare for the rulers. Last year some Jatras were banned in India by the West Bengal state government.

In Bangladesh 'Jatra' has become chained up by the government censure on the grounds that Jatra troops are resorting to vulgarity to attract audiences. In the past decade fundamentalists attacked Jatras and bombed crowds in a few incidents. Citing the security concerns the government kept all Jatra banned for a long time. The current status of permission of Jatra is still unclear to us. It is pathetic that we are letting this popular art dying in Bangladesh while in the neighboring West Bengal it is being revitalized with the 'current affairs' theme.

Tag: ,

Water ice in crater at Martian north pole This image, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, show a patch of water ice sitting on the floor of an unnamed crater near the Martian north pole.

The crater is 35 kilometres wide and has a maximum depth of approximately 2 kilometres beneath the crater rim. The circular patch of bright material located at the centre of the crater is residual water ice.

More news from Mars Express. Via Boing Boing.

* Pakistan: a Geopolitical Crux

* Zimbabwe continues secret genocide

* Former US president Jimmy Carter says "Iraq war is unnecessary and unjust".

* Two interesting discussions on King Fahd's death, his legacy and his replacement King Abdullah here & here.

* The $100 PC - is it feasible?

August 06, 2005


'Dateline NBC' investigates the human costs in the developing world behind the bargain shopping trend of the Americans and the competitive deals of the big discount stores.

The investigation goes to the source of the goods these store offers. In Bangladesh, a female worker, Masuma gets more like 17 cents for sewing as much as 80 stripes on pants in an hour, a perfectly legal wage, and more than many Bangladeshis like her earn. But she can barely live with that wages.

MSNBC arranged to bring her to the US, to a store where these pants are sold. She was shocked to find the selling price ($12.84) of one striped pant, more than she could imagine. She said that the price of the pants left her feeling taken advantage of. If she was paid 25 cents an hour instead of 17, a 50 percent raise, she could lead what she considers a decent life.

When a US customer on that store was asked in front of Masuma, whether she would by the pant if it was 25 cents more, she declined. She said that she feels for Masuma, but she is counting her pennies as well. It’s the debate over globalization in its simplest form.

One Bangladeshi garments executive claims:

A few years back, I told Wal-Mart, "Give me one cents more a piece, one cent. I will use that money for these poor people.’ He says, ‘No, give us two cents less.'

So the industry gives in to the competition, shattering millions of workers' (like Masuma) dreams:
"They make us work so hard, and they cheat us so much and we're human beings. I'm not an animal. I'm a human being. Of course I'm angry. This is really shocking."
Will they ever be heard? Will we still be counting our pennies?

(Cross-posted in 'Global Voices Online')

August 05, 2005


Here is today's round up of some of the blogs of South Asia.


- Tanim laments on which jobs are deemed respectable and which are not in Bangladesh.

- Sadiq finds that the practices of prostration and Submission to God are similar among the major religions of the world.

- Asif of 'Unheard Voices' sepeculates a big world tour of 50 amateur Bengali musicians from Boston to promote Bangla Gaan (Bengali songs) across the world from USA to Bangladesh.


- Nitin Pai tries to find out what is the economics of espionage.

- Amardeep of 'Sepia Mutiny' discusses the problems in the study of South Asian languages in US.

- Dilip D'Souza's writings on the chaos when a metre of rain came down on Mumbai (the recent Mumbai flood). More accounts of the trauma the citizens of Mumbai faced - by Mukta & Uma.


- 'United we blog' reports that authorities in Nepal have ordered an independent FM radio station in Kathmandu to immediately halt broadcasting news. In another post it depicts a battle between the police and college students. These shows the current turbulant poltical situation in Nepal.


- Dareecha reports that the Pakistani government has planned to set up 47 radio stations in various areas of the country to create awareness among the masses about socio-economic issues and their solutions including promotion of literacy.

- Deevan muses on the importances of being desi.

- Pakistani perspective links to the news of a revel 'pub' in Islamabad challenging the conservative society.

(Cross-posted in Asia Pundit)

August 04, 2005


Sepia Mutiny is a superb group blog of a number of South Asian American bloggers. It has become a space for many desi people--and particularly individuals of South Asian descent who are now in the United States--to talk about issues of interest to them.

The origin of the word 'Sepia Mutiny' is explained here. The blog is an interesting read for desis and non-desis alike. So don't miss making it your daily read.

Sometimes I feel like...

August 02, 2005


David Sifry of Technocrati reports on the blogosphere:

* Technorati was tracking over 14.2 Million weblogs, and over 1.3 billion links in July 2005
* The blogosphere continues to double about every 5.5 months
* A new blog is created about every second, there are over 80,000 created daily
* About 55% of all blogs are active, and that has remained a consistent statistic for at least a year
* About 13% of all blogs are updated at least weekly

How big will it be?

(Via Buzzmachine)

August 01, 2005


Scene 1:

Place: A dark crossroad in Dhanmondi on about 9 pm at night. I was alone in my car waiting at a traffic signal.

*Man: Hey will you go to Kalyanpur?

*Me: Staring with a surprised look (thoughts going in my head "Is this guy mistaking my car as a taxi?")

*Man: Which way will you go?

*Me: I am going home (perplexed me spelled out the truth).

*Man: Aissa (OK).

I drove on wondering what had happened and I realized that I failed to convince him that I am not a taxi driver. (Note: my car is an old Nissan hatchback and no way similar to the Maruti 800 cabs that ply in Dhaka streets except for the close dark color).

Moral: Don't ever make the similar mistake yourself. That will make you very stupid and put others in embarrasment.

Scene 2:

Place: 'Voot' a theme restaurant in 'Rifles square'. I was dining with family and my 10 month old daughter was flirting with a couple of guys next table.

*Youth: Uncle, can I have your email address?

*Me: Gazing curiously (after looking around for an 'uncle').

*Youth: I will email the picture of your daughter I took in my cell phone.

*Me: Here is my business card (not being able to tell the youth in his face that he is in his early twenties and I am in my early thirties, then why is he calling me uncle?).

My wife reminded me later that I am a father of an attractive daughter.

Moral: When you become father of a daughter, you gotta learn how to tackle these sort of situations.

Hew..Ye.. dijjam...(Hello hello). This is Rianna speaking. I thank you all who remembered me and enquired about me from time to time. I have grown a bit now (10 months) and can crawl to a distance. I can dance waving my arms standing on my knees. Baba named it 'Rianna dance' and says it should go well with hip-hop music. But I like nursery rhymes and soothing Rabindra Sangit. Usually I dance with nursery rhymes. Cartoons are my favorite as I watch them on TV with blink less eyes. I have four upper teethes now and I had to convince Ma with teeth grinding that the lower one's are one the way to rise. Ma says that I am becoming naughtier. She tells me that because I want to play with all the interesting things on her dressing table and she won't let me reach there crawling from the bed. I am not a grown up like you to be tensed with the thought always that I will fall down. Grown ups are obsessed with lots of fears and they spoil all the fun in their lives. To live happily is to live an adventurous life. There is so much in the world to explore (and taste).

Although I can eat bits and pieces from grown ups' foods, I am still heavily depended on milk. I like fresh mango, banana, and of course a little dose of dal-vat. While you grown ups sit to dine I like playing with the spoons and plates. So don't be surprised if you find a number of spoons lying under the dining table. I like playing and being with Baba, phupi, Dada, Dadi & Nani but I like my mother most of all. She's the one I can bite and bang my head into when I am angry. And she is the one whom I require to put me into sleep. I miss Ma & Baba during their work hours and that is why I do not want to let them go outsides afterwards without taking me. I have become more social now days. But I am still a moody person. If you try to be my friend then I may consider climbing on your shoulder. But if you want to hold me without working into a relationship first then I will certainly protest.

Ma says when I am happy I make a lot of sounds. Actually that is me talking but sadly nobody understands what I say. Similarly they mix up with my protests and disagreements as crying. Perhaps one day the grown ups will be able understand the language of the infants when there will be much technological advancement in the world.

I am now immuned to most of the lethal diseases. Baba said that there are more shots to go. And Baba is proud that I am brave enough to take all the immunization shots without much protest. I am troubled by the Dhaka heat a lot. Ma says that I should have lived in a cold climate. But I like the place I live in. Nobody is cruel enough to not being around any time (except when I sleep). I can yell at the crows that sit in a branch near my window. I can hear the neighbor’s talking bird yelling 'Moiiiinaaa'.

Gotta go to take a nap. Ta ta (Rianna waves goodbye).

Related readings:

* Rianna update IV
* Rianna's days
* Rianna Update II
* Rianna Update I
* Welcome Rianna