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

October 31, 2005


We are quick to point fingers at all that puts Bangladesh on the map as a developing nation –poverty, floods, traffic jams etc. It’s time we appreciated the many perks it has to offer. – Samai Haider, Ice Today
The lifestyle magazine 'Ice Today' brings out a feature called the best of Bangladesh in their October issue. This is a must read for those who are interested in all the positive sides of Bangladesh.

Here is a list of the Ice Today picks of the Bangladesh bests.

* Bay of Bengal – Best Whale spotting
* Guide Tours – Best tour operator
* Sunderbans – The best encounter with the wild
* Pahela Baishakh –Best festival
* Srimongol, Sylhet – Best cup of tea
* Jamuna Bridge –Best play of lights
* St. Martins Islands –Best games of beach volleyball
* Bangabazar, Dhaka –Best bargain
* Belkuchi, Shirajgonj –Best Sari Shopping
* Banderban –Best place to meet tribal people
* Panthapah, Dhaka –best shopping at a stop light.

In the first part I am posting excerpts of the first four.

Bay of Bengal – Best Whale spotting

While Dolphins are abundant in the water surrounding Khulna, whales are much harder to come across. A fishing village at the mouth of river poshur, called dublar char is the starting point of the quest to find the giants of the sea. About forty kilometers into the sea, generally in the winter when the sea is calm, the whales can be spotted. The two species – the Bryd’s whale and the Fin Whale (second largest whale on earth) and different types of dolphins are seen in these waters.

Guide Tours – Best tour operator

They are renowned for arranging the best trips to Sundarbans and have a fleet of four magnificent steamers that are engaged in river cruises and excursions to forests. They also have a picturesque garden resort in the hills of Bandarban and arrange forays to the Saint Martin’s islands. The guide tours also manage many day trips in and around Dhaka city. Their motto is eco-tourism.

Sunderbans – The best encounter with the wild

Habitat of the fames Royal Bengal tiger, the Sundarbans forest is the pride of Bangladesh. It’s the biggest unbroken system of mangrove forests in the world, and is at the brink of the Bay of Bengal. Narrow creeks and shallow rivers crisscross the virgin forests. It is an animal lovers paradise. You can spot animals like the Royal Bengal Tigers (or pug prints), exotic birds, deer, wild boar, dolphin, crocodiles, ring lizard and jelly fish. Sundarbans is best visited with a tour operator.

Pahela Baishakh –Best festival

The first day of the Bengali new year, Pahela Baishakh is celebrated by the entire nation—age is no bar, and class and creed irrelevant. As the day dawns, people greet the new year with songs and dances, and there are specifics such as Ramna Batamul, fairs and parades that have come to be associated with Pahela Baishakh. The mood is festive as the entire community take to the streets in celebration. Flowers and fairs, Panta and Ilish, Saris & Panjabis are all big part of the age-old traditon of celebrating Bengali New Year.

October 30, 2005


Yesterday I was shocked to hear the news about the Delhi bomb blasts (news and roundups in Desipundit & Gatewaypundit blogs) in crowded places. All three explosions were triggered within minutes of one another, indicating the precise planning by the perpetrators. Atleast 59 people died and scores of others injured. How could they do this to the inncocent civilians who were shopping for the Diwali and Eid festivals. An obscure Kashmiri militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for bomb blasts. They are linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba. According to Robi Sen there were reports of a noted al-Qaeda bomb expert having been in New Delhi in the past week.

Nitin says:
"the intention is to destabilise communal harmony."
He also mentions:
This is the time to wipe out terrorists and confront their apologists — whoever and wherever they may be.
I could not agree more.

(crossposted in the Global Voices Online)

Bangladesh in the eyes of the foreigners:

Kirstel terms Ashulia, 40 kilometres from Dhaka centre as 'one of the nicest and most romantic places nearby Dhaka'. Robin Mead of ‘Bangladesh backchat’ posts some beautiful pictures of the largest shopping mall in Bangladesh -The Bashundhara City Shopping Complex in Dhaka. Jo of Bideshi Blonde feats Banglish.

Bangladeshi life and aspirations:

Bangladeshi rock star cum blogger Maqsood aka Mac writes an essay called ‘Bengali music: of changing times and our robust aspirations’. Gibran discusses how girls treat the average male singles. Imtiaz is engulfed in the thoughts of living in a dead world. Mezba takes a nostalgic look at the past and tries to see what’s different now.

Burning social problems:

Shappir writes on Acid attack survivors of Bangladesh. Here is a documentary on the acid victims. Blog-a-Rythm wakes up to the reality of the wide gap between rich and poor in Bangladesh. Salam Dhaka also talks about the rising cost of living in the country. Rifat tells that people are afraid of terrorist attacks while even praying in a mosque.

Movies, music and photography:

Via Rodentruskel, we get the link of a award-winning young Photographer GMB Akash’s photo gallery. Sadiq reviews ‘The motorcycle diaries’. ‘Unheard voices’ & ‘The third world view’ report re-relaease of DVD of ‘the concert for Bangladesh’.

Here is a list of more Bangladeshi blogs.

It is very sad that yet another year Monga (a famine like condition) is taking its toll on hundreds and thousands of Bangladeshis in the northern region. Everybody know that in Bangladesh, whoever comes to power, look after the interest of the rich and ignore the poor. In the national budget, there are special allocations for tackling Monga, but till today Tk. 500 million lies unutilized due to bureaucracy. Because of rampant corruption a large portion of these relief would go to the touts and the hungry will remain without food. And the politicians will waste man hours on this issue instead of doing something substantial.

Whoever cares if some souls die of starving? Everybody is so busy with shopping and preparing for Eid and Diwali festivities. O' you pseudo-religious' don't you ever learn from your religion that every festivity, every richness should be shared with your neighbors, relatives. Many of them can only spare some minimum cost clothing called 'Zakaat cloth' for the poor who cannot satisfy their hunger with it. If all the Muslims in Bangladesh would gave away Zakaat as prescribed, the disparity between rich and poor would be minimum and you would not find any poor. But 20% have 80% of the country's wealth in this hypocritical Muslim majority country. And yet they spend it in huge consumption show-offs including having a holiday abroad. Some of them are ultra-religious in going to Mecca for 'Hajj' while their relatives and neighbors back in village homes cannot secure three meals a day. What a pity, what a contradiction of the religious teachings.

The opposition MP of northern region, Asaduzzaman Noor (a renowned celebrity and activist) has started an initiative for helping the Monga stricken people. He has made a touching appeal (via Imtiaz) please read it. Imtiaz has contributed his Eid shopping budget. And he has asked what can you give? I know surely we can start giving away according to our capability, our judgement. We would like to see the end of the sufferings real soon. That will be our Eid, our greatest festivity. Can we change the situation?

October 27, 2005


The Bangladesh security forces are caught up in the three way strangle-hold. Firstly, they are very busy catching the extremists, who were behind the August 17 bombings. Secondly they have the duty to keep the law and order situation well in the busy month before the Eid festival. Thirdly the SAARC summit is impending within a fortnight.

So far more than 500 extremists have been captured and more are already caught in the web, only to be put behind bars. But in recent time the govt. has instructed the security forces (police/RAB) not to spent much time on the extremists rather concentrate on SAARC summit security. But these are not mutually exclusive.

No wonder they have become an enemy of the extremists as they dared to threaten them. The report says:

A letter, signed by a self-proclaimed Jamaatul leader, Moulana Hafizuddin, threatened to "blow up all of Bangladesh's police stations" if their demand for Islami rule was ignored.

Only recently they threatened the judges. This is really a comical situation as the government is seen helpless in tackling them. I have wrote about this looming threat before.

It is of our great concern that the masterminds of the bomb attack are still eluding police. There are scary rumours everywhere:

"A high police official in northern part of the country said neither Abdur Rahman nor Bangla Bhai could be arrested until and unless the ministers and BNP lawmakers stopped backing them. 'There is a strong lobby in the government that always stand against action against the leaders and activists of Islamic organizations,'"

The opposition Awami league claims below may be a bit exaggerated but cannot be ruled out:

"As the Jamaat is the mother organisation of some 58 militant outfits in Bangladesh, the government remained mum on their deadly terrorist activities without nabbing their supremos and bringing charges of sedition against them for jeopardising Bangladesh’s independence, sovereignty and its very existence."

Until you are committed enough to kill or destabilize the serpent, you cannot save the people no matter how strong the iron cage of protection is.

October 26, 2005


* No longer safe for work: Blogs?

* The first bangladesh salwar kameez web portal.... just launched with Eid 2005 collections.

* They have a toilet museum near Delhi.

* The chemistry of bloggers.

* Will blogs change development thinking?

More bad news. India's Tata Group's proposed $2.5 billion investment in four ventures in Bangladesh may be prolonged. Some are predicting that there is a serious chance of the deal being cancelled.

Nitin blames the status quo on the Khaleda Zia government’s reflexive antagonism towards India. He comments that "hauling a mighty Indian company through the coals may boost certain egos in Dhaka, but they dent international confidence in a country that sorely needs investment and aid". He adds further:

"Cocking a snook at India at every given opportunity may play to certain political constituencies in Bangladesh. But very often it works against the country’s broader interests."
And when were the political leaders more keen on the country's interests rather than their own?

Earthquake relief day

Today is the blog quake day. Spread the words in your blogs.


* Ashweeta's appeal in Desipundit with a list of organizations to donate to, as well as a list of sites with quake-related and relief organizations related information.

* My writings on the quake.

October 25, 2005


"I have learned how to eat with my right and shit with the left."

- Peace Corps volunteer David's realization after 27 months stay in Bangladesh.

An interesting BBC documentary film "Kill or Cure" on Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is being aired. If you haven't seen it here are the future airing times on BBC World TV:

Tuesday (October 25, 2005) - GMT 16:30 (BST +6)
Wednesday (October 26, 2005) - GMT 1:30 & 7:30 (BST +6)

The documentary is based on the work of Microbiologists Dr. Richard Adegbola of Gambia and Prof. Samir K Saha of Bangladesh.

October 23, 2005


* ScholarsBangladesh.com - is a database of Bangladesh scholars and professionals around the world.

* BDshots online - Pictures of Bangladesh to upload and share.

* This site lets you send Halim to your loved ones back in Desh.

* The state of wireless London.

* Islam's worst enemies.

October 22, 2005


Bangladesh had long sought a land port with India for Bangladesh’s land exports to Nepal, Bhutan and northeastern Indian region. When the Banglabandha port in Panchagarh, the extreme North of Bangladesh was opened last year, people had high hopes.It is a 61 km corridor between Bangladesh & Nepal & 68 km corridor between Bangladesh & Bhutan. Bangladesh immediately opened an immigration office but India is yet to set up one at their end despite repeated requests from Nepal and Bangladesh.

The government of Nepal made a deal with India for transfer of goods from their bordering areas, although the provision of the treaty does not allow Nepalese trucks to enter the Bangladesh territory through the Indian border. So Nepali trucks have to unload imported goods inside the Indian territory. Afterwards, these goods are brought into the Bangladesh territory by the Bangladeshi trucks resulting in delays and increase in transportation cost. Nepal also sought extended transit time for at least four hours in place of the existing two hours.

Till now the non-cooperation of India and loopholes in the Dhaka-Kathmandu cross border trade agreement stand in the way of making the Banglabandha land port fully functional. According to India it is their burgain point to have a transit to its Eastern most states through Bangladesh.

Then came the issue of linking Bangladesh to the proposed Asian Highway connecting 32 Asian countries stretching from Tokyo to Ankara. The proposed AH-1 route (which most of the countries involved except Bangladesh agreed and signed) enters Bangladesh from India through Banglabandha (Panchagarh) to Tamabil (Sylhet). That means with this route India will be able to narrow down the link between its lands which are situated East and West of Bangladesh without having to bargain for it. Bangladesh has no advantage in this route as it will not be able to link to Mayanmar.

So Bangladesh government has taken a brave move in proposing the link via AH-41, which will enter Bangladesh from India through Benapole (Jessore) and into Burma through Teknaf the southeastern tip of the country. As a part of the country's 'Look East' policy, this route will go all the way to Bangkok which will provide Bangladesh with immense opportunities of trade between Thailand & Mayanmar.

But Bangladesh has up to December 31 to ratify the existing agreement and sign for joining the Asian highway. I doubt whether other countries concerned will be willing to accept this. Bangladesh is facing exclusion from this highway if they do not agree. As it turns out, the weak allways gets the small pie.

"There are two kinds of weakness, that which breaks and that which bends."

Via Unheard Voices, "the original Concert for Bangladesh and associated merchandising raised $15m, which was distributed through UNICEF, the United Nations' Children’s Fund."

I had wrote about this concert in details earlier.

The great news is:
The re-release cover
"On October 24, Warner Music is releasing the double DVD and CD 'The Concert For Bangladesh – George Harrison & friends'. The package includes the original 99 minutes concert footage, a 45 minute documentary with exclusive interviews with Sir Bob Geldof and Kofi Annan, and loads of other bonus footage."

And all the royalties for the new release will go to UNICEF for the same cause.

At the recent release party Ringo Star performed with some of the original Bangladesh concert alumni fronted by George Harrison's son Danhi on guitar, Billy Preston on keys, Klaus Voorman on bass, and Jim Keltner on drums along with some original horn players.

As Bangladeshis we will always remember George Harrison, Ravi Shankar and those who contributed.

October 20, 2005


sharing is knowing
advancing understanding
you and i
your village
my village
one village
one world.

- George Parkington commenting on the picture taken by Rifat titled 'My village pond'.

October 19, 2005

BANGLADESHI BLOGS - another update

Here is another updated list of Bangladeshi Blogs after trimming dead links (arranged in no particular order):

* The 3rd world view-Bangladesh
* Unheard Voices - A Drishtipat Group Blog Initiative -USA
* Mac's Blog -Bangladesh
* The color of rain -UK
* Close your eyes & try to see- Bangladesh
* Bongo Vongo -UK
* MoodLogic -Bangladesh
* Inspirations and creative thoughts - Singapore
* Dak Bangla Intelligence Scan - Bangladesh
* Bring your own Shisha - UK
* A sneak peek into Yawar's mind - Malaysia
* Imtiaz's WeBlog - Bangladesh
* Lungis.com - Modern Lungis for modern deshi man -USA
* LiveJournal Bangladesh Community Blogs -Mostly USA
* Anthology -USA
* Notes From Dystopia -Bangladesh
* BD Gamer- Bangladesh
* Just a blog -Canada
* Black Rose...fighting everyday... -Bangladesh
* Love U All -Bangladesh
* Sajjad's weekly blogs -USA
* Always Think Positive -UK
* Tushar Chowdhury's Blog! -UK -with links of many other categorical blogs
* Ex Nihilo -Bangladesh
* >Insert Clever Title Here< -Canada
* Crazy Islam -Netherlands
* Banglapundit(In Bangla) -Bangladesh
* Ashik -USA
* Bid Cronicles -USA
* Ipshita’s Blog -Canada
* A sunshine too brief -Canada
* Shakeer & Company (Group Blog) -USA
* Note to self - USA
* Easy Come Easy Go, Little High Little Low - Sweden
* Optically Active - USA
* Tanya in Cyberspace - USA
* Waiting for the perfect sunrise - Canada
* My thoughts - USA
* A Life to be lived - Bangladesh
* The Song of my life - Bangladesh
* Mudphud Chickness - USA
* Feerozac -My Blog -UK
* Gene Expression (Group Blog including Razib) -USA
* Electric Blues -Bangladesh
* The Desh in Me -USA
* Glittergirl -Singapore
* Blu3crash v 8.0 -USA
* Future Bangla Network - Bangladesh
* Black & Grey - Bangladesh
* Adda - Bangladesh
* Tanim's Net Zone - Bangladesh
* Of the world and boiled eggs - Bangladesh
* Tasneem Khalil - Bangladesh
* Me, myself and Bangladesh - UK
* Nayma's Blog - USA
* Vacuum out, the vacuum within - Bangladesh
* Slightly Absurd, Clearly Ambiguous - Canada
* Dotcom Underground Blog - Bangladesh
* Me & Myself - Bangladesh
* My Golden Bengal - Bangladesh
* Perpetual ramblings of a lifelong nomad - USA
* Nana Chinta Nana Bhabna - Bangladesh
* Observing Ambience - Bangladesh
* A Wave of Alternative Mandate -Canada
* Dheo - words -Canada
* NSU Buddies -Bangladesh
* Desh Calling -Bangladesh
* Shahjahan Siraj -Bangladesh
* Mezba's Blog -Canada
* Indifferent thoughts -Bangladesh
* Version : 1..." Archives of Life " -Bangladesh
* My World, My Life, My rules -USA
* Da low down and dirty -USA
* Robin's world -Bangladesh
* Anik Khan -Australia
* Life, Dreams and Reality -- Sohel's Blog
* The Crystal Cave -Bangladesh
* Salam Dhaka -Bangladesh
* Doodles from Dhaka -Bangladesh
* Gibran -USA
* Bdeshini -Bangladesh
* Skakia's spot -Sweden
* Hasan's Blog -Bangladesh
* The Story Teller -Bangladesh
* blog.sanjoykumar.com -Bangladesh

Blogs by persons of Non Bangladesh Origin on their experiences in Bangladesh:

* A Whisper from the heart
* Root: Adventure in Bangladesh
* Bangers & Mash
* Bangladesh Backchat
* Dhaka Diary
* Bideshi Blonde
* Sarah's Boble
* The world around
* From my point of view
* Heart full of rubber bands
* What's cooking abroad?

Blogs by other Bengalis of Indian Origin:

* Niraj Agarwalla-USA
* The Kolkata Libertarian-USA
* Notes from France is now from India -By Sukanya
* Null Pointer -India
* Shantanu's Blog Page -Bangladesh

Some notable Bangladeshi girl photoblogs:

* Nazzina
* Rings

List of Blogs in Bangla script maintained by Debashish
* বাংলা ব্লগস্

And finally Bangladeshi Blog & News aggregators:
* Planet Bangla
* EIN News Bangladesh readers picks

Kindly note that this list is not complete and I would appreciate if you could inform me about more Bangladeshi Blogs.

(Last updated on October 31, 2005)

Technocrati tags: ,

It's not a surprise anymore as for the fifth year in a row Bangladesh has achieved the lowest position in Transparency International (TI)'s corruption perception index (CPI). The government has as usual refuted the report saying:

"The level of corruption had come down, but progress was not so visible because of a media campaign and deliberate rumours."

Two years ago I was apprehensive about the methodology and the context of generalization in the report. But as the same result is happening again and again it points to lack of improvement of the situation and accountability on the part of the ruling government and the lack of support from the other political parties in the cause.

However, does this mean you can call a nation corrupt? Not quite. Read what TI Bangladesh head says (via Unheard voices):

CPI is a measure of perceptions about the level of corruption - it does not and cannot brand a country or nation as corrupt. Corruption has been perceived to be highest in Bangladesh, which does not, however, justify that Bangladesh or for that matter any other country at the bottom end of the list is a "most corrupt country" or "most corrupt nation". While corruption is indeed the most formidable challenge against governance, development and poverty reduction in Bangladesh as well as in most other developing countries, abuse of power of a limited number of corrupt people and failure of leaderships and institutions to control and prevent corruption cannot justify that the country or nation or the people are the most corrupt.

Indeed. He also said:

Corruption has also become a key political issue. CPI even shaped the national election results in 2001, when by using CPI ranking against the incumbent government, the opposition party succeeded to come to power.

It remains to be seen how this index shapes the upcoming election in 2006. Sadly the TI index is being used for animosity by the political parties rather than trying to improve the situation with concerted efforts. Would we be able to tear the web of the limited number of corrupt people and failure of leaderships, that we are engulfed in?

October 18, 2005


The definition of nostalgia by Milan Kundera:

"The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return... What in English is called "homesickness." Or in German: Heimweh. In Dutch: heimwee. But this reduces that great notion to just its spatial element. One of the oldest European languages, Icelandic (like English) makes a distinction between two terms: söknuður: nostalgia in its general sense; and heimprá; longing for the homeland... In that etymological light nostalgia seems something like the pain of ignorance, of now knowing. You are far away, and I don't know what has become of you. My country is far away and I don't know what is happening there."

- Via Indian Blogger Neha Viswanathan

An editorial in the Pakistan Times slates OIC for being nonchalant in rendering help and assistance to overcome the consequences of the recent Pakistan earthquake. All the organization has done so far is to offer a $100,000 token emergency assistance. Whereas UN played a significant role. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Libya, Egypt and many more Muslim States (apart from a number of non-Muslim countries in the East and West—with America atop) are sending medical missions, relief goods and committing cash for the purpose.

The Pakistan Times suggests:

"It was high time that at least its (OIC) Secretary-General should have launched an appeal for fund-raising or initiated process for convening an emergency ministerial meeting to draw up a collective response."

October 17, 2005


Time for a good laugh. Saudi blogger Alhamedi discusses the controversial myth of 72 virgins waiting for each Muslim male in heaven. Some excerpts:
...just before one of the 2003 attacks on a residential compound in Saudi Arabia, an attacker who was in contact with his superiors was heard on the mobile phone counting down the seconds to the 'beautiful maidens.' His last words were: 'One second to the 'beautiful maidens.' He then blew himself up.

It's not in the Quran, it's in a Hadith somewhere. A Hadith is a reported saying of Mohammad, and they vary in their status, depending on who did the reporting, and who was a witness. For example, Bush's reported comments...God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did...is like a Hadith. The fact that it is reported by a negotiator for the notoriously corrupt and inept Palestinian Authority, with no witnesses, makes it a very dodgy Hadith indeed. But that's what a Hadith is. And I never did find the "72 beautiful virgins" Hadith.
Read the rest.

October 16, 2005



- Rifat of ‘Close your eyes and try to see’ discusses premarital sex in the context of Bangladesh.

- Shappir of ‘Bring your own Shisha’ recollects the story of Joseph/Yusuf/Yosef, the prophet of three religions to uphold the virtue of forgiveness.

- Razib of ‘Me, myself and Bangladesh’ links to a report that designers from Bangladesh are using khadi for designing bridal sarees and suits. What more they are fast becoming popular in India.

- Sadiq tells about the golden rules of various religions in his blog “Inspirations and Creative Thoughts”.

- Salam of ‘Salam Dhaka’ comments that the current Bangladeshi government is not good for poor people.


- Selva of ‘The Scientific Indian’ tells how an American outsources his life to India.

- Madman blogs his lunch in an Italian restaurant. Yummy!

- Rajesh Jain of ‘Emergic’ quotes two gems on ‘Digital divide’ and ‘Computers and Education’.

- Shaksi of ‘To each its own’ thinks of the Parsi community in India as a role model for the rest of the Indians.


- Ahmed has had it with the elderly people.


- International Nepal Solidarity Network reports that the identity and movement of all Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the Indo-Nepal border will be recorded from November 1 by border security forces of both the countries.

- Dinesh of ‘United We Blog’ remarks that the Nepali political parties want democracy, but the King talks election. This draws an interesting debate.

- Laetitia-Marie of ‘Karma Sonam Gurung’ reports that the national human rights commission in Nepal accused both Maoists and security forces of failing to protect child rights as per national and international laws in a recent report.

- Binita Shrestha blogs from New York and brings to us all about court reporting.


-Mudassir of ‘Pakistani perspective’ links to some online credit card donations for Pakistan’s earthquake relief.

- ‘The Glasshouse’ posts some heartbreaking facts about the Kashmir Quake 2005. He also takes a critical look at Pakistani leadership dealing with the disaster.

- Shirazi of ‘Light Within’ links to some Pakistani bloggers response to the quake. Maria posts roundups of media responses to the quake.

-Metroblogging Lahore has lots of info and links of the quake.

- Pakistani Bloggers like Sepoy of ‘Chapati Mystery’ are taking personal initiatives to raise money for the victims.

Sri Lanka:

- Marisa Wikramanayake discusses the question of whether there is such a thing as a just war?

- Via ‘Lanka Citizen’ the voice of the ordinary public warns the politicians for accountability.

- Shandy, a British expatriate writes about his travel in many beautiful destinations in Sri Lanka, with lots of pictures.

- Kate Baumgartner posts some beautiful pictures from Sri Lanka.

October 15, 2005


* Creative Commons - how it began.

* Web 2.0 - an overview.

* A guide to set up your own website/blog

* Bollywood: Frequently Questioned Answers.

* Onions can make you laugh.

"You know, we bloggers are always writing about principles, about freedom of speech, about standing up for what we believe in, for the truth. It’s very easy to write all that. But here I’m being tested on those principles in real life. If I don’t stand by those principles now, I will lose all respect for myself."

- Indian Blogger Gaurav Sabnis, on his decision to quit his job from IBM over IIPM controversy

Karishma Huda writes a wonderful piece on Bangladesh. Below is a truncated version:
I call Bangladesh a woman. Media perceptions, which often shape our own perceptions and realities, call Bangladesh a tragic woman. As a child she was violently raped by colonization, and as an adult brutally battered through war. She was able to secure her own independence and freedom, only to be subjected to one violent relationship after another - one with hunger, one with famine, one with natural disasters, one with political corruptness, and the list goes on and on. One might even consider her to be a bit of a whore. As a result, she has millions of children living in poverty.

But there is a fundamental problem with the way Western media perceive, and therefore depict, Bangladesh. Perhaps, or maybe this is the only side of her that they wish to portray. Perhaps this is the image of Bangladesh that they consciously would like to paint in the minds of their audience. Why? If Bangladesh is a basket case that is in dire need of help, this opens up doors of opportunities for Western countries to exploit. Researchers and academics get funded to "learn and explain" Bangladesh’s problems, development consultants get paid attractive salaries to go fix Bangladesh’s problems, journalists and filmmakers’ careers are thriving on showing the world Bangladesh’s problems, NGOs and international aid agencies have turned into a very lucrative business that is sustaining on Bangladesh’s problems. As long as Western countries are 'helping' Bangladesh, their governments and corporations have their foot firmly embedded on her.

With all of the thousands of media sources there are, is it not strange that the same images and stories are constantly recycled? Floods and poverty – really, can no one find something else to write about or show? From what I understand, this is because only a handful of media professionals have personally gone to visit her and gather her story. All the others pick up these stories, make two phone calls to people who can confirm them and throw in some statistics and voila, a new story is born.

The conundrum lies in the way that Western media perceptions have drastically affected the way that Bangladesh views herself. She has learned to believe that she is weak. She has grown dependant on foreign aid, and she has taken on the identity of a pauper. She plays on her image as a tragic woman to pull at the heartstrings of Westerners as she holds out her palm. And it works.

But she and her children know well that her identity is much more complex than that. Bangladesh is not tragic and one-dimensional. She is as much about poverty and floods as America is about freedom fries and baseball. Reducing her identity to that is a disgrace, and the media’s ability to do so in the minds of millions of individuals is dreadfully frightening. Her reality is multi-faceted, and the various intricacies weaved through her make her fascinating. Her children are not dying, they are surviving. Among the constraints that they face they laugh, they play, they are creative beyond imagination, they live, they thrive. She has so many wonderful stories. Perhaps the current generation of Bangladeshis living in the West, such as myself, should take the responsibility of sharing them with you, so you can get a glimpse at who she really is: a beautiful, enduring, loving, passionate woman who will leave you inspired.
(read the whole article)

Yes the onus is on us, the Bangladeshis rather than waiting for a prince charming who will solve all her problems.

October 11, 2005


Via unheard voices I found this touching piece of writing by Sumanta Aslam in the Daily Prothom Alo. For the non-Bengali readers below is a truncated translation.

One tiny News

It was decided Deepali would eat lunch and her little brother dinner. But that day the little one suffered from extra hunger. Being unable to wait till night he ate his sister's lunch. However, Deepali is used to the situation and carried on without food till the evening. But soon she was defeated by hunger. She ended all the hunger and thirst by hanging herself to death.

Deepali's family, who lived in Bhairab, Kishoreganj never used to get enough food for lunch and dinner. So the family members used to eat in rotations, those who had lunch skipped the dinner and vice versa.

And us:

Sister Deepali, when you used to live in hunger, our previous home minister was busy with the alleged terrorist Mufti Hannan. You tell me, how could he think about you instead of this important matter?

Sister Deepali, when you used to live in hunger, our former energy minister was busy with an expensive SUV, which he got selling his soul to an oil company to act against the country's interest. You tell me, how could he escape the allure of this beautiful car and think about trivial matters like your plight?

Sister Deepali, when you used to live in hunger, our law minister was busy with law reform. He was so consumed with the facts that there are many laws not practiced and manipulated each day that he could not think about anything else. He could also not make any laws for constantly telling lies. You tell me, being a person entrusting on law every moment, how could he make time to learn about you?

Sister Deepali, when you used to live in hunger, our opposition leader was trying to find a way to get to power. She is still trying. Just if you could imagine how distressful is it to lose power after getting the hang of it. If you would just know, then you would know that what silly things one has to do to get the helm back. You tell me, if a person is so involved in this notion, how could she learn about your plight?

Sister Deepali, when you used to live in hunger, our prime minister was busy with keeping the chair intact. She is still busy to stay in power for a longer period. The associates around her do not let her know the actual plights of the common people, their grievances. Our prime minister is living very well and tension free. Can a person living without tension understand the plights of others? Now tell me, can a person learn about your plight keeping her eyes closed?

We are begging to you sister Deepali to forgive us. Not for the fact that you used to live in hunger. Not for the fact that you had to die without food. But for the fact that we have to vote again for all these empty people.

"Come to Bangladesh before the tourist comes" - This was the slogan a few years ago. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, they have not come yet. There is still a chance for you, to see unspoiled land."

- What's Cooking Abroad?, a dutch blog

October 10, 2005


* David Frost joins Al-Jazeera TV.

* The new look of Auto-Rickshaw.

* What impacts will South Asia earthquake have on war on terrorism?

* Angela Merkel set to take over as the first woman German leader.

* "The list" of Islamic terror attacks across the world since September 11th, 2001.

* Singapore jails two bloggers for racist posts attacking the city-state's mostly-Muslim ethnic Malay community.

* Neo-racism in the US.

October 09, 2005


A major earthquake rocked Pakistan, North India & Afghanistan at 03:50 UTC on 8 October 2005. The epicentre was in the Pir Panjal Mountains near the town of Muzaffarabad. The main quake and subsequent 20 aftershocks jolted major cities of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. An earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale jolted southern and central Bangladesh on Saturday, whipping up high waves in the Bay of Bengal (source) However no causualties reported till now. The report adds:

The tremor lasted about 20 seconds, spreading panic as tall buildings swayed and waves from the Bay of Bengal flooded coastal villages.The seismic centre in the southern port city of Chittagong said the epicentre of the tremor was located more than 600 km from the coastline.

According to todays reports 18,000 people have been already dead mostly in Pakistan and the toll is rising. The deaths mostly happened from collapsed buildings and landslides. The estimation has hit 30,000 by now. My heartiest condolences to the affected families and I hope God gives them strength to overcome this loss.

For news and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts after the earthquake of October 8th, 2005 visit the South Asia Quake Help Blog and the BBC reporters log. Britain, Japan, the United States, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates were among the first countries to immediately dispatch rescue teams, cash and material aid (via The Peking Duck).

'Global Voices Online' provides the South Asian blogs' initial response to the quake and the Pakistani bloggers response. Indian Blogger Kush Tandon terms it as a wake up call for a even bigger quake impending in this region and suggests what the people of this region should do.

Links: BBC, Times of India,Reuters, CNN. MSNBC.

Images: Rediff, BBC, CNN.
"Earthquakes do not kill people, buildings do"

Bangladesh has long been branded by the international media as a nation cursed with natural disasters and political turmoil. The recent activities of the extremists and the failure of the political parties to unite against these threats have earned Bangladesh ill repute. But this needs to change for the betterment of a prospective nation. You need to give the people hope and increase their morale so that they can get overcome all the obstacles.

According to a news report in the Financial Express (via Asif), the government has finally decided to launch a serious drive to rebuild the image of the country by developing a country brand like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Sri Lanka, or even like the state of Kerala in India. The report adds:

A nine-member high-powered body called Strategic Country Promotion Council (SCPC) with the foreign minister at its head is designing the promotional offensive so conceived. It will appoint a branding agency to think up a unique brand name for Bangladesh like Malaysia's 'Truly Asia,' Sri Lanka's "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean" and the like. Besides, SCPC will also make an effort to get shot of the current bad image of Bangladesh and replace it with a more upbeat one as a moderate, democratic developing country. A large number of professionals will be engaged to work on this image-rebuilding endeavour.

This is simply great and long overdue. I hope the committee achieves it goal and the effort is carried out by successive governments.

Asif has proposed a brand name for Bangladesh - "The Greenest Delta". His logics behind this name:

This name creates an image of our green country, which will attract green loving tourists. Moreover, deltas are most fertile lands through out the world. This Brand name will boost our Agricultural Industry. The name also represent us as a agriculture-based country.

I would request all the fellow Bangladeshis to suggest a brand name for Bangladesh with reasons. We can notify the suggestions to the concerned committee.

October 08, 2005


* A Bangladeshi student shows the way.

* The Muslimreviewer.com is an Internet resource committed to confronting online extremism. This website will help you identify extremist websites and provide info about what you can do to remove them.

* Formula for Coca Cola leaked online.

* Ten-Minute Guide To Deploying VoIP.

* The World’s first free 1 TeraByte email service!

Durga Puja is the most important religious festival of the Bengali Hindus (West Bengal in India & Bangladesh). It is the worship of the goddess Durga. The actual period of the worship varies from the nine preceding days Navaratri (N. India) to the five days (Bengal / Orissa).

Although Bangladesh is a Muslim majority state, there are a considerable number (About 20 million) of Hindus in the country. The remarkable thing is that this year's Puja (October 9-13) has coincided with the Muslim holy month Ramadan so the festivity will be somewhat subdued as the mood of both the events are different. The Islamic Foundation Bangladesh has been asked to sit with 'imams' of mosques and priests of temples to reach an understanding that the Puja activities would not coincide with 'Ajan', call for prayers to Muslims (source). The Hindu Religious Welfare Trust have already directed Puja committees not to use musical instruments and loudspeakers during Iftar, Tarabi prayers and Sehri. A lot of security measures have been already taken by the home ministry to provide security to the more than 20,000 'puja mandaps' across the country.

This year so far one notable incident happened before the festival when the students of the premier engineering university (BUET) went to strike demanding more than one holiday for Durga Puja but was denied.

Here is the link to a Puja activities portal (Bangla only) in Chittagong.

Wishing all a happy Durga Puja and a happy Ramadan.

(Crossposted in the Global Voices Online.)


- Subhan shares some typical & unique Bangladeshi styles from personal observations in a post called “You know you are Bangladeshi when*@#!!”

- Arafat of ‘Anthology’ analyses a news about “the first Muslim gay marriage in Pakistan” in the light of a previous discussion of the subject which reveals:

"In sharp contrast to Christianity, which considers homosexuality to be a pathological character defect and homosexuals to be abnormal, perverted individuals, Islamic jurisprudence adopts a more restrained attitude, according to which attraction towards members of one’s own sex is viewed as entirely normal and natural."

- Asif explores the possibility whether a Dhaka-centric FM-Radio-Channel transmitting live commentary of the Dhaka traffic be established on the basis of the visual display of the traffic using GPS technology.

- Sadiq tells about the power of chanting in his blog “Inspirations and Creative Thoughts” and posts a beautiful ‘prayer for Ramadan’


- Neha is angry at the Delhi High Court’s ruling that the marriage of 15 year old minor girls are valid.

- Nitin of “The Acorn” tells us about a new Indian online craze “PublicGyan” - (The public knowledge exchage ), which is an online prediction futures market. He links to the plugins for Blogger, MovableType and WordPress — that enable bloggers to display their PublicGyan profile on their blogs.

- Kamla Bhat provides podcasting of headline news from India regularly.

- Charu has details of the festival of nine nights and ten days

-Abhi of Sepia Mutiny analyses the notion - “Do arranged marriages contribute to terrorism?”


- Iruvaihudhu claims that the Maldives president Mamun A. Gayoom’s son Ghassan is his chosen successor.


- Samudaya.org has the latest on the political turmoil Nepal is facing.

- United We Blog posts an experience of a Nepali Gay.


- Via a Pakistani girl’s blog we get the news of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Islamabad and Rawalpindi extending to New Delhi in India, Sri Nagar in Kashmir, Peshawar and Lahore in Pakistan.

- Sepoy of “Chapaty Mystery” discusses six different views often heard in the West.

- Shiraji of “Light Within” explains Ramadan.

Sri Lanka:

- Colombo goes crazy over books!

- The Magic of Music from ‘One One Things’.

- Fear… Its causes and result in the Sri Lankan Context via Komisiripala.

- Nittewa has thoughts on being Sri Lankan.

October 05, 2005


While searching for the roots of hindu rage against the Muslims, Pakistani blogger Haroon Moghul comes across an website called hindutva. This site describes the perspective of a certain subset of virulently Islamophobic, fascist Hindu nationalism. Just to give a flavour of the hatred against the Muslims, in an analysis of the latest global happenings, Robin MacArthur of New Jersey predicts the following:

Shape of things to come in Iraq (and the world over)
• US launches an air blitz of Iran followed by a land invasion and sets up a new regime
• The Shah of Iran returns to Iran as a private citizen
• Shia-Hezbollah led terror attacks across the West and Israel intensify
• Israel invades Lebanon to wipe out the Hezbollah threat
• Egypt/Syria threaten Israel with serious consequences.
• Terrorist attacks originating from Gaza intensify in Israel
• Israel warns Syria with military action
• Spectacular mega terror attack in Israel
• Israel declares Syria to be culpable and launches a swift land and air assault on Syria
• Syria appeals for Arab military action to save itself
• Egypt, Jordan and Saudis start military action against Israel
• Israel overruns Jordan to join up with US forces stationed in Iraq
• Israel occupies Damascus
• US forces enter Syria from Syrian-Iraqi border in the North, join up with Israeli military
• After the conquest of Syria, Israel turns on Egypt, annexes Sinai, crosses Suez Canal and threatens Cairo
• Mecca, Medina, Mena, Jiddah taken off the map thru IAF (Israel Air Force) nuke strikes
• Upheaval in the entire Arab world
• Western diplomats and businessmen attacked, kidnapped, beheaded
• Anti-American riots in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia.
• Musharraf and Yudhyono regimes under tremendous pressure to give up pro-US stance
• Musharraf assassinated by pro-Jihadi elements in Army due to his association with the US. The Jihadis last straw being his helping the Americans in finding Iran's nuke sites as a trade off for letting AQ Khan off the hook. But Mushy's gamble does not pay off, as he loses his job and life.
• Jihadi regime in Pakistan ups hostility with India
• Jihadis succeed in smuggling nuclear devices in the US and exploding them simultaneously
• US army takes over US administration, suspends constitution
• US military regime blockades the UN and declares it persona non-grata
• US enters into emergency war council with Russia and Britain
• The triple alliance starts nuclear bombing military targets across the Islamic world
• Pakistani nukes taken out in first strike
• Pakistan explodes some nuke devices on India
• Indian retaliation wipes off Pakistan off the map – death toll in South Asia is over half a billion
• Widespread Hindu-Muslim riots in India on the lines of the Gujarat riots of 2002. Muslim population decimated, Hindus and Christians also suffer heavy death toll.
• Nuclear campaign launched by the triple alliance intensifies as many cities in the Islamic world are taken off the map to wipe off the air forces.
• Seaports in the Islamic world crippled to decapitate the navies
• Radiation causes second wave of deaths. The toll in secondary deaths more than three billion
• More than half of the fatalities are Muslims.
• Almost the entire population in the Muslim world is decimated.
• China joins war against Islam, wipes off Muslim (Ughir) population in Eastern Turkestan
• Muslims in Europe launch a wave of terror attacks in European capitals
• Conditions in Europe very disturbed in a civil war like situation
• Right wing coups in France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark. The new regimes join the triple alliance
• Widespread anti-Muslim riots in Europe aided by the militaries of those countries and NATO forces
• Domestic military action against Muslims in Europe intensifies as European militaries do combing operations to flush out Muslims
• The post-war Muslim population worldwide now accounts for only one percent of the global population concentrated mostly in Europe
• Military action ends, US, Britain and Russia announce reconstruction plan for the world
• Islam outlawed across the globe
• Residual Muslims worldwide embrace Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism. Judaism
• Humanity enters post-Islamic phase.

Scary eh? Seems like a script from ancient time when people were far from civilization.

* Meet the fakers

* Why India is blamed for all debacles?

* The U.S. insists on keeping control of Web.

* India will turn superpower in 25 years.

* Importance of marriage certificate.

* The genesis of Razakar in Bangladesh.

October 04, 2005


The Bangladesh police & their elite force RAB have shown great performance in arresting over 500 suspects of the August 17 bombings. Their latest cap includes arresting Mufti Hannan, trained and fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan and a kingpin of the Islamic militants in Bangladesh. Hannan was the prime suspect of the assassination attempt of Sheikh Hasina in July 2000. It took 5 years to track him down. The question is why? Is the police force incompetent or corrupt? Not always. They are just helpless and being manipulated like the common people. They can't act on their own and sadly remain confined to the official orders. Who controls them? Naturally the lawmakers and the administration.

After Hannan's arrest a controversy arouse as he claimed that the then home minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury, now commerce minister, assured him of 'no fear' to live in the country when he was approached for mercy via Moulana Muhiuddin Khan, senior vice-chairman of Amini faction of Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) and editor of Madina, an Islamic monthly magazine. "The minister advised me to submit a mercy petition and asked me not to move openly until situation normalises," Hannan said.

The accused predictably denied the allegations but we can conclude that these kinds of lobbying exist. Lately there was a controversy regarding conferring president's mercy to a Bangladeshi expat (ruling party activist) from death penalty and his alleged meeting with the law Minister prior to that. The JMB leader Bangla Bhai is at large because of protection of some lawmakers. What the police can do? They cannot disobey their superiors' orders. Those who disobeys or acts in the course of law gets reprimanded or transferred.

Recently I have read a hilarious conspiracy theory. The transportation minister while replying to the reporters about the cause of traffic jam despite of all new automated signaling system accused the traffic constables of incompetence. He commented that some of the constables intentionally (?) create jam so that the government's image get tarnished to benefit certain quarters. Surely he found a way to accuse the opposition at these low paid constables' expense. Can't he realize that he had in a way put the blame on the home ministry? What the home minister has to say about this? Probably he is just as helpless as the others. He has to maintain a department keeping every quarter happy. Yes, that's what the lawmakers have devised as the police department's role in Bangladesh.

If the police are allowed to do their job independently, they can change the situation and they have proven that. The nation needs them to put their acts together without influence from other quarters against the evil. Then only I hope we will be able to see the end of them.

Sadiq, the most humble blogger I know, raises a couple of ultimate questions which are widely discussed in philosophical, religious and other aspects. Check out the interesting thoughts left by many. My responses were:

1. What is the meaning of life?

From the solar systems to our internal organisms all have been created (by God) in order to serve different purposes. It is for us to harmonize with this order.

So why do we need a meaning?

"Everywhere one seeks to produce meaning, to make the world signify, to render it visible. We are not, however, in danger of lacking meaning; quite the contrary, we are gorged with meaning and it is killing us." - Jean Baudrillard French, Postmodern Philosopher, Writer.

How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on.

2. What is the best thing one can get in life?

Being humble. When you respect & love others (even your enemy) you are bound to get respect in return and your life will be surrounded with love and happiness.

"For the first time in 33 years, Jews and Muslims will mark the start of their most sacred seasons on the same day this week. Rosh Hashana -- the Jewish New Year that begins the 10-day period known as the Days of Awe -- and the monthlong Islamic fast of Ramadan fall on Tuesday.

What's more, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a relatively minor Christian holiday mostly commemorated by Roman Catholics, also will be celebrated that day. (source)

All of a sudden on the same day most Jews, Muslims, and some Catholics will be hungry during the morning. Hopefully something will be done about poverty and world hunger."

- Mezba, Bangladeshi blogger

October 03, 2005


This is pretty amazing:

Treadle pumps were first introduced into Bangladesh in the early eighties and, since then, over a million have been sold there. They are now making their mark in Africa. Countries such as Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Niger have adopted the idea, changed the design slightly to suit local conditions and begun marketing the pump with great success. The pumps cost between $ 50 and $ 120 depending on the country. (source)

The treadle pump is cost effective; it cost US$ 20 in Bangladesh and generates US$ 100 or more per year. Together, these pumps add over US$ 100 million every year to the GNP of Bangladesh. Production and sales are now sustainable without any external aid. The treadle pump for irrigation was developed in the late 1970’s in Bangladesh. After wide-scale promotion by IDE they are now being produced in 300 local workshops and used by more than one million poor rural families that otherwise could not have afforded an irrigation pump. (source)

Its pioneer IDE has also other interesting tools like arsenic filter, low cost water storage etc.

Census figures confirm that Bangladeshi migrants' flow into India has significantly reduced in the last decade.

The role of media is no less than terrorists so let's harass them. Meanwhile let the holy warriors do their duty. The media and the security forces are responsible for these small impediments towards the holy goal.

If you are a textile engineer in Bangladesh, job will hunt you down not the other way round.

"It's very difficult being a moderate Muslim these days. The vast majority of Muslims are moderate, wouldn't hurt a fly, want to do nothing more than live in peace, earn a living, bring up their families. Yet they constantly have to apologize for their religion because the whole Islamic PR effort is being driven by the crazies.

I used to feel sorry for the Christians in Northern Ireland, because they had terrorists killing in their name. But that’s all over. And the chilling fact is that these days, wherever there is any trouble in the world, Muslims are tied up in it. From Algeria in the west to the Philippines in east, from Chechnya in the north to Darfur in the south, not forgetting Palestine in the middle, wherever there’s trouble in the world, there are Muslims involved......

......There are times when I really despair of what these disciples of the Devil, and the complicit silence of those who could show some moral leadership, are doing to my religion."

- The Religious Policeman, a Saudi blogger

October 02, 2005


Datashak (Amaranth) are the herbaceous plants of the genus Amaranthus, family Amaranthaceae, native to the India, Bangladesh and Indo-Chinese region (source). The tender leaves are fried and stems are generally cooked with fish or other vegetables. The leaves and stems are rich in vitamin A and C, calcium and iron.

It finally become known to many in USA thanks to the federal agents, who raided a Muslim (deobondi) campground in Moodus, CT Friday morning, seizing specimens and seeds from what they believe is datashak. According to this report, the property caretaker Rahman, a Bangladeshi was perplexed with the feds action and commented:

"That is our country's vegetable. Our people like it. ... It's like spinach. They are regular vegetables. You can find them in New York."

Some of the datashak seeds were originally mailed from Bangladesh, while others were purchased in stores and planted. The Datashak were cooked at a recent summer camp attended by 20-plus Muslim youths.

So why were the seeds and plants were confiscated? Whose fault was it: the plant itselve or those who ate it? May be the feds thought that as these were planted by the Muslim campers, probably these are variants of poppy plants the Talibans cultivate to finance their (holy?) war. Or probably these are lethal as anthrax. I hope datashak comes clean and continue to nourish those, who cherish it.

Raven at the Reality Cafe has this to say citing a couple of examples (including above):

"The biggest threats to society, according to the Bureau, are not terrorism, hurricanes, paedophiles, bearded brown people or even kidnappers of attractive white women.

The two clearest and most present dangers facing the FBI are porn and weed."

"NGOs don't really exist for the sake of helping the people that they mention in their mission statements. They exist because there is all this funding coming from abroad for development work and stuff, and they need someone to coordinate things on this end, and thus jobs are born, so they pretty much just exist because there are people who want the jobs that are created by the funding. In other words, they don't exist because people have an actual genuine desire to help."

- Ilyeana, an US expat volunteering for an NGO in Bangladesh