imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Immigrant identity

Jun 18,2007

Mira Nair has taken Jhumpa Lahiri’s book “The Namesake” and turned it into a film. Bengali, Hindi and English dialogue.  Anyone seen it??

Jhumpa Lahiri

Google her. She is interesting.  (Thanks FH for this)

The Blair imams

  • Filed under: Misc
Jun 12,2007

Blair and imam

Ruth Kelly ( member of Opus dei, ultra conservative catholic movement, believes in flagellation): Woah! The Pope has got a bigger one than that!

Tony Blair (speculation that he will convert to catholicism. Wife already has): Yes we christians have bigger ones!

Imam ( probably part of the new compliant muslims initiative): I trust you are referring to my turban, your highnesses?


  • Filed under: Misc
May 25,2007

I sing the song of equality
where all obstacles melt and all distances disappear
where merge as men, the Hindus and the Buddhists, the Muslims and the Christians the world over

The song of equality do I sing in joy

Who are you? Parsee? Jain? Jew? Santal, Bheel or Garo?
The follower of Confucius or the disciple of Charbak?
Say what you will, and be what you please!
Carry on your backs and breasts, whatever books and scriptures you like
and read what you will of the Quran, Puran and Vedas, Vedants, Bible, Tripitak and Zendabesta, Granth Sahib and so forth

But why rake your brain and haggle inside the shop?
Fresh flowers bloom outside.
Open your heart, and you will find in it all books and scriptures, and all knowledge of all times
In your heart lie all religions and prophets …..

Nazrul Islam, the rebel poet, born this day in 1899.

Bones as museum artefacts

  • Filed under: Art, Misc
May 22,2007

A little while ago, I took issue with the liberation war museum people in Dhaka about the display of heaped piles of skulls and bones. Actually I took issue with a whole host of things. Some small things got changed…..but on the bones issue there was silence. I think only two or three museums in the world do that kind of thing. One is in Cambodia. I understand it goes against some principles laid down by UNESCO. Anyway, here is a novel take on a related issue by an artist in England.

Museum offered head for shrinking

May 9,2007

The British government’s forced marriage unit has rescued an eleven year old girl from forced marriage in Dhaka. The unit was set up just over a year ago, and the government were careful to point out that : “Forced marriage affects children, teenagers and adults from all races and religions, including Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.  And it is not solely an issue facing Asian communities. We deal with cases in the Middle East, Western Balkans and Africa.”


Shown the exit

Apr 23,2007

Here is the video of Sheikh Hasina in Heathrow.

Out of Control

  • Filed under: Misc
Apr 16,2007

The 38-year old third well of the country’s biggest gas provider Titas Gas Field in Brahmanbaria yesterday went totally out of control with an uncontrolled release of gas at the rate of 15 to 18 million cubic feet a day (mmcfd), highly placed sources said.

Read the story HERE

As I wrote on 20 March, it is incredible that this thing has been ignored….and now it has happened.

But the caretaker government apparently did not pursue the matter with utmost seriousness and left the matter to be dealt with by people lacking capability to do so, alleged an expert.

So close….

  • Filed under: Misc
Apr 11,2007

FROM THE BBC with 16 overs to go:

England were in huge danger of being the third Test team to be beaten by Bangladesh at the Cricket World Cup.
They collapsed from 70-2 to 110-6 chasing a modest 144 to win.

England need 19 to win from 76 balls. I can’t listen anymore. Going off to do some violin practice.

Failing the Tebbit cricket test

  • Filed under: Misc
Apr 11,2007

Ashraful the main man, Ashraful
Ah yes, today I shall proudly fail the Norman Tebbit cricket test, as I always unfailingly do, and cheer on the Tigers against England in Barbados. (Has anyone noticed that aussies and south africans and kiwis who have settled here and who support their countries of birth never have their loyalties questioned? Its only us brownies who are suspect.  And the scots too never have their Britishness questioned when they support Scotland over England….why is that? Or the Welsh or Oirish. Or Jewish folk who pledge allegiance to Israel…)

Mar 13,2007

The blanket acceptance the present military backed caretaker government has enjoyed is fraying at the edges. The uprooting of small shops and other so-called “illegal occupiers” in the drive against corruption has left a lot of people disgruntled. The total suspension of political activity, as I wrote earlier, is also troubling.  Unaccountability and arbitrary behaviour is not going to do the current dispensation any favours. In this context, news from the CHT - a special area in every way - needs careful consideration. And this morning, an email flew in from CHT News with some disturbing news. I quote in full.

Appeal for your kind action

Recently, using the state of the emergency, the military forces have increased their suppressive actions against the indigenous Jumma people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Particularly the joint forces led by army have been arresting PCJSS (Parbartya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti) and PCP (Hill Students’ Council) activists charging them in connection with terrorist activities. To materialise their allegation, the joint forces have been showing arm recovery from arrestees’ possession putting their (army) arm and lodging false arm case against them. On the other, though the government is conducting drive to capture the corrupt politicians and godfathers, but arrest of PCJSS leaders is fully politically motivated as because there is no such allegation and even case against the arrested PCJSS leaders. As prevailing emergency in the country, the Jumma people could not organise protests against these suppressive actions. For instances-


Mar 13,2007

The sheer pleasure to be derived from the thought of Tarek or Tarique, that arrogant young turk, weeping/sobbing in the dock is something else. The image of him arriving in court wearing a RAB flak jacket and helmet is enormously satisfying.


The image is beautiful in an ordered pair. Here below is its binary partner:

Shaikh Abdur Rahman and Bangla bhai

However this feeling of joy is fleeting. Suspension of all political activity, even meetings indoors is strange and suffocating (well, at least to someone sitting five thousand miles away). A crisis of democracy surely can only be resolved by the practice of democracy. Or maybe thats too rational? The spectacle of arresting high profile crooks, impounding luxury cars and recovering hoarded loot seems to have the purpose of legitimating whatever they are doing…And sooner or later it won’t wash. Rooting out corruption and violence in the political process is exactly that…a process. Lets not suspend it.

Islam and technology

  • Filed under: Misc
Mar 10,2007

It is of course ridiculous to suggest that islam rejects technology and science. Indeed technology in islam is at the heart of the relationship between a man and a woman. Only this last week, my old mate the Grand Mufti of Dubai Ahmed al-Haddad confirmed that a muslim man can divorce using mobile phone text or SMS. What an insightful application of doctrine to modern life.

I remember reading in the past that Malaysia and Singapore both allowed this practice for a while and when the divorce texting got a bit out of hand their courts blocked the practice. But the crazies mussalman of Dubai know better.

Feb 15,2007

Teardrops of Karnaphuli

If you live in New York and have not seen Tanvir Mokammel’s documentary “Teardrops of Karnaphuli” - you can catch it at the 2007 Arab and South Asian Film Festival. The CHT is a big blot on Bangladesh’s human rights landscape. And this documentary is particularly noteworthy because of the way it understands landscape as social history. Watch it please if you can.
You will soon be able to buy this DVD online….watch this space. If you belong to an NGO or Human rights forum or environmental network, and you wish to show this documentary, please get in touch.

Feb 9,2007

The wires have been buzzing with tales of suitcases, and silly as they are I think I should blog about them. As I am currently in Glasgow, the first story concerns the celebrated Scottish/bangladeshi chef - Tommy Miah. It transpires that he is a good mate of Tareq Zia’s right hand man and one of bangladesh’s principal ‘godfathers’ - Mr Giasuddin Mamun. Now apparently Tommy visits Dhaka every month.  So do a lot of people including my goodself. Nothing amazing there.  However whilst I only ever have cabin luggage, Tommy regularly comes back with 5-6 packed suitcases. Garam masala, I suspect you are muttering? Not according to the Weekly Blitz. They reckon green stuff. And I don’t mean saag or other exotic vegetables for his Edinburgh restaurant.  They reckon these cases were stashed with foreign currency notes supplied by the slippery Mamun.

The next story also in the Weekly Blitz concerns the mystery of 453 missing suitcases. Our ex-PM, Khaleda Zia, went to do Umrah ( a cut down version of hajj) and she and her small entourage travelled to Saudi Arabia with 480 suitcases and trunks. Upon her return, KZ et al.  only had 27 cases with them. Talk about missing luggage! Except, according to the gutter Weekly Blitz, these weren’t missing at all. These were probably used to carry the green stuff to Saudi and then deposited in banks there.

The final story concerns the bangladeshi New York cabbie, Osman Chowdhury, who found a case of diamonds in his boot, and then made strenuous efforts to return them to the owner. His behaviour was exemplary and professional. And he fully deserves the praise being heaped upon him. His behaviour was however entirely rational. CCTV, taxi-fare logging and other tecchie related developments pretty much ensure that it would have been foolish of him to do a runner with the case of jewels. So game theoretically it was the correct thing to do. Emotional bangladeshi bloggers have taken his behaviour to the next level and started comparing it to the self-seeking behaviour of bangladeshi politicians at home. To these bloggers, corruption is all about individual pathology. Correct yourself and all will be ok. Honest individuals is what it is about.  In their naivete they fail to look at the structural causes of corruption in Bangladesh and indeed throughout low income countries, and the politics that develops as a result. Not to mention the assurance problem which affected the cabbie but would not have affected corrupt behaviour in Bangladesh. And this is of course dangerous. Because these bloggers would be the first to welcome the current goings on in Bangladesh and believe that corruption is being sorted out. Without a doubt some positive changes might be enacted, but to think that governmental fiat  is all that is required along with a few thousand arrests…well dream on.