Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina considers India to be a friend of Bangladesh, but is this how a friend acts? The government must take immediate steps to prevent further loss of lives of Bangladeshis in the hands of the trigger-happy BSF.
According to Odhikar, the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans killed 907 people of Bangladesh between January 1, 2000 and March 31, 2011. Any person ‘worth his salt’ just can not ignore the illegal and merciless beating of a fellow citizen at the Indian border. how much he may be at fault by a very unfriendly foreign force. Even for illegal smuggling or trespass and any civil crime that does not involve killing or injury of any foreign national of that country, cannot be shot. It is worse than any brutality or killing along the infamous border of East and West Germany (Berlin Wall) during the Cold War period between the Capitalist and Communist European powers.
Who can then justify that we have friendly relations with India, given their illegal border killings of unarmed Bangladeshi citizens despite whatever may be officially stated.
Is our concerned minister, dumb, deaf and blind too? The LGRD Minister does not care a fig for the recent border beating of a Bangladeshi. To him it is OK. Bangladesh’s local government minister Syed Ashraful Islam said the recent incidents at the border were everyday matters. When asked by a reporter at an event about the alleged torture of a Bangladeshi at the hands of the Indian Border Security Force, Ashraful said, “The state is not worried about incidents at the border. They’ve happened in the past, are happening now and will happen in future.”
Asked whether these acts of torture and killing at the border were provocative, Ashraf said, “The state is not too much concerned about it. It is not true that the state is focusing only on the issue forgetting other businesses either.”
The incumbent needs to be de-ministered for this strange stance, recorded in all audio-visual and print media in Bangladesh. Paraphrasing and poorly rewording some famous lines from a famous English poem; I dare say:
“Breathes there the man so low,
Who feels not any sorrow in calling it ‘the name of the game’
Who feels not an iota of shame!
Unfortunately, there does breathe one such,
With belly full of of goodies much! For him, no thoughts further dwell
Highly satiated with his belly swelled.
And doubly dying; shall ho down
To the wild dust from whence it sprung
Unwept, unhonoured and unsung!”
This is how I am sure we all feel, for the inexcusable subservience from the top.
A Shamed Citizen,
Cultural identity is crucial
Culture originally meant the cultivation of mind. According to sociologists, a society is a group of people with common territory, interaction and culture.
Nobel Laureate George Bernard Shaw, one of the world’s greatest writers, said, “If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam… I have always held the religion of Prophet Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity.” G.B. Shaw, The Genuine Islam, Vol. 1, No. 81936
Internationally acclaimed historian Professor Toynbee observed, “The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam, and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue.” A.J. Toynbee, Civilisation on Trial, New York, 1948, p.205
Religion is an institution to express belief in a divine power. It is an established fact that religion plays a vital role in our social and cultural life. According to the teachings of Islam, a true follower of Islam cannot lead his life willingly and whimsically as Islam offers him ‘a complete code of life’ indicating that a true follower of Islam cannot perform his activities neglecting the rules and regulations of Islam.
In other words a true follower of Islam must say prayers in the mosque and he must possess the identity at the time of performing cultural activities. In the verse 162 of Surah Al Anam of the Holy Quran it has been stated unequivocally that a Muslim must do everything for the satisfaction of Allah in every sphere of life. Again, before death one must be a Muslim regardless of geographical or cultural identity as an Arabian or English or French if he claims himself to be a believer.
The notion of a Thai, a Burmese, a Chinese or a Bangali first and a Muslim later does not conform to the principle of Islam though, of course, it is a mather of personal consideration as well. But it is a matter of regret that there has been trend of disparaging Islamic values and ideas as prescribed in the Holy Quran and Hadith.
A section of intellectuals have a tendency to vilify Islamic values and practices. They even feel comfortable to term the Islamic books as ‘Zihadi books’. There are great Bengal poets who have enriched our literature among whom Michael Modhusudan Dutta, Rabindranath Tagore (whose song is our National Anthem) are the towering figures.
After them the most distinguished poet, who appeared on the Bengali literary scene as an extraordinary personality, was Kazi Nazrul Islam, the poet of revolution, who was a resolute enemy of the colonial British rulers and so they imprisoned him for over seventeen months.
More than one hundred books in Bengali and English on the Rebel Poet Nazrul have been published from India and Bangladesh. Several books have been published in Russian language. In India the Rebel Poet is regarded as a Freedom Fighter against British colonialism. But a section of intellectuals in this country are not much interested in Nazrul Islam and his outstanding achievements in literature though he is the National Poet of Bangladesh whose writings inspired our Freedom Fighters to fight bravely against the Pakistani evil forces.
Nowadays average and third grade Indian singers and dancers are invited to perform in Bangladesh; comparatively our talented top singers or dancers are not invited to perform in India as much. While numerous Indian TV channels are destroying our cultural identity, Bangladeshi channels are PROHIBITED in India. So, necessary steps should be taken to protect our own culture.
Abul Kalam Azad,
Bangladesh: A giant leap
This is to admire crusader Sir Frank Peters. On July 20, 1969 the first man to step on the moon Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke the now famous words: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
His statement linked one small action of a man with a monumental achievement for humanity.
Similarly it can be said, as time will one day reveal, that the Bangladesh High Court ruling by Justices Md. Imman Ali and Sheikh Hasan Arif on January 13, 2011 that outlaws corporal punishment in schools, greatly serves Bangladesh and is a significant lesson to all mankind.
Lone voice crusader Sir Frank Peters also deserves a special round of applause for his spirited and incessant effort to warn Bangladesh of the wrong and consequences of corporal punishment, and for helping to bring about the historical change.
In their summary, the honorable HC judges described corporal punishment as: “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom.”
Sir Frank described it as: “a form of mental and physical torture that causes pain, humiliation, irreparable damage, violates the human rights of the child and teaches hate, violence, resentment, vengeance and disrespect.”
It is clear from both that corporal punishment serves no good purpose.
Loving and concerned parents here in the United States of America admired, applauded and were inspired by your HC decision in 2011. They are now anxiously awaiting, hoping, and praying for the passage through Congress of an anti-corporal punishment bill by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy.
We at Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE) wholeheartedly wish the people and children of Bangladesh (especially) ‘Happy Birthday’ on the first anniversary of the anti-corporal punishment law.
P.O. Box 1033, Alamo,
California, 94507, USA,
Foot-bridges: Awareness building needed
We all know that it is very dangerous to cross the road before the speeding vehicles. During crossing road in this way any fatal accident can happen. We almost get to know from newspapers about such accidents. There are many foot-bridges and underpasses in the busiest roads of the capital, although these are not enough for the pedestrians of the city. But most of the pedestrians do not use them. They usually leap over the fence or road dividers to cross the roads before the speeding vehicles which is very dangerous. On the other hand due to moving before the speeding vehicles, the normal speed of the vehicles is slowed and as a result fatal traffic jams are created in the roads.
We are surprised when see most pedestrians in front of law enforcers, avoiding foot-bridges and underpasses, cross the roads before the speeding vehicles. The law enforcers who are there on duty do not prevent them.
We hope the concerned authorities will take realistic steps to raise people’s awareness for using foot-bridges and underpasses.
Md. Iqbal Hossain,