Issue: 2017-12-15 | The Daily Star

Editing Out 1971

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Date

Friday, December 15, 2017

Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apubo

"I am puzzled that in my lifespan of only 30 years, I have read two versions of the history of our Liberation War and now I am teaching my students a third version of our great national struggle,” shares Md Rakibul Hasan, a teacher of a prominent Bengali-medium school.

Rakib was a student of grade five in 2000. “I learned about the historic speech of March 7 in school. I also wrote an essay on Bangabandhu's life in the primary school final exam,” he remembers. However, four years later, things changed completely.

“It was around 2004 to 2005 when I was a student of grade eight or nine. To my surprise, I found only a few words about Bangabandhu's life in the history chapter of our social science book and learned that the proclamation of Bangladesh's independence was actually made by Ziaur Rahman,” says Rakib. On the other hand, he found that the Bengali literature textbook was full of tributes to the former President Ziaur Rahman. And the only thing he learned about Bangabandhu was that he was the founder of Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (Baksal) and was assassinated by the army due to his failure to tackle his government's corruption, which had led to famine and public outrage.

After more than a decade, in 2016 Rakib took up secondary level textbooks again, but this time, as a school teacher. “I found that everything had been changed again. Major Zia had been completely deleted. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and our struggle for liberation had returned with greater prominence. However, the references to Baksal were also removed.”

It is needless to mention that Rakib's experiences have resulted from the tendency to change textbooks according to the ruling party's ideology and its own version of history. Although there is an autonomous body called the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) to formulate curricula and to author and regulate textbooks, they could do nothing to prevent such unethical interventions. According to Professor Narayan Chandra Saha, “NCTB has to act according to the executive order passed by the Ministry of Education. However, we are in the process of formulating a draft National Curriculum Policy Framework. Once it is passed, it will not be so easy to make abrupt changes in the textbooks.”

However, the damage has already been done in the last two decades. The history of Bangladesh's Liberation War was only sparsely described in the textbooks till 1991. After the return of democracy in 1991, some elements of the history of 1971 were introduced, but those were inconclusive. For instance, in the primary and secondary grade textbooks published in 1991, a one-page biography of Bir Shresthas (highest gallantry award winners of the war) was the only content related to 1971. The language movement, mass revolution of 1969, and six-point movement were nowhere to be found.

In 1993, the NCTB edited the primary school Poribesh Porichiti (Shomaj) [Introduction to Environment and Society] book, which included a very brief description of the Liberation War [Poribesh Porichiti (Shomaj), NCTB, Dhaka, 1993, page 45-48]. However, its preceding events and movements were omitted as well. The textbook stated that the proclamation of independence was aired by M A Hannan, a leader of Chittagong Awami League, and Bengali army officer Major Ziaur Rahman, through Kalurghat radio station. This version remained unchanged till 2001.

Excerpt from textbook published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

In 1996, the AL-led government made some major additions to the secondary level textbooks regarding the history of 1971. For instance, two poems (“Prio shadhinota” by Shamsur Rahman and “He kishor shono” by Mahadev Saha) and an essay (“Rokte lekha muktijuddho”) on the Liberation War were included in the Bengali literature book for grade six; in the Bengali literature book for grade seven, a short story titled “Shomoyer hridpindo” and an essay on the four national leaders were incorporated; and in the Bengali literature textbook of grade eight, a short biography of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a poem ("Shadhinota, ei shobdoti kibhabe amader holo" by Nirmalendu Goon on Bangabandhu's March 7 speech) were included.

However, in 2001, when the BNP-led government came to power, they abruptly changed all this content. They started with the primary school textbooks. In the Bengali books, references to the March 7 speech as well as all references to his name were erased from the biographies of Bir Shreshta freedom fighters. But perhaps the most notable of “edits” took place in Paribesh Parichiti (Shomaj). Where it was earlier stated that Awami League leader M A Hannan and Major Zia had proclaimed independence on behalf of Bangabandhu on March 27, M A Hannan's name and the words “on behalf of Bangabandhu” were deleted and the date was changed to March 26, thus making Ziaur Rahman the only one who proclaimed independence [Poribesh Porichiti (Shomaj) NCTB, Dhaka, 2001, page 45-47; Amar Boi-Ponchom Bhag, NCTB, Dhaka-2001, page 56-59). 

The changes were more prominent in secondary level textbooks. Banagabandhu's proclamation was erased from the essay titled “Rokte lekha muktijuddho” and Ziaur Rahman's name was introduced in place of Bangabandhu's. The essay on the biographies of four national leaders was completely erased from the grade seven Bengali literature book. Similarly, Bangabandhu's biography and Nirmalendu Goon's poem were erased and replaced by brief biographies of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardi, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman. In this chapter, Bangabandhu was portrayed as a failed administrator whose role was insignificant in the nine months of war and Ziaur Rahman was portrayed as a national hero and the savior of the nation [Shahitto Konika, grade eight, NCTB, Dhaka, 2001]. In all other primary, secondary and even higher secondary level books, Bangabandhu was carefully replaced by Ziaur Rahman as the proclamator of independence, and the former's name was mentioned as little as possible.

Excerpt from textbook published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

This distorted version of history was studied by millions of students of Bengali-medium schools and Alia madrasas for over eight years. When the AL-led government won the ninth general election, one of the first steps they took was to change the textbooks. The government also made some significant changes in the curriculum by introducing a new education policy which recognises “realising the spirit of the Liberation War” as a major goal of education. A new textbook titled “Bangladesh and Global Studies”—where a brief history of the Liberation War has been included—was introduced and made compulsory for students of all education systems. Bangabandhu's biography and his name as the proclamator of independence have been reinstated. And, to no one's surprise, Ziaur Rahman's name has been eliminated from all the textbooks.

According to curriculum specialist and historian Dr Mamtaz Uddin Patwary, Professor of Bangladesh Open University, “The great history of Bangladesh's Liberation War has been tarnished by these practices. Even during his reign, Ziaur Rahman never claimed himself as the one to proclaim independence. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the founding father of Bangladesh's liberation movement and during the war Ziaur Rahman was nothing more than one of the many sector commanders. It is outrageous to present him in the textbooks as comparable to Bangabandhu.”

“Those who participated in the Liberation War and fought against the Pakistan army have already secured their places in our national history. We cannot change their positions. Our Liberation War should not be a part of party politics; it should be respected as an honoured part of our national history,” he adds.

Adding to Bangladesh's failure to teach its youth a consistent historical narrative on the nation's liberation struggle is the fact that we have educational mediums which do not pay much attention to national history. More than 1.4 million students of around 14,931 Qwami madrasas do not study the history of 1971 at all. In these institutions, all of which are beyond the purview of government monitoring, Bangladesh's history is taught only up to grade five. And, in their books, which are printed by publishers enlisted by Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh (Qwami Madrasa Education Board), the history of 1971 is full of distortion.

Excerpt from textbook published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

In the history book of grade five, an essay titled “Shadhin Bangladesh er jonmo” (Birth of an independent Bangladesh) has been recently included in 2016 after much debate on Qwami Madrasa's reluctance to teach the history. In history textbooks published in 2014, Ziaur Rahman was mentioned as the sole proclamator of independence. However, in face of criticism, they changed it to “Ziaur Rahman proclaimed independence on behalf of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”, although the High Court passed a verdict in 2009 stating that Bangabandhu is the only proclamator of independence. In addition, in the books of grade three and four, there is a chapter on the birth of India and Pakistan but there is not a single line about our liberation. Maulana Mahfuzul Haque, Joint Secretary General, Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh, says, “We have already incorporated some corrections. We are now very busy with the organisational reformations after the recognition of our Taqmeel degree. After these reformations, we will also edit our textbooks.”

On the other hand, the history of 1971 is also ignored in the curriculum of English medium schools. History is taught in every grade of these schools, but Bangladesh is almost absent in the subject's textbooks. Most of these schools teach history books approved either by Edexcel or Cambridge Education board. The primary grade book published by Cambridge, called “Children's World History Bangladesh Edition”, does not include any chapter related to 1971. The third part of this book, taught in grade four and five, only includes a chapter on the Language Movement titled, “An important issue: the Language Movement”, three other chapters on medieval ruler Isa Khan, Sufi saint Hazrat Shah Jalal (RA) and ancient scholar Atisha Dipankar. However, the book includes 12 other chapters on Indian and European history.

From grade six to O level, the schools teach a history book titled “Human Heritage: A World History” which excludes the history of Bangladesh and its liberation, although it has comprehensive chapters on ancient Roman wars, crusades, Napoleonic wars and so on. On the other hand, the history books approved by Edexcel do not include any chapter related to Bangladesh let alone the war. For these students, the only source of learning about 1971 is the 10-page essay on Bangladesh's independence struggle that has been included in the first chapter of the “Bangladesh and Global Studies” textbook.

According to Khairul Bashar, principal of Cardiff International School, “At present, English medium schools are teaching 'Bangladesh and Global Studies' up to grade eight. But in the O levels, guardians and students actually chose their subjects and unfortunately Bangladesh Studies is not on their priority list. However, if they want, they can take the course and continue it in their O levels.”

Excerpt from textbook published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board. Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

Despite the inclusion of “Bangladesh and Global Studies” in all streams of education, the improvements have been far from adequate. According to Dr Mamtaz Uddin Patwary, teachers who teach the history of the Liberation War must be trained properly. “History is an analytical subject and it should be taught very carefully as historical events can have multiple interpretations. In our schools and colleges, history graduates do not teach history and those who teach do not know how to teach it. For this reason, our students are learning a distorted, false history and are becoming desensitised about national heritage,” he says.

“Besides teaching the authentic history of our liberation, we should also teach the history of preceding events such as the partition of the Indian subcontinent, the Language Movement, the six point movement, the mass revolution of 1969 and all the related events even in the post-71 era,” he adds.

Eminent historian Muntasir Mamun further suggests, “A course on Bangladesh's national history and the Liberation War should be made compulsory up to the higher secondary level. And research facilities to conduct objective research on the war should be established in universities.”

In 2021, Bangladesh will celebrate its 50th year of independence. It is really unfortunate that even after 46 years, the history of our liberation is a contentious topic among its own people. As a result, many Bangladeshi youths like Rakib are still puzzled and many others are completely ignorant about their own history. If we cannot document the real, authentic history of our liberation through our textbooks, if we fail to disseminate the true spirit of the war through trained teachers, all our development efforts will be futile as the famous proverb says, “A nation which does not know what it was yesterday does not know where it is today.”


Md Shahnawaz Khan Chandan can be contacted at shahnawaz.khan@thedailystar.net.

The end of the Liberation War in 1971 was merely the beginning of a chaotic struggle towards a democratic dream. The post-independence period in Bangladesh witnessed a wide array of political actions. With coups and assassinations dominating the political scenario, the late 1970s and 80s witnessed some of the worst battles for political supremacy. The politically unstable period, however, had a silver lining. This was the period that saw the rise of the “band” culture in Bangladesh's music industry. Frustrated with the corrupt political scenario, the artists of the 70s created some of the most powerful socio-political songs in the country's short history.

Writing songs against the establishment was not a new phenomenon. The likes of Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote poems and songs against the British Empire during the early 19th century, were afresh in the minds of the budding musicians. It was the influence of these traditional poets combined with the Western influence of rock and roll groups that initiated the “rock band” culture in the country. More importantly, these artists set the tone for the rise of the protest music era in Bangladesh.

At a time when the world watched Bob Dylan's fight against American apartheid and the Vietnam War, the troubled post-independence era in Bangladesh witnessed the rise of Azam Khan or “Guru”, as he was popularly known. An artist who is credited with having brought rock music to Bangladesh, Khan's straightforward yet piercing lyrics managed to create a kind of fury that had never been seen before.

“The 70s saw a singer with a difference emerge in the music scene, from his tunes to lyrics, hair style and body language, music presentation and use of instrument, everything seemed new to the listeners,” wrote Kazi Hablu, percussionist from the band Renaissance, in an article written dedicated to Khan in 2011.

Warfaze's deafening tone and strong riffs were frequently accompanied by rebellious lyrics. Photo: courtesy

Khan, along with his band Uchcharon, created songs like “Raillineer oi bostite” and “Ore Saleka, ore Maleka” which described the pitiful conditions of the country. Uchcharon's songs can be best described as a mixture of simple lyrics with a raging inferno of emotions. “Azam Khan sang for the masses throughout his career. If people look into his music, they'll notice his songs are realistic and emotional,” explained Hablu.

It wouldn't be wrong to say that Azam Khan and his songs also laid down the platform for the beginning of band culture in Bangladesh. The importance of Khan is probably best described in Hablu's article, “Band music is extremely popular in the industry today. This is not something, which has been achieved in just a day. Azam Khan paved the way for today's band music with his hard work.”

Khan passed away on June 5 in 2011. Apart from a musician, Khan was also a freedom fighter and fought in the Liberation War of 1971. In his last interview, published in The Daily Star, when he was asked to compare independent Bangladesh to the pre-1971 state, he replied, “I would not have taken part in the war had I known this is how it would turn out. Before independence, Bangladeshi politicians were not corrupt; they were inspiring figures. Pakistanis tried to marginalise us in every way possible. So, the war was inevitable. But is this what we fought for? We had a vision of a state that would uphold the rights of every citizen. Has that happened?”

Uchcharon laid the foundation for the formation of a series of bands by the late 70s. Influenced by the rock culture in the West, bands like Feedback, Souls, Miles, Akhand Brothers, Feelings and Waves created a different kind of sound, which was still new to the country. As time progressed, the band culture gained more impetus and eventually started dominating the music industry.

The beginning of the 1980s witnessed a series of albums and recordings. Souls released its first album in 1982, followed by Miles, which recorded its first-ever compilation in the same year. The 80s also saw bands transcend music beyond the usual genres. For instance, a bunch of musicians from Chittagong and Dhaka combined rock music with a lot of jazz and blues and termed their music “mellow rock”. Renaissance, one of those bands, became popular in the 1980s.

With artists from different musical backgrounds entering the industry, it was only a matter of time before a bunch of “metal-heads” made their presence felt. At the onset of the 1990s, music listeners were taken aback by vicious guitar solos and double-bass drumming. It was a mixture of high-pitched vocals, strong guitar riffs and hard lyrics that created what is known today as “Bengali metal”. Bands like Rock Strata, Warfaze, Winning and In Dhaka found full houses during their concerts in the capital.

A number of these metal songs pointed towards the failing democratic administration of the country. The song Jibondhara by Warfaze, for instance, talks about the way corrupt politicians dictated terms in the country during the 1990s.

Listen to my country's great tale,

Leaders change, yet in the same boat they sail,

Locked inside a life of despair,

Where politicians play games, so unfair,

So many things have happened, yet we're silent,

This will pass we say, this is how its meant,

So many hopes, so many desires,

For this country, we fought against fire,

For freedom, we broke a thousand barriers,

Yet they use the sign of freedom,

To increase their pocket's sum,

Listen to my country's great tale,

Leaders change, yet in the same boat they all sail…”

(Translated by the writer)

The song, released in 1997, was a scathing attack against the corrupt political administration of the country. With a deafening tone and strong riffs, the melody complemented the song's rebellious lyrics. By then, several other bands had expressed their discontent over the country's ruling administration through their songs.

Feedback, Akhand Brothers and Fakir Alamgir followed in the steps of the rock “guru” Azam Khan and penned various socio-political songs. Feedback's album, Bongabdo 1400, released in 1994, which commemorated the 1400th year of the Bengali calendar, comprised songs written by Maqsood Haque, the former vocalist of the band, which charged the government of being a false set-up with unreal promises. The song “Uchchopodostho todonto committee”(High-powered probe committee) criticised committees formed by the government and alleged that the creation of such organisations were merely strategic moves to calm the public.

“Shamajik koshtokathinnyo” (social constipation) was another song in the album that spoke about the everyday problems and social difficulties faced by Bangladeshi communities. “Songs like these were sung at a time when no other musicians dared to do so. These are absolute examples of activism through music during the early and mid 90s. The turbulent evolution of these songs gave our generation issues to think about. These songs asked us...our generation who are in their mid 30s now to be informed and involved citizens of the country,” explains Faizul Tanim, a music journalist who specialises in band music and was also the Country Director of www.amaderGaan.com, a portal for Bangladeshi music.

The baton has been passed on to younger rock bands. Photo: courtesy

Haque, however, had his differences with Feedback. He wanted to create the kind of music that would challenge the administration. The other members of Feedback, however, did not share Haque's idea of “activism through music” and thus the band split in 1997 with Haque forming a new band called Maqsood O Dhaka.

With his new band, Haque continued to write songs for the youth on socio-political issues. Their first album “Praptoboyosko nishiddho” (Banned for adults) contained a number of protest songs and became an instant hit amongst the youth of the country. The song “Parawardikar” was aimed at religious fundamentalists and accused them of enforcing their blind belief upon society.

“Giti michil gonotontro” was a musical ballad that mocked the country's democratic administration. In another song “Abar juddhe jete hobe” (We have to go to war again), Haque talks about the need for another Liberation War, this time to liberate the people of Bangladesh from corrupt politicians. He ends the album with an explosive eight-minute long song entitled “Giti bhashon: Mrityudondo”(Musical death sentence) where he demands the closure of the entire political system and then orders a death sentence upon himself, for being a member of the current social environment.

The varying styles of music witnessed during the era of Warfaze, Renaissance and Feedback inspired younger generations and led to the formation of newer bands with a wide array of musical tastes. Heavy metal bands like Artcell and Cryptic Fate burst into the music scene with their own albums, Onno Shomoy and Danob. The 2000s also witnessed the rise of alternative music with bands like Black and Nemesis becoming instant hits in the underground music scene. The arrival of fusion bands like Bangla and Prayer Hall added another dimension to the scene. These bands covered baul songs, which questioned society, and with drums and guitar added a new feel.

Apart from renditions, the 2000s also witnessed artists creating original compositions critical of the political situation. The song “30 bochor por”, by Hyder Husyn, a former member of the band Winning, is a prime example.

Maqsood O Dhaka. Photos: courtesy

What was I supposed to see and what am I witnessing?

What was I supposed to listen and what am I hearing?

What was I supposed to think and what am I thinking?

What was I supposed to say and what am I saying?

After 30 years of independence, freedom is my craving…

“30 bochor por” can be interpreted as a satirical song that mocks the 30-plus years of independence that the country has witnessed. Husyn compares the current scenario to the goals of the Liberation War and ends each paragraph on an ironic note. The song that was released just before the 2007 national emergency became  an instant hit amongst the masses.

The baton has since been passed on to the younger bands of the country. While albums by rock bands haven't exactly come out in huge numbers, with the industry's focus steadily shifting more towards electronic music, the likes of Nemesis and Arbovirus have managed to keep up the legacy of their predecessors.

Nemesis's track“ Joyodhoni”, released in 2011, which is about breaking away from a cage and being unstoppable, has gone on to become an anthem among this generation's avant-gardes.

See how they change me,

See how they spoil my life,

See how they to try stop me,

They can't, they have no authority.

The band followed a similar style with their latest album Gonojowar. Arbovirus, in their latest album Bishesh Droshtobbo wrote songs on some of the more recent critical issues such as the building of the Rampal and Roopur plants and the disappearances.

The song “Neelam” from the album, for instance, talks about all the transnational deals through which the country is being “sold”. “Bhenge felo” is a song about how people need to break the “black mirror” and come out on the streets to protest as opposed to using the digital world. “Bondhur laash”, on the other hand, was written with the blogger killings in mind.

While Arbovirus has remained true to its style, their vocalist Sufi Maverick is of the opinion that the number of socio-political songs has decreased over the years.

“Personally I feel that it's difficult for music to act as a vehicle of change because people are more focused on entertainment rather than knowing about what's happening around them. There needs to be more artists focusing on spreading the message and these songs need to be well promoted,” he says.

With the radio and other platforms for promoting music focusing mostly on trending songs, which barely have any socio-political message, getting access to such songs becomes difficult for the general public. Like Sufi indicates, such a scenario can also discourage artists from taking the hardline and merely work with what's trending.

However, at a time when a large number of vital institutions in the country are losing their independence, there's no doubt that the country needs more of these rebel bands.


Follow Naimul Karim @naimonthefield

Shakib Al Hasan was just a 23-year-old aspiring all-rounder when he was entrusted the captaincy for the first time. The Tigers were in the Caribbeans and the Test skipper for the tour, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, injured himself on the very first day of the first Test.

An unprepared, yet confident, Shakib stepped in and led Bangladesh to a brilliant 2-0 series win over the West Indies in their own den. The feat of course was diluted because the West Indies had not fielded their strongest possible side due to internal disputes. However, that series provided the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) an insight into Shakib's captaincy abilities.

Fast-forward six months and Shakib was handed the captaincy officially. He would go on to lead the Test team for a little more than a year, from January 2010 to August 2011. In between, Bangladesh would play eight Tests against India, England, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. It was a tough period and the Tigers didn't win a single game. The defeat against Zimbabwe in August 2011 led to Shakib getting axed.

Shakib's captaincy did not hurt his performance. Neither was he criticised for his tactics on the field as much back then. It wouldn't be wrong to say that he managed to make the most of an inexperienced Bangladeshi team. 

However, his inability to keep the team united off the field was what eventually led to his fall. According to the BCB, there were reports of indiscipline against both Shakib and former vice-captain Tamim Iqbal during the Zimbabwe tour and as a result, they were both relieved from their leadership roles.

Back then communication off the field with players was poor and efforts weren't made to keep members of the team motivated. Shakib was easily the most sought-after player of the country, with international acclaim and huge demand. However, many say that fame had gotten the better of him. 

Six years on and the BCB has reverted to its best player. The move is an opportunity for the left-hander to further explore the intricacies of the longest format as a captain, a position he wasn't able to enjoy for long.

On a personal level, it can give him a chance to think more about the longest version of the game as opposed to T20 cricket, the format that keeps him the busiest. That's a challenge that he will have to ace if he wants to excel in this field.

A lot has changed in Bangladesh's cricket over the last six years. The left-hander himself has grown and is a lot more mature than the last time he was given the captaincy role. The job is also likely to be a lot easier than the previous stint. The mentality of the players has changed. They are a lot more professional now. Strategies of team management have developed. Shakib's insight can only further improve the overall output.

The change in captaincy also highlights a number of other interesting aspects. The first thing that it brings to the fore is that the Tigers don't have many captaincy options. Mushfiqur Rahim led the Tigers from 2011 to 2017. While he did enjoy a long run, his captaincy was constantly criticised. The long run he received, though, was partly because the BCB did not really have any other option.

Tamim Iqbal, who served as Mushfiqur's deputy for a number of years, was replaced by Mahmudullah Riyad last week. It just goes to show that the board has now changed plans and is thinking of someone else as Shakib's backup.

The other question that arises is whether the board actually has a plan to find someone who can lead the team in the future. Most of the senior players are of the same age and are likely to retire at the same time. That would lead to a huge vacuum in the team.

Last week's move also means that Mushfiqur, who was in charge of both the ODI and Test teams prior to 2015, does not officially have any leadership position in the team. Truth be told, the move to replace Mushfiqur has been on the cards for the last three years. While a number of Bangladesh's historic wins came towards the end of his tenure, the team management has always had issues with him.

During the final innings of Bangladesh's historic Test win against England, the team management reportedly instructed Tamim Iqbal to take over unofficially, since the team strategy was not being followed. The board also did not like some of the comments Mushfiqur made during the South Africa series.

It wouldn't be wrong to state that Bangladesh is at a crucial juncture as far as Test cricket is concerned. They have beaten England, Australia and Sri Lanka. There's no doubt that bringing on Shakib as captain, arguably the team's best cricketing mind, can help capitalise on this momentum and move to the next level.


Follow Naimul Karim @naimonthefield

What is an odd job? What specifically makes an “odd job” odd? Does the robot who works as a waitress have an odd job? Is it odd because she's a robot or because she's a waitress? 

While I was planning to pursue my Master's in Australia, I had to entertain the idea that I might have to get one of those so-called “odd jobs”, and I was ready. Or so I thought.

For those who do not know, an odd job in Bangladesh is equivalent to a normal blue-collar job everywhere else in the world. In this country, it is generally associated with working in the hospitality industry or retail sector or driving a cab—jobs that are at times frowned upon and shrugged off into a category of its own with zero importance or worth attached to them. In Bangladesh, an educated person cannot even think of such a thing—it would be social suicide for the person and his/her family, even though so many of us are doing it abroad. But why is that?

My initial transition from working in a fancy office in Bangladesh to making fries in a burger joint at Darling Harbour was not a pleasant experience. It was filled with moments of self-doubt, existential crisis, and tears—lots of them. It completely shattered the bloated ego that my friends and family had nurtured throughout my life. Within days, I went from being greeted at the reception to the one greeting customers with a fake yet glorious smile; from being the one to give orders to the novice completing one; from doing a “socially respectable” job to an ordinary one; and from longing to get out of the country to missing home and my mum's hilsa fry and daal.

But perhaps the most ironic part of my ongoing journey is thatI nearly didn't get my first fry-frying Spongebob-esque job because I was overaged and underqualified, according to my 19-year old manager who was already three years my senior in this sector.

I could only blame my parents. If only they'd allowed me to begin working part-time when I was 15 years old instead of coddling and spoiling me with whatever I wanted, maybe today I wouldn't have such a hard time finding a job. Why wasn't I allowed to work in the numerous cafés and restaurants sprouting around Dhaka?

While my parents and our society remain in the shackles of the phrase, “Manush ki bolbe?” (What will people say?), kids in Australia are becoming more responsible, independent and learning the importance of hard work. They are being exposed to a work environment where they have to get out of their comfort zone, adapt, and deal with people from every sphere of life—all at a very young age, whereas at 15, I was busy throwing tantrums about why my rice pudding had raisins in it.

Parents, as taught by their predecessors, protect and nurture their children to the point of being useless in real life. They think “adulting” is a phase that we will automatically breeze through. They might as well be taking us on a nice helicopter ride across the Bay of Bengal and dumping us in the middle in order to teach us how to swim. After 22 years of education, we are thrown into the wild, expected not only to survive, but to thrive.

From 18-year-olds who just finished high to school to 55-year-old research associates who are looking for an income on the side, I have worked with a wild bunch of people in this field, each with their own stories, backgrounds and experiences. They have made me realise two things about this line of work: firstly, I will lose a lot of weight, and secondly, work is just work, nothing more, nothing less.

I remember, during an interview for the position of a cocktail waitress, I met a girl who was already doing a government job for the transportation sector in Sydney at the time. To me, she seemed like a person with a career, who is settled in every conventional way. I asked her why then she was applying for this job, and she seemed surprised by my question. “It [the government job] is tedious. And more importantly, I'm not content. The pay is good, but what else?” she said. I was always taught that if the pay is good then that's all that matters, so what was this satisfaction she spoke off? This job was a way for her to meet new people, work casual hours and, as a cocktail waitress, attend parties, all the while making enough to get by. Her enjoyment was more than any money she was already making. I could never have imagined something like that. I was programmed differently as a child. In the education that began when I was four years old, no one thought to instil the idea of satisfaction or what I want from my life.

So, what is the endgame to all my stress and study? A good job. That's all it came down to, with not a clue what that “good job” really meant or would be.

Just when I thought I had already become the person I was meant to be for the rest of my life, I began to change. Waiting tables not only taught me how to carry three large plates at once but also made me realise that no matter how educated or open-minded you are, some ideas of hierarchy are ingrained within and it took me months to adopt this new outlook. I have learnt to see that a job cannot and should not define you, and we as a society need to refrain from the idea that certain jobs are for certain people. Answer me this, will I stop being a Master's graduate if I keep working as a waitress?


Asmaul Housna is a Master's student in Sydney, Australia.

“Out of the same tube, we are squeezed; with the same pen, we are written. We think we write but the universe writes through us the veiled allegories of our age.”

So writes Ben Okri in the introduction to his latest work, “The Magic Lamp: Dreams of Our Age”. This is definitely true for Okri himself, who read from his works and discussed his writing process just a month ago in Dhaka, much to the delight of literary aficionados in the city.

“The Magic Lamp” is a collection of 25 short stories by Okri inspired by 25 original paintings by Rosemary Clunie. Okri calls it his “first real unintentional intentional book”, after having been spontaneously inspired by one of Clunie's paintings. Spontaneous, however, may not be entirely accurate.

The author consistently emphasised in his talks the importance of “long looking”. “There's the world you see on the surface and there's a secret world. Most of us don't take an interest in the secret world of things. I think when you look at something for a long time, after a while you go beyond the surface world and find yourself in the secret world,” explained Okri.

“The Magic Lamp” came out of such “long looking”. Okri “lived” with each of Clunie's paintings for months before writing stories that seemed to come out of the paintings themselves. The process took over five years. The paintings themselves took the artist 10 years.

That it is not easy to write, or create for that matter, is a given. Described as “fairy tales for adults”, Okri writes a fantastical but sinister Arabian Nights-esque prologue where an old lamp is discovered in the attic of a London house. The artists who found it wished that they be gifted perpetual inspiration for paintings and stories. The tales and images that comprise “The Magic Lamp” fulfilled this wish but they soon discovered “that even inspiration comes at a secret and unforeseen cost.”

In the first short story, “Birdtalk in a Tentative World”, a bluejay speaks: “All things have been talking to you from the beginning of time,” it said, “and you've not been listening.” Okri echoed this in a talk entitled Magical Tales at the recently concluded Dhaka Lit Fest, “Just listen,” he said. “The thing about talkers is that we actually interrupt the world from coming to us, you know? How can you tell stories if stories don't come to you? … We have to be receptive to stories.”

Dreams, magic and art are inescapable in Okri's stories. Okri himself however rejects the oft-quoted characterisation of his work as “magical realism”, choosing to brand his work instead as “crooked dream logic”. In “Gazing Into a Dream”, Okri writes:

When people ask where my ideas come from, I have no answers for them. I am of the tribe of artists. My happiest moments are spent gazing into a dream.

“The visual has always been part of my work. And when people ask me what my influences are, invariably I talk about paintings. Because I've learnt sometimes more from paintings than from books,” said Okri.

Harsh reality too seeps into Okri's works. “The Mystic Betrothal” talks of a time which seems all too nigh, where “a digital electronic heat has decomposed the colour of the clouds”, “gold has lost its meaning”, and “only the indifferent get elected”. Okri brings out the realities of today's world but in eloquent prose rather like poetry. This, he says, is one of the principles he strives for in his storytelling—“The greatness of a story is more in the telling than in the tale.”

Okri does not believe in rushing his work. But there are exceptions. “I am a believer in waiting. I think, with creativity, unless there is an extraordinary urgency—and every now and again in the life of a writer, there is an extraordinary urgency where you have to respond, if you can, right now. And you put your sensibility on the line and you go for it. That happens very rarely, it happened with Grenfell Tower I think.”

The Grenfell Tower fire in west London in June of this year, where at least 80 people died, was such an event. In a powerful poem entitled “Grenfell Tower, June, 2017”, Okri writes:

“L' Époque Magique” by Rosemary Clunie, taken from "The Magic Lamp: Dreams of Our Age"

Those who were living now are dead

Those who were breathing are from the living earth fled.

If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.

See the tower, and let a world-changing dream flower.

Okri explained how Grenfell, to him, was extremely personal as it had happened in his old neighbourhood. He says he wrote it out of pure anger in the middle of the night. In another instance of his long looking, he described how what happened at Grenfell had been waiting to happen for 30 years. He narrated from another unpublished poem of his, “Grenfell happened before the first brick was laid… it happened in the minds of people which despised the poor.”

Okri stated that he could not write his books, such as his Man Booker Prize-winning novel “The Famished Road”, the same way again. A significant piece of writing, he said, takes a heavy toll on the author. “When you have written that book or painted that work, the person is dead. You die into that work. And another person grows in its place… if you have really written a book, there's nothing of it left in you.”

“The Magic Lamp” marks, as is referred to in the book, “an extraordinary collaboration between artist and artist.” As readers, we can appreciate the work that the artists put into it and take inspiration from Ben Okri's profound words of advice to read and reread until we are able to reach beyond the surface of the tales and images presented so beautifully in the book.

Till then, I return to rereading “The Magic Lamp”.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the time of hope and dreams. It was the time of fear, terror, panic and uncertainty. Every night we went to bed not knowing whether we would see another day. If we heard the sound of a jeep entering our alleyway, we knew someone was going to be picked up for torture, or worse, to be killed. We were almost numb with fear thinking who among us would be the next victim. The screeching of the wheels of a jeep was the most chilling and terrifying sound to every person in every city of East Pakistan. People who managed to escape across the border were not doing any better—they were also suffering because they were forced to leave their homes, their lands, their belongings, in many cases their near and dear ones too. But it was difficult, almost impossible to explain the mental as well as physical state of the people living in a besieged city. Nonethless, I am proud that I could be a witness to the Liberation War and the days that would became history.

We were in Khulna at the beginning of the war. My father, Syed Shafiqur Rahman, was a Forest Officer working for Khulna Newsprint Mill. We did not see the crackdown of March 25, but we saw the brutal killing of Bengalis, first by the Biharis and then by the Pakistani Army. We tried to flee, but as the newsprint mill was the only one in the whole of Pakistan, my father's movements were severely restricted by the local administration and he was forced to carry on with his work. Eventually, however, he decided to take us to live with his elder brother, my chacha (uncle) and his family in Dhaka. I always loved the journey from Khulna to Dhaka by the “Rocket” or paddle steamer service—sailing on the Rupsa, Madhumati, Meghna, and finally, Buriganga. But frightened for our lives, we were in no condition to enjoy the journey.

When we reached Dhaka, we came to know that our youngest cousins—the twin brothers Mizan and Munib—had left home without telling a soul, leaving behind just a small note. We realised that they were joining the war. We felt very proud, but could not stop worrying about them at the same time.

Another cousin, Syed Najmuddin Hashim, was in the civil service, posted all the way in Islamabad, and during 1971, he and his family were confined to a Pakistani army-controlled camp with other Bengali officers and citizens. We were concerned about them too.

Our eldest sisters Nina and Rini—one a doctor, the other a student of medicine—spent most of their days at the Medical College Hospital, helping people wounded by the Pakistani Army or their collaborators as well as freedom fighters, which was risky on its own. Our eldest brother-in-law, a doctor and a most kind and caring man, did the same.

Illustration: Manan Morshed

My chacha's youngest daughter Piu and I felt helpless as we could not do anything. My friend Miru used to live nearby, so we managed to go to her place now and then. We would discuss what we could do to help. That was when Ajmiri's brother Shaukat gave us some documents to translate that they were going to distribute discreetly. We were happy to help out in some little way. One day, I was coming back from Miru's house alone in a rickshaw. I had a file containing some designs that we were going to sew onto tablecloths and bedcovers. It was a way to keep ourselves occupied as we were stuck home in those days, unable to go to class. Hidden among those designs on tracing papers were leaflets I had been assigned to translate. All of a sudden, I saw the EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) personnel stopping and searching vehicles up ahead. I could feel my blood turning to water, cold sweat running down my spine. I knew that I was most probably facing the end of my life. But by some twist of fate, the EPR did not bother to stop me and waved my rickshawala ahead.

At one point, we even planned to leave for the comparative safety across the border. “We” included my eldest sister Nina and my dulabhai (her husband) Mahmud Jamaly (who were planning to join a field hospital), Piu and myself. The safest route would be by river, so we arranged a boat and started making preparations. At the time, muktijoddha or freedom fighters—Maya bhai (Bir Bikram Mofazzel Hossain Chowdhury Maya) and Manu among others—would occasionally take shelter in my uncle's house near the edge of Azimpur and Lalbagh. They would be engaged in talk of clandestine operations, after which they would go back to their camp, and come back again for the same purpose a few days later.

The day before we were planning to leave Dhaka, the army suddenly came and picked up my cousin Tubul, uncle's second son. We came to know that some muktijoddha had been captured earlier and one of them, while being interrogated and tortured, disclosed the location of shelters used by the guerrilla fighters, one of which was chacha's house at 40/2 Bishnucharan Das Lane, Lalbagh. Tubul was allegedly named as a main contact for the muktijoddha and for this reason, he was apprehended by the Pak Army. He was released many days later and came home with marks of torture all over his body. Due to this incident, our plan to cross the border was abandoned and we were forced to spend countless more agonising nights at home.

At night, we would spread a map of East Pakistan on the floor, shut all the doors and windows, and in the light of a candle, mark the places that had been liberated by our valiant freedom fighters. We listened to the bulletins by Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra and BBC, setting the volume of the radio as low as possible.

We had a family friend, Dr Shafiullah, whom we used to call Shafi Mama. He was a frequent visitor and one of the very few people with whom we openly talked about the war. One day, he asked us whether we wanted to do some work inside the country. We readily agreed. After a few days, he came back with one of his friends, Borhanuddin Khan Jahangir. We had a chat, a sort of interview, and finally he said he would be in touch soon. We recruited Miru and the three of us started working for Shafi Mama and Borhanuddin Khan. We were given tasks that we fulfilled according to the directives they set.

Now, after over four decades, I do not recall all the details of the work, but when I think of those days, I remember that they were quite dangerous. The other members of our families did not know anything. We behaved as if it was business as usual—sewing, chatting, praying and, at night, listening to the radio and marking on the map the places that were claimed by the Bangladesh government-in-exile. Under the pretext of going to Miru's house, we would carry out our tasks. We collected money and warm clothes, some of them lovingly made by relatives and friends whom we could trust. I remember two incidents that were more difficult than the others. One day, Miru had to go to a UN office to deliver a letter given by Borhanuddin Khan. It was risky, no doubt, but she managed somehow. Another day, we were asked to go to Sadarghat, the busiest port on the Buriganga, to check the numbers and positions of the military bunkers there. Piu and I took a rickshaw there. We walked along the embankment, took mental notes and then another rickshaw home. We do not know how many others were involved in the type of work we did. Given that secrecy was of paramount importance and there was the looming danger of being discovered if someone was caught and cracked under investigation (as had happened in the case of our cousin Tubul), we were never told the bigger picture.

Finally, the short but intense military engagement between India and Pakistan in the month of December brought the war to an end. We finally got our freedom—the sovereign state of Bangladesh was born. In celebration, we wrote posters on sheets of old newspapers and on December 17, placed them in different parts of the city. We walked through the streets of Dhaka, among thousands of joyous people—our own people. It was a brilliant new morning, the beginning of a glorious era. Mere words are not enough to express that joy, that happiness. I am, we are, proud that we lived through those days and moments and were able to contribute in the tiniest ways to the heroic efforts made by the people, common ordinary people, to liberate our motherland and create a new, independent country. 


Urmi Rahman is a writer, novelist and journalist and former producer-broadcaster with BBC Bangla Service. She can be reached at urmi.rahman6849@gmail.com

Translated by: Meghna Guhathakurta

It must have been either the 22nd or 23rd (of January 1972). I went with Suraiya to Jagannath College. Classes had not begun yet. She was just going to have a look around. She taught philosophy there. We climbed the stairs to the first floor of the old building and wandered around the verandah. After exchanging a few words with the guard we were coming down when we realised that following us from behind was a middle-aged man wearing a lungi (sarong) and a soiled vest. I suddenly realised that he had silently followed us up from below. As we reached the bottom of the stairs, we wondered for a while where to go from there. Suraiya had heard of a room where people were brought in and tortured. They had brought a colleague's brother there. Her husband had somehow managed to get him freed. The man asked us, “Do you want to go to that room, apa*?” I was thinking whether the man was a spy or just demented. I asked, “Which room?” He replied, “That room…. where they used to take everyone to be killed.”

I shuddered and asked “Who are you?” He replied, “I am the guardian of one of your students. My daughter is Malati. She studied at your school. I too was brought here. I don't know how I escaped.” I turned and took a good look at him. He was fair. His face round and broad had such a shadow that it seemed he had taken stage make up. Where was Malati, I wondered? Was she no longer alive? Why was her father wandering these dark corridors? Was he crazy? Then I asked him, “Will you take us to that room?”

Just past the college gate at the left is the principal's living quarters and behind the garden is a row of newly built two-storied buildings. We retraced our footsteps to the bottom of the staircase there. The man led us to the room, which had popularly come to be called “the red room”. We took the narrow verandah facing the south. There was no lock on the door. With one push of his hand, he opened the door. It was a big room, a few benches and high benches littered across it. There was blood on the floor, on the benches and the high benches had blood splattered on top. The most horrifying scene was where some hapless victim must have been pierced by a bayonet and the blood gushing from his heart sprinkled high on the eastern walls. The walls all around bore witness to this gory incident, the stains appearing like sparklers in the night. At some point it had trickled down slowly against the walls and onto the high benches from where it clotted in a thick mass on the floor. It was not possible for us to remain there much longer. A silence-filled terror struck us. But even so, our guide, Malati's father, kept on saying, “Look apa, this must be where they dragged the bodies through the door onto the narrow corridor and staircase. We saw the one-foot wide brush mark of blood gradually thinning out as it reached the stairs. Our knees started to crumble. Our guide must have had more stories to tell. We did not ask him, we could not ask him, and the stories remained untold. A silence enfolded us as we got into our car. The man put his palms together to say farewell. My head was spinning, my throat parched. I tried to wet my mouth with my spit. It was only on reaching Suraiya's house that I could regain my strength with a cup of hot tea.

I had not told anyone of this event, not even my daughter. The face of Malati's father haunted me night and day. Where was Malati? How was she? Was she alive? Why couldn't I ask about her to our guide, about her family? Did he come to tell me something as a guardian, as a father? Why did I not ask him about her?  Now after so many years, on March 1990 I am thinking I must have been mad not to do so. I must have lost my senses.

* respectful form of address


Source: Basanti Guhathakurta, Ekattorer Smriti [Memories of '71] (Dhaka: University Press Limited, 1991), 145-6.

Celebration of our glorious Victory Day

Tomorrow, we are going to celebrate the 47th glorious Victory Day of Bangladesh. On this day in 1971, our country achieved independence after a nine-month long war against the Pakistani military forces. The hearts of millions of people will remember the joy and glory of the victory. Some hearts of those who lost their near and dear ones will be bruised with agony. The victory of Bangladesh didn't come in one day. Much awaited, our victory came by sacrificing the lives of three million innocent people and the modesty of two hundred thousand women.

We will always be indebted to our freedom fighters who snatched victory from the clutches of the Pakistani military and gave us a place on the world map. Many a freedom fighter embraced martyrdom for the cause of emancipation. Without their unparalleled sacrifices, the country would not have seen the light of victory. 

Md Abul Khaer

Govt Saadat University College, Tangail


A much awaited compensation verdict

It is indeed a great achievement that the High Court finally stood up for the family of Tareque Masud who was killed in a road accident. The suit for compensation, filed under the Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983, led to the verdict which is the first compensation trial held directly in the High Court instead of in a lower court.

Bangladesh is ranked one of the worst countries with regard to road accidents. However, very few cases are filed for compensation of road crash victims. This verdict not only delivers justice to Tareque Masud's family but also provides relief to the long unheard victims of reckless driving who will hopefully feel empowered now to sue the responsible parties for the compensation they rightfully deserve.

Nuzhat Rifa Ehsan

Baridhara, Dhaka


Shame on you Donald Trump

As the most powerful leader of the world we expect that you intend to make the world a more peaceful place. We thought you would try to avoid anarchy and turmoil. But you are creating critical divides without any concern for the repercussions.

Trump recently declared recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. We can't tolerate such an incendiary announcement. Jerusalem is a holy place for us, the capital of Palestine. The Palestinian people have long been suffering from attacks on their lives and encroachment on their homeland and the US has undoubtedly had a hand in this.

So, Trump should think about this act which has enormous repercussions as it will no doubt, and already has, lead to flaring up of tensions in that part of the world as well as creating further divides elsewhere.

Naeem Ariyan

University of Chittagong

How many families are displaced due to industrial development in Bangladesh? Ask someone from the Matarbari island of Moheshkhali and he will be able to give an approximation of how many families have been ripped apart in his neighbourhood because of the coal-fired power plant. An activist from one of the numerous villages being cleared away by the industrialisation of Rampal upazila might also be able to answer that.

The state machinery, on the other hand, does not have a system to continuously monitor the internal migration happening as a result of industrialisation. National census surveys are published once every 10 years, allowing for massive changes to happen without documentation. The long arduous process captures macro details, but leaves out the ebbs and flows of people moving in and out. During the year of the last census in 2011, large swathes of Rampal upazila belonged to big shrimp farmers, who would theoretically have been fewer in number in 2001 when the land existed as small agricultural plots. Similarly, the next census report due next year would show communities shuffling around and moving, as shrimp farms have been sold off as industrial plots. The finer granular details—like who moved where, how much compensation was given, whether there was exploitation or use of force—are lost.

Neither does media coverage of industrial displacement take up column space frequently enough to make for holistic documentation. Affected populations generally belong to marginalised areas far away from sadar or town centres, making access difficult for cash-strapped community media. Case in point, this is what an activist from the Malo indigenous group had to say about the way media covered the assault on the Santal communities last year: “Santals were not the only ones whose homes were attacked. There were other smaller indigenous groups too—we had land there as well.” The attack had left around a thousand families displaced.

She proceeds to narrate the incident of a Malo man who was shot in the leg during the attack. “I had to take him to the hospital in the dead of night to make sure the police did not see him leaving and arrest him,” she said. This year, too, popular documentation generalised the entire population by using the identity of the largest indigenous group of that area, to refer to all them. A dearth of regular engagement with communities living further inside the villages means that ethnographic details not generally known by mainstream media, stay unknown. This effectively wipes out the existence and experiences of marginal identities. The media oligarchs own almost all of the long-lasting documentation on this issue and are most cited, beginning from research to court cases.

A young boy stands with his fishing net directly next to land acquired for the Banshkhali coal power plant. Photo courtesy: Displacement Archive

To top it off, by design, journalists live from story to story, and are ill-equipped to serve as continuous watchdogs in the same way as dedicated ethnographers who commit their time to documenting details. Documentation happens only when and how the documenter chooses to do it. Since these communities are not always powerful, or wealthy enough to stage large demonstrations in the capital city and attract the news cameras, their grievances and acts of resistance remaine unnoticed unless the fourth estate chooses to shed light on them.

Mainstream narratives also fail to document the “before” stages of displacement, for example, smaller displays of power that do not kill, but pressurise communities into moving away. On any legal paper they would be written off as minor annoyances, ignoring the fact that the powerful use these techniques to intimidate communities and grab land.

“Our home is always under water,” said a young woman, a college student from the Matarbari community at an event in the capital last week. “Diseases like diarrhea are widespread in our neighbourhood.” As the area rapidly urbanised, the locals lost control over when the sluice gates of the embankments are to be kept open, causing water-logging in certain neighbourhoods. The flooding of neighbourhoods is just one of the “minor” grievances—how many more are there that have not been documented?

She was speaking at the launch ceremony of a digital library focusing on displacement. The website, called Digital Archive, is a project by Center for Bangladesh Studies and hopes to document anything and everything—filling in the wide blanks left by existing platforms. “Can we become a space for the preservation of memory of those who resisted?” asks Ahmad Ibrahim who is leading the project.

Moheshkhali and Rampal are just two of such examples of course. “We are going through a period where the country is industrialising fast and these cases of displacement are happening more frequently,” adds Ibrahim. There's Chunarughat where the construction of an economic processing zone is about to eradicate tea-garden worker settlements.

“We were brought here as bonded labour during the British era and have lived here for over a century. But we have no rights to the land on which we live and are now being displaced,” said Biren Kalindi, who identifies himself as the son of tea-garden workers. He too was speaking at the launch ceremony.

Villagers bring out a procession to mourn the death of four locals, who were shot while protesting the plans to build a coal power plant in Banshkhali, Chittagong. A young boy stands with his fishing net directly next to land acquired for the Banshkhali coal power plant. Photo courtesy: Displacement Archive

Antony Rema, a musician of folk band Madol, and a Garo (although he insisted on using Mandi as a more politically correct term) also added to the experience of displacement. “The Madhupur Eco Park disrupted the access that my people had to the forest. We harvested food from the forest but now it is controlled by an authority, who decides what happens on the land and who enters it,” he added.

“Do tourists ever think where the sewage from the hotels in Nilgiri go? They are dumped untreated into the scarce water sources that the indigenous villages are dependent on, forcing them to relocate,” added Uchacha-a-Chak, a researcher from Maleya Foundation.

The stories are endless. The ones reported here came out because members of displaced communities travelled all the way to Dhaka to tell them. It should not be this difficult to be heard. 

Beyond the Insignificant

Tasadduk Hossain Dulu's Art Exhibition

Organiser: Kala Kendra

December 15, 2017- January 06, 2018, 6.30 - 8.30 pm, Kala Kendra, 1/11, Iqbal Road (3rd floor), Mohammadpur

 

Youtube Festival Bangladesh 2017

Organiser: HelloEventz.com

December 22, 5-9 pm, Bangabandhu International Conference Center, Sher-E-Bangla Nagar

 

DHAKA COMICON 2017 "Time Spirits"

Organiser: DHAKA COMICON

December 21-23, 11 am - 8.30 pm, Jamuna Future Park, Progati Sarani

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