Ahrar Ahmad

January 3, 2022
January 3, 2022

An intellectual by instinct, a revolutionary by choice

Badruddin Umar may not necessarily be a very popular person. That statement is a little ironic for two reasons. First, he is the pre-eminent “popular” (people’s) scholar and second, given his tastes and preferences, he would probably wear that judgement as a badge of honour.

October 29, 2021
October 29, 2021

A spectre is haunting Bangladesh, the spectre of communalism

Given the doubts, confusions and anxieties of the modern age, it is perhaps expected—and certainly obvious—that there is a resurgence of religiosity almost everywhere.

August 23, 2021
August 23, 2021

‘Lessons’ from Bangladesh today

Bangladesh offers many important insights and perspectives in these grim and uncertain times. They indicate the uniqueness that defines us as a people, and the original contributions we are making to the world of politics and governance.

July 8, 2021
July 8, 2021

The politics of anti-politics: Corruption, democracy and the universities

I am fortunate, indeed blessed, to have been a part of Dhaka University (DU) as a student and a teacher from 1967-75.

April 5, 2021
April 5, 2021

Bengali Muslims and their identity: From fusion to confusion

One of the grand paradoxes facing Bangladeshis is expressed in the negotiations and contestations on the simple question about who they are, particularly in the context of the strains caused by the Universalist claims of their religion on the one hand and the particularist demands of their ethnicity and culture on the other.

March 28, 2021
March 28, 2021

Development in Bangladesh: A most pleasant surprise

Bangladesh illustrates a most intriguing and delightful puzzle in international development. After its independence in 1971, it was dismissed

December 16, 2020
December 16, 2020

Secularism in Bangladesh: The troubled biography of a constitutional pillar

The ubiquity of the word “secularism” (it is mentioned in more than 75 of the world’s constitutions as an ideal the State promotes, or an organising principle that it affirms), and the passionate discussions it generates throughout the world, sometimes distracts us from the fact that its origins are relatively recent.

October 14, 2020
October 14, 2020

Contra capital punishment even in this ‘rapedemic’

The demand was predictable. Given the outrage that has been generated by the vicious acts of assault and dehumanisation that have been inflicted on women over some time, it even appears justifiable.

August 24, 2020
August 24, 2020

ANIS BHAI: TEACHER

Dr. Anisuzzaman’s life was a radiant gift to us, his departure an irreparable loss. The usual metaphors that have been applied (tower of strength, conscience of the nation, a reassuring lighthouse, an iconic intellectual/cultural presence , an institution by himself, a large and shady tree, the embodiment of humanist principles, and so on) may all be applicable.

June 26, 2020
June 26, 2020

Racism in America: Police Chokehold is Not the Issue

The American project was founded on rank hypocrisies. On the one hand, President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the stirring words in the Declaration of Independence that upheld “these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal”, did not free his own slaves (not even Sally Hemings, who bore him six children).