Amitava Kar


Amitava Kar writes to us from Ottawa, Canada.

Walk to be free

What is it about our own thoughts that are so awful that we cannot spend a minute alone with them? There is only one way to find out. Unplug, go outside, and walk.

What the story of Kaavan tells us

Amid the sad, the sordid and the sensational, let us look at some other news. On November 30, Kaavan, dubbed the “loneliest elephant” arrived from Islamabad to Cambodia to start a new life.

Efficacy of the home-made mask

The recent back-and-forth debate over the use of face masks to prevent the spread of covid-19 has settled. In the beginning, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that there was no need for people who are well to wear face masks.

The moral rot that threatens Bangladesh

No two countries that share borders are more different from each other than Mexico and the United States. The contrast between the quality of life in these two countries could not be starker.

The value of writing letters in a digital society

Social media, texting and emailing have revolutionised the way we communicate. These technologies have enabled us to be more efficient and stay in touch more easily. But they have also altered the dynamics of some of our most important relationships.

The changing nature of work

Most of us have serious reasons to worry about the future of work. The development of automation powered by robotics and Artificial Intelligence has enabled higher productivity, increased efficiency, safety, and convenience. At the same time, these technologies pose difficult questions about the larger impact of automation on jobs and wages. But perhaps we need to pay attention to another aspect of work: how we look at work is changing as well.

How volunteering can help the youth

Each year, more than one billion people are engaged in volunteering worldwide. Their actions have economic, private and social values. You may wonder how helping others has economic value when no monetary transaction is involved.

Time to speak up for Palestine

On March 20, 2019, the UN Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue with Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the

Christchurch: Why this is not an isolated terrorist attack

In the aftermath of the deadly attacks in New Zealand that caused global shock, it is important to explore the broader questions about the ideology behind these acts of terrorism.

A failure of imagination

Mohsin Hamid's masterpiece “Exit West” is a sobering reminder of the decisive human failure that we conveniently call “the refugee crisis.” Published in 2017, the novel is making waves in North America and Europe,

The Power of Love

Valerie Taylor refuses to accept despair as the final outcome of the ambiguities of life. She proves that nothing makes one incapable of reaching up for the possibilities that confront him or her.

A better life for women

The book “Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism” (2018)—as provocative as it sounds— has nothing to do with women's carnal pleasures.

Inequality and our mistaken modernity

We derive our swagger from the pervasive inequality in our society. There is inequality even among the pets we keep. There are mainly two kinds of dogs in this country.

What drives missions to Mars?

On Monday, November 26, NASA landed spacecraft InSight on Mars, after a long and difficult voyage—more than 300 million miles over six months.

Power to the powerless

The general attitude toward journalists is perhaps summed by what Norman Mailer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer, expressed many years ago, “If a person is not talented enough to be a novelist, not smart enough to be a lawyer, and his hands are too shaky to perform operations, he becomes a journalist.”

The slow death of democracies

Lately, democratic erosion in many countries has been less dramatic and more deceptive. There are no tanks in the streets. A formal or

A case for more tea shops

When we look at someone like Mozart who shows his unusual gift at an early age, we think that it must be genetic. But studies show that genetics is a relatively small piece of the genius puzzle. Geniuses are neither born nor made. They are grown, according to Eric Weiner, author of the bestselling book The Geography of Genius (2016).

The power paradox

The Machiavellian thesis that power is about force, intimidation and violence no longer passes muster. Instead, through social practices that promote the interests of others such as empathy, equality, collaboration, open mindedness and generosity, we acquire power.

Taking activism beyond social media

As the world marks the centenary of the October Revolution, it is apt to study online movements and their offline results. The day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, an estimated 3.5 million people in cities around the US...

Diversity is strength

By making the workplace more diverse, an organisation can encourage employees to watch their own potential biases—fixed ways of thinking that can hinder their ability to see important facts and even lead them to make mistakes in decision-making processes.

Dwijen Sharma: Sunshine on his shoulders

In the tranquil landscape and in the distant line of the horizon, he beheld something as beautiful as his own nature. In the wilderness, he found something more dear and innate than in cities or villages. The greatest delight the trees and woods showed him was the suggestion of an occult relation between him and nature.

Omar Khadr, Canada and the rule of law

Most of us say “I'm sorry” many times a day for a host of trivial affronts—accidentally bumping into someone or sneezing during a business meeting. These apologies are easy and usually readily accepted. Apologies needed to right wrongful words, acts or inactions, on the other hand, are harder to come by. Similarly, when it comes to nations saying the S word, examples are in short supply.

The 'Bangladesh paradox'

Despite the so-called bad governance, how has the economy of Bangladesh been growing at rates higher than those of most South Asian countries?

WOMEN IN SCIENCE: Is Bangladesh ahead of the West?

If you are worried about the dearth of women in science in Bangladesh, think again. There are more girls studying science than you

The science fiction about women

I am at a chemistry lab at Dhaka University where no girl is crying or talking about love. With a steely resolve and

Tourism gone wild

Despite all these constraints—inadequate and poor quality public transports, extended travel time, high-priced but low quality accommodation, lack of recreational facilities—the number of domestic tourists has gone up significantly over the years.

Opinion: How to kill tourism

It is extremely sad that the natural forest of Jaflong is disappearing fast due to dumping of stone illegally excavated from the Dawki and Sari rivers by a group of unscrupulous traders. As a result, tourism in this scenic hill station, home to subtropical mountains, rainforests, tea gardens and the Khasia ethnic group is on the decline. This is a classic example of how mismanagement, lack of a strategy and enforcement of law are killing the tourism sector in Bangladesh.

Opinion: The neglected story of road crashes

Yet in another bizarre incident on the road, eight people were killed in Khagrachari as a stone-laden truck rammed a crowd that had gathered outside a Buddhist monastery to attend a funeral of a monk. Who is the culprit this time?

We shall overcome

While the public often views the Liberation War and the Language Movement as the apex of protest music in Bangladesh the use of

Of black excellence and Serena

The private tennis clubs in the US remained off limits to minorities well into the second half of the twentieth century. Her distinction thus comes with the ability to imagine herself achieving a new kind of history for all of us.

Agriculture on steroids

At the same time, a large number of farmers are overusing pesticides and chemical fertilisers, creating environmental and health hazards.

How's the climate?

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Star, Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, talks to Amitava Kar about Bangladesh's success in addressing climate change, smart ways of reducing

The roar of the Tigers

I am going to remember for a long time when I got the news: Shakib Al Hasan with a maiden double century and Mushfiqur Rahman with a stately 159 recorded the highest partnership for Bangladesh in Test cricket—359—contributing to Bangladesh’s second highest total away from home—595 for 8 declared.

A lexicon for ugliness

Every society has its articles of faith. The strength of a society depends on the extent to which its articles of faith match the realities

Against the grain

In an impressive move, three officers of the Department of Agricultural Extension have developed mobile apps aimed at helping farmers prevent pest attacks and control diseases that eat up a large portion of crops each year. Innovations like these will no doubt help farmers, often criticised as the most hidebound of managers, grow crops more efficiently using digital technology.

Will women change the world economy?

About eight years ago when the financial crisis hit Iceland, a tiny island with a population of 320,000, most Icelanders found themselves in serious financial tribulations.

A special birthday gift

A state of numbing grief to the point of being lost is what Anwara Syed Haq seems to be in as I meet her at her residence.

A ‘concession speech’ that inspires

An upshot of the NCC election is that all sides showed impeccable manners all along.

What does Shakespeare mean to you?

This year, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death prompted an outpouring of celebrations around the world.

The way forward

Forty five years after independence, the revolutionary dreams for which our forefathers fought are still at issue. We are the heirs of that revolution against oppression and injustice. The torch has been passed to a new generation of Bangladeshis - born in a free country, proud of an ancient heritage, set to conquer the world.

Challenges before the new UN chief

Antonio Guterres became the next Secretary-General of the United Nations on Monday when relations between the US and Russia are probably at their grumpiest since the end of the Cold War, nationalist movements are on the rise around the world and amid what he called a loss of confidence in institutions, including the one he will take over in January.

Fix the broken windows

Yesterday was the International Anti-Corruption Day and almost everyone called for an end to corruption. But almost no one said how beyond calling for tougher laws and their enforcement. Here’s the catch. Who will enforce them? Will they come from another planet?

A city for all

Imagine you are a on a wheelchair. Or you cannot see. What can you do with your life if you live in Dhaka or any Bangladeshi city for

The terror on our roads

Idon't believe Bangladeshis are genetically bad drivers. The same Bangladeshi driver who drives on our highways as if his wife was giving birth to their first child in the back seat of a car will drive like a saint in any city in the United States.

The ‘self’ in the selfie

Seventy six people in India died last year while taking selfies, putting the country at the top of the ranking for selfie related deaths, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, USA and Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, India. Pakistan comes a distant second with the number of deaths at nine. The authors of the study blamed people’s desire for more “likes” and comments on social media for driving increasingly risky selfie-taking.

Funny Money

All black money is not held in cash. It may be in foreign bank accounts. And all cash is not black money. Many legitimate businesses deal with large amounts of cash. Petrol pumps, restaurants, textile merchants and jewellers often have large cash holdings by the end of the day with many customers paying in cash.

Obituary: Cohen’s secret chord

News of the death of Leonard Cohen, Canadian singer and poet hits me like an early blast of winter.

TRUMP WINS: America gazed long into an abyss and the abyss is now gazing back into it

Now that the sickening charade of his campaign is over, it is a good time to ask what exactly he would be like as the President of the United States. Will his presidency be like his campaign?

November 3, 2016
November 3, 2016

Are women good at science?

A lifelong advocate of science, Shamima K Choudhury is a professor of Physics at the University of Dhaka and the Director of the university's Bose Centre for Advanced Study and Research in Natural Sciences. On a recent afternoon, Professor Shamima talked to

November 3, 2016
November 3, 2016

We, the people

On December 16, 1972, on the first anniversary of Bangladesh's victory over Pakistan in the liberation war, the new Constitution came into effect as citizens of the new-born country looked ahead to a new dawn of hope after years of terror and oppression they had suffered under the military dictatorship of Pakistan.

October 29, 2016
October 29, 2016

A simple twist of fate?

An unprecedented situation has arisen since the Nobel Prize in literature was announced on October 13.

October 27, 2016
October 27, 2016

Who needs science?

How many of us cared about who got the Nobel Prize in Physics and Chemistry earlier this month and for what? What kind of coverage did it get from the media?

October 20, 2016
October 20, 2016

A Chinese Whisper

China likes to mind its own business. It wants to have as little involvement abroad as it can get away with. Instead of acting for the “greater good of humanity” it responds pragmatically when its own interests are at stake.

October 6, 2016
October 6, 2016

An original sin

A recent report by a UN-affiliated group refuels the long-standing debate over reparations for African-Americans. The group of

September 29, 2016
September 29, 2016

A mother and son reunion

Syed Shamsul Haq walked taller than many of us. That's because he left no room in his heart for anything but the old verities of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any work of art is ephemeral and doomed.

September 24, 2016
September 24, 2016

A strange welcome

Last year Miles Khan went to Cox's Bazaar, wanting to spend a week in the beach town. He badly needed a break

September 22, 2016
September 22, 2016

Voices from a small town

The building that houses the Jessore Shahittyo Parishad is not much to look at. From its appearance, it's difficult to get a measure of the impact it made in its heyday.

September 8, 2016
September 8, 2016

The power of imagination

When the day is long and the night is yours alone, when you have decided you have had enough, hang on. Inspiration will come from the most unexpected sources, like two public servants, one civil, the other military. They both radiate an inner light, a generosity of spirit, a depth of character which I have not achieved. That's something to work on before I say enough.