<%-- Page Title--%> Letters <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 142 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

February 21, 2004

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What a Great Article!!!
In the last issue of SWM (January 30, 2004), "The Whistle Blower of Thanci" was, I thought, a great write-up. Thanks a lot for publishing such an article and to the writer for such an informative and interesting article about the indigenous communities of the hilly areas. From the article we learn about a Marma village of Thanci upazila of Bandarban district. We learn about the people's problems and their backward lives, their educational, health and communication problems. We also learn about the government's failure in solving the problems of the indigenous people. On the other hand, we learn of how they can overcome the huge problems step-by-step. I however believe that with the government's proper initiative and involvement, dramatic changes could be made in the lives of the indigenous communities. It is a positive sign that some NGOs and social workers are trying to help improve the living standards of the indigenous people, but it is not enough. First the government should form a plan or guideline and then execute this. It's too bad that after three decades of freedom there is no proper provision on CHT and its indigenous inhabitants. We, the majority living in the plain areas, enjoy the scenic beauty of the eastern part of our country, but we don't think about internal problems of the simple and honest indigenous people. The "Whistle Blower of Thanci" is their story.
140 Sadarghat
Chittagong 4000

On The Daily Star
I would like to congratulate you for the excellent articles in your newspaper. During my one-month stay in Bangladesh, I have enjoyed your newspaper every single day. Most of the articles are short but precise. My younger brother who is a permanent writer in your paper told me that The Daily Star is one of the best newspapers in Bangladesh; indeed as far as I can judge it is THE best. The articles are written from a neutral point of view. I look forward to reading The Daily Star whenever I am in Bangladesh.
Nure Alam
Ludwigshafen am Rhein

Of Jaez and Najaez Leadership
On the one hand, the leaders and activists of our Islamic parties time and again say that, according to Islamic Shariah, woman leadership in a Muslim country is unlawful (najaez). But at the same time, two MPs of the Jamaat-e-Islami have become ministers of that government which is headed by Khaleda Zia, who is a woman. Another MP of the Islami Oikka Jote is threatening to resign from the Jatiya Sangsad if he is not made minister. Now the question is, if woman leadership is unlawful or najaez, then is it lawful or jaez to become minister under a woman Prime Minister? It is nothing but a perfect example of hypocrisy.
Iqbal Ahmed
136 New Eskaton
Dhaka 1000

On the Eid Issue
I really enjoyed the Eid (January 30, 2004) issue of SWM. The Cover Story was good not only because it was fashion-related and thus appropriate for Eid, but more so because it showcased something that is our own, our own art and tradition. I also enjoyed very much the funny article "A Bad Cow Day" by Imran H. Khan. I don't know how many people will actually sympathise with the writer's own obvious sympathy for cows during the cow-slaughtering Eid festival, but it was a good read anyway and brought on many laughs. I would request SWM to publish more such articles so we can have a few good, light laughs during the weekend.
Saleha Enam

The Printing Again!
I enjoyed reading the January 30, 2004 issue of SWM, except that I thought that some of the articles, such as the "Perceptions" piece -- "Reading Brick Lane" could have had a picture (photograph or illustration) or two as it looked a little drab. However, the printing quality was not all that good as is so often the case. I was especially disappointed with the Cover Story, the layout of which I thought was very nice but for some reason the colour, pictures and pages looked very dull and powdery. The same goes for the "Event" piece titled "Fashion for Development". Such articles require even clearer, brighter and better quality photographs to go with them, to attract readers and do the subjects justice. I have seen the complaint often enough on this very page, but I would request you yet again to improve the printing quality of an otherwise very standard magazine.
Raquib Khan

On Bachelor
"Awesome" is one word to describe it. In the midst of deterioration of the film industry a film like Bachelor is very encouraging. It can attract an educated crowd and has made me feel that there is still hope for Bangladeshi cinema. This movie touched on many aspects of life, from midlife crisis to the emancipated generation today and did not avoid the issue of "sin" either. Except for a few flaws, the actors and actresses were good and suited to their roles, portraying simplicity, honesty and apprehension about married or conjugal life -- the popular fear of "Dilli ka laddu". Popular cinema can touch and even educate the masses, and Bachelor is one such cinema which reminds us of this with humour, making us laugh when we had almost forgotten how to.
Rana D. Mazumder

Milk Poisoning
Some unscrupulous vendors and traders spoil milk by mixing in formalin to keep it fresh while in storage or between deliveries. Formalin, however, is a dangerous chemical which can coagulate blood and thus can cause death of the drinker. Kidney failure may be another effect of formalin. The use of formalin has been banned in many countries, even in textile and other industries because of its harmful effect on ecology. Our authorities as well as the common people should take measures to curb such practices that are so harmful for us and that may prove deadly.
Fatema Rashid
North Circular Road, Dhanmondi

Re-reading Brick Lane
I was quite surprised at the vitriolic attack on Monica Ali's Brick Lane by Tazin Abdullah. I have read the book and while I will not say that it is a masterpiece, I find it unnecessarily harsh of Abdullah to say that she probably shouldn't have even bothered to read the book. I admit that there is nothing particularly brilliant about the story line but Ali should be given credit for incorporating elements that are intrinsic to the Bangladeshi immigrant situation. Ali writes about things that are not pleasant to know but they are very real. The fact that for once Bangladeshis are being highlighted, should be something to celebrate as South Asian fiction is dominated by Indian writers writing about the Indian experience. I think Abdullah should re-read Brick Lane before just condemning it as just catering to a Western readership. Her story may be tiresome to the self-righteous, tired-of-being-called-backward-and-poor Bangladeshi, but it is one that depicts the cultural confusion of Bangladeshi immigrants who are in the desperate situation of being stuck in a country that is largely apathetic to them while not being able to face their own motherland because they haven't quite made it.
Shazia Islam, Uttara

The government is doing a great job of putting up street dividers and footpaths everywhere, even in places where there are no pedestrians. But instead of this, I don't understand why they can't fix the streets later because the roads get worse because of all the rocks and rubble from the dividers and footpaths. What joy is there to look at the scenery when you have to hang on to the sides of the rickshaws and CNGs for dear life? Not once have I seen the trees by the side of the roads being watered. Do the government take their gardening tips from "The Adams Family" where dead plants are the 'in thing'? I wonder when we will start to see changes.

David Rozario

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