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     Volume 4 Issue 46 | May 13, 2005 |

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In Response to Farhana Deeba's Article
Thanks for your letter in SWM on the April 29th issue. I would like to express my feelings on this matter about the majority of students at Dhaka University, who I feel have no commitment to our Bangali culture. I have observed the students of DU and they are always watching foreign movies and music videos on satellite television and they try to incorporate this foreign culture in their everyday lifestyles. They avoid Bangali culture and never make an effort to watch any Bangla serials on Bangla channels. They celebrate Pahela Boishakh as a fashion. They spend the entire day visiting Chinese restaurants with their friends and watching Hindi/English movies. They insult our culture with their disregard for anything Bangali.

Badrul Alam Narshingdi

To Bring Them to Reality
I must thank Biddut Khoshnobish for his letter "Detached from reality" in a recent issue of SWM. I totally agree with him. There are some fanatics who try to reap there own benefits in the name of religion. And regrettably it is true that they are successful in planting their militant attitudes in other peoples' heads. It is surprising, however, that so-called literate people actually buy into these close-minded concepts. At least an educated person should not accept this kind of extremism. These unruly, blind, fanciful persons are trying to bring Islamic Revolution through militancy, hostility and destruction. I want to remind those people that they are just losing their acceptability and at the same time creating a bad impression of Islam to the rest of the world. I believe that we should be more tolerant and show respect to other religions. Sometimes I wonder how long it will be before Bangladesh becomes a truly civilised nation! Once again I would like to thank Khoshnobish for such a bold writing.

Meulee Tejgaon

On "DU's Smelly Secret"
I would like to express my thanks to Star Weekend Magazine and Kajalie Shehreen Islam for the cover story about the very poor condition of the toilets at the DU Arts Faculty Building. If we review the condition of the toilets in different government offices the picture would not be much better.

Hygiene and sanitation has a link with the general habits of the people. There is definitely room for improvement in terms of cleanliness in bathrooms. For unknown reasons the relevant record of the sub-continent is very poor if you travel around the region. Open defecation is a common sight. Spitting in public places is a regular practice. Surprisingly, increased literacy level of the people could not change their respective unhygienic behaviour which indicates that other elements are involved in determining hygiene behaviour.

The traditional notion of maintenance puts the total responsibility on a few people. But a system is actually run by people whose behavioural pattern matters. Nowadays we talk about the role of the beneficiaries also in the maintenance of public infrastructure. The arts building premises is used by hundreds of outsiders everyday and they also use the toilets. Restriction has to be put on the use of toilets by outsiders.

I am not against running a story like this where you bring to light the uncomfortable secret of an institution, but I would like to treat the matter in a larger perspective. How much the issue of the story is related to cultural behaviour of the people is indicated by the fact that there was a need for a large scale social movement to try to achieve safe defecation practice in the countries of the region. There is a need for a change in the mindset of the students, teachers and the staff if we want to get an impressive Arts Building.

Monirul I.Khan University of Dhaka

To Accept or Not?
I have been following the recent controversy over the issue of the NBR (National Bureau of Revenue) chief's return of the Rolex watch handed over to him by a businessman, with some concern. In some quarters, there has even been an adverse reaction against the return of the Rolex, with sinister (not quite explained) motives attributed to this action, claiming that the NBR chief should not have been embarrassed to refuse the gift.

I strongly disagree with this. Quite apart from the fact that we Bangalis do not usually accept rejection with any degree of grace -- our so-called "prestige" being extraordinarily easily hurt -- I believe there may well be more to the story than meets the eye. However, my analysis is that, rather than there being any sinister motive, perhaps the aim of making the story public was firstly, to make it very clear the disgraceful extent to which corruption has permeated our society; and secondly, to send out a wider message that the NBR chief is not interested in being the recipient of such bribes. In effect, this sends out a clear signal which should act as a preventive measure against any future offerings of this kind. I think this is an effective and strategic approach to the problem of widespread corruption in our society.

I also think that we need to direct our suspicion towards those who accept gifts, rather than those who reject them (for whatever reason!). The fact that we are spending so much time questioning the motives behind the return, is for me a worrying indication of the extent to which cynicism has pervaded our society.

Eeshita Rahman On Email

Submission Guideline:
Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary and Write to Mita, with the writer's name and address, should be within 200 words. All articles should be within 1,200 words. A cover letter is not necessary, but every write-up should include the writer's name, phone number and email address (if any). While SWM welcomes unsolicited articles and photographs, it cannot accept the responsibility of their loss or damage. SWM does not return unsolicited articles and photos. Response time for unsolicited write-ups range from three weeks to two months. All articles submitted are subject to editing for reasons of space and clarity.
All materials should be sent to: Star Weekend Magazine, 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Fax: 880-2-8125155 or emailed to: <starweekendmag@gmail.com>
It is recommended that those submitting work for the first time to the SWM take a look at the sample copy beforehand. Our website is: http://www.thedailystar.net/magazine

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