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     Volume 7 Issue 25 | June 20, 2008 |

  Cover Story
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Congratulations, The Star
Congratulations to Star Magazine on its 12th Anniversary. It has been a glorious journey -- eventful as well as pleasurable. As a reader of The Star I feel proud that the magazine is going from strength to strength. However, I have one criticism. Recently the magazine seems to have become slightly elitist and 'arty' in its tone. Many of the articles deal with issues that an average reader like myself cannot relate to. Can we not have articles that go beyond the headlines, and offer an in-depth look at issues that concern us? Also, some humorous articles would be welcome in order to break the monotony. I believe this would make The Star Magazine even more attractive.
Saima Rahman
Bakshi Bazar


I am a devoted reader of The Star magazine. Chintito is one of my favourite columns so at no cost should you axe it.
I really enjoy reading about the lives of successful men and women in our society. You should try to always keep some travel pieces in the magazine. A regular page where we can get film and music information would be of great help too. I also like reading about new trends in fashion. Besides, it is an age of information technology so having a page with information on latest technology would be very helpful for us.
It is also very enjoyable to read the interviews with editors of famous literary magazines. I would be happy to see a page which depicted world literature.
You could ask readers to discuss current affairs on a separate panel. Our political structure is not at all proactive. To change the views of political parties you may want to introduce a page where the young generation can share their views. It would also be very helpful if you published profiles of politicians.
Mohammad Anisur Rahman
By email

General Azam Khan
Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the Dictator of Pakistan on usurping the state power appointed General Azam Khan as Governor of the Province of Punjab. The latter on assuming the governorship imposed severe Martial law Ordinance and ordered the people of Lahore, the Provincial Capital, to strictly adhere to the FARMAN his office issued. Among others the Martial Law Administration (MLA) told the people to keep the city streets clean, particularly the main road and the malls. Even throwing cigarette butts was considered a culpable offence.
According to the Farman people were forbidden to walk on streets and were directed to walk only on the side walks (foot path). The City Corporation had to fix waste paper baskets on roadside trees for dropping all disposables. Violators were warned of severe punishment, including flogging right on the street. Flogging scenes were not uncommon in those early years of the MLA.
The day the MLA was withdrawn by the said Ayub regime people started walking in the middle of the street and throwing dirt and disposables on the street to make them dirty as an act of vengeance.
Current BNP and AL leaderships' stance against the CTG, even under conditions of the Emergency Rule, reminds us of the post-MLR public response in the then Punjab, in spite of the fact that the Emergency Rule effective in the country it is very limited in scope and lenient in approach.
Syed Waliullah
Mohammadpur Housing and Pisciculture Coop Society Ltd

The Invisibles
The article 'The Invisibles' (May 23, 2008) on under-age domestic workers is a welcome addition to some of the more thought-provoking articles that are printed in the weekly magazine. One is indeed amazed at the lack of humanity and indifference that is displayed towards working children in general and domestic workers in particular. Like many in Dhaka, I live in an apartment block where apparently well-heeled citizens employ young children without compunction.
The children look malnourished and sad and are always dressed in clothing that identify them as lesser members of society. I have often noted how these children are frequently made to fetch and carry heavy loads and recently came across two women who calmly handed a heavy bag to a young lad to carry when it was quite apparent that neither of the two women was physically unable to carry the bag themselves. Would these women behave in the same manner towards their own children or grandchildren? I wonder. When there was once an interruption to the water supply, all the child-workers were seen to be lugging heavy buckets of water from the reserve tank to their respective employers' flats. There seems to be a marked reluctance on the part of respectable Bangladeshis to 'dirty their hands' but they readily exploit those they consider to belong to a lower socio-economic class.
Successive governments have been signatories to the various International Conventions regarding child-labour but there is very little evidence of the application and enforcement of extant legislation. I fear raising awareness won't bring relief to the countless vulnerable children but stiff, exemplary punishment might discourage such anachronistic employment practices.
Mita Rahman

University Rating
This is a reaction to the letter 'University Ratings' (June 6, 2008) written by Mushfique Wadud. There is no doubt that his proposal is development-oriented. But he should also know that there are many public and private universities in Bangladesh and in every institution there are many talented students. But the problem will arise when these students enter the job market. All employers will give priority to students from universities with higher ratings. What will happen to the talented students who attended universities with low rankings? These students will be discouraged from entering the job market and for further exposure locally and internationally. I don't think the author of the letter thought about these problems when proposing universities to be publicly rated.
Anichur Rahman
Dept. of Public Administration (2nd year)
University of Chittagong

Demolishing Cultivable Land
Although we have a shortage of cultivable land for agriculture, we are slowly getting rid of even the little we have. An industry is going to be set up at Gozaria in Hobigonj. What is shocking is that the selected piece of land is extremely fertile. The lives and livelihoods of the local people are entirely dependent on this piece of land. Every year they cultivate this piece of land for all kinds of crops necessary for their very existence. If the industry is set up, these people will lose both their land and their livelihood. Moreover it will just add to our present food crisis. I request the authorities to abandon this destructive plan.
Rtr. Biplob
Rotaract Club of Chittagong University

In last week's issue of The Star (June 13, 2008) Sharbari Ahmed's name was inadvertently dropped from the article 'The Fear after the Euphoria'. We regret the error.
In the article 'Wiping Bangladesh off the Map' the same photo was printed twice under two different photographers' names. The photo by Shafiul Chowdhury of a flooded marketplace after torrential rains in Chittagong won the first prize at the competition. K M Asad's photo was printed in the contents page.

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