Astounding, bewildering and confounding | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 06, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:27 AM, May 06, 2017

Astounding, bewildering and confounding

Ever since the second IPL, obviously I could not do it any earlier, it has been a matter of wonderment for me why the three-piece cheerleaders are all non-deshi. Isn't that amazing, with the flavour of Bollywood ubiquitous in and outside the stadiums?

The puzzled amongst you who may construe that the three letters stand for anything but the Indian Premier League should switch on to relevant TV channels covering cricket Live or as news. That would be almost three-fourths of the broadcast market, often six in a row on the remote control, with Hindi commentary affording some variety.

In reference to 'three-piece' above, those of you (neurologically sullied) who are pondering on the colour, cut and carry of the daredevils' dress (sorry Delhi) should be clear that the allusion was to the three lovely ladies that usually make up an on-field ensemble.It's obviously not challenging to wear the not-so skimpy outfit in the world's largest democracy, but the trio qualify as daredevils because of the mudra they dare to enact, what with MD watching.

Now to put your boggled mind to rest, the initials do not stand for medical doctor, but the outstanding cine-dancer is married to someone, who (God!) didn't know at the time of the engagement how popular an actress Madhuri was. Lucky guy, ignorance did not cost him the marriage.

As to why all the female cheerleaders at a cricket ground are imported (occasionally we see some traditionally-dressed men doing the romp), my survey tells me it is because no Indian lady agreed to do the frolic only when a four or a six was hit, or when an opponent's wicket fell; they want to dance all the time, and that too not for money when they are supporting their team.

When it comes to trading cultures, I have also been made to wonder why security operations in our country have to be inked in English. On special days of the year we stress our vocal cord to proclaim that tirish lokkho martyrs laid down their life, that their sacrifice shall not go in vain, that we shall ride the waves to cross the sea ... all of these warfare to save a flower, to make our mother smile. Yet, in hunting criminals and laying siege on terrorists, we Bangalees rely on “Operation Super Seagull” or “Operation Black Torch”. One argument could be that lawbreakers, illiterate in many sense, do not understand English and so these words help to keep the encounter secret from them. Their case is that the surreptitious mission would be a failure if called “shariken” (I am from Barisal where h is s) or “Padma nodirdheu”.

The trend of belittling our mother tongue, threatened since Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan of 1947, is overpowering in all spheres of our life. Except for swearing in Bangla when we are really angry, our schools and colleges (Bengali-medium included), shops, businesses, TV programmes, restaurants, hospitals, apartment buildings…you name it, are largely in English.

You will even hear some parents speaking in wrong English with terrible articulation, in their vain attempt to be different from others on the street, in a shop. Such low mentality existed among some of us during the Pakistan era when Urdu was flaunted as the dialect of the 'different'. We concluded with 1971. And, now a new frontier.

Admittedly, the usage of English is unavoidable under prevailing globalisation, and in the sciences, but we are systematically relegating Bangla where English can be avoided. Regrettably, I see some fashion shops being named something like lahenga or janabe-ala. You do not see so much English in China, Japan, Korea… And they are today considered Big League countries by any measure. Pride in mother tongue, not by rhetoric, but by its widespread usage is one ladder to progress.

Rhetorical too over several decades has been the Muslim ummah, which disparagingly failed to prevent a division in the brotherhood. It baffles common sense how the destiny of one single Muslim president, in this case Bashar al-Assad, could bifurcate the Islamic world at the cost of two million lives over the past seven odd years. And no one is thinking of stopping the bombardment of children, infants and the unborn. All this blood, so that one man can oversee the death of 470,000 people, 55,000 of them children.

More recently, a few have gone the Putin way and some Trump, at least publicly, while the duo have a good laugh after office hours because they are dying to move closer to each other. Perplexed also by the knowledge that many of the Muslim countries, despite their P and T, maintain bi- and tri-lateral relationship with each other to prove that your enemy is not always my enemy.

Patriotism today is narrated by hired cheerleaders, as appreciation comes from the strangest of quarters. Phoren appears better only to the nincompoops while intelligent countries/states are closing the ranks and their water bodies. The selfish leader will prefer to trade nationalism with a civil war even it will keep in power. Day in and day out, even while tweeting at three in the morning, they propound that the Tal tree is mine. All this on television, and no one blinks an eye.

Political science has for long been residing in the attic, and we wonder why we see so many strange bedfellows. Geography has gone all topsy-turvy and still climate change to a few egocentrics is a conspiracy. People dying is a very bad thing, very bad, if they happen to be of some other race or country.

The writer is a practising Architect at BashaBari Ltd., a Commonwealth Scholar and a Fellow, a Baden-Powell Fellow Scout Leader, and a Major Donor Rotarian

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