Perspective | The Daily Star
  • In search of a therapist navigating the crazy of Dhaka and some more (m)adventures in between

    I woke up with a start at 06:09 am that morning on April 10. It was the sharp ring of the alarm clock going off at this ungodly hour that made me jump up.

  • Time and Space

    Winter came early that year. Mid-October, a steady wind appeared and transformed Dhaka into a dust bowl; by November, a fog descended and obscured the moon.

  • Corrupt development begets corruption

    What would we learn sitting in an air-conditioned and well-furnished classroom if the pedagogical practice remains the same—copy-pasted slides from SlideShare with watermarks still on them, exhibiting incompetence and indolence? Which path of knowledge would we be treading on, with a fancy library reading MP3 BCS guides, while a thick layer of dust covers the library books, longing for human touch? With teachers being transmitters of knowledge and students only passive receivers in a high-tech environment, would we not be annulling curiosity and participation—two fundamental qualities of knowledge as observed by the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire?

  • Things we lost to the fire

    The distance from Lexington to Astoria is six miles; 1.5 hours by foot. On that crisp fall morning, it took twice that.

  • The issue of Kashmir hits close to home

    Ahmad Shafi* sensed the unrest in Kashmir before it happened. An MBBS student in Bangladesh, he was in class at Dhaka’s Green Life

  • We are what we remember

    When Nana was 24, he saw Muslims slaughtered in prayer. As men prostrated before God, the cold of steel met the warmth of flesh,

  • How the ceiling falling on my head taught me something new about commercial property

    When the concrete casting of the ceiling at Gausia market broke off and fell on my head last week, I was determined to hold someone

  • A Perpetrator’s Prerogative 

    About a month back, a 20-year-old man—a university student—was accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple girls who came forward on social media. Following the circulation of posts exposing his alleged behavior, he faced, at max, a blast of “angry” emojis and hateful comments.

  • The Rape of the Rohingya

    When Rohingya refugees first enter Bangladesh, they are greeted with questions. What happened? Who were they with? Where?

  • The dark dowry

    Aklima is the eldest daughter of a family in Mymensingh. Her father works as a vegetable vendor; her mother occasionally helps out, but during Aklima’s childhood, she mostly stayed at home, grooming her to impress prospective husbands.

  • “We want justice”

    I was lying flat on my front, with my glasses askew and digging into my temple, on an empty, dusty street that was veiled with a heavy smog, courtesy of the pollution my city is infamous for.

  • The year I spent without Bangla

    Growing up schooled in an English medium curriculum can bring with it a certain disconnect with the Bengali language. Or at least it did for me.

  • This isn't what I expected

    Books and movies make pregnancy seem like a bout of ill-health, involving sporadic fainting spells, morning sickness and dramatic mood swings. I experienced none of those.

  • The Sisterhood of Survivors

    Jabeda Khatun (77 years) and Anoara Begum (68 years), two Birangonas of the Liberation War of Bangladesh arrived in The Netherlands on a gloomy winter day to join the

  • For the love & confusion over Tintin, a very European hero

    From the very moment I took it on, it felt like a Herculean task. To bring back a relic of the past, to clean off the dust from an unused side of the bookshelf and reread Tintin in the wake of the boyish reporter turning 90.

  • With great 'influence' comes great responsibility

    The influence of social media does not stop just there with the “you need this useless product”, it is far reaching, so much so, that I have had friends and relatives come up to me and tell me if only I ate “clean” or smiled more often, I would find that I do not need to see a therapist anymore, but would find that my 'depression' has been magically cured by cumulative good deeds or a nutritious diet.


    July 29 was just another mundane Sunday, and one of us crossed the intersection of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment School and College at around 10 am, on the way to work.

  • Does her Eid matter?

    Newly-wed Munia spent this Eid cooking for, and serving, her in-laws, while pining for her parental home and a glimpse of her parents. When the 28-year-old had approached her husband about visiting her parents, he had simply dismissed the idea. Her first Eid after marriage was thus marked by a huge fight with her husband who chose to prioritise his family and some ill-formed notions of custom over the happiness of his wife and his in-laws.

  • The Fifth Dimension

    This is the story of my life. But before I get there I want to tell you another story—the story of a mali who lived all by himself in a far-off land.

  • Nuclearism, genocidal mentality and psychic numbing

    Nuclearism is the ideology of nuclear weaponry and nuclear arms-based security. It is the most depraved, shameless, and costly pornography of our times. Such an ideology cannot be judged only by the canons of international relations, geopolitics, political sociology, or ethics. It is also a well-known, identifiable, psychopathological syndrome. The following is a brief introduction to its clinical picture, epidemiology, and prognosis.

  • Being Black In Dhaka

    On the busy Mirpur Road of Dhanmondi, students mill around outside a standard university building, converted from a shopping mall. Standing out, yet blending in, among the students are several Somali and Nigerians students—a small but growing body adding to foreign students studying at public and private universities in Dhaka.

  • Ride sharing is a relief but not yet a permanent solution

    For as long as anyone growing up in the Noughties can remember, Dhaka has had a traffic problem. In fact, an entire generation did much of their growing up stuck inside various forms of transport on Dhaka's gridlocked roads, waiting, sweating and cursing. The government took steps—building flyovers, introducing stricter policing and enforcement on the roads, uprooting streetside businesses to make space—but to no avail. With a growing economy and expanding purchasing power, more people bought cars and found more reason to go places.

  • Qualified, but Rejected

    It's 11 am. Mosammat Ayesha rushes to the classroom of grade four to take attendance. After the roll call, she asks the students to open their English grammar book and go through a grammar lesson. While the students fumble through their books, Ayesha quickly moves to the classroom of grade five. There, she again takes the attendance and asks the students to open their mathematics books. Instructing them to solve some arithmetic problems, she returns to the classroom of grade four to help students with grammar lessons.

  • The government is right to be afraid

    The quota reform movement that exploded on to the nation's radar last week enjoyed enormous public support, especially among university students. I can't underscore enough the extent of its popularity—in a series of surprise resignations, university-level leaders of the ruling party's student wing broke ranks to join the movement.

  • Solidarity Quota reform movement

    Tanvir Ahmed was a student of University of Dhaka. He committed suicide at the very beginning of this month . According to his

  • The Mother, A Tribute to a Homemaker

    The bedtime of weekends turns out to be the most intimate moment of exchange between us, mother and daughter. That is the time when my mother opens her heart to me and reveals her darkest fears, her deepest pains and disappointments from the past.

  • Heading to the hottest place in hell?

    One of the most trending quotes shared by the activists of the ongoing quota system reformation movement is Italian poet Dante Alighieri's “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality”.

  • Raising a child with autism

    Rupa shows me the broken glass of a bookshelf in the bedroom, which her son Rakin had shattered by banging his head against it, not half an hour before I entered their home in Mohammadpur last week. He had done something similar last year, which had required 10 stitches on his face. This time, luckily, Rakin had no injuries. His mother was still shaken, the accident a vivid reminder that her world can be turned upside down in a second, though she works hard all day to ensure a regular routine for her autistic son.

  • Raising a feminist son

    I listen in abject horror as my three-year-old comes back from school one day and proclaims that his playtime with his afternoon neighbourhood playmates will now consist of “the boys on one side and girls on the other”. My carefully constructed gender-equality declarations and almost repeated bad gerings over the past few years on his swiftly developing brain seems to have collapsed in one session of rough

  • Search for sight and community in Sydney

    Growing up, I was always told to be prepared when embarking on something new. Sometimes, however, there is very little one can do