Amar Shonar Bangla – Some Random Thoughts

April 23, 2009 — Marvi Sirmed
Rabindra Nath Tagore
Rabindra Nath Tagore“Where’s Pakistani girl with teep?” was the sweet voice that embraced my ears while I was smoking in a quiet corner of BRAC Centre where our conference was being held. A warm and loving Shaheen Anam from Manusher Jonno was looking for me for something. My Teep (bindi) was a good news for South Asians who had gathered in Dhaka to deliberate upon the South Asian perspective of the Right to Transparent Governance. Most of them, however very familiar with empowered women of Pakistan like Asima Jehangir and Hina Jilani, did not know this strange way of defiance a woman could indulge in Pakistan. Bangladeshi friends including Naila Khan, a politician, Dr. Shirin Sharmeen Chaudhry, CEO of a local NGO and Ms. Hameeda Hossein, a veteran rights activist and at the forefront of women’s empowerment movement in Bangladesh, all Muslims but sarhi and teep wearing women, were absolutely at loss to understand why in Pakistan people have started taking Teep as something that threatens their religion? It remains a part of accessories women use to adorn themselves and it should be accepted, they say, by the Pakistani mullah as so.
Despite a raving frenzy (and a justified one) of a common South Asian about Bangladesh being rapidly arrested in religio-mania, I could not see as many mosques as I see in Islamabad. Although the number of mosques has increased by leaps and bounds as it was in 2003 when I last visited Dhaka. People are ritualistic and believe in structured religion but are generally much deeper than that. Number of Modrassas seems to be very low in the capital but one can see more women with Hijab now than were seen in 2003. I could see no hubbub and over excitement about “Waqfa-e-Namaz” (the prayers’ break) during the sessions, which is normally overly played in all the conferences in Pakistan. People, who want to say prayers, would quietly move out of the Lunch or the proceedings and would not make it a point to break the flow of discussions just because they want God on their side. Although you get to see many Bengalis with typical white Muslim caps and beard, their body language doesn’t seem threatening to the existing social fabric.
Bengalis don’t even need an excuse to sing and dance! On the humid evening of April 21 Shaheen invited all the delegates to her cosy and lavishly decorated apartment in Lake Breeze, Gulshan. With its neighbourhood rubbing shoulders with a horribly downtrodden slum area, Lake Breeze is an extravagant apartment building which is home to the upper middle class “intellectual elite” of Dhaka. The evening started with A Nazrul Geeti Keno asheley bhaobashiley followed by a folk number, a feminist song asking the world where’s a woman’s home. Two beautiful young students of a dance school performed Bharat Natyam before the delegates of every country were invited to sing a song. The evening was a very nice departure from dry discussion on how to improve regulations in SARC countries to make the governments more transparent.
Earlier, Usman Qazi, my lovely friend, who works with UN for displaced persons and is based in Dhaka, gave a call and excitedly invited for a chat. We went to Arung, a chain of BRAC’s sales centre for the products prepared by the women BRAC works with. Usman kept on telling me about his experiences in Dhaka throughout his now over two months stay here. “I love this city”, Usman washed away all my intention to talk about the disappointment about the city I got immediately after I left the airport for Mohakali. I have been earnestly following Usman’s Ramblings from Dhaka, his little notes on his experiences in the city. So, I knew he has his own unique and fairly deep perspective to look at the people and the socio-political phenomena there.
Dhaka has all the problems an overly populated city could have. It has been facing a Dhaka-targeted urbanization from all over Bangladesh being the only metropolis of the country. Power outages have surpassed Pakistan’s performance on this front. Every hour, in fact it can go out any minute for indefinite time. No wonder people came out on streets outraged by outage, stormed power sub-stations, blocked roads, damaged vehicles and got hurt in large numbers amid all kinds of allegations on the government for corruption in the energy field instead of resolving the issue in favour of people. Sounds familiar?
Today’s breaking news was allegations levelled by Abdul Jalil, General Secretary of ruling Awami League, against many members of the cabinet of being agents of DGFI (Bangladeshi equivalent of ISI). Civil society is uncomfortable with a seemingly anti-establishment, comparatively progressive Awami League’s absolute power in the country (with 4/5th majority in unicameral parliament), its corruption and its ongoing clandestine talks with religious right, the modrassas and Jamat Islami Bangladesh.
Well all this is diluting my homesickness to some extent! South Asia has a character of its own!!!
Advertisements

48 thoughts on “Amar Shonar Bangla – Some Random Thoughts

  1. Kannan,Kerala(India) says:

    About the "teep"(sticker tilak)..I assume you use sticker teeps(or cheap dupicate sindur)..and all..which contain mercury,lead contents
    which is harmful for the "third eye"(gyananakashu) the place between your two physical eyes. It is so sensitive that in Yoga(specifically while doing anulopavilopa pranayama) we are not allowed to touch the "third eye" with index finger(which has fire energy)..In India, people get tilak to dot on their forehead from temples..made of sandalwood paste.This is to cool the nerve endings of the "Third eye"..Just my thoughts..I am no expert in these things..just from heresay.. its nice to research these things..
    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_eye">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_eye</a&gt;
    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sindoor">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sindoor</a&gt;

    Like

  2. Kannan,Kerala(India) says:

    Ok Sorry..if I am misunderstood..On a second thought..I guess..I gave the wrong idea that ..I am anti-tilak/sindoor/bindi..
    or whatever..NO I AM NOT..Just wanna warn about "Sythetic sticker" stuff..and bring in to you attention of harm caused by them..of course you might have heard of (duplicate)mehendi allergic reaction dont you?..Some girl in our native place had to undergo amputation coz of spurious duplicate mehandi/hena..starting an infection/anaphylatic allergic shock or something like that..
    Kohl and Sindoor: the potential source of lead poisoning
    http://isebindia.com/05_08/07-07-1.html
    Hazards of Synthetic Sindoor.
    http://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=1312

    Like

  3. Keyboard Stand says:

    Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.

    Like

  4. freedating says:

    Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too excellent. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a great site.

    Like

  5. rubber bands says:

    Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    Like

  6. personal loans says:

    Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing situation with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss drawback? Anybody who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

    Like

  7. garden design says:

    My wife and i got really thankful that John could do his analysis through the precious recommendations he was given out of the web pages. It’s not at all simplistic to simply find yourself giving for free information and facts that many some people may have been making money from. Therefore we see we have got the writer to give thanks to because of that. Most of the explanations you made, the easy website navigation, the friendships you will aid to engender – it’s most astonishing, and it is facilitating our son and our family understand the theme is thrilling, and that is rather indispensable. Thank you for the whole lot!

    Like

  8. cpanel hosting says:

    Excellent issues?I’d be aware that as somebody who really doesn’t write on blogs much (in truth, this may be my first submit), I don’t think the time period ‘lurker’ could be very becoming to a non-posting reader. It’s now not your fault the least bit , however perhaps the blogosphere could come up with a greater, non-creepy name for the 90% of us that experience reading the content material .

    Like

  9. opticians monmouthshire says:

    Throughout this grand design of things you get an A+ just for hard work. Exactly where you actually lost me was first on all the details. You know, it is said, details make or break the argument.. And it couldn’t be much more correct in this article. Having said that, allow me inform you precisely what did deliver the results. Your writing can be rather powerful and this is probably why I am making an effort in order to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, whilst I can see the jumps in reason you make, I am not convinced of how you appear to unite the ideas that help to make the conclusion. For right now I will yield to your position however hope in the foreseeable future you actually link the dots better.

    Like

  10. las vegas deals says:

    Yesterday found your blog while browsing on yahoo for some information.This is my first visit. I found so many entertaining posts on your blog. From the tons of comments on your posts, looks like you have a real interested crowd visiting regularly! Kudos!

    Like

  11. how to meet girls says:

    Thanks for taking the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If doable, as you achieve expertise, would you mind updating your blog with additional info? It is extremely useful for me.

    Like

  12. easy cooking says:

    Today found your website while browsing on bing for some information.Been poking around your blog for a few months. Loved this article and the entire site! Am looking forward to reading more!

    Like

  13. HTC Thunderbolt Accessories says:

    Throughout the great scheme of things you’ll secure a B+ with regard to effort. Where you actually lost me ended up being on all the facts. You know, they say, details make or break the argument.. And that could not be much more true here. Having said that, allow me inform you what exactly did deliver the results. The text is definitely quite powerful which is possibly why I am taking an effort in order to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, despite the fact that I can certainly notice a jumps in reasoning you come up with, I am definitely not convinced of exactly how you appear to unite your details which help to make your conclusion. For now I will yield to your point but hope in the future you actually link the facts much better.

    Like

  14. Cell Phone Accessories says:

    Good – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Excellent task..

    Like

  15. best led grow light says:

    The various types of these lamps include , , LED Grow Lights and . While many or mostof them have been chosen at one point and are still used in this point of time to some extent, LED Grow Lamps are the highly chosen light sources begining since the day they were invented.

    Like

  16. dofollow blog commenting says:

    Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

    Like

  17. prepaid phone cards says:

    Yesterday found your site while browsing on bing for some information.Impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good info here. Bookmarked your site, so I am sure I will visit again soon.

    Like

  18. car rental york says:

    Yesterday found your site while browsing on google for some information.Excellent post. Just emailed your link to a colleague who I think would also be interested in your excellent content.

    Like

  19. bar stools says:

    Yesterday found your blog while browsing on yahoo for some information.This is my first visit. I found so many entertaining posts on your blog. From the tons of comments on your posts, looks like you have a real interested crowd visiting regularly! Kudos!

    Like

  20. xrumer links says:

    Finest xrumer service – generate #1 search rankings plus massive site traffic with our effective oneway links deals. Most potent & cheap back links solution ever! XrumerGod.com – seo optimisation – inlinks – internet affiliate marketing – search engine marketing tactics – social networking

    Like

  21. solicitors no win no fee says:

    Just Now found your website while browsing on yahoo for some information.This is my first visit. I found so many entertaining posts on your blog. From the tons of comments on your posts, looks like you have a real interested crowd visiting regularly! Kudos!

    Like

  22. cheap london hotels says:

    Today found your site while browsing on bing for some information.Impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good info here. Bookmarked your site, so I am sure I will visit again soon.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s