Poor Countries Need to Think Twice About Social Distancing


Policies imposed in rich countries to fight the coronavirus could have adverse effects in low-income nations—potentially endangering more lives than they save.

(Reprinted from Foreign Policy magazine where it was posted on 10 April.)

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, varying levels of social distancing have been implemented around the world, including in China, Europe, and much of the United States. Hundreds of millions of people have accepted dramatic disruptions to their daily lives and substantial economic losses based on the reasoning that slowing the spread of the coronavirus can keep health care systems from becoming overwhelmed. Continue reading “Poor Countries Need to Think Twice About Social Distancing”

Audre Lorde: Translated by Kazi Jesin

(অড্রে লর্ড [১৯৩৪- ১৯৯২] একজন কালো নারীবাদি, সমকামি, যোদ্ধা ও রাজনৈতিকভাবে লিপ্ত কবি। অড্রে লর্ড তাঁর জীবন ও সৃস্টিশীল প্রতিভার মধ্য দিয়ে বর্ণবাদ, জেন্ডার-বৈষম্য, শ্রেনী-বৈষম্য ও সমকাম-বিদ্বেষের বিরুদ্ধে  লড়াই করেছেন। লর্ডের জন্ম নিউ ইর্য়ক শহরে ক্যারিবীয় অভিবাসী বাবা-মা’র ঘরে।) টিকে … Continue reading Audre Lorde: Translated by Kazi Jesin

Agha Shahid Ali by Azfar Hussain

Syed Jamil Ahmed’s first play in two decades, RIZWAN, opened on September 01 at Shilpakala Academy (closes Sep 10). The play, based on an English poem about Kashmir, is experimental, raucous, jubilant, and always challenging the material limits of a stage. The audiences have responded with hunger, Shilpakala has been running sold out shows. Responses have ranged from enthusiasm by those already used to  experimental fare from Prachyanat, Bot Tola, and others, to the nervous responses of an old guard still not able to embrace radical theater for a new Bengal.

Agha Shahid Ali (Source: Academy of American Poets)

Debates about RIZWAN range widely, but few audience members have been curious about the source material- Agha Shahid Ali’s poem on Kashmir, THE COUNTRY WITHOUT A POST OFFICE. Ali’s 1997 poem is a landmark of Indian-American/Indian diaspora poetry. Considering the popularity of the play, paired with the experimental opacity of the on-stage dialogue, we present here the original poem, preceded by a sparkling new translation done by Azfar Hussain.
Continue reading “Agha Shahid Ali by Azfar Hussain”

Neo-Bangladeshi Collective

by Faruk Wasif

In the name of non-standardising, a luminous (yet stupid) collective wishes to drag Bengali down to a demotic vernacular. However, to remove inherent, traditionalist inflexibility within the language, all dialects – from Tagore to Abbasuddin, from Calcutta to Sylhet – should be used profusely; so that, the real (or main) parts of the language (and its literature) can include tongues of all Bengalis. Continue reading “Neo-Bangladeshi Collective”

Post-Crisis Rumor Mill

During an unprecedented attack like the one at Holey Artisan Bakery, crisis management is of utmost priority. Looking back, security forces did well to set up cordons to keep at bay meddlesome reporters. The subsequent media blackout, though late, was a good call and could feature in a standard operating procedure. In comparison with regional incidents, commandoes acted with reasonable urgency. However, medical evacuation appeared poorly managed and if not for the proximity of United Hospital, more lives may have been lost.

Continue reading “Post-Crisis Rumor Mill”

Holding the Economy to Ransom

by Firoz Ahmed, translated from Bengali

Bangladesh has not seen this type of ferocious attack and killing of innocent people before. We express our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims, although no amount of consolation can soothe them. Our thoughts are also for the injured and terrified. Everyone in the country is feeling the anxiety and uncertainty. Continue reading “Holding the Economy to Ransom”

Dark Side of Our Sympathy

By Fardin Hasin for AlalODulal

In March 2016, a girl was brutally raped and murdered inside Comilla Cantonment. The crime was surrounded by a lot of mysteries, most of which are yet to be brought to light due to the authority’s unwillingness to do any proper investigation. People were quick to react; protests sprung up in both Dhaka and Comilla along with some other places. The hashtag #JusticeForX (I will not reveal her name here for reasons I am going to explain later) spread throughout Facebook; often complemented by cover photos depicting the words ‘Justice For X’ superimposed on the victim’s picture.

Continue reading “Dark Side of Our Sympathy”

Rampal: Project of Mass Destruction

by Anis Raihan

[Originally in Bangla for Istishan; Translated by AlalODulal Collective]

Many countries, generally, bar construction of coal-based power plants, which cause dire environmental pollutions, within 15 to 20 kilometers of protected forests and settlements. The proposed 1320 megawatt Rampal coal-based power plant, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) report, is only 14 kilometers from the Sundarbans, which is only four kilometers from the government’s designated 10 kilometers of Environmentally Critical Area — and hence, it has been claimed to be environmentally safe. Continue reading “Rampal: Project of Mass Destruction”

On the Richard Eaton thesis

Awrup Sanyal

[Please note that the review might reveal more than you want to know before reading the book. I would say skip it and read the book.]
Anyone interested in Bengal’s premodern to modern history – through the Delhi and Bengal Sultanates, and the Mughal rule in India, and consequently in Bengal – and more importantly the rise and spread of Islam in Bengal will have to go through this thoroughly illuminating seminal work from Eaton.

Continue reading “On the Richard Eaton thesis”

Multiculturalism in Bangladesh: where our political and intellectual debates end

By Fardin Hasin for Alal O Dulal

The intellectual and political circles of Bangladesh have, for a long time, based their ideas and actions on or around a monolithic image of Bangladesh. Most discussions and debates have considered our ‘Bangalee’ identity as a constant, and the history of ‘Bangalees’ as linear; the other side of the story, as seen by much of the right-wing intelligentsia, seems to focus solely on our identity and history as ‘Muslims’. Both sides have a point, but we are all missing a greater part of the picture, that is, a country cannot progress in peace if it chooses to reduce all its citizens into a singular identity. Continue reading “Multiculturalism in Bangladesh: where our political and intellectual debates end”

রাফিফ জিয়াদাহ্‌, ফিলিস্তিনি কবি – Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian refugee, poet and activist

রাফিফ জিয়াদাহ্‌-র পাঠঃ (As read by Rafeef Ziadah:)

ক্রোধের প্রচ্ছায়া
রাফিফ জিয়াদাহ্‌, ফিলিস্তিনি কবি, অ্যাক্টিভিস্ট Continue reading “রাফিফ জিয়াদাহ্‌, ফিলিস্তিনি কবি – Rafeef Ziadah, a Palestinian refugee, poet and activist”

Consensual Rape?

By Nasrin Siraj for Thotkata, translated by Alal O Dulal

On 25 November 2015 the court sentenced Parimal Joydhar, a teacher of Viqarunnisa Noon School, for raping a girl in Year 10.

The incident happened in 2010. The situation in our country is so bad that the school-authority had tried to protect the criminal in many ways than to take the matter – of this horrific sexual abuse – to the law. The school-authority even expressed its concerns that ‘the attitudes and dresses of girls are inviting’.

Continue reading “Consensual Rape?”

#RichKids in an Unlivable City

In the Dhaka of the 80s, there was a consensus regarding who its richest denizen was. At the rare, lavish weddings, my cousins and I would spot him, with his guards and his clan, and cower at the sight of the wealthiest man in Bangladesh. What it signified, we weren’t totally sure. My cousins could easily name his businesses in real estate, banking and construction. His creamy white Mercedes was instantly recognizable around Dhanmondi streets. In our fantasies, his children’s supposed diet of chocolates and cakes were the source of much envy. Continue reading “#RichKids in an Unlivable City”

Why science and technology failing developing nations

The image is sourced from truthernews.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/

By Fardin Hasin  for Alal O Dulal

Recently, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) branch of one of the leading engineering universities in Bangladesh organised a seminar on cyber-physical systems. There was only one speaker — a CSE graduate from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology with excellent academic record, who is also an assistant professor in a research lab in a reputed American university.

Continue reading “Why science and technology failing developing nations”

Bravo my Santhal, Orao and Munda brothers and sisters!

Bravo my Santhal, Orao, and Munda brothers and sisters!

by Ahmed Badall for Alal O Dulal 

[Translated by the Alal O Dulal Editorial Collective]

For ages now the ‘civilized’ Bengali gentry have been grabbing lands from the Santhals of Dinajpur. Hundreds and hundreds of Adivasis today are landless and evicted from their homesteads. Continue reading “Bravo my Santhal, Orao and Munda brothers and sisters!”

Pinaki Bhattacharya: West Bengal’s attitude to Bengali Muslim

Pinaki Bhattacharya:  West Bengal’s attitude to Bengali Muslim

“When our books are in the hands of Bangladeshi readers, they never ask — What is the religion of the writer? They judge it by whether it’s readable, whether the story is charming, or whether it’s pleasant to read. But when our Hindu readers from West Bengal, reading books by Bangladeshi authors, come across words such as amma, fufa, namaaz, they have a strange reaction. And it’s due to this reaction that books by many Bangladeshi writers don’t reach the readers here. I want to state this very clearly: compared to Bangladeshi readers, the readers from West Bengal are a lot more fundamentalist.” — Samaresh Majumdar.

Continue reading “Pinaki Bhattacharya: West Bengal’s attitude to Bengali Muslim”

The Death of Rajon

by Adnan R. Amin for AlalODulal.org

A thirteen year old boy has been beaten to death.

Samiul Alam Rajon had studied up to the fourth grade and used to sell vegetables to make a living. His father is a microbus driver by profession. He and unnamed accomplices were suspected of stealing a rickshaw van. The boy was beaten, poked, tortured for nearly half an hour, resulting in his death.
Continue reading “The Death of Rajon”

রবি: আমাদের অশ্রু এতো শস্তা না

রবি: আমাদের অশ্রু এতো শস্তা না

Irfanur Rahman for Alal O Dulal

রবির বিজ্ঞাপনটা সুন্দর, অত্যন্ত হৃদয়স্পর্শীভাবেই সুন্দর, বিশেষত “একটা মোবাইলের জন্য মরে যাবো না বাবা” বলার পর মোরশেদ সাহেবের মেয়ে যেভাবে তার বাবাকে জড়িয়ে ধরে আমার ধারণা অই জায়গাটায় অনেকের চোখেই পানি এসে গেছে। 

Continue reading “রবি: আমাদের অশ্রু এতো শস্তা না”

Reinforcing Misconceptions and Uninformed Choice

Adnan R. Amin for AlalaODulal.org
 A video titled ‘Language Matters’ has been making the rounds in Bangladeshi social-media circles. It explores the utility of Arabic warnings to ward off public urinators. The using of a religious misconception to prevent a social evil is clever. But what if it also reinforces and lends credence to that misconception?

Continue reading “Reinforcing Misconceptions and Uninformed Choice”

Reflections on the Idea of Race

Black Lives Matter Protest, NYC, Nov 2014, Wikimedia Image
Black Lives Matter Protest, NYC, Nov 2014, Wikimedia Image

By Prashanta Tripura for AlalODulal.org

Baltimore is the latest flashpoint involving massive protests and outbreaks of violence in response to police brutality against Black youths in the US.  Not too long ago, similar turns of events unfolded in other American cities as well, e.g. in Ferguson, Missouri.  Continue reading “Reflections on the Idea of Race”

A few dos and don’ts in the movement against sexual assault

By Nadine Shaanta Murshid 

UNPRECEDENTED levels of outrage and activism surround the Pahela Baishakh sexual assault; we have finally reached critical mass: people are out on the streets and those who are not, are on social media fighting many a battle with individuals who still resort to victim blaming and slut shaming. These are oft-used tactics to further subjugate women and take agency away from people who fight for the rights of women subject to sexual assault and rape. That the synchronised bomb-attack style sexual assault on multiple women have enraged so many people comes as a surprise in a nation where topics of sex and sexual assault have remained taboo, despite extremely high rates of sexual violence against women. This is a welcome change. So while we are at it, here are a few things we should add on to the list:

Continue reading “A few dos and don’ts in the movement against sexual assault”

Stop this Descent

by Zahur Ahmed for AlalODulal

Feedback’s quintessential song for Pohela Boishak, the first day of a Bengali New Year,  “Melay Jaire” has a line on the third stranza, “বখাটে ছেলের ভিড়ে ললনাদের রেহাই নাই — the crowd of ruffians won’t spare the girls”. The lyricist Maqsoodul Haque had a deep insight into our tradition, culture and attitude. What might have been overlooked as a humorous innuendo has become a sad reality during this year’s Bengali New Year celebrations, as a number of women fell victims to horrid gang assaults on broad day light amid the thousands enjoying the festivities.

Continue reading “Stop this Descent”

Zonayed Saki: What could a leftist leader offer Bangladesh today?

“[Saki’s postion] dislodge[s] current fixed notions of “left versus religion”, “left as irrelevant to modern political and economic formations”, etc in a way that we may be reminded of earlier historical moments when Maulanas could be “RED” and when calls for redistributive justice galvanized movements for democratic rights.” Continue reading “Zonayed Saki: What could a leftist leader offer Bangladesh today?”

CULTURE: Rift between two Bengals

By Pratik Deb for AlalODulal

The national anthem of Bangladesh, penned by Tagore, is not exclusively sung on one side of the fence, neither is its use stringently limited for the national occasions of Bangladesh. Unlike the national anthem of most nations, Bangladesh’s national anthem has an everyday appeal in its core that keeps it alive amid the unremarkable occasions, especially in West Bengal where it does not get limited by its officialdom.
Continue reading “CULTURE: Rift between two Bengals”

Cricket Nationalism: Mauka Mauka, 1971

by Swadhin Sen

“At this moment of masculinist and orgasmic expressions of hatred – communal, ethnic, sexist, partisan, and national – in both real and virtual world, cricket match in World Cup 2015 has become a rallying point of neo-nationalistic tyranny. In contrast to the dominating belief, sports has never been apolitical. Sometimes it becomes a space for solidarity and protest, at other times it becomes the weapons of domination and hegemonic control.”

Continue reading “Cricket Nationalism: Mauka Mauka, 1971”

লেখাপড়া ধ্বংশ করল আসলে কে? জাফর ইকবাল-কে ফিরোজ আহমেদের জবাব


1. Firoz Ahmed: “শুধু লোভ! বিজ্ঞানীদের এই কারণেই সমাজবিজ্ঞান সম্পর্কেও কিছু ধারণা থাকা দরকার। লোভেরও ব্যকরণ আছে, নিয়ম-কানুনের উর্ধে সে নয়।”
2. Zafar Iqbal: “কারা প্রশ্নফাঁস করছে তাদের কখনো ধর‍া যায়নি, কিন্তু কারা গাইড বই থেকে প্রশ্ন নিয়ে এসএসসি পরীক্ষার প্রশ্ন প্রণয়ন করেন তাদের ধরতে তো কোনো সমস্যা নেই!” Continue reading “লেখাপড়া ধ্বংশ করল আসলে কে? জাফর ইকবাল-কে ফিরোজ আহমেদের জবাব”

Ekush, are you blood rose of Senegal?

মহান একুশ কতোবার যে বিপন্ন হলো ! আজো মনে পড়ে বিরাশি সালে স্বৈরশাসনের সময় কি অসহায় এই একুশ।কিছুতেই যেন তাঁর আত্মপরিচয় খুঁজে পাচ্ছে না। Continue reading “Ekush, are you blood rose of Senegal?”

Saiful Huq Omi: On Burn Unit Photo Controversy

On the Burn Unit Photo Controversy

Interview with photographer Saiful Huq Omi
Published in Bengali on Priyo.com, translated for AlalODulal.org

“On February 8, the major dailies of Bangladesh published a report titled ‘Shooting at a Burn Unit,’ where it was reported that despite criticisms, photographic shooting took place in Dhaka Medical College and Hospital’s Burn Unit. Continue reading “Saiful Huq Omi: On Burn Unit Photo Controversy”

Comparison of India and Bangladesh

Comparison of Political Culture of India and Bangladesh- A Common Man’s Fantasy!
 By Aminul Sarwar for Alal O Dulal

While we discuss Bangladesh politics- India comes up automatically. Regional hegemony, friendship and bitterness, mutual interest, influence over Bangladesh’s internal politics- hosts of many other issues make India an important and inseparable factor in Bangladesh. Continue reading “Comparison of India and Bangladesh”

LABOR: World in a Shirt and Infinity in a Stitch


“Turning and turning in the widening gyre” is an appropriate last chapter for a book that is an amazing picture of the wheels of global capitalism as it lifts some and crushes others over centuries, continuously depleting “the reservoirs of human energy” and “the limited treasures of a wasting planet”. Continue reading “LABOR: World in a Shirt and Infinity in a Stitch”

Red Salute to Gobinda Halder

একাত্তরে স্বাধীন বাংলা বেতার কেন্দ্রে গীতিকার গোবিন্দ হালদারের লেখা সেই অবিস্মরণীয় গানগুলো হলো- ‘মোরা একটি ফুলকে বাঁচাব বলে…’, ‘এক সাগর রক্তের বিনিময়ে…’, ‘পূর্ব দিগন্তে সুর্য উঠেছে রক্ত লাল রক্ত লাল রক্ত লাল…’, ‘লেফট রাইট লেফট রাইট…’, ‘হুঁশিয়ার হুঁশিয়ার…’, ‘পদ্মা মেঘনা যমুনা তোমার আমার ঠিকানা…’, ‘চল বীর সৈনিক…’, ‘হুঁশিয়ার, হুঁশিয়ার বাংলার মাটি…’।
Continue reading “Red Salute to Gobinda Halder”

আমাদের নানু সুষমা বালা চাকমা : এক শহীদের মা

Susama Bala Chakma

আমাদের নানু সুষমা বালা চাকমা : এক শহীদের মা 

By Samari Chakma, Originally published in ThotKata

আচ্ছা নানু তোমার বয়স এখন কত?
‘জানিনা। আমাদের জন্মের বছর তারিখ কি মা বাবারা লিখে রেখেছিল? তবে মনে হয় আমার বয়স হবে এখন আশি বা তার বেশী।’

Continue reading “আমাদের নানু সুষমা বালা চাকমা : এক শহীদের মা”

Little Jihad left a few questions for Bangladesh!

Jihad showed that, this country takes 23 hours to rescue a 4 year old child. That it takes six hours for this country to turn on a [rescue] camera. That the fire service gets to the disaster site an hour and a half late. That the State Minister of this country misleads the people of the country, and meddles in the rescue operation of the fire service.

ছোট্ট জিয়াদ গোটা বাংলাদেশের কাছে অনেকগুলো প্রশ্ন রেখে গেল!

by Reza Ghatok রেজা ঘটক for AlalODulal.org Continue reading “Little Jihad left a few questions for Bangladesh!”

Monajatuddin: The Minstrel Journalist

by Adnan R. Amin for AlalODulal.org

The works of Monajatuddin – the Minstrel Journalist – have had more of a shaping role in contemporary Bangladesh than that of many a politicians, development-pundits, editors or litterateurs. Take for example, the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2014, only recently okayed by the cabinet. It was Monajatuddin’s keen, investigative reporting on child marriage that informed and laid the groundwork for necessary social-debates and policy-making. Continue reading “Monajatuddin: The Minstrel Journalist”

Korpan Shah and the Medical Malady

By Pratik Deb for AlalODulal.org

The brutal death of Korpan Shah has raised enough hue and cry amid the media and public, partly because of its viciousness, and mostly because of its alleged perpetrators. Following an alleged theft of cell phone from the hostel of N.R.S. Medical College, Kolkata, the psychologically challenged Mr. Shah was lynched to death, allegedly by the students of premier institution. Continue reading “Korpan Shah and the Medical Malady”

Kabir Suman on the origin of Taliban

By Kabir Suman for AlalODulal.org

In the 80s Kabir Suman was working as a journalist for the Voice of America, under the Reagan administration. This is an inside view from those times as he retraces the genesis of the rise of Taliban. This was written in the wake of the senseless heinous act of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in Peshawar where they killed innocent school children in an army school. Continue reading “Kabir Suman on the origin of Taliban”

Sundarbans in Grave Danger and Our Government’s inaction

By Kallol Mustafa from Joymoni, Sundarbans
Translated by Tibra Ali for AlalODulal.org

Since the oil spill disaster started in the Sundarbans on the night of the 9th of December many ebbs and flows of the tide have come and gone. The thick and poisonous spilled oil reaches wherever the water reaches during the high tide, via the Shela river (where the disaster originated), Pasur and Baleshwari rivers, and the innumerable canals. Continue reading “Sundarbans in Grave Danger and Our Government’s inaction”

Sundarbans’s Fight for Survival

Anu Muhammad for Prothom Alo
Translated by Irfan Chowdhury for Alal O Dulal

Whenever we appeal to stop the destructive Rampal project and ORION coal based power plant, to safeguard our great Sundarbans, natural habitat of thousands of lives, whenever we ask to cancel Fulbari open pit project which damages a vast agricultural land and a large civilization, Continue reading “Sundarbans’s Fight for Survival”

Known Unknowns of the Class War

by Naeem Mohaiemen

When you turn to page 186 of In the Light of What We Know, you encounter an illustration. The novel’s two main characters have by this point discussed many things, and readers may have already been craving visual aids. But this is the first time the text is interrupted by a diagram. You sense, therefore, the arrival of a crucial digression. Continue reading “Known Unknowns of the Class War”

Reflections on “Unprecedented Changes” in the Garments Sector of Bangladesh

Garments workers
The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights’ report Unprecedented Changes.

by Farida Khan for AlalODulal.org

The Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse has made many Western consumers shudder at the thought of their complicity with sub-human conditions in the Third World factories where their clothes are sewn. While consumers are often careful to avoid purchasing soccer balls sewn by child labor Continue reading “Reflections on “Unprecedented Changes” in the Garments Sector of Bangladesh”

Unprecedented Changes in the Garments Sector of Bangladesh

by Farhad Mahmud for AlalODulal.org

Soon after the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse, there were two types of reaction from the buyers who were sourcing garments from Bangladesh.  There was one group who felt they need to move away from sourcing from Bangladesh.  Another group felt somewhat responsible  Continue reading “Unprecedented Changes in the Garments Sector of Bangladesh”

The Journey from Shyamapuja to Diwali

For India, it took the shape of Hindu right-wing and their counter-imposition of a false construct of Hindu and Indian identity. The irrelevant political force of Hindutva took the centre-stage, asserting its claim on the identity of ‘Indian-ness’ and ‘Hindu-ness’. And like any two compatible hegemony, down the lane, there were a political pact between the two. Once it was realised that the gullible globalised middle-class can be bought and bribed and made to want almost anything with enough packaging and with enough lucre, the only question remained how long it would take.

Continue reading “The Journey from Shyamapuja to Diwali”

Munier Chowdhury’s Son Speaks

“One of the reasons that so far GA and JI got all the leniency and privileges is partly due to the divisions in the anti JI, pro war crimes trials and Shahbagh/Projonmo Chottor lobbies.”
[Asif Munier is the son of Munier Chowdhury, a playwright and intellectual killed by Al Badr forces in 1971. He is the Vice President of Projonmo 71, an organization of the children of the martyrs of the liberation war of Bangladesh]
Continue reading “Munier Chowdhury’s Son Speaks”

Nothing’s Sacred Anymore – Ghulam Azam’s Funeral

“Barring people’s sincere, spontaneous participation –their right to which is unquestionable – the overblown Janaza event serves no real purpose other than being a spectacle. It serves itself. It does not reflect upon the Dead’s soul or their lives – but upon a desperate clutch at straws by an organized political force that is drowning; it sheds light upon a scheming, listless, heartless, mindless rush to maximize – even during mourning periods and at the cost of anyone around – brand equity and relevance in National Politics.”

Continue reading “Nothing’s Sacred Anymore – Ghulam Azam’s Funeral”

Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury’s Son Speaks: The Unrepentant Man

What is harder to explain, however, are the actions of us independent Bangladeshis. The fact that we allowed him to return to the country he conspired against. The fact that he was allowed to stay here for 16 years – from 1978 to 1994 – on the passport of a foreign country and practice politics, when he did not even have a valid visa.

Continue reading “Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury’s Son Speaks: The Unrepentant Man”

Shahidullah Kaiser’s Son Speaks: Forgive me father, I could not keep this soil sacred!

“A country whose soil is soaked in the blood of the martyrs, a country whose soil still bears witness to the history of genocide — the soil of that country will receive the body of the Captain of the Rajakars? How are we to answer to our conscience?”

Continue reading “Shahidullah Kaiser’s Son Speaks: Forgive me father, I could not keep this soil sacred!”

Piash Karim: The Two Sides of Nationalism

জাতীয়তাবাদের একূল-ওকূল

পিয়াস করিম

“যে জাতীয়তাবাদ নিজেকে অতিত্রম করার, নিজেকে ভেঙেচুরে আন্তর্জাতিক মানবতায় একীভূত করার নিরন্তন চর্চাকে নিজের মধ্যে ধারণ করতে পারে না, আজকের গণতান্ত্রিক আন্দোলনের কাছে তার কোনো মূল্য নেই।”

Continue reading “Piash Karim: The Two Sides of Nationalism”

Piash Karim (1958-2014) : Language, nation, and multiplicity

“One doesn’t have to succumb to a teleological faith in historical progress to ascertain that language-based nationalism is a step forward from its religion-based counterpart. But it is also equally true that like any other form of identity, linguistic identity also includes some at the expense of others.”
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Apsari Chakma: Life in the School Room

When I was very little my mother used to tell me all kinds of bedtime fairytale stories. I used to think that the fairy princesses from these stories were supremely happy and content. You could say, my life now is the exact opposite of their lives.

Life in the School Room

by Apsari Chakma, translated by Tibra Ali for AlalODulal.org Continue reading “Apsari Chakma: Life in the School Room”

A Period of (Unprecedented) Consequences

A Period of (Unprecedented) Consequences

by Risalat Khan for AlalODulal.org

But the world is changing. The seemingly disconnected events and trends are mere manifestations of something deeper – a neocolonial corporatocracy that controls virtually all major world affairs. It profits from the arms supplied to war and the culture of war, claims all of Mother Nature’s resources as property for its own greed, and condemns billions to poverty and starvation as casualties of progress. This social order – a dark evolution of the colonial era evils – is inculcated and protected by a system of unfettered neoliberal capitalism. But despite its meteoric rise to dominion, it is now desperately hiding the tears at its seams.
Continue reading “A Period of (Unprecedented) Consequences”

In the Light of What We Know: A Novel that Defines Our Times

by Lamia Karim for alalodulal.org

A mathematician by training, Zia Haider Rahman’s debut novel is a literary masterpiece. It is a deeply unsettling novel where the protagonist’s ‘descent of hope’ reveals our loss of a shared humanity. The novel is a magisterial sweep of the landscape of the 21st century that is characterized by war, migration, and rootlessness.

Continue reading “In the Light of What We Know: A Novel that Defines Our Times”

AJ, Arrival of a Bangladeshi Hero

AJ, Arrival of a Bangladeshi Hero
by Irfan Chowdhury for AlalODulal.org

Bangladeshis rarely get to cheer their heroes, but when they do they are euphoric. They came out in droves to celebrate the nation’s first ever qualification for the cricket World Cup, and for some memorable wins since then. But wins have been few and far between. There were other celebrities and celebrations – the Nobel Prize for the Grameen Bank and its founder — but they would hardly match the glitz and glamour bestowed by a ‘would be’ Bangladeshi film or a cricket star.    
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TUBA STRIKE: What a country have we become!

Photo: SouthAsianMedia.net
TUBA STRIKE: What a country have we become!
by Faruk Wasif for Prothom Alo, translated by Irfan Chowdhury for AlalODulal.org
Kidnappers demand ransom after taking innocents hostage. Prisoners are exchanged during wars. But what sort of ransom is being sought for the Tuba Group, where sixteen hundred workers are made captive? If their co-owner, the arrested Delwar Hossain, is not released, the workers will not be paid. Nowhere in the company law is it mentioned that other business-partners will not be able to withdraw money from the accounts in the absence of a partner. The Tuba Group has made this case and Delwar Hossain’s bail has been granted.

Just as it is a crime to use hapless humans as shields in wars, the Tuba group has committed a crime by using hungry and wage-depraved workers. The Labour Minister has legitimised this use. The Shamim Osman(s) rely on the support of the party in power, and garment factory owners rely on the government support. What a dreadful situation.

Continue reading “TUBA STRIKE: What a country have we become!”

Do they know it’s Eid Mobarak?

Shilpi, a worker of the Toba Group broke down while giving an interview to the media
Shilpi, a worker of the Toba Group broke down while giving an interview to the media

জিয়া হাসান: “আজকে যদি এই রাষ্ট্রে একটা মানবিক এবং নৈতিক সরকার থাকতো, তবে তার দায়িত্ব হতো, তোবা গ্রুপের সকল ডাইরেক্টরদের স্থায়ী অস্থায়ী সকল ধরনের সম্পদ এবং মেশিন বিক্রয় করে, এই গ্রুপের শ্রমিকদের বেতন পরিশোধ করা।”
Continue reading “Do they know it’s Eid Mobarak?”

শব্দের উৎস নিয়ে রাজনীতি জাতীয় ঐক্য ও স্বার্থের পরিপন্থী

শব্দের উৎস নিয়ে রাজনীতি জাতীয় ঐক্য ও স্বার্থের পরিপন্থী

 আহমেদ শামীম

“তারা “জয় বাংলা” বলে না, বলে “জিন্দাবাদ”। যেটা উর্দু শব্দ। বাংলা ভাষায় “জিন্দাবাদ” বলে কোনো শব্দ নেই। ভাষা আন্দোলনে আমরা উর্দুর বিরোধিতা করেছিলাম। এখনো তারা সেটাই ব্যবহার করে। Continue reading “শব্দের উৎস নিয়ে রাজনীতি জাতীয় ঐক্য ও স্বার্থের পরিপন্থী”

বিশ্বকাপ, আমাদের খেলার মাঠ কিংবা ‘ঘাড়ে মাথা’ প্রসঙ্গ

সাও পলোতে প্রতিবাদী মানুষদের দেয়াল লিখন৷ ফটো: মারিও তামা/গেটি
সাও পলোতে প্রতিবাদী মানুষদের দেয়াল লিখন৷ ফটো: মারিও তামা/গেটি

বিশ্বকাপ, আমাদের খেলার মাঠ কিংবা ‘ঘাড়ে মাথা’ প্রসঙ্গ

–আনু মুহাম্মদ

বিশ্বকাপ ফুটবলের আনন্দ উত্তেজনার অংশীদার কমবেশি আমরা অনেকেই। কিন্তু যারা বাংলাদেশের খেলার মাঠগুলো খেয়ে ফেলে এদেশের শিশু কিশোর তরুনদের বর্তমান ভবিষ্যত্‍ চুরমার করেছে, তারাও কি এসব খেলা দেখে? তাদের কি সেই এখতিয়ার আছে? ঢাকা মহানগরীর বহু খেলার মাঠ এখন বিভিন্ন সরকারের আমলের ক্ষমতাবান ব্যক্তির মালিকানাধীন সুউচ্চ ভবনে আলোকিত। যাও দুএকটি আছে সেগুলোও প্রতিনিয়ত দখলের হুমকির মুখে।
Continue reading “বিশ্বকাপ, আমাদের খেলার মাঠ কিংবা ‘ঘাড়ে মাথা’ প্রসঙ্গ”

তোমার যাওয়া হবে না কবি/You Can’t Yet Leave, My Poet

by Shamit Mahbub Shahabuddin

English Translation by Awrup Sanyal for AlalODulal.org

তোমার যাওয়া হবে না কবি 

আর একটু হাঁটো কবি

পথ চলা এখানে থামালে যে চলবে না,

আমার তো এখনও অনেক শেখার বাকি।

Continue reading “তোমার যাওয়া হবে না কবি/You Can’t Yet Leave, My Poet”

AOD Interviews Kabir Suman — Kobigan, the lost musical heritage of Bengal and more

Kabir Suman, a songwriter, a singer, a musician, a journalist, an author, an activist, and an ex-parliamentarian (Lok Sabha, Parliament of India, 2009-2014), probably needs little introduction. About a quarter century back when Suman burst into the musical firmament of Bengal it was a never-before-seen phenomenon in the contemporary cultural world of Bengal — he had an instant cult following. In this exclusive interview with AlalODulal Suman talks about music, religion, and Bengal. Continue reading “AOD Interviews Kabir Suman — Kobigan, the lost musical heritage of Bengal and more”

The Killings at Bangladesh’s ‘Bihari Camp’ – Murder Mystery or Murder with Impunity?

The Killings at Bangladesh’s Bihari Camp – Murder Mystery or Murder with Impunity?

By Nadine Shaanta Murshid

There are multiple stories. We are either to believe one of them or cast aside the whole incident as an accident. The stories are important to note, however, given that each story has a different set of perpetrators and actors, as well as a different motive behind the killings. What remains unchanged in all these stories is this: 10 Urdu-speaking non-Bengali Bangladeshi citizens who live in ‘Kalshi’ were killed, 8 of the deceased are from the same family. Continue reading “The Killings at Bangladesh’s ‘Bihari Camp’ – Murder Mystery or Murder with Impunity?”

A Place to Call Home

A Place to Call Home

by Hana Shams Ahmed

A young girl writes a poem where she asks a simple question — one which no one can answer. She asks, “Who am I?” Her forefathers were born in India, they immigrated to Pakistan, she was born in Bangladesh. India has given up on them a long time back, Bangladesh will not accept them as the children of the land and Pakistan will not take them back. She says that she has many names ‘Bihari’, ‘Maura’, ‘Muhajir’, ‘Non-Bangalee’, ‘Marwari’, ‘Urdu-speaker’, ‘Refugee’, and ‘Stranded Pakistani’. But she only wants one: human. This is the state of being of the 1.6 lakh camp-based Urdu-speaking community in Bangladesh. Continue reading “A Place to Call Home”

Touching The Untouchables 

The politics involving various minority groups have become a veritable concern. Well-meaning views, dialogues, and inceptions of new laws are very important. Yet, unless and until the complacent ‘majority’ makes a conscious effort, even causes an outcry to promote and protect their ‘minority’ siblings’ rights, real change is very hard to imagine. For their society to be ‘vaguely equal’, the ‘majority’ has to come out defending the rights of ‘minority’ protesting, condemning, and help in prosecuting the perpetrators of all forms of discrimination. The country’s proposed Anti-Discrimination law, hopefully would provide impetus for such collective actions.

Continue reading “Touching The Untouchables ”

A Way of Living Lost In ‘Selfie’ and ‘WhatsApp’

A Way of Living Lost In ‘Selfie’ and ‘WhatApp’

By Garga Chaterjee for Alal O Dulal

Our neighbour of many years, Ananda Santra, died yesterday. Anandda kaku lived in our apartment complex in the Chetla locality of Kolkata (Ward Number 82 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation). Continue reading “A Way of Living Lost In ‘Selfie’ and ‘WhatsApp’”

image: Telegraph India

Open Letter to Narendra Modi

By Nadine Murshid for AlalODulal.org


Dear Mr. Modi,

It has come to our attention that you are about to head the next government in India. Many congratulations. It has also come to our attention that you have been saying un-neighborly things about us, Bangladesh and Bangladeshis. We are deeply hurt by your comments, but we are open to forgiveness. We are not the forgiving type, really, but we do make exceptions. And we will for you if you carefully consider the following: Continue reading “Open Letter to Narendra Modi”

‘Beauty’ for the Owner, ‘Deformity’ for the Labor

In scores of rallies and public meetings, workers raised questions about the luxurious life led by factory owners while they lived in sheer misery. `While you (factory owners) eat the chicken’s thigh, we chew its feet, its claws.”

‘Beauty’ for the Owner, ‘Deformity’ for the Labor
by Saydia Gulrukh Continue reading “‘Beauty’ for the Owner, ‘Deformity’ for the Labor”