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”

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”

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”

Why science and technology failing developing nations

The image is sourced from

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”

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”

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, translated for

“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”

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 Continue reading “Little Jihad left a few questions for Bangladesh!”

Korpan Shah and the Medical Malady

By Pratik Deb for

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

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”

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”

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.”
Continue reading “Piash Karim (1958-2014) : Language, nation, and multiplicity”

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

by Lamia Karim for

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”

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”

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

by Shamit Mahbub Shahabuddin

English Translation by Awrup Sanyal for

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”

‘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”

Is this the Bangladesh we wanted? Analyzing the Hindu Population Gap (2001-2011)

Is this the Bangladesh we wanted?
Analyzing the Hindu Population Gap (2001-2011)

In October 2012, Prothom Alo published a frightening report that stated, in plain words, that over the last decade (which spans BNP,  AL, and Military “CTG” government), the Hindu population of Bangladesh has dropped dramatically and continuously. Continue reading “Is this the Bangladesh we wanted? Analyzing the Hindu Population Gap (2001-2011)”

Liberation through the Gunday lens

Liberation through the Gunday lens
By Fahima Durrat for

Factual errors made in a fictitious storyline may seem like a trivial matter, but they can hide icebergs. The iceberg that showed its tip in the film Gunday seems to have reappeared again in the headlines of Indian newspapers. Bangladesh protests against “distortion” of history, they report. Those inverted commas reveal a deeper source of offence.

Continue reading “Liberation through the Gunday lens”

আনু মুহাম্মদ: আরেকটি সর্বনাশা চুক্তি

আরেকটি সর্বনাশা চুক্তি
আনু মুহাম্মদ for Alal O Dulal

দেশের ভবিষ্যৎকে বিপদাপন্ন করে আরেকটি সর্বনাশা চুক্তি করলো সরকার। যুক্তরাষ্ট্র, ভারত, চীন খুশি, কিন্তু বিপদাপন্ন বাংলাদেশ। গত ১৭ ফেব্রুয়ারি সংশোধিত ‘পিএসসি ২০১২’ অনুযায়ি সরকার ভারতের অয়েল এ্যান্ড ন্যাচারাল গ্যাস কর্পোরেশন (ওএনজিসি বিদেশ) এবং অয়েল ইন্ডিয়ার সাথে বঙ্গোপসাগরের এস এস ৪ ও এসএস ৯ নামে চিহ্নিত ২টি গ্যাসব্লকের চুক্তি সম্পাদন করেছে। Continue reading “আনু মুহাম্মদ: আরেকটি সর্বনাশা চুক্তি”

আদিবাসী শিশু পড়বে নিজ ভাষাতেই

একুশের সংবাদ: আদিবাসী শিশু পড়বে নিজ ভাষাতেই
by Biplob Rahaman for

কিছুদিন আগে বিশিষ্ট আদিবাসী গবেষক, চাকমা রাজা দেবাশীষ রায়ের সঙ্গে আলাপ-চারিতা হচ্ছিল আদিবাসী শিশুর মাতৃভাষায় লেখাপড়ার বিষয়ে। Continue reading “আদিবাসী শিশু পড়বে নিজ ভাষাতেই”

সুপ্রিয় তালুকদার: মায়ানমারে চম্পকনগরের পথে

মায়ানমারে চম্পকনগরের পথে
সুপ্রিয় তালুকদার for

[ বংশানুক্রমে জানা যায় যে চাকমারা চম্পকনগর নামক স্থান থেকে পার্বত্য চট্টগ্রাম ও তৎসংলগ্ন অঞ্চলে এসেছে। কোন চম্পকনগর থেকে এসেছে তা নিয়ে মতভেদ থাকলেও নৃবিজ্ঞান, বিখ্যাত গবেষকদের মন্তব্য, প্রাপ্ত নির্ভরযোগ্য তথ্য এবং মায়ানমারের ইতিহাস বিশ্লেষণে আমি নিশ্চিত ছিলাম যে চাকমারা মায়ানমারের চম্পকনগর থেকে এসেছে। Continue reading “সুপ্রিয় তালুকদার: মায়ানমারে চম্পকনগরের পথে”

Placing the Voices of Shahbag in Modern Narratives of Transnational Youth Protest – Part 2


If trolling through history reveals involvement of youth in political or socioeconomic upheavals, in case of Bangladesh their raison d’etre has been simple and straightforward: to bring about (political) change. Continue reading “Placing the Voices of Shahbag in Modern Narratives of Transnational Youth Protest – Part 2”

Placing the Voices of Shahbag in Modern Narratives of Transnational Youth Protest – Part 1

If trolling through history reveals involvement of youth in political or socioeconomic upheavals, in case of Bangladesh their raison d’etre has been simple and straightforward: to bring about (political) change. Continue reading “Placing the Voices of Shahbag in Modern Narratives of Transnational Youth Protest – Part 1”

Publishing the images of teen sex workers is nothing but a showcase of poverty

টিনেজ যৌনকর্মীদের ছবি প্রকাশ, দারিদ্র্যতা শো করা ছাড়া অন্য কিছু না  – মৃদুল শাওন

ফেসবুকে কয়েকজনরে দেখলাম একটা লিঙ্ক শেয়ার দিতাছে। ‘BuzzFeed’ নামের একটা আমেরিকান ওয়েবসাইটে বাংলাদেশের টিনেজ-যৌনকর্মীদের তিরিশটা ছবি। শিরোনাম- “30 Tragic, Beautiful Photos Of Teenage Prostitutes In Bangladesh”। Continue reading “Publishing the images of teen sex workers is nothing but a showcase of poverty”

Partha Sarker: Communalism – Perceptions, Experiences, and Lessons Learned

সাম্প্রদায়িকতা সমাচার: আমার জানা, বোঝা আর শেখার গল্প

by Partha Sarker for Alalodulal

আলোচনার জটিলতা

সাম্প্রদায়িকতা’র বিষয়গুলো নিয়ে আলোচনা একটু জটিল। দুটো কারণে:

এক: এই বিষয় নিয়ে একটা নির্মোহ আলোচনা করার জন্য যে দূরত্বের দরকার হয়, সেটা আমার মতো একজন মানুষের পক্ষে অর্জন করা সব-সময় খুব সহজ হয় না।   Continue reading “Partha Sarker: Communalism – Perceptions, Experiences, and Lessons Learned”

Volunteerism after Rana Plaza

In 2013 Bangladesh experienced violence on a regular basis. We were forced to witness horrific deaths that perhaps normalized the atrocities that we witnessed. In the middle of the chaos that often follows violence and disasters,  we also witnessed citizens unite for a cause, without any support from political parties; we witnessed volunteerism that emerged after the Rana Plaza collapse. Continue reading “Volunteerism after Rana Plaza”

Taslima Nasreen, ‘Duhsahobas,’ and a TV cancellation

“Taslima’s misery somehow leads us to the crossroad where an imminent change of path is indispensable. The consolidation of secular liberal voices in the subcontinent who would vociferate not against the chauvinism of religious majority of a nation but against all the extreme elements of any religion across the border and battle for the absolute separation of ‘church and state’ is the demand of the hour. Are we up for it?”
Continue reading “Taslima Nasreen, ‘Duhsahobas,’ and a TV cancellation”

The state of the Bangladesh economy

by Abdullah Shibli for

Bangladesh, the country and its economy, is full of contradictions. To list a couple, while it is one of the world’s fastest growing nations, it has pockets of extreme poverty and malnutrition in urban and rural areas. Another paradox: for the last two decades it has been ruled by two political parties, the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by two head-strong leaders, who never can seem to agree on anything, but ran the gauntlet and survived many potentially dangerous threats, including religious fundamentalism, military takeovers, and internal revolt, to its fledgling democracy. Continue reading “The state of the Bangladesh economy”

West Bengal : a post-Poriborton analysis

by Pratik Deb for

My first political procession was in the wake of arrival of George W. Bush in India. It was the beginning of March, 2006 and thus Iraq war was on its third year. I cannot exactly recall the stated purpose of his visit, but like all over the world the students of Kolkata did not hesitate to demonstrate their dissent against ‘western imperialism’. Communist Party of India (Marxist) led left front was still in the helms of affair in West Bengal Continue reading “West Bengal : a post-Poriborton analysis”

Reingkhyong Lake: The Forgotten Frontier of Bangladesh

By Devasish Roy-Wangza for AlalOdulal

About thirty-five of us – including six women and about ten local men porters – took a seven-day trek from Farua village within Farua Union (“For-ua” in Tanchangya), Bileisori sub-district of Rangamati hill district to Bethuni Para, Ruma sub-district, Bandarban hill district, all within the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in southeastern Bangladesh, from 22 to 28 December, 2011.The team included former Farua Union Parishad (UP) member, Jacob Tripura,

Continue reading “Reingkhyong Lake: The Forgotten Frontier of Bangladesh”

Ahmed Shamim & Faruk Wasif: Debating “The Hindu Question” through Marx and Bauer

Debating “The Hindu Question” through Karl Marx’s “On The Jewish Question”
Ahmed Shamim debates Faruk Wasif, translated by Irfan Chowdhury for Alal O Dulal
Nipu Sheel wails sitting on the debris of her house that was set ablaze by Jamaat-Shibir men at Banshkhali in Chittagong. The religious fanatics looted and torched houses and temples of the Hindus in the district on Thursday, following the death sentence to Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
Nipu Sheel at Banshkhali. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das

PART 1: Ahmed Shamim “On the Hindu Question” (after Karl Marx)
Islam is encircled in peace. Its three core phonemes are: seen, laam, meem which mean peace. Aslam means to surrender (oneself) to peace – Continue reading “Ahmed Shamim & Faruk Wasif: Debating “The Hindu Question” through Marx and Bauer”

Bipul Bhattacharya (1955-2013): Last Song Of Freedom

Bipul Bhattacharya graphic created by Sachalayatan (http://
Bipul Bhattacharya graphic created by Sachalayatan (http://

“Bipul did not get his due respect. His contribution to the music arena and also as a ‘shabda shainik’ in the Liberation War is immense. But the new generation hardly knows him. His songs were not been archived in an organised manner and did not get due coverage in the TV and radio media.” – Indramahon Rajbansh
Continue reading “Bipul Bhattacharya (1955-2013): Last Song Of Freedom”

Kallol Mustafa: Dissenting voices within the Bangladesh Government on Rampal

Kallol Mustafa: Dissenting voices within GoB on Rampal

Editor’s Note: This is a translation of a Facebook post published by Kallol Mustafa on the 23rd of June, 2013. The text of the original note, which is in Bengali, follows the translation.

A letter from the secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was sent to the Department of Environment and Forests of Bangladesh on the 22nd of June 2011. In that letter the Ramsar secretariat wanted to know more about the following three matters from the Ministry of Environment and Forests: Continue reading “Kallol Mustafa: Dissenting voices within the Bangladesh Government on Rampal”

The Indian Inter-river Linking Project and Bangladesh’s Looming Water Crisis

A.K.M Wahiduzzaman


বাংলাদেশকে বলা হয় নদীমাতৃক দেশ। আক্ষরিক অর্থেই এই দেশটির জন্মদাত্রী মা হচ্ছে নদী। গঙ্গাব্রহ্মপুত্র, মেঘনাসহ প্রায় ৭০০টি নদী-উপনদীর বয়ে আনা পলি লক্ষাধিক বছর ধরে জমে জমে এই দেশটির জন্ম হয়েছে। মাত্র ১,৪৭,৫৭০ বর্গ কিলোমিটার আয়তনের এই দেশে নদীর দৈর্ঘ্য প্রায় ২৪,১৪০ কিলোমিটার। Continue reading “The Indian Inter-river Linking Project and Bangladesh’s Looming Water Crisis”

The Drug Triangle: The Poor as Collateral Damage

The Drug Triangle: The Poor as Collateral Damage
by Shaher Zaidi for, reprinted in Dhaka Tribune, Sep 10, 2013

Afsan Chowdhury recently posed this question: At the Bdnews roundtable on the Oishee incident and the role of media and police, some people said that addiction was much more in the English medium schools… How much of this is perceptional and how much real ? Continue reading “The Drug Triangle: The Poor as Collateral Damage”

Prashanta Tripura: The Matbar and the Bus

The Matbar and the Bus
by Prashanta Tripura for

রাঙামাটি থেকে ঢাকা ফিরছিলাম গত রাতে, বিআরটিসির বাসে। যাত্রা শুরুর পর এক পর্যায়ে আমার আশেপাশের সহযাত্রীদের মধ্যে দেশোদ্ধারমূলক একটা উন্মুক্ত আলোচনা চলল কিছুক্ষণ, যাতে আমিও অংশ নিয়েছিলাম কিছুটা। Continue reading “Prashanta Tripura: The Matbar and the Bus”

Rampal Electricity Plant and our Environmental Consciousness

Rampal Electricity Plant and our Environmental Consciousness
A.K.M Wahiduzzaman and Mohammed Tawsif Salam  for AlaloDulal

There is a rising energy demand in Bangladesh in proportion with the growth of its population. Given the near exponential growth of demand due to other factors like industrialization, we are now forced to explore non-government sources of energy from being reliant on government run power stations only. Continue reading “Rampal Electricity Plant and our Environmental Consciousness”

Rituparno Ghosh (1963-2013): The king of all seasons, despite seasons

ঋতুরাজ, ঋতু নির্বিশেষে (The King of all seasons, despite seasons)
by Gargi  Bhattacharya for

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.  Continue reading “Rituparno Ghosh (1963-2013): The king of all seasons, despite seasons”

Kimberly Ann Elliott: Better work for Bangladesh

In the wake of Savar and Tazreen, debate rages in garments business about whether to deepen trade ties, or take punitive measures (“39 per cent said they would probably buy fewer products produced in Bangladesh, according to a survey by Harris Poll“).  Kimberly Ann Elliott (co-author of Can Labor Standards Improve Under Globalization?) argues for deeper ties, and better safety measures. Continue reading “Kimberly Ann Elliott: Better work for Bangladesh”

Pavel Hoq: We Need a Fundamental Shift in Mind-set

Savar Tragedy: We Need a Fundamental Shift in Mind-set
by Pavel Hoq for

The Savar building collapse last month was a catastrophic event, but it was not the first of such tragedies for us and probably won’t be the last either. Before the nation could recover from the Tazreen Fashion fire incident a few months ago in November 2012, the Rana Plaza collapse shook the country again. And by the time this piece was written, there were already more such news in the media including a Sea-Truck sinking with 100 on board on May 5th, leaving 8 dead and a garments factory fire in Mirpur, Dhaka on May 8th that killed 8 more people. Continue reading “Pavel Hoq: We Need a Fundamental Shift in Mind-set”

Siddhartha Mitter: The Cartography of Bullshit

“This week, Fisher proposed to his readers what he titled “A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries.” The deepest-red, or most racially intolerant, countries were India, Bangladesh and Jordan. Russia and China fell in the middle; much of Africa was left out for lack of data, but South Africa came out light blue (highly tolerant), and Nigeria light red (highly intolerant). Other highly tolerant countries included Pakistan and Belarus.” Continue reading “Siddhartha Mitter: The Cartography of Bullshit”

Michael Guerriero: Ten Cents

It’s often reported that the recession turned Americans into frugal shoppers. Well, here’s a bargain: spending about ten cents more on a piece of clothing produced in Bangladesh could prevent disasters like the horrific collapse, last month, of the Rana Plaza factory, which killed over a thousand people, the deadliest accident in history of the garment industry. Continue reading “Michael Guerriero: Ten Cents”

Pramila Das: Even when they mourn, they mourn from the margin

Her husband, Shomlal Das quietly preparing for her cremation. They forgot to bring sindhoor. She is a married dead. She must wear sindhoor, someone from the small crowd whispered. They opened the bodybag. Part of her face was smashed, there was barely any hairline. Shomlal sprinkled sindhoor on her face... He pauses and sighs, “the government officer just treat every dead as muslim.”
Continue reading “Pramila Das: Even when they mourn, they mourn from the margin”

Samia Huq: Who have we “defeated” and with what?

Of the Hefazat men killed yesterday, one was from the a factory in Dhaka. While not speaking with numbers, I think this highlights an important issue that many have been saying for some time. While we, with our elitist or middle class sensitivities, continue to look upon the Hefazatis as outlawed, faceless “fanatics” on the fringes (read: in the madrasas) in our society, they also live and work amongst us– our factory workers, our drivers and nightguards. Continue reading “Samia Huq: Who have we “defeated” and with what?”

Khushi Kabir: They Are Our S/Heroes

I spent the last 2 days in Savar. A concerted effort of architects, civil engineers, disaster trained workers from Red Cross & other agencies, trained community groups, fire fighters, armed forces, all have collectively formed a task force, and are slowly using heavy equipment to surely though slowly cut the top (maps have been made of the structure etc.) and lift people, dead and alive, as well as other equipment to remove debris. The process is slow, but the time for the public action, which was amazing,THEY ARE OUR S/HEROES, the only ones who went inside, is now no more feasible. Continue reading “Khushi Kabir: They Are Our S/Heroes”

Shabnam Nadiya: To BGMEA, How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps

To BGMEA: How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps
Guest Post by Shabnam Nadiya

1. Stop thinking that ‘compliance’ is a word to keep international buyers happy and begin to understand that it has to do with the safety of people. People like you and me. People whose labor creates that shining Bangladesh in the first place. People whose actual labor builds your fortunes. Continue reading “Shabnam Nadiya: To BGMEA, How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps”

Fariha Sarawat: Buyers are also culpable

Who Will Bell the Cat?
Guest Post by Fariha Sarawat

Much has been said about who’s to blame for the story state of garments workers’ rights, safety and working conditions in Bangladesh.

Some people, including some local manufacturers, would like us to buy in to the narrative of exploitative buyers whose predatory negotiations force our manufacturers to cut costs (because they are afraid they would lose the order otherwise to China or others) in order to stay competitive and that leaves the latter with little (once costs of inputs, overheads etc have been deducted) to pay to the workers. Continue reading “Fariha Sarawat: Buyers are also culpable”

Vijay Prashad: The Terror of Capitalism

Made in Bangladesh: The Terror of Capitalism

“In the Atlantic world, meanwhile, self-absorption over the wars on terror and on the downturn in the economy prevent any genuine introspection over the mode of life that relies upon debt-fueled consumerism at the expense of workers in Dhaka. Those who died in the Rana building are victims not only of the malfeasance of the sub-contractors, but also of twenty-first century globalisation.”

Continue reading “Vijay Prashad: The Terror of Capitalism”

Shahbag & Bengali Nationalism

© Arif Hafiz
© Arif Hafiz

Shahbag & Bengali Nationalism
by Paul James Gomes
I understand the movement has its own energy. Hundeds of thousands of people together has it’s own heartbeat.  If we stand there we must feel we can do so much, we can change the world. Our eyes will water, if 50,000 people shout together “no”, a wave will run through our bodies. But why? What do we want, why are we here. Continue reading “Shahbag & Bengali Nationalism”