Noted heritage and craft researcher, folk enthusiast and author Maleka Khan’s new book titled ‘Jamdani: A World Class Tradition of Bangladesh’ was nunveiled at Bangladesh National Museum on Monday.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid joined the launching ceremony at the Sufia Kamal auditorium as the chief guest. Former Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique and DU Political Science Professor Dr Rounaq Jahan also joined the ceremony as special guests.
Presided over by Tasmima Hossain, editor of Daily Ittefaq and publisher of fortnightly magazine ‘Ananya’, the book launching ceremony was also attended by Jamdani craftsman Abul Kashem, whom the author Maleka Khan referred to a journeyman of Dhakai Jamdani and shed light on how he passed on this tradition to a new generation for ages.
Lauding author Maleka Khan’s book, state minister KM Khalid said, “If we talk about the heritage of Bangladesh, the Jamdani weaving industry has to be named with profound respect and honor- which has brought honor for us globally. Though many of our traditional crafts such as the Muslin has been destroyed for various reasons, the water of Shitalakhya river and the creative weavers of Sonargaon are still perceiving Jamdani with love and care- and I thank Maleka for shedding the lights on the crafts and its craftsmen.”
“This is one of the most informative and complete books ever written on the Jamdani industry, similar to the author’s previous publication on ‘Nakshi kantha’- another traditional handloom of Bangladesh,” state minister Khalid added praising the author’s journey to describe the heritage of the country.
The state minister also said that the Ministry of Cultural Affairs has always been patronizing the Jamdani industry and is committed to providing necessary cooperation and patronage in the future. In addition to that, he promised the ministry will provide adequate support to promote this exclusive publication furthermore through the National Library and send it to Bangladesh missions abroad.
Featuring the history of the Jamdani, the weavers and their socio-economic status - the 240 page book contains a special 111 page photo album and important English translations.
Oil painting artist Akter Mahmud Kajal’s first solo oil painting exhibition titled ‘Muktijuddho O Noishorgik Bangladesh’ (Liberation War and Natural Beauty of Bangladesh) started at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA)’s National Art Gallery on Monday.
Artist Kajal, an oil painting artist who never received any institutionalized training in art and never participated in any exhibition before- in his debut solo exhibition honours the Liberation War in the month it all started in 1971.
International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) chief prosecutor and Language Movement veteran Advocate Golam Arif Tipu inaugurated the 10-day-long exhibition at Gallery - 6 of the National Art Gallery.
The inauguration ceremony, presided over by BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky, was also joined by Ekushey Padak winner eminent artist Samarjit Roy Chowdhury as the special guest.
“The liberation war of Bangladesh enlightened so many artists to explore and display their creativity and talents. Kajal, a self-made artist whom I know since he was a kid, is certainly one of them and this exhibition is just an example of his talent,” Golam Arif Tipu said at inaugurating the exhibition.
Expressing his heartfelt gratitude to BSA for arranging the exhibition, artist Kajal said “Although I do not have institutional education on arts, I tried to bring the very best of my observation on the liberation war through my canvas in this debut exhibition.”
Thanking the artist, BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky informed that over 850 artists are preparing for the glorious Mujib-Year celebration event on March 17 and artist Kajal officially presented his paintings as souvenirs for the programme.
A total of 102 oil paintings of Kajal are being put on display in this 10-day-long exhibition, which will conclude on March 11. The exhibition is open for all from 11 am to 8 pm and Friday 3 pm to 8 pm.
A grand concert titled ‘Pledge to End TB in Bangladesh’ was held at the Hatirjheel Amphitheater in the capital on Sunday evening.
The concert was arranged by USAID’s ‘Ujjiban’, a communication project to bring about Social and Behavioral change, marking the upcoming birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the upcoming World Tuberculosis Day on March 24.
As part of the year-long plans to fight to eliminate the disease during Mujib-Borsho, the concert was also joined by Save the Children and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as the organizers alongside the Ujjiban project, led by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs (CCP).
Hosted by Bangladeshi stand-up comedian Abu Hena Rony of ‘Mirakkel’ fame, the concert was joined and performed by noted television artists and popular Bangla band ‘Joler Gaan’ as the headliners. The programme was attended by a large crowd in the middle of Hatirjheel at the Amphitheatre.
“As today we are here for a special purpose, we think we are united against Tuberculosis. We believe we do not want this disease to win over our lives so we sincerely wish and hope that not a single person present here would be a patient of Tuberculosis, and the whole Bangladesh will eventually be TB free,” said Joler Gaan’s vocalist Rahul Anand.
A free-health camp was also arranged for free HIV test and consultation, by Save the Children and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) outside the venue.
In addition to that, there were free Tuberculosis test-vans provided by Brac for free Tuberculosis testing.
One of the ten highest-risked countries in the world for TB, Bangladesh treated more than 2.5 million TB cases in 2018. About 364,000 Bangladeshis develop active Tuberculosis disease and more than 70,000 die from it every year, according to the journals.
Australian researchers on Friday said they have replicated a crucial brain process that pointed to a potential pathway in slowing the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Overcoming the loss of a process in the brain called "RNA editing" may slow the progress of the major neurological condition and other synaptic disorders, the University of Technology Sydney said in a statement late Friday.
"RNA editing" is a genetic mechanism that modifies proteins essential in the connection between brain nerve cells called synapses, it said. RNA editing is deregulated in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, but whether that can cause disease is unknown.
University researchers "replicated this deregulated process in the brains of mice, and discovered it led to the loss of synapses, as occurs in Alzheimer's". Alzheimer's is a progressive, irreversible neurological disorder and the most common form of dementia, with most patients older than 65.
"Understanding mechanisms leading to synapses loss is essential to understand how patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease start losing their memory capacities and how to prevent this from happening," said Professor Bryce Vissel, senior author of the findings published in scientific journal Molecular Brain.
"Our study is extremely important because we now have shown a mechanism that can lead to loss of synapses as occurs in Alzheimer's disease."
Dr Gary Morris, a scientist who contributed to the study, said that because "synapses are important for learning, the loss of these synapses leads to memory loss".
"Our study suggests that if we can overcome the loss of RNA editing in the brain, we may potentially be able to slow the disease."
Vissel said the researchers' next step is "to see if they can rescue synapses and memory deficits in Alzheimer's disease by overcoming the loss of RNA editing in the Alzheimer's brain".
"We have good reason to think that this could ultimately be a highly beneficial approach for solving Alzheimer's and potentially other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's," Vissel said.
The Amar Ekushey Boi Mela has an emotional and cultural attachment to the people of Bangladesh. This year’s edition of the fair, the largest of its kind in Bangladesh, concluded on Saturday drawing a huge crowd throughout February and seeing a record number of books launched.
Of the 4,919 books published this year, 1,585 were poetry, the Bangla Academy said.
Others include 731 novels, 644 story-books, 271 essays, 203 children books, 152 Liberation War-themed books, 149 biographical-autobiographical books, 144 books on Bangabandhu, 112 research-related publications, 111 books on rhymes, 96 books on history, 83 science-related books, 82 books based on travelling, 67 detective and science fictions, 56 translations, 40 books on comedy, 36 books on medicine and medical science, 34 books on drama and dramatics, 20 religious books, 14 dictionaries, 13 political books, 8 series of essays and 268 other books have been published throughout the fair.
According to book-selling e-commerce site Rokomari.com, writer Arif Azad was this year’s best-seller writer. Freelance Nasim stood as the second best-seller and young literateur Sadat Hossain ranked third.
Apart from them, eminent writers such as Dr Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Farid Ahmed, social influencers such as Ayman Sadiq, Sadman Sadiq, Sakib Bin Rashid, poet Marjuk Rasel, YouTuber Salman Muktadir and others had been ranked as the frontrunners throughout the fair for their books.
However, readers and scholars have questioned the quality of many books.
A common tendency of the writers was noticeable - the rush for publishing and bringing the books out specifically for the fair. Many fans welcomed the new flow of writers and books coming out of this process, while some questioned the necessity of the rush.
This year’s fair was dedicated to Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Several seminars were held at the main stage of the fair venue at 4pm every day from February 3 to 29 followed by cultural events. Many of the discussions were featured on Bangabandhu and books written on his life and works.
Like the previous years, the venue this year was extended to nearby Suhrawardy Udyan. With the land earmarked for the fair expanded to 8,00,000 sq ft. A total of 873 units were allocated to the 560 organisations.
The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organisatons and 694 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 694 organisations.
First extended to Suhrawardy Udyan in 2013 to accommodate more participants, this year the fairgoers had a crazy rush at the ground since the academy premise was mostly used for a variety of arrangements.
The duration of the fair this year was short even after being organised during a leap-year. Also, due to the DNCC-DSCC election on February 1 as well as Bangla Academy’s renewed calendar-suggested same day celebrations of Valentine’s Day and Pahela Falgun, some of the sellers expressed dissatisfaction.