Manikganj, Aug 30 (UNB) - With the decrease in Padma water level, the river bank erosion has turned acute devouring 11 educational institutions and over 200 houses at Dhulshura union in Harirampur upazila of the district.
Many homesteads here also stand threatened by the devastating river erosion but the local Water Development Board remains unmoved, locals alleged.
Dhulashura Union Parishad Chairman Jahid Khan said even his own home is at stake due to the erosion, and no action is being taken to repel it. “Unless steps are taken, schools, madrassas, mosques and other buildings will soon disappear in the Padma,” he said.
Affected people were seen moving for safe shelters with their belongings while many have taken shelter in their neighbours’ and relatives’ houses.
Dhulashura Syednagar Government Primary School has already disappeared in the river while Syednagar Government Primary School in Harirampur is currently under threat.
District Primary Education Officer Nilufa Rahman said 11 educational institutions have so far been destroyed by the erosion.
Executive Engineer of Water Development Board (Manikganj) Mahbub-e-Mawla Md Mehedi Hasan said there has been no fund allocation to fight the erosion, although Tk 20 lakh was received as part of emergency measure to save Syednagar Government Primary School.
“Sand bags will be dumped across a110-metre area to save the school,” he added.
Naogaon, Aug 30 (UNB) – The government is building 211 disaster-resilient houses for the people who have lost their homes to natural disasters, including river erosion, in the district.
The goal is to provide roof over the heads of the poor, divorced and physically challenged people, and destitute freedom fighters.
The project was taken on humanitarian ground with funding from KABITA (Kajer Binimoye Taka) and TR (Test Relief) of the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry.
Mahbubur Rahman, project implementation officer (PIO) of Sadar upazila, said 20 houses will be built in Sadar upazila, 24 in Porsha, 23 in Sapahar, 22 in Niamatpur, 21 in Patnitala, 19 in Dhamoirhat, 17 in Badalgachchi, 18 in Mahadebpur, 17 in Manda, and 15 each in Raninagar and Atrai.
The 10-sqf brick houses will use corrugated iron-sheet on the roof. Their doors and windows will be made of wood. A kitchen and a sanitary latrine will be attached to each house, Rahman said.
Each house will cost Tk 2,58,531. “The government will give the houses free to provide shelter to persons with disabilities,” he said, adding that the project was taken in 2018-2019.
Aleya Bewa, 50, a physically-challenged woman from Namanurpur village in Sadar upazila, is one of those who will be provided accommodation.
“I’ve been living in a dilapidated hut for as long as I remember,” she said. “I’d like to live the rest of my days in peace.”
Abdul Jabbar, 75, a beggar from Fatehpur village in Sadar upazila, said he had to live on the street for a long time. “I’m happy that the government is building a new house on my land. I hope I’ll live the rest of my life happily with my family in the new house,” he said.
Fiti, 70, a peanut vendor of Porsha upazila, said he did not have any relative. “I’ve been living a very difficult life in a thatched house on my land. The house being provided by the government will be a palace for me,” he said.
The recipients said they are elated that they are being provided with new houses.
Deputy Commissioner of the district Harun-Or-Rashid said the project was taken to improve the life of the poor and the destitute. The main purpose is to change the lifestyle and develop the living standard of the poor.
“The construction work is almost done,” he said adding, “The houses will be handed over soon to their owners.”
Narayanganj, Aug 28 (UNB) – Rivers and water bodies that dot Bangladesh are not only major sources of fish but also provide livelihood for the low-income rural families.
Hundreds of women at Satvaiapara and Ramganj villages in Sonargaon municipality have come out of poverty by making fishing traps from bamboo, locally called ‘Chai’.
The demand for ‘Chai’ goes up in the rainy season. The traps are specially made for catching prawns.
During a visit to Ramganj village in Boidyerbazar union, the UNB correspondent saw women handling household chores and knitting ‘Chai’. “It’s a very common sight in the area,” one of the residents said.
Manindra Chandra Das, a male craftsman of Satvaiapara, said women are contributing financially to their families by making the fishing traps.
“They knit ‘Chai’ round the year but they get really busy during the rainy season when the demand is at its highest,” he said.
Manindra said fishermen from Patuakhali, Faridpur, Cumilla, Munshiganj, Barishal, Chattogram, and Chandpur come to collect good quality fishing traps from Narayanganj.
A small ‘Chai’ costs about Tk 100 while the middle-sized ones are sold at Tk 250-300. Big fishing traps, on the other hand, cost Tk 2,000 to Tk 4,000 a piece.
But things are getting tough for the artisans.
Dina Sarkar, a successful craftswoman, said they use ‘Mulibash’ for the fishing traps. “Each piece of ‘Mulibash’ used to cost between Tk 20 and Tk 25. But now they cost Tk 110-130 per piece,” she said.
Sarkar described how they are holding on to the art of their forefathers despite hardships.
“We’re continuing the job by taking loans from moneylenders but it’s becoming tough for us,” she added, urging the government to help save the profession.
Sonargaon Upazila Nirbahi Officer Anjon Kumar Sarkar said the administration will help keep the profession alive and provide livelihood to local women.
Dhaka, Aug 28 (UNB) – August is surely a month to mourn for Bengali people around the world. Along with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who topped the list of the greatest Bengali of all time - two other pioneers among the top three also passed away in this month of mourning. One is Rabindranath Tagore, the only Nobel laureate in Bengali literature, and the other is the national poet of Bangladesh, the forever rebellious Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Tuesday marks the 43rd death anniversary of Nazrul.
Kazi Nazrul Islam’s life was utterly challenging from the very beginning. The incidents around his life made him the rebel, and the journeyman’s expeditions were not easy by any means. Throughout his entire life, he had to fight miseries such as poverty, death of his dear ones, multiple arrests-tortures for being the nonconformist and massive backlash on his viewpoints. Those incidents, altogether, made him the rebel poet and writer.
Born on May 24, 1899, at Churulia, Paschim Burdwan district of the Bengal Presidency in British India, Nazrul was the newest member of a Muslim Taluqdar family to Zahida Khatun and her husband, Kazi Faqeer Ahmed who worked as an ‘Imam’ and caretaker at a local mosque. Nazrul got his basic education from a ‘Maktab’ which was run by a mosque, and then attended a Madrasa where he learned subjects like theology, Islamic philosophy, Quran, and Hadith.
When he was just 10 years old, he lost his father- it was like all hell broke loose. As a result, he started working as the new caretaker of the mosque, replacing his father. He also worked as the ‘muazzen’ (announcer of routine prayers) at the mosque. Nazrul then joined his uncle Fazle Karim’s travelling theatrical group which was known as ‘Leto’ group - and that helped him to learn acting. He also started writing songs and poetry for plays, which eventually exposed him to Sanskrit and Bengali literature, along with sacred Hindu texts. He also started composing interesting folk plays for his theatrical group. And all of these were just the beginnings.
He left the theatrical group in 1910 to attend Searsole Raj High School in Raniganj, Asansol, and later Mathrun High English School but had to quit because of poverty. He was never solvent because instead of running after money, he chose to raise voice against the suppression that his country and countrymen had to endure before the independence. He then joined a group of folk artists called ‘Kabiyals’ and took up various part-time jobs before joining ‘Darirampur School’ in 1914 where he studied Sanskrit, Bengali, Persian, and Arabic literature as well as Hindustani classical music, before eventually joining the British Indian Army. He started reading Bengali and Persian literature during this period, including works of prominent writers like Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Rabindranath Tagore. As far as Persian poems are concerned, Nazrul was exposed to the works of Omar Khayyam, Hafez, and Rumi. The works of these great men ignited the fire inside him to publish his own works, as he came up with his first prose and poetry in 1919 through ‘Baunduler Atmakahini’ (Autobiography of a Vagabond).
After leaving the military in 1920, Nazrul joined the ‘Bengali Muslim Literary Society’ and published his maiden novel ‘Bandhan-hara’ (Freedom from Bondage). His greatest creation came up in 1922, with his revolutionary poem ‘Bidrohi’ (The Rebel) which helped him win the admiration of India's literary society. Published in the ‘Bijli’ (Lightning) magazine, the rebellious language and theme were well received, coinciding with the Non-Cooperation Movement – the first mass nationalist campaign of civil disobedience against British rule. He followed up by writing ‘Pralayollas’ (Destructive Euphoria), and his first anthology of poems, the ‘Agni-veena’ (Lyre of Fire) in 1922, which enjoyed commercial and critical success. He also published a volume of short stories, the ‘Byathar Dan’ (Gift of Sorrow) and ‘Yugbani’ (Messages of the Decades), an anthology of essays. On August 12, 1922, he started his own bi-weekly magazine called ‘Dhumketu,’ which served as the perfect platform for his revolutionary works.
The buzz around his revolutionary poems earned him popularity and he soon became popular as a ‘rebel poet’. He was eventually charged with sedition by the British and was arrested on January 23, 1923 - specifically for publishing ‘Anondomoyir Agomone’ (Welcoming the Goddess of Happiness). During his time in prison, Nazrul composed many songs and poems which were banned by the British authorities for rebellious tones. Was he toned down in fear? Well, he stood up in the court for himself and said:
“I have been accused of sedition ... To plead for me, the king of all kings, the judge of all judges, the eternal truth the living God ... I am a poet; I’ve been sent by God to express the unexpressed, to portray the unportrayed. It is God who’s heard through the voice of the poet ... I am an instrument of God. The instrument is not unbreakable, but who is there to break God?”
Because of his disobedience, he was moved from Alipore Jail to a jail in Hooghly and in April 1923, he started a 40-day fast, claiming that one of the jail superintendents had abused his power. He was released from prison in December 1923. After his release, he came up with a book titled ‘Bisher Banshi’ in 1924, which was once again banned by the British for its rebellious tone. By this time, he was known to all as the ‘Rebel Poet’.
While in jail, Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his play ‘Basanta’ (spring) to him and to thank Tagore, Nazrul wrote the poem ‘Aj Srishti Shukher Ullashe’ (Ode to the Joy of Creation). These two greatest poets of Bengali literature were each other’s’ lifelong admirer- yet Nazrul had to suffer through backlashes after creating different and new genre in music which is known as ‘Nazrul-Geeti’ (Nazrul’s song). On hearing about the death of Rabindranath Tagore on Aug 8, 1941, a shocked Nazrul composed two poems in Tagore's memory - one of them, ‘Rabihara’ (loss of Rabi), got broadcasted on All India Radio.
From 1924 to the rest of his active years, he worked hard. He got married, had kids, suffered the death of his mother and his son, got arrested several times, started working as a professional lyricist and composer, published books after books and also worked several times in several places as a journalist - but he never toned himself down as the rebel ever since he got the title. He wrote simultaneously for Hindus and Muslims. Even after all these years, festivals of these two religions never seem to be festive without his songs.
In his later years, he was paralysed but the appeal of his write-ups never lost its rebellious vibes; thus his creations inspired the freedom-seekers of Bangladeshi people to snatch independence from Pakistan.
Imagine a boy from a pious and orthodox Muslim family who at one point served even as a ‘muazzen’ (announcer of routine prayer in mosques) in his childhood, turned into a random member of a local music troupe. Imagine that boy becoming a man first and then a soldier to participate and fight in the World War representing the British, then after some years protesting against the same British rulers because of their injustice and suppressions upon his countrymen. Imagine that man refusing to accept the imposed accusation of being a traitor by the British government but also speaking face to face, eye to eye in the court and speaking his hearts out. Imagine someone in the early 20th century who refused to go with the flow by following the superstar litterateur of that era, the Nobel laureate Rabindranath while creating revolutionary literature for the mass people. Imagine someone who dared to call ‘prostitutes’ human beings, who were never respected by any litterateur or organisation before. Imagine that person, who married a Hindu woman being a Muslim during that extremely stiff era of religious fundamentalism, and wrote Bhajan-Kirtan and Ghazals at the same time without harming the spiritual vibes of religions.
Kazi Nazrul Islam, the ‘Bidrohi Kobi’ (rebel poet) of Bengali literature - was the nonconforming, patriotic, unorthodox man with unimaginable power of loving people, arts and culture - without any formal education on humanity.
Yunnan (China), Aug 27 (UNB) – Bangladesh Consul General in Kunming Dr Md Tauhedul Islam on Tuesday urged the visiting Bangladesh youths to make the best use of their time here representing Bangladesh in the truest sense and make people-to-people relations stronger.
“You’re Bangladesh’s goodwill ambassadors to China. You’re Bangladesh’s true representatives,” he said mentioning that Bangladesh is an important partner of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The Bangladeshi diplomat was addressing the formal opening ceremony of Bangladesh-China Youth Camp 2019 at the Yunnan University.
Vice President of Yunnan University Dr Li Chenyang and Attache, Culture Section of the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka Zha Mingwei were, among others, present.
Tauhedul urged the Bangladeshi participants not to take the camp as just a pleasure trip but a study tour and learn more how Chinese society works apart from informing their Chinese friends about growing Bangladesh.
He said around 4,000 Bangladeshi students are studying in different fields in Yunnan alone while some 10,000 Bangladeshi students in China.
Dr Li Chenyang urged the youths to play their role in promoting people-to-people relations getting closer to each other and build mutual trust, and thus jointly promote the socioeconomic development of the two countries.
There were dance and martial art performances and camp banner granting ceremony during the formal launching of the youth camp.
The participants visited Yunnan University library, joined session on "tea culture" and learned about the tradition of having tea in China.
At the session, they were shown how to make tea and serve it in a traditional Chinese cultural setting.
The participants also came to know about the Chinese flowers that can be preserved forever. Every participant made flower vase after the training session. The participants were also gifted tea bags as a token of love and friendship.
The two-week Bangladesh-China Youth Camp began at the Yunnan University on Monday for the third time, aiming to strengthen people-to-people contact and cultural bonding between the two countries.
A 158-member Bangladesh youth delegation is taking part in the youth camp 2019.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit in 2016, he had a “fruitful” meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation agreements, including the plan to invite 600 Bangladesh youths to visit China in the next four years.
Between 2017 and 2018, there were already 300 of them who visited China under the youth camp, according to the Chinese Embassy.
Some of the previous participants studied Chinese language, and have been granted scholarships for further education in China.
On the first day, Bangladeshi youths, as part of Bangladesh-China Youth Camp 2019, have visited beautiful, green Yunnan University campus. The Yunnan University is considered as an important bridge and window for China's opening up to the Southwest regions in technology, education and culture.
They spent good times at the nearby campus lake, took part in traditional games and visited different parts of the vast campus.
The participants got introduced with students of the Yunnan University and made friendship with them.