• Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Cerebral Celebrations

Cerebral Celebrations

It is not everyday that you get to see such excitement over a poetry reading or discussion of the process of writing. But for those three days of November, Bangla Academy pulsated with activity. It was a scintillating congregation of writers, poets, journalists, musicians, critics, publishers from all over the world and visitors...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
The Medium of Knowledge Exchange

The Medium of Knowledge Exchange

Translation is one of the most significant sources of any country's literature and knowledge. Bangladesh has been translating global literature into Bengali from long since. One of the pioneers of literary translation is Syed Shamsul Haque who has translated Shakespeare and Henrik Ibsen. But translation of Bengali literature into English and other languages...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
AMUSINGLY SCIENTIFIC

AMUSINGLY SCIENTIFIC

The most stereotypical image of a scientist in films is of a person with a big head doing bizarre experiments in his mysterious, underground laboratory. However, it is the very mystery associated with science that fascinates the young mind. When the three celebrated figures of science and science fiction Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Lucy...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
“I'm Pro-capitalist”

“I'm Pro-capitalist”

Why did you choose to be a writer? I did lots of the things, a corporate job, thought to be an academic before I started writing. But I find in the end that writing is the only way that I can process the world. I think this is what I was born to do....

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
In Silent Dignity

In Silent Dignity

On the first day of the festival, at 2 pm, a medium sized crowd consisting of academics and litterateurs gather at the historic Bottola or under the banyan tree at the Bangla Academy. What could be a more befitting place to remember Razia Khan? After all, she called her first novel, which she wrote at 18, Bot tolar Upannayash—literally, the story of the Banyan tree. The novel caused a stir when it was published in 1958. By the time poet Kaiser Haq is reciting a poem from Razia Khan: Collected Poems, the crowd has grown bigger. Do they understand poetry? Do they know English? Doesn't seem to matter. “Genuine poetry...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
THE SAGA OF A BRAVE NATION

THE SAGA OF A BRAVE NATION

The tragic atrocities committed during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 are one of the less heard and less recognized histories of the world. The fact is there are few accounts in English which have portrayed the war crimes and the sufferings of common people during and after the war. Renowned Indian...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
ONCE UPON A TIME

ONCE UPON A TIME

Human beings recorded personal history through dialogue long before there were any books. The oral tradition continues to this day. Till now, storytelling has played a momentous role in contemporary photography. In the beginning, photographers in Bangladesh used to present eye soothing, beautiful photographs. But the trend has changed,leadingto a groth in the...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Rewriting the Domestic

Rewriting the Domestic

Tahmima Anam called it a “feast of sorts.” And a feast it was! With panellists like Muneeza Shamsie, Manju Kapur and Nilanjana Roy, and chaired by Anam herself, the session titled 'Women as Writers' was a treat for every avid reader – man and woman. The three panellists and the moderator had some things...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
‘The Collaborator’

‘The Collaborator’

Born and raised in Kashmir, Mirza Waheed is a former BBC journalist who now lives in London. His debut novel, The Collaborator, was shortlisted for the Guardian Book Award and the Shakti Bhat Prize. How was Kashmir like when you were a young boy? During the nineties, the army used to conduct 'operations' every day. In the morning there would be an announcement from the local mosque ordering all men to gather in a field. A masked informer sat in a military vehicle and these men had to parade in front of it. All it took was a nod from the informer and you were taken away. A lot of young...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT HE KNOWS

IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT HE KNOWS

You studied advanced mathematics, finance and law. Why did you turn to fiction? I have been writing since I was a child. So I was always a writer. Until now it wasn't important to publish anything. For me the reward of writing is the reward of the process, not the product. So nothing substantially...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
FUN SCIENCE

FUN SCIENCE

Lucy Hawking is the creator of the George's Series, a series of adventure stories to explain science to the young readers in an entertaining way. She has been working with her father Stephen Hawking and other renowned scientists to make science entertaining for young children. In this year's Hay Festival, Dhaka she talked...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
ASSERTING A SOUTH ASIAN IDENTITY

ASSERTING A SOUTH ASIAN IDENTITY

It is surprising to know that Aamer Hussein, author of several collections of short stories and a novel, a meticulous translator of Urdu poetry and prose, a scholar and teacher, was actually a late bloomer. Although dabbling in poetry and writing since childhood Aamer seriously started writing when he was 29. Even then...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
A Powerful Voice

A Powerful Voice

Iranian-born British poet Mimi Khalvati first met her poetry in a similar way to how she was introduced to her extended family. Both meetings came late. Each was a door to new expression, understanding and identity. She published her first poetry collection at age 47, within a few short years of having written her...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
MENDING THE PAST

MENDING THE PAST

Laksmi Pamuntjak is an Indonesian novelist, poet and food writer. Her 2012 novel Amba, a modern take on the story of Bhisma and Amba from The Mahabharata, set against the backdrop of the Indonesian mass killings of 1965, has become a national bestseller. Why did you pick Bhisma and Amba for the two main characters of your novel? When the idea for the novel came about in 2004, I was finding a lot of solace in poetry and mythology. I was renewing my lifelong fascination with Iliad and the Mahabharata. I was especially drawn by lesser known characters. Bhisma is a well known figure in the Indonesian rendition of the Mahabharata...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
A Promising Author

A Promising Author

Javed Jahangir is a promising Bangladeshi author. His works have been published in the Daily Star, Bengal Lights Journal, Smokelong Quarterly and many other literary blogs and journals.He is a founding member of beyondthemargins.com, a website of daily literary essays. He was on the 2011 panel of judges for the RISCA (Rhode Island State Council Arts) Fiction Fellowship award. He has contributed to, and been editor-in-chief of The Grub Street Writers' 10 year Anthology. His novel 'Ghost Alley' is launched in this year's Hay Festival, Dhaka by Bengal Foundation Publishers. This emerging writer talks to the Star about his thoughts, works and future plan. What actually inspired you to write...

Hay Festival Dhaka

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Art and Survival The Journey of Kosal Khiev

Art and Survival The Journey of Kosal Khiev

A jammed revolver during a Californian turf war is the makings of a tragedy. But for Kosal Khiev it is nothing short of a divine intervention. At the time, the young Cambodian was 16 years old facing a 16 year sentence. Khiev holds no apparent grudge against the system that tried a teenager...

Impressions

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Some Charms of Kolkata

Some Charms of Kolkata

Every time I visit Kolkata, the city appears with a new look and meaning to me. In a way, I rediscover it. The novelties are just not about the changing landscape, tall buildings and expansive, glamorous billboards but about life-styles. The very arrival at the state-of-the-art Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport  (a  regional...

Book Review

Published Date: November 28, 2014
A Sleeping Bag for Two

A Sleeping Bag for Two

A certain sense of apprehension prevailed in the air when Oxford Majlis decided to invite Rabindranath Tagore immediately after he had won the Nobel in 1913. The Majlis, which took over the Oxford Indian Club a year ago, earned some notoriety for, as (Hasan) Shahid Suhrawardy writes,"…it was a loved game of ours to get hold of a well-known Indian political leader, cajole and flatter him, lavish hospitality upon him, invite him to the Majlis meeting and then skin him alive, proving him that he was a worthless worm, who, in spite of his nationalistic pretensions, had done nothing else all his life but lick the boots of British...

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Write to Mita

Write to Mita

Dear Mita, I am a 15-year-old girl studying in class ten. I had a male friend, a very funny, caring and friendly person. We were very good friends since class 7. When we were in class 9, he started liking one of my close friends and even asked her out on a date. However, she rejected him. On the other hand, another close friend of mine had a crush on him. This led to a lot of confusion and misunderstandings between the three, and they stopped talking to each other. The boy spoke to me and told me that I should not take sides and continue to be friends with...

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Quirky Science

Quirky Science

Information in this column has been collected from various sources Social anxiety? Well, you may already be someone's best friend In matters of friendship, people with social anxiety disorder face many problems. They often find it difficult to make friends. They also tend to assume that the friendships they do have are not of the...

Remembrance

Published Date: November 28, 2014
A Poet of the Fall

A Poet of the Fall

Begum Sufia Kamal (20 June 1911 – 20 November 1999) was an acclaimed Bangladeshi poet, and important figure in the Bengali nationalist movement of the 1950s and 60s. An important leader of the civil society movement of Bangladesh, Kamal is also hailed as an exemplary poet, a committed activist and feminist. We remember...

Postscript

Published Date: November 28, 2014
The Bitter Sweet Truth

The Bitter Sweet Truth

The world is running out of chocolate says The Independent (UK). This is not good for the millions of chocoholics all over this planet salivating at the very word: chocolate. Apparently we Asians are to blame. Asians are now richer it seems and as a result have acquired the taste of chocolate and demanding it more and more. Cocoa crops are not growing at par with this extra demand; hence the acute shortage looming over our heads say chocolate making experts such as the Switzerland-based Barry Callebaut Group. Even Mars Inc is concerned - its president giving a gloom and doom scenario where there maybe a one million tonne...

Perspective

Published Date: November 28, 2014
LIVING IN A CULTURE OF FEAR

LIVING IN A CULTURE OF FEAR

As a news junkie, I read a lot of news stories and feature articles everyday online. But recently there was one particular news that got me all worked up.  It happened last month in the heart of the capital. The incident has been widely publicized and by now, it is old news. A...

Chintito

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Abject Failure of State PR

Abject Failure of State PR

I refer to a front-page commentary “Propaganda and the war crimes trial” by our editor Mahfuz Anam  (7 Nov 2014); I quote“…we have never made any effective effort to counter the propaganda of the Jamaat and their supporters and have never challenged their narrative in an organised, consistent and sustained manner”.  Anam indirectly...

Published Date: November 28, 2014
MAILBOX

MAILBOX

Wasfia's Everest All Bangladeshis are proud of Wasfia's achievement. She proves that if you have a dream and if you work hard to pursue that dream, you will find a way to realise it. We all can draw strength from her character which is made of determination, humility and patriotism. We salute Wasfia for...

MAD GENIUS

Published Date: November 28, 2014
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY

7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893 Russain musician Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was famous for Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy and theatrical music in the classical repertoire. His works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets and chamber music. Emperor Alexander III honored the maestro in 1884, and awarded him a lifetime pension in the late 1880s. "Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy. To regret the past, to hope in the future, and never to be satisfied with the present: that is what I spend my whole life doing. Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven's...

SNAPSHOT

Published Date: November 28, 2014
The Beautiful Orange

The Beautiful Orange

“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” ― Carl R. Rogers

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Voicebox

"If Chhatra League does anything (wrong), the media covers it extensively as if newspapers can't run without sensational news. However, the good deeds of Chhatra League do not hit the headlines." SAJEEB WAZED JOY Prime Minister's son and her Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adviser Said on last Saturday at a programme that the positive activities of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) do not receive media coverage. "If we are hit, we will retaliate. Let them send me to jail, I will see how...

Published Date: November 28, 2014
1 MINUTE PLEASE!

1 MINUTE PLEASE!

One minute he is serving his patients with a stethoscope worn around his neck, the next minute he is running across the city capturing every odd detail of the streets. A doctor by profession and a photographer by heart, Ata Mohammad Adnan a young photographer has already bagged a number of significant awards. His unique way of seeing things has made him standout in the world of photography, his photos have travelled and competed in several exhibitions around the world and many of his works have been published in BBC, CNN, Daily Mail UK, Huffington Post and many more international journals. This week the Star talks to this young...

Published Date: November 28, 2014
HOME AND ABROAD

HOME AND ABROAD

The End of a River Jhenidah. Lack of government initiatives to dredge the Kapotakkho river, flowing through Jhenidah's Moheshpur upazila, has shrunk it to the size of a mere canal, reducing the availability of fish, in turn affecting the livelihoods of communities along its banks. Rotten Onions Pabna. The wholesale market at Sujanagar in Pabna...

Cartoon

Published Date: November 28, 2014
Babu

Babu

 

Cover Story

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Wasfia's Everest

Wasfia's Everest

A mountaineer. An adventurer. An activist. One of the first Bangladeshis to climb Mount Everest and the first Bangladeshi to attempt to climb the seven summits, Wasfia Nazreen was recently selected by National Geographic as one of its adventurers of the year. From a small town girl to one of the most well-known...

Chintito

Published Date: November 21, 2014
The One Imam Not to be Followed

The One Imam Not to be Followed

The recent remarks by High Talking Imam, the political advisor to the prime minister has irked sayong the Prime Minister, and rightly so. Needless to say, for an inside man to say outside that there will be state-sponsored nepotism to favour 'our men', albeit at viva voce level, doesn't bode well of the...

Tribute

Published Date: November 21, 2014
The Beacon of Wisdom

The Beacon of Wisdom

Great philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “The office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts amidst appearances. He plies the slow, unhonoured, and unpaid task of observation. He is the world's eye.” With the departure of Professor Dr Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, one of the greatest scholars of Bangladesh, we have lost the eye of our wisdom and conscience. His encyclopedic knowledge and scholarly contributions have taken our nation forward to establish a progressive society. He has played an important role to lead the country towards the democratic path when it was on the brink of an uncertain future. His literary contributions,...

Current Affairs

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Unpleasant Truths

Unpleasant Truths

In his first term as an advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, HT Imam put the Hasina government into an embarrassing situation. Two district judges were sent into force retirement at the end of July, 2009. It happened only seven months after the then government-led by Hasina began its journey after an overwhelming victory in the December, 2008 parliamentary election. Imam played the leading role in sending the two judges on retirement, triggering some huge controversy and criticism. It was considered an attack on the independence of the judiciary. The constitutional provision was not followed to send the judges on retirement. The two judges had reportedly prepared to challenge...

Musings

Published Date: November 21, 2014
WHAT TIME IS IT?

WHAT TIME IS IT?

Does the time bother you? I get bothered by the time. Not so much the time itself but people. People bother me for the time. People come up to me and say—I am sure it happens to you a lot—“What time is it?” As if I personally was responsible for keeping the time. I feel honoured that they think I am the man in charge. But I don't have the time. I use a little of it like everyone else. But I don't have it. I think the US Navy has it in Washington. They keep it in the naval observatory. They let out a little each day. Not too much,...

Special Feature

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Bringing Hay to Town

Bringing Hay to Town

Tahmima Anam, a Bangladeshi writer, novelist and columnist won the Best First Book winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for her first novel 'A Golden Age' based on the 1971 Liberation War. Her second novel 'The Good Muslim' was nominated for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize. In 2013 she was included in the Granta list of 20 best young writers. As one of the co-producers of the Hay Festival Dhaka Tahmima talks to the Star about how this exciting literary event was brought to Dhaka and how Bangladeshi literature lovers have received it. How did you and the other co-producers decide to bring the Hay Festival to Dhaka? As...

Literature

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Stories that Travel Continents

Stories that Travel Continents

Neeman Sobhan, columnist and writer, has always had a knack for telling a story. She started writing her column 'Ruminations from Rome' since 1991, later shifting to the Star magazine with 'A Roman Column'. While writing on Italy, a country where she has lived for decades she has also delved into writing short stories now and then. This year at the Hay Festival, Dhaka, Bengal Publications will be launching  Neeman's collection of short stories 'Piazza Bangladesh'.    The stories are about Bangladeshi expatriates in Italy – both the struggling immigrants of Rome's back streets as well as those who live in the 'refined, tinted villas in pine shaded suburbs'. They also...

Photography

Published Date: November 21, 2014
A Balancing Act

A Balancing Act

Originally a software engineer from the Silicon Valley, Ihtisham Kabir, is an avid photographer who literally goes out of his way to discover the beautiful side of Bangladesh. His weekly column 'Tangents' in The Daily Star is a proof of his obsession with nature and positive Bangladesh as well as his undeniable talent...

Reflections

Published Date: November 21, 2014
A Belated Tribute

A Belated Tribute

It is very hard to find a single person in the country who isn't familiar with the brilliant architecture of the National Memorial. The mausoleum, composed of seven triangles, has  been placed in text books, coins, posters, used as government symbols and in so many places that there is no way you can ignore it. But how many of us really know the man behind this amazing design? How many text books contain the name of the architect of the memorial that honours the country's most revered heroes? As days stretch into weeks and weeks into months, memory fades. We consciously or unconsciously forget the contributions of great men, and...

Village Flute

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Banglafornia

Banglafornia

California. The first known mention was in the 1510 romance novel “Las Sergas de Esplandián” by Spaniard Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. In the novel, California was an imagined island populated by black Amazon women, without any men. West of the Indies, California was the closest thing on Earth to paradise. California started as...

Art

Published Date: November 21, 2014
AN ODE TO THE ETHNIC

AN ODE TO THE ETHNIC

                                  Four works from the Face series, acrylic on canvas, 2013-14. What is new about Kanak Chanmpa Chakmas's attempt at Bengal Lounge? As the centre piece of 'Life is here', her two year solo attempt, is 'Eternal Vigilance', a 90 cm by 90 cm acrylic on canvas. There is as usual the yellow and blue...

Perspective

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Remember, Remember

Remember, Remember

On the 5th of November, sparks went flying in Dhaka. While it wasn't to commemorate Guy Fawkes, in the end, the incidents did end up striking a blow at powerful, wayward institutions. By now, you've surely heard of the assault on a renowned photographer and his two nieces by hooligans who turned out...

Education

Published Date: November 21, 2014
The Second Chance

The Second Chance

Reaching 18 brings a new kind of thrill to everyone regardless of one's country and culture. It means being free to explore life and take exciting challenges. In fact, for a Bangladeshi youngster it is the time to take one of the most crucial adventures of his/her life. After completing higher secondary school certificate examination (HSC), these young people take part in the university admission test. Hundreds and thousands of students sit for the admission test to get admitted to reputed universities like Dhaka University, Jagannath University etc. But with a handful of seats and a huge number of competitors these admission tests are like climbing the highest peaks...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Star Diary

Star Diary

DUBIOUS DEAL A few months ago, I was on my way to Farmgate by bus. When it stopped at the traffic signal at Bijoy Sarani, I noticed a police sergeant on the sidewalk, talking to a motorcyclist. The biker repeatedly requested the policeman to let him go. Turning down his appeal, the sergeant asked...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Write to Mita

Write to Mita

Dear Mita, I am a 16-year-old girl. I will be taking my O-levels next year. I am having a relationship with one of my childhood friends. One month ago, my sister-in-law saw one of our photographs on Facebook , and she told my parents everything. They trusted me a lot and knew that I would never get involved in these things, as I've always been a serious student. My mother used to drop me off at my coaching centre previously, but now as she doesn't trust me, she stays there till the end of my class. This breaks my heart as I feel like I will never regain her trust....

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Quirky Science

Quirky Science

No words necessary? What if we didn't need words to communicate with others and our brains could communicate? Science Daily reports that University of Washington researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team's initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly...

Remembrance

Published Date: November 21, 2014
REMEMBERING THE MARTYR

REMEMBERING THE MARTYR

Titumir was one of the first to fight against the exploitation of British colonial rulers and their local henchmen, the zamindars. With his followers who were farmers and peasants, he valiantly fought and sacrificed his life. He has become an inspiration for all the uprisings against oppression, even for the liberation war of 1971. His bamboo fortress became an icon of anti-colonial movements. On the occasion of his 183rd death anniversary (November 19, 1831), we remember the life of this valiant freedom fighter. Titumir was born in the Chandpur village of North 24 Parganas  (currently in West Bengal, India) on  January 27, 1782 His real name was Syed Mir Nisar Ali After...

Postscript

Published Date: November 21, 2014
It's that Stupid Virus

It's that Stupid Virus

When I was in college, many many years ago, there was this one course that was the cause of much misery and frustration. 'Management and Operations' didn't sound all that lethal but the professor who took the class assumed all his students were whiz kids with advanced knowledge of computer programming. This made...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
MAILBOX

MAILBOX

A Golden Opportunity We all can help in the revival of jute products. While shopping we should refuse to accept plastic bags. The government should try to enforce the Mandatory Packaging Act, 2010. Small industries that are capable of producing handicrafts from jute must be encouraged and established. I hope the government will pay...