Valerie Taylor’s country!

November 24, 2013

She started her career as divisional organizer (Rajshahi) of Girl Guides in 1969. Worked for women. Those women who were left at the Government hospitals, (there were families who left women who had gynecological problems), women prisoners etc. The office had to be open during the Liberation War in 1971 since it was an international N.G.O. It had nothing to do with Pakistani Government. Stopped rajakars (traitors) training in the field in front of the office building in 1971 (during the war) with amazing courage and smartness! How men could have physical training in front of women’s office, used this Islamic thinking! Worked there till 1973. Had break for some time because of my dad’s studying abroad and also my Mom finished her Masters in Sociology. She started again in 1980 with USAID projects for children and women. Family planning and childhood immunizations were starting projects. The work increased into six divisions with fourteen clinics. From childbirth to treatment of anybody are done there.

She started from scrap. From renting the office to buying furniture, she did everything personally. A volunteering organization was there as directors council. Registration of N.G.O. bureau, manage to get fund, answer every questions of government and donor organizations, everything was her responsibility. She didn’t even know when she would come home! Frequent office tours to all the district sites, monthly meetings to Dhaka office for couple of times even in the same month, training in foreign countries were there. In that era very few women in Bangladesh had worked like that.

She was involved in many things along with the busy career! To serve others in society has been part of her whole life. If someone was in labor pain she would accompany her to the hospital in the middle of the night. Known or unknown person wasn’t a factor! Teenage girl left home because of a fight with her step mom and dad came to Rajshahi from different place, she brought her home. Kept her as a relative for months after months. Asked her to study. After a long time asked the dad to take the daughter back home. After some time helped that girl get admission to nurses training center. She is a nurse for many years now. She stood by countless women and children. She would run to help whenever come to know that someone is in trouble. She will do something to help that person. Does anything happen without paying a price?! She paid the price by her time and energy, her family and children paid it in another way! That story wouldn’t be told here. Maybe never!

Took off extra clothes from her child and gave it to clothless child. Her child watched it and learnt lessons from school of life! During her child’s very important exam she brought relatives to stay at her home, sometimes for childbirth of a relative, sometimes for admission tests to the university, sometimes for treatment. At those times the family was living in an apartment of the university housing. It was a moderate sized one and had just only two bedrooms. Her brother-­in­-laws and sisters stayed as family members to study in the university where the husband was a professor. Cousins and their children stayed for quite few times, some for months, some for a year or so. Always someone stayed in the house. She had bought a small house in Dhaka. Countless family members of her side (brothers and sisters with their family) stayed in case of their emergency time or struggling times for many years. It was very normal for the family. Nothing to mention about. The irony of her life when my dad was in ICU for nine days, nobody was there for her! No not even children! What kind of life is it!

She never did anything to be famous or for any kind of award. Her name isn’t anywhere. Was it meant to be? She started a school under trees by managing some land from some wealthy persons of a local area where there wasn’t any school for children. After that managed fund from Netherland government to build a building for the school. After all was done the government acknowledged it and made it a government school. There was a young girl who had a very nice voice but came from a poor family. She financially supported to get her music lessons. Now she sings for the radio program.

Very often her daughter from another part of the world asks to find someone in need. She manages to locate, contact those persons with her very busy schedule. She learnt it from her own dad. During the India­-Pakistan riots in 1964, her dad protected all Hindus from his locality by giving shelter in his house and guarded whole night by himself with just a rifle! He had many young daughters himself. He took the risk by endangering his family at the time of Hindu-­Muslim riots!

Her daughter is saying for a while, how long are you going to do it, now it’s time to leave and relax. But her worry is, if she quits what would happen to all those employees? What would happen to their families? So called governing body members started looking for money as a nowadays trend! They forgot that in volunteering there is no money! She thought if a university professor joins the governing body something good might come out of it. First male person was brought to the committee. She always trusts everybody so she didn’t realize whom she brought! That person started replacing and employing his own relatives, known persons. Replaced all suppliers by his own known businesses. At last he played the last card of age! Even though there is no age limit there. She already made her mind that when the current fund ends she would quit. He convinced other greedy committee members who with she worked for so many years! They left all kinds of ethics, rationality! The funding agency (USAID) was also surprised! But they couldn’t do anything! Because the governing body decides who would stay or not.

She left with disgust after building the whole thing from scratch for thirty-two years! Did she ever think that she lives in Valerie Taylor’s (C.R.P. Bangladesh) country?

(Forgive me mother! I didn’t protest against the wrongdoings to you! I don’t have any power to do that. Also didn’t even try because this era is for all wrongdoers! I don’t want to lose you in other ways.)

A teacher’s ideology!

November 21, 2013

He was supposed to study English literature. In those days teachers asked students to come and study in their departments. That’s how he ended up in Political Science instead of English literature in Dhaka University. In those days all bright students belonged to a particular progressive political party of students. He was a founding member of that student group. Whole day he had classes, in the late afternoon he tutored a student, in the evening there were meetings of the political group, finally from ten p.m. to two in the morning he studied! He graduated in 1959. Before his result was out he joined for a short period of time at Nasirabad College. Then joined the famous Anondomohon College in 1960. He was there till 1964. Right after he started his career he left the political party. Because of his job. He believed that teachers shouldn’t belong to any political party. He started teaching when he was twenty-one. Sometime right after he joined he expelled more than 100 students in an exam for cheating.

He joined Rajshahi University in 1964. Retired in 2001. In his long career he taught hundreds and hundreds of students. In his classes the classroom was flooded with students. One of classmates came to know about that he is my dad, his sister was my dad’s student, said that students mentioned him as “Prince” among themselves! I came to know that he was not only a strict principled person among students but also a famous teacher.

When he married my mother, she was a student of first year of the same department. Her education came on a hold. Because she can’t study in the same department! My mom was doing really well. She took a job when I was two. She graduated from a different department after a break. In that time period many teachers’ wives studied at the same departments of these husbands. They got a job there. Because of my dad’s ideology my mother had to sacrifice!

He was liked and disliked because of his ultimate straightforwardness. May be the second one is more. Everybody reads about truthfulness, everybody is asked to become a truthful person but not everybody likes a truthful person always. Only likes until it benefits them. Whenever it goes against them they start disliking those. People search their own shadow in others. It took me some time to understand that not everybody always speaks the truth! The teaching, the conscience was passed from him! It was as hard for him to accept as me!

He never wrote any book, to my mother’s sorrow. My dad used to say, “I don’t write notebooks.” Want to know why he said that. Even though I have some ideas. All of his books of his subject were donated to the library of the Political Science department of Rajshahi University. All of his writings (papers) which were published in foreign countries were put together and published as a small book. My mom did that as for my request. Thinking, if his M.S. thesis could have been published! 

It could be understandable how much he believed in women’s equal rights if think about my mom’s career and life. My mom used to work in N.G.O. She had a very busy life. Her office hour wasn’t like eight to five. She had to work for long hours. Almost every day she used to come home in the evenings. She had to travel a lot. It was her regular thing. She also visited many foreign countries. My mom had a carrier of around forty years. Dad was always in support of my mom’s carrier. I have seen many people who talk like progressive. Many of them are like saints in the society, maybe because of their intellect. But I know and understand that how many of them are really believe in women’s equal rights and dignity. As for the need of new era now they don’t speak, stand against their daughters or even daughter-­in-­law’s careers. But when looking at their wives’ lives and thinking, I can feel that there are many untold stories! Maybe even their wives don’t think like that! Many women don’t think of their own rights. Specially women in male dominated societies and countries. And wives of many renowned, famous people live in a world of fantasy! They are so much overwhelmed by their husbands’ intellectualism that they don’t see their husbands’ male chauvinism! Because of my dad’s truthfulness, protest against all wrong doings and believing in women’s equal rights, I respect him. Know that many famous people don’t have these qualities.

Those women who wore Niqab (you could only see the eyes) and if they were students, he asked them to show their faces to make sure that the right person was taking the viva exam. He never allowed any student at home. Everybody should meet him in the department office. That was the rule. In few cases his Ph.D. or M.Phil. students came at home who were part-time students and couldn’t come other times. He caught the evil eyes of pro-­Pakistani colleagues long before 1971. The result was that he lost several scholarships abroad for higher studies. The scholarship he got was given to pro-­Pakistani people. Later he went to Queens University in Ontario Canada in 1973. He did his M.S. under the supervision of a Urdu speaking professor and the topic was related to Bangladesh’s Liberation War! The teacher of course didn’t like the subject! When he was returning to Bangladesh so many people asked “what are you doing?” There was a famine happening in Bangladesh and many suggested staying back. He didn’t.

He got the spirit of teaching to protest any wrong doing from his dad. My grandfather arrested a white British man with opium (illegal) while serving as an anti-corruption inspector under British Government in then British India! Got the transfer order to a remote jungle area as a reward!


November 21, 2013

Tonight I am having nostalgia! Sleep took vacation! From Ozaki sensei’s memory to life in Japan, then life at Purdue so many things are coming! Seems like baskets are coming like waves! Till today I used say I store each one’s story in boxes. Tonight it seems like baskets, not boxes! Last time brought bamboo baskets, different types of grass baskets with other things from Bangladesh. Like previous times. I cans see baskets are floating towards me! Each bears someone’s name! Very dearest ones very close ones, relatives, favorite friends, many known people, slightly known people, unseen people who I know names!

If I don’t open a particular basket at 3 AM now it would be wrong! My mother-­in-­law. She is almost eighty now. Got hurt so many times! In Bangladesh an honest police officer’s wife must have fights in her life! She suddenly became widow with six children while her husband died in a car accident. Her eldest son just got a job as a teacher in a university. He also got married just some time ago. Second son just started medical school. Eldest daughter was busy with her own family. She had three younger children who were very young then. Mizan was twelve. Youngest one was nine! Very hard life started! Second son left Dhaka medical college. Got Russian scholarship to a medical school there. Eldest son took in charge of raising three younger ones. After finishing study second son returned and took responsibility of the study of two younger brothers at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Then came Mizan’s turn. Life became harder and harder of this struggling woman’s life!

Children finished their studying, got established in their carrier, have their own families. Now her life should be at least a bit full of happiness! No those things happen in stories! There are some untold stories which won’t be told! The stories to share are, my cancer fight. Before that the elder daughter was diagnosed with heart problem. Had open heart surgery. But just after ten years he suddenly went to the place of no return! Youngest daughter also have a different type of heart disease. Meanwhile the eldest son suddenly had a massive brain stroke and left for the place of no return. She watched her two children’s untimed death! Whenever Mizan calls her she asks, “When are you coming?” Each time Mizan reminds her of my fight. She forgets and next time same thing! Mizan calls her late at night or early in the morning when Deepto and I are sleeping or goes to another room if I am there.

Because he has to answer the same question each time I understood this! I have to live with this guilt, Mizan can’t go to Bangladesh to visit her because of me! A son can’t go to visit his old mother because that son’s son who just started teen age can have her mother for some more years!

Black person!

November 17, 2013

Deepto was going to preschool at that time, one day started crying while talking about what happened at school. Said that someone called him “Brown”. I told him very normally that we are brown. Still he was crying! I asked him that if the person said it in a mean tone? He said yes while crying. I told him that if someone calls him brown in a mean tone that’s wrong. Then showed him a book of his. That was a book of human body. Told him, “See every human being has flesh, blood, skeleton, eyes, nose etc. The only difference is the skin color because of pigmentation. Because of it, people look different. When his dad returned home in the evening three of us put our hands side by side. I told him, see three of us in the same family have three shades of same color. There is no reason to talk mean about anybody’s color and also no need to feel ashamed of own color. After several days same story! Understood that the child who was doing that had no idea of any other race except white. And also have negative impression of others.

While he was in kindergarten or first grade said that one of his classmates said that he is light brown. The girl was black. I immediately told him that brown is always brown. There is no dark brown, light brown. Then gave him a lecture on colors! Told him, if someone says you are brown reply, “Yes I am brown”. If the person says it with a mean attitude, ask, “Does it bother you?” He had friendship with a boy at school. Other children didn’t want to play with that boy. He might had some challenges. Deepto used to give him company, played with him. After certain time he was very upset. Said, that boy said such thing about Deepto’s dad that it hurt his feelings. I asked and came to know that the boy said about his color! I told him, “You have to figure it out what to do.” The friendship kept on for some days. Later it went away. I think, at the boy’s house dark skinned people aren’t viewed respectfully! When people see more person of different race, know them, their tolerance increases, misconceptions go away, they learn to respect others.

Don’t want to talk about racism of other race’s people! Among Bangladeshi the color issue “fair” and “dark” is in such a level that they have no right to talk about other race’s racism. In 
Bangladesh the color of the skin varies from as white as a white person to as dark as a black person. It’s a variety of so many shades. Bangladesh is a mosaic of many different colors, looks, religions. But they belong to the same culture, Bengali culture. This has a long history of pride. People came from many countries of different colors for many years, starting many hundreds years ago. All of them mixed together under the umbrella of the same culture, same language. Also there were Natives of the land from thousands years back. All are Bengali of Bangladesh. There are also many groups of tribal people who have different language and their own culture. Now these days they are being called Native people. Others (majority) are Bengali. I think the color issue became more obvious during the colonial period. Bangladesh was part of Indian subcontinent (Now India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). It was a huge country which was called “Bharat.” British came and made their colony for two hundred years. I think they incorporated the “Farsha (fair)” and “Kalo (Black)” thinking and made the light-skinned people of India boast of their color and put down the dark-skinned. For hundreds of years this thing went on. Thousands years back Aryans came to the subcontinent of majority dark-skinned people and dominated them, the seed of color issue was planted! Most of the people fail the color test! Even if that person is highly educated and have progressive mentality. They can spare everything except “black (dark) skin”. Still the culture of arranged marriage of Indian subcontinent is there. A dark mom would look for his dark-skinned son a fair-skinned daughter-­in-­law even though she also has dark-skinned daughter!

The conception of beauty is in the brain. Nobody knows who would look beautiful to someone’s eyes. But the so-called conception of beauty started thousands of thousands years back when someone or some group of people decided it and that conception was accepted by majority and kept passing on the thinking generations after generations. If that first person or group of people chose black instead of white, then today people would prefer black instead of white as the symbol of beauty! These days almost everybody knows that human being’s root is in Africa. Our ancestor came from Africa. Can watch the documentary “Journey of Man” by Spencer Wales in YouTube.

Pain anniversary!

November 11, 2013

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the first lung surgery. Was occupied for the whole day a particular thing so just remembered it the evening. That surgery was extremely painful. It’s not common to have surgery on both lungs at the same time. Later came to know that in the history of that big hospital I was the first to have that kind of surgery! It was eight hours long. The lung which had the first operation was shut down. After that when it started functioning second one was shut down and the operation was done on it. It was very risky. At that time had to depend on the wounded first one! And can’t hurry to operate. My surgeon checked and felt every tiny nodules locate and operate! On CT scan there were ten nodules. My surgeon took out 22/23 nodules! Among those eleven were positive for sarcoma.

That surgery was the beginning of long painful journey. Even though the long painful life was already started when I had the surgery on my leg for sarcoma! Modern medical science has developed a lot. But treatment depends a lot on statistics. Which medicine, how effective, what types of possible side effects are there etc. depends on statistics. Most of the studies are done on White, Black and Hispanic people. Asians (Indian subcontinent) are few in the study cases. While I was complaining about drugs to my pain management team, they were saying, “It shouldn’t happen.” Because the study doesn’t say so! My surgeon was on odd duty for three days right after my surgery day. That was the main problem! The head of the pain management team was a senior professor. Think it was hard for him to agree with a patient like me! After my surgeon came back he took over the control and appointed his partner to deal everything. But it took eight days to control my severe pain! Didn’t sleep for eight days! And also the body went through such horrible experience along with surgery’s effect! Had the hallucination effect for couple of months! Had pretty nasty experience even though never took drugs, opium or any substances in my life! Told Deepto at the hospital, “Why do people take drugs?”

If I had the surgery a year ago, my rib cage would have to be opened! There was a new technique in 2011. They opened my back. Since I had surgery on both of my lungs, I have big cuts on right and left of the back. I had to lay down on my back with those big cuts! In the hospital for eleven days I was in a position between laying and sitting! For at least three months I had the dream to lay down on my sides! I couldn’t turn on my sides! Both sides had big cuts! Still think that I am lucky to get surgery with the new technique! Otherwise would it be possible to had the surgery again just after fifteen months!

After just two and a half month I was asked to recite a poem in the Bangla cultural program. It was even hard for me to just go and watch the program. At that time I couldn’t even talk for two minutes! Get out of breath, start wheezing, coughing. That I recited Rabindranath Tagore’s poem for five minutes without coughing! Nobody understood my exact condition, people told me later! From this September I started taking Yoga class for one hour on Saturday’s. I can do everything except exercise! I will try to do everything except this one! A couch potato like me is doing Yoga! The substitute teacher in the last class told me, “You are very flexible.” Later said again, “You are too flexible.” I almost said, “A couch potato like me?” Wish I could start taking Indian classical dance classes!

Hang out at the cafe house!

October 24, 2013

Anondo, Labonno, Yasharjo, Shorno, Shaibal and Prema. Six teenagers. Friends since childhood. At teen they became inseparable. If don’t see each other for morning till evening, if they don’t chat with each other feel like the day was useless! Have adda (chat) while coming back from school after whole day, again meet until the dusk. Talk and talk! Till the dusk just talk and talk and laugh! Sometimes play with the younger ones. Or walk on the Green Motihar’s long road and talk! Never ending talk! These good students must sit at the front in the classes of serious teachers, subjects. After finishing studies and class works, they would listen to the teachers lectures very attentively. Whenever the teacher gets distracted, they start giving tiny pieces of papers with funny comments to each other! Nobody would understand what’s going on!

After the school, we caught tiny fishes by hand in pond with friends! Sometimes by hands and sometimes with the lower part of the dress! Then freed those fishes. Got an idea, so dug a hole at the back yard of Shorno’s house. Filled with water and put those fishes. In summer went to the mango garden and climbed up on the mango trees! Stole mangoes. Sometimes the guards came and said, “Apa (sister) please get down. I will lose my job.” Sometimes even stole from other friend’s house! When a bit older started cycling. At that time girls didn’t ride on cycles. Whole high school and college this went on, started from at the end of middle school. In college (11th and 12th grades are college, British system) six were divided in two groups! Anondo, Shoibal and Shorno went to the college at the downtown. Labonno, Yasharjo and Prema stayed at the school which was extended to college in that year, because of their parents’ decision! Sometimes those three waited at the bus stop for the other three. Then the adda (talk) started!

They made up their own version of famous Manna Dey’s (Famous Indian Bengali singer) famous song “Coffee houser addata” (The gathering at the coffee house)! Labonno was Moidul, journalist. Yasharjo could draw beautiful pictures, she was Nikhilesh. Prema was very beautiful in the friends’ eyes, she was Sujata. Even though she didn’t like the beautiful part! Getting a rich husband because of her beauty, hurt her feminist spirit even at that age! Anondo had the attitude of poets but she used to call her Roma Roy. Because Roma became mental patient after ditched for love! She used to think of herself a little bit crazy! Shoibal and Shorno were the quiet ones among those!

After finishing college (11th and 12th grade), Anondo, Labonno and Yashoraj went to abroad for studying. Two went to the same country. Those who stayed in the counter, two of them studied at the same university but in different departments. Prema went to another place but in the same city. Friendship between Prema, Labonno and Shaibal was since their birth, infant ages! With others started at elementary school. So Prema became lonely! She started spending time with Shoibal. Walked in the late afternoons till dusk. And some weekends spend time some time with Shorno. Sometimes got letters or news from other three.

Time goes on. Everybody’s friends list added new names. But deep in mind stays the childhood playmates, teenage friends! Life changed, country changed, many things! Very quiet Shorno got abusive husband. But for short time. She found new path in very short time! She is happy now. But that abusive husband didn’t give her the autistic son! “Will never get married” saying Shorno got married first! She is happy and doing well at her work. But don’t draw pictures! Labonno is very busy with her life, don’t have any time to read anything! The person whom she thought as a gentleman and married turned out to have very ugly mind! She took many years to be brave as Shorno! Didn’t marry again though. She is fighting alone. Shoibal is doing well. But for some unknown reason she is keeping away herself from others. All of them think, did I do anything wrong?! Can all friends do same mistake at the same time? Nobody knows! Very active Anondo is fighting with her inner self! The disease was there for many years, but nobody noticed! Prema didn’t show off her beauty, married her long time love interest. Got everything like Sujata. But she turned out not to be Sujata but Amol! Life didn’t give her break! Amol’s poems never got published anywhere, her life is like that! Often she thinks when she will be turned into De Souza from Amol!


October 21, 2013

Weather is surprisingly different! It’s Fall now. Everywhere seeing the dazzling colors of the leaves! Maroon, dark red, orange, golden, yellow! It should drizzle now. But it’s not here. Temperature is above normal. It’s because of global warming. Even though enjoying the weather, in my mind feeling guilty!

I saw fall for the first time while staying in Canada for short time while my Dad was in his graduate school. I was just seven then. Many years later saw fall again while living in Tokyo. Specially fall in Nikko, was amazing! Then in Indiana! Silicon Valley’s weather is almost same all year round. Fall isn’t that much visible. While living in Massachusetts saw fall there, New Hampshire’s, Vermont’s and other places of the East Coast. Now seeing the West Coast’s. Amazing! It’s mind-blowing! Also same time feeling a bit depressed. After several days leaves will start to fall. Leaves fall and I feel losing time from life! Depression plays hide and seek in a positive minded person like me!

Eight years back we signed for our first house just two weeks after we moved here. Only few houses were left to be built very near of Deepto’s school. We didn’t look for any house. We didn’t buy house anywhere we lived before. I was searching for a child friendly community for my son. Even though according to this place our house is not too big. It’s a medium size, the sales agent told us! In my mind I said it’s big for three of us. The design of the house is European style. This isn’t common in this country. There is a porch to pass through to go to the garage. The porch reminds me of houses in Bangladesh! Inside is also European style. Outside color is similar to the mud colored houses in the villages of Bangladesh!

Those who comes for the first time to our house gets surprised. Thinks, how could I brought so many decorative things from Bangladesh! Some says look like I am in Aarong! Some says it’s a museum of Bangladeshi handicrafts! I buy not only from Aarong but also from so many places including street vendors! Gave gifts from Bangladesh to countless non-­Bangladeshi people. There are very few places to compare with the varieties of hand crafts, art works of Bangladesh. Have some hand crafts, artworks from Japan and also of Native Americans. After my second lung surgery time to time I think what Mizan and Deepto will do with those things! I don’t have a daughter or a sister to help! They will be on great trouble! It will be hard for them to throw those things also to keep! Why did I collect so much?! Once I told to a very close person of mine this. She tried not to cry and said, don’t think this.

Deepto wants to take AP courses in high school. The high school in our area has IB program. We have to change the house! Don’t see other option. I am not in favor of private schools. All are some kind of religion based. And also those who go there know that they are privileged ones of the society. There is a big chance of becoming snobs. I am not saying that everybody is, and will be, like that. But I don’t want to experiment. I have seen some bad examples. Also the person who is being raised by the thought that religion is totally a personal inner thing, it doesn’t go with the ideology to send him to private schools. Must have to change the house! People will be surprised seeing that with my fight how we could think of changing (buying and selling houses) house!

The work isn’t that easy. I am looking for a smaller house. This would be a bit hard. These days new houses are big. May be have to buy old house. It has to be done before the new school year starts. The easiest option is to send him to private school. Or buy a big house. Both don’t go with my ideology. So have to walk on the hard way! Search for a house!

Women’s place!

October 18, 2013

How young girls from villages become victims of pimps, sold to become sex slaves in the big cities, is always similar in so many countries! It’s nothing new about selling own daughters by poverty-stricken parents also! In every century, in every society, in every country it happened. Still happening! The women who were sold in their own life become pimps at a point sometime! What can be said about male pimps! They allure by saying giving jobs in the cities, then who knows where they end up by travelling through India, Pakistan and other countries! Child and women trafficking is one of the ugliest chapters of the world! From Bangladesh to western world, women are sold, become sex slaves.

Many well-educated, well established people still think about women as subject of lust. Social, cultural, political, national, religious views are also added to it. Those nations which can’t guarantee safety of any human being, who will think, work for the safety of women?

It seems like natural to think about any socially marginal woman as an object of lust. That’s why house-­maids, garments workers, other kinds of working women become victims of many perverts. How many of us pay attention to it?! If once she becomes victim, she becomes potita (fallen)! The rapist is never a potito (fallen)!

We have so many cultural things to be proud of, but if we think about women’s status still now could we be proud? In many countries social views of putting down women has decreased. It’s never true that everything of any culture, country is good or bad. We need to think which is good and which must be discarded. This is not just for urban people. In Bangladesh women are in everywhere in education, workforces, every place in a great numbers. Still how many get their recognition, equal status, and equal rights in the family, in the society? Those who can’t respect their own wives, it’s not hard to understand how they think of other women!

The status of women in religion (any religion) is such, if male children are raised by without teaching to respect women, women’s equal rights, dignity of women and if the children follow everything in religion blindly, what can be expected from them?! Women are like agricultural fields, does this teaching give respect to women? It doesn’t matter that it said, mothers are given so much respect that the place below their feet are like heaven. Won’t the male child remember that he could beat his wife if she doesn’t want to go to his bed? In his list of women to have sex not only his “wives” but “slaves” fall in too? The “Shebadashi” of temples of goddess 
are whose sex slaves? Remembering the movie “water”! What a status women have by abusing religions for centuries! A raped woman needs at least two women or a man to prove for rape! Even as a witness woman have half the status of man! A rape has to occur in front of these many people and they should watch it to testify?! What does it mean, without witness a rape isn’t a rape? In this case how is it possible to prove that a husband could be a rapist? Oh, what I am saying! “Husband” means have the right to have sex anytime!


October 10, 2013

For many days one picture is coming again and again in my mind! First saw the picture several years back. Didn’t know the photographer’s name so searched on google. I just wrote “famous pictures” and the link came up! Didn’t have to write “of child and vulture”. The photographer was Kevin Carter. It was taken in 1993 in Sudan during the famine. A very young skeleton­-like, immovable child and a vulture sitting and watching nearby! After I saw that picture I was mad! Can’t ever forget it!

Like the unforgettable pictures of 1971 in Bangladesh, the utterly inhuman tortured dead bodies, bodies of raped women, bodies of tortured but living humans! Pictures of tortured, killed Jews in the World War II! Like many more pictures of many times of this civilization! Every day the pictures are increasing! When will it end, the pictures of famine, war, killing, crime, torture?! Today I just glanced a picture on Facebook! Burned skeleton! Garments worker burnt in the factory! How many more?!

Another picture is driving me crazy! A hungry, food deprived, wounded ten years old girl Aduri! The vulture in the famous picture of Kevin Carter came as a part of nature, even though it is unbearable! The vulture may have thought the child was already dead or waiting to die! The same way Aduri’s employer thought about her! Who is more cruel and worst! The vulture or the employer! Aduri was a housemaid. In nature vultures are decreasing which is not good for the balance of echo system. Nature needs vulture but not the way of the picture. But the vulture-­like employers are increasing! The system of keeping house­maid is still common in Bangladesh like some other countries. Slavery isn’t anywhere in this world officially. But in some or many places it exists at different level, different dimensions! In many countries where house­maid conception is still present, they are treated as slaves in many places! In Bangladesh generally hours aren’t count, basic salary system isn’t there in most of the places. In Dhaka some changes are noticeable these days, yet long way to go. Other parts of the country hasn’t changed that much. (Not talking about exceptional cases)

From very early age children learn to look at house­maids as low-level human beings! They learn it from adults. They show it by their behavior. In many houses physical abuse go on with verbal abuse. As if it’s normal! Never comes in mind that, they come to work for just alms to live and people also can’t live without their help!

Many people say that to understand love for birth country people should stay in foreign countries for long times. I add, to learn to respect to all human beings regardless of their jobs, to learn to value every job, each Bangladeshi (middle class and higher class) should stay in foreign countries for a while. Have to do everything from cleaning bathroom to cooking. All things, outside and inside of the house. Have to raise children just by parents. There are challenges in Bangladesh and also in other countries. But they may differ by nature. No reason to compare. But people in Bangladesh need to learn things. How many more years the employers of many Aduri will act like vultures!?

Excess length!

October 8, 2013

Among many projects of our volunteering organization there is an orphanage in a village near Rajshahi, Bangladesh. I am responsible for this project. My Mom keeps the contact there on behalf of me. This orphanage was started by a freedom fighter at his own home after he found some of his friends’ orphan children after the Liberation War in 1971. Before the last Eid after Ramadan I talked to my Mom and said that we are sending some fund for Eid day special meal. She let me know that the freedom fighter said if we could send money for new clothes for Eid. There are 147 children. I said still now we aren’t able to arrange fund for food for the whole year. The orphanage gets little bit support from government. Our organization’s support is the main thing.

We are trying to make some income generating program through them to support for several years. Sometimes the number of children increases and reaches to 167. Still now they need to borrow money to support for five months. Need several more years to make sure they get those months’ support. How can we arrange money for new clothes! Out of frustration I gave some lecture to my Mom! Before that I asked her and knew that if it’s urgent to have new clothes or not. Means do they have any clothes to wear or not. Yes they do. It’s for the Eid they wanted.

Several days ago I thought that I would cook one or two dishes for Deepto for Eid day. Don’t know how I would be on the next Eid. Wish he could remember later years what Mom cooked! In our house we celebrate any festival very simply. Usually get some invitations on Eid days so don’t cook anything. This time I have no invitations. Before Eid used to buy a new shirt for him. If he buys a new game then don’t buy shirt. Do these willingly. Need to teach sense of limit from early age. Couldn’t arrange fund for 147 orphan children how could I buy shirt for him! Good that he has the Punjabi from Bangladesh still he can wear! No he doesn’t complain about not having new shirt for Eid. He doesn’t know that cultural tradition. I am living with guilt! Couldn’t do it for Ramadan Eid or this Eid for those children! Could only send money for food! Before the Eid of Ramadan was watching the luxurious festive of spending for clothes on TV. These days women are wearing very long kameezes (style brought from Pakistan and India!) Markets are full with Indian and Pakistani clothes! While watching those fancy expensive dresses and thinking how many orphan children’s clothes could be made out of those extra part which were hanging unnecessarily, not even talking about the extremely heavily ornamented decoration!