Cities and Syndromes


To dwell in a city of historic importance like Jerusalem, Istanbul and Belgrade is undoubtedly a matter of pride, chauvinism and glory. But when these cities, with rich past, national aspirations, geostrategic locations etc, fall prey to ambitious empires, kings and expansionists these senses evaporate as quickly as possible. Cities of such scale were either besieged, razed to the ground or their fabrics were totally changed. On top of all repeated occupation, trouble and ideological war may cause some medical problems that commonly go together, which might show the existence of a particular disease or mental condition. Baghdad or Sanaa could have been included in the list of the handpicked cities to be discussed today. In spite of their being two of the oldest cities in the world they are excluded because they are neither on the periphery of the Muslim world nor at the cultural crossroads as Jerusalem is. These trio cities — Jerusalem, Istanbul and Belgrade —represent some characters in common, having multi-cultural heritage, multi-ethnicity, demographic diversity etc. Apart from all these there are some syndromes associated with the trio. One more common thing among these cities is that they provide the cultural frontiers, fault lines and the confluence of the different cultures. These frontier cities will be one of the precursors of civilizations in future.

The history of civilizations, as determined by the study of archaeological and written records, says ancient history begins with the invention of writing. However, the roots of civilization predates it. Prehistory begins in the Early Stone Age, which is followed by the New Stone Age, and the Agricultural Revolution preceded the Industrial Revolution before today’s domination of Service Sector. The agricultural period marked a shift in human history, as humans began the systematic husbandry of plants and animals. Agriculture advanced and the farmers started settling permanently. Organised farming developed and prompted a division of labour to store food. Labour divisions then led to the rise of a leisured upper class and the development of cities. Many cities developed on the banks of River Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, Indus, Jordan, Danube and the major rivers in China.

Jerusalem

On the basin of River Jordan Jerusalem city sprouted and it hosts Masjidul Aqsa, Mount Temple and Dome of the Rock. It is one of the oldest cities of the world, so is its history. Since the time immemorial Jerusalem has been destroyed twice and besieged 23 times. It was attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times down the history. The city was settled in the 4th millennium BC, making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world. With the city’s central position in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the city is testimony to 5,000 years of inhabited history. It is often influenced by ideological bias or background. It is a place of contention for Judaism, Christendom and Islam. For example, the Jewish periods of the city’s history are important to Israeli nationalists, whose discourse states that modern Jews descend from the Israelites and Maccabees. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is not far from Jerusalem headquarters. The Islamic periods of the city’s history are important to Muslims, whose narratives suggest that modern Palestinians descend from all the different peoples who have lived in the region. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)’s night journey towards heaven right from the Dome of the Rock. These three parties claim but after the consecutive crusades the Christians apparently stopped warring with the Muslims to occupy the holy land. But it never ceased to be a bone of contention to Israelis and Palestinians representing two religions. Both sides claim the history of the city has been politicized by the other in order to strengthen their relative claims to the city, and that this is borne out by the different focuses the different writers place on the various events and eras in the city’s history. The city visitors sometimes suffer from Jerusalem syndrome. Jerusalem syndrome is a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem.

Istanbul

Unlike often-aggressed Jerusalem Istanbul is one of the fortunate cities. It is not ravaged repeatedly by the emperors, war lords or occupiers. It is the real Eurasia which connects between Asia and Europe. Historically Constantinople was capital of Byzantium, Roman and Ottoman empires for 1600 years. On 29th May in 1453 the most populous city came under the rule of Ottoman Turks. Even the Ottoman rule extended up to Hungary including Italy, Greece. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical centre lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. The city is the administrative centre of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Istanbul ranks as world’s 5th-largest city proper and the largest European city with a population of around 14 million.

Founded under the name of Byzantium on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BCE, the city developed to become one of the most significant cities in history. After its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 CE, it served as an imperial capital during the Roman and Byzantine (330–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin (1204–1261), and the Ottoman (1453–1922) empires. It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate.

Istanbul’s geostrategic position on the historic Silk Road, rail networks to Europe and the Middle East, and the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have produced a cosmopolitan populace. Overlooked for the new capital during the interwar period, the city has since regained much of its prominence. The population of the city has increased tenfold since the 1950s, as migrants from across Anatolia have moved in and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. Arts, music, film and cultural festivals were established at the end of the 20th century and continue to be hosted by the city today, and infrastructure improvements have produced a complex transportation network.

Approximately 12.56 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2015, five years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world’s fifth most popular tourist destination. The city’s biggest attraction is its historic centre, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its cultural and entertainment hub that can be found across the city’s natural harbour, the Golden Horn, in the Beyoğlu district.

Today’s Istanbul is sprouting, with a constantly growing skyline which is one of the most prominent in all of Europe and Western Asia. New developments are constantly being implemented including new metro lines, residential buildings and underground transportation projects such as the Tunnel under Marmara Sea — the deepest one in the world. Along with these developments, the city is increasingly becoming the centre of operations for many international organizations such as the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Turkic Council and D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation.

After the revival of political Islam and the success of a number of Islamist parties in election in some of the Middle East and North African countries, a new term is being coined— the Turkish model. Some Islamists are suffering what can be called ‘Istanbul Syndrome’. Istanbul Syndrome is an idolization of some-sort of Turkey’s leading Islamist political party and what it represents. The Muslim Brothers in Egypt, for instance, are still referring to the possibility of applying the Turkish model.

Belgrade

As Baghdad sprawled in between two rivers and was ravaged repeatedly so is Belgrade. Baghdad sprouted on the River Tigris and Euphrates but Belgrade city developed on the banks of Danube and Sava. It dates back to at least 7000 BC. One of the largest prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved from the Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, Thraco-Dacians inhabited the region, and after 279 BC Celts conquered the city, naming it Singidūn. It was conquered by the Romans during the reign of Augustus, and awarded city rights in the mid-2nd century. It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed hands several times before it became the capital of King Stephen Dragut in (1282–1316). In 1521 Belgrade was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and became the seat of a sanjak. It frequently passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, which saw the destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Ottoman wars. Belgrade was again named the capital of Serbia in 1841. The north of Belgrade remained a Habsburg outpost until 1918, when it was merged into the capital city. As a geostrategic location, the city was battled over in 115 wars and razed to the ground 44 times. Belgrade was the capital of Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918, to its final dissolution in 2006. To me Balkan is almost synonymous with battleground and Belgrade is the most beleaguered belt where battle cry was heard over hundred times in history. If any city suffer like Belgrade suffer dozens of war may be called a city suffering from ‘Belgrade Syndrome’ and that may be Baghdad not New York or Bern. Because Baghdad has that prospect of being second to Belgrade in the number of wars and Iraqis are braving thousands of kilometres in between Baghdad to Bavaria.

Thank Allah there is nothing like ‘Dhaka Syndrome’ like that of Jerusalem Syndrome. There is no possibility for Bangladeshis to suffer from Jerusalem Syndrome because they are prohibited to visit Israel. But Bangladeshis have every possibility to have Istanbul Syndrome because the Muslims have every right to go and visit Turkey and import political Islam though the present govt is very harsh on the Islamists here in the country. Last but not the least Dhaka may have Belgrade Syndrome if it is attacked by its hostile neighbours 114 times, though in near past it suffered one war in 1971 when Pakistanis played havoc with Dhaka. To reach the mark of Belgrade’s war tally Dhaka will have to go a long way having more wars with misfortunes, disasters and, of course, warring attitudes with its neighbours. Hope the capital of Bangladesh won’t follow the course of war, destruction, genocide and a total collapse.

Kids forums are linked with wars


After Harb al-Fizzar Hilf Al-Fudhul was established in 582/585AD when the sensitive mind of 15-year-old Mohammad was deeply moved. To see another children organization launched the world had to wait Great War that is World War I in 1914. Of course Lord Baden Powel launched Boy Scout in 1907-08 as Boar War had devastating effect on diverse societies including children. From Boy Scout or Rover Scout Girls’ Guide, Cub Scout were influenced. In the wake of catastrophic WWI, which ended in 1918, Save the Children was established in the UK in April 1919. After the World War II had ended in 1945, breaking out in 1939, UNICEF was kicked off in 1946. The world still needs some children organisations urgently against the backdrop of the world getting quite unsafe for the children but nothing to that scale is being seen in the horizon. Most probably the world is waiting for the Third World War to be saturated with children welfare organisations. That possible but unexpected war is most likely to give a boom to the number of children organisations. Until that tipping point of the planet probably the kids like Aylan and Galip will be being washed ashore.
Was Aylan Kurdi worthy of drawing attention of world children platforms when he was living? No he wasn’t either worthy of services provided by the Bangladeshi children organisations because Aylan or Alan was born as a child in war-ravaged Middle Eastern country Syria. On top of all a small portion of poor children born in Bangladesh avail the services of children organisations as it a developing country dogged by corruption and poverty. They are not even rich enough to keep watch on fellow Muslim country children. It could have been oil-rich Saudi Arabia to come forward by establishing international adolescents’ association and thus follow the path of Muhammad (PBUH).
But as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any nation else from the Middle East couldn’t establish international children organisation/s father of two sons—Alan Kurdi and Galip Kurdi — himself tirelessly tried to tailor his boys’ future. In Turkish temporary refugee camp, of course without refugee status and UNHCR recognition, they had stayed for three years. Seeing no future they attempted to escape the Arab world; first to Canada then to Europe but the Kurdis ended up in seas. They were washed ashore rather the humanity washed ashore. Their deaths certainly have deeply moved the children organisers across the planet including those of Bangladesh.
History of first rights organisation has a background story. At a place known as ‘Ukaz, a great annual fair used to be held during the month of Dhul-Qa’dah during which war and bloodshed were forbidden. At one of the fairs, war broke out between the Quraish and the Banu Kinanah on one side and the Qais ‘Aylan on the other. This war continued for a number of years. The lewd scenes, drunken affrays and the horrors of the war must have created a deep impression on Muhammad’s sensitive mind. When the Quraish were ultimately victorious, a organisation was formed to prevent disturbances of peace, to help victims of oppression, and to protect travellers. Muhammad took a very active interest in the functioning of this league which came into being as a result of a settlement known as Hilf-ul-Fudhul between Banu Hashim, Banu Taym, Banu Asad, Banu Zuhrah and Banu Muttalib. The league continued to function for half a century following the inception of Islam. Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) could have floated women rights organisation, committee to protect elderly people, association to assist Arabs, board to bar barbarism against the Blacks, animal rights organisation, uphold the underprivileged street urchins, green movement, anti-corruption movement, save the slaves, long march for the labourers, initiative for intellectual property rights, platform to protect our planet and the such like when he instituted hilf al fudhul to help the helpless people. Instead of treating all wounds of humanity separately he started preaching Islam once he was nominated for prophetic duty. Islam became an epitome of everyone’s rights, combining all the good qualities, theories, socio-economic systems in it.
History of children organisation in Russia, Bangladesh, China, Korea is also not long. In the first quarter of 20th century children movements in diverse names surfaced. Pioneer movement was kicked off in Russia. Bangladesh Scout Movement commenced in 1916 and China came to see children movement in the name of Little Red Scout or Little Red Guards. During this time young children’s forum was also formed in Pyongyang.
Bangladesh Scout Movement was started by SK Mallik with the patronage of British Empire primarily in missionary and government schools. Soon after 1916 anti-British movement started and then kicked off ‘bratachari’ movement. Poet Sukanta Bhattacharya came up with a children entity Kishore Bahini for leftist causes. Kolkata-based The Daily Anandabazar initiated Monimela to groom Hindu boys and girls while The Daily Azad floated Mukuler Mahfil to create worthy and Muslim citizens for Indian subcontinent. Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam rahmatullah chose the name Mukuler Mahfil and the organisation was launched on August 7 in 1941. Inspired by Mukuler Mahfil new organisation Mukuler Mela was kicked off in Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Assam in the backdrop of Pakistan movement but in 1947 the name was changed to Mukul Fouz.

Pakistan came into being once the British quit India. The number of Mukul Fouz’s branch organisations reached 400 during 50s and 60s. After partition in July 1948, East Pakistan Boy Scouts Association was formed merely by virtue of the government patronage. Against the background of Language movement in 1952 and over two months after the martyrdom of Salam Barkat, Rafik, Jabbar children society Khelaghar was established. The Daily Sangbad was the pioneer of Khelaghar. Nineteen fifty six saw the rise of ‘Kachikachar Mela’, brainchild of Begum Sufia Kamal and Abdullah Al-Muti Sarfuddin. The Daily Ittefaq became the centre of literary activity of it’s members. With two talented pioneers at the helm — writer Rokonuzzaman Dadabhai and artist Shilpacharya Jainul Abedin — the organisation clicked in different international competitions and won many prizes. Once again it proved that every organisation needs really talented guy to train its members and make it successful. In 1963 another organisation ‘Pakistan Shaheen Fouz’ was floated. It splintered into ‘Sabuj Sena’ and ‘Shaheen Fouz’
Another war broke out in between the Eastern and Western parts of Pakistan. War of Independence in 1971 opened a new phase. Phulkunri was established in 1978. Two other organisations — Chader Haat, Surya Sena — were also working in Bangladesh like 14 others. In 1979 an umbrella organisation ‘Bangladesh Shishukishore Kalyan Federation’ combining 16 organisations. Now the federation is expanded under ‘Bangladesh Shishu Kalyan Parishad’ with 54 children organisations altogether. Most of them are working without or minimum government support both in residential area as well as educational institutions.
War is in no way expected except a large number of good soul of the world are under attack. Any trouble affects children’s mind, particularly war endangers the lives of children. War child management, treating the kids’ trauma, socio-psychological effects of gun powder on tender minds pose a great threat to children, prompting to form organisations, be it for women or for children. No one expects the surge in the number children organisations. The more the merrier can’t be applied here.

Asma, Malala, Oishee


Awards for Malala see no dearth but there is few or no award for Asma let alone for the Oishee. They are three teens from three predominantly Muslim countries. Asma al-Beltaji is an Egyptian martyred in police shootout during an anti-coup protest in August. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani girl who was shot at by Tehrik-e-Taliban, Pakistan for her struggle against shutting down of her school in Khaiber-Pakhtunwa. And Bangladeshi drug-addict girl Oishee Rahman has recently hit the headline local dailies by killing her parents.

Everyone has a guardian though some have two guardians— one at home and one abroad. Fortunately! Malala had two. (Sorry Malala you didn’t experience the near-death thinking of having two patrons. You were rather surrogated by a second patron other than yours one in Pakistan) The first in question is different in terms of award luck but the second and the third have no guardians abroad. As the Asma was born innocent and wanted to remain the same. She didn’t compromise with the ideology or religion of nature she was born with. No state or agency or international bodies own Asma because she was uncompromising; no state own the 17-year-old girl, not even Iran because the girl is a Sunni not Shiite. Don’t talk about Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which houses Mekkah, patronized her killer not the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad al-Beltaji’s daughter. But Oishee, who was born innocent like Malala and Asma was compromising. She is modern; rather ultra-modern which is appreciated by capitalists and hedonist. (Sorry, Oishee you are rather victim of immorality and its secularist-military-capitalist patrons other than yours friends in Bangladesh). But she couldn’t have got some patrons abroad — viz yaba producing Myanmar, China and Thailand and phensidyle producing India. The companies, particularly around 200 phensidyle factories sprouted along Bangram in India to smuggle into Bangladesh only, in these aforesaid countries disowned her.

Three armies of the countries of these countries— Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh — are beneficiary of the US aid directly or indirectly.
In the last decade the Egyptian army received around 15 billion dollar from the US, next to 27 billion received by Israeli army, Pakistani army received 11 billion It is evident from the statistics that the more a country gets US aid the more it gets vulnerable both in terms of peace and prosperity. In 2010 FY the following countries received US army aid: Afghanistan 6.8b, Israel 2.799b, Egypt 1.3b, Iraq 1.0b, Pakistan 0.913b, Jordan 0.30, Somalia 0.2, Colombia 0.18b, Russia 0.13b, Sudan 0.1b, Mexico 0.96b and Poland 0.55b. The countries which receive US aid for their armies have the least possibility of people’s empowerment. In this regard the higher the aid the lower the possibility of democracy.

Bangladesh army apparently get no direct US benefit and the credit goes to the hardy and devoted soldiers-turned-peacekeepers of the country. But many analyst see it an opportunity and assistance to work for the UN peacekeeping missions abroad though not in cash. Thank Allah that our servicemen draw salary from government exchequer or taxpayer people. Everyone knows the US gives the highest amount of subscription for the United Nations which operate the peacekeeping missions around the world. Again thanks to the performance of the Bangladeshi soldiers, police etc the country sends the highest number of peacekeepers in the world earning only 500 million dollar out of 7.2-billion-dollar peacekeeping missions of the UN.

The international community is pouring in over 17 awards for the 17-year-old Pakistani girl. Yousafzai has won the following national and international honours:
International Children’s Peace Prize nominee, National Youth Peace Prize, Sitara-e-Shujaat, Foreign Policy magazine top 100 global thinker, Time Magazine Person of the Year shortlist, Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice, Rome Prize for Peace and Humanitarian Action, Simone de Beauvoir Prize, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Doughty Street Advocacy award of Index on Censorship, Fred and Anne Jarvis Award of the UK National Union of Teachers, Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, Global Trailblazer, One of Time’s “100 Most Influential People In The World”, Premi Internacional Catalunya award of Catalonia, Annual Award for Development of the OPEC Fund for International Development, International Campaigner of the Year, Observer Ethical Awards, Tipperary International Peace Award etc.

Asma al-Beltazi, being killed by Egyptian army-installed govt, has so far attained a few drops of tears of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tyeb Erdogan. Of course, eyes of around sixty percent people of 8-crore strong nation who voted Dr Morsi to power democratically back in Egypt welled tears. That’s all. No write-up or feature on Asma hit Time magazine or Washington Post or anyone of 7000-10000 top circulated print media around the world. Or ten lakh camera crews of over 20000 television channels (at a rate of 50 cameramen for one TV channel) failed to take shots for broadcasting. Last but not the least she got a letter of acclaim (thanks Internet) from her beloved father that starts like this:

My beloved daughter and dignified teacher Asma al-Beltaji; I do not say goodbye to you; I say tomorrow we shall meet again.
You have lived with your head held high, rebellious against tyranny and shackles and loving freedom. You have lived as a silent seeker of new horizons to rebuild this nation to assume its place among civilizations.
You never occupied yourself with what preoccupies those of your age. Even though traditional studies failed to fulfill your aspirations and interest; you have always been the first in your class.
I have not had enough of your precious company in this short life, especially that my time did not allow me to enjoy your companionship. The last time we sat together at Rabaa Al Adawiya square you asked me “even when you are with us you are busy” and I told you “it seems that this life will not be enough to enjoy each other’s company so I pray to God that we enjoy our companionship in paradise.”
Two nights before you were murdered I saw you in my dream in a white wedding dress and you were an icon of beauty. When you lay next to me I asked you “Is it your wedding night?” You answered, “It is in the noon not the evening”. When they told me you were murdered on Wednesday afternoon I understood what you meant and I knew God had accepted your soul as a martyr. You strengthened my belief that we are on the truth and our enemy is on falsehood.
It caused me severe pain not to be at your last farewell and see you for the last time; not to kiss your forehead; and not be honoured to lead your funeral prayer. I swear to God, my darling I was not afraid for my life or from an unjust prison, but I wanted to carry the message you scarified your soul for; to complete the revolution, to win and achieve its objectives.
Your soul has been elevated with your head held high resisting the tyrants. The treacherous bullets have hit you in the chest. What spectacularly determined and pure soul. I am confident that you were honest to God and He has chosen you among us to honour you with sacrifice.
Finally, my beloved daughter and dignified teacher: I do not say goodbye, but I say farewell. We shall meet soon with our beloved Prophet and his companions in Heaven where our wish to enjoy each other’s company and our loved ones’ company will come true.
Dalia Rahman Oishee, the ambassador of a range of drugs, liquor, cigars and an epitome of all other sins a child can commit, committed the gravest crime on the earth. That was she killed her father and mother only to orphane herself and her younger brother Ohee. She was sent to school where she had to wear headgear and she disliked that and eventually dropped out of that. She was then enrolled in an English language school where she came in contact with more modern, more fashionable rather ultra-modern generation imbued with all sorts of sins though not crimes. She spent three times higher than his father’s income, buying whisky, cigars, drugs and other sorts of liquors. Detective Branch of Police couldn’t notice, Anti-Corruption Commission couldn’t file a case against such seemingly corrupt guys, no suo moto was in place to officer in charge of Teknaf and adjacent border areas where the yaba is smuggled in from Myanmar. So the little girl was lost. Now yaba, phensidyle, hashish, opium and other liqour companies should be sued to compensate for the moral damage done to the once innocent little girl.

Rather we would arrange the teens in the following order— Asma, Malala and Oishee. Asma is the symbol of innocence, Malala the experience while Oishee is the epitome of ultra-modernism — a slippery way to moral decadence and total degeneration. Every human is born as Asma, most of them grow as Malala and falls as Oishee. All of them did what commoners don’t. Both Asma and Malala could have been famous and Oishee the infamous. Out of these trio only Malala is highly rewarded. The rest others were accorded or rewarded for their glorious (sacrificing life for democracy) or inglorious (killing father and mother) works.

720 Books, 694 journals published everyday in the world!!!


February is a month of language and books in Bangladesh but in the world it is a month of International Mother Language. All these happened because of the Language Movement on 21st February in 1952. Bangla-speaking people in the eastern part of the then Pakistan fought against Urdu for Bangla. May be the language martyrs and the veterans visualized the future of West Pakistan and also the influence the country would garner in the international community. So they fought for Bengali which is next to Arabic language-speaking Muslim community. Two hundred eighty million people in 26 countries speak Arabic while 250 million people use Bangla in eight countries. The latter is the fifth language in the world for which Salam, Barkat, Rafik and Jabber sacrificed their lives.

In 1950s over 50000 journals were published but the figure reached 1000000 in 2000. So many scholars are publishing so many scholarly articles at a rate of 694 journals per day. Nearly 29 journals per hour and over one journal in two minutes. What a mammoth amount of journals are published? So many intellectual stuff for scholarly people only. Journal companies are there to do these jobs all day and night. Intellectual property rights law is there for safeguard them. Patent offices are equally busy in delineating their sisterly jobs in cooperation with the academicians and journal companies. Everything is being done for humanity, anyone related with these industries may easily claim. But reality is that the more the research works, researchers, research funds the more the world is getting dogged by problems.

Many publishers and writers pass hectic time in book writing and publishing in February in Bangladesh. But seeing the spree of book publications in the world one Bangladeshi can easily mistake the whole year for February. The publication madness all the year round is equally hectic. In spite of the exponential decline in readership, thanks to TV, internet, movie and other visual media, the world is now producing 1051200 a year. Wow! At a rate of a book per every thirty seconds. What a gigantic number of books the industry publishes! So many books in one single year! Seemingly publication of books is booming when book reading is beleaguered rather the habit nose-dives. The former is in the zenith and latter is in the nadir. Whereas in the dawn of human history there were no books for the humanity except some commandments or directives. Adam the first homo sapiens without book was the best man on the earth who was ever born. Noah needed no book to guide his people though very small in number. Other prophets also followed the path of purifying the humanity, some without nothing or the previous or some with some commandments. Several thousand years elapsed without a complete book.

For the first time in human history on Moses/Musa (peace be upon him) got a book called ‘Torah’ to guide his people. It was the first complete book of the human history when there was not too many people. When Prophet Jesus/Issa (peace be upon him) was living there was as many as 25 crore people. There were then only three major books — Old Testament (the Torah), Jabur and New Testament (the Injhil or Bible). The Jabur was revealed on Dawood/David (peace be upon him). The time of Musa was preceded by Issa. The time was around three thousand years ago when there was a small number of people on earth. According to CIA fact sheet of demography the planet was inhabited by over 250 million when Prophet Issa/Jesus (peace be upon him) lived. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was living on the planet at best 350 million people lived in on the earth and during 1800AD there were one billion people. Now it is 7.1 billion. And now according to ‘The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing’ (1450-1800) the publication spree peaked in 2000 to 52 million whereas in 1550AD only 500 titles came to market.
How many books one can read in 50 years

If a reader reads voraciously all through his/her life s/he might have read more than one per second. So 3600 words can be read in an hour. Book reading speed varies book to book, time to time and person to person. One can read more than that very easily. But if you are examined on what you have written you must need more time to scan than skim. Rapid reading of story books is very easy.

As Francis Bacon in his essay ‘Of Studies’ said,
STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment, and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best, from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need proyning, by study; and studies themselves, do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know, that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt studia in mores. Nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies; like as diseases of the body, may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head; and the like. So if a man’s wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the Schoolmen; for they are cymini sectores. If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study 197 the lawyers’ cases. So every defect of the mind, may have a special receipt.

Very illogically indeed without any option of eating, drinking, merry-making, toileting or even sleeping a bookworm can read 1892160000 words (189.21 crore or 1892.1 million) in a solar year. And if he reads incessantly for 50 years in his life s/he could hardly read 94608000000 words (9460.80 crore or 94608 million). The calculation may open up your eyes and you will be wondered how many books you can read in your life. The more you spend time for eating, drinking, merry-making, toileting or even sleeping the less you read. But you can read 30 words when a whole book is being published every after 30 seconds. So you can’t read more than 30 words of the books, be it small or huge like those of Encyclopedia of Britannica let alone finish the latest books published in last one week. Don’t ponder on those published before your birth collected old collections in the Congress Library, British Library or Dhaka University Central Library.

How many books are needed to make human sensible?

Once I asked one of my leftist colleague of the guidance of humanity. He replied, ‘One composition at the end of Bengali grammar book’. Hmm… He probably over-simplified life along with its critical and serious questions. What he meant that a couple of proverbs — never tell a lie or always speak the truth and the such like. Are such cliché proverbs enough to answer the question of the humanity and enough to guide them properly. May be he wanted scientific inventions or secular civic laws to shoot the troubles of life. And answer the questions related with it. That 17 years schooling makes one capable of learning a life skill is known by everyone but there will be a few to tell how many hours in ethics and values classes needed to make one very sensible and moral. The question of morality and ethics is rather one of the lowest ranking discourses among the academicians dominating the western world than being popular.

The holy Torah, The holy Injhil contained some commandments while the holy Quran contains some guidelines for the humanity. It is usually said that some 500 shariah ayats are enshrined in the holy Quran. Four great prophets had their books to guide and the rest of the prophets had to guide their community in line with the books of the four great prophets. It may be very logical for the development of science and technology but to be a good leader or leaders one must need not so many books rather some commandments. May be ten or 500 commandments are enough. You don’t need to read a book every after thirty seconds to be a good professor, scientist, doctor or a journalist. Do you!

Alternative to Charity is Charity Only


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Developed needs no Donation but the Underdeveloped need it

Developed needs no Donation but the Underdeveloped needs it

Hedonism juxtaposed with humanism shows the striking contrast in the modern human character. The belief that pleasure is the most important thing in life (hedonism) and a system of thought that considers that solving human problems is the most important thing (humanism) is quite contradictory. Though capitalism tirelessly tries to teach tiny tots to be hedonist, a large section of common people shies away from the theory to accept humanism. They grieve at the sorrow and plight of the poor and the destitute and approach to help them with their savings coupled with good intention which is a must for charity works. But the term ‘charity’ is missing from the Oxford Dictionary of Economics.
Poverty is sure to rise if savings by billionaires of any society swells substantially. The higher the savings or concentration of wealth the higher the poverty. But the higher the charity the lower the savings because the more the charity the more the parity in a society. When the poor people save they die, the mid-income group save they develop capital for investment but when the rich people save they destroy the society by being mercenery and selfish.
According to Oxford Dictionary of Economics ‘The excess of income over consumption. This is a way of acquiring asset; for the economy as a whole it is the only way, since while individuals may gain or lose assets through inheritance or gambling, these cancel out on aggregation.’ So it is obvious that poor people who have not ‘the excess of income over consumption’ can’t save anything. A poor man can’t survive let alone save for investment.
Savings spells death for the destitute because they are poor and fail to earn their daily bread. If they, in spite of their poverty and pecuniary crisis, resort to savings they will be malnourished. Naturally an under-fed or half-fed man or woman can’t save anything for future investment. If they try to do so it will be self-denying and tentamount to suicide. Malnutrition will certainly end up in different health condition and the situation persisting for years will complicate the condition, leaving them to suffer from debilitating diseases and morbidity, even risking death.
Savings by the rich people turns equally dangerous for the society or country they live in. Aparently the act of savings is a good habit but if rich section of the society stops charity works and giving away alms, food, shelter to people in need it will spell destruction for the fabric of the society. Who doesn’t know that capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction. Small capital is eaten up by the bigger capital while the biggest corporate will put an end to big capital. So in this system today’s comparatively richer people will be rich one soon, rich people will be higher middle class, and someday lower middle class only to end up being poor. It will be tentamount to denying of the society which comprises its poor section and the disabled.
Though savings are dangerous for the poor themselves and for the society if it is practised by the rich people but it is always good for the both high and low middle-class people. They can save if they try heart and soul like Della of the Gift of the Magi. O’Henry depicted Della’s — a representative of lower middle class —savings delineately. She saved penny by penny by bargaining with butcher, grocer and others vendors. Though the short story writer didn’t explore why the salaries of the professionals like Della’s husband Jim had been diminishing day by day like those of crores of underpaid job holders, we can assure you of mindset of the present day corporates.
Charity plus good intention is in proportion to savings. A household usually puts into saving what remains in excess and give away a portion of the savings when it feels to feed or help a poor neighbour in crisis. So concentration of wealth by the rich is in proportion to poverty in a society. In absence of parity in wealth distribution begging goes up in a society and impoverished people particularly the disabled are prone to beg. A 2012-report on begging shows about 26 per cent of the handicapped people have been forced into begging by their own family members, says a study on street beggars. It also says there is a correlation between poverty and begging among physically disabled beggars. The study titled “Poverty, Disability and Street Beggars: Reflections from Dhaka City” also shows that beggars spend about 53 per cent of their income to arrange food for their physically able family members. If the policy makers want to heal this wound of the society they must harness the profiteering mentality of the industrialists who thrive on the bank loans in our country.
Since the inception of Bangladesh in 1971 there was a few research on the contribution of khairat, dan, sadakah, sadakatul fitra, jakat, donation and charity to the society at large. The corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities also need to be put under scrutiny in comparison with the wealth amassed by the local or multinational corporates. Though till 1996 as many as 77 articles and 27 books were written on these topics there is space and scope for more research. The place of charity or donation was deleted when the present-day economic system of the world in 1956. Till 2003 every household in the US on an average spent 1.7 in charity but the data on the contribution of charity in Bangladesh is missing from the data generator BBS.
But roughly there are four lakh mosques, 27000 educational institutes, thousands of orphanages, waqf states and temples and churches — most of them are established by people’s charity. Though there is no wage board or service rule or day off or other benefits for the domestic helps in our country. Same is the case with the several lakh mosques — their Imams and Muezzins and Khadims. Over ten lakh people are provided all through the year by the mosques and several lakh more during the Ramadan for khatam tarabih in a country infested by high unemployment. Both the contribution of quomi and mosques are never reckoned in raising the literacy rate of Bangladesh.
Usually a practicing Muslim gives away at the rate of Tk 2.5 per cent of their yearly savings ( over 7.5 tolas of gold or 52 tolas of silver) at the end of a fiscal year. The direction of jakat is enshrined in the holy Quran repeatedly often juxtaposed with the direction of salat. Apart from giving away mandatory charity (jakat) a good Muslim is not supposed to refuse a help seeker. And a good Christian is supposed to spend one tenth (tithe) of his income for religious causes. So charity is humanity and there is only alternative to charity is charity. For parity in wealth distribution it is a must. Without charity the humanity will fall and fail.

Criticise the contemporaries, spare the dead


History of not taking lessons from human history is as historical as the history itself. Only sensible persons and true believers take lessons from history. A person, who kills his conscience, suppresses insisting inner voice and goes on compromising immorality for sure, will not pay heed to good suggestions. Among the leaders prophets were the most sincere to take lessons from rise and fall of different civilizations of the world. Hope the majorities, be they Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus or Jews of the world, will take lessons from the history and behave with the minorities in their neighborhood accordingly because all of them are majority in one country when minority in other country. While behaving with the minorities the majorities should remember that they are minority in a distant land apart from religious values and universal declaration of human rights.
There is a cultural savagery ritually practiced among the leaders and activists of Bangladesh Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Toeing the lines of them a few of the Islamic political parties also criticise the dead leaders of the BNP and AL. In most cases in the parliament when AL in power hurls abuses against BNP’s dead stalwarts including President Ziaur Rahman and other nationalists the later walk out in protest. On the vice versa the former walks out of the parliament in the face of BNP’s abusive tirades against Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other secularist leaders.
As Bangladesh experienced the lowest ever temperature last winter it is widely anticipated that mercury most likely to go to the top, breaking a new record in this summer. Those of you are physically stout and disease-resistant couldn’t have been careless about health in this simmering summer let alone those who are vulnerable to severe heat. Apart from weather being extremist many sociopolitical and religio-economic incidents and developments in Bangladesh are seemingly taking extremist turn. Suppose when atheist bloggers extremely outshined Salman Rushdie, Dawood Haider and others in blaspheming Prophet Muhammad sallahu alaihi wasallam and in response to that several million people gathered in Motijheel on April 6 to denounce the defamation, blasphemy, character assassination and stigmatizing — which are prohibited in the laws of the land— the Prophet of Islam only. It was the manifestation of extreme capacity of an apolitical organization— Hefajat-e-Islam. Misinformation, disinformation and maligning to their new extreme point are going on in full swing by some so-called insiders primarily to serve the purpose of the anti-Islamic forces and countries and secondarily to debilitate the predominantly Muslim countries including Bangladesh. Speaking ill of others, backbiting of contemporaries and even back-lashing of dead leaders are done indiscriminately both by the activists of main two political camps— AL and BNP.
Even a section of good Muslims mistakenly follow the footsteps of nationalists and secularists whereas Islam teaches to spare the dead persons of being backbitten, as in the presence of Ikrama and his father Abu Jehel in the present case . It also teaches ‘la nufarriku bina ahadimmirrasuli’ not to differentiate between the Prophets. On top of all Prophet Muhammad sallahu alaihi wasallam even taught his fellows not to speak ill of the idols like Laat, Hojja and others in front of their worshippers who in retaliation may speak ill of Allah. In case of facts and concrete documents one can place them very positively.

Plagiarism and PhD Plague


Substantiating the widespread perception that PhD degree is a commodity and it is sold and faked the police are investigating an Indian university suspected of issuing fake PhDs after it awarded more than 400 doctorates in a single year. AFP reported The police have arrested four senior officials from CMJ University in the northeastern state of Meghalaya on suspicion of fraud and forgery and are hunting for the chancellor, who has fled. PhD faking and plagiarism are going all over the world hand in hand. There is no respite from such news of faking and cheating surfacing.
Probably it will be the most useless attempt to introduce Bangladeshi students with cheating in public examinations. Most of the illiterate guys in this country is not ignorant about copying or plagiarism. But it is growing useless to introduce plagiarism with the North American, European and Scandinavian students, albeit by virtue of media. In Bangla and Arabic plagiarism is popularly known as naqal and to Southeast Asian students the plagiarists are always on the prowl during exams. It is particularly popular with the inattentive students but quite unpopular with the attentive and studious ones.
In spite of rampant cheating and expulsion during exams one may ask what is plagiarism and what are its’ scopes? Usually the following activities are considered as adoption of unfair means:
communicating with fellow students for obtaining help excepting for collaborative work, copying from another student’s script or report or paper, copying from printed matter, hand-written script, writing on desk or palm of hand, or from other incriminating documents during quizzes or exams, plagiarizing or copying from existing work without reference for inclusion in report or paper, possession of any incriminating document, whether used or not, and any approach in direct or indirect form to influence a teacher concerning grades.
In old good days plagiarism was viewed as something highly immoral as other social decadences. Moral decadence of the modern world traces back to death and destruction havocked on the planet during the World War II. It all started when capitalism was put in place and Breton-Woods system was applied to the new world order after 1945 with the US in the helm. The moral standard started eroding during the Pakistan period and the moral depravation reached nadir soon after the independence of Bangladesh and the erosion is still going on.
Personally I know some guys who dropped out of education due to widespread cheating in public examinations in the seventies? They stopped studying even after getting first division in the SSC or equivalent exams. Who is to pay for their sheer frustration about studying hard to learn when cheating went rampant in SSC and HSC or equivalent examinations soon after the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971?

Very recently Harvard suspended around 60 students and disciplined others after a mass cheating scandal at the elite US university.
The cheating, said to have involved students sharing answers in a final exam on a government course, has startled the rest of the world. As many as 125 students at the $63,000-a-year university have been implicated in cheating since the officials first addressed the issue last year.
An inquiry was launched after a teaching assistant in a spring term undergraduate government class detected problems in the take-home test, including that students may have shared answers.
Cheating didn’t stop here in America it went on invading Europe and Scandinavian countries in fairly recent past. Not far ago Hungary’s parliament accepted the resignation of President Pal Schmitt, who announced he was stepping down after losing his doctorate in a plagiarism scandal. Schmitt’s 1992 doctorate was revoked last week after a university committee found that most of his thesis about the modern Olympic Games had been copied from two other authors.
The two-time Olympic gold medal-winning fencer had an instrumental role in pushing the agenda of Orban’s government, signing controversial reforms, such as retroactive taxes, into law.

But what happens in the European power house? Germany’s embattled Education and Science Minister Annette Schavan has resigned over a plagiarism scandal, dealing an election-year blow to Angela Merkel’s government. A university panel recently found the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) minister guilty of “deliberate deception” for using foreign text passages without proper citation in her 33-year-old thesis.
Schavan, 57, reiterated she would challenge the university’s decision legally, insisting that “I neither copied nor deceived” and saying that “the allegations have hurt me deeply”.
Schavan became the second Merkel cabinet minister to quit over plagiarism, which also ended the political career of former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in 2011. At the time, Schavan, a tireless campaigner for excellence in education, was among the fiercest critics of zu Guttenberg, then a rising conservative star, saying he should be ashamed of himself.
The plagiarism case around Schavan and her own 1980 doctoral thesis, entitled “People and Conscience” first surfaced in April when an anonymous online posting accused her of cheating.
A panel at Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf announced it was withdrawing her doctor title, a decision still subject to an appeals process.
Academic plagiarism scandals – fuelled by the advent of software that can easily find matching text passages in different digitised documents – have damaged several European officials recently. Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta resisted calls to resign over similar allegations.

Now one may ask why both eastern and western educational institutes launch anti-plagiarism drive when exams nock at the next door. Speculating on the reasons behind adopting unfair means in the exam halls one will find common causes similar to that of other moral depravations and social breakdown.
Primarily lack of study at home and subsequent failure in the answering the questions in the exam halls prompt students to copy from others’ answer script. But probably the political leaders like those aforesaid adopt unfair means in their doctoral thesis because they without giving proper time want certificate to invest in political career.
School students of the institutions which don’t arrange attractive classes often fail in the internal as well as public exams tend to cheat fellow examinees ultimately. This means they get less effective teacher-student contact hours. Absence of quality teachers complicates the situation. Even cheating marks Superior Service Pool and departmental examination in Bangladesh government services.

All over the universities and governments of the modern civilisation do studies for knowing about the social issues which most concern them. Even intelligence agencies like FBI conduct studies time to time. The rise in crime in most cases is linked with poverty, unemployment, rights abuse, injustice etc. Even some studies the real cause of social and psychological disorder was post-war freedom and individualism.
There goes statistics and study war in the world. The erupts between civilizations, nations, companies purportedly. Most of the agencies or countries financing their pet researchers to find out something which will serve their purpose. One of the recent studies, done by David Dickinson, of British Institute for Public Policy Research, it examined long-term trends in great detail and, among many other things, demonstrated the simple fact that most criminals are unemployed. Whereas FBI studies don’t hold unemployment primarily responsible for spurt in crime. If the same agency is assigned to conduct studies on terrorism the Federal Investigation Bureau most probably will not find US war on terror, killing of innocent people by drone attack, secretive killings by CIA etc.
Looking deep into the matter inquisitively factor we see invigilators’ lenience in the exam halls prompts students to adopt unfair means. Poor family values may be held responsible partially for cheating by students in public exams.
But why children turn criminal is a great question. There is study by Gwyneth Boswell of the University of East Anglia, reported on the backgrounds of children who kill, rape and injure. After looking at 250 juveniles in prison or in care for the most serious crimes, Dr Boswell found that 40 per cent had been beaten and bullied before they turned to crime and another third had been raped, buggered or otherwise sexually assaulted by a relative or family friend.
Poor pay coupled with poor education infrastructure results in poor performance of the teachers. Underpaid teachers, necessarily failing to meet their demands sufficiently with their salary, have to augment their income by doing something else. It certainly affects their performance on the campuses. This tension depresses them deeply and they fail to be 100 per cent sincere to their occupation of teaching. As a result students get the smaller pie of devotion. University teachers, certainly those who have demand on the consultancy market, look for consultancy jobs, part-time jobs in private university, get involved politics in some cases and those who have nothing to do. What about college teachers? Non-govt college teachers particularly those who get students for private tuition can augment income smoothly but those who don’t get tuition they do a variety of businesses including stock business to running a library.
Madrassah teachers of different institutions under Monthly Pay Order toe the lines of college and schoolteachers. A good number of them hardly make any difference though they know cheating is prohibited in the holy Quran and the Hadith. Pecuniary crisis prompt them to resort to augment income. What is the immediate effect? They get preoccupied with the profession yielding much or accruing much to his or her income. At the same time they get tired in adding something to their existing salary. So they poorly perform in grooming up their students and live up to the expectation of world standard. The students underperform, paving the way for cheating by the students in public exams. In defense of traditional madrassah education in Bangladesh a section of teachers claim that ‘Islamic education’ will be stalled if we don’t allow our students to copy each other in public exams. Surreal claim indeed. Is it true that without cheating madrassah students can’t pass those exams?
Different education commissions were formed in the last forty years to devise new education policy replacing the old one. The commissions successfully failed to do two things– on the one hand to make teaching profession as the first choice among 29 cadre job in BCS and to expand and popularise technical education among the 10 crore under-30 generation. Education budget in Bangladesh, a developing country, gets on an average around 2.5 per cent of the total budget but Pakistan gets the even lesser for its education. Whereas Japan, which is already a developed country in the world, spends around 47 per cent of their budget. Since the independence of Bangladesh has got several ministers for development of education but one state minister could successfully contain the cheating during 2001-2006 govt which was applauded by the cross section of people.
Enough investment in education, due importance on moral education, stopping concentration of wealth and recruitment of best quality teachers can best stop the plagiarism plaguing our planet. If our parents hadn’t loved most to groom us and the governments had been entrusted to educate us, most of the 710 crore people would have remained ignorant.