Are we really there yet?
Just a couple of days back, a friend was talking about her “eligible for marriage” sister whom the potential groom's family was about to “see” that evening. What bothered me was that the groom-to-be lives abroad and won't even be present during the first meeting. His parents were just coming to see whether my friend's sister would make a good wife to their son or not. How can you know a person in one meeting when it comes to making such a life altering decision. On another occasion, I was talking to someone about a common friend who was “looking” for a girl. I imagined a market place where I was looking for a fresh, shiny fruit. Even though we talk about equality, we are still ages behind when it comes to treating women equally to men. I am not asking girls to adopt the same method to “look” for the perfect match. It's about having the right to take one's life in their own hands. It's the 21st century; we talk about equality and gloat about having a female leader. And yet, we end up with dishevelled faces struggling to fight for female rights in a land of non-empathisers. These stories will probably not be taken as seriously, but it shows the mentality and attitude of our general people. It shows how women are still being showcased to the world like a product in a shop, waiting to be chosen by people who think that they are “right” for them.
Purana Paltan, Dhaka
In the Hope of Enlightenment
One evening I was going to Dhanmondi 32 on a Gazipur bound bus from Azimpur. There was unbearable traffic congestion on the road. So, after reaching Kalabagan, I decided to walk the rest of the way to Dhanmondi. As I walked by Dhanmondi Lake, I noticed that two kids, who lived by the lake with their parents, were reading books in the light of lamp posts. People like me who were passing by were as astonished as I was to see their enthusiasm for study. Despite my desire to talk to them, I could not stay there for long. I just want to say that these kids are like our brothers. They have dreams just like us. They also want to be educated. We have a responsibility towards them. Being a teacher, I have seen many students who never concentrate on their studies. Their parents had to resort to energy drinks like Complan and Horlics to “increase” their kids' concentration. Private teachers are hired to teach these kids in every subject. I suggest that these parents who spend lots of money on their kids' education -- follow the example of these poor kids who after working or begging all day long, try to continue studying in the dim light of a lamp post. I urge people who feel that they have a responsibility toward society to bring these poor children to light. Let their potential be explored. Who knows some of these kids might one day turn out to be the next Ishwar Chandra Biddyasagar?
Md. Abir Hossain,
Government Titumir College, Dhaka