Hartal, Hartal!


The National Committee on Protection of Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports called a half-day strike on 14th September 2009 in capital Dhaka to protest the government’s recently announced gas exploration deals with international companies. It was first hartal since 2006, and also the first one after the current government came to power early this year.

I was at Paltan the entire morning, and here’s the coverage of the hartal processions, protests, more.

Hartal Coverage: Snap I (by Russell John)

Hartal Coverage: Procession I (by Russell John)

Hartal Coverage: Procession II (by Russell John)

Hartal Coverage: Procession III (by Russell John)

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Crowd Fashion Contest


Crowd Fashion Contest: Snap 3

Crowd Fashion Contest: Snap 8

Crowd Fashion Contest: Snap 16

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Song of Bangladesh


Bangladesh, Bangladesh
Bangladesh, Bangladesh
When the sun sinks in the west
Die a million people of the Bangladesh

The story of Bangladesh
Is an ancient one again made fresh
By blind men who carry out commands
Which flow out of the laws upon which nation stands
Which is to sacrifice a people for a land

Bangladesh, Bangladesh
Bangladesh, Bangladesh
When the sun sinks in the west
Die a million people of the Bangladesh

Once again we stand aside
And watch the families crucified
See a teenage mother’s vacant eyes
As she watches her feeble baby try
To fight the monsoon rains and the cholera flies

And the students at the university
Asleep at night quite peacefully
The soldiers came and shot them in their beds
And terror took the dorm awakening shrieks of dread
And silent frozen forms and pillows drenched in red

Bangladesh, Bangladesh
Bangladesh, Bangladesh
When the sun sinks in the west
Die a million people of the Bangladesh

Did you read about the army officer’s plea
For donor’s blood? It was given willingly
By boys who took the needles in their veins
And from their bodies every drop of blood was drained
No time to comprehend and there was little pain

And so the story of Bangladesh
Is an ancient one again made fresh
By all who carry out commands
Which flow out of the laws upon which nations stand
Which say to sacrifice a people for a land

Bangladesh, Bangladesh
Bangladesh, Bangladesh
When the sun sinks in the west
Die a million people of the Bangladesh

Written, tuned, and sung by American folk singer Joan Baez. She performed it at “Concert for Bangladesh” in Madison Square Garden in 1971. The song was originally named “The Story of Bangladesh”, but renamed later on.

DST Starts in Bangladesh


Bangladeshis experienced 23-hour long day yesterday. At 11 o’clock at night country’s clocks were turned to 12, introducing daylight saving time (DST) for the first time. I congratulate the government for taking this initiative, something they should have done long ago just the way they should move the weekend to Sunday from Friday, but that’s another issue. ;)

Microsoft has released a DST patch that I heard works, but if you’re a Linux users then use your package manager or update manager to update your tzdata version so that your computer is DST “compliant” too. Bloggers and social networking site fanatics should change their timezone to GMT/UTC +7 from the respective settings page/control panel, so that the correct time is displayed.

I’m really happy that I’ll now get an extra hour to shoot pictures outside. Earlier I had to packup by 5:30, but not anymore! Yay. :)

Bangladesh Fact File


In case if you wanted to know more about Bangladesh…

  • Bangla (also known as Bengali), the national language of Bangladesh, is the fifth most frequently-spoken language in the world. Bangladesh became a country in 1971 when it declared its independence from Pakistan. Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan, or East Bengal. West Bengal is a state in India.
  • The word Bangladesh was coined around 1971 when the country was formed: it means land (desh) of the Bangla (Bengali people).
  • Bangladesh is bordered by two countries: India and Burma (Myanmar).
  • Bangladesh has its own 12-month calendar with six seasons.
  • Bangladesh is known for its production of the jute plant, whose fiber is made into carpets, rope and other products. Jute is known as the golden fibre in Bangladesh.
  • Every region of Bangladesh has its own dessert (mishti): if you are eating Chom-Chom, you’re in Tangail, if it’s Roshmallai you’re in Comilla, or Monda if in Muktagacha.
  • In Dhaka, all of the autorickshaws and most of the taxis run on clean-burning natural gas (CNG) rather than diesel or petrol.
  • The Bengali people of Bangladeshi fought for the right to speak their own language in 1952, this event is now commemorated worldwide as International Mother Language Day.
  • The monsoon season in Bangladesh is generally from June to August. If you visit then, bring an umbrella.
  • Bangladesh lies on the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees northern latitude). Other countries on this line include Mexico, the Bahamas, Eygpt, Saudi Arabia, India and China.
  • Bangladesh’s parliament building, an architectural landmark, was designed by an American architect, Louis Khan.

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