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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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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Ahsan Manzil Visit

I’ve been hearing about Ahsan Manzil since childhood, but never got the chance to visit it since it’s located in a different part of Dhaka. I went to that area for the first two months ago, and decided to go there again to visit the Ahsan Manzil. So my friend Shan and I kept making plans and finally went there today… and it was worth it. It’s a beautiful architectural monument that reminded me of our gloried past.

Ahsan Manzil
Located on the banks of Buriganaga river and very near to Sadarghat Launch Terminal, it was the residential palace of the Nawabs of Dhaka. Now turned into a museum, it has 31 rooms and 23 galleries displaying portraits, furnitures and household articles and utensils used by the Nawabs.

Front view of Ahsan Manzil

Closed on Thursday, the museum is open from 10:30 to 17:30 on weekdays, and 15:00 to 19:30 on Friday during summer time (April – September). During winter (October – March), it’s open from 9:30 to 16:30 on weekdays and 15:00 to 19:30 on Friday. Go ahead and spend an hour or two at Ahsan Manzil and enjoy it’s beauty only in return of a 2 taka entry fee.

Check out more pictures of Ahsan Manzil.

River Cruise on Buriganga

I was very excited about the cruise on Buriganga river, but all my excitement died within half an hour of reaching Sadarghat Launch Terminal. The place is way too dirty and full of beggars of all ages. The river is fucking dirty and smells shit.

I’ll never ever go back to that place without a very good reason. I never imagined a part of Dhaka could be so ugly.

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