Looking back at the 50 years of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad

With the whole world entangled in the coronavirus pandemic, we have no other option but to shut down all work and fight to contain the deadly disease.

Changing the shy world of adolescent girls

Back in 2017, we had an opportunity to build a small and experimental toilet in Jhalokati, with the simple intention of helping adolescent girls in a rural school who had no real toilet to avail.

The Magic of Scripts

WhileE grow-ing up in a Tripura community of Khagrachhari in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, an ethnically diverse and geographically distinct region of Bangladesh, I became familiar with a myth that explained why the Tripuras did not have a script or writing system of their own.

Yin and Yang of the Brahmaputra

A lone structure is taking shape on a featureless, grey horizon. Two figures work under the beating sun, on an otherwise deserted landscape. One digs, the other carries loads of earth on her head.

Lessons to still learn from the ‘Meena’ cartoon

The generation of the 90s where I belong to has grown up with a very popular group of cartoon characters: Meena, Raju, and Mithu.

A man’s share in ‘women’s work’

Society imposes different roles and responsibilities on men and women based on the gender of an individual which at times impede the development of individuals.

Why are social safety net programmes so crucial?

I have been asked by several close friends recently, why we need social protection measures to address poverty in Bangladesh—a country which has the world’s largest microcredit programme. One might ask: is it because the microcredit programme is not fulfilling its promise of alleviating poverty and social protection is therefore going to replace it?

Is banning student politics the solution to campus criminality?

The death of Abrar Fahad epitomises the need for tolerance towards dissenting voices. He is a martyr to the cause of free speech. Employing his brutal death to silence political dissent and to eliminate political rights on campus is wrong. He did not deserve such betrayal.

Reimagining social protection for older people

Every year October 1 is observed worldwide as the International Day of Older Persons. The theme for this year’s day is “The Journey to Age Equality”, which calls attention to increasing old-age inequalities and seeks societal and structural changes in social protection

The ‘Get-Rich-Quick Syndrome’ and our dilemma

How to get rich quick? That’s the question I once asked my professor of economics when I was studying in the United States in the late ‘80s. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said, “Well, son, if getting rich is really important to you, then you should probably not study economics, better go to any third world country and start your own business or just get into politics.”

In pursuit of social security for the urban poor

It was a week after the recent fire incident that turned everything to ashes in a slum in Mirpur when people like Shahida Begum were looking for help to restore their normal lives. The only people that came to their aid and fed them were their neighbours. Poor people

Are we serious about ending violence against children?

A report titled, “Keeping the Promise: Ending Violence Against Children by 2030” has recently been presented by Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, at a side event, “Putting Children at the Heart of the 2030 Agenda” during the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The emerging challenge of our health footprint

Health footprint is the public health burden we create from day to day activities. When we or our families get sick, in developed countries insurers or state foot the bill for healthcare who then passes the cost on to the public as insurance premium or taxes.

How can senior citizens complete the journey of life alone?

At present, the global population of senior citizens is growing significantly faster than the population as a whole.

Putting an end to modern-day slavery

I must have been 15 years old when I heard my mother say, at a family gathering, that one of the biggest reasons why she missed Bangladesh was the existence of “buas” who would do all the housework while she took a break. Growing up in Kuwait, I did not understand the significance of her comment then. It took me seven years of living in Bangladesh and another three outside the country to call this institution a form of modern-day slavery.

When the monsters came out of the closet

It is the eve of Eid-ul-Azha. A little girl goes to a neighbour’s house to apply mehendi on her hands. A skip in her step.

Justice, where are you?

One of my close friends from law school is currently undergoing psychosocial counselling for severe depression. ­I met him over coffee last week, and asked him about it.

Slums: Whose problem is it anyway?

The recent fire incident at the Chalantika slum in Mirpur has perhaps been the kindest to the victims: claiming no lives, only their life’s possessions. The fire that broke out around 7:20pm on August 16, 2019, engulfed more than a thousand shanties, leaving thousands of people homeless. It took 24 firefighting units hours to reign in the insatiable flames. A lot of the slum dwellers had been away to their native villages to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha, serendipitously escaping the blazing fires. Concerned authorities have also been quick to contain the situation and provide relief to the affected people, with DNCC operating treatment facilities for the victims.