Perspective | The Daily Star
  • Rohingya refugee crisis, UN General Assembly and Bangladesh diplomacy

    The latest incident of the Rohingya refugee influx into Bangladesh has produced a scenario which is different from earlier influxes in two aspects: one is humanitarian, which can be legally interpreted in various ways, from forced displacement to genocide. Killings, torture, rape, forced expulsion and starvation has driven nearly one million Rohingyas to take refuge in Bangladesh since August 2017.

  • Corporal punishment ban and the aftermath

    On January 13, 2010 a ban was imposed on corporal punishment by the divisional bench declaring it as “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child's fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom.”

  • Shadowtime: Notes on living in two temporal scales simultaneously

    Memories of my father are keeping me awake tonight. Two hours to Fajr Azan on the Friday before Independence Day.

  • Debunking Bose's Myths

    Dead Reckoning: Memories of 1971 Bangladesh War (2011) appears to be shaded by unrealistic assumptions, preconceived non-factual notions, myths and an unclear agenda. There is also a severe deficiency of clarity. In this context, I would like to highlight the following points with the hope that the author, Sarmila Bose, would revise her book based on a factual analysis of what really happened.

  • Oxford's Neo-Orientalism

    Slowly but surely the world is coming to terms with the gruesome reality of Burma's genocide of the Rohingyas. As early as 2015 London Queen Mary College's State Crimes Initiative alerted the international community of the ongoing genocide in Arakan. Hardly anyone paid heed to that ominous warning.

  • Threats of the unseen kind

    A budding computer scientist pursuing a PhD at the McMaster University, Canada recently wrote a blog post on the increasing human capacity for self-destruction enabled by science. First, it was the atomic bomb created by physicists, then it was the nerve gas created by chemists, and now the neural networks created by cyber nerds that pump enormous power into artificial intelligence bots—bots that can take over our lives, manipulate our behaviour, and pretty much get us to do anything they please.

  • Giving as real wealth of 'human-omics'

    THE Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review has an interesting article this March titled "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? Turns out it's just chance", featuring Alessandro Pluchino's computer simulation to explore how people become wealthy.

  • Peace Over War

    Peace is often defined as the absence of violence, conflict, hostility, or war. Yet this definition is not only derogatory, but also deceptive. Peace is not merely the absence of violence; it is the vanquishing of oppression by independence—the victory of justice over injustice. You cannot separate peace from freedom, because a man cannot have his peace unless he has his freedom. If an oppressive society lacks violence, the society is nonetheless not peaceful, because of the injustice fuelled through oppression.

  • In search of a benevolent reader

    Writers are not usually the most beloved of creatures to those who know them. The reason, as Samaresh Majumdar once explained, has something to do with how they source material for their writings. He said he collected material from real-life events, social gatherings and personal anecdotes confided in him, and used that in his novels, sometimes to the chagrin of his sources.

  • The rich get richer, the poor get poorer

    The title of this piece is not just a cliché, but also a fact. Over the past two decades, Bangladesh has been experiencing an impressive economic growth.

  • Autism and Siblings: The Unsung Heroes

    When my twins were in their early months, during our visits to the paediatrician, I remember his concern about my daughter who appeared to be frail and weak. On the other hand, he would give my son a cursory glance and a brief check-up before reconfirming how healthy he was. Interestingly, my son started showing signs of autism from an early age, which gradually became worse while my daughter was

  • The Democracy Index: What it means and what it doesn't

    The recent announcement by a German foundation that Bangladesh is no longer a democracy has caused a stir in national and international media. The Bertelsmann Foundation, which tracks democracy around the globe, published its latest report showing that Bangladesh has slipped in its “democracy Index” measurement and has joined four other countries, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Uganda in the category of “new” autocracies.

  • Education Goal 2030 - What will it take to reach it?

    Children who are in grade one today will be in grade twelve, the final year of high school, in 2030. The Sustainable Development Goal number 4 (SDG4 out of 17 global SDGs) is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning for all by 2030. Where do we stand in reaching the education goals to which Bangladesh is committed?

  • Women's Day shenanigans and a reality check

    Huge drum rolls and pageantry surrounded the recent celebrations of International Women's Day. We can obviously feel enlightened on this front, having women as the chief executive of the government and that of the parliament.

  • Combating our fake news problem

    The Cambridge Analytica scandal has put the issue of fake news into spotlight again. It has also renewed conversations as to how best prevent fake news peddlers from manipulating democracies.

  • What Dhaka may look like in 2071

    It is easily conceivable that BBC would run a special feature titled “Dhaka: The City That Once Was” in 2071 as it celebrates 100 years of Bangladesh's independence. Dhaka's liveability, or lack thereof, is already a subject of much interest. But how do we avoid that near-certain predicament 50 years down the road? What can we do today?

  • Heeding the lines on the map

    At the heart of South Asia's poor integration is India-Pakistan rivalry, further complicated by China-Pakistan proximity and India-China hostility.

  • Time to adopt a visionary approach

    There has been a healthy debate as to whether Bangladesh should open up Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the apparel sector where, until now, the majority of investors are local entrepreneurs, with the exception of some foreign companies who have invested in garment businesses inside the Export Processing Zones (EPZs).

  • The unseen link between sexual violence and economic development

    This year's Independence Day has come with a new sense of pride and the hope of a promising future. Our country's move from low-income country (LIC) status to lower-middle-income country (LMIC), as per the World Bank's classification, has created hopes that Bangladesh's economic development will go a long way in the upcoming years.

  • Providing data privacy and protection to poor customers

    RESEARCH increasingly demonstrates that poor customers, just like other customers, value their privacy and care deeply about the protection of their personal data. But what do providers think about obtaining, using, storing and sharing personally identifiable information?

  • Quota, inertia and civic action

    Bangladesh's youth have done it again. The cause they stood for was fair and just; they remained resolute in their stand and united against all odds. For years, they waited for the revision of archaic provisions of public services recruitment procedure that privileged less competent ones over the meritorious. Years passed by, governments changed, Public Service Commission leadership changed, recommendations of various committees and commissions that argued in favour of amendment fell on deaf ears, and finally, patience of the youth ran out.

  • Whither law enforcers?

    Once again, a headline in The Daily Star grated: “Fifth-grader 'raped' by headmaster.” Another headline literally stung: “RMG worker gang-raped in moving bus.” Violence against women continues inexorably and with inexplicable regularity, reflecting the unconscionable disregard and disrespect that is held today for the helpless victims. Where does such abjectness come from? Is there something in the male ethos,

  • No more 'calmly sailing by', not after what happened in Kathua

    Who among us today, if we were born Hindu, does not have at least one relative or acquaintance who hates Muslims? Who among us does not have friends—men and women thought to be moral and humane—that have closed their eyes to the brutal amorality of the ruling regime, seeing it instead as the political road to India's salvation? Will they be able to carry on unchanged even now, after the people they voted in have sprung to the defence of the rapists and murderers of an eight-year-old? Will they fail even now to see that a girl of that age is neither Hindu nor Muslim but only a child?

  • Bringing transparency to public service recruitment

    The recent countrywide agitation against the quota system for selection of candidates for government jobs was successfully ended through the timely intervention of the prime minister. But our youth remain concerned about corruption in many other areas of the recruitment process. The authorities should pay heed to them before they turn into a full-blown crisis.

  • Improving the Hajj management system

    For thousands of Bangladeshi Hajj aspirants every year, the entire process, starting from registration to obtaining a visa to getting on the plane, turns out to be a nightmare.

  • Is the right to natural death too much to ask for?

    At this time, in this city, on this land along the shore of the Bay of Bengal, the angel of death works double time. There is always someone to kill, someone to trap or exploit, someone to drive crazy, someone expendable. How else will you explain the seismic waves of tragedies, misfortunes and betrayals that are breaking on our shores every day? How else will you justify your existence in a country so self-righteously preening itself over its moral credentials when, clearly, it is being dominated by thugs, rapists, and misanthropes?

  • Meeting Amar Mitra: The anguish of a complete Bengali author

    AMAR Mitra's literary achievements are formidable. His works of fiction have won India's coveted Sahitya Akademi Award (for the novel Dhrubaputra) as well as West Bengal's Bankim Puraskar (for the novel Ashwacharit).

  • Meeting Amar Mitra: The anguish of a complete Bengali author

    AMAR Mitra's literary achievements are formidable. His works of fiction have won India's coveted Sahitya Akademi Award (for the novel Dhrubaputra) as well as West Bengal's Bankim Puraskar (for the novel Ashwacharit).

  • Mirage of privacy in an Internet universe

    The benefits of unprecedented connectivity come with vulnerability to manipulation and exploitation, as exposed in Facebook's data misuse scandal involving the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

  • Quota reform alone can't solve youth unemployment

    Now that the dust has temporarily settled from the recent agitation for reform of the quota system in government jobs, it is time to calmly reflect on the next steps needed to establish a system that is fair and equitable and makes best use of the potential in our youth.