Society | The Daily Star
  • 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.

  • Redefining maleness in a man’s world

    The myriad stories of sexual assault that flood my Facebook feed are reflections of the sexism and misogyny that are deeply ingrained in our social fabric.

  • Protect languages, protect peoples

    The images of indigenous people are exhibited by the Bangladeshi government for various purposes. A video entitled “Beautiful Bangladesh: Land of Stories” and made by the Bangladesh Tourism Board also features the water festival of Marma communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) to attract tourists to Bangladesh.

  • Student agitation: Signs of egalitarian aspirations

    On the morning of July 24, 2019, a few photos of academic buildings of the University of Dhaka surfaced on social media. The caption of the photos read: “Do not pay heed to the rumours and attend your classes and exams.

  • Rumours and mob killings: What are the underlying causes?

    Many of us have been left stunned after witnessing a series of mob attacks on people being accused of kidnapping and murdering children.

  • How elite capture of society prevents equality

    From Socrates to Sartre, since the dawn of time, it has been more or less accepted, although not always implemented, that the tools for transformation should be made available to people from all walks of society.

  • Breaking harmful taboos in society

    Bangladesh has been witnessing an alarming rise in rape cases, particularly child rape cases. Between April and June this year, child rape cases increased by 102 percent from the previous quarter; the number of child rape cases filed so far in 2019 is around 500. This makes me wonder whether men are becoming more violent or just switching over to children as they are more vulnerable and easier to target.

  • It’s on us to end rape culture

    The truth is, we, as a society, have failed: we haven’t found a solution to the pervasive rape culture in Bangladesh—over 630 women have been raped in the last 6 months (Ain O Salish Kendra)—because we haven’t been addressing the problem in the first place.

  • Breaking the backbone of a nation

    Childhood recollections eventually start resembling the bright, vivid pages of a favourite storybook. We turn those pages someday,

  • Prof Masud Mahmood

    Literature, kerosene and Professor Mahmood

    The moment the news of students pouring kerosene on a professor came to my attention, I instantly thought it must be fake news. Either that or I was hallucinating. Because the thought of pouring kerosene on a professor and trying to light him on fire—an attempt to murder—is indeed shocking.

  • Think before donating to orphanages

    While working in Liberia during 2013-2014, I along with the team had an opportunity to support the government in implementing their deinstitutionalisation policy.

  • Raising our boys to be good, healthy men

    “Boys will be boys.” This carefully constructed sentence consists of a mere collection of words. It dominates our dialogues, reflecting the mindset that governs our society, our homes and the misogynistic atmosphere that we breathe.

  • Save Dewanbari before it’s too late

    Dewanbari is a beautiful historic site located at Aminbazar, Dhaka. Declared as a “heritage site” through a gazette notification on February 2, 2009, the complex is comprised of a palatial residence, a three-domed mosque, a pond and a graveyard.