Dhaka Roads Experience Emptiness Due to Eid Vacation

On the eve of the Eid-ul Azha, the second largest religious festival of Muslims, Thousands of people have already started to leave Dhaka for their rural homes to celebrate the festival after going through the hurdles of managing tickets for buses, trains and launches. The city experiences a vacancy from the alleys to the highways as more than half number of people will leave the capital.

It can be considered as blessings in disguise for those who will remain in the capital during the Eid. If the situations of Dhaka would remain the same all the year round!

Smoking and Body Image Q & A

Does smoking help you lose weight?
  • Smokers do tend to weigh less than nonsmokers – probably because smoking changes the way the body metabolizes (“burns”) food. However, teeth-gumsthis small weight loss comes at a high price: your health, appearance, and feeling of self-control. There are other less costly ways of losing weight.
  • Ironically, smoking leaves you out of breath and makes it harder to exercise. Cigarettes may make you a few pounds lighter, but they don’t make you fitter.

When smokers quit, do they gain weight?

  • Often they do, an average of 2-4 kilograms (4-9 pounds). That’s one reason why people who quit should get regular exercise, such as bicycling, swimming, skating or working out. Another reason is that exercise helps them make it through the withdrawal period. It doesn’t usually take much effort to lose the few kilos they’ve put on during the quitting process.

Does quitting smoking make you want to eat more sweets?

  • Nicotine affects levels of blood sugar (glucose) in the body, so that nicotine withdrawal can trigger a craving for sweets. Sometimes, smokers who are quitting also snack more often to fill the “gap” that cigarettes used to fill. These withdrawal symptoms pass, however.

How does smoking affect your appearance?

  • Nicotine constricts the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the skin. Without enough oxygen, skin ages faster – smokers end up with gray complexions and wrinkles.
  • Smoking stains the teeth and fingers, turning them yellow. The smell of cigarette smoke clings to the hair and clothes, making them smell stale.
  • Smoking also causes bad breath, which the smoker often isn’t even aware of, except perhaps in the morning. “Smoker’s breath” can’t be entirely washed away with mouthwash or chewing gum, because it comes from the old smoke and tars that have accumulated in the lungs.

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Sources:

Stop Smoking, Stay Trim (The Lung Association).

“Smoking, Weight and Appearance: Some Common Questions and Answers” from Facilitator’s Guide: Diary of a Teenage Smoker (Health Canada).

Here is a link which shadows the real nemesis of a smoker. I hope, you will never wish to confront such a horrendous situation:

http://cigarettesmokingkills.com/nicotineandyou.html

Hazards of Bus Travelling in Dhaka City

Bus is a common vehicle in cities all around the world and Dhaka City is not an exception. In our present days people of Dhaka city has become so dependent on bus that if there is no bus in the roads they will face great trouble to reach their destinations. However travelling by bus in Dhaka city has become a hazard itself.

Dashing and pushing of people to get into a bus
Dashing and pushing of people to get into a bus

 Buses are creating hazards not only in the roads but also there are hazards inside buses. As a result both groups of people, inside and outside of bus, have to suffer gravely.

Bus is no doubt a necessary vehicle for any cities. People of all occupations are in some ways dependent on bus but now a day’s bus is creating more hazards than the usefulness it possesses. We can divide these hazards in two parts. One is hazards creating by bus in the roads and other is hazards that we face inside the bus.

The large number of bus is for the benefit of people but because of some reason it has become the opposite. Even though there are a lot of buses available and the duration of the arrival of one bus to another for a certain destination is about five minute or less, the counter man won’t let the bus leave the station as long as other bus don’t show up.

Busses blocking the roads
Busses blocking the roads

 These resulting in partial road block narrowing the road as a lot of buses of different companies wait together in the bus stand. Main reason for this is to get more passengers in one bus for more profit. A lot of passengers have complained about this situation but they won’t listen. They do not sign the way-bill till the bus is fully loaded and sometimes overloaded! The Counter men of different bus service also create major sound pollution in the bus stand. They keep shouting the name of the bus and the locations the bus will cover to attract the passengers as loud as they can.

Bus counters on footpath
Bus counters on footpath

Making a lot of bus stand in the footpath without plan narrow down the foot path making it hazardous for normal public to pass by and with no other choice these public use the road instead of the foot path which often causes road accidents. The traffic police allocated in those areas are not that serious of this issue and unless there is a sergeant the counter men and the bus drivers ignore the traffic police resulting in a permanent hazard in that area. In the way as the buses do not maintain a single line, often the roads get blocked. The massive size of these buses makes it impossible for other vehicles to pass. It is also noticeable that sometimes the bus drivers compete with each other to take turns or to get better space to stand which ultimately results in accidents. All these were hazards created by either counter men or bus drivers however the passengers create hazards too. Sometimes instead of forming a line to get into the bus they rush towards the bus when it arrives at the bus station. They even do not listen to the conductor if he says the bus is loaded and there is no sit available. They argue with the bus driver and conductor and force their way into the bus. Funny thing is the person who was arguing with the driver or conductor to let him get into the bus, now argues not to let anyone else get inside and leave the station. They even use slang words and sometimes threaten the bus driver so that he leave the station quickly. But not every bus driver is about to tolerate this and ultimately gets engaged in fight with that passenger. Hazard once again!

Now let’s see the hazards inside the bus. The bus finally starts taking in more people than the seats available and just about a minute later it stops!

Hazard inside bus -  Passengers standing inside a running bus
Hazard inside bus - Passengers standing inside a running bus

 Why? It’s the next station already… Yes this is another hazard we passengers have to face. The bus keeps stopping in each minute because of the large number of counters on the way. It’s not like we don’t expect the bus to stop in the bus station, rather it is normal unless the number of counters are so many that the bus has to stop in every single minute. Already mentioned that the bus is already full and overloaded in the first station and at this station it’s no different rule. They put ever more passengers inside the bus. What if they don’t? Who cares the passengers will force their way in realizing that they won’t get any seat. After some more stations there is no place to even stand inside the bus. So what will happen in the several stations yet to come? The bus will just pass by? Wrong! The bus will take even more passengers! This time the passengers are struggling to hang on to the bus holding the handle of the bus door. With this situation every day the handle becomes wobbly and might fell off with those passengers in road anytime which the passengers do not care about until it actually happens. Now that the bus has no space left anywhere what’s the condition of the passengers inside? The passengers who were lucky enough to get seats in the bus is not lucky anymore as the passengers standing inside the bus are all over them. This situation gets worse when the bus shakes a little. Sometimes some passengers fell on other passenger not being able to keep their balance. This situation is bad enough but what if it is summer midday? Hazard once more! Sometimes the bus cannot take the weight of the passengers and face many technical issues making the situation unbearable for the passengers. They sometimes need to get off that bus and look for another bus if the driver and conductor fail to fix the first bus. The bus which is to take in all these passengers is also loaded already but the passengers won’t care as they are desperate to go to their destinations in time and so rushes towards the newly coming bus as if they are in a competition. The women passengers have no chance in this competition so they have to wait longer.

Speaking of women passenger, every bus now has nine seats reserved for the women, children and disabled. This is a good attempt to lower the sufferings of the women, children and disabled in a bus but the harsh truth is this is also creating hazards in bus. Sometimes male passengers sit on the reserved seats even though there are other empty seats in the bus. They promise to leave the reserved seat as soon as women passenger gets in but once a woman passenger gets in the bus they request her to fill the other reserved seats first. This sometimes causes quarrel between them. Sometimes the women in the bus get teased by the male passengers for this. The opposite happens too when male passengers sit in the reserved seat they are called as “Half Ladies”. Sometimes the passengers even forget that the nine seats are not only for women but also for children and disabled passengers. As a result the children and disabled passengers often suffer the most. The reserved seats only remain reserved in the day time as in some buses in the night the passengers do not care of the rule for those seats and sit however they feel like taking the advantage of the helplessness of the women at night. If any woman gather courage and asks the male to leave the reserved seats their eyes glows like savage beasts! If someone supports the women to get their seats, often there occur fights. Now I can say the word again, hazard.

The bus driver and conductor sometimes let some passengers get in who do not have tickets and take money from them instead but we can guess the money is not going to the bus company. They even let some hawkers and beggars get inside the crowded bus and create more problems for the passenger with their shouts. Sometimes the counter man does not give ticket to the passenger even taking the ticket price and asks the passenger to get in the bus without ticket. They normally do this if it’s the last trip of that bus service to get some money in their pocket illegally. The passenger who got up into the bus without the ticket as the counter man asked him to often gets harassed by the ticket checker and pays double payment as fine. He is facing a hazard no doubt.

Now let’s see an example of hazard I faced in a bus journey. I was on my way to my university by a bus and as usual it was overloaded. I was pretty lucky to get a seat in the bus but it was in the middle row. In the midway smoke started to come out of the battery chamber of the bus. The conductor noticing the smoke shouted at the driver saying, “Fire”. As soon as the driver stopped the bus, all the passengers without even trying to know the detail rushed towards the gate to get down. There was dashing and pushing all around. Some people even jumped out of the window of the bus. It was kind of fun to see all those passengers acting so brainlessly but I was not laughing because even though I was not rushing towards the gate, I was driven near the gate only by the dashing and pushing of the other passengers. Same thing happened to some other passengers who were trying to know what exactly happened. After almost all the passengers got down from the bus the conductor tells them it’s nothing serious just a wire got burned. The bus was empty now so I changed my sit from middle to front row as it was hot in the middle. The passengers now started to get up again and then it happens. A passenger came towards me and asked me to get up. I gently asked why? He became furious and replied in shout that it was his seat. I got amazed. The passengers who forced their way out pushing all other passengers inside and not caring a bit of their safety, now expecting the passengers who were still inside the bus to care for their seats! However the passenger who was shouting at me was older than me so I just left that seat and took other. Now I’m amazed again… why? The person sitting beside me now asking me, “Were you here?” It is mentionable that the seat which I had first was already taken by someone else. So this time I stood my ground and kept sitting in that seat as no one was claiming it.

So as conclusion we can say that the hazards we face every day in bus is not only the creation of the counterman, conductor or bus driver but also the creation of the passengers themselves. We all need to obey the rules and discipline when we are travelling by bus. We also need to be respectful towards other passengers in bus. The government and the traffic police need to be strict about bus control and placement .The bus service providers and the passengers need to co-operate with each other. Only then we can break the chain of these hazards and get enjoyable bus journey.

Dilemma of Child Labour in Bangladesh

While child labour is on a declining trend in other South Asian countries – India and Pakistan and in the world, it has been increasing in Bangladesh. This increasing trend in the incidence of child labour particularly focuses on the irrelevance or inadequacy of existing child labour laws in Bangladesh. Involvement of children in different labour fields raises the question of humanity all the time. Yet, we can not deny the need of child labour at all. The children, who are involved in child labour, are productive and supportive in many respects to the society, their families and themselves. So, there is a distinct quandary whether child labour is harming or supporting the society.

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Children are the best kind of scientists— thinks Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, the former president of India. But, the fate of the child labours are so awesome that, they can not flourish their inquisitive minds to the full bloom and are forced to be entangled with hard labour. Children are involved in more than hundred and fifty types of work among the double number of work fields. The labour force participation rate of children aged 10 to 14 years increased to 39 per cent in 2000 from 21 per cent in 1981— according to a report of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). It is a sign of deteriorated situation of children’s involvement in labour fields. Children are forced to remain attached to various jobs including some dangerous work; such as— acid workshop, automobiles, drug selling, etc.

child-labour-bangladesh-vip-ez4

The incidence of child labour is not new in Bangladesh. It was prevalent mostly in the rural setting of Bangladesh as a normal socialization process. In the agrarian society, children have worked and still work alongside their parents in the field or in the home as a process of household production under parental protection, but for the survival of the family. It is found that children in rural Bangladesh contribute to their family’s income as early as five years of age. Child labour has been attached so deeply to rural life, year after year that it is often regarded as something very natural and a legitimate practice; nobody thinks that it may have any adverse effect on a child’s schooling and development; rather it is considered to some extent as a part of their education and socialisation. These children become endurable to the hardships of reality to the long run. It is a good sign of such kind of child labour.

child_labor_bangladesh

Male children become the net producers of the family at quite an early age (by the age of 12 years), and after the age of 15 years, their cumulative production exceeds their cumulative consumption— reports BSS. The participation rate of boys is relatively very high in comparison to female children. Child labour as household work is not counted formally. Child sex workers are a curse of society. Child labour has become more visible in recent years, particularly because of the emergence of garment industry in Bangladesh during the 1980s, and the widespread use of child labour by this industry. By being attached to such booming sectors, children are being able to turn them as experts for future market.

It is a bad sign that the children are being dropped away from their academic education because of their involvement as child-labourers. They cannot manage time to go to the playground. Children of this kind have greater risks of confronting physical disability, mental lethargy, accident or death.

At the same time, children of this kind are capable of their enhancing their imaginative creativity alongside practical knowledge. Their endurance is more than that of other boys. As they are not idle, there is no scope for them to go astray.

According to the Population Census of 1974, the urban child labour participation rate accounted for 15.5 per cent in 1974, but this figure increased to 31 per cent in 1999–2000 for children aged 10–14 years as reported by the Labour Force Survey. The urban child labour (10–14 years) participation rate has been increasing more rapidly than the rural child labour participation rate since 1989. Thus, they are taking part in our economy & production directly.

child-labor-banned-in-india

The Children’s Act of 1974 prohibits the employment of children less than 16 years of age in begging, and the exploitation of children in brothels US DOL (2003). Repression of Women and Children Prohibition Act of 2000, trafficking of women and children is an offence punishable by death or life imprisonment. These laws, however, focus mainly on the employment of children in the factory, shop and establishment sectors ignoring the employment of children in the rural economy. Bangladesh’s labour law does not make any reference to the problem of child labour in the agricultural sector, which absorbs almost 65 per cent of the total child labour force. Therefore, the agricultural sector, small-scale business, informal sector and household employment are exempted from these laws. Thus, more than 80 per cent of the economic activity of children falls outside the protection of the labour code. Their economic activities should be counted duly.

The dilemma of child labour is very rational. It seems deep-rooted in our social structure. It is not a natural phenomenon. It is a kind of our self-created approach. We can neither accept the go of the child labour, nor can we deny it. Children are the part of society. A recent survey shows tahe, 56.2% children drop out before completing the primary education level; poverty is the prime reason behind it. A great number of them are invisibly forced to be involved in various burdensome labours to support their families. As this phenomenon has become the part and parcel of society, we need to reform the job environment by inserting educative stuffs in these. For the better formation of social & psychological development of this tender labour class, a proper environment of evaluation should be set up. It will definitely motivate the child labourers to perform their job with satisfaction. By classifying their job criteria, we can lessen their burden and diminish their risks at job sector.

Below link shows some more heart rending scenes of Child Labour:

http://www.zoriah.net/blog/2009/04/guest-photographerphotojournalist-gmb-akash-child-labor.html

Conflict between Nationalism & Internationalism

Nationalism denotes idea, feelings & action related to indigenous, patriotic essence; whereas, Internationalism holds up closeness with globalization. The senses of nationalism and internationalism are ordained from opposite poles. So, differences are inevitable between them.

Conflicts are predictable between Nationalism & Internationalism. The people with nationalist fervour can never comply with the ideology of the people with internationalist zeal. Disagreements can be of political, social, religious, ethical, economical, psychological, cultural & so on.

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The core spirit of Nationalism lies in sovereignty & native culture. A nationalist fellow all the time thinks of the betterment of his compatriots & motherland. It is a matter of continuous practice and by gradual sharpening, a person becomes a nationalist. A person armoured with nationalism is habituated to do (of think) good for the motherland of any kind as and when required. The idea of nationalism is a broad sense. It can not be defined, however, with a single definition. Nationalism generally involves the identification of an ethnic identity with a state. The subject can include the belief that one’s nation is of primary importance. It is also used to describe a movement to establish or protect a homeland (usually an autonomous state) for an ethnic group— defines Wikipedia. A person with the notion & belief of Nationalism instilled in him may search the history, origin & evolution of indigenous language, culture, people & nation. He may wear the dresses; listen the tunes & music; relish the dishes; study the books that match with native heritage & culture. He may deny migrating abroad in lieu of serving the motherland by being attached within it. All such actions & spirits are the emblems of nationalism. It is a rigid process that can not be altered radically. They are the orthodox believers.

During the Language movement in 52, or during the Liberation War, the people who were in the part of Bangladesh— were to the top of the spirit of Nationalism. To get rid of the colonialism, the Independence Movement of the subcontinent from the clutch of British— is another good example of Nationalism. Celebration of Bengali New year is ingrained in Bengali culture. Games like, boat race & kabaddi symbolize indigenous identity. Rural fair, Baul concerts, patriotic song & poetry, national anthem, using native products, wearing lungi, punjabee or fatua— categorize people with Bengali Nationalism.

Internationalism deals with the issues beyond the native sense. Internationalism is a political movement which advocates a greater economic and political cooperation among nations for the theoretical benefit or common good of all— is one of the recognized definitions of Internationalism. This doctrine believes that nations should cooperate because their common interests are more important than their differences. It always keeps pace with the contemporary trend of the world. Interestingly, the go of the world changes every now and then. So, the notion of internationalism changes as well. The internationalist people are liberal enough to grab & appreciate the proceedings of the world. They think that, Internationalism broadens the vision, uplifts the career, secure the life & bread, enhances the scope of betterment, practices a comparison between indigenous & exotic matters. A fellow with the view & belief of Internationalism inculcated in him may wear the dresses; listen the tunes & music; relish the dishes; study the books that comply with alien heritage & culture. He may switch to abroad in lieu of serving the motherland by being attached within it.

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People with the vigor of Internationalism keep pace with the aspects which are not indigenous. They may like attending rock concerts, eating fast foods, celebrating like Thirty-first Night or New Year or Valentine Day, using imported/foreign product, migrating permanently to foreign countries, wearing foreign cloths, showing grudge for native people and so on. Some International blocs like UN, SAARC, ASIAN, Commonwealth, have been created with a view to bring the world under globalization. Interestingly, these sorts of organizations have created division & instability through cold war & other kind of wars. Materialism, dominance over pelf & power, vulnerable privacy of nations have overwhelmed the world.

A man cannot be a nationalist & internationalist simultaneously. This kind of duality is impossible because that implies the identity crisis. A person suffers from identity crisis. It is better to support one part. From my point of view, Nationalism should be the better choice. Being international is not bad until it splits individuality. One should be devoted to one’s motherland. Serving the nation, nourishing its culture, inculcating its spirit, upholding its tradition— can cement the footing of a person as a superior human being. Internationalism comes later.