An Imposed Friendship and Our Humiliation.

Originally Published on The Weekly Economic Times
M. Tawsif Salam


Dr Dipu Moni’s remark about Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty that he breached a diplomat’s code of conduct was not her first remark to be considered as a flap. She received spectacular criticisms after forgoing an Indian journalist who marked Bangladesh as a ‘buffer state’ in a press conference presided by her.

People from the top brass of present Awami League government power structure have set some more examples of being kind to forgo a couple of commentaries of people associated with India. The most recent one was Dipu Moni’s presence in a seminar where Indian High Commissioner added the adjective ‘so-called’ while naming Bangladeshi experts, especially those who are critical to India’s unpopular Tipaimukh dam. After Chakravarty’s remark, BNP’s lawmaker Adv Mahbubuddin Khokon, who is also BNP’s lone representative to the parliamentary panel for foreign affairs, demanded immediate expulsion of the rowdy diplomat.

Following Khokon’s demand, Dr Dipu Moni’s popular remark about Chakravarty’s breaching the code of conduct was almost covering up the controversy that she caused by her silence against humiliation of Bangladesh.

Now, it’s to be noted that Dr Dipu Moni became a part of several events where she received criticisms either by her humiliating silence, or by her apparent incompetence to put thrashing replies against insulting remark against Bangladesh; and throughout all these Awami League’s attention to her activities never became public.

But at a certain point Awami League top brass became really tensed about her statements and took no time to differ what she said about the rowdy diplomat. After no time from Dr Dipu Moni became coldly vocal about Chakravarty’s rowdiness, Awami League’s spokesperson and the Minister of Local Government and Cooperatives Syed Ashraful Islam said that he at no point thinks that Chakravarty has breached a diplomat’s code of conduct.

To some extent it was a common idea that Bangladesh Awami League’s ‘more friendly than necessary’ stance to India is just a general point of criticising them, which is often practiced and not necessarily the claim has to be too definite or abundantly substantial. But behaviours and speeches of responsible government persons, political or non-political, put admissible evidences backing the supra-enthusiasm of the present government on issues those concern Indian purposes more than those of Bangladesh.

The Tipaimukh dam issue has seen more passes than sometimes satirically presented Dutch ‘total football’ could ever have produced or suggested. We don’t know who were midfielders, attackers or defenders, but the passes have been subsequently carried out by the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Water Resources, and Environment & Forest, without much of the senses of their particular roles. Whenever the responsible individuals received stern quizzes about the issue, they either kept passing it to other offices, or made remarks those are solely enough to humiliate the sovereignty of a nation.

The Minister of Commerce Col. Faruk Khan, who in accordance with his official functions wasn’t supposed to be concerned about the issue, claimed all of a sudden that the Bangladeshi experts who are being critical to Tipaimukh issue don’t know anything.

Following his statement, Chakravarty made two subsequent comments; one is that the protest against Tipaimukh issue was politically ill-motivated, and the other is no laws on earth could bar India from building Tipaimukh dam. Quoting Chakravarty, Minister of Communications Abul Hossain said the protest against Tipaimukh dam is insubstantial. Minister of Water Resources Ramesh Sen, who did something more serious than a quotation, commented that if there is any negative impact of Tipaimukh dam, Bangladesh should concede the damages at least for sake of the alliance with her greater neighbour.

As it has been told earlier, this series of comments is solely enough to humiliate the sovereignty of a nation. The present government as well as the ruling party, and most importantly Syed Ashraful Islam who was in a hurry to reestablish the submissiveness of his government to the Indian authority by differing Dr. Dipu Moni’s cold protest within hours, should get the note that friendship cannot be imposed.

You just cannot pick up a group of people and ask them to recite “Bangladesh and India are friends”, who already are holding newspapers with headlines of Bangladeshi frontier population body-counts to the BSF bullets. Or, you cannot just ask people to accept long-lasting damages just for sake of alliance with a nation which appoints ‘so-called’ diplomats to meddle in our internal politics and humiliate our sovereignty.

People won’t accept speeches from a minister like Ramesh Sen hinting at sacrificing Bangladeshi resources for sake of India’s friendship, or of lawmakers like Abdur Razzaq stating Bangladesh can make up her desertification by importing Tipaimukh produced power; hence Bangladesh can accept both her desertification and Indian bills just to have power produced in Tipaimukh. These comments hint at their loyalties to something else than the sovereignty of Bangladesh.Dr Dipu Moni’s remark about Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty that he breached a diplomat’s code of conduct was not her first remark to be considered as a flap. She received spectacular criticisms after forgoing an Indian journalist who marked Bangladesh as a ‘buffer state’ in a press conference presided by her.

People from the top brass of present Awami League government power structure have set some more examples of being kind to forgo a couple of commentaries of people associated with India. The most recent one was Dipu Moni’s presence in a seminar where Indian High Commissioner added the adjective ‘so-called’ while naming Bangladeshi experts, especially those who are critical to India’s unpopular Tipaimukh dam. After Chakravarty’s remark, BNP’s lawmaker Adv Mahbubuddin Khokon, who is also BNP’s lone representative to the parliamentary panel for foreign affairs, demanded immediate expulsion of the rowdy diplomat.

Following Khokon’s demand, Dr Dipu Moni’s popular remark about Chakravarty’s breaching the code of conduct was almost covering up the controversy that she caused by her silence against humiliation of Bangladesh.

Now, it’s to be noted that Dr Dipu Moni became a part of several events where she received criticisms either by her humiliating silence, or by her apparent incompetence to put thrashing replies against insulting remark against Bangladesh; and throughout all these Awami League’s attention to her activities never became public.

But at a certain point Awami League top brass became really tensed about her statements and took no time to differ what she said about the rowdy diplomat. After no time from Dr Dipu Moni became coldly vocal about Chakravarty’s rowdiness, Awami League’s spokesperson and the Minister of Local Government and Cooperatives Syed Ashraful Islam said that he at no point thinks that Chakravarty has breached a diplomat’s code of conduct.
To some extent it was a common idea that Bangladesh Awami League’s ‘more friendly than necessary’ stance to India is just a general point of criticising them, which is often practiced and not necessarily the claim has to be too definite or abundantly substantial. But behaviours and speeches of responsible government persons, political or non-political, put admissible evidences backing the supra-enthusiasm of the present government on issues those concern Indian purposes more than those of Bangladesh.

The Tipaimukh dam issue has seen more passes than sometimes satirically presented Dutch ‘total football’ could ever have produced or suggested. We don’t know who were midfielders, attackers or defenders, but the passes have been subsequently carried out by the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Water Resources, and Environment & Forest, without much of the senses of their particular roles. Whenever the responsible individuals received stern quizzes about the issue, they either kept passing it to other offices, or made remarks those are solely enough to humiliate the sovereignty of a nation.

The Minister of Commerce Col. Faruk Khan, who in accordance with his official functions wasn’t supposed to be concerned about the issue, claimed all of a sudden that the Bangladeshi experts who are being critical to Tipaimukh issue don’t know anything.

Following his statement, Chakravarty made two subsequent comments; one is that the protest against Tipaimukh issue was politically ill-motivated, and the other is no laws on earth could bar India from building Tipaimukh dam. Quoting Chakravarty, Minister of Communications Abul Hossain said the protest against Tipaimukh dam is insubstantial. Minister of Water Resources Ramesh Sen, who did something more serious than a quotation, commented that if there is any negative impact of Tipaimukh dam, Bangladesh should concede the damages at least for sake of the alliance with her greater neighbour.

As it has been told earlier, this series of comments is solely enough to humiliate the sovereignty of a nation. The present government as well as the ruling party, and most importantly Syed Ashraful Islam who was in a hurry to reestablish the submissiveness of his government to the Indian authority by differing Dr. Dipu Moni’s cold protest within hours, should get the note that friendship cannot be imposed.

You just cannot pick up a group of people and ask them to recite “Bangladesh and India are friends”, who already are holding newspapers with headlines of Bangladeshi frontier population body-counts to the BSF bullets. Or, you cannot just ask people to accept long-lasting damages just for sake of alliance with a nation which appoints ‘so-called’ diplomats to meddle in our internal politics and humiliate our sovereignty.

People won’t accept speeches from a minister like Ramesh Sen hinting at sacrificing Bangladeshi resources for sake of India’s friendship, or of lawmakers like Abdur Razzaq stating Bangladesh can make up her desertification by importing Tipaimukh produced power; hence Bangladesh can accept both her desertification and Indian bills just to have power produced in Tipaimukh. These comments hint at their loyalties to something else than the sovereignty of Bangladesh.

We must call to stop building Tipaimukh dam to protect Bangladesh from being a Desert!!!

Ti[aimukh Dam

Tipaimukh Dam. It is clear that it will put it's adverse effect on Surma and Kushiara as well as other rivers of Bangladesh too.

The Indians are going ahead with the construction of the massive Tipaimukh barrage-this events collectively impinge on us in more than one ways but the one which directly affects our very ability to survive is the issue of water-sharing of some 53 common rivers between India and Bangladesh. By constructing Tipaimukh and other barrages, India is depriving us of life-giving waters, drastically reducing our ability to survive and therefore this is the issue needing immediate and continued public attention and the subject of this commentary. India has resumed construction of the Tipaimukh barrage on the Barack river just a kilometer north of Jakiganj in Sylhet; the construction work was stalled in March 2007 in the face of protests within and outside India. The barrage when completed in 2012 is supposed to provide 1500 megawatts of hydel power to the Indian state of Assam but in return its going to bring about a major disaster for Bangladesh, practically contributing to drying up of 350 km long Surma and 110 km long Kushiara rivers which water most of the north-eastern regions of Bangladesh. The Tipaimukh barrage is going to seriously affect not only agriculture in large portions of Bangladesh, particularly in winter, but is also going to bring about negative ecological, climatic and environmental changes of vast areas in both Bangladesh and India.

Indian government is constructing the dam without consultation with Bangladesh government, which is violation of International River Law. Three crores people of the northern and eastern parts of the country would be vulnerable seriously when the construction of the dam would be completed by 2012.

It’s not just this one Indian barrage that is a source of considerable concern and trepidation in Bangladesh; in 1976 India put into operation the Farraka Barrage which more or less destroyed the Ganges-Brahamaputra Basin, most of which lies in the deltaic plains of Bangladesh and in 1990 India also constructed a barrage along the Teesta river thereby virtually making ineffective much of the Teesta barrage project constructed down-stream in Bangladesh to support irrigation and agriculture in the north-west region of the country. What is even more worrying is that India has evolved plans to divert waters, from the north of the country to its drought-prone southern and eastern states, of some 53 river which flow from India to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh shares a common border with India in the west, north and east and with Myanmar in the southeast. These borders cut across 57 rivers which discharge through Bangladesh into the Bay of Bengal in the south. The upstream courses of these rivers traverse India, China, Nepal and Bhutan. Trans-boundary flows, which enter Bangladesh from remote catchments extending short distance to thousands of kilometers upstream, are the important source of water resources.

Bangladesh gets 7 to 8 percent of its total water from the Barak in India’s northeastern states. Millions of people are dependent on hundreds of water bodies, fed by the Barak, in the Sylhet region for fishing and agricultural activities.

Environmentalists in Bangladesh have held many talks on the adverse impact of the proposed dam. They say the dam would dry up the river and the water bodies in the downstream, leaving millions jobless and upsetting the ecological balance.

Among the trans-boundary rivers, the ones most affected by Indian barrages and their related systems of canals, reservoirs and irrigation schemes are Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna and Teesta. Although the Indian and Bangladeshi governments have a water sharing agreement for the Ganges, there are none for the other 53 rivers that cross the border. With the Tipaimukh barrage now underway, India seems to be going ahead with its mega-project of diverting river waters from its north to its south and east, thereby putting Bangladesh’s very survival at stake.India is taking unilateral decisions about matters which affect Bangladesh’s core interests and if these cannot be resolved bilaterally, Bangladesh must look at options of going to multilateral forums such as the UN to get its right not only recognized but also implemented. International laws dealing with water-sharing of common rivers and sources are ambiguous, unclear and contentious and so, Bangladesh ought to vigorously pursue these matters, perhaps even garner international support for a change in those laws dealing with water-sharing – this international dimension is a crucial factor affecting the management of the trans-boundary river systems. There is thus, no scope for Bangladesh to be deflected from this core issue of water-sharing notwithstanding Indian deceitful and diversionary insistence and propaganda on “terrorists and transit”.

The Indian high commissioner has admitted that a dam will be built on the proposed Tipaimukh hydropower project over the cross-boundary river Barak but said it will not harm Bangladesh.  (But I don’t know how? You will put a barrage in the river and it will not affect the nature???)

The Tipaimukh hydropower project was not like the Farakka irrigation project. A little amount of water will be diverted to produce hydroelectricity and the water will be released soon, Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty said.  (So he agreed that Farakka Barrage is a problem for Bangladesh. And saying that Tipaimukh will not be like that! But how Bangladesh would beleive it? India previously said many thing abouthis Farakka Barrage. But ultimately Bangladesh is suffering from it. So how will we beleive that you are talking truth? And one barrage must put it’s adverse effect on nature. And the position of the Barrage clearly indicates that Bangladesh will offcourse suffer with this project. It will be a destructive project for Bangladesh. We must protest it now!)

Bangladesh should not be wary of the project, he told.

He said bilateral discussions have long been on-going on the project. Indian government has invited Bangladesh to see the dam site and its design, Chakravarty said. A Bangladeshi organisation, International Farakka Committee, demanded suspension of  ‘construction of Tipaimukh barrage’ and rightful share of the Indian river Ganges.

The organisation called upon the United Nations to form a regional river commission involving China, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Government of Bangladesh and people of Bangladesh must be aware of this project from now and must have to protest. It will come as a destructive project for Bangladesh. bangladesh will become desert if the project is completed. India is using their power to complete this destructive project. They are trying to giving wrong ideas to Bangladesh as they given at the time of constructing Farakka Barrage. They are doing the same thing here. We all now that how Bangladesh is suffering because of this Farakka Project. How our Bangladesh is affected by the Farakka Barrage. We don’t want to see more destruction in bangladeshi economy and nature. We must protest. And it is the time. Bangladeshis must be aware of this from now and this is the only way to safe our beautiful country Bangladesh.

It is offcourse more than money!

I am shocked!
I am surprised!
I am worried!

That’s all I can say after hearing the news that 14 Bangladeshi Players are going to play Indian Cricket League (ICL) which is a private cricket league and banned by BCCI and ICC also said that it is ‘NOT’ a legal cricket league.

Bangladesh is a land of dreamers. It does not matter whether we have two square meals or a place to sleep, we dream big and when most of these dreams do not come true we get frustrated. The entire Bangladesh nation is sports crazy. Off late cricket became a game of billions. Cricketers put Bangladesh in the world map. It is not that we became world champions .We lost most of the matches in all forms of games, most by comfortable margins. Yet our brilliant occasional victories made us rejoice wild. Bangladeshi cricketers became heroes. Millions worship them. They are ambassadors of the 150 Million Bangladeshis. Everywhere they play Bangladeshi community remains present to cheer them up. Our cricketers also carry Bangladesh on their shoulder. They did enough to make Bangladesh proud. Whatever they earned they earned with their hard labour .They deserved it. No one gave them any money for charity.

14 Bangladeshi players recently join the REBEL Cricket League which is BANNED in the country where it is based. They players who joined knew that they will be banned because of joining the league. Because other country boards also do the same. They players are-

Habibul Bashar (capt), Aftab Ahmed, Shahriar Nafees, Alok Kapali, Dhiman Ghosh (wk), Farhad Reza, Manjural Islam, Golam Mabud (wk), Mahbubul Karim, Mohammad Rafique, Mohammad Sharif, Mosharraf Hossain, Tapash Baisya . Another one is yet to be confirmed. Nazimuddin give his resign letter to BCB but didn’t signed with ICL yet. Let’s see what he do.

I will not blame Mohammad Rafique because he already retired from international cricket career few months back. So he has right to earn money now at the terminal part of his career from my point of view. So he has right to join ICL but others are not.

In spite of knowing this, they join the league. Among the 12 players there are some players who has potential to be famous player and star by playing for Bangladesh. But they has gone to the wrong way and they are just FINISHED. Bangladesh Cricket Board banned the 13 players from each type of cricket for 10 years that means there is few chances for them to play for Bangladesh and to be proud by playing for his country.

Now the question arise why they do so? What was there problem? Why they become REBEL and joined ICL?

Is it for money? I think yes. It is for money. The players signed for ICL just for money. They forget what the country gave them. Whay they are Habibul, Aftab, Nafis now. Why the whole World know them know. They just thought about the money.

In their resignation letter to BCB said that they are resigning is for ‘PERSONAL PROBLEM.’ And then they joined ICL. They didn’t say it to any officials of the cricket board or directly to cricket board. They just give the letter and went for India.

I think BCB tries their best to keep the player and bring the to right path after knowing the issue. They tried to discuss about the matter with the players. They send SMS to the players to attend the meeting. They called them but their mobile phones were switched off. But after all, the players refuse to talk with the board and went to India to sign contract with ICL to play for Dhaka Warriors, a new team which will play in ICL this season. Thay said to media that they didn’t get any letter or phone call from BCB to attend the meeting. They just get a SMS. How BCB will get them if their phones are switched off. And I think sending letters with in a day to all 14 players is tuff for any organisation as well as BCB. So I can say that players were determined that they will not meet the cricket board and wil run for money.

Government and board expended a lot of money behind them. They get a lot of money for them. They get treatment in abroad when they are injured. They get well facilities. They get money. After after all they forget all of these and ran for ICl, you know what for. Players complained that unsupporative structure and behavior lead them to play for ICL! “Some of the players are joining the ICL because they are fed up at the way they have been treated by the board,” batsman Shahriar Nafees has been quoted as saying. Is there any logic in this comment? They could talk with the board and inform them what is there problem. Cricket Board arrange meeting for this after knowing they are resigning, But they refuses to talk. Why?

“Please don’t call us rebels,” said Habibul Bashar. “The ICL contracts do not prevent us from playing for Bangladesh. We are as keen as anyone to play for our country.”

I don’t know why they forgot the country, pride, people? They take this kind of decission just before New Zealand series which is very important for Bangladesh now. They just create a problem for the country’s National Cricket Team.

Bangladesh now facing the disasterous face of the illegal league ICL. BCCI already said that it is the internal matter between the cricket board of Bangladesh and the players. But I think BCCI should talk to ICL authority. They should not force to split cricket into two parts which will not be good for cricket.

I think Bangladesh Cricket Board took the right steps for the players. They banned the  players joined ICL for ten years. I hope that will stop more players to join ICL. But Board work is not finished. Board have to think why it happened, who are responsible and have to take more steps. They have to think about the contracts of the players. They have to bring more facilities for the players and offcourse the all players who are not in contract with Bangladesh Cricket Board.

Report said that the unrecognized Indian Cricket League took a swipe at the sport’s governing body on Wednesday after signing 11 Bangladesh internationals for their second season.

Meanwhile Bangladesh coach Siddon said, “All I’ll say is that we haven’t lost one player who was in the team for the last Test,”  who will shortly begin preparing a squad for a home series against New Zealand. “The guys who were going are gone – and the guys who are staying can get on with the job,” he added.

Hidden Hunger!!!

Hidden Hunger-This refers not to the overt and obvious hunger of poor people who are unable to afford enough to eat, but to a more insidious type caused by eating food that is cheap and filling but deficient in essential vitamins and micronutrients. A World Health Organisation report pointed out recently that this problem is widespread, in particular in the Third World, where families may fill themselves with cheap rice, say, but be unable to afford the fruit, vegetables and meat needed to provide a balanced diet. A related cause is that some of the “green revolution” crops of the 1960s and 1970s that were created specifically to reduce starvation are often short of nutrients such as zinc, iron and vitamin A.
The term hidden hunger is not often found outside specialist journals and is more common in news agency copy than in newspapers and magazines: at some point along the road to publication the phrase is blue-pencilled by sub-editors who regard it as jargon. It is sometimes also employed as a general term for the extreme poverty that can exist undetected or unacknowledged in developed countries; it has appeared in this sense in the USA and New Zealand in recent years.

According to Gautam, apart from absolute hunger stemming from lack of food, there are at least three more types of hunger, for instance, “hidden hunger” for micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins.

[Xinhua News Agency, Jun. 2002]

Hidden hunger persists in country, not famine, says Adviser Dr A. M. M. Sawkat Ali.

Disagreeing with the recent observation by an economist that a ‘silent famine’ has been prevailing in the country, the Food and Disaster Management Adviser Dr AMM Sawkat Ali yesterday categorically said a ‘hidden hunger’ is now persisting in the country rather than famine.

“When people die on a large scale due to starvation for scarcity of food then it can be termed as ‘famine’,” he said while speaking at a press briefing at the conference room of the Food and Disaster Management Ministry.

Listing the government initiatives for providing food to the marginalized people at affordable price, the Adviser, who is also in charge of the ministries of Health and Family Welfare said so far 137 metric tons of rice have been distributed under the Open Market Sale (OMS) of rice throughout the country. A total of 47 trucks have been engaged for selling of OMS rice throughout the country from the beginning of this month, he added.

He said that 40 more OMS rice trucks have added to the existing 15 in the capital city form yesterday.

He informed that 3 lakk 91 thousand and 228 people would get food under VGF programme up to the month of June as against 2 lakh 30 thousand and 328 people in the last year.

“Besides the VGF programme 44 thousand 5 hundred and 63 metric tons of rice would be provided to the distressed people under Gracious Relief (GR) programme” the Adviser said while mentioning different initiatives for the providing food to the poor of low income group.

Replying to a query he said rice has started arriving from India.

“The government has signed a contact with a private firm of India for importing 50 thousand metric tons of rice at a price of $ 397 per metric ton” he mentioned

He further said that USAID would provide 90 thousand metic tons of rice and ‘Care’ would supply it to the poor people.

He hoped that with the arrival of new harvest ‘Boro’ there would be no food crisis in the country.

Highlighting the importance of employment for the marginalized people Dr Sawkat Ali said Tk 100 crore has already been distributed to the District Commissioners (DC’s) for creating employment and income generating projects for the poor people.

He said that per person will get Tk 150 as wage per day labour under Food for Work Programme, repairing roads and embankments, canal digging, tree plantation and nurturing.

“Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) is also working with different programmes at 118 upazilas of the country for employment of the poor people,” the Adviser added.

Secretary and high officials of the Food and Disaster Management ministry among others, were present on the occasion.