In 1948, a year after the partition of India, my maternal grandparents moved from Calcutta to Dhaka, crossing from West Bengal in India to East Bengal, or East Pakistan — now Bangladesh. There, they built a tin-shed house in the new neighborhood of Dhanmondi, known before only for its paddy fields (dhan). At the time, the area was so desolate that every night my grandfather would fire his double-barreled shotgun to ward off foxes and thieves.
Two years later, he built the first brick and concrete house in the area, which soon enough filled up with one- and two-story bungalows, each with its own lawn.… Seguir leyendo »
Every year on the first day of school, students across Bangladesh wait eagerly for their new textbooks. Many have few extravagances in their lives, and for them that day is as thrilling as Christmas morning in other countries. Distributing over 360 million textbooks for free, on time, to more than 42 million children is no small feat, and it was a signature achievement for the ruling Awami League this year.
But public appreciation was quickly overtaken by outrage over the quiet revisions that appeared in books for classes ranging from primary grades to high school.
The Bengali letter “o” used to stand for “ol,” a yam; now it stands for “orna,” a scarf worn by women for modesty.… Seguir leyendo »