All Textbook stories Read now in one post ~ Ofuran

All Textbook stories Read now in one post

 Nelson Mandela, from Apartheid Fighter to President

Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from theshackles of apartheid to a multi-racial democracy, as an icon of peace andreconciliation who came to embody the struggle for justice around the world.Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against white minority rule, Mandela never lost his resolve to fight for his people's emancipation. He wasdetermined to bring down apartheid while avoiding a civil war. His prestige and charisma helped him win the support of the world.

"I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I will fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days," Mandela said in his acceptance speech on becoming South Africa's first black president in 1994, ... "The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come."

"We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation." In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white African leader who had freed him from prison three years earlier and negotiated the end of apartheid.

Mandela went on to play a prominent role on the world stage as an advocate of human dignity in the face of challenges ranging from political repression to AIDS. He formally left public life inJune 2004 before his 86th birthday, telling his  adoring countrymen: "Don't call me. I'll call you." But he remained one of the world's most revered public figures, combining celebrity sparkle with an unwavering message of freedom,  respect and human rights.

"He is at the epicenter of our time, ours in South Africa, and yours, wherever you are,"Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer and Nobel Laureate for Literature, once 25remarked.

The years Mandela spent behind bars made him the world's most celebrated political prisoner and a leader of mythic stature for millions of black SouthAfricans and other oppressed people far beyond his country's borders.

Charged with capital offences in the 1963 Rivonia Trial, his statement from the 30dock was his political testimony.

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people.I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against blackdomination.

"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities," he told the court.

"It is an ideal I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

Friends adored Mandela and fondly called him "Madiba," the clan name by which he was known. People lauded his humanity, kindness and dignity.

Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova was born in the village Maslennikova, Tutayevsky District, in Central Russia.Tereshkova's father was a tractor driver and her mother worked in a textile plant. Tereshkova began school in 1945 at the age of eight, but left school in 1953 and continued her education through distance learning. Shebecame interested in parachuting from a young age, andtrained in skydiving at the local Aeroclub, making her first jump at age 22 on 21 May 1959. At that time she was employed as a textile worker in a local factory. It was her expertise in skydiving that led to her selection as a cosmonaut. 

After the flight of Yuri Gagarin (the first human being to travel to outer space in1961), the Soviet Union decided to send a woman in space. On 16 February 1962,'proletaria' Valentina Tereshkova was selected for this project from among more than four hundred applicants. Tereshkova had to undergo a series of training that included weightless flights, isolation tests, centrifuge tests, rocket theory, spacecraft engineering, 120 parachute jumps and pilot training in MiG-15UTI jet fighters.

Since the successful launch of the spacecraft Vostok-5 on 14 June 1963, Tereshkova began
preparing for her own flight. On the morning of 16 June 1963, Tereshkova and her back-upcosmonaut Solovyova were dressed in space-suits and taken to the space shuttle launch pad by a bus. After completing her communication and life support checks, she was sealed inside Vostok 6. Finishing a two-hour countdown, Vostok-6 launched faultlessly.

Although Tereshkova experienced nausea and physical discomfort for much of the flight, she orbited the earth 48 times and spent almost three days in space. With a single flight,  she logged more flight time than the combined times of all American astronauts who had flown before that date. Tereshkova also maintained a flight log and took photographs of the horizon, which were later used to identify aerosol layers within the atmosphere. Vostok-6 was the final Vostok flight and was launched two days after Vostok-5, which carried ValaryBykovsy into a similar orbit for five days, landing three hours after Tereshkova. The two vessels approached each other within 5 kilometers at one point, and from space Tereshkova communicated with Bykovsky and the Soviet leader Khrushchev by radio. 

Much later, in 1977 Tereshkova earned a doctorate in Engineering from Zhukovsky Air Force Academy. Afterwards she turned to politics. During the Soviet regime she became one of the presidium members of the Supreme Soviet. Now this living legend is a member in the lower house of the Russian legislature. On her 70th birthday when she was invited by the Russian PrimeMinister Vladimir Putin, she expressed her desire to fly to Mars, even if for a one-way trip.

Kalpana Chawla (17 March 1962 - 1 February 2003)

Chawla was born in Kamal, India. Shecompleted her earlier schooling at Tagore
Baal Niketan Senior Secondary School,Kamal. She is the first Indian-born woman and the second person in space from this subcontinent. After graduating in AeronauticalEngineering from Punjab EngineeringCollege, India, in 1982, Chawla moved to theUnited States the same year. She obtained herMaster's degree in Aerospace Engineering From the University of Texas in 1984. Latershe did her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineeringin 1988 from the University ofColorado.

Determined to become an astronaut even in the face of the Challenger disaster 1986 that broke apart after 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members, Chawla joined NASA in 1988. She began working as a Vice President where he did Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) research on vertical take-off and landing.In 1991 she got U.S. citizenship and started her career as a NASA astronaut in 1995. Shewas selected for her first flight in 1996. She spoke the following words while travelling in the weightlessness of space, "You are just your intelligence." She had travelled 10.67million miles, as many as 252 times around the Earth.

Her first space mission (Mission STS 87) began on 19 November 1997 with six other astronauts on the Space Shuttle Columbia. On her first mission that lasted for 15 days,16 hours, 34 minutes and 4 seconds, she travelled 6.5 million miles. She was responsible for deploying the Spartan Satellite which however malfunctioned,necessitating a spacewalk by Winston Scott and Tako Doi,two of her fellow astronauts, to retrieve the satellite.

In 2000 she was selected for her second space mission STS 107. This mission was repeatedly delayed due to scheduling conflicts and technical problems. On 16 January 2003, Kalpana Chawla finally started her new mission with six other space crew on the ill-fated space shuttle Columbia. She was one of the mission specialists. Chawla's responsibilities included the microgravity experiments, for which the crew conducted nearly 80 experiments studying earth and space science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety.

After a 16-day scientific mission in space, on 1 February 2003, Columbia disintegrated over Texas during its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. All the crew in Columbia including Chawla died only 16 minutes prior to their scheduled landing. Investigation shows that this fatal accident happened due to a damage in one of Columbia's wings caused by a piece of insulating foam from the external fuel tank peeling off during the launch. During the intense heat ofre-entry, hot gases penetrated the interior of the wing, destroying the support structure and causing the rest of the shuttle to break down.

The Artificial Heart

There is nothing that piques the interest of a human being quite as much as the prospect of living a longer life. Implanting a person with an artificial heart in 1982 was an extraordinary step towards increasing the human lifespan. A Seattle based dentist, Dr. Barney Clark, was the first person implanted with the Jarvik-7, an artificial heart intended to last a lifetime. The Jarvik-7 artificial heart was designed by Robert Jarvik.Though the patient survived 112 days, it was a huge step towards the development of heart transplant surgery. One day, more advanced versions of artificial organs will likely allow us to live much longer and more productive lives. When we get there, we will owe a lot to Robert Jarvik's artificial heart.

Cell Phones

Phones have been around since the late 1800s, but cell phones made their appearance only in the 1990s. Today, by some estimates, more than 100 million people in Bangladesh and more than 4.6 billion people worldwide have mobile phones. Anything that is useful and spreads so fast has tobe considered one of the greatest inventions of all time. Just Two decades ago, in Bangladesh, even landlines were difficult to obtain, let alone mobile phones. Today people from all social strata use cell phones, from street vendors to business executives in luxury cars, and from villagers to urbanites. Since May 2015, Bangladesh joined its South Asian neighboursIndia (862 million) and Pakistan ( 122 million) on the list of countries with 100 million or more mobile phone users. The other countries on the list are China (one billion users),Russia, Brazil, the United States, Indonesia, Japan, Germany, the Philippines andNigeria.

DNA Computer

Imagine having an iPod capable of holding thousands of years of high-definition video. A DNA computer would make such a device very possible. DNA is the substance that living organisms use to store genetic information. What makes DNA special is that it is extremely efficient when it comes to storing information in a limited space. Just one milligram of DNA is capable of holding all the printed material in the world. DNA computing is currently in its infancy, with  prototypes such as MAYA-II only capable of showing the concept. If DNA computing is perfected, computers will become capable of holding amounts of information that are hard to imagine by today's standard.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

In the 19th century, it was generally thought that man would reach the center of the Earth long before he reached the Moon. This shows just how unpredictable technology can be. A journey to the center of the Earth is actually much more difficult than it sounds. The pressure at the center of the Earth is enormous because, quite literally, the entire weight of the world is on top of you. There is no known substance, not even carbon nanotubes, that can maintain its shape at such a great pressure. While the Earth's deep interior may offer vast amounts of energy, it may be quite a while before we can tap into it directly.


I was ten years old. My grandmother sat on the string bed, under the mango tree. It was late summer and there were sunflowers in the garden and a warm wind in the trees. My grandmother was knitting a woolen scarf for the winter months. She was very old, dressed in a plain white sari; her eyes were not very strong now, but her fingers moved quickly with the needles, and the needles kept clicking all afternoon. Grandmother had white hair, but there were very few wrinkles on her skin.

I had come home after playing cricket on the maidan. I had taken my meal, and now I was rummaging in a box of old books and family heirlooms that had just that day been brought out of the attic by my mother. Nothing in the box interested me very much, except for a book with colorful pictures of birds and butterflies. I was going through the book, looking at the pictures, when I found a small photograph between the pages. It was a faded picture, a little yellow and foggy; it was a picture of a girl standing against a wall and behind the wall there was nothing but sky; but from the other side a pair of hands reached up, as though someone was going to climb the wall. There were flowers growing near the girl, but couldn't tell what they were; there was a creeper too, but it was just a creeper.

I ran out into the garden. "Granny!" I shouted. "Look at the picture! I found it in the box of old things. Whose picture is it''?

I jumped on the bed beside my grandmother and she walloped me on the bottom and said, "Now I've lost count of my stitches, and the next time you do that I'll make you finish the scarf yourself.' She took the photograph from my hand, and we both stared at it for quite a long time. The girl had long, loose hair, and she wore a long dress that nearly covered her ankles, and sleeves that reached her wrists, and there were a lot of  bangles on her hands; but, despite all this drapery, the girl appeared to be full of freedom and movement; she stood with her legs apart and her hands on her hips, and she had a wide, almost devilish smile on her face.

 "Whose picture, is it?" I asked.

"A little girl's of course", said Grandmother. "Can't you tell"?

"Yes, but did you know the girl?"

"Yes, I knew her", said Granny, "but she was a very wicked girl and I shouldn't tell you about her. But I'll tell you about the photograph. It was taken in your grandfather's house, about sixty years ago and that's the garden wall, and over the wall there was a road going to town".

"Whose hands are they", I asked, "coming up from the other side"?

Grandmother squinted and looked closely at the picture, and shook her head. "It's the first time I've noticed, '' she said. "Those must have been the sweeper boys. Or maybe they were your grandfather's."

"They don't look like grandfather's hands," I said. "His hands are all bony."
"Yes, but this was sixty years ago."
"Didn't he climb up the wall, after the photo?"
"No, nobody climbed up. At least, I don't remember."
"And you remember well, Granny."

"Yes, I remember ... I remember what is not in the photograph. It was a spring day, and there was a cool breeze blowing, nothing like this. Those flowers at the girl's feet, theywere marigolds, and the bougainvillea creeper, it was a mass of purple. You cannot see these colors in the photo, and even if you could, as nowadays, you wouldn't be able to smell the flowers or feel the breeze."

"And what about the girl?" I spoke. "Tell me about the girl."

Well, she was a wicked girl," said Granny. "You don't know the trouble they hadgetting herintothose fine clothes she's wearing."

"Who was the girl?" I spoke. "You must tell me who she was."

"No, that wouldn't do," said Grandmother, but I pretended I didn't know. I knew,becauseGrandmother still smiled in the same way, even though she didn't have as many teeth.

Come on, Granny," I said, "tell me, tell me."

But Grandmother shook her head and carried on with the knitting; and I held the photograph in my hand looking from it to my grandmother and back again, trying to find points in common between the old lady and the little pig-tailed girl. A lemon-colored butterfly settled on the end of Grandmother's knitting needle, and stayed there while the needles clicked away. I made a grab at the butterfly, and it flew off in a dipping flight and settled on a sunflower.

"I wonder whose hands they were," whispered Grandmother to herself, with her head bowed, andher needles clicking away in the soft warm silence of that summer afternoon.

What Is Beauty?

Beauty is easy to appreciate but difficult to define. As we look around, we discover beauty in pleasurable objects and sights - in nature, in the laughter of children, in the kindness of strangers. But asked to define, we run into difficulties. Does beauty have an independent objective identity?

Is it universal, or is it dependent on our sense of perceptions? Does it lie in the eye of the beholder? - we ask ourselves. A further difficulty arises when beauty manifests itself not only by its presence, but by its absence as well, as when we are repulsed by ugliness and desire beauty. But then ugliness has as much a place in our lives as beauty, or maybe more - as when there is widespread hunger and injustice in a society. Philosophers have told us that beauty is an important part of life, but isn't ugliness a part of life too? And if art has beauty as an important ingredient, can it confine itself only to a projection of beauty? Can arithignore what is not beautiful?

Poets and artists have provided an answer by incorporating both into their work. In doing so, they have often tied beauty to truth and justice, so that what is not beautiful assumes a tolerable proportion as something that represents some truth about life. John Keats, the romantic poet, wrote in his celebrated 'Ode on a Grecian Urn', 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' by which he means that truth, even if it's not pleasant, becomes beautiful at a higher level. Similarly, what is beautiful forever remains true. Another Meaning, in the context of the Grecian Urn - an art object- is that, truth is a condition of art.

Poetry in every language celebrates beauty and truth. So does art. Here are two poems from two different times that present some enduring ideas about beauty and truth. The poems are by Lord Byron (1788-1824), an English poet of the Romantic tradition, and Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), an American poet who wrote about human sin, nature, love and death.

Crafts at Our Time

A craftwork is an applied form of art, a social and cultural product reflecting the inclusive nature of folk imagination. A craftwork, which usually doesn't bear the signature of itsmaker, retains a personal touch. When we look at a thirty-year-old nakshikanthawewonder at its motifs and designs that point to the artistic ingenuity and the presence of themaker in it. The fact that we don't know her name or any other details about her doesn't take anything away from our appreciation of the artist. Indeed, the intimate nature of the kantha and the tactile feeling it generates animate the work and make it very inviting.

A craftwork is shaped by the interaction of individual creativity and community aesthetics,utility functions and human values. It is distinguished by its maker's desire to locate himself or herself in the wider and ever-changing cultural aspirations of the community,and subsequently of the market. But even when the market is an important factor,community aesthetics remains the factor determining the form and content of the craftwork. The exquisite terracotta dolls from Dinajpur dating back to early 1940s that form a part of the Bangladesh National Museum's collection were mostly bought from village fairs by some patrons. They were no doubt meant to be consumer items, but the dolls reflect community aesthetics in such a manner that the market has not been able to impose its own preferences on them.

A craftwork thus is a dynamic object-always evolving, and always abreast of changing tastes and preferences. It also represents a way of life and a cultural flavor. Therefore changes in lifestyle and material conditions are expected to have their impact on craftworks and their production. But certain forms, shapes, styles and aesthetic preferences change little over time, suggesting that a craftwork can function as a stable signifier of community values and desires over time. Mechanical and mass production take away this feeling of assurance and stability and the sense of continuity that the handmade craftwork evokes.

In the clash between expectations of pure, handmade craftworks and the market need of mechanically produced craftworks, two contesting views emerge: on the one hand, traditionalists contend that the society needs to preserve the authenticity and naturalness of craftworks and their association with domesticity and environment; and, on the other, promoters of machine production argue that the machine has helped restore the appeal of the crafts due to their cheaper production costs.

There are no easy solutions to the problems that craftworks face in our time. Crafts that are disappearing can and should be revived, even where the machine has made the prospect difficult. And crafts that are still practiced can be safeguarded and made to consolidate their position further. This can be done by providing grants, loans, assistance and other support to the producers, and helping them find a comfortable customer base. But more importantly, craftwork can be branded and successfully marketed throughout the country and beyond as there are always buyers and users of handmade products who feel strong attraction towards such cultural products.

The Story of Shilpi

Shilpi was only 15 years old when she married Rashid in 2008. Marrying off daughters at an early age is a standard practice for many families living in rural Bangladesh. After her wedding, Shilpi joined a local empowerment group that provides adolescent girls with the tools needed to gradually change cultural practices, particularly those pertaining to early marriage and pregnancy. The group's activities include discussions on how to most effectively change behavior related to reproductive health as well as one-on-one counselling. It also offers peer-to-peer support and life skills training that help adolescents say no to early marriage. The empowerment group is Shilpi one of more than 10,000 groups supported by some local Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) working all over Bangladesh. These NGOs work through Canada's Adolescent Reproductive Health Project which also aims to increase access to quality health services for adolescents. During one of the group sessions, Shilpi came to understand the potentially harmful effects of early marriage and pregnancy.

While maternal mortality in Bangladesh has declined by nearly 40 percent since 2001, the rate remains high with 194 maternal deaths per 100,000, live births in 2010- dropping from 322 in 2001 with a projected decrease to 143 by 2015. Girls who get pregnant are at risk of serious health complications. These include dangerous  hemorrhage and fistula, a painful internal injury caused by obstructed childbirth that commonly leads to serious maternal morbidities and social exclusion.

When Shilpi heard about those risks, she invited her husband, Rashid, to discuss
pregnancy with a counsellor. After hearing about the risks, Rashid agreed to delay
having children for five years despite pressures from his parents and neighbors to
produce an offspring. Together, the couple met with a female health care provider,
who informed them about the various family planning options available.

Shilpi's mother-in-law and neighbors continued to pressurize the newlyweds. Deeply Rooted cultural practices and traditions caused a rift between Shilpi and Rashid andtheir extended family, some of whose members insulted and criticized the couple.Unable to convince their close relatives of the risks, Shilpi and Rashid returned to thecounsellor. They took the help of a parent peer who has been trained to speak to otherparents about adolescent issues. Shilpi's mother-in-law and neighbors eventuallycame to understand the harmful effects of early pregnancy on mother and child.

Today, the village no longer pressurizes the couple; their parents and neighbors now
support them and speak out against early marriage and pregnancy.

From Filippos Fylaktos' Film
"My Brother, the Traffic Policeman"

The persona of a traffic policeman has always been a curious one. It has often found importantspace and close treatment in literature and other arts. Besides the manypoems about this fascinating character, there is at least one movie where the centralcharacter is a traffic policeman. In 1963, Greek film maker Filippos Fylaktos made thisfilm named My Brother, the Traffic Policeman. It featured a slightly manic trafficpoliceman, Antonis Pikrocholos, who is utterly devoted to service and duty, andapplies the traffic code with unyielding severity. Tickets rain down upon law-breakersin particular taxi-drivers and especially Lampros, who happens to be in love withPikrocholos' sister, Fofo. In his turn, the traffic policeman is in love with abusinessman'sdaughter, Kiki, who is afraid to reveal her feelings to her father.Besides, Antonis has given lotsof traffic tickets to a bus belonging to her father'scompany. For all these reasons, the road to marriage for both couples is long andstrewn with obstacles, but the outcome is a happy one for everyone involved.


The term 'diaspora' is used to refer to people who have left their homelands and settled in other parts of the world, either because they were forced to do so or because they wanted to leave on their own. The word is increasingly used for such people as a collective group and/or a community. The world has seen many diasporas but scholars have been studying the phenomenon with great interest only  in recent decades.

Among the great diasporas of history is that of the Jewish people, who were forced to leave their lands in ancient times. The movement of Aryans from Central Europe to the Indian sub-continent thousands of years ago is also a noteworthy diaspora, although the causes of this diaspora are unclear. In twentieth century history, the  Palestinian diaspora has attracted a lot of attention and been a cause of concern for world leaders because of the plight of Palestinians. There have been massive diasporas in Africa, too, over the centuries, either because of war or because of the ravages of nature. But the chief reason why the phenomenon of diaspora is attracting  so much attentionnow is globalization.

'Banglatown' in East London

British-Bangladeshis, also known as British-Bengalis, are an important part of the Bangladeshi diaspora or those of Bangladeshi origin who are living abroad. Almost half of all British-Bangladeshis live in London, especially in the East London boroughs, of which Tower Hamlets has the highest concentration.

Today a tourist who is new to London may well decide to make her way over to the East End of the city, to visit 'Banglatown'. After exiting the Tube Station there she might follow the signs that point to Brick Lane, a street that has gained certain notoriety from Monica Ali's best-selling novel of the same name, which was also made into a movie. She may decide to try out one of the many Bangladeshi restaurants she sees there for lunch. Sitting at one of the tables with a window onto  a the street, she might notice that the street signs are not just in English but also in Bengali. And the lamp-posts are in green and red - the colors of the Bangladeshi flag. In fact everywhere she looks she finds visual cues of the Bangladeshi, and even more specifically, the Sylheti presence in the area. Storefronts advertise flights from London to Sylhet, some on Bangladesh Biman (the national airline of Bangladesh)   and others on Air Sylhet, a private airline company formed by British Bangladeshis. There is a sign for Sonali Bank- the major state-owned commercial bank of Bangladesh. There is a food store advertising frozen fish from Sylhet's Surma River. She watches two elderly men with long, grey beards enter the store; they are dressed in long white tunics, baggy pants and white head caps. She sees a group of teenage   girls walking down the street in animated conversation. One is dressed in a black burkah and the others are in jeans and long shirts, along with bright sequined hijabs on their heads. Looking through her London guidebook, she reads about how this neighborhood is in 'Banglatown'.

In 2001 British Bangladeshi leaders, including many of the second-generation 25 activists, led a successful bid via the Tower Hamlets council to gain the official designation of 'Banglatown' for Brick Lane and its surrounding neighborhoods. With the help of street signs and an advertising campaign, the hope was to give the area a distinct cultural identity that would be attractive to tourists and thus beneficial for Bangladeshi businesses located there. Infact the area has a number of visible 30 Bangladeshi landmarks, such as Altab Ali Park, the Kobi Nazrul Cultural Centre and the ShohidMinar Monument. Along with the official designation of Banglatown, these landmarks are matters of considerable pride for many British Bangladeshis, symbols of their hard-won presence and political voice in Britain.

Bangladeshi Community in the UK

Migration from Bangladesh to Britain started in 1930s and was predominantly a Sylheti phenomenon. Men of this particular geographical area employed by the British ship companies first started the process of migration. These men were largely illiterate and belonged to the landless peasantry. After the World War II, due to labor shortages, British government encouraged labor migration from its former colonies. The postwar British economy demanded cheap and plentiful labor, much of which was recruited from South Asia. Since Sylhet had already forged a strong link with the UK, most new labor was drawn from there. spreading the network. During the 1950s, the numbers increased dramatically. However, along with people from poorer backgrounds, a small number of urban upper- and middle-class Bangladeshis also migrated even before the World War II for highereducation and settled in the UK.

According to the 2001 census, 283,063 Bangladeshis lived in the UK, which is 0.5 percent of the total population. In Britain, they are primarily concentrated in Greater London and the third generation of Bangladeshi population, those 'born and bred' in Britain, constitute half of the community. The largest Bangladeshi population outside London is located in Oldham, and the others are scattered across Birmingham, Luton and Bradford. British Bangladeshis are predominantly Muslims. Studies reveal that the second and the third generation Bangladeshis seem to uphold their Muslim identityrather than their identity as Bangladeshis.

However, the absence of a strong tie does not mean that the Bangladeshi community is completely detached from their homeland. In the era of globalization and social networking, like other diaspora communities, British Bangladeshis are also linked to their countries of origin by phone, mail, Internet and television. By the virtue of technological advancement, communication of news is rapid and sustained, which gives migrant communities a sense of belonging to multiple homes. In particular, the first generation of migrants continues to regard Bangladesh as central to their identity.particular, the first generation of migrants continue to regard Bangladesh as central to their identity.

What Is Conflict?

Conflict can be described as a disagreement among groups or individuals characterized by antagonism and hostility. This is usually fueled by the opposition of one party to another in an attempt to reach an objective different from that of the other party. The elements involved in the conflict have varied sets of principles and values, thus allowing a conflict to arise.

Conflict can be defined in many ways but one of the simplest is that it pertains to theopposing ideas and actions of different entities, resulting in an antagonistic state.Conflict is an inevitable part of life. All of us possess our own opinions, ideas and setsof beliefs. We have our own ways of looking at things and we act according to whatwe think is proper. Hence, we often find ourselves in conflict in different scenarios; itmay involve other individuals, groups of people, or a struggle within our own selves.Consequently, conflict influences our actions and decisions in one way or another.

Conflict comes naturally; the clashing of thoughts and ideas is a part of the humanexperience. It is true that it can be destructive if left uncontrolled. However, itshouldn't be seen as something that can only cause negative things to transpire. It is away to come up with more meaningfulrealizations that can certainly be helpful to theindividuals involved.

Conflict can be seen as an opportunity for learning and understanding our differences. We can all live harmoniously despite conflicts as long as we know how to responsibly manage these struggles.

The Peace Movement

A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war (or all wars), minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, including ban of guns, and is often linked to the goal of achieving world peace. Means to achieve these ends include advocacy of pacifism, non-violent resistance, diplomacy, boycotts, demonstrations, peace camps; supporting anti-war political candidates and banning guns, creating open government, direct democracy; supporting people who expose war-crimes or conspiracies to create wars, and making laws. Different organizations involved in peace movements may have some diverse goals, but one common goal is sustainability of peace.

Peace movement is basically an all-encompassing "anti-war movement". It is primarily characterized by a belief that human beings should not wage war on each other or engage in violent conflicts over language, race, natural resources, religion or ideology. It is believed that military power is not the equivalent of justice. The peace movement tends to oppose the proliferation of dangerous technologies and weapons of mass destruction, in particular, nuclear weapons and biological warfare. Moreover, many objects to the export of weapons including hand-held machine guns and grenades by leading economic nations to lesser developed nations.

The first peace movement appeared in 1815-1816. The first such movement in the United States was the New York Peace Society, founded in 1815 by the theologian David Low Dodge, and the Massachusetts Peace Society. It became an active organization, holding regular weekly meetings, and producing literature which was spread as far as Gibraltar and Malta, describing the horrors of war and advocating pacifism on Christian grounds. The London Peace Society (also known as the Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace) was formed in 1816 to promote permanent and universal peace by the philanthropist William Allen. In the 1840s, British women formed 'Olive Leaf Circles' groups of around 15 to 20 women, to discuss and promote pacifist ideas. The peace movement began to grow in influence by the mid nineteenth century. The London Peace Society, under the initiative of American consul to Birmingham, Elihu Burritt, and the Reverend Henry Richard, convened the first International Peace Congress in London in 1843. The congress decided on two aims: the ideal of peaceable arbitration in the affairs of nations and the creation of an international institution to achieve that.

Afterwards, peace organizations were set up in many countries. The United Nations was founded with the primary objective to maintain peace and resolve inter-state conflicts in the world. Many treaties have been signed between many nations, a noteworthy one of which is the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Everyone wants peace and likes the principles of non-violence.

Imaginary Travel

One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my Liberty, Reldresal, PrincipalSecretary (as they style him) of private Affairs, came to my House, attended only by one Servant. He ordered his Coach to wait at a Distance and desired I would give him an Hour's Audience; which I readily consented to, on Account of his Quality, andPersonal Merits, as well as of the many good Offices he had done me during mySolicitations at Court. I offered to lie down, that he might the more conveniently reachmy Ear: but he chose rather to let me hold him in my Hand during our Conversation.He began with Compliments on my Liberty; said, he might pretend to some Merit in it; but, however, added that if it had not been for the present Situation of things at Court, perhaps I might not have obtained it so soon. For, said he, as flourishing a Condition as
we appear to be in to Foreigners, we labor, under two mighty Evils; a violent faction at home, and the Danger of an invasion by a most potent Enemy from abroad. As to the first, you are to understand, that for above seventy Moons past, there have been two struggling Parties in this Empire, under the Names of Tramecksan, and Slamecksan, from the high and low Heels on their Shoes, by which they distinguish themselves.

It is alleged indeed, that the high Heels are most agreeable to our ancient Constitution:But however this be, his Majesty hath determined to make use of only low Heels in theAdministration of the Government, and all Offices in the Gift of the Crown; as youcannot but observe; and particularly, that his Majesty's Imperial Heels are lower atleast by a Drurr than any of his Court (Drurr is a Measure about the fourteenth Part ofan Inch). The Animosities between these two Parties run so high that they will neithereat, nor drink, nor talk with each other. We compute the Tramecksan, or High-Heels,to exceed us in Number; but the Power is wholly on our Side. We apprehend hisImperial Highness, the Heir to the Crown, to have some Tendency towards the High Heels; at least we can plainly discover one of his Heels higher than the other; whichgives him a Hobble in his Gait. Now, in the midst of these intestine Disquiets, we arethreatened with an Invasion from the Island of Blefuscu, which is the other greatEmpire of theUniverse, almost as large and powerful as this of his Majesty. For as to  what we have heard youaffirm, that there are other Kingdoms and States in the Worldinhabited by human Creatures as large as yourself, our Philosophers are in muchDoubt; and would rather conjecture that you drop from the Moon, or one of the Stars;
because it is certain, that an hundred Mortals of your Bulk, would, in a short Time,destroy all the Fruits and Cattle of his Majesty's Dominions: besides, our Histories ofsix Thousand Moons makeno Mention of any other Regions, than the two greatEmpires of Lilliput and Blefuscu. Which twomighty Powers have, as I was going totell you, been engaged in a most obstinate War for six and thirty Moons past. It beganupon the following Occasion. It is allowed on all Hands, that the primitive way ofbreaking Eggs before we eat them, was upon the larger End; But his present Majesty'sGrandfather, while he was a Boy going to eat an Egg, and breaking it according toancient Practice, happened to cut one of his Fingers. Whereupon the Emperor hisFather publishedan Edict, commanding all his Subjects, upon great Penalties, to breakthe smaller End of their Eggs. The People so highly resented this Law, that ourHistories tell us, there have been six Rebellions raised on that Account; wherein oneEmperor lost his Life, and another his Crown. These civil Commotions wereconstantly fomented by the Monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they were quelled, theExiles always fled for Refuge to that Empire. It is computed that eleven ThousandPersons have, at several Times, suffered Death, rather than submit to break their Eggsat the smaller End. Many hundred large Volumes have been published upon thisControversy: But the Books ofthe Big-Indians have been long forbidden, and thewhole Party rendered incapable by Law of holding Employments.

The Wonders of Vilayet

The exterior of the King's palace is neither magnificent nor beautiful. The outer wallsare not even plastered. It could easily be passed off as the multi-storied residence of amerchant of Benares. All the mansions in the city are of this sort, but the Queen'spalace is very handsome. I was told, however, that the interior of the King's palace isvery elegant, and that the suites of rooms and thechambers of the harem are painted anattractive verdigris.

The King's garden, which is outside the city, is very old. It has pleasant walks, lawns,and neatlyarranged beds of various shapes - triangles, squares, hexagons and octagons.These are plantedwith varieties of flowers, green plants, and fruit trees such as theapple, gooseberry, peach, pear, filbert, etc. The garden also uses a special method togrow Indian fruits like the muskmelon, watermelon, cucumber, orange and pomegranate,and Indian flowers like the rose, henna, marigold, tuberose and the cock's-comb flower.

The cold weather in Europe doesn't allow one to grow Indian fruits and flowers in theopen. A special kind of house is constructed for the purpose, three sides of which areof brick, while the fourth, which faces south, is made of glass-plates that keep out thecold air but let in the sun's rays. In the cold season stoves are lit in the house for heat,and fruit and flower seeds are sown in troughs filled with molds. The heat of thestoves and the warmth of the sunlight combine to aid the growth of Indian plants.European gardeners grow Eastern fruits in this manner and make a very good profit,charging as much as five rupees for a pomegranate and three for a musk-melon.

The trees along the walks in the King's garden are arranged very tastefully. By cutting the branches many of them have been shaped into human forms, so that at night one may mistake them for real people. It takes many days of work to tailor the trees into these shapes.

The road in front of the Queen's palace is very broad and charming. On one side is thepalace, on the other a pond which is part of a park. Deer are kept in the park and thewalks in it are lined with shady walnut trees. On Sundays, men and women, old andyoung, rich and poor, natives and foreigners, all come here to stroll and amusethemselves. In these delightful surroundings a heavy heart is automatically lightened.Sauntering courtesans with lissom figures and amorous maidens with the faces ofhouris spread a heavenly aura and the visitor's soul becomes aflowering garden.

These fairy-faced ravishers of the heart move with a thousand blandishments and coquetries; the earth is transformed into a paradise, and heaven itself hangs down its head in shame at seeing such beauty.... As soon as I saw this place I involuntarily exclaimed:

If there's a heaven on the face of the earth,
It is this! It is this! It is this!

Brick buildings in Bengal have rooms with high ceilings and large doors and windows, so that there is a soothing current of air in hot weather. It is exactly opposite in Europe. There is extreme cold, frost and snow; the ceilings are low, and the doors and windows small. The roofs are not flat like the roofs of brick buildings in India. Wooden beams and planks are used to build the frame of the roof in the shape of a camel's hump; that is to say, like the slanting thatched roofs of huts in Bengal. But whereas the latter are slightly curved at the end, both slanted halves of European roofs are plain. The frame is then covered with tiles of fired clay or slate. Such roofs last up to two hundred years without repairs, and if they are still intact when the walls have decayed, can be reutilised. The bricks in the walls are laid with mortar prepared from pulverised stones. Human hair is mixed with the mortar to give added strength to the structure. Houses may be as tall as seven, eight or nine stories, yet the walls are not thicker than a cubit. Consequently the entire building quivers if the wind rises, and strangers may fear for their safety. But there is in reality no cause for fear, though I myself was at first alarmed. The inside walls, instead of being plastered, are lined with wooden planks, which are covered with paper decorated with pretty designs in many colours.

Teak and sal are foreign to Vilayet; houses and ships are built here with oak and walnut.

These are light in colour, very sturdy and resistant to white ants and other insects. That is why buildings last so long in this country.

Water, Water Everywhere...

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

Coleridge's poem, a ballad, narrates the harrowing sea-voyage of an old mariner who atonepointof his journey didn't have any water to drink because of a curse. Cursed ornot, we know how important drinking water is in our life. We know we cannot survive without it. In fact two-thirds of our body is made up of water. Not for nothing is it said that the other name of water is life. Is There a crisis in our time with regard to access to clean drinking water? The United Nations in a meeting on the eve of the new millennium identified the drinking water problem as one of the challenges for the future. But do we need to worry about the problem as ours is a land of rivers and we have plenty of rainfall? Besides, we have a sea in our backyard too.

One of the sources of water in our country is the rivers. Rivers are everywhere in ourlife, literature, economy and culture. But are the rivers in good shape? Unfortunately,they are not. A few are already dead and several are going through the pangs of death.The river Buriganga is an example of a dying river. A report published in the DailySun describes what has happened to the river Buriganga and why. Its water is polluted and a perpetual stench fills the air around it. But that's not what it was like before.

The report says that the river had a glorious past. Once it was a tributary of the mightyGanges and flowed into the Bay of Bengal through the river Dhaleshwari. Gradually,it lost its link with the Ganges and got the name Buriganga. The Mughals were marveledat the tide level of the Buriganga and founded their capital Jahangimagar on its banks in1610. The river supplied drinking water and supported trade and commerce.Jahangirnagar was renamed Dhaka which grew into a heavily populated city with achronic shortage of space.

The city paid back the bounty of the river by sucking life out of it! According to newspaper report, the Buriganga is dying because of pollution. Huge quantities of toxic chemicals and wastes from mills and factories, hospitals and clinics and households and other establishments are dumped into the river every day. The city ofDhaka discharges about 4500 tons of solid waste every day and most of it is directly released into the Buriganga. According to the Department of the Environment (DoE),20,000 tons of tannery waste, including some highly toxic materials, are released into the river every day. Experts identified nine industrial areas in and around the capital
city as the primary sources of river pollution: Tongi, Tejgaon, Hazaribagh, Tarabo,Narayanganj, Savar, Gazipur, Dhaka Export Processing Zone and Ghorashal.

The river would need a monster's stomach to digest all the wastes mentioned above.There is a limit up to which it can put up with its cruel and thoughtless treatment. We The humans have successfully killed one of our rivers. There are other rivers in the country that are being subjected to similar thoughtless treatment. Unless we take care of our rivers there may come a time when we will cry 'water, water' and find it nowhere.

Kuakata: Daughter of the Sea

Kuakata, locally known as SagarKannya(Daughter of the Sea) is a rarescenic spot located on the southernmosttip of Bangladesh. Kuakata inLatachapli union under Kalapara Police
Station of Patuakhali district is about 30km in length and 6 km in breadth. It is70 km from Patuakhali districtheadquarters and 320 km from Dhaka.An excellent combination of the
picturesque natural beauty, sandy beaches, blue sky and the shimmering expanse of water of the Bay of Bengal and theevergreen forest makes Kuakata a much sought after tourist destination.

The name Kuakata takes its origin from the story of a 'Kua' or well dug on the seashore by the early Rakhaine settlers for collecting drinking water. The Rakhaines hadlanded on Kuakata coast after being expelled from Arakan by the Mughals. Followingthe first well, it became a tradition to dig wells in the neighborhood of Rakhine Homesteads for fresh water supply.

Kuakata is one of the unique spots which allow a visitor to watch both the sunrise and sunset from the beach. That perhaps makes Kuakata one of the world's most attractive beaches. The Long and wide beach at Kuakata has a typical natural setting.This sandy beach slopes gently into the Bay and bathing there is as pleasant as swimming or diving.

Kuakata is truly a virgin beach and sanctuary for migratory winter birds.Fishing boats plying in the Bay ofBengal with colourful sails, surfing waves and the lines of coconut treesadd to the vibrant colours of Kuakata.The indigenous culture of the Rakhine Community and hundred year oldBuddhist temples indicate the age – old tradition and cultural heritage of this area. 

Kuakata is also a holy land for the Hindus and Buddhists. Each year thousands ofdevotees come here to attend the festivals Rash Purnima and Maghi Purnima. On These two days, pilgrims take holy bath and enjoy going to the traditional fairs.

The Legend of Gazi

According to some myths and legends, Gazi Pir was a Muslim saint who is said to have spread Islam in the parts of Bengal close to the Sunderbans. He was credited with many miracles. For example, he could supposedly calm dangerous animals and make them docile. He is usually depicted in paatsor scroll paintings riding a fierce-looking Bengal tiger, a snake in his hand, but in no apparent danger. According to some stories, he also fought crocodiles who threatened the people of a region full of canals and creeks, indeed, a kind of watery jungle bordering the Bay of   Bengal. Because of his alert and vigilant presence, all predatory animals were said to have been kept within bounds. It was also believed that he enabled villagers to live close to forests and jungles and cultivate their lands. Consequently, people of these regions would pray to him for protection. The story of Gazi Pir has been preserved in folk literature as well as art and has been performed in indigenous theatre. In fact, some Gazirpaatscrolls are part of the collection of the British Museum.


Hercules was the son of Jupiter and Alcmena.Eurystheus, the King of Mycenae and his cousin, madehim undergo some difficult tasks, which are known inGreek myths as the 'twelve labours of Hercules.' Thefirst involved a fight with a lion. The valley of Nemeawas being disturbed by a terrible lion and soEurystheus ordered Hercules to slay the beast and bringhim his skin. At first, Hercules tried to fight the lionwith his club and arrows but this took him nowhere.Then Hercules attempted a different tactic: he decidedhe would use his hands. He thus managed to slay the  animal on his own, relying entirely on his immense strength. Victorious, he returned to
Mycenae carrying the dead lion on his shoulders, a sight that terrified the King. 

His next task was to slay a monster called Hydra that was ravaging the country ofArgos. The Hydra had nine heads, of which the middle one was said to be immortal.Our hero struck off its heads with his club, but whenever he knocked off a head, twonew ones erupted in its place. Eventually with the help of his devoted servant Iolaus,Hercules succeeded in burning all the heads of the Hydra except the ninth or immortalone, which he decided to bury under a huge rock. In other words, Hercules triumphed , as he should succeed every time, he was given an impossible task byEurystheus! And this is how he began to acquire the reputation of a hero possessingimmense strength throughout the world.

Can you live alone?

Long ago, a young man who lived in a village, found his life full of problems andsufferings. Quarrels, ill-feelings, jealousy, enmity, all were part of everyday lifethere. So he left his house and went to a jungle to live by himself. There he madea nice little hut with wood, bamboo and reeds. "Ah, how happy I am here!" saidthe man to himself.

But one day he found some mice in his hut. The little creatures soon made holesin his blanket. So he brought a cat to kill the mice. The cat needed milk. So hebrought a cow. The cow needed grass and hay. So he brought a cowhand.

The cowhand needed food. So he took a wife to cook meals. Then children wereborn to them, and the man found himself again in a family.

So nobody can live alone, unless that person is either an angel or a devil. Peopleneed food, shelter, companions and help. They need to look after eachother. And if they live in a family or community, their needs can be fulfilled.

Hence living in society can make people good and happy citizens.

Knowledge, skills and attitudes

To be a good citizen, you have to prepare yourself to do good work in society.Well, then how can you prepare yourself?

First, you need knowledge. Today's society is knowledge-based. Without Having knowledge of modern sciences, technologies including ICT and other necessary subjects, you will have difficulty living a good life. Theother areas you, as a good citizen, should have knowledge about are:

  • our country, its constitution, geography and people

  • our state, its executive and legislative powers

  • our judicial system

  • our government and its structures and functions

  • our history, cultures, traditions, literature, moral values and religions

  • our socio-economic activities and educational system

Second, you need skills to do things. Knowledge is not enough. You must beable to apply your knowledge to do things practically.

Finally, knowing and doing things will bring about a change in your behaviortowards others. This behavioural change will show your attitudes towards others, that is, it will show how you think and feel about a person or thing.

Let's take an example. Suppose you, as a student, need to know about 'groupwork' in the classroom. So you ask yourself or your teacher or anyone else,"What is group work?" Or you may find about it in a book. In this way, you mayknow, or you may have the knowledge about group work. To do group work, theclass has to be divided into groups. Each group is to do some tasks given by the teacher or in the textbook. The group members will discuss and share ideas andpoints, and finally one member will write the answers.

Then you start working in groups. In each group you take turns discussing pointsand answering questions. In this way you can actually do the task. Your teachermay monitor and help you to do the work.

Lastly, through regular group work it is expected that there will be noticeablechanges in your behavior. Possible changes are:

  • You will develop the skill of speaking freely in English with yourclassmates and teacher.

  • Your shyness will gradually disappear.

  • You will develop the attitude of helping and cooperating with each other.

  • You will learn to behave in a democratic way.

Most importantly, these behavioural changes taking place in you inside theclassroom will be carried over outside the classroom in real-life situations.

What is responsibility?

A responsibility is a duty or an obligation TO DO something. For example, youhave the responsibility to attend school and pursue your studies properly, to takecare of your parents in their old age, and so on. You also have responsibility toyour society and the government, e.g. to help a neighbor in trouble or to castyour vote if you are 18 or over.

A responsibility is also an obligation or a duty NOT TO DO something. Forexample, you have the responsibility not to steal a book from a public library ornot to pile up your building materials on the footpath. These are yourresponsibilities as citizens. But there are responsibilities of the government aswell. Our government has the responsibility to provide for its citizens "the basicnecessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter, education and medicalcare" . The government also has the responsibility to protect the fundamentalrights of its citizens which include freedom of speech and expression, freedomof the press, freedom of religion, equality of all before law etc.

The knowledge, skills and attitudes you have gained at home, at school and insociety will help you to be aware of your responsibilities and to carry them outeffectively. Remember, discharging your responsibilities will be good for you,good for your family and friends, and good for your society and country as awhole.

Yoga: Tap into the many health benefits

Understanding yoga

Yoga is a kind of posture and breathing exercise. It brings together physical andmental disciplines to achieve peace of body and mind, helping you relax andmanage stress and anxiety. Traditional yoga puts emphasis on behavior, dietand meditation. But if you're just looking for better stress management, and notan entire lifestyle change-yoga can still help. Yoga trainers gradually chooseeasier to complex activities for practitioners. However, all practitioners do notnecessarily need the same kinds of practice.

The health benefits of yoga

The potential health benefits of yoga are numerous and may include:

  • Stress reduction. With its quiet, precise movements, yoga draws yourfocus away from your busy, chaotic day and towards calm as youmove your body through poses that require balance and concentration.

  • Increased fitness. As you learn and refine new poses, you may enjoyimproved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And thismeans you're less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavors orin your daily activities.

  • Management of chronic health conditions. Yoga might help in avariety of health conditions, such as cancer, depression, pain, anxiety andinsomnia, fatigue and mood shifts. Yoga can also help reduce heart rateand blood pressure.

  • Weight loss. If you're overweight or have eating disorder, yoga may helpyou make the healthy lifestyle changes necessary to gain control of youreating and reduce weight.

While you shouldn't expect yoga to cure you or offer you 100 percent relief, itcan help some health conditions when combined with standard treatment. Andif you already enjoy good health, yoga can be an enjoyable supplement to yourregular fitness routine.

Daily Life of Shyam

Hi, I'm Shyam. I'm from Magura. Although it's the district headquarters, it's asmall town. I'm in grade 9 now in ChanderHaatBidyaloya. I love games andsports very much. My father was an athlete in his student life. He inspires me tofollow his footsteps and take part in games and sports or do some exercisebesides my studies. So I get up early in the morning and take a walk with myfather almost every day. We walk for about an hour. At school, during break Iplay kabadi, gollachhut, badminton, table tennis, and carom. Sometimes I practise the high jump and the long jump outside the school campus. Playing footballis a passion for me. I like watching television too.

I watch sports programmes on different TV channels during my free time. I'm afan of National Geographic, Discovery, and Animal Planet for theirdocumentaries as they are quite interesting as well as educative. Recently myfather has presented me with a camera as he was very happy with the result ofmy Junior School Certificate exam. When I hold the camera, I feel so excited! Iwish I could be an amateur photographer in future - not to take only personalphotographs at different parties but to shoot our beautiful Bangladesh. I'm surethat soon photography will be my most favourite pastime.

May Day

May Day or International Workers' Day is observed on May 1 all over the worldtoday to commemorate the historical struggle and sacrifices of the workingpeople to establish an eight-hour workday. It is a public holiday in almost all thecountries of the world.

Since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe andthe US, the workers in mills and factories had been working a long shift,fourteen or even more hours a day.

On May 1st in 1886, inspired by the trade unions, half of the workersat the McCormickHarvesting Machine Company in Chicago went on strikedemanding an eight-hour workday. Two days later, a workers' rally was heldnear the McCormick Harvester Machine Company and about 6000 workersjoined it. The rally was addressed by the labor leaders. They urged the workersto stand together, to go on with their struggle and not to give in to their bosses.At one point of the rally, some strikebreakers started leaving the meeting place.The strikers went down the street to bring them back. Suddenly about 200policemen attacked them with clubs and revolvers. One striker was killedinstantly, five or six others were seriously wounded and many others wereinjured.

The events of May 1, 1886 are a reminder that workers will continue to beexploited until they stand up and speak out to gain better working conditions,better pay and better lives.

International Mother Language Day

21 February is a memorable day in ournational history. We observe the day everyyear as International Mother Language Day.The day is a national holiday.

On this day, we pay tribute to the martyrs who laid down their lives toestablish Bangla as a state language in undivided Pakistan in 1952.

Thestruggle to achieve our language rights is known as the Language Movement.

The seed of the Language Movement was sown on 21 March 1948 whenMohammad Ali Jinnah, the Governor General of Pakistan, declared in a publicmeeting in Dhaka that Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan.The declaration raised a storm of protest in the eastern part of the country.The protest continued non-stop, gathering momentum day by day. It turned intoa movement and reached its climax in 1952. The government outlawed all sortsof public meetings and rallies to stop it.

The students of Dhaka University defied the law and brought out a peacefulprotest procession on 21 February 1952. When the procession reached nearDhaka Medical College, the police opened fire on the students, killing Salam,Rafiq, Barkat, Safiur and Jabbar. As a result, there were mass protests all overthe country and the government had to declare Bangla as a state language. Thiskindled the sparks of independence movement of Bangladesh.

21 February is observed as Shaheed Dibosh every year throughout the countryin remembrance of the martyrs of language movement of 1952. The commemoration begins at the early hours of the day with mourning songs that recall thesupreme sacrifices of our language martyrs. People wear black badges and go tothe Shaheed Minar in barefoot processions, singing mourning songs. Theyplace wreaths at the Minar. Many of them visit the graves of the martyrs atAzimpur graveyard and pray for them. They also attend various programmesorganized in remembrance of the language martyrs.

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and CulturalOrganisation) on 17 November in 1999 proclaimed February 21 as theInternational Mother Language Day in recognition of the sacrifices of themartyrs for the rightful place of Bangla. The day is now annually observedworldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity andmultilingualism.

Independence Day

26 March, our Independence Day, is thebiggest state festival. The day is celebratedevery year in the country with great enthusiasm and fervor. It is a nationalholiday. All offices, educational institutions, shops and factories remain closedon this day. The day begins with a 31 gun salute.

Early in the morning the President and the Prime Minister on behalf of the nationplace floral wreaths at the National Mausoleum at Savar. Then other leaders,political parties, diplomats, social and cultural organizations, educational institutionsand freedom fighters pay homage to the martyrs. People from all walks of lifealso go there in rallies and processions. There are many cultural programmesthroughout the day, highlighting the heroic struggle and sacrifice in 1971.

In Bangabandhu National Stadium, school children, scouts and girl guides takepart in various displays to entertain thousands of spectators. Educationalinstitutions also organise their individual programmes. Sports meets andtoumaments are also organised on the day, including the exciting boat race inthe river Buriganga.

In the evening, all major public buildings are illuminated with colourful lights.Bangla Academy, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and other socio-culturalorganisations hold cultural functions. Similar functions are also arranged inother places in the country.


'PahelaBoishakh' is the first day of Bangla new year. The day is a public holiday.This day has a special significance for us as it is a part of Bangalee culture andtradition. People from all walks of life, irrespective of their ethnic identity orreligious beliefs, celebrate the day with traditional festivities. On this day, thewhole of Bangladesh is in a festive mood. The day inspires people to start lifewith renewed hopes and inspirations.

Every year the day is celebrated traditionally. People wake up early in themorning, have a bath and wear traditional clothes. Women wear white sareeswith red borders and adorn themselves with colorfulchuris and flowers, whilemen dress themselves in pajamas and punjabis. It is a day when people loveeating traditional food.

One of the most colorful events of the day is held in Dhaka. Early in themorning, people in hundreds and thousands pour in from all directions to attendthe cultural function at RamnaBatamulorganised by Chhayanaut. The culturalprogramme begins just at sunrise and the renowned artists of the country takepart in the programme that starts with the famous Tagore-songEsho-he-Boishakh, EshoEsho ....Artists also sing traditional folk songs, andperform classical dances to the rhythm of musical instruments.

People also come to join the colourful processions, the biggest carnival of thecountry, organized by the Fine Arts students of Dhaka University. Theprocession usually displays the traditional practices of Bangalee culture. Themasks and wreaths worn by the people are so fascinating! Often they symbolize contemporary worries or happiness in the national life. It attracts an increasingnumber of foreign tourists every year.

The day is also observed all over the country. Different social and culturalorganizations and educational institutions celebrate the day with their ownculturalprograms.

On this day, newspapers bring out special supplements. There are also specialprogrammes on the radio and television.

The celebration of PahelaBoishakh marks a day of cultural unity for the wholenation.

Air pollution

Air pollution comes from a wide variety of sources. In Bangladesh poisonousexhausts from industrial plants, brick kilns, old or poorly-serviced vehicles anddust from roads and construction sites are some of the major sources of airpollution.

We can minimize this type of pollution by making less use of motor vehicles andavoiding the use of vehicles older than 20 years. We may also use properlubricants to lessen the level of emission and pollutants. We can encouragepeople to use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)for fueling their cars. The government may relocate hazardous industries likebrick kilns to areas away from human habitations.

Water pollution

Water pollution can occur in oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds and undergroundreservoirs. As different water sources flow together, the pollution can spreadeasily and quickly. Causes of water pollution include:

  • increased sediment from soil

  • erosion

  • improper waste disposal and littering

  • leakage of soil pollution into water supplies

  • organic materials that decay in water supplies

In fact, polluting the land means polluting the water. Throwing away a toxicsubstance on the ground near a water source means it eventually reaches thebody of water. As a result, the water is polluted. Industrial wastes must not bedisposed in rivers or lakes. We need to be more careful about disposinghousehold wastes too. Use of pesticides means that when it rains, chemicalsused in the lawn or garden wash into the water bodies. Therefore, we must beaware of the dangers of using pesticides as they may pollute our rivers, canalsand lakes.

Soil pollution

Among the most significant causes of soil pollution is the enormous volume ofindustrial waste which is being produced every day but not disposed properly.The mismanagement of household wastes, particularly the polythene shoppingbags, has caused serious threat to the soil and the drainage system. Anothercause for soil pollution is the use of agricultural pesticides, fertilizers, etc.Sometimes fuel leakages from automobiles may washed away by rain andseep into the nearby soil.

Pesticides and fertilizers are useful for plant growth but their overuse has led tosoil pollution. Natural fertilizers and compost can be used instead of theirchemical alternatives. Recycling is another way to reduce and control soilpollution. Recycling papers, plastics and other materials reduces the volume ofrefuse in landfills. De-forestation also causes erosion, pollution and the loss offertility in the topsoil. Planting trees and re-forestation help prevent soil erosionand pollution.


Really, the best thing we can do for the planet is to use its resources properly.Our consumer society is mainly responsible for the environmental crisis. Hereare some questions you can ask yourself before buying something, "Do I reallyneed this?" or "Is there another product which would do the same thing but ismore sustainable?" Or ask the question, "Will this last a long time?" Some otherquestions may be, "Do I know how this item was made, how it will be used andhow it will be disposed of?"


What do you think of using your own ceramic cup or mug at your school or localclub? It means there are no plastic cups to throw away. You can wash it and reuseit every day. Unfortunately, we are encouraged to buy a new "improved" itemeven if the one we have can be repaired or reused. When we buy things, weshould buy those that are durable; we should use them properly, and have themrepaired when necessary. If we practise this, many things will not only last alife-time, but also be passed on for future use. However, if something is trulyunusable for its original purposes, try to be more creative and think of how elseit might be used. When you're done with it, think of whether someone else mightbe able to use it. You can donate some of the things to the poor. You may also sellsome of your used items through personal ads in a local newspaper.


Rather than throwing an item out when neither you nor anyone else can makeuse of it, have it recycled. And if recycling is not possible, it is better to sendgoods to a landfill or have them burned up. Find out what types of materials canbe recycled in your area. Clean and sort the materials before putting them out inthe bin. Recycling your drink and food cans means there will be less trash in aresource recovery facility or landfill. Moreover, a company can use the old cansto make new ones.

Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs ( 24 February 1955 - 5 October 2011), most popularly knownas Steve Jobs was the co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of AppleInc. He was the pioneer of the personal computer revolution. He was famous forhis career in the electronic field of computers and consumers. This becamepossible through the marketing of Apple computers.

In 1985, Jobs left Apple after losing a power battle with the board of directors.He then founded NeXT, a computer platform development companyspecializing in the higher education and business market. Apple, howover failedto bring up any new operating system during Job's absence. Jobs returned toApple as an adviser, and took controlof the company as an interim CEO.By 1998, Jobs brought Apple backto profitability from the verge ofbankruptcy. He supervised thedevelopment of iMac, iTunes, iPod,iPhone and iPad. These devices areso simple and user friendly that evena child can operate them.

He supervised the company's Apple Stores, iTunes Stores and the App Storestoo. The success of these products and services brought about steady financialreturns for several years and pushed Apple to become the world's most valuablepublicly traded company in 2011. This triumph is regarded as the greatestturnarounds in the business history.

Steve Jobs has been highly acclaimed as a visionary leader. He has changedpeople's perspective towards the computer and how they use it, consumepersonal media and how they communicate with each other. Hence iBooks,iPhones, iPods and iPads have become extremely popular. Jobs saw and felt theneed of Wi-Fi (wireless Internet connection) in laptops. It is he who made Wi-Fia standard feature of every laptop, and of many other devices worldwide. SoJobs' dream to be anywhere anytime became a reality.

Jobs also co-founded and served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios.He became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in2006, when Disney acquired Pixar.

Jobs' childhood

A Read the text and write answers to the questions that follow.A car mechanic Paul Jobs and his wife Clara Jobs adopted Steve who was abandoned at birth. Paul and Clara loved Steve very much. They made him feelthat he was 'chosen' and very 'special'.

One of his colleagues, Del Yocam said about Steve, "I think his desire for complete control of whatever he makes derives directly from his personality and from the fact that he was abandoned at birth."

Jobs' mother taught him how to read and write before he went to the elementary school. So when he went to school, he found out that he knew everything that theteachers were teaching. He got bored and played pranks to keep himself busy.This continued for the first few years. It was clear from his behaviour that hecould not accept other people's authority. He said, "I encountered authority of adifferent kind that I have never encountered before, and I did not like it."

A turning point came when he was in grade four. His teacher Imogene Hillwatched him very closely for some time and soon found out how to handle himand get things done by him. In order to get things done she used to give himmoney and food. One day after school, she gave Jobs a workbook with mathproblems in it. She said, "I want you to take it home and do this." She showedJobs a huge lollipop and said, “When you are done with it, if you get it mostlyright, I will give you this and five dollars. "Within two days, Jobs solved themath problem and returned the book to his teacher.

This continued for a couple of months and Jobs enjoyed learning so much that hedid not need any return. Also he liked his teacher very much and wanted toplease her. In Ms. Hill's class, Jobs felt he was special. At the end of the fourthgrade, Jobs did very well. It was clear not only to Jobs and his parents but also tothe teachers that he was exceptionally intelligent. The school proposed that Jobsshould skip two classes and go into the seventh grade. This would mean that Jobswould find the study challenging and he would be motivated to study. His parents had him skip only one grade.

The Shat Gambuj Mosque

'Heritage' is what we inherit from the past, live with in the present and then passon to our children or future generation. Our unique source of life and inspirationis our cultural and natural heritage. When we speak of 'World Heritage', itindicates places and sites that we inherited from the past and pass on to thefuture generation of the entire world.

The 'Shat Gambuj Mosque' in Bagerhat is such a heritage. It became a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site in 1985.

Originally, the historic Mosque City was known as 'Khalifatabad'. It is situated at the outskirts of Bagerhat town--- not very far from the dense mangrove forest of the Sundarbans. Khalifatabad was a Muslim colony. It was founded by theTurkish general, a saint warrior Ulugh Khan Jahan in the 156 century. The Infrastructure of the city reveals significant technical skills in many mosques as well as early Islamic monuments. Baked bricks were used for the construction of the buildings. The planning of the city was dominated by the tradition ofIslamic architecture and the decorations were a combination of Mughal andTurkish architecture.

Khan Jahan built a network of roads, bridges, public buildings and reservoirs tomake the city habitable. There were about 360 mosques in the city. Among them the most remarkable is the multi-domed Shat Gombuj Mosque. The mosque is  unique in the sense that it has 60 pillars that support the roof, with 77 low height domes. The 4 towers at 4 corners have smaller domes at the top as well. The vast prayer hall has 11 arched doorways on the east and 7 each on the north and south for light and ventilation. It has 7 aisles running along the length of the mosque and 11 deep curves between the slender stone columns. These columns support the curving arches created by the domes. The thickness of the arches is6 feet and has a slightly narrowing hollow and round wall.

The west wall in the interior has 11 'mihrabs' (a niche in the mosque pointing towardsMakkah). These mihrabs are decorated with stonework and terracotta. The floor of the mosque is made of brick.

Besides being used as a prayer hall, Khan Jahan used the mosque as his court too. Today, it is one of the greatest tourist attractions and one of the best architectural beauties of Bangladeshi.

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the deepest and one of the biggest and most ancient lakes of the world. It is situated almost in the center of Asia. Lake Baikal is a gigantic bowl set at 445 meters above sea level. This grand, enormous, unusual and charming miracle of nature is located in the south of Eastern Siberia, in the BuryatAutonomous Republic and region of Irkutsk, Russia.

The lake covers 31,500 sq km. It is 636 km long and an average of 48 km wide.The widest point of the lake is 79.4 km. The water basin occupies 557,000 sq km. and contains 23,000 cu km (cubic kilometer) of water, which is about one fifth of the world's reserves of fresh surface water.

The average water level in the lake is never higher than 456m. The average depth of Lake Baikal is 730 m, and its maximum depth in the middle is 1,620 m.It would take about one year for all the rivers of the world to fill Baikal's basin,and would take four hundred years for all the rivers, streams and brooks now flowing into Siberian lake sea to do the same.

There are hot springs in the surrounding area of Lake Baikal. The quality of the water of these springs is excellent. The lake acts as a powerful generator and biofilter producing this water. Baikal is a stormy lake. Autumn is the stormiest time. The wind blows in various directions.

The weather depends on the wind. If it is blowing from the north, the weather is bright and sunny. The water of the lake looks green and dark blue. But if the winds get stronger, Baikal turns black, waves rising high with white crests. The Beauty of Lake Baikal is exceptional. 

The Statue of Liberty

The French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was assigned to design and complete a sculpture Liberty Enlightening the World within 1876, so that it could be a gift for the Americans on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence. The statue was a joint venture between the USA and France. The French people would build the statue and assemble it in the States, and the people of the USA were to build the pedestal for the statue.

Raising money for the pedestal was completed in August 1885. The construction of the pedestal was finished in April 1886. In the meantime, France completed the Statue in July 1884. They it to New York aboard the French warship Isere' in 1885. While transporting the statue, it was split up into 350 pieces and packed in 214 crates.

It took four months to put the Statue together and place it on the pedestal.Thousands of people saw the unveiling ceremony of the Statue of Liberty on 28October 1886. It was a centennial gift ten years late.

The Freedom that the Statue stands for is not stationary. The broken chainwrapped around her feet, sticking out from the bottom of her robe, symbolizesher free forward movement, enlightening the world with her torch, free fromoppression and slavery.

The Statue's original torch was the first part constructed in 1876. It was replaced by a new copper torch covered in 24K gold leaf in 1984. The torch is lighted by flood light at night. The original torch is currently located in the lobby of the monument. Access to the torch has been closed since 1916.

From 28 October 2011, on her 125th anniversary, the Statue of Liberty was also named "Liberty Enlightening the World Wide Web". The credit goes to a series of new web cams placed around her torch. Several amazing views will be just a click of a mouse away. On clear days, three cameras provide an unobstructed view of scenes far and near. Two cameras provide an ultra wide-angle interactive view of the famous golden torch. The remaining camera looks downwards towards the crown of The Statue of Liberty, her face and the tablet she is holding. So a person can have access to the web cam's live feed of The Statue of Liberty from anywhere in the world.

Zahir Raihan

Zahir Raihan was one of the most talented filmmakers in Bangladesh. He was born on 19 August1935 in the village Majupur in Feni district.

He was an active worker of the Language Movement. He was one of the ten students to go out in a procession on 21 February 1952 despite a ban on such activities imposed by the authorities. As a result, he and many others were arrested and taken to prison. Raihan was also present at the historical meeting of Amtala on 21 February1952. He also took part in the mass movement in1969. In 1971, he joined the Liberation War.

All through his life, Zahir Raihan dreamt of a democratic society, a society that would ensure freedom of speech. He had many dreams about our film industry too. He made the legendary film Jibon Theke Neya based on the LanguageMovement of 1952. It was a protest against the autocratic government then ruling our country. The family portrayed in that film symbolically representedEast Pakistan. The family was ruled by an autocrat who had to go to prison for her conspiracy. During the Liberation War in 1971, this film was shown outsideBangladesh. Celebrated filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, and RitwikGhatak appreciated the film. Raihan gave all the money the film made to theFreedom Fighters' trust. Besides, his great documentary on Pakistani atrocities,Stop Genocide, helped create world sentiment in favor of our liberation war.

On 30 December 1971, someone informed Raihan about an address somewhereat Mirpur where he might find his brother, the famous writer Shahidullah Kaiser,who had gone missing from 14 December 1971. Kaiser was captured and killed by the Pakistani army and the local collaborators during the last days of the war.

Accordingly, Raihan left home to get his brother back but he never returned.Zahir Raihan's dream was fulfilled. He could see the emergence of independent Bangladesh though he did not get back his brother. And it's a pity that this dreamer could not live to see his dream come true.