What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

It’s been almost eleven weeks since protest erupted in the streets of Chinese controlled Hong Kong. The protest that started over an extradition bill soon turned into a protest demanding the resignation of Hong Kong’s top executive, Carrie Lam, among other demands. As you read this article, thousands of people are taking the streets in protest against their leader, a debated extradition bill and against ongoing police brutality on peaceful protesters.

To understand what’s happening in Hong Kong, we must go back to its founding roots as a special administrative region.

What’s the deal with China and Hong Kong?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842 after China handed over its ownership to Britain after the end of the first opium war. After almost a century and half of the British rule, Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997 and Hong Kong would become China’s special administrative territory under the “One country two systems” framework.  

Why is Hong Kong Special?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

One of the pros of 150 years of British rule is the Sino-British Joint Declaration. This treaty signed in 1985 allowed Hong Kong to retain its freedom of speech when its ownership was transferred back to China, something which Chinese nationals of the mainland don’t have the luxury of enjoying. The outcome? Thanks to this catch, residents of Hong Kong can exercise their democratic right of protestation and free speech without brutal government intervention.

How did the protest start?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

It all started with a murder. In February of 2018, a Hong Kong-based couple went to Taiwan on a weeklong vacation. A week later, the boyfriend, Chang, returned to Hong Kong and confessed to murdering his girlfriend. The Hong Kong government couldn’t prosecute him because the murder happened in Taiwan. And they couldn’t extradite him to Taiwan because Hong Kong does not have an extradition policy with Taiwan, a part of Chinese territory. That’s when Hong Kong lawmakers proposed an extradition bill that would allow the extradition of arrested individuals to Taiwan and other parts of Mainland China.

Hong Kong residents do not trust the Chinese legal system.

This proposal sparked a protest among the civilians against the bill. That is because Hong Kong residents do not trust the Chinese legal system. For the lack of democratic procedure, the Chinese legal system allows the government to prosecute a convict without trial and government fuelled abductions are not uncommon.

Is this the first protest?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know
The 2003 protests

It’s not. There have been major demonstrations in Hong Kong since 2003. In 2003, Hong Kongers took the street and protested against a bill that would allow punishment for those who spoke up against China.

In 2014, the people of Hong Kong Protested against China’s increasing influence over Hong Kong’s election. In 2016, the Chinese government even suppressed a small scale pro-independence movement.

But what sets the 2019 protests apart is the sheer size and demographics of the movement. The scale of the movement is unlike any of the past ones and although the forerunners are the youth, Hong Kong’s older generation and professionals like lawyers, doctors and politicians are also taking the street.

“I have friends… They don’t want their children to grow up in a just another Chinese city with no future for the next generation.”

60-year-old Lau, who holds a foreign passport.

Why is it so difficult for Hong Kong to be pro-democratic?

What is happening in Hong Kong? Answers you need to know

Hong Kong has a peculiar government structure. The top executive, an equivalent to our prime minister, is not elected by the people rather by a small committee and finally approved by China. The parliament, known as LegCo, is essentially divided into two segments, pro-democracy and pro-Chinese. And people get to vote for these seats.

But not all of them. Right of voting for about half of the seats are reserved for big corporations and industries. And the corporations, wanting to keep a good relationship with Beijing, never vote pro-democracy. Meaning, in every election since 1998, the majority people of Hong Kong voted for the pro-democracy legislature and yet the cabinet has stayed pro Chinese.

Where is all these heading to?

Remember when Hong Kong became the special administrative region in 1997? The special status came with an expiration date. Hong Kong will be fully integrated with Mainland China in 2047. That was the deal signed between Britain and China during handover. It would mean every right and freedom Hong Kongers enjoy as a separate region from China would be abolished and Chinese law would be applicable everywhere.

The problem is, China is not waiting for 2047.

Increasing influence and authority over Hong Kong has been the core of the disappointment for the residents for years. And the frustration is culminating in the latest protests.

The protestors are heading to train stations and airports to convey their messages to visitors and citizens from Mainland China. The protestors want increased democratic scopes and at the time of writing this article, updates of Police brutality and protests turning violent have been coming in.


Read more: Everything you need to know about the Amazon forest fire

Zamor: The tale of a Bengali in the French revolution

When the French Revolution in the 1790s overthrew the French monarchy and gave power to the people, it changed the course of world history forever. One might have heard of the historic names associated with this revolution like Napoleon Bonaparte and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. But not many of us know that the French Revolution also had a leader of Bengali origins.

Here’s the forgotten tale of Zamor, a young boy from Chittagong who participated in a revolution of people that changed the world forever.

The boy from Chittagong

From whatever little records can be found, Zamor was born in 1762, in Chittagong of Bengal. It is likely that he had little or some African lineage in him. Zamor was probably a member of the Siddi or Habshi community.

We make these assumptions based on Countess Du Barry’s mention of him as an “African boy” and his one portrait where his skin color gives off an impression that he’s African.

Kidnap by slave traders and ending up in France

Chittagong at that time was the finest port in the East. It was frequented by traders and businessmen from all over the world and slave trade was not an uncommon sight.

Read more: Chittagong port: Reliving the history of the oldest port in the East

BRITISH SLAVE TRADERS

Zamor was the victim of these slave traders. He was kidnapped by British Slave traders when he was 11 and was sold to King Louis XV of France as a palace slave. The king, however, gifted him to his mistress, Countess Du Barry, who named him Louis-Benoit Zamor. She also believed he was African which she writes about in her journal.

“The second object of my regard was Zamor, a young African boy, full of intelligence and mischief; simple and independent in his nature, yet wild as his country. Zamor fancied himself the equal of all he met, scarcely deigning to acknowledge the king himself as his superior.”

The countess wrote in her journal.

Becoming a leader in the French revolution

Zamor had a keen interest in philosophy and was inspired by the works of Rousseau. In 1789, by the time Zamor turned 27, the French revolution broke out.

A young man inspired by Russeau, Zamor took the side of the revolutionaries and the Jacobins. He began to detest the Countess and her lavish lifestyle.

As an informant to the Committee of Public Safety, he got the Countess arrested by the police for protecting the Aristocrats in 1792. After that, Zamor eventually got more vocal and actively involved in the revolution. He rose to become a secretary in the revolutionary government.

His charges against his countess eventually led to her execution by guillotine. At the trial, Zamor publicly announced his birthplace as Chittagong of Bengal Subah, breaking the long misconception that he was African.

The Aftermath of the revolution

The tale of the heroic rise, of a young boy from Chittagong to a leader of the French revolution has a bitter ending.

Zamor was arrested by the Girondins soon after the execution of Du Barry. He was tried and imprisoned but was able to secure his release.

Zamor fled from France only to return in 1815 after the fall of Napoleon.

He bought a house near the Latin quarters of Paris and spent the rest of his life in extreme poverty as a school teacher. Zamor died in 1820 and was buried in Paris in an unnamed grave.

Somewhere in the city of art and revolution, lies the remains of a boy from Bengal who lost his home when he was eleven years old. A boy who was sold as a slave to the other side of the world. A slave who became a hero in a revolution that changed the world. Somewhere in Paris, sleeps a son of Bengal who never returned home.

Read more: A lost community of Armenians in Dhaka

A guide to falling in love with Darjeeling

The majestic Kangchenjunga in the backdrop of a bustling small town, the echoing sound of the old steam engine train running through its streets, the captivating smell of momos and warm tea. Welcome to Darjeeling. 

People who grew up listening to Anjan Dutt and reading Satyajit Ray have an irresistible fascination for Darjeeling. Even if you’re not into any of those, the appeal of a small town lifestyle in the backdrop of the mighty mountains, the Tibetan culture, the sound of prayer bells and the colourful prayer flags is sure to call you back to Darjeeling over and over again.

Does this not want to make you go to Darjeeling right away?

Also, a trip to Darjeeling would probably cost you less than your usual trip to Cox’s Bazar. Did I get you hooked yet?

Is winter in Darjeeling a good idea?

Some people have an extremely low tolerance to cold. So, if you sleep with heavy blankets in 25 degrees, you probably should not go to Darjeeling in December. But winter in Darjeeling is beautiful. The temperature usually stays between 12 to 13 degrees, so with enough warm clothes, you will be set. Don’t forget to take multiple pairs of socks, gloves, and winter caps. Load up on moisturizers and dry shampoos. Also, make sure your hotel has a constant supply of warm water and a proper heating system. Checking on these before your trip will help you get the full winter experience in Darjeeling.

Darjeeling: An experience of a lifetime
A bustling city at the foothill of the Himalayas

Bon Voyage!

The route to Darjeeling is fairly simple. Want to go by road? Take a train to Panchagarh. The border is about an hour away from the rail station. Cross it and you will be able to enter through the Phulbari port. Make sure you apply for Phulbari while applying for the Visa. The immigration will not be too hectic, and you can reach Shiliguri in about another hour. From there, it is a two hour drive to your destination.

Another way to go to Darjeeling is by air. You will be dropped off at Bagdogra airport, and from there it will take a little more than an hour to Darjeeling. Pay attention to the fare, though. Everything in Darjeeling is a rip off if you are not careful.

Everything that Darjeeling has to offer

As tempted as I am to recommend that in Darjeeling, the best thing to do is just find higher ground and keep staring at the majestic Kangchenjunga, there are a lot of other things to see in Darjeeling.

A bustling city at the foothill of the Himalayas
An unworldly view from Tiger hill

When going to Darjeeling, take the long way through Mirik, and you will be amazed how organized and colourful everything is. It almost feels like someone handcrafted this entire place, and the creator put a lot of thought into the design.

You’ll see colourful little cottages decorated with flowerpots. You will see a billion types of flower bushes. The air will make you feel as if you haven’t breathed in years. The spiral roads, the echoes of the toy train, the colourful temples, the valley with a million tiny lights, and people with the friendliest smiles- everything about Darjeeling is heartwarming and perfect. Once you get there, hire a car with a package. The car will take you to all the tourist spots in Darjeeling. You can go paragliding/river rafting in Kalimpong too- so there will be plenty of food for your adventurous soul! But these sports are not always open. Ask around before you head out to Kalimpong.

Beauty and culture

Darjeeling has a beautiful Tibetan culture to show off. You’ll see colourful prayer flags hanging around from almost every other establishment in Darjeeling. Contrary to popular belief, the Tibetan prayer flags do not carry actual prayers or mantras to particular deities or Gods.

Darjeeling: An experience of a lifetime 40

It is believed in the Tibetan culture that the mountain wind will carry the messages of peace, compassion and wisdom that’s written on the flags and bring peace to the world.

And the best part? On every turn you take in the mountainous roads of Darjeeling, Kangchenjunga will peek out and welcome you. And that is a sight unforgettable.

Pro tip- Do not miss out sunrise on Tiger hill, as the first ray of the sun touch the peak of Kangchenjunga before dawn breaks upon the city. Visit Ghoom Monastery, Mahakal Temple, Rock Garden, and the zoological park. If you are into history, check out the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute Museum. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because there will be a lot of uphill walking.

Eat like there’s no tomorrow

Darjeeling is a heaven for food lovers. From fancy English breakfast to street style Maggie- you will have way too many options and not enough space in your stomach.

Start your day with mouthwatering breakfast from Sonam’s Kitchen, a small cafe run by a lovely couple who’ll fire up a conversation with you. Treat yourself with momos, pakoras and other street food at Batasia Loop. Warm your stone-cold heart with a bowl of steaming Thukpa at Kunga restaurant. Lose yourself in the live music at Glenary’s while munching on delicious food and enjoy a scenic mountain view from their wooden deck. For such a small place, Darjeeling has a lot to offer. It’s your job to take full advantage of it.

Shopping in Darjeeling?

Darjeeling has a lot of souvenir shops and old Tibetan art shops. You can buy beautiful winter clothes, breathtaking silver jewelry, and simple trinkets as gifts. Go to mall road and take your pick. If you want branded stuff, go to Big Bazaar. But if you’re shopping from the streets, make sure to bargain. Otherwise, you will be ripped off, and you won’t even realize it until it’s too late.

Darjeeling: An experience of a lifetime 35

The night life!

Darjeeling at night is exquisite. But unfortunately, everything usually closes down by 9 because of the cold. This is the reason why, you will not get to dance your night away at clubs. However, you can still enjoy your evenings at a number of cafes, pubs and restaurants.

But that’s not it. You’ll experience an unworldly sight at night if you’re looking out of your hotel window, balcony or rooftop. You’ll see a sky full of a billion stars. And the entire Darjeeling city on the hills with its flickering white and yellow lights in the dark offer an illusion that the stars have come down on the dark hills.

In the distant, the white snowy peak of the Kangchenjunga will still be visible in the dark.

And you’ll hear distant sounds of prayer bells and hymns from temples. Words fall short in describing this ecstatic and unworldly experience.

Is it safe to roam around alone?

The thing I loved about Darjeeling was how safe it was. The people are helpful, and they will be kind to you as you are a tourist. As a result, travelling alone is not gonna be as hard as you might think. But even if you are alone, chances are that a kind stranger will help you find your way. Again, it’s India. It doesn’t hurt to stay on your guard.

Go easy on the ol’ wallet

Last but not the least, do not worry much about the money. As long as you have around 15,000 BDT in your hand, you can have a comfortable, three day tour (minus the shopping, of course).

What are you waiting for? Go explore this piece of heaven on Earth! And don’t forget to let us know about your experience!

Where to eat in Dhaka after midnight

Midnight? Hungry? We have all looked at our clock, hungry, thinking its too late to get food. Feel no despair at the next all-nighter, missed bedtime. Press yes for ‘Are you still watching?’ on Netflix, because there are selected places to get food from, in Dhaka, after dark. Yes, the options during these hours limited, but here is a list for the night owls with unusual appetites:

Pizza Roma

Pizza Roma Dhaka late night

Pizza is a safe bet for night cravings. Pizza Roma serves (arguably) the best pizza in town. They stay open until midnight. Pizza Roma takes late night orders through their Facebook page or through their website for delivery in Gulshan, Banani and Dhanmondi. Try their Pizza Diavola while you’re at it. Thank us later.

Tel: 01755660039

Tehari On Wheels

Where to eat in Dhaka after midnight 14

Don’t want the usual pizza or burger? Craving overflowing plates of rice and Bengali food? Tehari on Wheels serves traditional Tehari . They are open 24 hours. They also offer other items such as beef khichuri, hasher mangsho bhuna, etc. A plus, food delivery is available all day, all night. Find them on Facebook or give them a call for delivery services.

Tel:- 01902363697

Tehari Avenue

late night dhaka food

Tehari Avenue in Gulshan Road 119 has a simple straightforward menu that consists of tehari/chicken pulao and water/coke. The price tag does not take a toll on the ol’ wallet and it tastes amazing. They stay open until 1AM on Thursdays and Fridays.

Tel: 01617-138138

Herfy

herfy banglaesh late night food

Herfy is the latest in a long line of international food joints setting up shop in Bangladesh. This Saudi Arabian fast food joint offers up Burgers, Rice Meals, and Combos, French Fries, Chicken Fries etc. Their Gulshan outlet stays open till 2:00AM on weekends and till 2.30AM on weekends and holidays and offers both dine-in and takeaways. They offer free delivery service within Gulshan, Niketon, and Banani from 10PM to 1AM.

Tel: 01709-991000

Premium Sweets

Premium sweets late night dhaka

The Gulshan 2 branch of Premium Sweets is open till 2AM. Get delicious khicuri, kala bhuna, walimar roast as well as the usual sweets. Combo meals start at BDT 795.

Gulshan 2 Tel:  01759115124

Gulshan 1 Tel:  01755997678

Uttara Sector 7: 01796632672

Gloria Jeans Cafe

gloria jeans late night dhaka

For something light or just coffee, go to Gloria Jeans. The Australian coffee chain stays open till 1:00 AM. Other than coffee, the chain serves sandwiches, light meals and baked goods such as lamingtons, chocolate mousse etc.

Gulshan Branch Tel: 01929-333999

Star Kabab and Restaurant

Star kabab dhaka late night

The most obvious choice is Star kabab, a landmark institution in Dhaka City. Get your fix of rice, fish, veg, mutton to kebabs 2 AM and offers late night dinner and snacks.

Nazirabazar, Old Dhaka

nazirabazar dhaka late midnight food

As always, we saved the best for the last.

If you’re hungry AND in a mood for adventure, head out to Nazirabazar in old Dhaka.

 There is no traffic at 2 AM, So, it matters little where you’re staying. Given, you have a safe mode of transportation, of course. These buzzing lanes in old Dhaka stay open till very late and arrays of street food stalls and local cafes remain forever crowded. Chicken kebabs, beef chaps, lassis, fire paan, you name it. Fancy a cup of tea? Even the tongs will stay open. Eat to your heart’s content, the world is yours.

Check out the fanfare of Nazirabazar here.

One thing to note here is that if you plan to order takeout at this time, only Hungrynaki offers their service around 3: 00 AM. Foodpanda and Pathao foods are closed during those hours.

Thank you for reading this article. If you like our content, support us and help us grow by sending your feedback, suggestions, stories and questions to [email protected]

Chittagong port: Reliving the history of the oldest port in the East

The story of the seven seas

Remember Sindbad? The sword-wielding, brave, adventure loving Sindbad the sailor who sailed his ship through Africa and Asia, fighting monsters and mythical creatures? Or do you fancy about Pirates instead? The daring pirates in the sea, sailing on their ships, looting and hiding their treasures in deep jungles, destroying merchant ships in deep sea waters. What if we told you that Sindbad had probably moored his ship in Bengal or that an infamous pirate had, at some point in history, hidden his treasures in our deep enchanting jungles?

The finest port of the Eastern world

History of Chittagong sea port
Dutch Ships in Chittagong port, the 17th Century

In the 7th century, Chinese explorer Xuanzang described Chittagong as “A sleeping beauty rising from mist and water”. A 2000-year-old city, a mythical realm of hundred tribes and an exotic land where the mountains meet the ocean. As for its rich history, Chittagong area has been a recorded seaport since the 4th century BCE. In the 2nd century, the harbour appeared on Ptolemy’s map. The map mentions the harbour as one of the finest in the Eastern world.

Chittagong seaport has always been the trade hub between the East and the West. Records indicate frequent trade between private merchants of Europe and the merchants of the East during medieval times. According to the works of Fa-hien, Hieu-en tsng, lbn Battuta, the port of Chittagong mingled with the ancient civilization of the world.

Arab traders frequented Chittagong since the 9th century. The port appears in the travelogues of Chinese explorers Xuanzang and Ma Huan. The Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta and the Venetian traveller Niccolo De Conti visited the port in the 14th century. The historical port had ship trade with Africa, Europe, China and Southeast Asia.

In 1552 De Barros described Chittagong as the “most famous and wealthy city in Bengal” due to the port of Chittagong which was responsible for all trade in the region.

Turbulent times

History of Chittagong sea port
The Mughal-Arakan war in Chittagong that got the Portuguese expelled

The Portuguese settlement in Chittagong centred on the port in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Portuguese engaged in piracy, slavery and forced conversion in the region. After the Portuguese were expelled, Chittagong came under the rule of the Mughal Empire and was named Islamabad. It became an important shipbuilding centre, catering to the Mughal and Ottoman navies. After the rise of British dominance in Bengal following the Battle of Plassey, the Nawab of Bengal ceded the port to the British East India Company in 1760.

During WWII, Chittagong port was used by the allied forces in the Burma campaign.

Slave trade

History of Chittagong sea port
British slave trade

Chittagong port was also the hub of the slave trade between the East and the West during the 16t-17th Century. Slave traders would bring in African slaves to the port to sell them to local lords or transport them to the west. Often they would capture local boys and girls and ship them to Europe as slaves.

A chance to relive history

History of Chittagong sea port
Chittagong port in present times

If you’re planning a trip to Chittagong, do not forget to visit the seaport at least once. It might not look the same as before, but the touch of history is still alive. Standing on the same grounds where pirates and sailors of the seven seas once stood, you wouldn’t want to miss it for the world, would you?

A lost community of Armenians in Dhaka

Dhaka, a 400-years-old behemoth of a city. Imagine for a moment that you are in 17th century Mughal Dhaka. You are standing in the middle of a bazaar in the Grand Area. People are shouting, talking to one other, switching between languages in their usual loud tone. Persian merchants, on their way to the port of Calcutta, are stopping by to trade fine Muslin for the Shah’s gold. Do you smell the fresh spices? Amid the ruckus of crowd and noise, a mellow and soothing sound of sitar is coming from somewhere. You can hear the prayer chants and bells of a temple somewhere far away. Only to be overtaken with the sound of Azaan as the dusk begins to fall.

It was sometime in these buzzing, lazy days of the 17th-18th century when Dhaka saw the arrival of a prominent community of Armenians in this part of the world. Almost 400 years later, only a small locality name, Armanitola and one magnificently breathtaking church built by them, bear the testimony of their existence. This is the story of the forgotten Armenians of Dhaka.

The arrival of the Armenians in Dhaka

Courtesy: The Armenian Church of Bangladesh Website

We cannot find an exact record of exactly when the Armenians had arrived in Dhaka. But it is widely believed that they arrived some time in the late 17th or early 18th century.

Following the invasion of Armenia by the Persian Safavid rulers in the 17th century, a significant number of Armenians came to Bengal to establish a community and engage in trade and commerce. Armenians, who were fluent in Persian and veteran businessmen, had no trouble finding their niche in the Persian speaking Mughal court. They quickly established themselves as prominent traders in Bengal.

The rise to prominence

The Armenians settled largely in an Armenian colony in the preset day Aramanitola. In an extremely short span of time, the Armenians became unmatched in the trade of textile, opium and leather, beating their European counterparts in the game.

Thanks to them, Dhaka started to become even richer as one of the most important trade hubs in the east.

The Armenians, thanks to their specific skill sets of trade and commerce, quickly established themselves as the elite class in the city. Integrating themselves with the locals, many of them became local zamindars and landlords. They built picturesque mansions, houses and bungalows that adorned the city of Dhaka. The now ruined Ruplal House was such an establishment which was originally built by an Armenian landlord, Aratoon. It later went on to become one of the most prominent landmarks of colonial Dhaka alongside Ahsan Manzil. Parts of Shahbagh and the land where Bangabhaba stands also used to belong to Armenian zaminders.

Read more: 6 places in Dhaka that remind us of our glorious past

Contributions to the development of Dhaka

Dhaka City across Buriganga River – a painting by Frederick William Alexander de Fabeck in 1861

The Armenian community played a significant role in the development of Dhaka. Although the use of horse-carriages is mostly associated with Nawabs of Dhaka, it was the Armenians who fist introduced these horse-carriages which became a popular mode of transportation in the city later on. The Armenians were also the first to introduce departmental stores in Dhaka. Nicholas Pogose, a prominent wealthy Armenian of that time, had established the Pogose school. It was one of the first three English schools in Dhaka. He was also the founding member of Dhaka Municipality in 1864.

The Armenian Church

A lost community of Armenians in Dhaka 2

In 1781, the Armenian community built a church adjacent to a community burial ground. This is the Armenian church that we know today. The sole testament to a once thriving and flourishing diaspora in the heart of Dhaka.

Just like their arrival, there are no records of their sudden disappearance either. The community slowly extracted themselves after the partition in 1947. The burial ground inside the Armenian church contains bodies of Armenian settlers and their subsequent generations who are just as much Dhakaites as the rest of us today. They came here, settled here, grew families and businesses here. They flourished this city. Here’s to hoping this city does not forget them.

This article is part one of a five-part series based on Dhaka’s history and culture. We humbly apologise for any factual mistakes and errors that might have been made during researching and writing. We would appreciate your contribution in making this article and the series richer with any facts, information, corrections and tips that might have missed our eyes. Send us emails at [email protected] with your suggestions and notes. Thank you!

Spider-Man is officially out of the MCU. Here’s what the future holds

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now Spider-Man’s future in the MCU is looking bleak. Thanks to a deal gone wrong between Sony Pictures and Marvel bossman Kevin Feige, our favourite web-slinger is now officially out of the MCU, according to reliable sources.

The deal with Sony and Marvel

According to news, Sony will most likely continue making Spider-Man movies but they will not be produced by Marvel any more. Which means Marvel will have no creative authority over the movie and MCU tie ins are a closed chapter.

What will happen in MCU?

It’s unclear how the MCU will go forward filling in voids in its universe where Spider-Man used to exist. They could simply ignore it, showing Spider-Man has officially retired from his duties and is now focused on a normal life as Peter Parker. However, they probably will not be able to use the name Spider-Man or Peter Parker, thanks to legal rights issues. (Remember X-Men?) But if Happy Hogan mentions a certain “Kid”, we’ll understand that reference.

Another reboot?

As for Spider-Man himself, he will most likely get yet another reboot. That means a new cast and a new storyline. A new suit of course. It’s yet be decided what actually happens to Spidey but let’s hope it’s not another reboot. Honestly, it’s getting tiring!

At the time of writing this article, it’s rumoured that Sony will probably renegotiate their deal again. Here’s to hoping Tom Holland gets to stay in that suit!

Kashmir, a paradise lost?

Midnight is remarkably intertwined with the fate of India. It was the wee hours of midnight when India overthrew its colonisers of 200 years and won its freedom almost 72 years ago. It was the past midnight on 5th of August, 2019 when India unforgivingly discarded everything its founding fathers believed in and decided to tear down Jammu-Kashmir. 72 years later, complete darkness has now engulfed the paradise on earth.

Kashmir’s struggle

Before 1947, Kashmir was a princely state called Jammu and Kashmir. The lush green mountains with the backdrop of the Himalayan range and forever blessed with clear blue skies had rightfully earned its name of Paradise on Earth. But Kashmir was troubled. It has always been.

During partition, thanks to Kashmir’s then-ruling King Hari Singh, Kashmir had joined India instead of Pakistan under few special conditions, all of which were met. According to these conditions, Kashmir remained the only specialised state in India, complete with its own flag, constitution and prime minister. Kashmir had the freedom to make its own laws and decisions, except for foreign affairs, military moves and communications which remained under the central’s control.

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Thanks to this certain degree of autonomy, Kashmir could make rules regarding property ownership and fundamental rights, even bar Indian residents of other states to buy properties in Kashmir, a law which protected the locals from being outnumbered by their own countrymen from different states.  

Many aspects of this autonomous facility of Kashmir became a futile gesture under the Indian state in the years to follow.

Prime Minister became Rajyapal. Its constitution became merely a booklet in the corner shelf.

But Article 370 still protected the residents of Kashmir. It protected the ownership rights and the constitutional autonomy of the only Muslim majority state in India, at least formally in papers.

Revoking Article 370 was in the 2019 election manifesto of BJP. But few had thought it would actually get implemented. Few had assumed that BJP would have the audacity to tear down the only string that still kept the troubled Kashmir bound together with India and risk riots, communal turbulence and to speak of the worst, outright war with Pakistan.

The fall of Kashmir

But it happened. The sign was clear from the first few days of August. Thousands of additional troops were deployed. An emergency was declared. Tourism, schools, pilgrimages were called off. And when everyone was assuming that only section 35A of the constitution, which allowed special rights to Kashmir, would be scrapped, Modi’s Government revoked almost the entire Article 370, stripping Kashmir completely of its autonomy.

Kashmir will also be divided into two federally governed regions. One will combine Muslim majority Kashmir and Hindu majority Jammu. The other will be the Buddhist majority and Tibet influenced Ladakh.

Kashmir lost its flag, its constitution. Kashmir’s leaders were put under house arrest. Its people are now susceptible to general Indian laws and rules. Any Indian national can now buy property in Kashmir and Kashmiris no longer hold the right to decide their own fate.

BJP’s complex relationship with Hindu right-wing

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Hindu nationalist and right-wing groups are welcoming it while protests are breaking out in Kashmir. Amit Shah says the move amends “mistakes in the past” and that will pave the path for development in Kashmir. But in reality, it’s a catastrophic decision. Especially considering the fact that Kashmir has had a troublesome history with Indian ruling since the last 30 years. Separatists sentiment had been growing steadily with movements and unrest breaking out every now and then.

Many fear that the new move will allow Hindu right-wing majority to take over native Kashmiri land and turn the locals into a minority group. Some go even further assuming an ethnic cleansing on the plate, given BJP’s extremist sentiments in the past.

Midnight’s children no more

Kashmiris had long been dreaming of and fighting for an “Azaad Kashmir”. With this new move in place, that dream is long gone. With populism quickly rising in world politics, India has sealed its fate for the foreseeable future. First with the landslide victory of BJP in the 2019 elections and now with the stripping of Kashmir’s autonomous status. India has put the final nail in the coffin and is on its way to becoming the monster it defeated 72 years ago.

Marvel reveals its Phase four. Includes Loki, Blade and more!

MCU fans assemble! Earlier today at SDCC, Marvel Studios announced its phase four of films and tv shows. Phase four deals with the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame and several prequels that we surely are excited for. Some of these include the reprisal of fan favourite Blade and the possible reprisal of Fantastic Four and X-Men series.

Here are all the films and tv shows in chronological order as they will be coming out in phase four:

Black Widow (May 1st, 2020) 

Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020)

The Eternals (November 6th, 2020)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021)

WandaVision (Spring 2021)

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (May 7th, 2021)

Loki (Spring 2021)

What If (Summer 2021)

Hawkeye (Fall 2021) and 

Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5th, 2021)

Phase four has some really interesting stories in the box for us. We will see the origin of Black Widow and Hawkeye and the movies will most likely explore their infamous Budapest mission that they keep mentioning!

We will see Anthony Mackey don his Captain America suit and shield in Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Shang Chi will introduce the real Mandarin. (Yeah, we want to forget Iron Man 3 too)

Thor: Love and Thunder will give us Jane Foster wielding the Mjolnir as the female Thor.

And What If will be a non-canon animated series that will be an alternate take on the MCU universe. Like, what would happen if Loki had found Thor’s Hammer!

Speaking of Loki, we are getting a Loki TV show! Yay.

We eagerly look forward to Disney’s D23 conference next month for more information!

Day trips from Dhaka: 5 places you can visit for a quick fix

It feels nice to get away from the city once in a while. It feels nice to go somewhere, away from all the hustle, dust, crowd and everything else. 

What we lack is not the enthusiasm or the drive to travel, but time and money. And places near Dhaka which can be covered in a day are a blessing when it comes to getting away for a short time with a limited budget. 

Here are 5 places you never knew you wanted to visit for a day tour:

Read more: 5 countries you can travel to without a visa if you’re Bangladeshi

Chandpur:

Day tour from Dhaka: 5 places that you can visit for a quick fix

About a hundred kilometres away from Dhaka, Chandpur is a quiet and calm city situated on the banks of Padma and Meghna. Interestingly, Chandpur is the point where the rivers Padma and Meghna meet and the spectacular view of the two rivers makes Chandpur a coveted yet somewhat undiscovered tourist destination.

Find a hands-on guide to a day tour to Chandpur here

Sreemangal:

Day tour from Dhaka: 5 places that you can visit for a quick fix

They say it’s never a bad time to visit Sreemangal. Sreemangal, called the Tea Capital of Bangladesh, is adorned with hill after hill of lush green tea gardens, rubber trees and of course, is home to the famous and mysterious Lawachara  National Forest.

The best time to visit Sreemangal is either in the rainy season, when the rain makes the tea gardens greener and the smell of raw tea leaves you a little high, or in winter, when the dense fog keeps the forests and the tea gardens covered in mystery and you can enjoy one of the coldest climates in the country.

Find a hands-on guide to a day tour to Sreemangal here. 

Cumilla:

Day tour from Dhaka: 5 places that you can visit for a quick fix

Cumilla is a famous and historical town with a bagful of surprises. With a rich history spanning from ancient Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms to the British Era, World War 2 and home to the famous Rosh-malai, Cumilla is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Bangladesh.

Find a hands-on guide to a day tour to Cumilla here

Dohar:

Day tour from Dhaka: 5 places that you can visit for a quick fix

It’s called the mini Cox’s Bazar. And for good reasons too. The endless horizon of water and splashing small waves at your feet on the muddy banks does remind one of Cox’s Bazar.

Yes, talking about Moinot Ghat or Dohar as many prefer to call it. About one and a half hours journey away from Dhaka, Dohar is the perfect place to spend a day away from the busy urban life. The best time to visit Dohar would be now, as the continuous rain has filled the river Padma to the brink and the overcast sky and the calm Padma waters together make an unforgettable view to feast your eyes on.

Find a hands-on guide to a day tour to Dohar here

Read more: 5 perfect places in Bangladesh for camping adventures

Munshiganj:

Day tour from Dhaka: 5 places that you can visit for a quick fix

Munshiganj, also known as Bikrampur is located about 33 kms away from Dhaka city. An ideal location for a day’s visit, Munshiganj is a little bit underrated as a travel destination and the lack of selfie savvy tourists is perhaps one of the best things about travelling to Munshiganj.

Find a hands-on guide to a day tour to Munshiganj here

Honorary mention: Uttara

Day tour from Dhaka: 5 places that you can visit for a quick fix

Artwork by: Fahim Anzoom Rumman

Uttara is a nice little place to leave the city for a day, away from the hectic weekdays. Ideally, this little, somewhat primitive small city-state should not take more than 30 minutes to visit. But thanks to the adventurous route that leads to this place, it almost takes an entire day to visit Uttara and come back to the city, safe and sound.

Read more: 5 unique experiences in Dhaka that most tourists never see

So, if you’re tired of all the cliched places people visit these days like Sreemangal and Cox’s Bazaar (or you want to turn your image of a lazy duck who sits at home all day playing PUBG into that of a spontaneous traveller), buckle up. You’re in for the adventure of a lifetime.

Find a hands-on guide to a day tour to Uttara here.