It’s that time of the year again when you will have to go through your closet to find sarees and panjabis that shoutout “Amit Ray” and “Labannya” from “Shesher Kobita”. Yes! It’s time for this year’s Durga Puja and all the festivities it brings along with it. During these festivities, it is hard not to jump into the celebrations like everyone else. Any event or occasion in Bangladesh is as hectic as they come, and you will meet a wide spectrum of peoples in these five days. Somehow we all have a particular role to play. So, here are the handful of the different types of people you will probably bump into this puja. So which one of the following types will you fall under?
The ultimate mandap hoppers
If you live in Dhaka there are a host of options for you to choose from for your puja hopping adventures. Almost every neighbourhood has little their mandaps set up for the occasion. However, there will be some who won’t be satisfied by going to just one or two mandaps. They will not leave out a single puja mandaps in the vicinity. From Jagannath Hall to Dhakeshwari Temple to Banani to God knows where they will be there battling through Dhaka’s traffic. Where do they get the energy?
The social media fanatics
These are the bunch who dedicate their lives to social media. You will see them in the perfect puja attire going to fancy restaurants with the best offers for this holiday. Also, they will not leave out any of the typical puja rituals either. From dressing up like Aishwarya Ray in Devdas to ringing the puja bell to playing with siddur, you name it. They will have done it all as you can see from their Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds. And don’t forget the hashtags #shoptomi, #oshtomi, #nobomi, #doshomi, #PostPujaShenanigans.
The unfortunate hosts
In every circle, there will be one or two unfortunate beings whose homes become the ideal spot for post puja hopping hangouts. Your close one or two Hindu friends will be there as your saviour and accommodate you after a long day of hopping around. They will have to feed all the hungry ones that end up in their doorsteps while also managing to juggle their ongoing family responsibilities as well. But can you really blame us? Luchis are love, luchis are life.
The ones that are never there
AKA the getaway groups. These are the individual who always either makes plans or are the most hyped about it. But when it comes to actually appearing they somehow always manage to go out on quick one or two-day getaways out of town. Because no matter what you plan on puja it cannot measure up to their special getaways. Plus they somehow always have the perfect excuse that ends up saving their sorry asses. I must say these people are the smartest and are the ones winning at life.
And last but not the least, the people who never get any puja vacation
These are the guys who belong to the institutions (ahem ahem, private medicals students) or workplaces in which they never give any vacation during puja. They are the saddest bunch. They will have to work hard all day and after getting home will have to tolerate the social media fanatics online. If you are one of them take my advice and avoid social media for a few days.
So here’s to all the different type of people we will be meeting during this puja season and শারদীয় শুভেচ্ছা ও ভালোবাসা.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
Tehari On Wheels
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Earlier this year, OPPO introduced OPPO A7 with a decent 4320mAh battery and Oppo A9; both of which gained immense popularity within a short period of time.
Considering the affection from the users, the manufacturer has decided to launch the OPPO A9 ‘2020’ in Bangladesh. It comes with substantial upgrades in processing capability, camera performance; and increased power capability by adding a monstrous 5000mAh battery. In addition, the New ‘2020’ version incorporates 8GB RAM to ensure smooth multitasking experience for heavy-duty usage.
The RAM, why it makes a difference
Regarding the 8GB RAM, Mr Damon Yang, Managing Director of OPPO Bangladesh says, “OPPO has always prioritize on user experience with OPPO devices. This is an era of creative minds. With a gigantic 8GB RAM, gaming and content creation will be smoother; while ensuring a better outcome in terms of multi-tasking.”
Operating system tends to force close some of the background apps in smartphones that have smaller RAM. Multi-tasking, high-intensity gaming, photo and video processing becomes challenging for smartphones that come with smaller RAM. With an 8GB RAM, photo processing will be faster than ever before. Video rendering will be faster for creative users who use a smartphone as a tool for content creation. But most importantly, higher RAM ensures smoother performance for games that come with high definition graphics.
The powerhouse battery
The Oppo A9 2020 comes with a powerful battery that can back the need of demanding smartphone gaming. Games like PUBG drain batteries very fast. However, with VOOC flash charging and a 5000mAh battery, the concern for battery backup is minimal. A single charge may last for more than 2 days for a moderate user. For heavy users, it will survive a full day.
For outdoor content creator and travellers, power back-up really becomes an issue; since they are bound to be detached from any power source during their work time. So, the new OPPO A9 2020 would relieve frequent travellers from the predicament of running out of power.
The Oppo A9 ‘2020’ will hit the market by mid-September 2019. It will be available in official OPPO stores and other channels as well.
Previously the word ‘কুমারী’ (virgin) was part of question 5 of Bangladesh’s standardised Muslim marriage contract. The question asked whether the bride is a virgin, divorcee or widow. The high court directed the government to remove the word and use the word ‘অবিবাহিত’, unmarried, instead.
Previous Muslim marriage contract
The first question of the marriage contract or nikka form is about the address and the name of the ward in which the marriage is taking place. The second question and third question are about the name of the groom and groom’s parents and his age. The fourth line is to fill in the bride’s name and parental details. The fifth asks “konna kumari, bidhoba, othoba talak prapto ki na?” Then, one notes the brides age.
Some English versions of the marriage contract would translate kumari to maiden instead of virgin. Unmarried will now be the accurate translation.
Steps towards equality
This change came about as part of a joint effort between BLAST, Naripokkho and Mohila Porishod. They had filed the writ petition with the High Court in 2014 challenging the legality of number five column in the marriage contract or Kabinnama.
This is a step towards bringing equality into our law and life. This is also a move away from the culture of misogyny that permeates society.
The court did not make any directives towards the usage of the words ‘divorcee’ and ‘widower’ from the form. These words are unnecessarily discriminatory and cause privacy concerns. However, the ruling included a new item so that the groom is asked whether he is unmarried, divorced or a widower.
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Both men and women in the age range of 15 to 35 years old. More women than men are dengue patients. View this chart on Tableau.
How are these cases distributed across Dhaka?
There are a greater number of cases reported in Moghbazar, Rampura, Jatrabari , Malibag than other areas in Dhaka city.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector of dengue. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. The dengue mosquito can breed in just a teaspoon of standing or stagnant water. The Aedes aegypti mosquito lives in urban habitats and breeds mostly in man-made containers. Common breeding areas are discarded tires, barrels, plastic drums and jerry cans. Unlike other mosquitoes Ae. aegypti is a day-time feeder; its peak biting periods are early in the morning and in the evening before dusk.
“Cities like Dhaka, where development is taking place in an unplanned manner, the grounds are ripe for mosquitoes to breed and procreate.”
Bangladeshi urban planner Dr Sarwar Jahan told Al Jazeera.
Cases reported earlier in the year, more recorded cases in 2009 than any year in the last 10 years
Reported cases of Dengue over the years. View chart on Tableau.
Dengue reporting related deaths over the years in Bangladesh. View chart on Tableau.
Usually, the first cases of dengue are reported in late May or June and go away by late August or early September. However, this year, the number of reported cases begin in January and drastically increased in 2019.
The present Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) were established in 1976. The institute conducts research on epidemiological and communicable diseases and runs disease control programs mainly in the form of parasitic and entomological containment of vector-borne diseases through the application of epidemiological principles. For example, in recent years, they have conducted tuberculosis prevalence survey, a national serosurvey of dengue exposure in Bangladesh and estimated the incidence of maternal deaths from HEV in Bangladesh. Other activities include surveillance, outbreak investigation and training and workshops on related issues.
In August of 1947, the Bengali nation found itself divided into two countries. But geopolitical borders can only separate people, not their cultures and souls. West Bengal and Bangladesh are two bodies with one soul, with their hearts beating within the people who contain a bit of both entities. The culture differences might be overwhelming to some, but to many, the similarities is where the harmony is strengthened. The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata is specifically loved by many Bangladeshis because of still containing the residue of original Bengali traditions and inspirations gracefully enough, while becoming a modern cosmopolitan city.
A tale of two cities
Kolkata is not just a city to many, it is also an emotion for being the heart of emergence of the historic personalities, events and art that have shaped the dimensions of our collective culture. It will forever remain precious since it has still preserved it all with simplicity, sincerity and joy.
Dhaka is different. It might not be as aesthetically pleasing but it has had the fortune of being the home of Nawabs. This 400-year-old city still preserves the faint scent of its lost glory days in the narrow alleys of Old Dhaka. Being someone who appreciates food and fraternity, my love for Dhaka is eternal since you will find it in loads here. The versatility of cuisines and food habits here beats some of Kolkata’s for me. Old Dhaka is undeniably the heart of likeable chaos and urban heritage. This is how it steals my breath, even after being overwhelmingly crowdy.
I have been blessed with the fortune of having a residence in Kolkata, unlike many. Being a wanderer in nature, Kolkata as a city has always actively taken part in shaping my emotions, feelings, values and cultures. The city has a particular aesthetic that no other city could beat for me till now. This is a city for the people with a hearty appetite and curious eyes. Kolkata gave me so much more than a place to stay. It gave me comfort, peace, diversity and joy. So much, that I became addicted to its roads flooding with sodium lights, yellow ambassadors with loud Bollywood songs from the 80s, earthen tea cups that have their own flavour and so much more! The air of this city has a distinct smell, the smell that will excite anybody who is familiar with the diversity it offers.
Dhaka pampers you with unpredictability and availability. It gave me a home to grow up in and understand myself better. Nothing in Dhaka is too far but it consumes time like no other. Even then, it will still give you hope. From the delicacies to the nightlife, everything here is a trade. The trade of time, energy and sometimes, life.
Kolkata or Dhaka, why not both?
While Kolkata wows me with art and ethereal beauty, Dhaka prepares me for the worst. It is like Yin and Yang, balancing each other in harmony. Kolkata was originally inspired by the British. Their credit? They built it. Kolkata’s credit? It preserved and carried it, even today, like it’s their own. The historic buildings, churches, temples, mosques, offices.. everything gives you the feeling of being in the right place, no matter how many times you’ve visited the place already. The best thing about Kolkata carrying its cultures so devotedly even today is the candidness behind everything in this city. Nothing feels forced, nothing feels odd. Even the shady alleys will offer something to your thoughts.
Being a frequent visitor of Kolkata since the age of 4, I realized there’s more of Kolkata in me than Dhaka, as I am now labelled an adult by society.
The cultural similarity we share has been sowed within me by Kolkata and was nourished here in Dhaka. Every time I visit Kolkata, I learn something new, even if it isn’t directly associated with anything cultural.
A tale of two art forms
Dhaka has its own way of expressing itself. It will express its ‘sorrows’ through the sweat stains of a tired Rikshawala on a humid day, ‘happiness’ through the smile on the face of a mother when her child returns home, ‘fear’ with the speeding buses and trucks on busy streets, ‘anger’ with every innocent life lost, ‘hope’ with every warning a girl receives from random strangers when her orna is tangled to the wheels of a rickshaw and ‘joy’ with every cricket match Bangladesh team manages to win. We have our own graceful way of doing things here.
Kolkata is a living art. From Howrah to New Market, the extended roads with shadowy alleys, sodium lights and oversized billboards, the faint smell of incense coming from a distance and the classic yellow ambassadors lining up one after another in traffic, everything will please your eyes. Kolkata isn’t entirely modern but it doesn’t want to be it either. It is almost like a modern cosmopolitan woman draped in a saree, unpretentiously appreciating the combination. This effortlessly beautiful city has always been therapeutic for me, whenever I felt dilemmatic, whenever I needed a breath of fresh air. The discipline of this city despite the chaotic charisma as it may seem to many, is praiseworthy as well.
Being in a love-hate relationship with Dhaka has enabled me to appreciate the best of both cities.
Dhaka will always capture a bigger part of my heart and a broader part of my understandings of culture. The city may not be as artistic and aesthetically pleasing, but it will make you appreciate the little things in your life. Dhaka lets you set priorities and act on it everyday. Dhaka will disappoint you, but some days it won’t and you’ll fall in love with it. The heart of Dhaka is not what it contains but the people who make this city liveable. Culturally, Dhaka has given me the concepts of assertiveness, relationships and the importance of being there for each other. Dhaka will destroy you first and then build you up better. Compared to Kolkata, Dhaka gives you hopes with conditions. Dhaka gives you freedom with restrictions. But Kolkata?
Divided by a border, united by culture
Kolkata lets you live, in all the ways you want to. As Dhaka keeps me grounded, Kolkata gives me the wings to fly. The combination of two didn’t only help me appreciate the beauty of the Bengal, but also it gave me a strong sense of security and cultural awareness.
If these words didn’t make enough sense to you as someone who’s yet to breathe the air of Kolkata, why don’t you pack your bags and board the next flight to make sense out of it? And if by any chance, you’re reading this from Kolkata, it’s never too late to visit this cousin city at least once.
Travelling has many benefits- it teaches you about other cultures, it helps declutter your mind, and it also gives you a clear idea about who you are.
In 2017, about 1.32 billion people travelled worldwide, and more and more people are taking an interest in it. However, for Bangladeshis, the formalities surrounding an international trip can often be daunting. For us getting a visa is fairly difficult. But does it mean your dream of travelling the world will remain a dream?
Many countries offer visa-free entry/ on arrival visas for Bangladeshis. So sometimes, all you need to do is pack a bag and get on a plane. And here are 5 countries that will gladly welcome you.
Cambodia is blessed with a vibrant culture and natural beauty. It is home to Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument ever built. The massive structure will take your breath away, but that is not all Cambodia has to offer. It has untouched beaches, historical sights, and ancient temples that will take you back in time. The visa process is very easy, and you can get an on-arrival visa at all the major airports like Phenom Penh and Siem Reap. All you need is passport-size photographs and a filled out form. And like a cherry on the top, Cambodia is not super expensive. So what are you waiting for? Hop on a plane!
Fiji (Visa-Free entry)
Despite being a breathtaking country with a warm, rich local culture, Fiji is often not on the radar of Bangladeshi travellers. It does not make sense- because Fiji offers visa-free entry for tourists, where you can stay up to 4 months! Fiji has over 300 islands and over 500 islets, making it the perfect destination for beach lovers. It also has a very interesting culture, delicious food and intriguing history. Did you know that cannibalism was widespread throughout the islands? Neither did we!
Kenya (On Arrival Visa)
Yes, we know that Kenya is not at the top of your bucket list. But it should be. Kenya is a leading safari destination in East Africa. It has a number of wildlife conservatories that you can visit, and they all boast the beauty of wildlife. Fun fact: The biggest five animals- rhinos, leopards, lions, buffalo, and elephants can all be found in Kenya. For travelling Bangladeshis, Kenya offers an on arrival visa. So pack your bag, and feast your eyes on how diverse the world is.
Madagascar (On Arrival Visa)
The name might remind you of the movie Madagascar, but real-life Madagascar is far more enthralling. There are only 17 countries in the world that are considered to be megadiverse, and Madagascar is one of them. This place is undoubtedly a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. You will get to see numerous types of lemurs, birds and chameleons. And no, there’s no lion or giraffes or hippos. From 500-year-old burial sites to labyrinths of limestones, Madagascar has a few well-known world heritage sites. But forget about all that. Visit Madagascar because it’s beautiful.
Bahamas (Visa-Free Entry)
Does the idea of swimming with sharks intrigue you? If yes, then travelling to the Bahamas will be a great experience for you. With 700 islands and 2500 cays, the Bahamas will completely change your perspective of the underwater world. These subtropical beaches attract over five million tourists every year, and we see the appeal. They offer visa-free entry for Bangladeshis, so this might be the perfect place for you to explore!
Did we miss any of your favourite places? Don’t forget to let us know!
My friend came to me with sadness in his eyes Told me that he wanted help Before his country dies; Although I couldn’t feel the pain I knew I had to try. Now I’m asking all of you To help us save some lives Bangla Desh, Bangla Desh
It’s been 48 years and a day since George Harrison crooned “Bangla Desh” over his guitar at a pair of benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden. Forever memorializing both his friendship with Ravi Shankar and the image of the recording artist as a good global citizen.
The harrowing backgrounds
In November 1970, the Bhola cyclone had ravaged East Pakistan and West Bengal. Killing 500,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands more. Then, as if to conspire with nature, the Pakistani army launched one of the most brutal military slaughters in modern history against the people of the East. Machine-gunning crowds of civilians, destroying whole villages and putting the torch to the dense slums of Dhaka.
An artist’s call of duty
Helplessly staring at the events from afar, Ravi Shankar set about to raise around $25,000.
First through the sale of his album, Joi Bangla, and then through a charity concert of his own. In the depth of his melancholy, he reached out to his friend George Harrison one day in Los Angeles.
“I was in a very sad mood, having read all this news, and I said, ‘George, this is the situation. I know it doesn’t concern you, I know you can’t possibly identify…’ But while I talked to George he was very moved, he felt very deeply, and he said, ‘Yes, I think I’ll be able to do something.’” Harrison himself later reflecting on the momentous occasion said, “The Concert For Bangladesh happened because of my relationship with Ravi … I said, ‘If you want me to be involved, I think I’d better be really involved,’ so I started recruiting all these people.”
As Shankar himself recounted in an interview published in the Rolling Stones magazine in 1971
The project began in earnest during the last week of June 1971, five or six weeks before the event took place on 1st August with Harrison as the principal mover, gathering musicians, making the phone calls, getting the commitments and setting up the show.
Concert for Bangladesh
Around the middle of July, the upcoming concert by “George Harrison and Friends” was announced, via a minuscule ad buried in the back pages of the New York Times.
On Sunday, August 1 1971, Shankar, Harrison and those “friends” – among them Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr and the band, Badfinger – staged rock’s first mass act of philanthropy, for the 400,000-capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden, New York.
Steering clear of the complex geopolitics that was behind the near radio silence of the American media, Harrison chose instead to focus on the human face of the crisis. His audibly distraught voice was an appeal to the basic humanity of the people listening, a call for solidarity that defied the limitations of human compassion.
Hosting the concert might have had its difficulties. But getting the nearly $243,000 it raised to the people it was intended for was a monster of a task in its own right.
Despite Harrison’s noble intentions, Pattie Boyd, his first wife, reported that Harrison believed that some of it “went walkabout”. “It was uncharted territory, the scale of it,” said Jonathan Clyde, of the Beatles’ Apple group in an interview with The Guardian in 2011. “The money did eventually reach Bangladesh, although perhaps not in time to help the refugees at that point. The big mistake was that Unicef wasn’t chosen beforehand, and so the IRS [the US tax service] took the view that because the charity wasn’t involved in the mounting of the concert, they’d take their cut. This distressed George hugely, it really angered him. There was an ongoing tussle for years, but I’m afraid even now the IRS still take their slice.”
But the legacy of the Concert for Bangladeshdid not end there; rather, it expanded. The concert and subsequent album and film have since raked in millions for Unicef. It went on to fund projects not only in Bangladesh but in trouble spots from Angola to Romania, and even in the Horn of Africa. According to music journalist Mikal Gilmore, Harrison drew heavily from his experience from his entanglement with the IRS. He gave Bob Geldof “meticulous advice” to ensure that Live Aid’s estimated £50 million found its way, as intended, to victims of the Ethiopian famine.
Even more critical than the money that was raised from the concert, however, was the widespread support it garnered for the fledgeling nation of Bangladesh.
Suddenly, everyone was talking about a nation that had for so long been desperately seeking to break-through the near radio silence of the media.
Equally important, was how the endeavour redefined the role of the artist from one who was bound by a sacred contract with the audience to produce art that was good, to one who was expected to stand against injustice and use one’s voice to proclaim the unspoken truths of the world aloud.
In a year in which the press was rightfully decrying “the motives of the musicians and the level of the audiences, with each neo-Woodstock more avaricious than the last”, the Concert for Bangladesh, -was –to paraphrase the editors of Rolling Stone – through the sheer splendor of its music and the wholesomeness of its motive,proof that the spirit of music was well and alive.
Defining fashion would be a difficult task. Some call it passion, some call it change and some believe trends are the mastermind behind it all. Fashion designers of Bangladesh have proved their talent and passion through leaps and bounds, representing their work to the world. Amidst new trends and innovating business ideas, the one to keep an eye out to is Almeerah.
Almeraah is bringing fashion to you the easiest way possible. It is the first rental service platform of Bangladesh associating with fashion. A digital wardrobe stacked with exclusive dry washed sarees that you can rent at a very affordable price within Dhaka.
An idea with a purpose
The story of Almeerah starts when the founder had to struggle with finding the right kind of blazer before a thesis defence. Unable to find any blazer appropriate for his height, he decides to borrow it from a friend who lived far away from him. Understanding the difficulty of fashion for people on different occasions, he realized that there could be a way through which fashion can be more accessible, affordable and fun for everyone. With a team and a plan, Almeerah is now set to help you rent exclusive sarees for occasions where you won’t have to buy a new one only to wear it once in a blue moon!
A minimalist approach to fashion
With the service that Almeerah provides for their customers, you will not only spend less money but your closet will no longer have clothes you barely wear. Almeerah has a sustainable approach to a choice you would not mind adding to your list. With their launch of this brand new online business, they will soon bring other products in-store soon.
choose katan, silk or traditional kanjipuram, because Almeerah has it all for you!