Category Archives: World


SAYS freshers’ reception-2014 held in Dhaka

It was a cloudy morning of August. Raindrops downed cats and dogs almost in every second. Downpour went even multiplied with the passage of times, later on. Still then the sun remained hazy..! But, someone drenched entirely felt the sun beam, saw the shine. Stagnant waters overwhelmed the city streets. Stranded vehicles remained craggy-whistling in muddy lanes. Moreover, pitter-patter noise penetrated in every nook and corner..! But, someone heard symphony instead; someone proactive rather gathered at capital’s Edward M Kennedy Centre—EMK Centre.

Enthusiast greeners sat messed up and sometimes glanced at ticking clock before the orientation began. Sometimes confidence peeped up in their faces; reasoned may be as they came across mounting  hurdles; may be they were recruited as one of 80s out of 1200+ applicants  home and beyond; may be they proved excellences to be  ‘General Member’. You might guess already what I am talking about, yes; it’s about South Asian Youth Society (SAYS) orientation ceremony-2014.

SAYS-freshersSouth Asian Youth Society recruits freshers once a year in summertime. The new members represent diverse backgrounds who share fresh thoughts and ideas to bring about sustainable change to the society. And a grandiose celebrations welcome them beneath further inspirations and motivations towards their contribution for positive changes.

It was 10:30 O’clock in the morning as schedule little delayed. Almost everybody reached there. In the meantime, orientation started with festive presentation as SAYS PR Head Punna Islam greeted attendees. The program was matured through multiple sessions—unique Ice-breaking session introducing each other. Interestingly participants preset adjective as per the first letter of their nickname such as— Active Arafat, Rocking Rakib etc. This easy and effective method helped them memorize each other’s name within shortest possible time. These session also included portrait sketching—everyone standing either drew or drawn by sketches which looked funny sights and existed objects of eye-catches through the event. In addition to, brainstorming team culture and hanging out during launch sessions in the first segment made the members interact, communicate and share group dynamics. This time earlier it also introduced the prestigious ‘SAYS Fellowship’ challenge for the members amidst successful completion of certain fixed hours for the society. This is the first time in Bangladesh where a platform is proudly introducing fellowship for its members.

Later in the bit of workshop session, SAYS Senior Members and US State Alumna— Md Ali Haider, Masud Hasan and Ashraful Islam Rehan appeared in the scene. They came up with interpretative presentations on Cultural Exchange Programs and higher studies prospects abroad. This session disseminated information resources on why students should think about higher studies and exchange programs like—SUSI, NESA programs etc.

In the afternoon session, SAYS Founder and President Towfique A Khan provided motivational lecture—full of guidelines on 21stcentury skills development. He focused on changing patterns of skills and qualifications, crucially required for young generations in this 21st century to overcome all kinds of obstacles. Followed by him, North South University Sports Club President and SAYS Senior Member Rayhan Mahmud shared his experiences on what he gained as National Volunteer Coordinator during  ‘2014 ICC World Twenty20’, held in Bangladesh.

Finally in the evening segment, Eastern University Pro Vice Chancellor and SAYS Adviser Prof. Dr. Abdul Hannan Chowdhury congratulated new members and hoped the regional platform will certainly help qualify them for upcoming age.

Towfique A Khan said, ‘SAYS continues its efforts towards educating, equipping and building the capacity of young generations with 21st century skills and cross cultural mindset. The young guns of South Asia have all the potentials to lead the world upward but our current context hardly gives them any space to explore their hidden talents and opportune for desired contribution for community building. It is the prime regional platform in South Asia which constantly connects, empowers and inspires the potential Young Change Makers of South Asia so that they can lead the 21st Century forward. Together we believe, we the youth can and will certainly build peace and prosperity in this region.’

‘Being the PR Head, I was amazed to see their intellects throughout the activities. We are proud and glad to have selected such an amazing pool of talents as our new members. The list will be enhanced with the addition of more members from the regional selection from the other SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). Together this bunch of amazing heads will surely contribute to a great deal to bring peace and prosperity across South Asia’, said Punna Islam while briefing with media.

Mustafa Amir Foysol, studying his undergraduate on International Relations at University of Dhaka, said, ‘the orientation program will be always remained as hub of great pleasure for myself marking proud membership at South Asian Youth Society. Being its member, opportunities disclose as it enables me to access a collaborative and exploring networks where I have discovered already spaces to design my desired career prospects and do something for my community as returns. The vibrant orientation proved wrong instead what I was preoccupied perceiving the program might be boredom in the gloomy state of weather. I didn’t even imagine that this orientation program will be so funny of interactions, educative, informative and worthy of motivations. I am very fortunate in a sense that the effective platform envisions me acquainting with a network of great enthusiastic and young reformist leaders who strongly believe the society and the region must be changed positively.

Senior Member Md. Nahidul Islam, studying undergraduate on Finance at Jagannath University, said mental health session in the orientation program provided some essential contents, thematic lecture and interactive clip screenings posterior of UN celebration of ‘International Youth Day-2014’. This year’s theme is ‘Youth and Mental Health’ under the slogan ‘Mental Health Matters’. This session will certainly raise awareness against the challenges and hardships the youth face today, prevent stigma, discrimination and social exclusion of the youth who are mentally disordered, implement policies to help them overcome the challenges they face, and to help young people into the decision-making process.

‘However, the unique features of orientation program will remain inscribed in memory across my entire life. Moreover, we, new members loved the way seniors inspired us and injected visions of prosperity towards upcoming days. Finally I would like to give my heartiest thanks to entire SAYS family for arranging such a nice orientation program for the freshers making the whole day memorable forever (August 14, 2014)’, said Manzurul Ahsan Arafat, studying at Notre Dame College.


Minor dealings on Minorities

Bangladeshi people (seemingly homogeneous, but) possess varieties of beliefs and sectarian ideologies in their cultural and political affiliation. Typical dialects dominate trivial lands and other parts of the country. Number of ethnic groups resides over north and north-eastern part of the country. Even a significant number of Biharis (distinct cultural entity) live in the country as well. Therefore, the minorities in Bangladesh can be categorized under four classifications that include religious minorities, ethnic minorities, linguistic minorities and other minorities (like LGBT etc). However in the article, issues of religious minorities are sought to be analyzed in terms of bilateral orientation of challenges what Bangladesh and its neighbors are facing right now.

justiceThe assaults on minority community largely berate the country’s constitutional rights to practice one’s own religion. These anti-humanitarian activities include vandalizing temples, desecration of the idols, land grabbing of the temple, pagodas and other properties of the communities. Often, the intensity of the violence escalates in the post-election clout in Bangladesh, especially what happened in post election violence in 2001 and also reemerged in 2014. The issues of minority posses challenge to both Bangladesh and its sub-continental neighbors, especially for India with creating uneasy circumstances in-between the dimensional relationships. Post-election riots and growing fundamental activism always harms stability here. The national election has been done, allegedly among the ruling party alliances (Awami League-AL led Grand Alliance) keeping outside the main oppositional alliance (Bangladesh Nationalist Party-BNP led 18 part Alliance). The western worlds are still showing enough doubts about the credibility of the polls’ outcomes. Moreover, recently concluded sub-district polls throughout the country evaluate the measurement in different angles of analysis. This sub-district election testifies the present government’s ground of acceptability among the mass. The ruling alliance (except Jatiya Party (JP) got some crushing defeats in its proven bases (popular areas). Most surprisingly the war crimes accused Jammat-e-Islami (JI) has elected demonstrative number of vice chairman. This is the crucial question how next-to-come popular opposition backed with moderate and extreme right wing parties tackle growing extremism and ensure shared regional peace and security within the region? If this violence grows, could be even faster during BNP-led opposition’ regime. Consequentially threatened exodus can rush to the Indian borders resulting in population burden exciting inter-state relational collapse, what Tripura and Assam faced in 1971 regarding Bengali refugees as Pakistani soldiers invaded Bengalis. Not only Hindus, even moderate Muslims and secularists can be included within the border-transcending asylum and refugees. For instances, Bangladesh faces struggling challenges about Rohiyanga refugees and their presence seems to be a headache for already over-populated Bangladesh. Minority persecution or intimidation is conspicuously a crime against humanity and condemned in national and international laws and customs as well.   Probably it may jeopardize the decent relationship prevailing over Indo-Bangla relationship, like ethnic tensions in Bangladesh can incite corresponding reactions in Indian states responding the minority assaults in Bangladesh. It is alleged to be set a nexus between Ramu violence (against Buddhists) in Bangladeshi port city Chittagong and, what has increased intensity of ethnic Moslem violence in Myanmar, even protest against Bangladeshi embassy in Sri Lanka. It is believed India immediately needs to be engaged with Bangladesh tackling the challenges altogether for shared aspiration of security and cooperation in a real world.

Torture on the minority communities takes different forms of brutality. In Bangladesh, history exemplifies political parties are mainly alleged in these crimes against humanity.  The fragmented politics lacking trusts intensifies the problems to a greater extent. As perpetrators, our political parties (may be ruling or oppositional) are alleged to be involved in the heinous atrocities against minorities. Fanatical Islamist parties even force the members of the minority community to be converted them. These assaults on minority betray the secular democracy prevailing over the country started so long ago to uphold the rights for its citizens irrespective of race, religion, sex and caste. But, the recent tendency of extreme religio-political parties’ rise breeds a latent feasibility to spoil the inclusive statism of B’desh. Recently as violence escalates across the country, the opposition alliance took aggressive turns vandalizing and giving arson to their residence, properties, and temples of both religious and ethnic minority. Abducting to death or infinite disappearance of the members of the minority families manipulates the suffering to the families like spraying salt to the wounded skin. The indignity caused by psychogenic inferiority shamefully attributes them dehumanized creature-like sectarian identity in the majoritarian society. They can’t even protect further losses of properties and lives as nobody or nothing endorses them. So, out of politics also, they have to tackle land-grabbing against black-musclers   and the complexities get manipulation again as ‘black muslers’ are more canning to affiliate themselves with what party run the local administration, not what they support actually.  Families ejecting from their homesteads, they cannot return to their residences as further threats towards them prevails over the area by the perpetrators backed with powerful elites.

As the opposition-vacant National Parliamentary Election has been held on January 5 polls, different newspapers home and abroad have reported on tremendously escalating gang attacks on minority community (also other political people). These deliberated motives include arson, destruction of the habitat, robbery of the properties etc scoring those peoples’ deaths and injuries. Primarily these sorts of aggression are supposed to be reasoned they haven’t either voted for the oppositional alliance formed with rightist ideological orientation or they have just voted for the secular ruling parties. Sometimes they are marked as a ‘vote bank’ for certain political parties and accused if they have reserved their vote-casting as threats of intimidation posed against. Secular governance does not patronize any fundamentalism and its tacit violation on people’s rights. So, the ‘faults’ of minority community as they loves peace and justice through the modern secular political participation suiting Bangladesh to uphold regional security and a model of moderate Moslem democracy.

Reiterating that majoritarian democracy has replaced politics into a game of numbers and cynicism. This dehumanizing of politics takes worst turns at the event of national parliamentary polls. The largest minority community in Bangladesh, the Hindus, is regarded as a vote bank for secular Awami League (AL) led grand alliance and consequently they have been targeting by miscreants from the oppositional alliance. The autopsies for this typical violence do not limit itself to the communal factors; rather the grand accusing factors behind the scene appeared to be more political and structural-oriented. Hindus being a secular vote bank as Moslems considered to be that for congress in India are not even able to withdraw themselves from voting, because the  parties considering them as their vote bank losses a certain number of vote castings if they don’t cast their votes. They may (may not) possibly face sorts of torture or anything from their supported political parties. So observing the dilemma analysis, parties can’t make sure their security rather what they ensure are votes either through intimidating their lives by against-parties or reconstructing their vandalized residences by favored-parties. Going on this situation, fanatical sects may indulge themselves running subversive operations cocooning out of the underground existence.

The Hindu community in Bangladesh is at an extreme risk, in particular at such a tense in the country. It is shocking that they appear to be targeted simply for their religious affiliation. Bangladesh’s Hindu community only makes up more or less eights percent of the gross population. Historically they suffer indignity and injustice in silence through latent risk of violence from Moslem population what they faced during the liberation war in 19971 and recent years of post-election violence in 2001 and 2014.

This is not that it only snatches humanitarian rights from minority community within the country; rather it sinks the country’s image, homogeneous ethnic texture and communal harmony, a long rooted traditional hallmark of the country. Throughout the decades, people of multi religious beliefs have been coexisting peacefully in these parts.

The government should now stand by the victims, maintain constant vigil watch by law-enforcers as well as by local people to thwart any further attempt to attack them or spoil communal disharmony.

Every specific instance of vandalism against the minority community, their houses and religious places must be probed to identify the culprits and take measures to bring them to justice. At the same time, the victims need to be compensated so that they are able to rebuild their lives.

In order to sustain democracy and religious freedom in Bangladesh, fair and neutral justice should be employed early as Judiciary. Administrative authority needs to ensure its application of duties across the country irrespective of religious and political affiliation. Secularism is ‘no-alternative-solution’ to promote democracy and related rights. Compensation needs to be taken from those who are perpetrators and given to them who are victims. The compensation must involve reconstruction of the damaged properties of their residence and praying places for worshipers.

Hindus urge Kenya’s President to visit Kisumu Sikh Temple

Nevada (USA): Hindus have urged Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Samoei Ruto to show strong political will to take care of country’s minorities in view of recent Kisumu incidents.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, reminded Kenyatta of his “core value” to “treat everyone fairly”. Zed pointed out to Ruto that if he wanted to “Transform Kenya into an Economic Power House”, Kenya needed to protect its minorities in order to attract foreign investments.

According to reports, a monument in lakeside Kisumu, depicting a praying person and approved by the county, commissioned by Sikh community to commemorate over 100 years of Sikh presence in Kisumu, was removed last week following mob vandalizing.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that discrimination and unfairness faced by the Sikhs on the monument issue in Kisumu should not be acceptable to Kenya’s political, societal and religious leaders as Kenya’s constitution and other laws/policies protected religious freedom. Kenya should see religious diversity as a national strength and reaffirm its history of religious freedom and tolerance.

Rajan Zed urged Kenyatta to visit the Kisumu Sikh temple to show solidarity with the Sikhs and address a public rally in Kisumu condemning the incidents relating to mob destruction of the monument, which was a piece of art aimed at beautifying Kisumu.

Zed noted that leaders of Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i and other religions/denominations should come forward and express solidarity with the nation’s Sikhs who had been living in Kenya for long time and made huge contributions to its success, prosperity and growth.

Rajan Zed stressed that continued commitment to advance religious freedom-diversity-tolerance and peaceful coexistence-cooperation needed to be promoted in Kenya and positive steps should be taken to engage in interfaith dialogue. Ethnic diversity of Kenya, described as “the cradle of humanity” which showed earliest evidence of human’s ancestors, had produced a vibrant culture.

With its abundant wildlife and scenic beauty, if Kenya wanted to continue attracting tourists and increase their numbers, it had to project a picture of peaceful and harmonious coexistence to the world. Who would invest in Kenya amidst such intolerance as seen during this Kisumu monument incident displaying the State failing the minorities? Zed asked.

Port city Kisumu is third largest in Kenya, with H.W. Samuel O. Okello as the Mayor.

Hamburg Museum showcasing Hindu Gods

Berlin: A museum in Hamburg (Germany) is exhibiting images of various Hindu deities. A Special Exhibition of artworks titled “Pantheon of Indian Gods” at renowned Museum fur Volkerkunde will be on display till March 30 next.

Applauding Museum fur Volkerkunde for organizing Hinduism focused exhibition, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged major art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.

Museum fur Volkerkunde, whose history goes back to 1867, claims to be “Hamburg’s gateway to the world” and appealing “to all five senses”. Prof. Dr. Wulf Kopke is Executive Director.

Hamburg, reportedly one of the most affluent cities of Europe, is second largest city in Germany.

Germany ready to destroy chemical weapons in Syria

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed the Russian proposal to handover the Syrian chemical weapons under international control and offers support in destroying chemical weapons in required. “We have experience and appropriate programs for the destruction of chemical weapons,” Westerwelle said on Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said that Syria could only prevent an intervention if it handover its chemical weapons within one week of the international community. Later Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced a plan to provide the Syrian chemical weapons under international control and destroy.

According to sources the regime of Bashar al-Assad has also accepted the proposal of Russian. The proposal was welcomed worldwide, Iran has also welcomed the Russian proposal for international control of chemical weapons in Syria and was confident that a war can be avoided. The Chinese government also supports Moscow’s proposal.

Syria conflict: Is Obama fighting for his political future?

U.S. President Barack Obama with his supporters wants military strike against Syria, he also explain the details of the attack plans. The aim is mainly the chemical weapons of Syria. “It is a serious threat to our national security,” said Obama while addressing nation on radio. He said such weapons could fall into the hands of terrorist groups that want to harm the United States.

According to a survey of the “Washington Post” 224 of the 433 members of the House rejected the proposal, 184 are undecided, while so far only 25 in favor of a military strike clearly. According to polls the large number of American population is against military strike . Obama has made it difficult to convince Congress and population for military strike in Syria. This week, Congress could decide about a possible attack.

In the case of Syria McCain pushes for a powerful intervention against the Assad regime for many months. White House is launching a public awareness campaign to get public support. Obama is waiting for U.S. Congress to approve a military strike against the Assad regime. The President is fighting for every vote however the success is doubtful.

Hindus express concern at trivialization of goddesses in ad campaign

Hindus have expressed serious concern at the trivialization of their highly revered goddesses in an ad campaign highlighting domestic violence which showed them battered and bruised.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that there was no denying the fact that domestic violence in India was endemic and widespread but there was no need to mis-portray Hindu goddesses whom Hindus worshipped regularly. This denigration was hurtful for the devotees, Zed added.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that they strongly condemned domestic violence. But domestic violence was a worldwide phenomenon and was prevalent among followers of all religions and it was unfair to just point fingers only at Hinduism as this campaign was depicting only Hindu goddesses.

London headquartered charity Save the Children, one of whose units reportedly commissioned this ad campaign, aims to “build partnerships”. Is this the Save the Children way to “build partnerships” with a billion-strong religion by denigrating their goddesses? Rajan Zed asked.

Zed noted that it was appalling and total misrepresentation to show images of goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati apparently as battered and scarred victims of domestic abuse with bloody lips, cuts on faces and black eyes. Accompanying text stated: Tomorrow, it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to.

Rajan Zed urged Board Chair Charles Perrin and CEO Jasmine Whitbread of Save the Children to apologize for this trivialization of Hindu goddesses.

Zed further said that world, including India, needed to do serious soul searching on the treatment of women as the recent World Health Organization (WHO) report stated that violence affected over one third of all women globally. World needed to provide safer non-violent environment for women to go about their daily lives.

Society should look inward and address the factors which condoned violence against women. Men and women were equal in the eyes of God and they should be equal partners in the human society also, Rajan Zed noted. We all, men and women, deserved a violence-free life, Zed said.

Quoting scriptures, Zed pointed out that ancient Manusmriti said: “Where women are revered, there the gods are pleased; where they are not, no rite will yield any fruit.” Number of Rig-Veda (oldest existing scripture of mankind) hymns were said to be composed by women, and Aditi, who was sometimes referred as “mother of the gods”, found mention in Rig-Veda as a goddess.

AMU signs MoU with Ohio University

Aligarh: US Secretary of State John F. Kerry signed eight Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Union Minister of HRD, Mr. M. M. Pallam Raju to strengthen collaboration and building partnership between American and Indian institutions of higher education, including Aligarh Muslim University. Each of these projects will receive an award of approximately $2,50,000.

To meet the urgent and growing need for mushrooming world class Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) faculty at higher education institutions in India, the Ohio State University (OSU) in partnership with the Aligarh Muslim University proposed to launch a pilot project.

This programme will be implemented by both the institutions to build a STEM-Education and Research (ER) Centre at AMU that would be aimed at providing opportunity for education and research in areas of mutual expertise and benefit. Prof. Anil Pradhan, Department of Astronomy at Ohio State, and a Co-director at Aligarh Muslim University, will lead the project with the goal of strengthening the teaching and research at both institutions and meeting the growing need of developing world class STEM faculty in India.

The STEM-ER project aims at initiating interdisciplinary collaborative projects of mutual benefit in advanced research and innovation in key areas like Spectroscopy, Nanotechnology, Renewable Energy, Information Technology, Environmental Sciences, Cancer Research and Mathematical Research. It would also involve private industry and Ohio State University and AMU alumni in support of the STEM-ER programme.

The project will establish a joint OSU-AMU Center of Excellence in STEM Education and Research at AMU; develop a two-year STEM-Education and Research program for Indian graduate students to train in teaching STEM subjects to undergraduate students as well as to conduct state-of-the-art research; award dual degrees to selected students in STEM education at Ohio State and graduate research at AMU;  contribute  substantial indirect and direct resources as cost sharing; initiate interdisciplinary collaborate projects in advanced research and innovation; and formalize a comprehensive Indo-U.S. inter-university consortium of leading Indian and U.S. universities. Finally, a report of findings will be prepared on national capacity building in STEM faculty training and research in India for submission to governmental and non-governmental agencies to facilitate large scale Indo-U.S. collaboration.

A two-year dual-degree programme will also be implemented jointly at the two universities and the students will spend one year each at the two universities guided and mentored by two advisors, one at OSU and another at AMU.

Hindus welcome inclusion of Rajasthan Forts on UNESCO Heritage List

Hindus have welcomed the inscription of Hill Forts of Rajasthan (India) on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that their inclusion was long overdue, as besides representing military hill architecture, they expressed the unique cultural heritage of the region and included temples also.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to look into adding more Hindu sites to the list, thus sharing the rich Hindu heritage with the rest of the world. Hinduism, being the oldest religion, had lot to offer to the list.

Rajan Zed further said that India needed to do more to conserve traditional heritage as many of its historical/cultural sites required urgent preservation work.

This serial site in Rajasthan includes majestic forts in Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Sawai Madhopur, Jhalawar, Jaipur and Jaisalmer; some up to 20 kilometers in circumference and featuring extensive water harvesting structures. With this inclusion, India now has 30 sites on the list; including Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, Konrak Sun Temple and Mahabodhi Temple.

18 youth injured in bus accident in Germany

Berlin: 18 youths aged between 13 to 14 years from the Westphalian city hall were injured yesterday in a bus accident in Lower Saxony (district Holzminden). Two of the youths  seriously injured were flown by a helicopter to hospital. According to initial findings of the police 72-year-old bus driver lost control on vehicle and crashed bus on a tree. The 72-year-old was slightly injured.

About 150 emergency personnel and ten doctors cared for the young and the bus driver. A total of 50 young people were in the bus, which was on the way home from Dassel (Northeim District) to Halle in Westphalia. Police estimated the damage of around 20,000 euros.