A place worthy of the name Salahudin

Tonight's tarawi was so juicy, that i was sad when it was over. 8 rakats of beautiful qirat refreshing, no machine gunning here, no race to finish a sipara. The venue, the Salahudin mosque of Paddington, arranged a loving iftar but we didn't really stay for it (eclectic mix of soup and biryani). A small mainly kurdish community of humble people built this institution, its a modest 3/4 storey converted house job. Cute and unpretentious, no girly bits, this jamat had *the love*.


The Greater Armour - Jawshan al Kabir

A dua of the Prophet of Islam(pbuh)

There are 100 verses to this supplication, all about God, which i havent yet come across in indian or hadrami circles, but is stressed more in the turkish and shia regions.

Read the arabic and english simultaneously using the first hyperlink or if you dont have time you could simply scroll through the english on the second hyperlink.

I guess these gateways truly deserve the name hyperlink.

The Greater Armour is good especially for those trying to improve their grammar and vocab, weave it together and most fundamentally discover and benefit from an old Islamic treasure.

here is marvellous verse 7

O Forgiver of faults;
O Remover of afflictions;
O End of all hopes;
O Munificent Bestower;
O One Abounding in gifts;
O Provider of His creatures;
O Decreer of their deaths;
O Hearer of complaints;
O Despatcher of armies;
O Freer of captives-
Glory be unto Thee, Thou art without partner or fault!
There is no god but Thee! Mercy, mercy, deliver us from Hell-fire!

If you fancy a hard copy there is an internet shop here. If you are in london ask the folks at Suleynamiye Mosque in Shoreditch, which itself is an example of what heppens when an observant muslim community pools its efforts, ghayr petty politics retains community continuity, standards and contiguity to create something beautiful and organised.

(Shak if you're reading this they sit you down at iftar at tables and serve you good things for your stomach, they dont swarm around on the floor and shovel it in the oily stuff like pigs. Money cant buy this.)

Their method of tarawi is different, as are so many of their great Islamic institutionalised practices (shoe storage, underground parking, foot washing architecture, post fard dhikr..) The tarawi is quick and surah based (25 mins), followed by Quranic recitation.

back to the dua, kinda,

I first bumped into it in Istanbul some time ago in a waqf (pious endowment) right next to an anarchist bookshop(run by a very cute couple) on a side street in Sultan Ahmet. We went inside to have a looksie and had the most wonderful time learning stuff.

This waqf translates Said Nursi books in languages at bizarre as Tamil and Bengali, publishes gorgeous qurans where the names of Allah are highlighted in red and has an indepth english collection Nursis Epistles of Light. They didnt take payment, only donations to their schools and scholarships for worthy students. It reminded me of deep service of the Anjuman Mufidul Islam (funeral rites for poor and unclaimed bodies in Bangladesh), though in a totally different field of activity.

Approaching the middle of ramadan, some things for me have become a little mechanical, so its time to break into and institutionalise some newer better habits. This dua will naturally strengthen its users connection to God in this month in so many ways.


President Ahmedinejad goes the Columbia

He was preceded by remarks from the president of the educational establishment doing his bit to promote understanding and good will. NOT

The politically embattled chap ended with the following kind touch,

"I am only a professor, who is also a university president, and today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for. I only wish I could do better."

The President of Iran's contribution can be read here.

He covers islamic philosophy of science! From the words on the page you can tell he has a tough mind, undiverted by naff and distrating international vocabulary of righteous virtue that us in the west have been fed on, and that us in the east tend to parrot with zeal. He has his own moral vernacular of the manners of treating ones guest, the respect accorded to women etc. I think this migh have something to do with not being colonised in the way that the other Asiatic hordes were. Its like listening to a confident Turk!

For me this event is not about same-sex attraction or human rights bitching or further research into the despicable treatment and mass murder of the Jews in europe. Unfortunately these are the lenses (UN propelled.. bless) through which more and more people see the world. Each to his own lens so long as it doesnt become an axe, besides I wouldn't know where to start wrt to consoling a Holocaust survivor who has enemized Iran and views its leader as todays Hitler.

It's about the politics of knowledge and some countrys preventing others from certain pools of knowledge, from building stocks of autonomous expertise and political gumption. Iraq was not frozen then destroyed not because of baathist philosophy, the kurds, the shias, it was because they had some resolution behind their own alignment of brains, money and national interest.

Another telling part to this event is that the president has not been allowed to pay his respects at the Ground Zero site in New York. So many people have already made up their minds it is sad.

The Chief Advisor of Bangladesh is due to speak at Colombia this friday. I hope he has some good chops, though to be honest he wont be up against nearly as much hostility, even if embittered Awami League workers attend.


UN Conference on Climate Change

It has been called a 'High Level Event', (which is cute) and split into 4 this time, adaptation, mitigation, technology and financing.

here are the programs, and country contributions

Bangladesh's piece, delivered by Dr F did not rock my world when i read it. somehow river erosion has become soil erosion and the 1 metre sea level rise will now inundate one third of the area country(how did that figure double?!?). Our national water management plan's climate readiness is stressed as is the transboundary river issue, if lightly. If i were to hazard a guess as to who wrote his speech...

Cuba's contribution had great spine and a dignified leg to stand on, the chap from there said that growing fuel through crops was an insidious idea, the west had no leg to stand on in telling developing countries what to do and that luxury and waste are the central issues here. The inuit lady is quaint and moving, getting the indigenous peoples boot in.

As i listen, Dr F has taken over chairing duties. This is the first time i have seen the good doctor interact in an international, if not epecially high powered arena. On the 28th he speaketh at colombia university, where pm ahmedinejad has been causing a stir today.

The chap from the Indian Finance ministry has come having done his homework with recent stats to hand and the concept of 'differentiated responsibility' on his lips. They are studying the phenomena quite autonomously, using their scientists and looking for their interest, strategically. I guess they would have a 'view' on Action Aid India's howling report that the BD daily star interpreted as saying 'Kashmir must cut green house gases'


Integrative Government not Differential Government

Every couple of days, the different political groups are sitting with the election commission (EC) (yes another desh post) to discuss proposed rule changes and make suggestions. Here is the meeting schedule.

33% lady quotas and the material sceince of ballot boxes arent my favourite issues, instead this is about democratic civilians pissing away vital opportunities at the EC and integrative cabinet government.

I had a vain hope that some of these chaps would have had some thinking or learning experiences since this time last year, but unfortunately not. Given an opportunity to contribute constructively to the rules, an opportunity that these gimps would not normally get, a lot of these politicos have fallen into the self pleasuring habit of railing against religion in politics, war criminals and most telling of all, the use of scales as the electoral symbol for JI, given its association with justice.

Rather than, admit that the war is over, surpass JIs appeal with greater organisational prowess, clarity of purpose and depth of resonance, they seek to cheat.

The playing field must be tilted, otherwise I shall throw all my toys out of the Cot.

JI's political baggage is not a factor that its adherants take lightly when considering allegiance. Most of them have nothing whatsoever with rape, loot, pillage with the pakistan army, and the new one 'collaboration with the British'.

Perhaps everybody with the last name, Choudhury, Talukdar... should be banned too?

One of the problems of the existing system is that its very good at promoting the scum of the earth into power and authority. ('we live in a globalised world' is not an excuse) Your party wins, and you give your lads ministries to 'play with', irrespective of their expertise, fairness of mind, preparedness and state of knowledge. That is the parliamentary system, which is plodding along in the UK, but only because HM Govt did the lions share of loot and plunder and nation building a long time ago, and the average level of education is high.

Theres a lot of work being done by the govt, and id like for it to be better, for us to settle down and get down to sodding work. Any minister needs to have a degree of talent and intelligence to battle the beurocracy, comprised at the top of people who actually studied hard at university.

We would be better suited to a system that allowed the best man for the job to get the job, at the fundamental layer. A judgement call delegated to a man or 'panel' judged worthy by the Bangladeshi voterhood. Basically can somebody who is not Gen Mueen U Ahmed make a strong case for some of that Presidential Administration flavour.

The late General Zia has some virtues, one of which was integrating talented people into government and assigning responsibilities to competant people. He didnt care whether they came from Secular or Islamic forces. Some refused because they had issues with not being elected, for which I hope they get reward in the akhira.

Anyway back to the rules lark, I really dont hold up much hope that anybody other than the AL (if they bother to show up) or JI (who can be credited for the now failed CTG system) coming up with anything interesting that the beurocrats havent already pondered upon. I hope the AL start on a new page and dont just regurgitate their Moha Jote agenda and take the 'kill Zamaat' agenda to a higher level of drunkenness.

The gulf between the Union Council level and the National parliament level of politics is too wide. There are two important layers of administration, the Upazila (covering ~12 unions) and the District(spatially covering ~5 MP constituencies) both headed by first class BCS officers. To stick two layers of elected government in one go would be stupid, so for Fugstarnagar its a question of whether a new layer would go in at a smaller or larger scale.

I think the higher scale might work better, and attract a higher quality specimin of politician into the fray for a few afternoons a week. Like a headmaster or two. At present the Upazilas arent 'grown' enough for that scale of election to acheive anything other than thousands of construction tenders all at once.

Decentralisation at the administration level got done by Ershad, now we have 64 districts rather than 19. Not all districts have the same adminstrative legacy, for example Gaibandha was carved out of the Greater Rangpur in 1984, whist neighbouring Bogra has been on the cards since 1821.

Then economic, political and environmental bits of geography come in to accentuate the difference between regions. We remember how economic disparity can pull regions apart and perpetuate itself from the Pakistan Era. Cultivating district identities further might be a good laugh.... to death.

The main road from Bogra to Rangpur skips Gaibanda Town making it a pocket district, the Rivers Jamuna and Teesta are making a meal of Gaibandha District and withing a decade or so could easily be asking for the keys to the town(though its a lovely place and host the best primary school in the country). On the other hand Bogra has a Cantonment, a 'Banani', a 'Shatmatha' junction and has produced a Prime Minister of Pakistan Md Ali Bogra, a President of Bangladesh General Zia as well as a national liability.

So who is likely to to come on top if districts start getting testosterony with eachother? What if I the finance 'growth centres on my mind' ministry reason that 100 crore investment in Bogra has a much better return for the national interest than 100 crore in Gaibandha.. all the time? With the good leaders of Bogra restrain me from acting in their interests.

As a testing ground for wannabe MPs and ministers and as a forum to think through and resolve localish problems outside dhaka, the elected district/division/hydrological zone councils would be something to look forward to.


What has that got to do with the price of Aubergines?

There are some breeds of people that i adore in particular in Bangladesh, to sit at their feet (well the murrabi ones at least!) and listen and question is always a beneficial experience. They are namely my hero engineers and the brighter secretaries, DCs and first class officers. Hard working products of the finest national institutions armed with the values of the people. They are a laugh and a half if you are fortunate enough to cross their path on a good day.

If a wasnt such an incompetant greedy nan i would take the BCS exams at the next opportunity. GO is way truer than NGO, less airconditioning though.

khedmottontro, daiytopalongtontro, jonno shortho whatever we want to call it. They are not appreciated enough. Here is my own pathetic appreciation of..

The scientist who nurtured his institution from a tin shed with little complaint and total commitment for an entire professional career.
The engineer who oversaw the most incredible hydraulic project to be executed on bangladeshi soil, with deshi manpower, expertise, funding and willpower.
The engineer who brought roads to the people, with balls of steel, who i am scared off.
The engineering professor that doesnt cheapen himself and jump onto superficial cashcow foreign grants, but directs his mind to address national problems and occasionally advice the anxious student about the rules of salatul istikhara.
The workshop engineers who could pretty much make enything you ask them to.
The scientist that sticks to his discipline and nurtures and shares his expertise without a second thought of running away to canada or putting on that Climate Change frock.
The joint secretary with a razorlike humour worthy of place in a hall of fame somewhere.
The secretaries near retirement age (baby 57 year olds) who have seen so many different times from within the government engine that I want to squeeze their brains dry.
The geographer that took his chances in the police force.
The maproom lady who knows about every item of stock under her charge.
The librarian that goes over and beyond the call of his duty to explain the legacy of that organisation that started from a tinshed.
The DG unashamed to point out the extent to which the research in said field is bogus and misleading.
The TNO who set up a school on his own steam in his assigned thana during the 80s, used to lecture there when he got time and even sent his kids there.
The UNO doing a phd on drug adiction, who after getting a new assignment (like pretty much everybody following the ascendance of the CTG mark II) really got stuck into dischargin his duties.
The UNO that has to travel arduosly in an upazila full of little islands, whose life resembles that of a london medic on call pretty much all the time.
The AUEO.... assistant upazila education officer (smug fug) whose school cluster is spread along many little islands and who need to ensure that his teachers and students are turning up on time and doing their duties.
The DC who's proaction will hasten the day when multistory resettlement will benefit the really helpless.
The DC enduring some ngowallahs enthiusiastic but sadly misplaced missionary zeal enthused proposal for advertising his agencies #positive social message# on billboards in prime locations throughout the city.
The young lecturer who would actually be in his office for prolongued periods of time.
The ED whose guile enables his institution to survive and thrive in uncertain times by using his employees abilites to serve the national interest.
The personal secretary to a high powered chairman, who politely endures the arrogant antics of a bombastic shomakal journalist squeezing him for insider information, not letting him get any work done and not minding his own overfed business for an entire morning.
The cadet college educated policywallah bhai who blew me away with his attention to detail, clarity of thought and frankness of expression.

oh people of function, Allah shower you with better functionality and good works!

The original point of this post was appreciation of a new development in the foodstuffs pricing debate as summarised in the news clipping pasted below.

A secretary is quoted as recommending that behavioural change can help us, and a bunch of people are suggesting Jamuna Bridge toll exemption. I hope all the best options are weighed with due consideration.

Although the Jamuna Bridge is not a losing government concern, i really do wonder if dropping the charge will have much of an effect and whether it will affect the quality of bridge maintenace. A profitmaking son might not be able to ween a heroin addicted son by giving him free syringes. Is the road connecting Rajshahi division to Dhaka so critical to the equation? what does the equation look like when differentiated with respect to commodity, time, space and consumer?

Also, whst constitutes 'essential goods' and what is the role of crossborder smuggling controls. I have heard that there are elaborate pump systems aperating between 'entrepreneurs' on either side of the border.

The NewAge article below (clumsily) refers to the PPRC report on the prices of essentials i was being curious about a few nights ago. At least we are saved from the torture of being told about every single minor personality and their poodle being present, probably because they are fasting from jail.

No Jamuna Bridge toll advised
on transport of essential goods
Staff Correspondent
A high-level committee to monitor market prices has recommended that vehicles carrying essential goods on the Jamuna Bridge should not be charged any tolls to reduce transport costs of commodities.
The committee at a meeting on Wednesday also observed that a meeting between the government and the businessmen scheduled for September 25 in Chittagong would help to further business confidence in increasing the flow of goods to market.
The committee of the officials of different ministries and important government agencies decided to write a letter to the communications ministry seeking waiver of toll to support the government efforts to keep the prices of essentials at a reasonable level.
‘The government is trying to keep prices affordable for the poor. We are confident that the series of steps taken this time would yield positive results,’ said the committee chief, additional commerce secretary Golam Mustakim.
He said four committees would continue to monitor markets at least twice a week to have a clear picture of market prices so that the government can take necessary measures.
The meeting reviewed the market intervention measures such as sales outlets run by the Bangladesh Rifles, Trading Corporation of Bangladesh and the Department of Fisheries to sell goods at reasonable prices to the low and fixed income groups of people.
The committee chief said the rates of price increase during this Ramadan were not higher than what they were in the past Ramadan. He cited the example of aubergine, which marked up to Tk 80 a kilogram in the past year compared with Tk 50 a kilogram this year.
As for high price of onion, Mustakim said it was a perishable item and its production in neighbouring India and Myanmar fell significantly this year.
The meeting asked the officials of the ministries concerned to present updated statistics at the next committee meeting on the production of and demand for various essential goods.
A recent survey report prepared by economist Hossain Zillur Rahman-led Power and Participation Research Centre, however, said Bangladesh produces 213.75 lakh tonnes of food-grains against the demand for 235.83 lakh tonnes, 52.77 lakh tonnes potatoes against the demand for 25.56 lakh tonnes, 1.31 lakh tonnes of lentil against the demand for 6.17 lakh tonnes, 16.96 lakh tonnes spices against the demand for 25.73 lakh tonnes, 9 lakh tonnes of onions against the demand for 13.49 lakh tonnes and 93.06 lakh tonnes of vegetables against the demand for 134.78 lakh tonnes.
Mustakim said a change in food habit could also help to reduce the prices of some items. ‘If the people follow the message of the Hadith to fill one-third of the stomach with solid food and one-third with water and keep the other third empty, the prices of food items would come down to two-thirds.’


New Word - Ummatantrik

Alternative spellings - Oummatantrique (Francophonically colonised Ummah), Woma tantric (Nigeria), u ma tan trik-la (malay)....

An Islamophylic consensus that assigns the body of Muslim believers and their advancement an essential value. A value which it is assigned in Islamic scripture and developed through centuries of diverse lived experience, principle and thought. An aspiration affirmed every time someone raises there hands to God and pleads with a dua like 'Allahumma ansuril ikhwana al muslimina fi kulli makkan, fi kulli zaman'.

A value that is dishonoured every time a British Muslim starts peddling Ummah Caramel bars, when an American Muslim posts preachy parochial youtube videos of limited humour under the identity of Ummah Films or when a doubter contends that there is no such thing as the Ummah because the world is pretty screwed up and the allegedly religious do nasty things. A value which is sullied everytime a nutjob does something awful in the name of upholding its dignity.

Not to be confused with nepotism, 'petroislam', naive islamism, religious nationalism, Khalafism or the abdication of rationality from any given action scenario.


BRAC Loan collector killed in Afghanistan

Though the New Age Newspaper headline was 'Bangladeshi Aid Worker killed in Afghanistan'. Innalillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun. Abdul Alim (Lebu) hailed from the district of Tangail. I wonder if he will recieve greater posthumous respect than the construction workers who die in malaysia, the restaurant workers who get stabbed in London and the cleaners who dont get paid in west asia.

I wonder who will support his family and dependants now.

The term 'Aid worker' accords an primordial agency that the Bangladeshi 'modern' third sector does not have. It is unnessesary flattery. BRAC would be the middle man, operating under someone elses incentive network and patronage. 'Hired-hand' is another word for it. We rarely 'give' anything (think sink, not source), our ngo sector is varied but on super cynical inspection fall into two categories, the beggars and the plunderers.

There are 2 ways of supporting ones activities in the absence of decent internal fundraising networks and slow grown organisational technique. The first is to play the Development game and suck up to donors and their policy cycles. The second is to look into raising money from operating as a bank to poorer sections of society.

A brutal truth is that in the anarchy, the circumstance has come about where in a given locality it is possible for a poor person to have taken loans from 4 or 5 different micro banks and be caught in a trap. NGO field workers several years down stream scratch their heads with a humility that their institutions should have had well before over stretching operations into an action scenario that they had no hope in hell of comprehending.

Microfinance Institutions try to make money and increase the horse power of individual people. Contrary to the beleif that is widely spread, microfinance institutions do not really work with the ultra poor, who are never a profitable investment. They work with the less poor, who are needy and agree to the terms and conditions of the loans.

Those who suffer from public revulsion with respect to high interest rates, stupid weekly instalments and bailiff practices are not the policy people sitting in the offices of corporate NGOdom, it is the field workers who are stigmatise and in this case tragically victimised.

I dont trust the Afghanistan police to properly investigate this matter, and wonder whether anybody else will bother.

I hope there is some deep reflection going on in BRAC about its limits and validity. BRACs Health and Education work could have been jeapordised by this. When you work with the poor and desperately submissive and beleive that it is you who are saving them, it is very easy to get deluded and enjoy your God complex.

As an organisation they arent exactly accountable to anybody other than themselves. Smaller NGOs and other developing world NGOs thing of them as hegemons, though that could be envy. I know that Bangladeshi organisations with much more funky capabilities restrained themselves from getting involved in pseudo occupied Afghanistan due to their non pragmatic interpretation of Principles.

Interestingly BRAC have opened office in the UK... should be interesting. I wonder if the 'poor' here will answer back?


Anita Roddick is no longer with us.

The founder of the BodyShop and initiator/implementer of a number of other funky things died quite suddenly yesterday. As far as i can remember she was the one who pushed to boat out regarding ethical consumerism, combining two of womankinds conflicting ethics, the first of crazy beautification and cosmetic consumption, the second of global conciousness.

I was lucky to meet her once, she had just returned from bangladesh and gotten mightily narked off with the RMG industry, blown off some steam and was realising how complicated things were, especially the painful limits of ethical consumerism on the high street.

An inspiring and accomplished lady with heavy duty batteries.

Some systematic insight into high prices in Bangladesh

For the past year or more the high price of essential foodstuffs has been on the radar in Bangladesh. Much political capital has been made out of it and much unrealistic expectation has been nurtured concerning it.

So I was interested to read about the PPRC's study of the phenomena. The Power and Participation Research Center is a youngish developmenty thinktank type organisation based directed by Hussein Zillur Rahman.

Here is a paste from tomorrows New Age paper. Unfortunately for me I cannot pop along to the PPRC and get me a copy of the report, they do not have a website that I know of either. However the last report of theirs on 'Unbundling Governence' was an interesting read (very soasy in fact), placed in history and the focus of significant empirical and creative work by a team that included sociologists. The chapter on the media in Bangladesh was lame though and dismissive of anybody of non pragmatomarxist background.

Plenty of buckets of sweat have gone into this work, i hope it somehow wafts the problem further towards solution and infuses discussions with better foundations.

Price-hike caused by bad market management, says PPRC report
Khawaza Main Uddin
The price-hike of essential commodities is a result of inefficient market management and lack of infrastructure for proper trade transactions, said the latest market survey report by a private research organisation.
The report terms the recent demolition of the informal market infrastructure as an ‘ill-conceived initiative’ which exacerbated the problem of the lack of an adequate market infrastructure. An informal market is considered to be the second-best, effective alternative for facilitating trade transactions.
The survey found that farmers, on an average, receive only 47 per cent of the retail price of vegetables while the marketing cost stands at about 27 per cent and the share of the traders at more than 25 per cent.
The survey report, failing to prove the commonly perceived syndication in causing price-hikes, observes that the impact of extra-economic costs appears to be less significant, particularly in the current political period.
However, the most pronounced cost category in terms of incidence is wastage, a point which, according to the report, is ‘clearly indicative of the inefficient nature’ of the prevailing agricultural trade. ‘Wastage adds to market risks for traders.’
‘Popular discourse tends to assign undeserved high margins to traders in general,’ notes the report of the study, titled ‘Exploring Market Dynamics of Essentials through a Triangular Study of Producers, Traders and Consumers’, conducted by Power and Participation Research Centre.
Explaining the income-profile of agricultural traders, it shows that retailers have an average monthly income of Tk 6,285, farias [small traders who collect goods] Tk 4,533, paikers [wholesalers] Tk 14,270 and aratdars [merchants] Tk 24,011.
‘High marketing margins may not be reflective either of market monopoly or of high profits depending on the size of costs, risk coverage associated with price volatility and wastage, types of consumers, as well as the income imperative of petty traders dealing with small volumes,’ said the report.
The report pointed out that agricultural trade is overwhelmingly dependent on personal financing in terms of setting up business and running current operations, since banks are relatively inactive as financiers of agricultural trade which is done mostly by the aratdars.
The research centre, headed by economist Hossain Zillur Rahman, carried out the study in six sites — Mithapukur in Rangpur, Shibganj in Bogra, Jessore Sadar, Jajira in Shariatpur, Shibpur in Narsingdi and Chindina/Burichang in Comilla, besides selecting Dhaka city as the market case, between January and May 2007. The report will be presented at a seminar tomorrow.
The report mentioned that farmers of Jessore were found to have the best marketing outcome with their average share of the retail price being 54.7 per cent of the price because of the better bargaining power in dealing with market. The traders’ share, at 31 per cent, is higher than the average rate in Rangpur. Marketing costs are highest in Pabna at 31.5 per cent, reveals the report explaining the role of market connectivity in determining prices.
Although the global price-hike and the huge shortfall in agricultural products are currently being blamed for the domestic price spiral, there is no comprehensive quantitative estimate of the product-specific consumption levels of the general people in Bangladesh.
According to the survey report which is based on the latest statistics, the country produces 213.75 lakh tonnes of food-grains against the demand of 235.83 lakh tonnes, 52.77 lakh tonnes potatoes against the demand of 25.56 lakh tonnes, 1.31 lakh tonnes of lentil against the demand of 6.17 lakh tonnes, 16.96 lakh tonnes spices against the demand of 25.73 lakh tonnes, 9 lakh tonnes of onions against the demand of 13.49 lakh tonnes and 93.06 lakh tonnes of vegetables against the demand of 134.78 lakh tonnes.


Now that's what i call political science

Brain type may dictate politics
Alok Jha, science correspondent The Guardian Monday September 10 2007
Political differences might be explained by a fundamental variation in how our brains are "wired" to process information, according to a study published today.

Scientists have found that the brains of people calling themselves liberals are more able to handle conflicting and unexpected information than the brains of their conservative counterparts. The study points to a likely neurological basis for complex personality and behavioural traits.

David Amodio, of New York University, writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience, says conservatives were found to be "more structured and persistent in their judgments"; in tests they had "higher average scores" on measures of the personal need for "order, structure and closure". Liberals showed "higher tolerance of ambiguity and complexity".

Dr Amodio asked 43 volunteers to press a button on seeing a frequent cue - that caused an habitual response. A less frequent cue required no button pressing. Electroencephalograms revealed liberals were more likely to withhold the habitual response and had more activity in a part of the brain involved in conflict monitoring.

The study is not conclusive, Dr Amodio says, but it is possible that political orientation to some degree reflects a person's style of information processing.


The Blogherders

This one is a little Nazareth, but it has been a while...

In the dense web 2.0 thickets of self pleasuring individuals who argue for the sake of arguing, the need arises for a Blogherder.

That is the individual or group who produce a new space that is socially virtuous and sincere, rather than merely reproducing noise.

I feel this word can be assigned to the people behind http://www.altmuslim.com/

USAID consultant in case of kiddyfiddling in Bangladesh

Apparently he was meant to be developing the shrimp industry. This story is disgraceful, but i suspect it wont really chasten the development industry.

One wonders what sorry excuses for literate and ngo employed human beings like Touhid Feroze would make of that. I'm thinking something along the lines of, 'we shouldnt judge as standards always change' perhaps. Or maybe something like 'nothing to get emotional about, none of the protagonists were Bangali'.

On the related theme of NGO regulation, there are some interesting Govt stats available online. Look in the 'NGOs cancelled column' over time no NGOs, foreign or local were cancelled between 1996 and 2001.

I see the NGO Affairs Bureau getting tougher as Bangladeshi self respect and own moral propulsion grows and the economic-ideological desperation of political figures decreases. The site itself looks very old indeed for a governmental web offering.


Lights, Camera... Action!

The Chinese Government is undertaking a purge of corruption these days. Today the Times reports on the execution of an official who murdered his mistress in a car bomb.

Tory big boss man is trying to generate some citizen spirit with the idea of a national service for the yoot. Its an idea that i hope Labour takes heed off and implements with some finesse and humility. I'm always up for a spot of social engineering, especially when an inordinate bias towards individual rights has allowed some folks to undervalue the ideas of responsibility and collectivity.

Meanwhile, in the ganj, the deep sea port near chittagong seems to be being pushed for some reason, the CSB rolling TV news office was shut down for generally takeing the piss out of official licencing procedures and being jerks during the Dhaka Riots, and the civil servants are being told to submit their wealth statements (merely an enforcement of a rule made up in 1979).

On the port, a japanese company did a 10 crore feasability study in 2006. I would love to see that report and to have been a fly on the ECNEC wall when the issue has been discussed, stalled, remooted, shelved and dithered over.

What a way to go about a 50 year project that will GigaTakas.

On the civil servants, there are moves to make postings a little less headless chicken like than in the past. with UNOs and DCs to get the change to get to know their juristictions for longer. good change from the pov of coninuity amnd institutional memory.

Meanwhile the international rivers network has in its infinite wisdom declared that dams contribute to climate change (rotting vegetation).

The climate mad media make new out of the BBC's pullout from a day of climate change programming.

President Gul has not been toppled yet. woohooo! Police tourist state Morocco has the pleasure of hosting my pals honey moon AND and election today.


Geertz, The Islamicist and Radio Ramadan

Check out this bunch of book reviews by grandpa anthropologist Clifford Geertz
Written over nearly 40 years theres oodles of well humoured observation and analysis to digest.

Another development, I am not in the habit of going out of my way to plug blogs, but The Islamicist is quite amusing. At present i think it is a mighty lampooning of the weirdo Mahbub 'call me ed' Hussain 'The Islamist' and the HT. The latest post on 'How to make an egg' deserves a salute for coining the term 'Dar-ul-Herb'.

Only time will tell how soon the author will run out of material or diversify his/her range of targets. There is a limit to how effectively the mine of unwritten irony can be exploited methinks.

Meanwhile, folks here are gearing up for Ramadan Radio. This particular franchise of distributed 'community' radio stations have been with us for a few years, and grown in sophistication. Before there were just highly committed, movement, narrow, boring people running the shows and the stations. Now more and more interesting programme makers are being rolled out, with less parochial backgrounds and planned content. Radio is a lot better for the mind and multitasking life than TV, which is pretty superficial.



From the land where 40%+ interest rates on microloans to the poor are celebrated while the rich connected industrialists borrow millions of dollars yet do not even pay back their capital.

From the land where a gentle breeze can make your day.

Where a small kindness received can blow your mind.

From the land of family, bhabis who rock, murabbis with rabbani, cute babies and inspiring high school kids.

From the land where community still means something.

From the land where people are DANGEROUSLY hospitable.

Where the chap sitting next to you on the bus might drug you by means of a boiled egg and steal all your belongings while to dream of A Golden Bengal.

Where all sorts of third rate people from abroad can make a name from themselves, from counterfeiters, development tourists and hyrocarbon expoiters to educationalists, road contractors and mobilephone lords.

Where consumption is king, the ability to consume assigned higher value and weapons of mass consumption touted as development tools.

Where the word science is nearly always succeeded in literature and speech by 'and technology'.

Where the mask of scoundrel intellectuals and ngolords is beginning to crack in a big way.

Where the credibility of a system of democratic hijacking of the people's dignity has been temporarily suspended and a new behaviour is being sought.

Where self esteem is pushed aside through a combination of 'pumping' and 'jacking' in the race for development dollars, influence beyond ones grid and populism.

Where poverty, ignorance, hydrometeorological vulnerability and chaos are gross domestic products.

Where many young ladies are being sold into and have bought into the idea of wearing clothes that really don't suit their figures and complexions, and continue to spread tastelessness though the land. Thankfully this may only be restricted to the capital city.

Where doctors play petty unskilled capitalism with human lives, installing devices they do not understand in inappropiate patients with little fear that a consumer rights or professional body will bite them on the bum.

Where 'human rights activists' get off on ultraviolence, and for want of an intelligent sense of humour cannot see the ironies in their lies.

Where proponents of 'Journalistic Immunity' ,'Freedom of Speech' and 'Human Rights' use such values to confuse, distract, silence, censor and desanctify.

Where the heroes are shy and turtured and the ignorant loud, well connected to the masses and represented in all spheres of life.

To the land where people appear to be wearing permanent scowl on their faces and the youth urinate in fresh water supplies during flood events.