The Killjoy's Conundrum

Im celebratory industry
come find yourself a piece of me
eat some food and chat some ring
but for goodness sake dont dare to sing.

Forget about simplicity
im debauched 'cultural fidelity'
why dates and milk? best gesticulate
bring on the courses, proliferate

Upon your face i'll put a frown
youll have no balls to face me down
I'll set you back a good few years
distract your purpose, drink your tears

I laugh at you , you musalmen
adept with sword, if not the pen
culturally you dont take risks,
civilisationally you take the piss

So i'll bleed the young with awesome rates
rest assured i'll make stupid mistakes
Guaranteed am I of endless profit
try as you may you cannot stop it.


Education systems in disrepair

Today's Bangladesh Today contains a viewpoint with rare mojo and enlightenment for an English Language paper in Bangladesh. It looks into the heart of what education is, what secularism really is and points to a faithful, superior and practical alternative. I think.

At various times the society and government of Bangladesh have thought about translating the educative impetus of Islam without hiding behind the term 'secularism'. But not seriously enough i'm afraid. It is explainable given the weaknesses of both society and government there.

To generalise the three streams of schooling: we have a small set of people who know and care little about their islamic inheritance coming out of the English Medium, a larger set whose Islamic curriculums and facilities aren't that optimal, and a majority set who are locked into Bengali.

Its really not an ideal way to go about getting the best out of your citizenry. The issues present need to be seriously engaged with from an Islamic worldview, without
a) the 'damaged-goods' secularism that so sadly still afflicts the establishment intelligensia,
b) the 'damaged-goods' anti-radicalism pap that still afflicts the White Studies Regime, and
c) the NGO vultures who exploit the cracks in social structure.
Their 'participation' has been observer you see.

Sane committed Muslim scholars and educationalists have looked into this education issue all over the Ummah and all over South Asia. There is a mixed body of critical work, literature and activism out there is anyone is so much as interested.

Progress probably won't come from the government. The Awami League are allergic and occasionally come into power, the Rightists are plain mean and corrupt for no reason and the elves have sailed to Valinor.

This mojo comes, and is coming from the believers who mobilise their resources and creativities in alignment with the spiritual and social objectives of the deen. Expect it to be misreported, unreported or underreported, that is the nature and function of the debaucherous media. Best listen for it and assist if you are able, probably bypass Dhaka if you can. Best not 'go work at BRAC', but then again, are we ever able to learn from other people's mistakes?

Consultancy in raising quality of primary education!

NGOs should be disqualified to do the teacher training job in Bangladesh for the glaring and well known fact that they are hardly nationalistic in approach but pursue extra-territorial objectives particularly in matters of value formation.


The falling quality of Primary Education in Bangladesh since 1972 is nothing new to all those who cared for it and kept on tracking the issue as qualified professional educators. It is also true that the other further levels, as well, has been having the same fate as all levels are interlinked, and dependant on each other, particularly the higher ones. It, therefore, appears fairly reasonable that the present Caretaker Government (CG) took up the issue seriously to do something about it and so appointed a NGO, BRAC, to improve the quality by offering training to some teachers, possibly, on experimental basis. . It may be taken as one of their good intentions, no doubt, as they have many good wishes in many other areas, but there are few puzzling questions that they obviously need, at the same time, to ponder about seriously on a priority basis.

First, the question is raised if the CG has enough time to take up the task that can not be considered a mean one but a continuing process of lot of variables impinging on the system of primary education involving many socio-economic realities. Second, has the government taken for granted that the huge government administration particularly for Primary Education has failed to do their task for which they are all paid from the public exchequer, and if so, to get rid of them all? Third, have all the teachers as a group proved inefficient to keep their teaching quality high, and if so why? Fourth, whether the BRAC as a big NGO has been asked by the CG to provide their ‘consultancy’ service to work as Aladdin’s Wonder Lamp for raising quality of Primary schooling through training of some teachers in their own way in Bangladesh?

Improving quality of primary schooling for young children that the educators listed as items of terminal competencies in reading writing, arithmetic, comprehension etc involves many critical factors that remained integral for decades with the overall socio-economic milieu. The first one could be traced as poverty of parents so much so that many children, if not the majority, more often than not go to school ill-fed, half fed or even fully hungry. Such malnourished or hungry young children can hardly accept class lessons even if the teacher would offer his best effort for imparting teaching for pupils’ learning. That remains one of the main reasons for drop-out from year after year until the last primary class or fifth year retention rate being not more than 50%. In advanced countries like Britain where schooling until age 16 is compulsory at free of cost, for example, poorer pupils are normally given a small bottle of milk each day during school Tiffin hour, completely free of cost for the most poor and at subsidized nominal price for those from well off parents for keeping the school children full of energy to take efficient lesson from teacher. There is no question of any drop-out until age 16 or tenth class and no fail to be ousted from school until that statutory age limit is reached. Illiteracy of parents of Bangladesh that many rural and slum dwelling parents of big cities are, is another negative factor against quality learning of pupils as they get little or no help at home for learning.
In the school campus, so far as learning aids are concerned, though books are provided by the government in primary schools, other essential learning aid materials like paper, pencil, instruments etc. are difficult to provide by the poor parents, neither have schools any budget to supply them to the needy learners. Such paucity affects learning quality.

Apart from the above constraints, there is wanting for well qualified, trained and self-motivated teachers. It is not that the teachers have no diploma or degree of colleges and universities. In fact, they have those required diplomas. In addition, many of them have undergone teachers training (One year Certificate in Education, B.Ed., etc) as well. The government primary schools have nearly all trained teachers (95% for rural and 97.3% for urban as of 1998, State of Primary Education in Bangladesh, UPL, 2001, p.8). The private schools and other institutes like Ebtedayee Madarassas, kindergartens etc., however, lag behind in number of trained teachers. Provided the 54 Primary Teachers Training Institutes would remain fully functional and if need be expanded further in their capacities, training of the untrained teachers should not be difficult to provide. In addition, the old idea that the primary school teachers need not have university degree should now be forgotten as in advanced countries many Ph.D.s teachers in many primary schools.

The institutes and colleges might need though reorganization not only in terms of operational mode but also in curricula contents. Psychological motivation for dedicated teaching may be an essential addition to the current syllabus for many teachers, as far as I know, lack in this regard. That teaching is a noble task for service above self unlike many other professions/vocations is unfortunately almost a lost idea in our midst. I still recall many of my dedicated teachers at the primary in early 1940s having no regular salaries but a paltry lump sum of Grant in Aid money, secondary and college/ university at home and abroad who had been totally committed and dedicated ones that I fortunately experienced. I don’t mean to say that the poor Bangladeshi teachers would have no good pay for their service, but what I mean to say is that the teachers should be the role models in teaching to draw satisfaction from and incentive of spiritual kind.

The BRAC’s Chairman in a statement made days before said that they would offer ‘model’ training for 3000 schools’ teachers’ in 20 Upazillas free of cost of the government and at the BRAC’s own expense. The philanthropy looks wonderful. But the government should clarify the prior issue as to why their 54 teachers’ training institutes could not do the required training job equally efficiently, if not more effectively. Why can’t they compete in efficiency with what the BRAC could do? On account of what positive benefits the teachers’ training is being proposed to be entrusted to one of the NGOs here in Bangladesh? Information about benefits, if any, should be given to all concerned for knowledge and understanding. And nothing should be imposed arbitrarily from the top.

To me, NGOs should be disqualified to do the teacher training job in Bangladesh for the glaring and well known fact that they are hardly nationalistic in approach but pursue extra-territorial objectives particularly in matters of value formation. Thus teachers trained by them, in all likelihood would accept their values that may ultimately impinge adversely on young minds of school pupils that may not help healthy social transformation but inhibit it so far as the beliefs and values of overwhelming majority people of Bangladesh is concerned.

As far as my understanding goes, NGOs provide signals for material incentive that attracts the extremely poor people for obvious reason for meeting their first of the basic needs, food for hunger. The proposed BRAC involvement of secular nature in teachers’ training devoid of contents of spiritual elements and incentive in training process would only further deteriorate, I am afraid, the quality of Primary schooling in Bangladesh.

I would rather feel that the teachers’ training model developed and termed as Faith Based by the great educator and the founder V.C., the late Professor Dr. Syed Ali Ashraf of the Darul Ihsan University, Dhaka for B. Ed. and M.Ed. courses I happened fortunately to be involved with for a few years in their design and operation could be worth trying for improved quality and motivation of the trained teachers in the profession in primary schools, as well.

(M.T.Hussain;795/2 Ibrahimpur, Dhaka-1206. 20 July 2008)


Mark Kermode

Mark Kermode is a film critic. His radio show reviews are so recognised that the BBC system actually video broadcasts it! Lesser mortals observe his review performances with more awe than those of the actors in the films themselves.


Captive Muslims

human rights and gender equality.

They sound noble enough, but sister-brother do not buy the hype. These bullets are not fit for your barrel, they were manufactured for another, which was itself pointing in another direction. Secondhand shopping and piracy are not befitting for you. This is not a matter of reinventing a wheel, but a matter of sailing on a better breeze.

They are a strange bunch of concepts for a Muslim to swallow. A secularist swallows, then wonders why he is unable to impact any change and why the people he wished to civilise think he is a materialist, loser, and alien and a fool. Another person, perhaps a countryman of the former doesnt swallow, doesn't milk the hegemon's disciplining development cow and carries forward some dignity through his dysfunction. He still has problems to deal with, but at least he didn't take the wrong prescription and kill off his liver.

Another scholar fudges the philosophy of Islamic Law a little apologetically to bring the shape of it nearer to another civilisation's symbolic field. He sets UN declarations of human rights and development speak up as maslaha in the field of practice. His community scratches it's head and wonders 'what a waste of resources'.

Sadly this couple of concepts have become reference points for civility in the Muslim context, they have been manufactured as common sense. There should really be more resistance and supersession of this crazy jive. The secular surrender and capitulation is explainable as our knowledge culture is still captive. Many Muslims who can eat and read have abdicated responsibility and gone for easy fake answers, quick fixes and the approval of some other master. In other cases the Muslims are so desperate, far away from their own tradition and unimaginative that they are 'fast' and 'easy' to 'take'. The confused and confusing effects of this pair's penetration in Islamic society should be thoroughly investigated.

However, all is not well in the trad tent. There are matters which are stuck to with enviable vigour that do not require such commitment. Priorities seem to have been perverted. Redundant imprints persist of what was once thought to be true by a few, but now is better understood, by our own measures. How do such things get conditioned out of the Millat's habitus? They are socially spasticating and infantalising. How do we drum them out of eachother while we polish eachothers' hearts'?

Muhammad Asad critiqued the overblowing of 'consensus of the ulama' lyric, used very often to shut down discussion. It rests on an intelligent take on the 'My Ummah will never unite upon that which is wrong' hadith which has been spun debilitatingly. Yet the salaphicated ones persist. Their petrodollar pumped popularisation of the god-forsaken 'bidah antenna' has really dumbed down the believers.

Stressing fluency with the theory of maqasid al sharia, the higher objectives of the sharia, has never been so desirable. It opens the means, rather than blocks them. Moral imaginations and horizons are enriched at the same time as the synthesising quality of nuronic reception is improved. Perhaps it can play a role in helping us get more things right and discover our mojo. 


What big eyes youv'e got Grandmama. All the better to see you with mdear.

US Marine Corps wants to survey BD-India border
Collecting detailed terrain intelligence
Staff Correspondent
The US Marine Corps wants to assist Bangladesh in surveying and managing its borders with India with the ostensible purpose of identifying routes of movement of terrorists and religious extremists. Sources within the Home Ministry have confirmed that a secret meeting was held where this issue was discussed. The proposal for such a joint survey of borders with foreign military forces was violently opposed by intelligence agencies and the Armed Forces Division (AFD). Nonetheless, AFD has already received instructions from the Office of the Chief Advisor to allow such surveys with US Forces. Sources further confirm that US forces are already on ground carrying out those surveys and have in fact carried out visits to various bordering areas including Banglabandh. It may be mentioned that Bangladesh does not have any MOU or Status of Forces Agreement with US to carry out such activities and yet US Forces have been permitted to operate in Bangladesh on such a sensitive issue as border survey and management.
Although the BD-India border is being surveyed, India is apparently acquiescing to the presence of US forces along its borders perhaps on a understanding that such "intelligence" would be shared with India and its security forces.
In another development the US has asked for detailed terrain information about major cities including Dhaka as well as for details of all airports and airstrips in Bangladesh on the ostensible purpose of "disaster preparedness" for such events as floods, cyclones and earthquakes. In this regard the US is demanding a Command Post Exercise (CPX) between Bangladesh and US forces where the US has already requested for bringing in one of their Navel vessel right into Sadarghat, through the Buriganga.
Meanwhile, US, UK and Australia are all sending various proposals for joint exercises of various sorts with Bangladesh Armed Forces. These proposals are being sent to various ministries without intimation to the AFD. Under the circumstances the AFD has requested the concerned ministries to avoid such commitments without appropriate approval from the AFD.
Sources further confirm that these developments involving foreign military forces, particularly those of USA, have all taken place within the last six months and that US, UK and Australia are increasingly pressurizing Bangladesh to accept such commitments, sometimes bypassing diplomatic and other normal channels for such purposes. "It would appear that foreign military forces want to control training and intelligence of the Bangladesh Military. US military personnel are openly moving about in the DGFI offices. There is considerable commotion within the Bangladesh Army in this regard and many Officers are apprehensive and disturbed that a serious threat to the sovereignty of Bangladesh is developing", sources said.


It is not inconceivable that a muktijuddo in 1971 is a jamati in 2008

Must do a lot of heads in to believe it though, especially young ones, and enraged ones. Their understanding is understandably red, black and brainwashed. Bereavement and injustice however should not be unbalancing experiences.

I have met such people as described in the title. One may play a numbers game if one wished to be quantitative and play down the core of the matter. One may switch on their righteous indignation also and titillate the people. Your behaviour is known, you fool none but fools.

ka-fa-ra = to cover up the truth

I asked the murrabi, who had fought as a muktijuddo in the war and joined jamat in the 1980s, don't the awami's call you a razakar.. isn't it a weird scenario? He said to me 'Well no, they know who I am, but yes, sometimes, but only when they are really angry'.

There is a lot of unheard for sentiment out there, from people who were present on the political and military fields, who feel they were used and wish another outcome would have transpired. This is not an official discourse. It might surprise some people that such characters, with their 'potent' symbolic capital, have been absorbed into the islamist party. Maybe such people just have not been paying attention to matters outside their own intellectual ghettos.

Here is to a crystalline future, polycrystalline perhaps, but please no more of this amorphous junk. Synthesis is not syncretic.


Why doesn't the Anti Corruption Commission of Bangladesh have Expertise?

You have to feel for Col Hanif Iqbal, the absence of mojo at his disposal is so apparent that he publicly admits it. Oh how I wish that Prof Hussain Alattas was alive, governments used to ask him about the nature of corruption. May our societies generate the kinds of knowing and expertise that we need in abundance. May they adjust their wrong characteristics that cause them to educationally alienate people from their religion and community.

The quote is from The Bangladesh Today
....the ACC has no expertise and resource persons to detect automatically
the crimes in the banks and hospitals for lack of technical knowledge. We
faced same problem to detect the crimes in the Roads and Highways Department
as the ACC has no engineer. We study the functions and procedures of a
particular office and then detect discrepancies and thus the ACC is not
being able to take steps against all sectors concurrently.

Roads and Highways is a funny department, they build more and more crap as time goes along. How many EFFING floods does it take to disintegrate your blacktop/asphalt for you to learn, you loan-addicted monkeys! In the 60s and 70s they had a strong design section. They have been destroyed by the 'donors'.

Colonel Saheb knows about the Transparency International Bangladesh report of perceptions. He does not mention any other reference point. The stereotypical, proudly non-martial and democratonic Bangali pseudo-intellectual would guffaw at the military's intellectual inferiority at this point. But what is the function of the scholars?

No public intellectual of the country ( i think) has developed understanding of the issue outside the 'good governance' agenda of the World Bank and the IMF. The force of the captive mind is strong in us. Without developing scientific mojo, we will uncritically jump onto a climate change bandwagon. Without knowing our soil mechanics we will jump onto a soil-less but trendy paradigm of water resources. Without knowing and developing the civic principles in Islamic learning we will jump onto the Christian's secularism. There is no end to our desperate idiocy. This is not uloomination. This is intellectual sodomy, Paki-style.

One deshi however is having a look at the late Syed Hussains practical and theoretical contribution. Here's the abstract.

Sociology of Corruption and ‘Corruption of Sociology’: Evaluating the Contributions of Syed Hussein Alatas

Current Sociology, Vol. 54, No. 1, 25-39 (2006)

Habibul Haque Khondker
National University of Singapore

This article examines corruption as a social problem and a phenomenon that illustrates certain problems in agenda-setting in sociology. Understanding such questions as why corruption remains largely outside the purview of sociology, and how sociological agendas are set can be found in the works of Syed Hussein Alatas, who wrote about corruption as far back as the 1950s. Sociology of corruption as a subfield failed to take off despite the ubiquity of this phenomenon. In recent years, new books have been published, including an updated version of Professor Alatas's work. Studies of corruption remain a prerogative of the political scientists and public policy experts. Economists see corruption as a market-distorting externality and treat it as a peripheral subject. Gunnar Myrdal, who was an exception, in his Asian
Drama, identified corruption as a serious bottleneck for Asian development. The
problem persists 40 years on from Myrdal's analysis. In many countries in the
developing world, corruption has become part of the fabric of society. Yet,
sociological theorization and empirical studies are lacking. This article examines corruption both as a social problem and an indicator of the ‘corruption
of sociology’, drawing on the writings of Alatas, especially his notion of
‘captive mind’ or the absence of intellectual autonomy on the part of the Third
World sociologists.


D8 Summit

Turkey Iran Indonesia Malaysia Pakistan Egypt Nigeria Bangladesh

The D-8 is an interesting collective. Its of 8 Muslim countries with large populations, a few of them are even of positive integer value. Since its birth in 1997 (Its an Erbakan baby) members have increased their interummahtic trade substantially so i guess its not a waste of everybody's time and attention. Theres also some cross institutional learning thats gone on.

Anyway they are in KL now having a summit. I hope it goes better than WIEF 2008 and previous D8 summits. Have a read of the lyrics this time, specifically on energy.

It should go better than WIEF because there are no GCC countries to distract attention to the potential of the unearnt money of fools ever doing anything useful. Three sectors are being targetted this time; Halal Industries, Biotechnology and Renewable Energy. The first 2 of these represent Malaysian self identified strengths I guess, and renewable energy too if you squint your eyes and notice their silicon cell manufacturing potential.

These meetings are only as successful as their participants make them. Nurturing practical relationships between young entrepreneurs in various bits of the ummah is important. Only they really know that.

For more tradey action on planet interummahtic there is a MUSIAD trade fair in Istanbul in autumn. Bring your wares.


Are the Icecaps melting?

Apparently not, the source, The Register is a UK based tech Internet outfit, very good for exploration of contemporary policy BS. In the article the author takes a critical look at some alarming science concerning crazy sea-level rise. One of the more interesting islands on the web, El Reg is more trustworthy that the Simian Johan Hari, the much awarded (rewarded?) gimpoid journalist who seems to have penned the concept of 'climate terror'. Its really not funny. The Independent should know better.
The copy-cat quoters of the NewAge and Daily Star newspapers of Bangladesh are about as irrelevant as their readerships i guess. These three sources used the prof's 25 metre sea level rise by 2100 to dramatise their agendas. They wrongly attributed scientific capital to the calculation to woo a lay audience. Shame on them. It is the wrong use of aql. Reminds me of the bro in Gaibandha, commenting on thought leadership in his experience, i think he'd been through quite a bit, been displaced by the river, had his commmunity of freinds and family scattered by the twists of bad fortune... but he was scratching out a living on the riverbank and making the best that he could.
"Here, the educated people make fools of the uneducated"
Practically, there are so many unanswered questions that must be followed up on. Satellite monitoring of polar ice coverage doesn't address the issue of VOLUME. Is there sufficient scientific capital in the South, unbeholden to the captive mind complex, that can demonstrate some kind of mojo?
Climate change is real and mysterious. It acts as another interacting layer to the general environmental change, the amplitude of which is quite high in Bangladesh. There are so many disciplines that need to fire their guns at it, and disciplines which need to be created to actually pursue it that the mind boggles.
With a political class paralysed by democratic deadlock and self interest, a pseudo intelligentsia drunk on international ideological trends and development dollars, and a university sector starved of local resources. Who is going to actually do the work that needs to be done?
Some have picked up on climate change in the same way they picked up on other funding source vocabulary. Womens empowerment, povery alleviation, human rights, modernisation, civil society you name it... its been simulated and rendered meaningless, despite any element of truth to the ideas. Its the same old story, the boy who cried wolf perhaps?

We must be fundamental in our re-examination of the natures and characters of knowledge, research activity and society. I dont know how the coastal zone, the rivers and the people are going to deal with eachother, but this BS must be discredited and supersceded.


Annual Book Burning Initiative

At the recent Tehelka London summit, an Indian murrabi addressed the muslims in the audience, he said we had the best Prophet, but things went really pear-shaped when we started burning books.

I'm all for knowledge, expanding it, embodying it and what not. But i also like fiery demonstrations in which nobody is harmed. In south asian culture burning stuff which belongs to you isn't particularly criminal.

Some might say i'm still smarting from an instance in my younger days where my ready to burn effigy of Sharon was sidelined for some equally ineffectual protest tactic. But i think this is fair game. Im not particularly bothered about the disgust of the overliterate. Besides nowadays with the printing press theres no danger of actually losing stuff.

I propose a book burning of important books that are wrong and evil. As a demonstration of ill will, following critique and whatnot, i think its a positive thing. Fuel is expensive these days.

We should have book burning award every year to function as some kind of celebration of human discernment. Of spotting whats true from false, guidance from mischief. There is too much chaff out there. Annual book burnings will symbolically purge the system. People who hear of them will wonder about the books in question and wonder why a group of readers saw fit to burn them, out of respect to the art or learning.

Do you reckon i could get lottery money for it?


I wanted to post Ashis Nandy here on the lamoness of secularism and the Indian middle class, or Mahmood Mamdani on the politics of genocide nomenclature. Both are pretty mighty mind gunners and fashioners of mind bullets.

Then there is more contextually relevant content, which is so much more actionable by ma peeps. Take this article by zia sardar on moveing beyond blame and shame from post london bombing July 2005, it points to spaces where muslims should have developed their collective inteligences. In it he talks to some of the more interesting and thoughtful members of Our Millat, im not quoting the boring ones.

"It is time," he says, "to go beyond the blame-and-shame game and develop an accountable culture that brings our frustrated and alienated youth in from the cold." An entire class of angry youth, working as well as middle class, has emerged from among Britain's Muslims. "So far," Malik also says, "nobody is talking about younger women. They are just as angry as young men."


"...The parents themselves are very conscious of their status and see admitting failure as a shame. "Most Muslim parents," says [a different]Malik, "are in denial about the activities of their children. They have wrapped themselves with a mythology that everything is hunky-dory."

The first step to bridging this emotional divide is for young people to talk among themselves about living in two different contexts. "We need to create spaces within our community where young people, male and female, can meet freely to talk about their problems," says Malik. This is where most of their frustrations could be aired. And, somehow, we need to communicate to the parents that there is nothing shameful about talking honestly about their problems.


The Daily Star plays climate porn with 25 metre prediction

Not again!?!?!?

Check out the picture with the subtitle "Increasing river erosion is a visible impact of climate change in Bangladesh". And the pumped claim of the scientific superiority of James Hansen's 25 metre sea rise by 2100 calculation. Sad thing is that this resembles the clueless posture of the bogstandard salafi... 'it is the ijma(concensus) of the scholars'. BS!! you dont know that, you just read that somewhere... threw in some arabic words (scientific information) and expect us to beleive you. you underqualified wannabe brahmins!

People who are serious about Adaptation would to well to avoid those milking the climate cow in this manner. Bangladesh has a disgraceful reputation for milking buzzword cows and avoiding core issues. Crying wolf is a detestable habit, except for the current crop of deshi ngo social engineers. They are habituated to it and nobody calls them out.


because there is no social support and inadequate financial support for systematic study of the country's problems. In the vacuum, 'good', superficial and marginal work will go on... reliant on the goodwill and political expedience of the international community.