Is There Enough Space?

Dreams like muted whispers fade away,
as a face never seen comes alive
upon the drawing board of life
through the invisible hand of destiny
and a voice never heard before
starts hovering in the air like a chant.
When the last thread of sleep is gone
from my tired eyes, I look around
to see the tiny room overflowing
with furniture both new and old,
the emptiness within is hard to feel.
The silence of the night outside
aptly justifies the hour of the dead.
Inside, I wonder, is there enough space?

The Wind

A mellow breeze across
the humid darkness of the night,
reminding me of happy days
and of a better life.
A while ago the wind
was too dry and sweltering hot
like in a barren desert land,
which has withstood so far
a century of drought
to grow this sea of sterile sand.
Still once this place was lush and green,
here the birds chirped and flowers grew
along the valleys, hills and plains,
when I was younger too.
I remember the wind
fresh and richer with life,
with colors and wild smells.
I remember the vibrant time
with music sweet and soft,
reverberating with the sounds of life.
Tonight, after a century
the smell, the sound, the blowing wind
brought back memories in a dream,
lulled like those bygone days
and in that vivid dream, the place
nor the time seemed too far away.

“Ideology, Religion, National Identity: Media’s Role in Internal Conflicts”

Bangladesh is a relatively small country with an area of one hundred and forty four thousand square kilometers, literally dwarfed by her most immediate neighbors, Myanmar and India. However with an official population of over hundred and sixty million, she is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Due to lack of decentralization of utilities and resources across the country, an alarming percentage of the total population is compelled to earn their livelihood from the capital city, Dhaka. Dhaka is also the city where I am from. Both my office and residence are situated around the center of the city.

Bangladesh is mostly a homogenous country, both in terms of geography, heritage and ethnicity. Except a few hills around the eastern border, most parts of Bangladesh are less than 12 meters above the sea level. The overwhelming majority of Bangladeshis are ethnic Bengali, constituting 98% of the population. The remainders are mostly Biharis and indigenous tribal groups. There is also a small but growing population of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar around Cox’s Bazaar, which Bangladesh seeks to repatriate to Myanmar. The indigenous tribal peoples are concentrated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast. There are 45 tribal groups located in this region, the largest being the Chakma. Outside the Hill Tracts, the largest tribal groups are the Santhals and, while smaller groups include the Kaibartta, Meitei, Mundas, Oraons, and Zomi. This homogeneity has largely saved Bangladesh from calamitous internal conflicts arising from differences in religious, political and cultural identities and ideologies, common in other countries in the region.

However, as the socioeconomic condition of the country is still improving, the disparity between people from different economic classes, some time, causes small conflicts nevertheless. I am here to answer the question, that, ‘should media play a role in resolving internal conflict and if so, how?’. As a representative of the media, I believe that should we uphold its principles and ethics while notifying the masses about any conflict, we are already playing the expected role. Providing unbiased insights into a conflict is, a responsibility, almost unanimously vested upon the media. Now if we adhere to that particular role alone, we are doing our bit as professionals. But the most critical component of the whole question is I believe the word, ‘resolving’. Because when the impartial truth becomes transparent to the public, which way the issue might go is the subject matter of a different branch of knowledge. Let me present an analogy to explain, to be honest, the severest problem of my country after her population is corruption. When there is a conflict with corruption, our role, if we observe the principles, might as well nourish the growth of the conflict. For the media must never forget that their role in a conflict is as same as that in an achievement and it should never be a role against the conflict. In the context of corruption, I believe media should do the yeoman’s service in keeping the political leadership and the bureaucracy of the country under scrutiny and highlighting waywardness in governance wherever and whenever due.

Last but not the least; media should never act in any way to influence people’s judgment. Their role should be to inform, not to interpret or interfere in any conflict.

The Crying Rohingya

The Crying Rohingya

We had no hand in determining the place and the caste we were born, yet they determine so much of our life, almost to the extent of defining it…

When I heard, they would come that night, the mob
we fled to the nearest hill, fearing death,
worried that we might never come back again.
We tried to make as little noise as we could
in that grim darkness of the silent trees
and soon their subdued footsteps echoed as they came.
Few, too weak or too bold, who stayed behind-
some fought a battle lost, some with luck resigned
for their end came quickly with a single blow,
the rest were beaten to a slower death.
When the houses were set aflame, the fire
almost exposed us with its orange glow
but the mob was too absorbed, thankfully,
in their victory-dance to look around.
The heavy smell of human flesh burning
grew in the air as we stood too petrified
and the orange light brought an early dawn.
Now we are here with nowhere else to go,
I beg you please just look at them, the kids
you would know the hell from their empty eyes!
I beg you please, for the sake of God and
for the sake of precious humanity
do not push us back to persecution,
do not push us back to the place where we were born!

You V

When the roads and alleys are dark and wet
from a night’s rain, I miss your hand in mine.
I miss the touch of your hair in the wind,
ruffled with warm and passionate caressing.
When the sky is black and silver with light
from thunders bright, I miss your hand in mine
and I miss the way you whispered my name
behind the deafening roars of the cloud.
Though I never said, ‘I love you’, aloud,
I hope that you have heard the silent scream
and the beating of my heart and my skin
crying out and hoping that you may have too
felt the throbbing of your name in my blood
while ephemeral life keeps slipping through.