September 19, 2017

On Pakistani Dramas and the Bangladeshi Mind

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Pakistani television drama serial “Zindagi Gulzar Hai” became an instant hit amongst South Asian communities in North America. Never before had there been a TV series — South Asian in origin and made outside of India — so hugely popular amongst so many diverse South Asian communities. And yet, watching the serial making a mark on its viewers made me cynical, says one Bangladeshi analyst. Read More »

India-Bangladesh Relations: The Agartala Doctrine


The Teesta river water sharing treaty that Manmohan Singh was ready to sign in 2010 still hangs in uncertainty. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinsa Wajid who had staked so much to deliver on India’s security and connectivity concerns, is left high and dry facing a hostile opposition accusing her of failing to protect national interests vis-a-vis India. Worse, India is left looking a less-than-effective nation-state, unable to honor its sovereign commitments to an obliging neighbor. Read More »

What is Missing in India-Bangladesh Relations

The biggest missed opportunity of the UPA government was to deliver the Land Border Agreement, first agreed to by Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1974. Picture shows the two Prime Ministers signing the treaty of friendship, cooperation and peace in 1972 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Photo via The Hindu archives)

Bangladesh’s government has reversed Indian public opinion by creating a favorable atmosphere -- making good on much of the promises it made with New Delhi. However, India’s own standing with its neighbor has suffered. It is time India does the same. Read More »

British by Birth, Shackled by Custom

(Photo by See Wah Cheng, Creative Commons License)

When the notion of arranged marriage is firmly embedded in the psyche of the Asian communities, how can outlooks be revamped? The fear which haunts the South Asian communities is that unless a young girl born in the UK is married to someone from back home, she will eventually leave the cultural confines and become “Westernized.” Read More »

Toxic Poultry Feed Threatens Bangladesh’s Poor

A boy feeds chickens in northern Bangladesh. It is estimated that due to poultry feed being manufactured from tainted leather tannery waste, up to 25 percent of chickens in country contain harmful levels of chromium. )Photo by Kamrul Hasan Khan/IRIN)

Cheap poultry is an important part of the diet in food insecure Bangladesh. It accounts for 75 percent of the national demand for meat. But poultry feed produced from the country’s notoriously filthy tanneries industry scraps may be putting the health of millions throughout the country at risk. Read More »

Is Modi Trouble for Pakistan, Bangladesh?

Narendra Modi is addressing an election rally during the country's landmark reaction. (Photo by Al Jazeera English, Creative Commons License)

The BJP victory in Indian elections has started interesting debates in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Analysts in Bangladesh fear increased tensions with India over possible deportation of undocumented Bangladeshis. In Pakistan the government is being advised to adopt a more circumspect policy towards India under Modi. Read More »

Dams Blamed for South Asia’s Sinking Deltas

Indus delta in Pakistan's Sindh province. (Photo by zerega, Creative Commons License)

One or two people leave their homes in the Sundarbans forests of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta each day, perhaps never to return.  It’s but a small vignette of a larger tragedy being played out across South Asia’s delta regions where land is fast sinking as the sea waters rise, leaving millions of people vulnerable to disasters like cyclones and floods.   The mouth of the ... Read More »

Bangladesh’s Water Crisis

Fishing on the Teesta River in Bangladesh. (Photo by International Rivers, Creative Commons License)

Want of water in a land of water! Our forefathers, if they had consciousness in their graveyards, would possibly curse this generation for creating a water crisis. It was unthinkable in their time, particularly in a riverine country blessed with robust monsoon.   But the life of any generation is full of challenges of its own. The current state of ... Read More »

Bangladesh Lacks A Credible Alternative?

Bangladesh's opposition leader and former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia. (Photo by Syed_Zakir_Hossain, Creative Commons License)

I am one of those many who consider the so-called election of January 5 to be an utter farce, and the government legitimated by it to be little more than an autocracy whose absolutist tendencies get stronger by the passing day. Thus believing, however, does not make the said government non-existent. What makes the government even less likely to feel ... Read More »

A View from the India-Bangladesh Border

The Indian Border Fence along the Bangladeshi border along India's Meghalaya district. (Photo by lepetitNicolas, Creative Commons License)

On 18 December 2013, the Indian National Congress party government introduced a bill in parliament to facilitate the realization of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh. This bill was the latest in a long series of attempts to enable the exchange of 161 enclaves — tiny pieces of Indian territory completely bounded by Bangladesh and vice-versa — by absorbing them into ... Read More »