Saturday, February 16, 2008

Selim Al Deen remembered in Puthia

When renowned stage artist Shimul Yousuff descended from stage in an
uncanny silence performing the last scene of Chaka, many of about 5000
spellbound audience surrounded her. They were dipped in memoirs of the
deceased drama icon Selim Al Deen.
Selim Al Deen's play Chaka (Wheel) relates a harrowing tale of an
anonymous corpse that was compared with a state or life and needs to
be buried for peace. The cart-driver of Chaka, along with two
companions, started a journey to deliver the corpse. They carried it
to far flung cities and villages and none acknowledged it. The body
decomposes, rots, stinks - yet none agreed. Thus driven away from all
human destinations, the cart-men bury the dead on a dry riverbed. By
that time, the dead had already arisen in each of them.
Like cart-men, entire Puthia audience of Shimul Yousuff too kept
staring at her utterly flabbergasted for many minutes. Eminent
litterateur Hasan Azizul Haque aptly caught their thoughts and told
Shimul, "The more I see you, the more exquisitely you are blooming as
an artiste...What if Al Deen is no more, you (Shimul and Nasiruddin
Yousuff Bachchu) like Biswa Karma (god of pottery) must continue
keeping alive Selim's works".
Shimul Yousuff, also often called as Mancha Kusum (flower of stage)
performed parts of Kalindri character from Al Deen's Joiboti Konnar
Mon before staging Chaka to portray the 'new drama style of narrative
technique' Selim Al Deen evolved and popularised.
Joiboti Konnar Mon delves into women's psychology. Kalindri, a Hindu
artiste runs out of home to marry a Muslim fellow Alal and then
torments again when he developed religious fanaticism and hatreds for
artistry, music. Kalindri, however, declares the joy of artistry.
With the two, a total of seven plays were staged during a programme
held in memory of Al Deen at Puthia Rajbari ground, some 35km off
Rajshahi town on night of Saturday (February 9). Puthia Theater
organised it. A discussion was followed by a candle-lit procession --
a hundred theater activists walked around Puthia Rajbari dighi (pond)
with candles in hands.
Five theater troops from different districts staged parts from Selim
Al Deen's plays since the evening. Students of Rajshahi University
Dramatics and Music department performed Kirtonkhola, Govindagaj
Theater from Gaibandha staged Bason, Puthia Theater artists played
Sangbad Cartoon, Deviganj Theater staged Shokuntala and Joypurhat's
Shantinagar Theater staged Muntasir.
"Selim Al Deen used to visit Puthia as frequently as over 30 times in
last 20 years. Cultural minded people here are so fond of him they are
too much shocked at his death", said Puthia Theater conveynor Kazi
Sayeed Hossain Dulal reasoning holding of the programme.
Eminent drama director and founder of Dhaka Theater Nasiruddin Yousuff
Bachchu who directed most of Selim Al Deen's plays said, "Selim
realised the 200 years of colonial rule had detached us from our own
Bengali culture and so, he became the only playwright in Bangla
literature, after Rabindranath Tagore, for his blending of narratives
with typical Bengali traditions".

Cases against Minu, Aminul

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) here yesterday sued Rajshahi City
Corporation (RCC) Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu and six other officials
for embezzling government corrugated iron (CI) sheets and rice while
an individual lodged Tk 1 lakh extortion case with a Rajshahi court
against 27 persons including former post and tele-communication
minister Barrister Aminul Haque.
ACC, Rajshahi regional deputy director Abdul Karim filed the case
against seven people including Minu with Boalia police station for
embezzlement of government CI sheets and rice misusing power under
section 409/109 of Penal Code and Section 5(2) of Anti-Corruption Act.
Six other accused RCC officials are the mayor's private secretary
(acting) Manjur Rahman John, Research Officer M Mahbubur Rahman,
inspectors -- Achinta Kumar Bhaduri, Ruhul Amin Raju and mayor's
private assistants -- Nurul Islam Mamun and Saifuddin Bachchu.
The plaintiff alleged that the accused persons allied with each other
collected some 540 bundles of CI sheets and 195 metric tons of rice
worth around Tk 58 lakh during a span of 2001 to 2006 from the
government relief fund and deputy commissioner's office. But, they
kept the relief goods at the Mayor's house without depositing those
with RCC's store.
The extortion case was lodged with the court of chief judicial
magistrate in Rajshahi by Shafikul Islam of Nayansura village of Sadar
upazila in Chapainawabganj against Barrister Aminul Haque and 26
The court judge Abu Saleh Sheikh M Jahirul Haque ordered
officer-in-charge of Godagari police station to investigate into the
matter and take legal action.
Other accused in the case are -- Godagari municipal BNP president
Rafik Biswas, Enayet Karim, Selim, Abdul Matin, Moti, Abdur Rahman,
Ashraful, Farid, Sohel, Abul Hossain, Alam, Masud, Alfaj, Saifuddin,
Kalu Master, Swapan, Nur Mohammad, Jabbar, Enamul, Quayum, Swapan-2,
Selim-2, Mamun, Liakat, Tasim and Mizanur Rahman.
Shafikul Islam alleged that the accused persons directed by the former
minister demanded Tk 1 lakh toll from him for cultivating his own land
in Tetulia village of Godagari upazila.
On November 26, 2004 when the plaintiff went to the village for
bringing his share of crops, the accused persons again demanded the
At his denial, they on gunpoint took away 100 sacks loaded with 200
maunds of paddy worth about Tk 1 lakh from houses of his
Minu is now, however, suffering 13 years of jail in an extortion case
as well as facing trial in several cases including that of tax dodging
while Aminul, wanted in several cases including two three for
patronising militancy is absconding.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

'Radio journalism can help ensure right to information'

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cobweb of death

Blood-chilling story of killers who preyed on foreign job seekers

Cashing in on the rising zeal for overseas jobs, a group of people have invented a deadly method of swindling in the northern districts, inviting foreign-job seekers to rented homes and killing them after grabbing their money.

The swindlers later tell the victims' families that they went abroad.

The game was unearthed after Helal Uddin, a man from Bogra's Dupchachia upazila, was caught with a body tamped inside a sack in Natore Wednesday.

He confessed to Detective Branch (DB) police that he is a member of an organised gang who look for potential foreign-job seekers. Headquartered in Bogra, he said their gang has set up a network across the northern districts.

The gang members, he said, rent home in neighbouring districts, bring their victims there and kill them after taking their money.

Helal, disguised as a madrasa teacher, rented a microbus for going to Bogra. The driver smelt something fishy as his passenger declined to say what was inside the two sacks he was carrying.

Helal was arrested along with the dead body as the driver called police. The other sack had vegetables in it.

Helal identified the dead man as Enamul Haque, a grocery shop owner at Kasimala village in Kahalu upazila of Bogra.

Admitting to having killed Enamul on January 29, Helal said he promised his prey a job in Saudi Arabia and asked him to go to his rented Natore house with Tk 2 lakh.

Helal asphyxiated the shop owner and took his money after the latter showed up with Tk 1.5 lakh.

Acting on his information, police arrested his accomplice Abdul Majid Bhutto in Dhaka early yesterday.

The two were taken on a five-day remand for interrogation. Officer-in-charge at Natore Police Station said, "We expect more information from them during the interrogation. Three more bodies were recovered in the town in last few weeks. We will look to it whether the gang has any link with the murders."