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The Latest: 23.2 | Bangladesh
Hassan Mahamdallie has strange encounters in Dhaka; Dina M Siddiqi visits garment factory workers; Onjali Q Raúf is angry at the plight of the female victims of the Independence war; a short story by Rajib Rahman; a poem by the late Shaheed Quaderi; Giles Goddard thinks there is nothing unique about challenges facing Islam; and Samia Rahman is besotted with Nadiya Hussain.
On 5 May 2013 leaders of the Hefazat-i-Islam (‘Guardians of Islam’), an obscure coalition of Islamist groups, marched into the commercial centre of Dhaka city for an indefinite sit-in. It was their second such attempt in a month.
Every city moves to its own beat. It was only when my friend Mahmudul Hasan took me one evening through the narrow streets of the Old City, down to the Buriganga River boat terminal at Sadarghat, that I felt the Dhakan bassline in my belly for the first time.
It is twenty minutes after midnight. The lobby of the five-star hotel is quiet tonight; more so than other nights. Then Jamil remembers it is Friday night. The bar is closed on Fridays. No wonder there are hardly any people.
How many of you have heard of the term ‘Birangona’, let alone know the faces described by this exceptional word? I’m guessing not many, which is sadly true even if you happen to be a Bengali – especially if you are a second or third generation British Bengali like me.