Society | The Daily Star
  • Of funny bones and wrongly wired heads

    It was my cousin's wedding. The perfect setting for disastrous meetings between the Aunty gang and poor, hapless unmarried lasses. Cue Grandmother Z, who I've hardly met four times in my lifetime, with her “Bushra, how are you?

  • Making our roads safer

    The World Health Organization's (WHO) data shows that 1.25 million people are killed and as many as 50 million people are injured in road crashes every year.

  • From right to information to right to data

    In late 1840s, London was hit by a vicious cholera epidemic. Health officials struggled to curb the spread until Dr John Snow painstakingly collected data on the location and history of each case and traced the source to specific water supplies in the city.

  • Is innovation in education oversold?

    Innovation and technology are seen as the solutions to the educational deprivation of millions of children in the developing world.

  • Teacher politics: Plaguing our public universities

    One of my teachers at college would often say, “Even if you take a walk through a (public) university campus, you will learn many things about life.”

  • Is our education sector ready for the future challenges?

    Despite the fact that Bangladesh made considerable progress in gross-enrolment in primary education for both genders, the country is seriously lagging behind in ensuring quality education for all. Because data for many of the targets related to Goal 4 are not available, we have studied a few available indicators which are consistent with the goal 4.

  • Shrinking Spaces

    November has arrived. I have been looking forward to November since I came back mid this year. It is the month when rays of light fall differently on your face, sound travels differently, sunshine thins, and the mist thickens.

  • How small changes are having a big impact in slums

    Lessons learnt: an effective intervention in the lives of slum dwellers may begin with small steps. It is important to understand the everyday practices of slum dwellers, rather than impose on them what professionals think slum dwellers need.

  • No city for women

    It is oftentimes a lie that we tell ourselves to either ignore or mask the hideous inequalities and injustices that make Dhaka one of the most dangerous cities for girls and women to live in.

  • How tech is used to distance and dehumanise others

    As I stood at the back of the queue in a food court recently, I noticed that there were at least a dozen customers standing in line before me. As they walked up to the counter one by one to collect their food, most of them had their eyes glued to their mobile phones, and few of them looked up until they were served.

  • The #MeToo campaign: Only a start

    Tales of global-media-mogul Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual abuse of women in Hollywood have been unravelling over the last few weeks.

  • Affordable housing: An urban myth or reality?

    Ali shares a squatter settlement with five other people. As a rickshaw-puller, his average monthly income is Tk 5,000, which places him just above the national poverty line. The rent costs him Tk 3,000 per month. His utilities cost Tk 550 a month, and this excludes food and other living expenses. Ali faces eviction on a regular basis, a reality for 35 percent of people in Dhaka, who currently live in informal settlements.

  • Protecting what is ours

    In a world dominated by ruthless battles for corporate supremacy, it is the intellectual right or ownership of a product that mostly emerges as the deciding factor. In an age of open market economy, free trade and corporate globalisation, multinational companies are legitimising their control over all the vital resources and knowledge.

  • The truth hidden in plain sight

    Eradicating modern slavery in a country marred by entrenched poverty is no easy task, especially when the majority of it occurs in the private economy—in our private homes and private businesses.

  • Tackling the learning deficit

    Our society has quantified the education process so enthusiastically that we have forgotten to consider the risks of the regressive models of rote memorisation and lack of conceptualisa-tion across almost all subjects being taught at public schools.

  • Sagor and Rajon: Murder as public spectacle

    I still remember the sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach when the news of the brutal killing of 13-year-old Rajon broke on social media two years ago. Is this real? How could they do this to a child? Why did the onlookers simply stand there?

  • Madrasa students and the myth of incompatibility

    Not so long ago, I wrote a piece about the misconceptions and cultural othering that madrasa students are subjected to and why it is important to accept diversity. After it was published, there were mixed reactions.

  • Early detection of birth defects – a far cry

    This is the moment in history when Bangladeshi medical science marked a milestone by successfully completing the remarkable surgery separating the ten-month-old pygopagus twins Tofa and Tahura. Twenty-four doctors spent nine hours inside an operating theatre operating on the spine of the twins.

  • The ugly face in the mirror

    Maybe 15-year-old Rima will not be seen as a child by some, given the ambiguity that surrounds the legal age of consent. Maybe her suicide, after being accused of immoral behaviour, will not be seen as a crime perpetuated by society but rather something she did to herself.

  • Addressing psychosocial disabilities in disaster management

    Recently, I came across a friend's Facebook status that read: “The rain is supposed to bring forth life from land, and comfort our stressful minds. Not flood our cities and villages, nor wash away homes and livelihood.

  • On sexism, son preference and female infanticide in Bangladesh

    On July 30, a father in Narayanganj burned his nine-month-old female infant alive since he “wanted a son” and was enraged at the birth of a girl (“Father 'wanted son', burns baby girl alive”, The Daily Star, August 4, 2017).

  • Reclaiming our privacy in the age of Big Data

    In this era of information and communication technology, “data” has become the new gold rush for both state actors (governments, law enforcement agencies, intelligence, etc.) and non-state actors (corporations, multinational companies, individual hackers or hacker groups, terrorist organisations, etc.).

  • Mental illness: A heavy burden on the labour market

    Interestingly though, most people in Bangladesh would not consider mental health a disease. It raises hope, therefore, that the conversations about mental health, are beginning to occur in the context of general health issues as has been on the occasion of World Health Day on the 7th of April this year.

  • Innovation in Bangladesh

    Some of our policies do not even support innovation; the heavy taxation on machinery components and spare parts import is one big challenge for agro machinery manufacturers.

  • Why is marital rape still legal in Bangladesh?

    We need to acknowledge that the reluctance in our country to criminalise marital rape is rooted in the medieval notion that upon signing the marriage contract, a wife perpetually and irrevocably consents to sexual intercourse with her husband whenever he so demands.

  • Of what value is primary school completion?

    In the Primary Education Completion Exam (PECE), a mandatory national exam introduced in 2009, the latest pass rate is 98.5 percent. This is a success that cannot be ignored.

  • Of depravity and mimicry

    Recently a few students of one of the leading public universities of the country became so unruly as to assault a police sergeant when he tried to perform his duty by not letting the university bus pass through the wrong side.

  • Seize the opportunity to make Dhaka a great, modern city

    The simulation results show what a big difference a strategic approach to Dhaka's urban development would make.

  • Confessions of a madrasah student

    You can't help it. You see us from afar—our messy beard, unkempt appearance, the distinct attire that sets us apart from others.

  • Of rats and rains

    Nature, contrary to popular belief, does not work in mysterious ways. Conventional wisdom acquired over centuries as well as the rise of technology have made it possible for us to foresee changes about to occur in the natural world. It's human nature that seems mysterious to me. And the fact that we often tend to ignore the consequences of our own action makes us very dangerous, too.