Purpose of Narijibon Blog

Nari Jibon Project seeks to increase our students’ and staffs’ abilities through different ways: classes, practice, computers, internet, and now the Narijibon Blog. Readers and writers (our students & staff) of the Blog will both learn about our lives, culture, Nature, activities of people in Bangladesh and the Nari Jibon Project.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

of jackfruits, mangoes, and load-shedding

cross posted from bideshi blue

Driver Ripon and two ripe jackfruit

Bangladesh—what can I say—jackfruits, mangoes, litchees, and load-shedding. Several times per day, the power goes out at office, guesthouse, and friends’ apartments. Some have generators for fans and lights and some do not. Some computers have big battery backups and some do not. Blogging depends on local electricity as well as the connectivity to the server-provider, which may or may not have power.

These load-shedding levels are the worst that I have seen in my eight years of travel to Bangladesh and fresh mangoes do not ease my discomfort. Load-shedding is relatively new excuse for no work at the office and classes even though Bangladeshis have worked, studied, and lived for many years without electricity, computers, blogging, and such.

Poor people suffer even more during the day and at night. As one guest house staff member said, his choto chele (little baby boy) does not understand load-shedding, heat, and sweating when the baby wakes up in the night.

Load-shedding is an ongoing challenge for bideshis habituated to central air & air conditioning, nearly constant electricity, and a phone number to call when the lights-power go out. Load-shedding is an increasing challenge for some Bangladeshis and students who have tasted-experienced electricity, fans, and even some air conditioning as well as blogging. Meanwhile, their assorted governments have made some corrupted poor choices-investments in power plants-generation and failed to meet growing demands for power as well as provide stable links-submarine cable to the global net.

Below, Nari Jibon students sit and swelter in dark computer lab during 1 hour+ loadshedding....and a virtual tour of our cyber cafe, office, and computer lab during load-shedding....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Marriage of mother’s grandfather

Translated by: Golam Rabbany Sujon
Written in Bengali: Nafisa Mubashira

It was long days ago. The name of the village is Amta that was three to four hours long distance from the Howra rail station. Railway was the only one way to communicate with the town. Then there was no metalled or cobbled road or electricity in the village but there were available green trees. There was also seen few houses in the long distance. The story was for that time – The name of my mother’s grandfather was Samsul Hoda and then he was only fifteen years old. Their family was powerful at Amta village. Everyone knew them by name. Samsul Hoda used to call by Shamu as his nick name. The name of Shamu’s aunt’s (paternal uncle’s wife) village was Dipo. Once, one of his aunt’s younger sisters named Johora came to visit their village. The Johora was only 5 years old. This small girl was taken to the tube-well by her elder sister and she started to play by water while she was taking bath. Then mother of Shamu looked at her and said that the girl was very beautiful. Johora also laughed to see her. Then Shamu’s mother said strongly that I would take you to me as my son’s wife.

Shamu’s mother started to do what she said. Shamu got married with Johora though Johora was his aunt according to the relation as she was younger sister of Shamu’s aunt. Shamu’s mother gave 15 vori (a unit of weight equal to 180 grains or a little over 11 grams) ornaments that made of gold to Johora as a new son’s wife. As a five years aged girl she became very happy to see these ornaments and nice clothes. She also started to jump and laughing to see these and many people. Many people from nearby several villages gathered to see new-married-child-wife and everyone praised of her beauties. The nose ornament of this small wife was so heavy that she could not drink water. Then she told “Let you open my nose ornament please, I’ll drink water.” Shamu’s mother opened the nose ornament understanding that she was getting pain. In the evening Johora said “Let me send to our house as it is going to be night, I’ll go to my house.” All the grandmothers told her “From now you will stay here as this is your husband’s house.” Then Johora passed that night with Shamu’s mother. In the morning everyone started to arrange of new wife’s farewell. Shamu’s mother made up her nicely and when they went to get up her into the palanquin, Johora said “let me give my nose ornament.” Then everyone started to laugh hearing such kind of word from a small baby. Then Shamu’s mother said “Oh! Sad we forgot to give your nose ornament.” At the time of leaving both guardians took decision that they would arrange a large and lightened ceremony when she would be taken to her husband’s house again. Then small-baby-wife started to go to her parent’s house from her husband’s house.

After passing days, months and years 5 years old baby became 8 years old girl. Then, when she used to go out side of house, neighboring people used to advice her “you are married, you should not go out side of your house and people of your law’s family would talk bad about you etc.” In the meantime Johora’s father got died and there was none in their family to earn and maintain their family. Johora was the youngest child among the sisters and she had only one brother who used to study in a school in the village. As there was no alternative way he had to act as the main family holder. Then he was only about 15/16 years old boy and he took decision that he would sell the ornaments of Johora for running business and he would buy these ornaments again for her sister. But they could not keep it secret and anyhow this information reached to her husband’s house. Hearing this information they became ferocious and they could not take it easily. Shamu’s mother informed them “The brother who can sell ornaments of his sister, I can not accept such a family’s girl as my son’s wife.” Shamu also heard this news and then he used to run business at Calcutta. He could not abide by his mother’s decision and he started to think how he can take his wife. Shamu went to her maternal uncle who used to live at Calcutta. Shamu said everything to his uncle and they decided that they would come to take Johora to their house in the next Sunday at weekly off day. None of them went to the house in weekly off day but they both went to Dipo village by boat for taking Johora. They started to go at about 5.00 pm in the afternoon. They reached at Dipo village at about 11.00 pm at night. Then most of the new married men used to go to the father in law’s house at night as they used to get shame if they used to get at daytime. It was also an unspoken rule. They kept the boat slight distance from Johora’s house and Shamu also did not take his uncle to Johora’s house with him. The people of Johora’s house became very happy to see Shamu. They started to cook meat, fish, eggs and various kinds of cakes etc. It took long time to cook foods and completing taking foods. At about 2.00 pm in the midnight he was sent to the bed. Few minutes later the night became very silent. Shamu could not sleep as his uncle was waiting for him near the river. He was thinking how he would take Johora out side of house. Then he told Johora to go with him to out side of house as he needed to use out side latrine but Johora told him to go alone. But Shamu requested her to go with him as he was afraid of darkness. Shamu was taking her to the ahead but Johora was not interested to go more in the dark. At last Shamu took her to the lab and stopped her mouth by another hand and fluently reached to the boat. They started to run the boat after getting up Johora to the boat. The boat reached to the near of Shamu village when it was early in the morning. But Shamu did not go to his house and he sent Johora to his house with his uncle. Shamu returned to the Calcutta to his business centre and he told his uncle that if his mother would not accept Johora as his wife, he would never come to his house. He was not so brave to go to his mother and that’s why he sent Johora with his uncle. Seeing the innocent face of small girl and understanding the situation of Shamu’s mentality, her mother forgot everything and took Johora to the house gladly. She also said her brother (Shamu’s uncle) to return house soon.

Couple days later Shamu came to the house and all of his guardians took decision that they would take Johora several years later arranging a large and pleasurable ceremony. Johora was sent to her parents’ house again. Several years later, Johora’s brother also could not develop his business. So, Shamu himself bear the expenditure of ceremony and gave again ornaments. He hired palanquin, band party and took Johora to his house from his law’s family.

Fairy tales that I heard in my childhood

Translated by: Golam Rabbany Sujon
Written in Bengali: Nilufa Akter

First part

There was a farmer in a village. He had his wife and a daughter. But they were very poor. The farmer had two bighas of land. He used to cultivate that land and somehow they maintained their family with these crops. There was also a king in that village. He had a prince. Once the prince went to hunt in the forest but in the way he was bitten by a snake. Then the king applied to the villagers to save his son’s life but none of the villagers came to help him. The king also circulated in the village that he would pay what saver want from him instead of his son’s life. Then the daughter of the farmer agreed to save the life of prince. The girl made cure the prince. The King asked the girl what she wants but the girl did not reply. The king gave six bigha’s of land to the farmer thinking of their poverty. Then the farmer returned to their house with his daughter. Then the farmer cultivated all the lands and he got enough crops. He sold his crops and received lot of money. The farmer made a new house and gave her daughter in marriage to a rich family. Then farmer started to live happily as they had no poverty.

Second part

There was a family in a city. There was a father, a mother and a daughter in a family. In a vacation during rainy season they went to visit to the Sundarbans and they started to watch Sundorbans. Suddenly they saw rumble of clouds and being afraid they got up to the launch in very hurry. But the parents forgot to take their daughter. The daughter stayed long whole in the embankment of the river. Clouds started to roar and the daughter became afraid. The daughter also wetted in the rain and fell in sick. Then a man saw that girl and took to his house. The man also took her to the physician and made her cure. But the girl could tell her address. After that the girl started to live there….