Some Misinterpreted Religious Stories

Patriarchal society is one of the predominant attributes of Bangladesh. In order to subjugate women, this society misinterprets religious doctrine and concepts. There are many religious stories that are misinterpreted by the society to restrain women from their noble work. I am going to share two stories that are misinterpreted by the society.

My grandmother told me that it is written in hadith that once a woman came to Prophet Muhammad’s (s.a.a.w.) house. She complained to him that her husband had slapped her and asked Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) what she should do in response. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) advised her to retaliate to him. No sooner had he advised it, message came from Allah telling that girls can’t hit boys even if boys hit them. It means that Islam have prohibited girls from reciprocating boys in the same way boys do. I was skeptic about the credibility of the story. I asked my grandmother in which hadith she found it. She said she heard it from her mother. She couldn’t tell me the name of that hadith. This is may be a misinterpret message of Islam because it seems to me that some information has been omitted from the message. How far I have known Islam has given equal respect to both male and female. Hence, I think this story is changed to show that women should be dominated by men. 

Recently I have heard a story from one of my friends when I told her that I don’t believe Allah has created women to test men if they can escape women’s allurement. She told me that during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.), a man was passing the street when he looked at a certain woman and the woman at him. Then, the devil whispered to both of them that they looked at each other only because they liked one another. The man kept walking at the side of a wall, while he was looking at her. As a result, another wall hit him and his nose was split. He furiously said, “I swear, I won’t wash the blood till I tell Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) what happened to me!” He went to him and told him his story. The prophet said in reply, “This was the punishment for your guilt.” It means that if any harm is done to men then it would be done by women. That’s why women should not be given any importance, or else they might seduce men. Thus, according to this patriarchal society, women should be confined to home. However, my friend couldn’t tell where this story is written since she heard it from her grandmother. Hence, I think this is also a deliberately misinterpreted story established to suppress women.

Therefore, I believe there isn’t actually any base of such kind of misinterpreted messages in Islam. Our ancestors had established these messages to dominate women. That’s why; such stories pass from generation to generation without containing any evidence.

 

 

Bangladeshi’s View Towards Space

This week I enjoyed a lot reading articles on anthropology. It was interesting learning how time and space is defined in different culture. It was also interesting to learn how food symbolizes space of a culture. In my blog I am going to discuss how definition of space in Bangladesh is different from other countries’ one.

After reading the article “Symbolic Systems and Meanings,” I have learnt that in New Guinea societies, men take their meal separately from their wives and children in a men’s house. Women prepare the food and take the husband’s portion to the men’s house. Additionally, women take their meal in their house with their children. Isn’t it interesting to imagine the space between husbands and wives of that society? It’s somehow reminds me the old tradition of my country, Bangladesh. Although now most of the Bangladeshi people don’t follow the traditional rules, still there are some families who are quite traditional as the families of New Guinea. In Bangladeshi traditional families, generally at first, men and children take their meal together and later, women have their food. Through this process of taking food, we can see the higher authority of men in these families. Besides, children of western countries treat their father as friend; however, there is a huge gap between Bangladeshi fathers and their children. Bangladeshi children can’t consider their father as their friends. Their father is treated as a respectable person in the family.

In addition, we can see the example of using space between men and women in public place. No men and women even if they are husband and wife can walk together in the park holding each other’s hand unlike western countries like America.

Besides, men and women never express their love to their spouse in front of their parents or elder people whereas western people do so. Moreover, in western culture guests are not allowed to enter in the host’s bedroom, whereas in Bangladeshi culture, few guests especially women can easily enter into the bedrooms of a family.

Furthermore, in western culture, men can’t hold men’s hand in the public place because it means that they have special relationship. In contrast, in Bengali culture, men can hold men’s hand; they can hug each other. People don’t find anything wrong with these manners.

Thus, we see that attitudes toward space vary from culture to culture and country to country. What is considered to be an appropriate manner in one culture can be considered absolutely inappropriate in another culture.

 

Comparison Between Our Young Leaders and Previous Activists

Our Academic Reading and Writing teacher Ms. Fatema has chosen a nice non-fiction genre for us to read in Term 3. Her selected autobiography Growing Up Untouchable in India by Vasant Moon is very interesting. The more I am going to the deeper part of this autobiography, the more I am enjoying it.

Especially in chapter 7-8, I’ve enjoyed a lot reading different actions of the activists of the Samata Sainik Dal. However, at the same time I’ve felt devastated thinking that activists of the present time in Bangladesh are not as humane as those activists of the past. For example, in the chapter “Shooting Star”, Vasant Moon described how Chagan and Lila, children of his grandfather’s close friend, Gopal, were helped by the activists. In spite of being meritorious, they were coerced to leave school because of not being able to pay school fees. When they shared their sorrows with college student Moon, Moon organized a campaign to collect money with the help of the activists of the Dal. Afterwards giving this money to school, they got readmitted in the school. Such kinds of activities of the Dal were indispensable to create a generous community. In the same way, we should also help the poor intelligent students of our country to make our country beautiful. Nevertheless, such activities are not valuable to the young activists of our county. Our young activists are busy with gaining their self-interests; they’re busy with oiling the political leaders so that in the future, they can achieve a good position in the party. Hence, whenever I think about the movements of our activists, I feel bitterly disappointed.

Another activity that has moved me deeply was the attempt taken by the Samata Sainik Dal knowing the miserable economic condition of Moon’s family. When the militants of the Dal found out the economic condition of Moon, they called a meeting of the employed members of the Dal. In the meeting, they took the decision that Moon would go to their house with an empty bowl after eight o’clock at night. Their wives would give him food for his family, but the most touching thing is that they had never given him leftover or stale food. The food he received from these families was always fresh and hot. These activists not only gave him food but also provided him books and notebooks for education. They never thought that they were doing him a favor rather they believed that it’s their duty. Thank god that Moon isn’t a poor child of this time. If he were, our activists would definitely help him by providing food. However, I doubt about how much it will be fresh and hot. Besides, activists will think that they are doing him a favor; they will never think that it’s their duty.

Thus, I feel absolutely devastating when I ponder the activities of our young leaders. Won’t they ever change? Won’t we be able to change our society, our country???

 

How Do Children of Twenty-first Century Spend Summer?

After having finished reading the chapter “Heat and Rain” from Vasant Moon’s autobiography Growing Up Untouchables in India, I started to think about how children of twenty-first century are spending their summer. Thinking about it for an hour, I realized that today’s children are not so close to nature and they are unable to find happiness from nature. Hence, I decided to share my thoughts with my friends from the perspective of Bangladesh.

Since children in urban area live in concrete jungle, they are far away from the true beauty of nature. Thus, during their summer vacation, they are usually confined to play video games and to watch satellite channels. However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to get closure to nature. They want, but their parents can’t take them to a long trip due to several reasons such as may be their parents are busy with their professions. Or maybe they don’t want to sacrifice their comfortable life and go to their villages in the summer as it is difficult to live there because of load shedding. I can give an example. My mother doesn’t take my younger sister to our village during her summer vacations because of two reasons. Firstly, my sister is so naughty that it is hard for my mother to keep my sister in her sight. As a result, my mother is always worried about her. In addition, my sister can’t swim. Consequently, my mother thinks that while playing with friends, my sister will unconsciously go near the pond and will fall in the water. Another reason is that because of the frequent failure of electricity in villages, it becomes hard to stay inside the house during summer. That’s why my mother doesn’t prefer to go to the village during the summer vacation. Hence, my sister spends her vacation in watching satellite channels and playing video game.

On the other hand, it is a matter of great regret that children who live in village are unable to find joy from nature, even though they are the one who live closely to nature. It is because nowadays children have become lazy and like to watch satellite channels such as Cartoon Network, so they don’t like to go out and perform thrilling activities like stealing fruits from the neighbors’ trees which our ancestors used to do. Let me share one of my experiences. Nowadays, whenever I go to my village, I don’t often see children playing outside. There is no noise of children outside; it seems that I have come to a ghost village. Thus, one day I asked one of my aunts why it’s so quiet there. She told me in reply, “It is because of satellite channel. There is at least one television in every house, so why should children go out and play when they can find pleasure in watching TV?”

Now I think, what would our ancestors do if televisions were available to them? Would they find enjoyment from nature or watch TV like the children of this era?

Importance of Material Success

All people have dreams and most of those dreams are related to material success. Material success has great influence in our life. Once you gain material success, you need to show it off to others. Indeed, the need of material success in a person’s life is more to show off than to satisfy himself. Then, people will be aware of your value and know that you have become successful in your life. If you don’t fly your own kite, they will think that you are a vain person. I have gotten a clear idea about it by observing my surroundings.

When my maternal uncle was working in a company in Bangladesh, nobody would pay much attention to him. His family was worried about him because he would not be able to make a lot of money if he continued working on that company. Hence, he quitted his job when he found another one in a foreign company in Dubai. After two year when he came back to Bangladesh, our relatives were very curious to know what he brought for his family and how much money he had earned and saved. In addition to, they were also interested to know whether he had brought jewelries and enough money with him to get marry. When they heard that he had brought lots of jewelry and money with him, they realized that he had become a wealthy man. Since then they have always invited him in all kind of meetings if he is in Bangladesh and give importance to his suggestions. This is how; material success has played an important role in my uncle’s life.

Another example is that, whenever I have attended any wedding ceremony mostly in my village, I have seen my mother to wear her gold jewelries. Besides, I have seen all married women to wear their gold jewelries in those wedding ceremonies. That time it has seemed to me funny. However, after reading the play “Death of the Salesman” by Arthur Miller and learning about material success in class, I have understood that those gold jewelries worn by my mother and other women actually represent their wealth. It is necessary for my mother to wear those gold jewelries; otherwise, village people will think that my family has not gain enough wealth despite living in abroad. That’s why it is important to show off material goods so that people don’t think you are a futile person.

Thus, I think if a person cares about social life, he is bound to care about material success since society compels him to do so.

Can All Dreams Bring Happiness???

We should have dreams or goals in order to live. Dreams help us to reach to the destination; they help us to move forward. Without dreams, life becomes hopeless and meaningless. Among all dreams, we should hold some of them, whereas give up others. It is because all dreams can bring satisfaction but can’t bring happiness.

If our dreams are related to our happiness and self-satisfaction, we should stick with them. For example, think about career. If your dream is to become a scientist, you should hold it. You should work hard to fulfill it. It is flagrant that you will face difficulties. In fact, in order to achieve something in life, everybody encounters obstacles. Only those people who are adamant to fulfill their dreams succeed to reach to their destination; others fall apart. Hence, if you are stubborn to become a scientist, you will definitely become successful. You will be satisfied and happy. But can career always make us happy? I don’t think so. Think about the daughters of the novel The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Their dream was not to have a life like their Chinese mothers who were housewives. They wanted to become self independent; they wished to have a profession like their fathers. They never preferred to become a housewife. Hence, they were successful; they accomplished their dreams. Nevertheless, were they happy? They weren’t because they had hard times with their boyfriends or husbands. For example, Ying-ying had a good job, but her marriage life was imbalance. Thus, she wasn’t happy at all. For this reason, I believe in order to be happy our surroundings have to be in balance.

Moreover, I think sometimes we should give up some of our dreams. For example, in the poem “My Family” by Garrison Keillor, Garrison’s great grandfather gave up his dream of building a house in Oregon, a state that was like a star to him. He also dreamt to live in that house with his beloved wife. He was a traveler, whereas his wife wasn’t. As a result, after three weeks of starting journey to Oregon, she became tired. He understood that his dearest wife wouldn’t be able to continue the journey to Oregon. Besides, he couldn’t live without her even though he built a beautiful house in Oregon. Thus, he relinquished his dream and built house in Wobegon instead of Oregon. Although, he couldn’t accomplish his dream, he had a happy life. He lived happily with his wife until his death. Therefore, I believe dreams and happiness are slightly related to each other. We should hold those dreams that will retain happiness till our end.

Is It a Sigh of Satisfaction or Regret?

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is a poem that is about dilemmas felt by most of us at some points in our lives. While reading this poem, I have been surprised because this is what I always feel when there is a dilemma in my life.

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is about a traveler who was standing in a yellow wood where two roads divided. As a traveler, he could choose one road. After analyzing both roads, he decided to go through second road keeping the first for future, even though he knew he would not be able to recede once he started walking through in the second road. Hence, while walking, he thought that he would reminisce about his decision on choosing road in future with a sigh of may be satisfaction or regret.

Readers have different opinions from their own perspectives about the last five stanzas of the poem. Some believe that the speaker’s sigh indicates his self satisfaction of being able to make correct decision on choosing road. Last two stanzas tell that it will make him different from others because he has chosen the road which fewer travelers have chosen. On the other hand, others claim that the speaker’s sigh designates his regret of not making the correct decision.

I am with them who think it is a sigh of regret. The speaker has observed both roads before making decision. He has analyzed both roads and has found that second road has looked better than the first one. The second road has seemed lively and wanting him to walk on. Moreover, looking at that road, it seems to the speaker that no one has walked on that road. Hence, he decides to walk through the second road. From my experience, I have learnt that things that lure us most of the time have bad effects upon us. For example, fast food such as burgers always engross us, but we know that junk food is not good for our health. Despite people eat junk food and suffer diseases in the long run. In the same way, this road has also lured him and as he has chosen it, I think he will suffer in the long run.

Besides, his assumption that no one walked on that road has turned out wrong and he has understood it while walking on the road. Thus, I think it would be the sigh of regret and he would appease himself by telling that he has chosen the one which contains less travelers although he has learnt from his experience that both roads have been walked by equal travelers, written in the 10th stanza of the poem.

“The Joy Luck Club”: Movie vs. Novel

If anybody asks me which one is the best: movie The Joy Luck Club or novel The Joy Luck Club? My answer will be the novel because the novel includes lot of details more than the movie. It helps us to get more detailed picture of the characters and situations.

 The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan is a fascinating novel that focuses on the life’s experience of four Chinese mothers and their four American daughters and conflicts between these mothers and daughters. Beside this theme, it also portrayed superstitious beliefs of China to demonstrate the real picture of China and also how it has affected the Chinese mothers’ life.

When I have watched the movie of The Joy Luck Club, I’ve found many differences between the novel and the movie. Hence, I haven’t enjoyed the movie that much. The novel provides deep feelings to the readers and helps readers to get mixed with the characters. In contrast, the movie is made only for recreation, so it hasn’t included many important scenes. For instance, the movie doesn’t show viewers the importance of a red candle which plays significant role in every Chinese girl’s life. That’s why; after watching the movie all viewers will have lots of questions such as why does Lindo have to make a plan for leaving her first husband? Why can’t she tell her mother-in-law directly that she wants divorce from Tyan-yu? Why does An-mei’s mom bring shame for family? What’s wrong if she is married for the second time? All these answers are inside this red candle, which the movie hasn’t demonstrated. However, when viewers will read this novel, they will certainly get all these answers. Hence, I think this movie has become unexciting and at the same time vague for omitting such important stories.

Moreover, the movie has changed some short stories of the novel and it also affects on our feeling and way of thinking. For example, in the novel, I’ve read that when Ying-ying has realized that her husband is doing monkey business with others she has aborted her baby to erase the last sign of her husband. On the contrary, the movie shows that she has killed her two-month-old son unconsciously by drowning him in the bath tub. Thus, when I’ve seen the movie, I haven’t felt that much bad as much I felt while reading the novel because the novel describes how she has punished herself for terminating her pregnancy.   

In conclusion, I believe that because of its vagueness, movie The Joy Luck Club can’t quench viewers thirst as well as novel The Joy Luck Club can.

Can Love be taught in Classroom?

When I find others are very caring to me, I feel that they love me. For example, in A.U.W., my friends always take care of me. If I am not with them for long time, they feel worried about me.

Love is something that cannot be defined in one word. Love is internal feeling that comes from the core of our heart. Human beings generally learn the term “love” from their family. For instance, my family members always take care of me. They are happy when they see me happy. Whenever I am worried about something and wishing to share it with someone, they realize it. They come forward to help me and make the environment easy for me so that I can feel free to share my feelings with them. They encourage me in my activities and make suggestions when I am disappointed. Without telling them, they can understand what’s going on in my mind in the same way I do. To me, this is the way how love is being expressed not only in a family but also with others such as friends.

Can love be taught in classroom? In a way, I think it can be taught in class. For example, there may be some students who don’t understand the term ‘love’ because their family bond is not that much strong. Their parents might not take care of them and they might never try to understand their children. Or, those students may have come from orphanages where they might never have such feeling as there was no one who can understand them. Hence, for them, classroom is the best place to learn love because in classroom, teachers are always very friendly with their students and they try their best to understand students. Teachers are the respected persons who can show students the best path for their future. Teachers play a vital role in enlightening students with all good things and they love their students very much. In this way, they can teach those students the meaning of love. Moreover, when those students will attend class with others, other students will help them to realize love.

In another way, I don’t think love can be taught in classroom. For example, some classes are held on how to love one’s partner in some institutions. I think these institutions aren’t really teaching the way to love. When somebody falls in love with opposite gender, they suggest acts that can be taken in order to make the relationship successful. Hence, I don’t think any institution can teach students how to fall in love with opposite gender.

Comparing “Troy” with “The Iliad”

Last Monday, I have seen the movie Troy that is based on the epic The Iliad by Homer. The Iliad is an oral tradition that tells about the 10th year of the Trojan War. The Iliad not only presents the feeling of war but also demonstrates the close relation between Greeks and Trojans and their gods and goddesses. However, on the surface, they are quite similar.

In the movie Troy, the characters such as Achilles, Agamemnon are presented in the same way as they are presented in the epic. The plot is also similar to The Iliad. On the other hand, there are significant differences between the movie and the epic. Some of the beliefs are totally opposite in the movie. For example, the movie tells that Achilles is so arrogant that he doesn’t even respect Apollo, God of Plague. In Troy, at first, Achilles attacks the temple of Troy, where Trojans pray to Apollo. After attacking the temple, he cuts the golden head of Apollo’s sculpture to prove that Apollo can do nothing to him. However, The Iliad tells that Achilles respects the gods and goddesses. The epic provides evidence for it. When Achilles hears the reason why Apollo has thrown plague among the Greek soldier, he says that they shouldn’t make the god angry. Agamemnon should return the daughter of Apollo’s priest. Moreover, when he wishes to kill Agamemnon for insulting him, he changes his decision by respecting the order of the queen of goddesses, Hera.

In addition, the movie hasn’t shown any close relationships between the Greeks and Trojans and their gods and goddesses. No gods and goddesses are portrayed other than Thetis in Troy. Apollo has not responded when the Trojans prayed to him to save their country, nor does Apollo show his anger when the head of his statue has been cut off. On the contrary, The Iliad demonstrates the close interactions between the gods and goddesses and their followers. When the priest of Apollo pray to him to make the Greeks cry for insulting him, Apollo throws plague towards Greek, which proves his angriness. Besides, when Achilles wishes to kill Agamemnon for insulting him, Athena, goddess of battle, comes to him as a messenger from the queen of goddesses, Hera who requests Achilles to change his decision. All these evidence confirm that gods are closely connected to their followers.

 In conclusion, although Troy stands on the epic The Iliad, it is slightly similar to the epic. In fact, all the above evidence prove that Troy is totally different from The Iliad.