The Story of a Bengali Settler

(1)
It was thirty-five years back when Momin Ali started for England to ensure the financial security of his family. Then there was pain of leaving his beloved family in Bangladesh, but hope for doing something for the sake of that family. There were lots of dreams in his mind when he left his country. He had a beautiful picture in his eyes of his green country, and he was crying……….
(2)
In England, Momin Ali got a work in a garments factory. He worked hard every day. Sometimes he did overtime to earn more money to send to his family because his family was dependent on his earning. There was no entertainment for him but chitchatting with his fellow roommates in the lodging house where he lived. His twenty-four hours were passed by working at daytime and missing his family at night time. He wanted to expand his income level. For that he intended to save some money. After two years he saved a satisfying amount of money to start a new business in his own. He planned to start an “Indian” restaurant where he served the sub-continental spicy dishes. His restaurant soon got huge popularity among the community and he became rich. That time he wanted to bring his family in the England. He requested his whole family to come there. However, his mother did not want to come in a foreign country. She just wanted to live and die in her own country. With all respect to his mother’s decision, Momin Ali brought his wife in England.
(3)
After thirty-five years……………………
Momin Ali returned his country after his mother’s death. His mother was the only root that connected him with his country intangibly. It was his mother’s death which made him back in his country after thirty-five years. He noticed a lot of changes in his village. People gathered to see him. They told him their sufferings. Momin Ali missed the sweet dish payesh which his mother cooked very well. He became nostalgic. He thought that there was no one who cared him from far away where he lived now. The root was cut. It was after thirty-five years when Momin Ali was crying again………………

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Comparison and Contrast Among Bangladeshi, Japanese, and Korean Hairstyles

      Reading the article “Symbolism of Hairstyles in Korea and Japan” by Na- Young Choi, I came to know that hairstyle bears magical meanings, and it can play a significant role in presenting beauty, marital status or social status and wealth. In Bangladesh, hairstyle also bears significant role in symbolizing a person’s position.

     I became surprised to know about the significance of long hair bearing a traditional image as well as social position, because in our country Bangladesh, this concept is totally ridiculous. In our country, it is prevalent that most of the poor village girls have long hair as they do not have money to go in the parlor to have a haircut. On the other hand, the rich urban women often keep short hair. They prefer short hair style. In Bangladesh, you will never see poor married women with short hair, but it is accepted when a rich woman keeps short hair. Short hair symbolizes affluence here. Another important thing I notice is that in Japan and Korea, expensive and gorgeous hair pin symbolizes social status; conversely, in Bangladesh, the women from rich families do not use any kind of hair pin at all. They prefer to keep loose hair.

     In Bangladesh, straight hair is considered as beautiful hairstyle. Rich women also like to straighten and dye their hair in order to be beautiful. Curly hairstyle is not accepted to any woman. Keeping hair untied on the back is considered as more beautiful and fashionable style rather than binding hair with ribbons or pins. Keeping short hair is the only acceptable hairstyle for the boys in our society although some boys keep long hair.

     Although hair style doesn’t necessarily symbolize marital status in Bangladesh, the married women are seldom seen with a very short hairstyle. Also, you will never see a married woman with two flats.  Usually, school or college students wear two flats or two braids. Married women often wear one long braid laying on their back or only one ban. However, these styles are also prevalent in unmarried women.

     In Japan and Korea, people believe that hair contains a magical meaning. Similarly, in the rural area of Bangladesh, people make hair maduli (chain made of hair), and put it on their domestic animal’s neck in order to save them from evil eyesight.

     Finally, although we don’t think about hairstyle deeply, it plays an important role to display our Bangladeshi culture.

hunger and stealing

Hunger is such a thing which can destroy one’s good characteristics, honesty, and morality. In our society, lots of the people start to earn money in illegal ways because of poverty and hunger. There are lots of real life examples that people become thief or cheater when they don’t have any option. That time the sense of morality does not work.

As we are reading Vasant Moon’s autobiography Growing up Untouchable in India, we have noticed the same situation with Moon. Once Moon stole his friends color brush in school, but next day, he regretted for his misbehave and gave it back to him. Though he was poor to buy it, his inner morality abstain him from stealing. Then he present the days of extreme poverty of his family. There was no food and they starved. Her mother tried her best to do work and feed the family. Sometimes, community people helped them. Moreover, Moon also tried to earn money doing works. However, in chapter twelve “Holy Victory”, he said about his moral fall down. As those days they were passing a hard time with starvation, he was always thoughtful what to eat and how to get them. One day he cheated an old woman by taking her banana and running away. As he was so much hungry, he could not refrain himself to do that. Thus, he lost his moral education. However, when he heard her mother’s story of honesty, he was ashamed of his doing.

However, he did not tell her about his stealing as she would get hurt.

This reading reminded me something from my childhood. In my school, there were students from all social classes. Rich, poor, middle class, and even students from untouchable community read in our school. As the session was all day long, we used to take lunch with us. Moreover, we used to share our food with others. However, there were some students who did not bring anything and we did not share with them. It was summer season when we noticed that every day someone’s food was being stolen. We all became angry and annoyed with the unknown thief. We complained to the teacher, but his threat did not stop the thief. Consequently, one day the thief was caught and we all were surprised. The most silent and shy boy of the class was doing that! How strange! It was difficult to believe. Whatever, he was taken to the teacher and he punished him. After physical punishment, he was told to bring his parents to the school. Then the boy cried and said that he could not do that. When sir forced him to tell why it was not possible, he said that her mother is a housekeeper and she was not working someday because of illness. They were starving a long day and finally he could not bear the hunger seeing other students to eat. As a result, he started to eat secretly from their food. Hearing that, we felt so bad for him and regret for our selfishness. We told the teacher to forgive him. He also felt sorrow for him and forbade him to do so further. After that we tried to share our food with him, but he never took it. He smiled and thanked us only saying that her mother was ok and they were not starving any more. Though we were dubious about his words, we never could help him.

Friends, do you think Moon or that boy’s stealing was reasonable?

 

I Dind’t Want to Forget

Chapter 10 of Growing Up Untouchable in India by Vasant Moon depicts the sense of honor and pride of Dalits for their flag. I enjoyed reading it as it reminded me of an old experience.

Due to war in Afghanistan, young Afghan refugee generation didn’t know much about their war-torn country. I was one of them. We felt nothing is left to be proud of. We thought Afghanistan was and had always been a piece of worthless land, with no glory, no history. With the country that we had never seen, and now instead of kites or birds, bombs and rockets flew in its sky, how miserable inheritor we were. Taliban were taking the control of most parts of the country, like the black, ominous crows covering the blue sky. Every sign about a bright future for Afghanistan seemed so hopeless that imagining our country free and prosperous filled our heart with heavy grief. But in the summer of 2001 something happened which evoked the love for my country in my heart, this time a love mixed with pride.

My older brother was an active member of Afghan Student Union in Mashhad back then. He brought home some pictures of historical places and natural beauty of Afghanistan, Darul Aman Palace before and after being destroyed, Afghan chidden wearing traditional clothes, and many other pictures that they had displayed in an exhibition in Mashhad. It was the first time I saw something glorious and beautiful about my country, my homeland. I felt proud of it. Something revitalized in me, a lost love. I wanted to share it with other afghan boys and girls in our community, to show them pictures of their country, their vatan. My brother agreed and encouraged me. With help of my sisters, my cousin, and my friend, we made a big poster, stuck the photos on it and added description about each photo. My older sister made the flag of Afghanistan by sewing three pieces of clothe together: black, red, green. It was then that for the first time I touched the flag of my country against my face in quest of smelling my lost identity. Those three symbolic colors generously offered a peaceful moment to my heart as I hugged the flag like a child who seek sanctuary in the warmth of her mother’s arm.

We installed the flag and the poster on the wall of Alzahra Mosque, just to remind other Afghan youths of their motherland and revitalize the love for vatan in their heart, the love that could make them live stronger and hopeful for a better tomorrow.

At the end of that summer, on 11 September, the destruction of two towers in a far land changed the course of history for my country.

Reading between the Lines in the Chapter “Religious Hymns”

I have noticed that many religious terms in the chapter “Religious Hymns” are implicitly written by the author. The reason behind this is that the writer assumes readers know about those festivals and cultures. However, this is not true for foreign readers as they are not acquainted with the Indian festivals. Consequently, they have difficulty understanding those terms. As an Indian, I tried to read between the lines, and I understand some of the terms. Therefore, I want to share them with you.

Janmashtami — It is a festival for lord Krishna. Janma means to take birth, and ashtami means eighth day of a fortnight. This festival is celebrated every year in the eighth day of a fortnight in the month of August. On this day, lord Krishna was born in a prison. His maternal uncle put his mother, Devaki, and father, Vasudev, in the prison because once, he heard that Devaki and Vasudev’s son would kill him. Therefore, he kept them in the jail and killed every child of them. However, when their eighth son, lord Krishna, was born in the midnight, his father replaced him with one of his friends’ new born daughter. Lord Krishna lived in the home of his father’s friend and treated him as father. Later, when he grew up, he killed his maternal uncle and took his parents out from the jail. Lord Krishna had many qualities of god because he was one of the forms of god Vishnu. Therefore, many people treat him as a god and worship him. Some people also do fasting in Janmashtami. They keep idols of Krishna in their home and worship it in the midnight. After their fast ended, they put the idol of him in a river.

The second thing is that the author has written, “Vitthal and Rukmini were in the inside room, and outside was a linga of Shiva and a stone of Nandi. The linga required leaves of bel, so outside the temple a bel tree had been planted” (Moon 41). Here, God Vitthal is one of the forms of lord Krishna, and Rukmini is Vitthal’s wife. The linga was a symbol for lord Shiva, and Nandi is name of a Bull, who was vehicle for lord Shiva. Whenever, he went anywhere, he used to sit in the back of Nandi. Therefore, Nandi is also worshipped with lord Shiva. In addition, bel is a very sacred tree in the Hindu religion. Therefore, people put leaves of bel on Shivalinga. Some people also eat it to cure many diseases.

Image of lord Vitthal and Rukmini

Lord Krishna

The Nandi and Shivalinga

The Blue Flag – A Tangible Symbol of the Dalits

As Vasant Moon mentions in “Growing Up Untouchable in India,” Wamanrao Godbole did a very praiseworthy and exemplary job by making a flag – a tangible representation of the Dalits. The flag was the integrated symbol of the Scheduled Caste Federation and the Samata Sainik Dal. It is said that a tangible symbol adds one’s passion and devotion up for respective issues, events, and people’s rapport. For example, substantial gifts foster relationship between two friends. When there is an exchange of presents between friends, they try their best to save the gifts from being destroyed or lost. They feel very close bond between them as the presents symbolize their devotion to maintain their friendship.

 

Previously, the Dalits were struggling for their right and equality, but they did not have any concrete idol representing them. Nevertheless, they were dedicated to their goal of achieving right and equality. In addition to that devotion, the flag supplemented more stamina among the Dalits for the struggle. The flag prompted them feel pride on being Dalits and dedicate their lives for the protection and existence of the flag. As the flag was a common symbol representing the entire Dalits, a feeling of unity and strength grew among them. Moreover, then popular poets wrote songs about the blue flag with incredible motivation and dedication. They wrote that the Dalits were even ready to sacrifice their lives – flow rivers of their blood for the sustainability of the flag.

 

Furthermore, keeping the flag in front of them, the Dalits used to pay respect and loyalty to the flag. Usually, Bhanudas Varade sang the flag song in a very charismatic voice. The song was an assemblage of all the feelings and aspirations the Dalits had for the flag and themselves. Some of the feelings expressed in the song are: “You are our beloved flag of liberty. You are a source of inspiration for us and for our struggle. You are the one which remind us about our past miserable suppressed lives, thereby urging us to fight for our freedom and independent lives under the leadership of our valiant leaders. We are ready to give our lives up for your existence.”

 

Thus, the flag supplemented the Dalits’ endeavor for freedom and equality.

Necessity Knows No Law

              In the chapter “Holy Victory” of the autobiography Growing up Untouchables in India by Vasant Moon, Moon narrates their poor condition when his mother doesn’t have any work. He says how intolerable the attack of hunger can be, which demolishes one’s spirit as well as one’s honesty. He describes how he is compelled to steal the old lady’s bananas after starvation of two days. After stealing her bananas, he doesn’t feel any guilt for stealing, but in the chapter “Dev Master’s Curse Fails,” he feels guilt after stealing his friend’s painting brush. He is again and again asking himself, “Why did I steal?”(Moon 35). The next day, he returns the brush to his friend because his bad spirit cannot cope up with his good spirit. However, I am surprised why he doesn’t feel any remorse after stealing the bananas. He just says, “Many thoughts started running through my mind. I felt pride in my mother’s honesty” (Moon 75). What about his dishonesty? Why doesn’t he utter a single word about his evil deed? One of my friends asked this question during our class discussion. I have a rationale for these two circumstances.

            When he steals the brush, he feels guilty because that is not his fundamental need, and he can survive without the painting brush. However, when he steals the bananas to satisfy his hunger, he doesn’t have any sense of right or wrong as he has been starving for two days at a time. At that time, he just needs something to fortify his stomach. Moon describes the situation very poignantly, “Hunger slowly begins to die. With it, the flowing spirit begins to dry up, free laughter vanishes” (ibid.). Poverty is such an evil thing that sometimes destroys all good qualities. Reading Moon’s experience, I am thinking myself, what would I do if I were in Moon’s position? I don’t find the answer from myself. Even I can’t imagine the situation of starving for two days at a stretch, so I don’t blame him for stealing in this situation. Moon is facing a critical situation when the dirty hand of poverty snatches away all good spirits. However, his mother’s honesty is admirable. She can starve for a long period, but Moon and his sister are still children. How can these little children starve so long?

 In conclusion, I think that without expressing any guilt himself for his misdeed, Moon has just let the readers to judge him. However, it is very hard to judge this situation. Is it unethical to steal in this situation, or can I punish a child for stealing food who has been starving for two days at a time? What do you think, friends?

Summary of Hair

Naturally, humans love to beautify themselves in various ways. Both men and women give the same preference on hair styles as like dresses. Without a proper hair style, their makeup seems not completed. People change their hair style according to their ages, choices, or fashion and season.

I think a hair style identifies a person. It can tell how the person is and what is going on that person’s life. If you see a person with a shabby hair, you can realize that the person is not concern about his time schedule. He wastes his time; therefore, he is getting late for his work and doesn’t comb his hair. On the other hand, if you see a person with a furnished hair, you can understand that the person always manages his time properly and have a smart personality.  Moreover, if you see a girl with two flats, you can easily recognize that girl is school or college student. On the other hand, university students are more fashionable and often keep their hair untied. Sometimes they try different hairstyles in their hair. Nowadays straightening hair becomes a common style for almost all the females. Especially those who are rich usually utilize money to make their hair more beautiful. Meantime, men are not behind women. They also try different cuts in their hair, and sometimes they spike it.

Hairstyle shows women’s profession also. In my country, Bangladesh, I see women who work in the offices and don’t need to band too much but usually straighten their hair and keep them open, whereas others who are housewives prefer keeping their hair folded and make a bun.

Having good hair gives human confidence and happiness; however, losing hair sometimes makes people embarrass, especially men. Their hair often falls, and they become bald. Many factors can be responsible for the irregular fall of their hair, including genetics, tension, malnutrition,
and physical formation, and scalp circumstances. Nowadays, new innovations have made in non-surgical hair replacements for men, an amazing revolutionary solution for hair restoration, and there are lots of hair replacement companies offering several technologies for hair replacement at a cheap rate.

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.

 

Men Hair dos

Most of the women think that men are left behind when it comes to hairstyle. However, it is not the case; for example, we might have seen the hairstyles of the famous football player, David Beckham. He has worn all different kinds of hairstyle including short trimmed hair, punk, formal and long curly hair until now, and above all  his hairstyle is liked by many people, and some of them have  copied too.  Therefore, today I would like to mention some of the famous hairstyles that many men possess.

 

 

 

 

 

Spikey hair: Spikey hair is considered to be a fashionable and new hairstyle. Men of all ages prefer the spikey hairdo, and it is often well-liked. This hair style has become popular among men because it is easy to make spikes with hair gel within few minutes. Moreover, as spikey hair appears wild and sexy, it is liked by many women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long hair: Mostly rock stars keep their hair long. Whether the rock stars of 60s or of present days, most of them possess long hair. One common reason for rock star to keep long hair is to head bang; also, their hair can swing with the music adding fun to their theatrics. On the other side, the men who aren’t rock music idols keep long hair either to show their affection towards the rock music or just to be with the fashion of hippies and freaks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Braids : Men make braids because they want to give a desgin to their head. Mostly African are seen with braids. The African having thick hair make braids in order to manage their hair easily. However, if a man is applying for some professional jobs, then he has to cut the braids off. Moreover, man with braids are rarely found in any office or reputed work institution. On the other hand, Bob Marley, a famous ragee singer, is world wide famous for his braids. He has become the inspiration for many African as well as other countries boys to do the same hairstyle. Therefore, music lovers especially reagee fans keep braids.

 

 

 

 

 

Curly hair: Men usually do not prefer curly hair, but many of them are born with it. Many men cut their hair and make it short while others make it wavy. Wavy look is considered as sex appealing look. Therefore, many men prefer to make hair slightly curl when they go to party or club if they have intensions to approach a girl for a date.