Monthly Archives: June 2014

Launching Ceremony NFP PoA and CIP Monitoring Report 2014(Taken from www.nfpcsp.org for further dissemination)

Launching Ceremony NFP PoA and CIP Monitoring Report 2014

The National Food Policy Plan of Action (NFP PoA) and Country Investment Plan (CIP) Monitoring Report 2014 (MR 2014) was launched during a ceremony at the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, in Dhaka, 25 July 2014. The event was organized by the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU), Ministry of Food, with the support of the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Program (NFPCSP) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United-Nations.

The ceremony, chaired by Ms. Mushfeka Ikfat, Secretary, Ministry of Food, was graced by the presence of Advocate Md. Qamrul Islam, MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Food as Chief Guest. Also present to the event were Guests of Honour Mr. Paul Sabatine, Deputy Mission Director USAID and Mr Frédéric Maduraud, Chargé d’Affairs, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh. Mr. Mike Robson, FAO Representative in Bangladesh and Mr. S M Nazmul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Chair, LCG, Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development attended as Special Guest.

Mr. Naser Farid, Director General FPMU and Mr. Ciro Fiorillo, Chief Technical Advisor NFPCSP, presented an overview of the Report. The MR 2014 highlights how Bangladesh continues to progress towards a more food secure, better nourished and healthier country. However, challenges still remain for many people in terms of diversification of food production, access to food in adequate quantity and quality, and nutrition outcomes, especially for mother and children. The budget to invest in food and nutrition is now at 12 billion USD, of which about 8 billion USD was already financed by June 2013 – as a result of the mobilization of additional 4.5 billion USD since the CIP launch in 2010. Approximately one billion USD was mobilized in 2012/13. The Government of Bangladesh financed about 5 billion USD (63%) and development partners financed about 3 billion USD (37%).

In his concluding speech, the Minister praised Bangladesh’s continuing progress in poverty reduction and socioeconomic development. He recognized how greater efforts must now be focused on the nutritional front that must be addressed through comprehensive strategies using a multi sectoral approach. He thanked FAO for making all out efforts by providing technical assistance through the NFPCSP, and the European Union and USAID for providing financial support for implementing the Programme. He stressed the importance of continued cooperation and support for wider scaling up of policy.

Finally, the Minister expressed the Government’s commitment to make best use of the recommendations of the Report in designing food policy options for achieving better food and nutrition security in the country.

The Monitoring Report 2014, was jointly produced by 17 partner ministries and divisions, coordinated by the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU) of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management with technical support from FAO under the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Program (NFPCSP) and financial support from EU and USAID.

 

This news report has been taken from www.nfpcsp.org for further dissemination.The news may be accessed at the following link:

http://www.nfpcsp.org/agridrupal/news/launching-ceremony-nfp-poa-and-cip-monitoring-report-2014

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Women in Scriptures : Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

Women in Scriptures

Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

What are beneficial in this Earth its half is done by women and rest other by men’

(Great Bengali Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam)

Litterateurs worldwide talked about both women and men high and also low. Their idea differs according to their view. But practically in patriarchal society men are great, controller etc and in the matriarchal society the view is quite opposite. In the present world however matriarchal are seen mostly among the aborigines.

Ancient societies were mostly were controlled by their existing religions. In our time there are many writings about status of women in the past as well as in the present. Jean Holm with John Bowker edited a book named ‘women in Religion’ which was published by PINTER, Publishers, London and New York. In the book wise contributors quoted from the sacred books of different religions, where they tried to establish their own views. In this article I have presented few of them only. I hope readers will go through extensively their own scriptures as well as to others the Holy books of other religions. Her I like to quote from the above book’s Series Preface: “The person who knows only one religion does not know any other religion.” For its logical support Jean Holm again quoted, a saying of the Poet Goethe: “He who knows one language, knows none.” So, for a comparative study and to know deeply there is no alternative to study. I hope to know the striking facts about the status and role of women in religions above book may help the readers. Followings are the few quotations from religious scriptures on which I will not make my own comments and orders of contents of the book will be maintained:

The first contribution of the book is ‘Buddhism’ developed by Rita M. Gross. Her she referred a female siddahs, perhaps the single most famous woman in Buddhist history, was Yeshe Tsogyel, an eighth century Tibetan woman so important to the transmission of Buddhism to Tibet. It is the belief of many that she attained Buddhahood in single life time, thus refuting frequent claims in older Buddhist literature that such a feat was impossible for a woman. In her biography two passages found almost back to back. She describes what happens to her:

I am a woman-I have little power to resist danger.

Because of my inferior birth, everyone attacks me.

If I go as a beggar, dogs attack me.

If I have wealth and food, bandits attack me.

If I do a great deal, the locals attack me.

Whatever I do, I have no chance for happiness.

Because I am a woman, it is hard to follow the Dharma.

It is hard even to stay alive.

(Tarthang Tulku 1983:105)

The other passage is as follows:

Wonderful yougini, practitioner of the secret teachings!

The basis for realizing great enlightenment is a human body.

Male or female there is no great difference.

But if she develops the mind bent on enlightenment,

The woman’s body is better.

(Tarthung Tulku 1983:102)

The next contribution of the book is Christianity. It is developed by Clare Drury. From her various quotations followings are given below:

‘Adam was formed first then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor’ (1 Tim. 2:13-14).

The punishment mated out to Adam and Eve after their disobedience of eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge was carnal knowledge. In the other words, Eve was responsible for introducing Adam for sexuality. Women are temptresses in what came to be seen in the Church are the greatest of all temptations, sex.

The developer added: According to the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus joined the two stories together to support his radical opposition to divorce.

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall

Leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God had joined together let no one put asunder.

(Mark 10:6-9, cf. Matt. 19:5-6)

The next contribution of the book is Hinduism. It is developed by Sharada Sugirtharajah. She cited many examples from various Hindu scriptures. She said as follows:

The ideal of pativrata, devotion to husband, came to be seen as the stridharma, or duty, of the wife.

A woman is more venerable than the teacher or the father (Manu 2:145).

She further added: with the advent of Islam in the tenth century, the status women underwent further changes in North India where Islamic culture was dominant. The Islamic custom of Purdah, or seclusion of women, was adapted by upper-class Hindus in North India, This further intensified the seclusion of Hindu women who were already segregated from men. Although it restricted the freedom of women, it came to be seen as a mark of high status and prestige.

The next contribution of the book is Islam which is developed by Leila Badawi. She cited many examples from the Islamic scriptures. Few are as follows:

The Qur’anic account of the creation and fall emphasizes the common origin of men and women, and does not privilege men in any sense. Example: “O mankind! Reverence your sustainer Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from two spread abroad a multitude of men and women.” ( Surah 4:1 Asad)

She added; there is no Quranic texts that Adam’s wife seduced him away from obedience to God, and therefore no implication that either women and sexuality is accursed.

The next contribution of the book is Judaism. It is developed by Alexandra Wright. She also cited many examples from the scriptures. Few are as follows:

To commandment to seek out a partner for companionship and procreation derives from the Book of Genesis:

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.”

“And God blessed [the man and the woman] and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. . .’

The next contribution of the book is Sikhism. It is developed by Kanwaljit Kaur-Singh. She also cited many examples from the scriptures of Sikhism. She cited an example from S. Harbans Singh wrote: In a way Guru ( Guru Nanak) advocated and allowed much more equality for women in the fifteenth century. He wanted to build a nation of self respecting men and women with equal dignity. He considered that without the active participation of women in all walks of life, the social structure was not only weak but incomplete.

The next contribution is Chinese Religions which is written by Stewart McFarlane. In his contribution he wrote, “Many ambivalent attitudes to women in traditional China can be detected in: textual sources, authoritative statements, domestic and legal arrangements, rites and practices. For example, the Lun YU (Analects) of Confucius (sixth century BCE), reflect the values of a patriarchal moralist, and certainly had a formative influence on Confucian thought in China and Japan.

The last contribution of the book is Japanese Religions. It is developed by D.P. Martinez. In the introduction she has written: Any attempt to discuss a topic as broad as women in Japanese religion has to begin with the warning that there is no such simple thing as Japanese religion.

However I like to conclude here that the contributors’ thesis on their subjects reflected various sides of women rites in various religions. It is tough to express their view what they expressed by the citations from their scriptures and other sources. So, to tell you about the book I have cited only few examples from the contributions of the writers. You may consider it mere outlines from the book. My requests to you all who are interested to know what religions ns say about the rights of women what are prescribed by religious scriptures, please read the book. The editor of the book Jean Holm written, “The founders or significant figures in four religions were amazingly radical when seen against the background of their times.” So they tried to upgrade rights of women in their time. The present legal rights of women are the consequence of the religions prescribed rights what vary country to country of the earth. I hope this book will help you to learn more.

Pakistan ’71: Bengalis and Fellow Pakistanis by Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

Subject: Memoir

Pakistan ’71: Bengalis and Fellow Pakistanis

Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

“michil cholasa jonotar aai samner prithivir, Nai doladol nai kolahol sob ek sathe kore vir” (There are processions of future world, everybody join it peacefully beyond the interest of Parties)

Let us start from the PAF stranded camp Bannu. In 16 December 1971 we came to know about real emergence of Bangladesh de novo i.e. a new Bangladesh. In the stranded camp as if ‘laissez faire’, means let be alone activities started. Airmen were out of the barracks. They were happy. They were walking aimlessly in the streets of living area or in the Parade ground. Those who were religious might pronounced ‘Sokur Al-hamdo-lillah’ (grace a Dieu or thanks to God). In the PAF Chasma also this ‘laissez faire’ continued which was for a dream of future and happy Bangladesh where we would serve in a happy Air force.

We were waiting for repatriation. Till date there were no signs of any pact to start repatriation or the exchange of POW. By that time Bango Bandhu was sent home from the same camp in Chasma where we were living. We were sent there after he left the camp. In Bangladesh he became ‘beau ideal’ i.e. the highest excellence of the country. We had rays of hope as he took the leadership of Bangladesh and all the captives like us thought him to be the ‘Persona Grata’ i.e. acceptable persons to mediators international bodies, he was certainly so. We were being aware that Red Cross and Red Crescent were dealing the matter. Various mediators preparing the pacts but that became ‘mutatis mutandis’ i.e. sent again to make necessary change. But Magna Carta for the final convention for repatriation was not prepared. However, once that was signed. We were waiting to join the procession of peace in the future Bangladesh where each and everybody would work beyond the interest of party. But we were tired of waiting.

In the stranded camps all the Bengali soldiers of all ranks of Pakistan Army, PAF and PN were taking preparation to be repatriated. Civilian employees of all levels of Pakistan Government were also in the process of repatriation. They had legal right to be repatriated. Besides them there were lacs of Bengali in Pakistan. During peace time they went to West Pakistan in search of better life. It was started after 1947 and continued till the liberation war was started. In East Pakistan also poor guys among the Pathans came and served as security guard. But difference between East and West guys were most of the Bengali and Rohinga started living in various slums of Karachi, they made that their permanent living address. Its cause was most of them were from very poor Bengali family to whom a shade whatever that might be over head was enough, to them those slums became their permanent houses. In the other hand poor Pathans after months or years of job used to go home by ship which was main conveyance for the poor. Some came back to join the job other were never seen. However Bengali service holder used to come to East Pakistan in regular intervals on leave. At the same way West Pakistani service holders here were in regular coming and going from the East wing. Few Bengali also purchased land in Pakistan and built houses there as Adamjee, Daud etc family purchased land here, built houses and established businesses. Such well to do Bengali were also interested to come back in Bangladesh after the liberation. There were authorities who were responsible to make list of slum dwellers Bengali for future repatriation. So far I Know list of the slum dwellers Bengali were prepared also and few with us also repatriated leaving behind their family members in Karachi. They hoped their other family members would soon join them in Bangladesh. But most of the slum dwellers were not repatriated due to complexity. So, those who were repatriated alone again took risk to go back to their family members crossing Indian borders. At that time border condition was not like the period of liberation war. So, what happened with them, who know?

After repatriation of slum dwellers Bengali of Karachi faced new problems in Bangladesh. Most of them were from poor family, so when they left East Pakistan and started living elsewhere in Pakistan they had no communication with relatives in East Pakistan. So, after the repatriation none was there to receive them from airport for most of the cases. So, here there was no slum for them where they could live. Few also were lucky enough to find their hand to mouth relatives. It was 1974, the hard days of after liberation famine. So, they find the life harder. For service holders like us either civil or military jobs were ready. We started our old careers newly. So, we and our family were helped. But for those slum dwellers of Karachi there was no job. In Karachi they could do something to survive. They failed collect such jobs. So, those rootless poor again took risk to go back to meet their family and to find old means of survivals.

I doubt how many of them could reach Karachi again. At first border crossing, then living in India for Intermediate period and again crossing Indian border to enter Pakistan. In India penny less such persons had to search job. Identity problem was there. Bengali of Bangladesh is easily identified as Bangladeshi. In the other hand non Bengali of Bangladesh if entered in India they had no identity problem. As they were basically from India, in India they were like Indians. When they entered Pakistan they were again Pakistani because in Pakistan there were thousands of Muhajirs. I doubt the Bengali now living in Karachi will ever be repatriated as non Bengali here still waiting to be repatriated being in their camps in Bangladesh. The numbers of Bengali population in those slums certainly increased. By this time, a new Bengali generation living there. In the news paper sometimes we get statistics of Bengali in Karachi. By this time their number crossed sixteen lacs. Theoretically they are Bengali, so they are illegal there. It means police create problems. They are apprehended and released. But they have also no way. How will they push back so big number of people? They cannot push them back to India, as they are not Indians. So, their problems are unanswered like the non Bengali in Bangladesh. Practically new generation is Pakistani by birth if they accept or not. So, problems may be settled in new light and it is the demand of the time.

Let’s come back to the period of my time in PAF Sargodha. I have seen a Bengali hawker was selling pickles in front of a Mosque in Sargodha. I came to know some landless poor people from East Pakistan were given land in a hydro electric project area of West Pakistan; few of them still (‘71) would be there though I had no chance to see them. There were Bengali employees even in the remote Charsadda sugar mill in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. In big cities of Pakistan there were Bengalis. In Cantonments there were Bengalis who were unarmed and made captive after 25th March 1971. Matters of soldiers were different. It was a Government job. Soldiers were bound to act according to policy of the Government. In East wing after 25 March 1971 Bengali units of Pakistan Army did not surrender their arms and they fought against Pakistani co-fighters and finally joined the liberation war. Units where Bengali were minority they left the units and deserted to join the liberation war. So, in the war fields soldiers of both the factions fought against each other and killed each other. Bengali soldiers who were posted in the West Pakistan they had no alternative except surrender of arms. It would never be wise to extend the war field in the West wing.

In the West unarmed Bengali soldiers had to wait for the Government decision. Bengali members of the Pakistan Armed forces were segregated in the barracks. What happened in the other units? I cannot say. But in PAF Sargodha we could move barrack to barrack, barrack to mess and barrack to mosque. Though our Pakistani fellows were living in the same rooms as before with us, yet till the movement from there to stranded camp the two factions of soldiers never fought each other. In the West normal West Pakistani soldiers were as if in dark what was going on in the war fields. Sometimes someone would question, “Bandhu bhai tomara odhar kia ho raha hai?”(Friend what is going on in your country?). Now I am astonished in the war fields of Bangladesh Pakistani soldiers were brutes and were doing all types of war crimes but in Pakistan they were friendly with their fellow Bengali soldiers. Even in civil during that time there was no news of riots between the West Pakistani and Bengali People. In Karachi also there was not disorder between Muhajirs and Bengalis. So, civil life in Karachi was also not alarming. But I will not say there were no hatreds between the two factions. During the nine months of war they certainly hated Bengali more because they also heard about the war fields and causalities of their relatives. So, the policy of Defense authority to send us to the stranded camps were logical as there could be fighting between the co-fighters of one time, as only by a small political instigation that could happen. In Karachi also there could be the cause of bloodshed of Bengali by Muhajirs or other Pakistanis by such instigations. Deo gratias i.e. thanks to Allah such did not happen. We peacefully were sent to the stranded camps till that time co-soldiers of one time were not in riot what Bengali soldiers feared.

By ‘jure divino’(by divine law) war junta including all who were responsible for the massacre got their share. They made the poor Pakistanis bound to fight against their fellow soldiers in the war fields to materialize their mala fide policies. They lost the war and the ‘raison d’etre’ of Bangladesh was proved. So, a new country Bangladesh came into existence. But I am hundred person sure poor Pakistani soldiers were never ready to fight against their co-soldiers who had sufficient reasons to fight for their survival and existence of Bangladesh. It was the war planners who motivated them to kill Bengali. They had no alternative to choice. Because the teaching of Defense forces is for all soldiers: Do or Die no question why? So, poor Pakistani soldiers in the war fields either killed or they became dead by their fellow soldiers who once upon a time served together and partners of private love and hatred, joy and sorrow, liking and disliking etc what they would discuss each other in their leisure periods. These I dared to write as I am from the general airmen who had such sharing with my other Pakistani fellows in the peace time, though distance was also there among them who did not like each other and given priority to Bengali, Panjabi etc. Unluckily such people were more. The idea of the Pakistani higher military officials was beyond my imagination as my military rank I could not ignore. In the Defense, it is quite impossible. No where military bureaucracy would allow juniors to approach to their seniors for such chit- chat. I was just a teenager new soldier who has just completed ab-initio.

Now I shall tell the story how we were treated in PAF base Sagodha till we leave the base for the stranded camps. In the mess we sat side by side and took our breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the living rooms there were Muslim greetings between both the factions as usual as “Assalaomo Alaikom and wa Alaikum us Salam” also ‘toda jan de ki hal hei?’ or ‘keisa hei’ ( how do you do?) etc. During duty hour we only were in the barracks. General Pakistani airmen from other barracks seldom used to come to visit their Bengali entry fellows even once also they were trained and served together. However, religious minded Pakistani particularly members of the Tabligue Zamaat kept routine contact with Bengali airmen. If I had not forgotten then Amir of the camp Tabligue Zamaat was Chief. Tech. Rahmat. Whatever the area from Pakistan he might be he was a very nice man. I had a wrestler roommate Cpl. Murid about whom I told you in other memoir. He was a Sufi (mystic) type of man and used to go to mosque during Tahazzod period at night. Some time he called me and another Bengali fellow Cpl. Sharif to accompany him at that time. In PAF base Sargodha there was another religious group known as ‘Berely’. They also followed the way of mysticism and in due day in a week after Asha (night) prayer all the members of the group met together and sat a prescribed type of meditation. In the audio system there were Hamd or Nate Rasul (PBUH). They used to start Zikrullah i.e. repeating the names of Allah. They used to recite Darud E Rasul(PBUH) and used to do ‘Zikr’ of their ‘Peer’ (mystic teacher). I heard their ‘Zikr’ as ‘Haq Bao’. Most probably it was the ‘Zikr’ of their ‘Peer’.We were permitted to attend their congregation. They used to talk about Life: it is the field for the next world. They used to talk about death: MAUT JIS DIN AA GAAE, DUNIA KA HALOT KIA HOE i.e. when death will come what will happen with the earth? Most of the airmen attended mosque were the followers of the ‘Deobond’ ideology. Followers of the ‘Tabligue Zamaat’ were mostly from this ideology. This group is also familiar in present Bangladesh. Thus the religious groups had a sort of spiritual relations with the Bengali Airmen. However, once we had to leave Sargodha. Till today I remember them and the way of meditation of ‘Berely’ Zamaat. I remember lines from a famous ‘Nat’ e Rasul (PBUH): “MERE PYARE NABIDA SAHH NARIO, JALEM JOMANA KI JANE, ROB JANE…”. Now may be in the mosques of Pakistan followers of above mystic group gather in their specified day for ‘Zikr Azkar’. They discuss about religion, secrets of human life etc. Most probably in their audio machines such ‘Nat’s like above or other song to please Allah is heard as: “MERE MALIK O HAKIM O AKA HO TUM,

SARE ALAM KE RAZZAK O DATA HO TUM

SOBKA TOTA DILOKA SAHARA HO TUM

MERE MALIK HOR…………………………….”

There are philanthropists everywhere in the earth who love people. For their information I like to say for peace of souls there are many mystic groups working in the Mosques or Khanka or Darbar sharif worldwide. In Islam mysticism does not mean monasticism. ‘Boiraggo sadhona mukti a amar noi’, i.e. Salvation by monasticism is not for me is the teaching of Muslim mystics. So, they practice mysticism being in the family and society. They also get marry take children like other Muslims. In Bangladesh there are mystic groups like ‘Char Monie’, ‘Aat Roshi’, ‘Chandra Para’, ‘Dewan baghi’, ‘Maij Vandary’ etc leaded by various Peer-Masaikh. They follow Kadria, Chistia, Nizamia, Noksbondia etc mystic schools. There is Tabligue Zamaat. In about January or February (roughly) every year there is Biswa Estema in Tongi, Bangladesh and in Hazrat Nizam Uddin, India also in Rainwind, Pakistan such congregations held yearly in specified day by discussion among Amirs of the Zamaat. I invite you all. “ATMAR KHUDA METABAR TORA PABEGO SOTEJ BOL” said a poet. It means, “You will get new spirit for your spiritual desires”. May Allah help us!

Bangladesh Scholarship Opportunities (Taken from the website of Michigan State University )

Bangladesh Scholarship Opportunities

There are scholarship opportunities for staff and faculty of some institutions of Bangladesh.The opportunity was announced in the following link:

http://bheard.isp.msu.edu/applying_to_bheard/bangladesh_scholarship_opportunities

Interested staff and faculty of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institution (BARI),Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI),Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI),Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU),Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU),University of Dhaka (Department of Fisheries, only) and Khulna University are invited to apply for the scholarship opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bangladesh Scholarship Opportunities

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Announcement of Scholarship Opportunities

Under the Borlaug Higher Education forAgricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program

Under its Feed the Future initiative, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the Borlaug Higher Education Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program. Implemented by Michigan State University (MSU), the BHEARD program honors the legacy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug. The program will support long-term training of agricultural and food security researchers and policy advisors at the master’s and doctoral levels. This is a major new effort to increase the number of agricultural scientists and policy advisors and strengthen scientific institutions in developing countries.

Bangladesh has been selected as one of nine countries for the third cohort of BHEARD Fellows. The scholarships will support study in the United States or other selected countries, beginning in August 2015. Availability of scholarships is contingent upon sufficient funding from USAID. Training programs will cover up to three years of courses for doctoral students. Course work will be undertaken at a U.S. or regional university, and the student’s research project will be conducted in Bangladesh.

Eligibility is limited to current staff or faculty members from the following institutions:

  • Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institution (BARI)
  • Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI)
  • Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)
  • Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU)
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU)
  • University of Dhaka (Department of Fisheries, only)
  • Khulna University

  Priority will be given to applicants who desire training in the following subject areas:

  • Agribusiness
  • Agri-Economics
  • Fisheries
  • Horticulture
  • Plant Pathology (Virology sub-discipline)

The Trainee Selection Committee will review applications and select candidates based on the following criteria:

  1. Current and future role at one of Bangladesh’s agricultural research institutions or universities listed above.
  2. Bangladeshi national residing in Bangladesh.
  3. Strong academic performance at the Bachelor’s level (first or upper second class pass) or Master’s level. Relevant educational background and professional experience.
  4. Strong written and spoken English language skills, as determined by the applicant’s score on either the TOEFL or the IELTS exam.
  5. Under 35 years of age for PhD applicants; an exception may be made for female PhD candidates up to the age of 40.

Qualified female candidates are especially encouraged to apply.

 Applications and application procedures may be obtained fromhttp://www.bheard.isp.msu.edu/ or by emailing [email protected].

The application deadline is 15 July 2014.

BANGLADESH SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION

Instructions to Letter of Recommendation Writers

Instructions for Employer’s Release for Studies

Air force fighters of my time : Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

Air force fighters of my time: a memoir

Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

(The writer served in the PAF, BAF and Bangladesh Army Education Corps till 1986 (retired as SWO) and finally retired from the Rampura Ekramunnessa Degree College as an Assistant professor in 2012.)

I went on retirement from Rampura Ekramunnessa Degree College in 2012. My job in the College of Aviation Technology, National Institute Engineering and Technology, Heritage International College of Aviation is still fresh in my mind. I am indebted to Dr. Shah Abdur Rahim as he has given chance to translate works of foreign writers in his project. So, most of the time, I keep myself busy with my project jobs. My granddaughter Tanisha is very proud for her Nanu bhai’s work. She talked about me to his school friends Faiza, Adriha, Aroni, Disha, Nazifa, Alif, Megha, Prapti, Ryan, Iftifhar, Safhin, Mridul, Ramim, Ishiq, Banna, Kashfi, Joyner, Ishan, Hisham, Anam, Ayan, Manam, Myesha, Raghib, Adib, Yamena, Ryna, Nyla, Tapore, Topore etc. In the school once they gathered around me. They are the representatives of children of this time. But their dreams and the dreams of children of our time were basically same. In our time when children were asked what will you be? The smart answer was from many, “I shall be a pilot.” There was no time to think about ability. Now also many answer the same. I go back to my Primary school life.

It was 1960. Construction works of the General Assembly Bhaban was going on. The name of my school was Dhaka Farm Primary School. Nearby there was Rajdhani High School and a Clinic of the Agricultural department and few quarters of the Government Agricultural Farm staffs. As my father was an employee of veterinary department, I was authorised to be treated in that clinic. Near it there was a big pond full of Lotus, water Lily, and other marshy land flowers. Sometimes white and red water Lily danced together in gentle breeze. Not far there was a big Tamerlane tree where our Buddhu uncle sold us foods. His processed Tamerlane fruits with salt and chilly, baked ground nut and chilly hot pulse were very dear to us. The Buddha uncle was very dear to the students too. His shaved head with only a few hairs (tiky) back attracted our special but respectful attention. He was also guardians of some the students. Most probably he was from the Monipuri worker who took this profession in his old age. Many students were from Monipuri ethnic group who were the children of the Monipuri workers. We all were happy there.

With the instruction of the Central Government of Pakistan from Islamabad East Pakistan Government expedited the construction works. Soon they liked to see the job completed for the meetings of the assembly. The Bhaban site was in the farm of the Government. Around it and our school there was vast vacant land when crops were harvested. The school authority was alarmed, soon school Bhabans should be vacated for left over buildings construction of the assembly area. However, it was not our problem. So, in the winter we were very happy since around us in the vast field there was no crop. However, in the seasons that vacant land became agriculture ground where maize, paddy, wheat, barley and cotton were cultivated for research. In the winter our happiness knew no bound. Vacant land around our school became dry grass field. Only few pieces of land near Agriculture college and dairy farm there were tomato and kukri (a type of vegetables) garden. In the dry grassy land we played. We ran after frightened hare. In the winter there was no fear of snake, though there especially Cobra was seen crawling in the harvested field and water snake in the marshy paddy field and canals in other seasons where little children used to catch fish. In my boy hood time to time I heard my father is working in the Tejgaon Diary farm or Poultry farm or Mirpur zoo or in his Head office. Actually, now I understand from his head office time to time he was sent to those places as he was a veterinary field assistant. So, his help was required for the treatments of animals and animal husbandry.

I was then studying in class two, so a little boy. In the walking distance there was PAF Base Dhaka. It was civil airport also. Both International and Local flights were operated from there. I did not know all these but sound of aircrafts drew my attention. Sometimes in the Tiffin time of the school I ran towards the runway with other boys. They climbed a dune there, I followed them too. Few also used to go there in search of torn big balloons of the weather department. Others were busy plucking ‘Anoy’ and ‘Guji’ fruits there. There were other unknown wild fruits plants. Very brave of them cached ‘Bhomra’(a type of big bug). They did very inhumane thing when they tore one of Bhomra’s leg and entered a long Moina throne on it. To escape from that poisonous throne the poor Bhomra started flying. At that time the throne was tied with a thread. So, it used to move around failing to escape. It used to hurt me. Few climbed the high bushy tillas (artificial small hill) and struggle to climb the top. Those were used as shelter of the Air Force fighter aircrafts. During the Second World War for war purpose these were made to save the aircrafts from the enemy attack. We simply heard the sound but we did not know what were the aircrafts were there. But I now at my old age I can tell you their names. Those were DHC-2 Beaver of plant protection department of Pakistan Government, F-86 Sabre of PAF, and Hiller UH-212 helicopter of Army Aviation etc. Besides, so far I remember there were few monoplane and biplane of world war-2 vintage. Their names cannot be traced now. However in British India RAF, IAF and RIAF time to time added fighters as Wapiti, Spitfire, Tempest, Thunderbolt, Mosquito, Hurricanes etc aircrafts in their fighter squadrons. During that time in their Bomber squadrons there were Canberra and Mistier etc aircrafts. Then its transport aircraft was Dakota. So, names of the abandoned aircraft I cannot tell you now. However, from school at that time a glider was also seen flying. Now I know those used to fly with trainee pilot. Our senior brother Shahan bhai used to tell us story of old bi and mono planes what were left somewhere near the airstrip. But I was in doubt about them. At that time there were few trainers of the Flying club.

Grandma told us the story of construction of airport. She was mentally wounded because like many others she had to quit their home of Dainodda. It was acquired by the British Government to make military airport. My grandpa was a humble Imam of local mosque. So, this also hurt him to leave home. However, Grandma was proud as his son (my father) who got job under an American Air Force detachment where he served till the war was over. But again her heart had wound because my father had to live his job after a military vehicle accident before 1947. He was provided the job of veterinary department when he was posted to Ali Pur, Dwar near Bhutan border, now in India. It was not far from Darjeeling. After the independence of 1947 he was re posted to Domer, now is in our land. For his job my father was happy and talked various stories of his time. In his time in the Alipur Dwar there lived Saotals. He told their stories, about culture of his Saotals neighbours, their habits etc. Well to do Saotals had Bull pull cart. Once, one such person took my father in his cart to carry him for the treatment of his sick cow.

In my primary also there was a locality in Dhaka farm for Saotals. As the agriculture worker they were collected from various place of British Bengal. In a piece of land near the Government farm near a canal they constructed their huts not away from Indira road. At the one side of the road there were rows of ‘Kattly’ (local name) plants and a plum garden. Those were there for research purpose. From the fibre of the Kattly plant in the western country where Jute was not available ropes were used to mend. In the branches of plum trees the ‘Lakha’ a type of ‘microbe’ was cultured for the research. ‘Lakha’ is used to prepare chemical which is used to make shoe black and other things. Later these research projects were shifted from there and in that place present T&T building exists with honour. Though Agriculture research area was shifted but ‘Khamar Bari’ and other agriculture and animal husbandry related head office and research centres, Bangladesh Agriculture Research council etc are still around. The old Indira road is still there but agriculture fields for research and horticulture garden abolished instead there is Monik Mian Avenue till the Farm gate. In our time adjacent to the Indira road the agriculture research area existed and in between there was a long created bush of ‘Sheura trees’ (local name) from Farm gate to ‘Bakul’ (local tree famous for its nice scented flowers when dried) tola. Over the bush there were creepers and herbs that made cushion what was very dear to primary students like me. We sat over it and enjoyed immense pleasures from the nature by shaking the bush up and down. In the other side of the Indira road there was a big row of tall Palm olin trees. Under those school children with other boys and girls used to collect its fruit to eat its nut. Saotals and other aborigines’ children were also seen collecting fruits, fire wood and leaves especially leaves from the Devdaro. There were Monipuri ethnic groups also. Their children were good looking. During our time their children played with others when their mothers were busy in plucking ground nuts or working in the paddy fields. Their games were also working like their mothers.

Many stories I heard from my Grandma about the construction of Tejgaon airport. Then she saw black soldiers while they were in cross-country walk or run. She lived with my grandpa there. My grandfather was very respectable person in the area as he was a religious teacher of the local children. I cannot remember any memory of my grandpa Syed Elahi Newaz because when he died I was mere a breast feed child. My father Syed Shahadot Hossain sometimes told us about his life in the American Air force as a civilian employee when I was a high school student. He talked about his other friend Mohiuddin of that unit who became an airman after the independence of 1947. I heard he was a freedom fighter of liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 and retired from the BAF as the Base Warrant Officer of BAF Base Dhaka (Pl. Visit navigationtalk. word press.com to know more). Father also talked about aircrafts of that time what is now not in my memory. Before and after 1965 India Pakistan war I saw many Sabres were flying over Tejgaon Airport were climbing, diving and flying in different formation. I cannot remember the year when Bombers of PAF was flying over Tejgaon airport. Most probably they were brought from a base of Karachi for an exercise or on 14 August the independent day of Pakistan or 23 March the national day of Pakistan where there were march past of the soldiers including fly past of the PAF aircrafts. The Ghost like those black coloured bombers were disappeared from the sky of Dhaka after few days. That means they went back to their base in the West Pakistan after the specific purpose was over. Most probably they were B-57 bombers built in USA. At that time Indian Air force had Canberra bomber what was actually resembles B-57 but was built in the Aeroplane factories of Great Britain.

After my high school, I was lucky enough to join the PAF as a technical airman in 1969. I was proud because I got chance to work in an Air force as my father worked in an Air force during the Second World war and could give at least sweats for his motherland though under British rule. After repatriation, in the BAF Base Dhaka I joined the no-3 squadron. There I worked in the Aircraft of the liberation war DHC-3 Otter, Aircraft of the Bangu Bandhu Balaka, a VIP aircraft named Antonov -24 and in Antonov -26 a military paratrooper aircraft. In my leisure time I entered the jungle in between the runway and tarmac area to search my boyhood. Nostalgia of the past surrounded me. Still in jungles there were big monitors almost like Komodo dragon & groups of monkeys were living. Still ‘Anoy’ and other berry plants were there. These were the food of monkeys. Big birds Hurri Chacha were around. In my boyhood Anoy was my dear fruit. At the time back from my primary school in the season I entered the bush about 100 yards behind of my father head office. It was a red building at the western side of present Khamar Bari near farm gate. In front of that building there was a row of Devdaro (pine) whose leaves were familiar for cooking in the woven and a Kheioor(date palm) Bagan (orchard). Now also these are existing but of new plantation after 1971. There were a row of high palm trees (Palm Olin) near the bush. Time to time school children used to go there in search of palm fruits dropped by birds after they had eaten outer oily portion. Children broke the fruit to eat its nut. Test of its nut was like coconut. Nearby there were probably few ‘Rita’ trees or other trees whose fruits were like ‘Rita’ and were dear to goats. Rita fruits could be used as detergent materials of woollen cloths after process. I feel about ‘ Anoy’. It could be an economic fruit. Its leaf was bit bigger than our plum tree. This to agriculturist may not be tree but shrub. However, its harvest was wonderful like bunch of grape. Its test was nice. I am not an agriculturist. I do not know whether that fruit is of berry group or of other group. I left the problem to them to find out its species and its economic possibility. But to me it was the place where my grandfather resided, my father played, he discharged his duty as a civilian in the American Air Force and I worked in the BAF as an airman. I left this story for future when also my little breast feed granddaughter LIAYNA will be matured enough to know about our time.

In my PAF life I was trained in RTS, PAF Kohat and SOA, PAF Korangi Creek, Karachi. Then I was posted to PAF Base Sargodha. Their main operational fighter was F-6 (Mig-19). There were few F-104 Star Fighters what were abandoned that time. In this Base trainer aircraft was T-37. KAMAN H- 43B helicopter was its rescue helicopter. PAF base Masroor, Karachi and PAF Base Peshawar were then other operational air base. So far I know at that time PAF bombers B-57 (if my memory is not weak) based at PAF Base Masroor in Karachi. PAF had T-33 and T-37 aircrafts for fighter pilots training. Its pilot training academy was in PAF Base Risalpur. In 1971, people of the East Pakistan started liberation war against its Pakistani counterpart. So, all the Bengali airmen in the Pakistani Air force Bases made captive and taken to the stranded camp. Many airmen absconded & joined liberation war and by them Bangladesh Air Force was established. From remote Bannu few tried to escape. Before sending to Bannu even in PAF Base Sargodha SAC Tofazzol Bhai expressed his plan to flee. So, he has collected map and compass etc. But from operational unit soon airmen were sent to Koeta, Risalpur etc Bases then again to stranded camp Bannu fort, Miranshah fort and Bannu Cantonment where airmen and soldiers of other arms were stranded. In the camp local hawkers and even tribal Pathan smugglers had free access. I could collect old tribal dress and few Afghani ( Afghan Currency) from a local vegetable hawker. He helped to get a guide, but later he informed the guide lost his courage. So, I along with Jalal got bus. Unto Peshawar none doubted us. We got the bus of Landi Kotal in the way of Torkham to cross Dorand line but at the bus stand of Landi Kotal near Kissakhani Bazaar (if my memory is not weak) we were apprehended. Our journey to Kabul was stopped and via Khyber agency we were back to Air force authority. However, we will never forget the good manner of director Khyber agency (If you are still alive my salute to you, if you are death may Allah give you a good abode in the Janna (heaven)!). With permission of air force escorts he accompanied us unto Field Intelligent Unit of PAF Peshawar. Probably he thought about our misfortune in the way.

In the PAF cell of Kohat we got Tofazzol Bhai. He told that he tried to flee with LAC Shahid. Lone agent of Pakistan was happy as he could catch at least one deserted airman. We three were punished in PAF Kohat and then again sent to Bannu. By this time Pakistan Government took decision to Shift stranded camps from Afghan border like Bannu. After liberation of Bangladesh stranded airmen were sent to PAF Base Chasma, Mianwali. Here our great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was also captive. After sending him back to Bangladesh from this desert camp captive airmen were sent there from various stranded camps. This camp was made for the French Engineers who came to make Chasma Barrage. This camp was in Punjab. So, this camp was far away from the any border.

In this camp airmen had bitter experience. At the mid night they had fall in the ground. To avoid absconding they took this step. At that time we had no way except counting the stars of clear night of the desert. But we saw also birds flying towards the barrage. In 1973 by December all the airmen were repatriated from Pakistan via Karachi and joined the BAF.I served in the Defence forces of Bangladesh till 1986 when I was retired from the Bangladesh Army Education Corps. By this time many aircrafts of BAF flew in the air of Bangladesh and retired like me from the Air force after discharging their duty nicely. The list of retired BAF aircraft is as follows:

Retired[edit]

List of BAF obsolete and retired aircraft:[5][6]

Aircraft

Origin

Role

Versions

No. of Units

Notes

Image

F-7 Air Guard China

Multirole combat aircraft

MB

10

Retired in favor of more capableF-7BGI.
Fouga CM.170 Magister France

Jet Trainer

8[7]

Retired in favor of more capableAero L-39 Albatros.
North American F-86 Sabre USA

Fighter aircraft

F40

8

Surrendered by Pakistan Air Force.
Douglas Dakota USA

Military transport aircraft

1

Ex Indian Air Force.
de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter Canada

Military transport aircraft

1

Ex Indian Air Force.  
Aérospatiale Alouette III France

Utility helicopter

1

Ex Indian Air Force.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 USSR

Fighter aircraft

MF

12

 
Mil Mi-8 USSR

Transport Helicopter

8

 
Shenyang J-5 China

Interceptor aircraft

8

 
Shenyang JJ-5 China

Interceptor aircraft

3

 
Agusta-Bell 205 Italy

Transport Helicopter

2

Ex Imperial Iranian Air Force.
Antonov An-24 USSR

Military transport aircraft

V

1

V.I.P Transport. Known asBalaka.
Antonov An-26 USSR

Military transport aircraft

2

 
Shenyang J-6 China

Operational conversion unit

28

 
Westland Wessex United Kingdom

Transport helicopter

5

2

Former Royal Navy helicopters donated by the United Kingdom in 1973  

(Courtesy:Above list is taken from the Wikipedia)

Day by day Bangladesh Air Force is becoming powerful. It is getting newer aircrafts. The under constructed Bhaban of 1960 is now world famous construction designed by Lo-Kan is the Sangshad Bhaban of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is proud of it. Now in the sky over it BAF latest fighters are seen flying. Big BAF C-130 paratrooper flies by it with kingly pride. In other memoir or an article idea about those will be given.

Magnolia: A Poem by Dr.Syed Md. Zainul Abedin

Magnolia

"

Written in Room # 3014 of Hotel Annapurna of Nepal.Dedicated to my friend Dr.Vinod Pandit.

"

 

Thank you magnolia for greeting again
Your flowers smile like white fairies
Your leaves emit tunes like rain
And flower buds sing like geese
I can feel your love,o magnolia
You bring joy in my heart
You remind me of my nostalgia
And invite me to admire art
But,I don’t know your passion
Your history ,love pain or pleasure
I am amazed by your fashion
That always brings me precious treasure
I love your greetings in the morning
Magnolia,thank you for every thing

Karakorum: In the Procession of the Death by Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

Karakorum: In the Procession of the Death

Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

 

“Ke kobor posha goriban, Hame giah boss aast”

(From the epitaph of a poetess)

When ‘Mahakal’ (Time from the beginning and onward) started only its creator knows. Is it from the ‘Big bang’? None knows. But we know from that moment many pages were open and closed. Though remote past from thousands of light years time to time we are recording now by our sophisticated observation machineries yet it is not possible for us to open pages Earth chapter of Mahakal because we till date did not invent such devices. However, it may possible for the intelligent being (if any) of thousands of light years away to read Mahakal of the earth if they have such advanced technology to read that. Being a Muslim I believe in the Mahakal is recorded as it is part of Islamic faith that every individual will be given his Amal Nama (life report) in his hand in the Day of Judgment i.e. the longest day where people have to wait for thousands of year for judgment. So, everything is recorded big and small.

Karakorum it is as old as this earth. So when life emerged in this earth Karakorum was ready to accept life. So we get fossils of ancient animals there. They became the part of eternity. On death they proved their existence that once upon a time before lacs or crores of years they were alive. However at that time there was no human species. So their death were either natural or they became foods of others. Once there lived apes. They were not Homo sapiens species like us the cruelest species in the earth who are also caused of abolition of many wild lives i.e. species that became their food. Now also Karakorum is rich in wild lives. During my training period in PAF as my initial training center was in a valley of Karakorum I had chance to visit many of its places. I cannot remember now where I saw big signboard where many of animals lived there at that time were drawn. I cannot tell you exact name but the pictures are still engraved in my mind are big Pythons, other types of snakes, some types of deers, boars, wild goats, big cats of leopard species, birds like ‘Titir’,’Duck’ etc. I saw also various types of birds, but I am not a bird specialist, so I cannot tell you their names exactly. By the courtesy of the National Geographic channel I learnt the name of beautiful bird like the ‘bird of paradise’. I do not know the birds I saw there, whether there were any species that resembles birds of the Papua New Guinea where such beautiful birds actually live. But I remember dove, wild baj i.e. eagles. I saw this Eagle over Kohat, Bannu and other places. I was astonished to see it over Bango Bandhu Agriculture University (former EPSA), Bangladesh. I saw it over a research paddy field of the University long after my repatriation from Pakistan. In one of story I told its local name of Karakorum area as ‘Kabotara baj’. But to birds’ experts it is ‘changeable hawk eagle’. It is thus named because after few months its feathers are changed. It is certain that what animals were there in my time in mountains abodes is no more now. They are now in the world of death. But their species may exist.

 

Let us come back to the matter of human races. We are not exactly clear when first man or a group of men reached in this subcontinent and from where. But they had certainly to cross hard and high & low pass of Karakorum. Then group after group people crossed the mountainous passes and made their Basti (locality) in India. Some chosen suitable valleys where they started living. Then they fought each other. So, they traduced human civilization here. A group of man started killing another group. In Karakorum this is still tradition. Drones flew silently and bomb to kill people in some remote places of the mountain. Rebel fighters and government forces fight and kill each other. This mal practice most probably started from just after the human races started to live here. History says at about 10,000 BC people started cultivation; during plight some groups of those people in search of easy and fertile agricultural lands might have crossed Karakorum. At about 4000 to 2000 BC the Babylonian culture and commerce predominant in Mediterranean regions of Asia, so there were possibility of human mobilization to India also crossing that mountainous reason. So, human locality increased also. Its results were fighting and death beyond the natural death. In 327 BC Alexander extended his cruel fighting hand to India. Its result is written in the history. In the way of his back he had to fight in many places. So, there were deaths. Howe ever many of his fighters absconded or left behind for a peaceful life. The blue eyes of many people of present Karakorum area, proves this fact. In 1001 AD Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, Afghanistan made expedition to India. It is said he entered 17 times in India and there were several battles. So in the death procession many were included. In 1398 AD Tamerlane (Timur) the great Mongol conqueror invades India. In1526 AD Babur founded Mogul dynasty in India. In 1739 AD Nadir Shah of Persia invaded India. Later British, USSR, USA and about European aggressions we are aware. These were not without bloodshed. Present Indian and Pakistani wars that are till dates continued were discussed in other stories. So death tolls are increasing during battles and also during avalanches. Who knows when this chapter will be closed?

Above were the stories of warring nations and groups and survival for the fittest. In peace time among the general inhabitants of the area there are natural birth and death. There is dearth also. So, for economic reasons they cannot get proper medical aids. So, mother and children death are high. During peace time K-2 inspires summit loving people worldwide to come hither and win the summit. There are other summits also that attract the brave to them. Among them Rakaposhi, Chegolisha, Masher brim, Superno and other summits that totals about 18 are the choice of Summit lovers. Few ice bergs except Siachen like Baltoro, Hisper, Biato, Chugo Lungma, Biafo, Panam, Savaii, Godwin Austin and many unnamed icebergs are also the interest of those who like to track in the mountain. Abruzzi is one of the famous Ridges. Till date how many adventurers fallen in the mountain gorges or ravines and lost forever from those places none can give this account! In peace soldiers of both India and Pakistan also died during their construction works. During the construction of Pakistan China friendship road many soldiers of Engineers corps and other detachments died. Then among deaths were many Bengali soldiers also.

Above inscription found in an epitaph of a grave among the readers many may understand it. The poetess who is living in that grave is the daughter of great Mogul emperor Shahjahan. But most of the graves of deaths in the Karakorum are without any epitaph. Who died in the battles in the past their graves are unspotted. In the ‘tabula rasa’ i.e. in the blank tablets of ‘Mahakal’ there might be pains and sorrows of those deaths are written. Those soldiers of the past were not happy in life, so they went to one country to another to fight and kill people. Once they were killed. Their ‘lex loci’ i.e. custom of the place announced them martyrs. ‘gloria in excelsis!’ Glory to God in the highest is a ‘von mot’ i.e. a witty saying of every nation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mari legend and Bengali Airmen : Syed Mohd. Saleh Uddin

Mari legend and Bengali Airmen

Syed Mohd. Saleh uddin

 

 

 

Sher khan and Sher Afghan were Pathan airmen. Most probably they were my entry fellow. I am not sure the exact place of Karakorum regions where their family lived. They were friendlier with Bengali than Panjabi airmen. It was the matter of their liking or disliking. It is not my matter.

 

My matter is their area of that time. Mari is in the Karakorum Mountain. Before 1971 it was there. The name of a place may be changed but the place remains where it was during its creation. So, I can say the name of the Mari was changed many times from the remote past. But it is not changed from the British period. In this mountainous area brave Pathans like Hunja tribe live. In the British period they were there who were hard to win like the summit K-2. Its height is 28240 feet from the sea level. It is the second highest mountain peak in the world. Summit lovers’ people from the various corner of the earth every year come here like Everest of Nepal to conquer that. By hard struggle many can reach the summit, many leave expedition and go back home and few other remain near the summit forever. Their dead body became their pride. Here Nepali Sherpa do not assist to reach K-2.Here local Pathans are there to achieve the glory to reach summit with expeditors. In this area other 18 summits are there where there are expeditions every year.

 

I saw Mari from the far. Before liberation war during my short service in the active unit I was not posted to any PAF base situated in Mari or other places in Karakorum. In Mari there was a PAF station in Upper Topa. It was a RADAR station. Near it there was a school for children where the

Anglo sisters were teachers one of whom had a love story. This story will be told later on.

 

There was a PAF public school in Lower Topa. Shamsher bhai of Bangla Academy was a student of this school till 1959. From him and from few airmen and soldiers of Bangladesh Army who served in Mari I got a pen picture of that area. Now I am presenting that for you. Shamsher bhai lived in the Iqbal hall of the school. From the window of his room he could see K-2 summit which was too far. Nearer he could see the Military training center of Upper Topa. He told from the GHQ of Pakistan Army Military convoys to Azad Kashmir followed Northwards road. Reaching Mari the convoy crossing Pindi point and CMH crossed Lower Topa and Ghora Goli. Then by Nathia Goli Golf course road the convoy reached to the Kashmir point. The golf course was very beautiful where President of Pakistan Ayub Khan, Governor M. Azam khan and higher officials seen playing golf occasionally. From Kashmir point the convoy started moving towards far north to reach Azad Kashmir. Some time the convoy stopped at Kuldana for rest or other requirements. It was an important cantonment. Here was the Army School Education and Administration of the Pakistan Army where the instructors of all ranks and administrative personnel got Basic training. Most of the cantonments of our times in Pakistan were built in British periods. Mari cantonment was also developed in that period. It is culture of a cantonment that there posted battalions and units stay for very temporary period. Battalions stay there for a certain time of one or two or three years and left the cantonment for another posts or cantonment. So, in Mari there were British and Indian Battalions, Gurkha Battalion of British Army etc. To the British Gurkhas were brave and fighting nation. So, they were collected from the Gurkha land of Nepal. During Pakistan period there served Pathan, Panjabi, Baluch, Sindhi, and Bengali soldiers & airmen. It is the tradition of the Battalions’ soldiers that they very seldom get chance to live with family. During British period in British Army there were soldiers from British Empire worldwide. They were from the British, Iris and Scottish highland and plain, African desert and jungle, Mountain and plain area of India and Nepal and also from reverie British Bengal etc. But their love, sorrow, pain and emotion were almost same. These were reflected in the literatures of our National poet Nazrul. He was a soldier of the British Army who represents the non commission level of Army and their thoughts.

 

For general soldiers even for all officers it was not possible to carry their wives and children from their own land. So, there were sorrows. Wherever they were they thought about their beloved. From the ancient time love song were sang by the people. That used to ring in the hearing of the soldiers. Song like ‘Sano bhi naal le chola, o sona gaddi woolea’ (o dear cart goner, take me along with you). Our national poet also had written many poetries and songs of love when he was a soldier. He also sang to express his sorrow. Let us come back to those soldiers. While those soldiers left home for far cantonments, their dear one would have murmured and sang in their own languages. Now also the soldiers who left home for remote Afghanistan or Iraq or any other warring areas their loving one use to bid them farewell with tear. In our time (1969) for love sharing with some one of his life partner in the country a soldier did not hesitate to hang to die himself. He was an instructor of our time in PAF, Kohat. We had also pain for such sorrow. But for a soldier suicide is never bravery. For a soldier there are many “affaire d’ honneur” i.e. affair of honor. That young education instructor could be more devoted in teaching us. We really did not want that the lifeless body of our instructor hanging behind a Shyrish tree of Munir Squadron. The squadron was named after a courageous soldier of PAF. However RTS authority gave guard of honor to that unsatisfied departed soul. This is the norm of the Defense force by which soldiers show their respect to their fellow dead soldiers.

 

Shamsher bhai told all the night they used to hear sounds of Military convoys. Sometimes rays of head lights of the caravan that coming from Azad Kashmir disturbed their sleep. Besides, natural beauty of Mari rubbed off all his sorrows. In June and July Mari attracted tourists from home and abroad. At that time apple, pears, grapes etc were burdens of the trees or vines and flowers were in full bloom where butterfly of hundreds of colors seen travelling flower to flower. In the rope ways, Hotels departmental stores, cinema halls, roads, post offices, banks everywhere there were tourists and tourists. In the holidays Bengali airmen even from Chaklala, Lahore used to come there with child and family. Then Mari became an area of ‘lingua franca’ i.e. where people communicate with mixed language. Such experiences are also unforgettable. At night the towns was full of lights and from the valley down lights were seen. Hundreds of twinkling light charmed Shamsher bhai. Hide and seek game of full moon behind ridges or up over the summit in the clear nights gave him and the pupils of Lower Topa immense pleasures. Group Captain Alfaz too was an ‘Alma Mater’ i.e. an old student of that PAF School. He also talked high about his school. That nostalgia increased when the school authority invited him after his retirement from BAF. He went there to share his past memory with others of his time. Most of the pupils of his time were high officials of Defense i.e. Army, Navy and Air force either of Pakistan or Bangladesh but majority joined the Air force. Now also beauty of Mari changes with the change of positions of sun in the morning, noon and evening. It is the game of sun, shadow and color in mountainous area. Sometimes sun rays use to reflect over moving clouds that crawl by the slope of the high hills.

 

Shamsher bhai told about Siachen glacier. Now it is the highest war field of the world. It is 48 miles long. In its eastern side K-2 is touching the sky. Here temperature is -30 degree. In such conditions soldiers used to fight against each other. It is a part of Kashmir. Till 1984 there was no battle in this glacier when India took it to be a vulnerable but important war field that may be for Kashmir issue is useful for military expedition against Pakistan. So, India captured the glacier secretly and made powerful cantonment. For a span of time Pakistanis were not aware of it. Once they came to know and captured few military important peaks and valley. From than they are occasionally fighting and Government of both the countries letting to die their most skilled and painstaking soldiers. In 1999 there was Cargill war. Government of both the countries should take steps to save their men. Let again K-2 be busy with the braves who like to win her. For games of soldiers of both the countries that kill each other K-2 expedition decreased to the lowest. Sooner both the countries realize it sooner there will be normal life again.

 

I hinted about an “affaire d’ amour” i.e. a love affair in Mari. That school sister of Upper Topa fallen love with a Bengali airman of the said PAF Radar station near the school. In a darkness of late evening they came in a place near the barbed wire fencing between the school and the Rader station where they met and exchanged their love. In 1971 that airman became stranded and left Mari for Bannu. It was also possible in due time the sister left Pakistan after her assigned job. The airman took it an ‘affaire de loeur’ i.e. an affair of the heart. Did she? I like to conclude the chapter with followings few lines of love song that was very famous in Mari and adjacent areas: “………. NERE NERE ANDAO; SADE DIL TOUR PANDEO; KANDE OT LAT CHOP JA; REKHO RAKHNA PARA PARA; BAOJI MEI EK ARJO KARA…. ; …..”. After long time exact wording from my memory might be missing. I hope readers will consider it and try to discover its meanings.