Sunday, July 24, 2005

Michael Madhusudan Dutt


The man, who revolutionized Bengali poetry with ‘Amitrakkhar Chanda’ or blank verse and the first Bangla sonnets, is not only a great poet but also a skilled dramatist and a journalist. He is the pioneer of modernism is Bangla Literature. He paved the way for his successors like Rabindranath, the Nobel-laureate, and Nazrul, the national poet of Bangladesh. Are you excited to know about him? Listen. He is none but Madhusudan Dutt (1824-1873). He was born on 25 January 1824 in a landed-gentry family in the village of Sagardari, in the district Jessore in Bangladesh. His father, Rajnarayan Dutt, was an aristocrat, who sometimes worked as a law practitioner in Kolkata. Madhusudan’s mother, Jahnabi Devi, was a learned woman, and he received his primary education from his mother at home and then at Sagardari Primary School. At the age of 7 he was admitted to Khidirpur School, Kolkata, and he studied there for two years. In 1833 he was admitted to Hindu College, a renowned school in Kolkata. Here, he studied several subjects e.g., Bangla, Sanskrit and Persian and exhibited his genius.

Highly educated and immensely influenced by his heavy adoration of the English poets like Thomas Moore, John Keats and Lord Byron Dutt started his juvenile literary career in English language as a student of the Hindu College. His fascination with the English poetry was so deep and his command over the English language so enormous that his poems, though lacking maturity and depth, were published regularly in the Bengal Spectator, Literary Gleaner, Calcutta Literary Gazette, Literary Blossom and Comet. Whoever read his letters was convinced that he (Dutt) fell in love with England, the Land of Byron – his literary icon. His blind passion for his dream Land, England, led him, although arguably for escaping a marriage his father had arranged, to become a Christian, believing that will help him secure a passage to England. His father Rajnarayan never forgave him for his conversion to Christianity. Now Madhusudan Dutt became Michael Madhusudan Dutt. Being a Christian, he had to leave home and the Hindu College. So he joined the Bishop's College where he studied Greek, Latin and Hebrew languages.

Dutt went to Madras (now Chennai) in 1848 and became the English Teacher at the Madras Male Orphan Assylum School. In 1852 he was employed as a teacher at the Madras University School section and gained fame as a journalist. He acted in the editorial staff of a number of Madras newspapers such as the Madras Circulator and General Chronicle, Aethenium and the daily Spectator. He became the joint-editor of the Spectator and later the Chief Editor of the Hindu Chronicle. His English books of poetry - The Captive Ladie and Visions of the Past were published in 1849.

Madhusudan married Rebecca Mactavys at Madras. After the deaths of his mother and father, Madhusudan left Rebecca and returned to Kolkata in February 1856 with a Frenchwoman named Henrietta. In Kolkata he started working as a clerk at the police court and then as interpreter. He also started contributing to different journals. His friends urged him to write in Bangla. Madhusudan realized the paucity of good writing in Bangla as well as his own ability to fill this vacuum. While translating ramnarayan tarkaratna's play Ratnavali (1858) into English, he felt the absence of good plays in Bangla. He became associated with the belgachhiya theatre in Kolkata patronized by the Rajas of Paik Para. In 1858 he wrote the western-style play Sharmistha based on the Mahabharata story of Devayani and Yayati. This was the first original play in Bangla, making Madhusudan the first Bangla playwright. The next year he wrote two farces: Ekei Ki Bale Sabhyata and Buda Saliker Ghade Ron. In the first play he satirised the members of young bengal and the wayward, immoral behaviour they had acquired through western education. In the second he exposed the hypocrisy and immorality of the leaders of conservative Hindu society.

From the very boyhood, Dutt was young at heart, cheerful, forever passionate but always rebellious. Rhyme didn’t find any place both in his life and poetry. He was a true herald of the new daybreak, and the pioneer of the Bengali Renaissance. He devastated the old and ushered the new. He brought new creativity - life - to Bangla literature. He was the first Bengali poet who broke the shackles of the past poetic traditions. He introduced sonnet and also used the unconventional blank verse style in Bangla poetry. He wrote:
"... the Blank verse is the best suited for Poetry in every language. A true poet will always succeed best in Blank verse as a bad one in Rhyme. The grace and beauty of the formers’ thoughts will claim attention, as the melody of the latter will conceal the poverty of his mind.

He wrote:
“Take my word for it, that Blank verse will do splendidly well in Bengali and that in course of time, like the modern Europeans, we too shall equal, if not surpass, our classic writers. What we want at present are men of zeal, of diligence, of energy, of enthusiasm, of liberal views to give our language a lift. If we have no genius among ourselves, let us prepare the way for the future ones... My motto is 'Fire away, my boys!' The Namby-Pamdy-Wallahs - the imitators of Bharat Chandra [famous Bengali writer] - our Pope, who has –
Made Poetry a mere mechanical art,And every warber has his tune by the heart!
May frown or laugh at us, but I say - "Be hanged" to them!”


Madhusudan thoroughly transformed the medieval Bangla literature into a one capable of being compared with any great literature. By means of his genius, he removed the stagnation in
bangla literature both in style and content. He was the first to use blank verse in 1860 in the play padmavati based on a Greek myth. This use of blank verse freed Bangla poetry from the limitations of rhymed verse. This success prompted Madhusudan to write Tilottamasambhav in blank verse. In 1861 Madhusudan wrote what would be his masterpiece: the epic meghnadbadh kavya (মেঘনাদ বধ কাব্য). Written in blank verse, this epic was based on the ramayana, but, inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost, Madhusudan transformed the villainous Ravana into a hero. He also forged from Bangla a language capable of describing a heroic battle between gods and demi-gods. Meghnadbadh Kavya was the first original epic in Bangla literature, and it placed Madhusudan in the permanent status of an epic poet.
In a letter to one of his closest friends, Dutt commented on his new blank verse style, a radical departure from the established practice:
“In reading my poem, you must look - 1st to its imagery; 2nd to the language in which those images and thoughts are expressed; 3rd to the individual flow of each verse”.

In 1863 he went to Versailles in France, where he stayed for about two years. In France he started writing Petrarchan sonnets in Bangla, the first sonnets in the language. In France, Madhusudan overcame the longing for England that had inspired his early works and realized the importance of his motherland and mother tongue. These feelings are portrayed marvelously in his sonnets like 'Bangabhasa' and 'Kapotaksa Nad'.

Madhusudan returned to England from Versailles in 1865. After becoming a barrister, he returned to Kolkata on 5 January 1867 and started practicing law. In June 1870, he gave up law to work as a translator at the High Court on a monthly salary of Rs 1000. After two years he left this job and returned to his law practice, becoming quite successful. However, his habit of reckless spending ran up debts. Many times he had been on the verge of bankruptcy and had been saved by iswar chandra vidyasagar. In order to make ends meet, Madhusudan also worked for Raja Nilmoni Singh Deo of Panchakot. Despite all these ups and downs, Madhusudan kept on writing. In 1871 he wrote Hectarbadh after Homer's Iliad. His last composition was Mayakanan (1873).

Madhusudan's last days were painful, because of debts, illness and lack of treatment. He had no place of his own and had to take shelter in the library of the zamindars of Uttar Para. On 29 June 1873, three days after the death of Henrietta, the greatest poet of the Bengal renaissance died in Calcutta General Hospital in a miserable condition.
Madhusudan was the pioneer of the new 19th century awakening of Bengal. With his singular talent, he brought about revolutionary changes in Bangla language and literature. Drawing abundantly on Sanskrit themes for his poems and borrowing from western literature, he set a completely new trend in Bangla literature. Bengali people, at least those who can appreciate literature, will remember him with love and respect for ever.

(Much of the materials for this article are sourced from the Complete Works of Madhusudan, Calcutta 1995, and from Banglapedia, Dhaka, Bangladesh.)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Terrorism and Islam.


Terrorism and Islam.
S. M. Anwaruddin
The word “Islam” is derived from the Arabic word “Salaam” meaning Peace. The Muslims greet each other by saying Salaam (peace be upon you). In addition to meaning “peace”, the word Islam also means Submission.
The followers of Islam consider the Holy Qu’ran as the supreme authority, from where the basic Islamic Faith is derived. The Holy Qu’ran is the last Heavenly Book from Allah (God), revealed on His Last Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
The Holy Qu’ran is considered as the “complete code of life”. There is not a single phenomenon in human life and nature which is not mentioned and explained in the Qu’ran. The Holy Qu’ran deals with from the creation of embryo to the creation of the universe. As has already been said the Holy Qu’ran includes every aspect of life and nature, there is of course a clear explanation of terrorism in this Holy Book.
Let’s see what the Qu’ran says about terrorism, killing people, and committing suicide.
Translation: They commit a gross sin, then say, "We found our parents doing this and God has commanded us to it." Say: "God never advocates sin. Are you saying about God what you do not know?"(Qu’ran: Surah Al-Ahraafh, verse 28)
Translation: "You will not kill. God has made life sacred, except in the course of Justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand." (Qu’ran: Surah Al-Inaam, Verse151)
Translation: "Whoever killed a soul not to retaliate for a soul, nor for creating disorder in the land, then it is as if he had killed all mankind. And whoso gave life to one soul, then it is as if he had given life to all mankind"(Qu’ran: Surah Al-Maida, Verse 32)
Translation: “… and cast not yourself in destruction with your own hands (Suicide) and be good doers; no doubt good doers are the beloved of Allah” (Quran: Surah Al-Baqra, Verse 195)
Translation: "There shall be no compulsion in religion"(Qu’ran: Surah Baqra, Verse 256)
Translation: "God does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriends them and be equitable towards them and be equitable towards them. God loves the Just."(Qu’ran: 6, verse 88)
Translation: If anyone slays a person- unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land -it would be as if he slew all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people. Qu’ran 5:32
Translation: Invite all to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching. And argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious . . .And if you punish, let your punishment be proportional to the wrong that has been done to you. But if you show patience, that is indeed the best course. Be patient, for your patience is from God. And do not grieve over them, or distress yourself because of their plots. For God is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good. Qu’ran 16:125-128
Translation: Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor, for God can best protect both. Follow not the cravings of your hearts, lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well acquainted with all that you do. Qu’ran 4:135
Translation: The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree), but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God, for God loves not those who do wrong. But indeed, if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong done to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress men with wrongdoing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice, for such there will be a penalty grievous (in the Hereafter). But indeed, if anyone shows patience and forgives, that would truly be an affair of great resolution. Qu’ran 42:40-43
Translation: Goodness and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is better. Then that person with whom there was hatred, may become your intimate friend! And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but people of the greatest good fortune. Qu’ran 41:34-35
In short, Islam, as it is crystal-clear in the light of above mentioned verses of the Holy Qu’ran, does not advocate terrorism, killing, or suicide; rather, it promotes peace and happiness. What is necessary at this moment is to understand Islam completely. May Allah (God) bless you. Salaam (Peace be upon you).

PLUS Scholarship

PLUS
Partnerships for Learning Undergraduate Studies Program (PLUS)

Welcome to the PLUS Program

More Information

PLUS Afghanistan***
PLUS Nepal**
PLUS Algeria***
PLUS Pakistan**
PLUS Bahrain***
PLUS Qatar***
PLUS Bangladesh***
PLUS Saudi Arabia***
PLUS Egypt*
PLUS Sri Lanka**
PLUS India**
PLUS Syria*
PLUS Iraq*
PLUS Tunisia*
PLUS Jordan*
PLUS UAE*
PLUS Kuwait*
PLUS West Bank-Gaza*
PLUS Lebanon*
PLUS Yemen*
PLUS Morocco**


( * ) = Implemented by AMIDEAST( ** ) = Implemented by Fulbright Commission( *** ) = Implemented by U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section

The PLUS program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, puts a U.S. degree within the grasp of outstanding students from under-represented or economically disadvantaged communities.

PLUS students come to the U.S. having already successfully completed two years of undergraduate study. They participate in intensive English language training
and pre-academic preparation prior to enrolling in an undergraduate studies program leading toward a Bachelor of Arts degree. The scholarship program supports fields of study that have not traditionally been funded in the past including liberal arts, the humanities, and the social sciences.

PLUS students exhibit academic excellence, leadership potential, and a desire to enhance relations between the U.S. and their home countries. In 2004, seventy PLUS students from 11 countries in the Middle East and North Africa arrived in the US to begin their academic studies.
AMIDEAST manages the recruitment, selection, English Language training, and pre-academic preparation for PLUS grantees.
The Academy for Educational Development manages the students’ academic placement and monitoring.

The Partnerships for Learning Undergraduate Studies Program was created by the U.S. Department of State’s
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in order to bring a diverse group of accomplished youth from the Middle East and North Africa to the United States to complete their undergraduate degrees from a U.S. institution. The goal of the initiative is to promote educational exchange and cultural understanding between young people from Muslim majority countries and Americans. It is hoped that the program will reinforce common values and provide a platform for positive dialogue. The 2004/2005 academic year is the inaugural start of the Undergraduate Studies program.The PLUS scholars were chosen based on their academic achievement and leadership potential, as well as their diversity of experience. Students will spend two years completing their undergraduate degrees in the social sciences and humanities at select U.S. institutions. The scholarship is fully funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and includes a pre-academic English language training component administered by AMIDEAST. AED manages the academic program, including placement in a U.S. undergraduate program, monitoring, and enrichment activities. The PLUS program is designed to reach a broader sector of college-age youth from diverse backgrounds in the Middle East and North Africa and provide them with a greater understanding of U.S. institutions, society and culture. Students are encouraged to complement their academic work with extracurricular activities on campus and in the local community. For more information, or if you have any questions, you may contact us at plus@aed.org.

Adapted from AMIDEAST and AED websites.

Entrepreneurship


I have never been interested in business; however, recently I’ve read a bit about entrepreneurship, and following is my evaluation of a successful entrepreneur.
Three most important characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.

S. M. Anwaruddin.

Entrepreneurs are individuals who bring resources, labor, and other assets into combinations that make their value greater than before. They also introduce changes, innovations, and a new order in the existing system. Moreover, they possess a great number of qualities because, like any other profession, entrepreneurship has certain rules and regulations, and a person has to follow them to become a successful entrepreneur. In reality, it is almost impossible for everyone to follow those rules; however, only a person with specific characteristics can fulfill the requirements of the successful entrepreneurship. Among the many extraordinary characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, the three most important include creativity, determination to work hard, and long-term commitment.

The successful entrepreneurs should have creativity which includes a vision, a new idea, and a goal. People who want to be successful in business have to come up with some unique ideas, and they have to see things in a different way. For example, Benson Dakay of the Philippines saw the sea from a different perspective unlike other people who go to the sea only to enjoy it. He noticed a great opportunity for a business in seaweed. He remembered his friend who was making money by selling coconuts, and he planned that he would do so with seaweed. He contacted several companies who would probably buy his products and got his first order of $1,400 when he was only 14. Then he began to expand his business with his creativity, for instance, visiting other factories and collecting information, and inventing his own way. Now, he owns the third-largest seaweed company in the world (Stein et al. 1996). Another example of a creative entrepreneur is Masayoshi Son of Japan. He wanted to run a business, so he brainstormed 40 ideas and judged them against 25 severe criteria. In this creative way, he determined the best ways to be a successful entrepreneur (Stein et al. 1996). In short, both the examples of Dakay and Son show the importance of creativity in a successful entrepreneurship.

Besides creativity, another important characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is the determination to work hard. If the entrepreneurs have much money and visions, but do not work hard, it is almost impossible for them to become a success. Moreover, the entrepreneurs have to be energetic and highly motivated, as they always move from one place to another and face different, sometimes unfavorable, situations. In addition, by working hard a person can overcome many problems of business. For example, Richard Maponya of South Africa has established a business empire although, being a black man, he was deprived of many facilities. However, he never abandoned his hope; rather, he got inspiration from every difficulty. His daughter, Boni, summarizes his philosophy of life thus, “Work hard and dream big” (qtd in Stein et al. 1996, p.14). Another example is Shahnaz Husain, the famous Indian entrepreneur, who started her small business in her veranda, and now her business has reached to 140 countries in the world. What makes it possible is her hard work. She never advertised her products, but rather held several press conferences to pauperize them. Husain is now an old grandmother; however, her age is not an obstacle to prevent her from traveling throughout the world for the sake of her business. Concerning the hard working in business, Husain encourages the entrepreneurs thus, “You never fail until you stop trying. I never stop, so I never fail” (qtd in Stein et al. 1996, p. 6). Husain’s advice and Boni’s summarization of her father’s philosophy cast ample light onthe importance of hard working to become a successful entrepreneur.

In addition to creativity and determination to work hard, the successful entrepreneurs have to have a long-term commitment. The world abounds with countless of business opportunities. However, the most important thing to be a success in business is to stick to a single opportunity until it flourishes to its fullest extent. Sometimes people choose a business but immediately find more opportunities outside their business. In such a situation, if they cannot be very careful of the temptation, the focus on their target as well as the business opportunity will be lost. Jimmy Lai is the great example of long-term commitment in entrepreneurship. His boyhood was very miserable, and he lived on selling stolen things in Chinese markets. Then he was attracted by the wealthy and well-dressed people who came from Hong Kong, and he dreamed to become like them. At the age of 12, he started his journey towards his dream land in order to reach his goal. He had a very long-term commitment, and now, after 35 years, he has become one of the most successful entrepreneurs of Hong Kong (Stein et al. 1996). Another example of a successful entrepreneur, who had a long-term commitment, is Shahnaz Husain of India, previously mentioned in this paper. In 1991, she had an agreement to send the merchandise worth of $300,000 to her Yugoslav partner. Her advisers requested her not to take risks and argued that she would not be paid. However, Husain did not pay heed to them and sent her products to her partner in order to keep her words and the good relationship. Husain was absolutely right in her decision as she got the payment within three months (Stein et al. 1996). She emphasized the importance of long-term commitment thus, “When doing business, especially abroad, you can’t look at the immediate. You’ve got to look at the long term” (qtd in Stein et al.1996, p.5). These examples show that a long-term commitment plays an important role in business success.

Business is a vast profession which is based on fierce competition, so the success of a business depends on the persons who run it. Therefore, in order to be a success in this competitive and diversified profession, one has to possess a great number of qualities. These qualities of a successful entrepreneur are too vast to be summarized in a few sentences. However, the three most important characteristics of a successful entrepreneur are creativity, determination to work hard, and long-term commitment.

Reference

Brodsky, N. (1999). The right stuff. Inc., 21, 10, 29. Retrieved July 11, 2005, from Business Source Premier database.

Stein, T., Callan, K., Menaker, D., Brown-Humes, C. (1996). The world’s greatest entrepreneurs: their powerful strategies for creating success. Success, 43, 34(12). Retrieved June 20, 2005, from General BusinessFile ASAP database.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Mt. Evans


Last month we went to visit Mt. Evans, which is a wonderful creation of God.
Here is a short description of Mt. Evans.
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is America's highest paved automobile road.
History:At the turn of the last century, Colorado Springs and Denver were in a race for the hearts and minds (not to mention dollars) of the eastern tourist. In 1888, the Cascade and Pikes Peak Toll Road Company completed a 16-mile road up the north side of Pikes Peak. This became a major tourist attraction, drawing tourists away from Denver Area. Not to be outdone, Denver's Mayor Speer proposed that a road be constructed to the top of Mount Evans. In 1917, he was able to procure state funds to build the road. It was completed in 1927.During the summers of 1941 and 1942, Denver Mountain Parks built the Crest House (also known as Summit House). It quickly became a favorite destination of Coloradoans and tourists. Containing both a restaurant and a gift shop, one was able to enjoy excellent food and buy Mount Evans souvenirs while enjoying an excellent view of Denver and the eastern plains. Unfortunately, it burned on September 1, 1979 and was not rebuilt, but the rock foundation and wall remain as an observation platform and a windbreak for mountain travelers.
Current Operations:Today, Mount Evans is under the jurisdictions of three different governmental units. CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) is responsible for the road. Denver Mountain Parks is responsible for Summit Lake, Echo Lake and Echo Lake Lodge. The Clear Creek Ranger District of the US Forest Service controls access as well as responsibility for the Mount Evans Wilderness Area.All 14 miles of the road from the entrance station to the Mount Evans summit parking area (14,130) are paved. From there, you can hike the last 130 feet (about 1/4 mile walk) to the top at 14,264 feet. After you have made this climb, you can tell all your friends: "I climbed a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado on my vacation!"

Welcome!

Peace be upon you.
Welcome to my website!
Here you will find my opinion, interpretation, and concern about so many current and basic issues of human life and civilization.
I do appreciate your visit to this site.
Thank you.