Parties over people

With elections to Bangladesh’s JatiyaSangsad (National Assembly) now declared to be held on December 23, the political scene in the country will enter a new phase. The announcement was sudden but not really unexpected given the way... More

Is conflict driving Bangladesh’s politics and society?

Hate, insults, endless allegations and occasional physical confrontations have become the staple of Bangladesh’s political culture. No one is spared, and no one wants to be excluded. Instead of debate there is abuse. And then comes the... More

Maldives elections and China-India ties

afsan Neither China nor India are in any ideological conflict over any issues. Both are dedicated trading nations, and both have gained from globalisation. China has done better with its infrastructure, skilled labour and management. It’s a... More

Bangladeshi politics and media: Strange bedfellows?

Bangladesh is well known for a flourishing media, rights violations of journalists and political activism rather than excellence. Media workers imagine themselves more as human rights and political activists than professionals. Many see themselves as frontline workers... More

Bangladesh’s grenade attack case: Politics of past or future?

The October 10 special tribunal verdict on the August 2004 grenade attack case that killed 24 and injured many including Bangladesh’s current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina didn’t carry too many surprises since it was a foregone conclusion... More

Indo-Bangla relations and the “termite” problem

fsan Indian’s ruling party BJP leader Amit Shah has called ‘illegal Bangladeshis’ as “termites” which will be cleaned out from the woodwork of Assam in particular. Its not just the unseemly language coming from a major political... More

South Asian media: Inventing a region?

South Asia is a popular buzz word which is rarely defined properly. This lack of clarity suits many as people have no idea what it actually means and how one is supposed to respond to it. The... More

Has digital media changed politics in Bangladesh?

Political nostalgia in Bangladesh centres around public and street agitations. It begins with the language movement of 1952 which defined the basic parameters of national aspiration. The next station of political memory is the 1962 student’s movement against... More

Does international pressure matter anymore?

There was once a time when international pressure on domestic issues of the less developed countries mattered. People would look at the West as the great savior particularly in countries where human rights was at bay. During... More

Bangladesh: A social media driven state?

It’s not easy to have a calm conversation in Bangladesh. Everyone is rushing to make a comment, observe and abuse. Or make a counter to all that. Anything that requires critical thought is discarded and the instant... More

Is the Myanmar military looking a bit inept?

“While everything else is in flux, the position of the Tatmadaw in national affairs appears more stable than ever. Snug in its constitutional bunker, it can reap the fruits of improved foreign relations, a cooperative civilian government,... More

Bus killings: Children’s protest works where adults fail

School and college students of Dhaka embarked on protests that almost shut down traffic in Dhaka after two of their own were killed by public buses that ran them over. The matter became grave after Shipping Minister... More

Genocide in Myanmar says the UN but does it matter?

Almost to the year after the 4th edition of Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas began, the UN has published a report calling the army’s action against the Rohingyas as genocidal. This report has gone further than any... More

Something is broken in Bangladesh: Will it heal?

There is something scared about the relationship between a University, its teachers and students. It is built on trust, obligation, mutual affection and much more. Its as if the teacher is the parent, the campus is the home.... More

The anti- quota movement: Embarrassment or headache?

The quota movement just isn’t going away as hoped for by the GOB. Almost 3 months after the PM declared in the parliament that the “quota” system would be scrapped, not much has happened in terms of... More

Bangladesh Bank: The missing gold or the missing trust

A bizarre case of gold snatch is alleged to have occurred right inside the vault of Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of the country. The source of the reports was the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate or... More

Asad Pong Pong Vai and the rise of alternate media 

Some may not know the person who goes live on YouTube and Facebook with the unusual moniker Asad Pong Pong Vai (brother). While many of the formal media /bhadrolok crowd would sneer at him, he has followers... More

Bangladesh: Media in times of cross fire

Bangladesh’s media is a study in paradox and contradiction. It’s full of people who want free media but often act in stark contrast to achieving such an objective.  It’s full of owners who are investing millions in... More

Bangladesh: Crossfire killings, mob justice and social media

This girl obviously poor - only poor girls walk on the street at night- said she and another had been picked up but one was dropped and she was being raped. The crowd reacted swiftly and predictably... More

Khulna elections: AL won, BNP lost and the EC didn’t win

Municipality polls in the Khulna city polls drew as much interest as any national elections tussle. It was an intense politically combative one with BNP leader Khaleda Zia still held in jail. She is fighting to get... More

Rohingyas: A fate much worse than the Palestinians?

The slide of the Palestinians into disarray and largescale suffering draws world interest because of its neighbor Israel, its support by the US and the history attached to the Middle East. For a long time, Palestine was... More


Suu Kyi seeks Asean support on Rohingya return but also faces...

Aung San Suu Kyi is attending the Asean meetings in Singapore this week, seeking support from her Asian allies in dealing with the country’s Rakhine crisis. She especially wants the members of the regional bloc to back her government’s efforts to resettle the returning Muslim refugees—who have fled the violence in Myanmar’s strife-torn western region—and to be involved in future reconciliation efforts. So, a Nargis-style approach, led by Asean but... More

Afghanistan: The big story of massive aid waste

There are ghost soldiers; ghost police officers; ghost clinics and even ghost patients in Afghanistan. There are billions of dollars spent on papers, but there is very little on the ground. As such, despite spending billions on controlling narcotics to improving health conditions and the state of security, Afghanistan remains a country with too many ill-conceived programs and too little progress made on every front. The story of the massive... More

Parties over people

With elections to Bangladesh’s JatiyaSangsad (National Assembly) now declared to be held on December 23, the political scene in the country will enter a new phase. The announcement was sudden but not really unexpected given the way politics developed over the past few weeks. The Awami League is not in a mood to listen to the others. Her main opponent, the JatiyaOikkyo Front, led by Dr Kamal Hossain and... More

Ensuring challenges provide opportunities

The situation in our country in the wake of global and internal changes affecting Pakistan has evoked multiple challenges. Not to get bogged down by their sheer number it seems important to analyse each and every challenge that the country is facing. These need not only a reaction from the state to tackle them but as an opportunity for developing new vistas of understanding for responding to the problems... More

After CBI, now RBI 

The opposition in India has blamed the Narendra Modi government for "ruining national institutions". Last week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seemed to fall apart over severe differences between its chief Alok Verma and his number two Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer known to be close to Modi. The government's intervention to send both officers on leave was challenged in the Supreme Court by Verma, amid television... More



The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31, was “not fruitful” because of the inherent “weakness” of the regional inter-state institution,... More