Monday, August 26, 2013

Empowering Women Through Horticultural Innovations

The USAID Horticulture Project in Bangladesh aims to educate and train local farmers on innovative agricultural technologies that help diversify crops to increase nutritional value. With our partners the International Potato Center, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, BRAC and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), we are working with local farmers to diversify diets and agricultural production systems with potato, orange-fleshed sweet potato, summer tomato, and nutritious indigenous vegetables. Meet some of the women farmers that have benefited from training in grafting tomato and producing sweet potato seedlings.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bangla Bazar – Arlington, VA

Looking for Bangladeshi groceries, DVDs and household items in the Washington, DC area? Bideshi Golmaal recommends you stop by Bangla Bazar on Lee Highway.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Runaway (2013) – Directed by Amit Ashraf

Bangladeshi-American director Amit Ashraf's first feature-length film, 'Runaway,' is going to be screened at the 2013 DC South-Asia Film Festival next month and based on the trailer (above) I, for one, and excited. 'Runaway' is the story of men who try to flee their personal responsibilities (a la Run Rabbit Run) and the rickshawalla turned bounty hunter who finds them and brings them home.

Amit Ashraf studied dramatic writing and film production at the Tisch School of Arts in New York University, and collaborated on 'Runaway' with producer Sumon Arefin. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An ode on lungi

While the controversy over an order banning rickshaw wallahs from wearing lungi in Baridhara moves from street protests to intervention by the courts, Anika Hossain penned a beautiful defense of the simple garment for The Daily Star:

Let me tell you something about the lungi. It was and continues to be the most comfortable, convenient attire ever to be invented. Slip it on, tie and knot and you’re good to go. In this hot weather, it provides plenty of ventilation and wearing one is like walking around with your own personal air conditioner. It can be worn as a part of wedding attire or it can be put to good use as sleepwear. Men have worn it to work and play on a daily basis for centuries not only in Bangladesh, but many other countries in the sub-continent as well. It represents the essence of our culture, which is pure, colourful, festive, free and full of life.
Now let me tell you what a lungi is not. First and foremost, it is not a hypocrite. It has no double standards. It does not claim to be superior to other outfits, nor does it discriminate between class, race, gender, religion or ethnicity. A lungi is not arrogant, judgmental, destructive or disloyal. All it asks, is for its wearers to show it the same courtesy.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Film Review: Third Person Singular Number

Third Person Singular Number is a story of the struggle between modernity and tradition in Bangladesh. The film focuses on young Ruba Haque who finds herself trying to make it on her own in Dhaka after her husband, Munna, is sent to jail.

When Munna is sent to jail, Ruba is sent away from her in-laws house and must find a job and a place to live. Ruba does not want to live with her mother because she bears a grudge against her due to her mother's own moral transgressions, but Ruba's other family members refuse to house her so she is faced with having to let an apartment on her own. As a single woman, though, Ruba finds that her options are limited – and what options she does have often come with a very steep price.

Third Person Singular Number, the third film by director Mostofa Sarwar Faruki, examines issues of culture, gender, and social class in a country that many view incorrectly as homogeneous and slow to change. But watching Faruki's film, many Americans – particularly young women – just might find that they can relate to Ruba's struggle more than they expect.