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Monday, June 4, 2012

Re: [mukto-mona] The allegation of opposition to the establishment of Dhaka University

If M. H. Khundkar was actually 'against producing chemists for India', as Mr. Chakrabarty has phrased, I would not call that 'a great nationalist' even with a 'but ….'. I would not even ask, 'why did he take Hindu students at all?'
Of course, the phrase, 'against producing chemists for India', was really to mean "against producing Hindu chemists." As I wrote earlier, Khundkar should have known better; he should have known why the Hindus migrated to India; he should have known, acknowledged, and tried to mitigate the persecution that was going on against religious minorities in Pakistan. He had no right to deny any competent Hindu student of the country admission to the department, nor did he have the right to give undue grades based upon anyone's religious identity.
Unlike Mr. Chakrabarty, I would not overly praise Khundkar for an isolated decent human gesture. You support a hateful system, and then provide an isolated gesture of compassion; that does not earn much praise in my book. Khundkar was like a VVIP in Pakistan with no expressed support for Bangladesh that I am aware of. He was probably important enough to the pro-Pakistan thinkers. Thus, I doubt if he was a target of the Pakistani military, or if anyone was likely to probe into who was hiding in his house. I still would probably praise him mildly for saving an innocent human being in a most dreadful environment. I am also willing to learn, if I do not know enough, about his position toward the independence of Bangladesh.
'Inspiring and wonderful' to giving a First Class First position to a Hindu student; really! If we were to take unfair grading based upon prejudices as normal professorial behavior, then giving a First Class First position to a Hindu student would be 'inspiring and wonderful'. Is unfair grading based upon prejudices Mr. Chakrabarty's standard?
The First Class First position was not anyone's personal property to give away. A decent professor does not 'give grades', he/she grades all his/her students fairly. I would not praise any professor for 'giving grades'.
I share the frustration of Mr. Deeldar. I feel particularly frustrated about Bangladesh because of the recent trend of school teachers not teaching sincerely in the classroom. I feel so bad when a poor illiterate man from my village tells me that educating his children without private tutors is almost impossible!
I also agree with Dr. Roy and Mr. Deeldar on the points of brain drain and mediocrity breeding mediocrity.
Sukhamaya Bain
From: subimal chakrabarty <>
To: "" <>
Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2012 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] The allegation of opposition to the establishment of Dhaka University
Our memory fades. After 40 years it is hard to separate myths and facts from a mixture of these two. Let us assume that Dr. M. Khundakar, as the head of the department, was actually against producing chemists for India . Given the animosity between Pakistan and India , Khundakar was a great nationalist, but at the same time he was very poorly professional. Why did he take Hindu students at all? Once taken, how could he make a Hindu learn less and therby make him lesser of a chemist? During the Pakistani occupation period (March-Devcember 1971) he sheltered a brilliant Hindu student in his own home (Kamal-da might have been his classmate and hence may be able to reconfirm it). By doing this he risked his own life! Is it not intriguing that Khundakar was in the process of making a first-class-first Hindu chemist in the very Pakistan period in his own hands? Is it also not inspiring and wonderful? How a feat of professionalism be better? Is it not a wonderful piece of the untold history of our great liberation war and communal harmony as well? 
By the by I should mention from whom I heard about Dr. M. Khundakar's alleged unwillingness to produce chemists for India . He was Ganapati Haldar. He was another brilliant student and was my roommate for one year in the dorm when we were students of Dhaka college. He came of a poor family. He got involved in a politics that made him dream of changing the society. He got killed in the hands of the antiliberation forces.
From: Shah Deeldar <>
To: "" <>
Cc: "" <>
Sent: Friday, June 1, 2012 9:02 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] The allegation of opposition to the establishment of Dhaka University
Well, we deserve no better than mediocrity. The worms are already planted in the brains of students and teachers. Only few might be coming out right from the system with an open mind while the rest will paying some money to the middlemen and get some mundane jobs and will carry on living happily after. I think the battle is already lost. Good and fair teachers for Bangladeshis? Why and who cares? (Sorry for my sarcasm)

"All great truths begin as blasphemies." GBS
From: Jiten Roy <>
Sent: Friday, June 1, 2012 8:01 PM
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] The allegation of opposition to the establishment of Dhaka University
Very well said, Deeldar! 
Communality blurs one's vision to see the talent in the people belonging to a different community from theirs. This practice gives undue advantage to a preferred community over the others. Although the preferred community may gain from this practice in the short term, but the country will lose in the long run due to mediocrity, as you so justly said.  This practice encourages brain-drain, which causes irreparable damage to a country. Therefore, people who really love their county can never be communal.
You also said that talented people will always shine wherever they are. That's so true. I think communality anywhere in a country, especially in the academic institutions, is the highest form of betrayal to a country.
I taught Physics at Dhaka University for 3 years (1978 – 1981). While grading paper, my only thought used to be - if I was being fair to my students, nothing else. Never a thought of communal discrimination ever crossed through my mind during my academic tenure. I think - most of our teachers think that way also. Some Islamist-teachers may possess communality in Bangladesh . The same way, some Hindutyabadi-teachers in India  may possess communality. I believe - these are exceptional cases only. It will always be there.
Jiten Roy
--- On Fri, 6/1/12, Shah Deeldar <> wrote:

From: Shah Deeldar <>
Subject: Re: [mukto-mona] The allegation of opposition to the establishment of Dhaka University
To: "" <>
Date: Friday, June 1, 2012, 9:21 AM
"I won't be surprised if there was unwritten instruction to the department-Heads from the state authority in favor of communal discrimination."
Discrimination has been pretty rampant in schools/colleges/universities without any doubt. You can't do much about it unless strong individuals step in and do the right thing. Nobody can stop a bright student becoming whatever he or she wants to do in his/her life. But with persistent practice of discrimination, you create mediocrity in your academic institutions. The very brights will leave while mediocre students will stay and create more mediocre students. And, you can guess what happens next. If you add politics and religion into the equation, that would lower the quality even further and set the standard as garbage in garbage out mode! –SD
"All great truths begin as blasphemies." GBS


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"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
               -Beatrice Hall [pseudonym: S.G. Tallentyre], 190

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