Thursday, August 30, 2012

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Invites the "Whole City" to His Annual Family Barbecue Party

Mayor Rod Ford of Toronto, Canada
Photo courtesy: QMI Agency, Toronto

 Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, in his August 28 radio interview with the Newstalk1010, invited “the whole city” (all the Torontonians) to his mother Diane Ford’s  home backyard on Weston Wood Road in Etobicoke on September 7 for a barbecue party, reports The Toronto Star. The mayor is said to have mentioned, “We will have a great time.” The party will have hot dogs, hamburgers, beer, pop drinks and pony rides for kids.

In this annual family fare, hundreds of people usually participate.

When asked in the interview how many people can the backyard hold, the mayor said, ”Close to 5,000 people.” “People come and go, so it’s not all at one time,” he said.

Mayor Ford, who usually avoids participation in the LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) community events, will now inadvertently have them in his backyard! This community people, through a Facebook page, are organizing a large participation of their own in the mayor’s party.

It would be interesting to see a long queue of Toronto’s citizens for kilometers around his mother's house.

The mayor’s neighbours are worried about the law and order situation in the area on that day.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Cartoon I Like

Cheaper prices of American goods and liberal Canadian taxes are attracting more Canadians in cross-border shopping which is at the detriment of the Canadian products
Cartoon courtesy: Scarborough Mirror (Toronto: August 24, 2012)

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (August 26-September 1, 2012)

A quotation of Seneca on 'learning,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (July 22-28, 2012)

A quotation of Thomas Merton on 'happiness,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (At a staircase at Bandura Holy Cross High School, 
Dhaka District, Bangladesh: January 12, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Sign of the Time

A notice in Bengali of the coming Eid Jamaat (prayer gathering of Muslims) to be held on August 19 at Baitul Aman Masjid (mosque) venue on Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Photo (Danforth Avenue, Toronto: 16 August, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (August 12-18, 2012)

A quotation of Frank Lloyd Wright on 'God,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Moonlight over Toronto: 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Two Books on Civil Laws Affecting the Christian Community in Bangladesh

On my visit to Bangladesh in January 2012, I came across two books on civil laws that directly affect the Christian community in Bangladesh. These two books deal with laws that were not available in print to the public until their recent publication. The British, when ruling the greater India (present India, Bangladesh and Pakistan), had codified these laws.

I present below some details on these books.


1. Ain Shohaika (a helpful guide to laws) by James Hilton (Dhaka: Shalom Foundation, Road 17, House 12, Nikunja-2, Khilkhet, Dhaka-1217, Bangladesh; 2011; Price Tk. 200=US $ 2.50).

Since the printed version of the laws, affecting the Christian community, are not available, Christians, in general, were ignorant of their rights and responsibilities codified in the civil laws regarding their marriage, divorce, and succession. The author of this book says that in law, ignorance is not bliss, it is neither an excuse. That’s why James Hilton’s book has filled a long-time want for the first time. In the future, these laws need to be extensively analysed and interpreted by competent persons for a better understanding of them by the Christians as well as lawyers. 

The Content of the Book: The first part of the book, written in Bengali, gives a synopsis of the specific laws affecting Christians (Christian Marriage Act of 1872, Christian Divorce Act of 1869, Christian Succession Act of 1925, and The Evidence Act of 1872, The Foreigners Act of 1946). It also briefly gives some additional information on other relevant laws -- enacted in Pakistan and Bangladesh periods -- (e.g. the effect of conversion on marriage; Muslim Family Laws; Muslim Women and Divorce; Hindu Family Laws; Garo Family Laws; The First Information Report (F.I.R.); Granting Bail; Defamation; Crimes Related to Religions; Bangladesh Penal Code; Laws Relating to Sale and Purchase of Land; General Diary (G.D.); Muslim Family Laws, Domestic Court and Abuse of Women; Trial of Complaint; State Acquisition and Tenancy Act; Pre-emption; and Enemy Property. 

The second part of the book provides the original codified laws in English (Christian Marriage Act of 1872; The Divorce Act of 1869; and The Succession Act of 1925).

James Hilton, the author of this book, belonging to the Baptist Church, has an M.A. in History and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from Dhaka. He was a long-time government civil servant both in Pakistan and Bangladesh periods. He served as a Deputy Magistrate and Collector, and later as a Magistrate in different districts and sub-divisions and rose to the status of a Joint Secretary in the Secretariat in Dhaka before his retirement in 1991. He was then the Executive Director of World Vision of Bangladesh for six years and a Regional Consultant for Asia-Pacific Region of World Vision International for one-and-a-half years. Later he has been volunteering his services for several Christian religious and social service organizations in Dhaka.


2. Christan Uttoradhikar Ain (Christian succession laws) by Advocate Paul D’Costa (Dhaka: Heaven & Holy Prakashan, 165-A First Rajabazar, Tejgaon, Dhaka-1215; 2011; Price: Tk. 270=U.S. $ 3.35). 

This 183-page book in Bengali has been written based on the Succession Act of 1925. It also provides analysis and interpretation of the laws. 

The Content of the Book: This book includes the Succession Act of 1925, Intestate Succession, Rules in Cases of Intestate Other Than Parsis, Distribution Where There Are Lineal Descendants, Distribution Where There Are No Lineal Descendants, Christian Succession Act in Bangladesh, Relations Among Christian Successors, Wife’s Portion in the Succession Act, Children's Share in the Succession Act, General Questions on This Act, Garo Succession Laws, Deficiency of the Succession Act and Reflections on It, and Interview of Other Christian Lawyers and Experts on the Christian Succession Act.

This book is an important addition in the published law books in Bangladesh and Christians now have an easy access to these laws.

Paul D’Costa, a Roman Catholic, has an M.A. and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Dhaka. He has been writing for various journals and publications. He has written two other books, Doinondin Jiboney Ain Shohaika (Helpful guide to laws in daily life) and Unnoyon Protiti (An insight into development). He is a practicing lawyer and a notary public. He is also involved as a legal adviser to some Christian organizations in Dhaka.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dr. Humayun Ahmed (1948-2012): The First Pop-writer of Bangladesh

Dr. Humayun Ahmed -- the most popular writer in Bangladesh
Photo courtesy: Reflections (blog)

Dr. Humayun Ahmed, who died on July 19 in a New York hospital, was the first pop-writer (popular writer) of Bangladesh. Before his books started to appear in the Bangladesh book market, writers of Bengali books from West Bengal of India dominated the field. It can be said with certainty that Dr. Humayun Ahmed, not only broke the monopoly of Indian books but also unilaterally created a new breed of readers, especially among the teens and youths. This readership also expanded to the elder ones with his creation of teleplays and films.

Dr. Ahmed was a writer, novelist, script writer for TV and film, and film director. He excelled in all these fields and gathered millions of admirers and fans.

Some of my sons were also his book readers and admirers. In early 1990s, we went to the Ekushey February book fair at the Bangla Academy compound in Dhaka and bought one his books from a stall where he was sitting and requested for his autograph on it. Dr. Humayun Ahmed, who looked serious and who had a smoker’s lips – darkened and unattractive – signed the books without any expression or smile!  In appearance, he looked completely the opposite of what one pictures him mentally from reading his books and watching his teleplays and films -- a congenial and humorous person.

Dr. Ahmed, a prolific writer, unprecedented in the history of Bangladesh, wrote more than 200 novels, over 100 teleplays -- including some drama serials, and more than a half-a-dozen film scripts. He also directed eight films. Unbeknown to many, he was an amateur painter, who, in the last 10 years, painted more than 500 paintings – mostly in watercolour – which were never exhibited or sold. 

Once he was a professor of and an expert in chemistry, yet he made a foul in mental chemistry of his married life. In one of his books for children, he had profusely praised his wife, Gultekin, for her dedication and love and his three daughters and a son for their lovableness. After 30 years of marriage, he left his wife and looked for a greener pasture. He went after his TV drama serial actress Meher Afroz Shaon -- a teen friend of his teenage daughter -- and married her in 2005 and sired two more sons. 

Although he had a fair share of his critics, Dr. Humayun Ahmed, has definitely earned a place in the Bengali literature of Bangladesh and he will continue to live among his readers through his innumerable books. The presence of thousands of mourners at his funeral proves his popularity in Bangladesh.

A Short Life-Sketch

 Born on November 13, 1948, at the village of Kutubpur of Netrakona District, Bangladesh, Dr. Humayun Ahmed passed the Secondary School Certificate exams from Bogra Zilla School (1965), Higher Secondary Certificate from Dhaka College (1967), and B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Dhaka, and Ph.D. in polymer chemistry from the North Dakota State University in Fargo of North Dakota, USA (1982).

He received many awards and prizes for his work in literature, TV and film.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Quotation of the Week (August 5-11, 2012)

A quotation of Helen Keller on the 'have-nots,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Ducks in a pond in Piprashoir Village of Gazipur District, Bangladesh: August 11, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa
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Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Doodle: FACE

A doodle of a face
Doodle (Dhaka: January 30, 1993) © Jerome D'Costa

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bishop Moses Costa, CSC, of Bangladesh Visits Canada

Bishop Moses Costa, CSC, assisted by Father Victor Boiragi of Bangladesh, offering Mass at St. Dunstan's Catholic Church in Toronto
Bishop Costa speaking to the Mass attendees at St. Dunstan's, while Father Boiragi looks on
Photos (Toronto: July 28, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

Bishop Moses Costa, CSC, of the Diocese of Chittagong, Bangladesh, visited Canada recently. Among his other engagements, were his meetings with Bangladeshi Catholics in Montreal, Toronto and Mississauga of Ontario.

In Toronto, he offered a Mass on Saturday, July 28, in Bengali language for about 60 Catholics at St. Dunstan’s Church in Toronto.  Next day, he went to Mississauga before leaving Canada.

Bishop Costa of the Diocese of Dinajpur was transferred to the Diocese of Chittagong in 2011, after Bishop Patrick D’Rozario, CSC, the incumbent bishop of the diocese, was nominated the Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dhaka. Bishop Costa had served the Diocese of Dinajpur for 15  years.

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