World leaders sign Zero Hunger Declaration at Davos


World leaders sign Zero Hunger Declaration at Davos

World leaders sign Zero Hunger Declaration at Davos.

How to Keep and Maintain Self-Discipline

Self Discipline

Think of all the greatest achievers in the world. Whether it’s a sportsman you admire, a rockstar you worship, a scientist you respect or an artist you envy, do you believe that they are where they are only because they are talented or god-gifted? Do you believe in the college myth that the topper at your college became so only because of his/her ‘big brain’? Yes, you are right to point out that they may possess some natural gifts that you don’t. Yet that’s not the sole reason for their achievements. What if Roger Federer had stopped playing tennis altogether because of the pains in his teenage years? He probably wouldn’t have become the legend he is today. Or what if Einstein had avoided studying maths after those comments from his teacher, which labeled him as an idiot? Perhaps, nuclear energy would still be a mystery to humanity. It took hundreds of hours of practice for Federer to become what he is today and it took long hours of pondering and studying for Einstein to be able to become that expert mathematician that almost all of humanity respects to this day. Self-discipline is the reason behind the success stories of most of those few achievers among us.

The importance of self-discipline in your life
Success always requires some effort and there is no exception to this rule. Whether you term success as winning the Nobel Prize, buying a nice car or to carry on your family for years, everything needs effort. Even if you believe that success is about going to the nearest McDonald’s to get your favorite Big Mac Burger, you need to give some effort. But if you suddenly start thinking that it’s more comfortable to watch those boring TV shows on the couch, rather than making the effort to walk to McDonald’s, you will miss out on the tastiest burger. Very similar things happen to your greater goals, when you lack self-discipline.
If your dartboard is your targeted success and you are the dart, then the energy that shoots the dart towards the board is self-discipline. The dart only holds relevance when it moves towards its target. If it stays idle in a drawer, then it’s never going to hit the board. Thus, self-discipline is the force that inspires you to move towards your target. It’s the force that always inspires you to achieve success, no matter what its degree may be.

Bearing the smaller pains for the bigger pleasures
Everybody wants to get rich, but few actually manage to. There are literally hundreds of biographies in bookstores that tell the story of actual people who managed to get rich although they started from nothing. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Henry Ford; all sacrificed their daily pleasures, took on risks and pain, kept on focusing on their targets and achieved what most could only dream of. These people maintained self-discipline for years to achieve success. You may not even need to look that far to find examples of self-discipline. Look at your own family or some other successful family in your neighborhood. It’s because of the self-discipline of the parents that the family keeps on going. The energy that drives parents to work all day and sacrifice their smaller pleasures to maintain the family is self-discipline. From Bill Gates, who spent his entire youth, mostly around computers to a father who opts not to go to some deluxe restaurant to get drunk with his friends on weekends, there needs to be sacrificed for the biggest pleasure. If our focus is only on fulfilling our immediate temptations, then it would be like waving goodbye to success.

Developing self-discipline
First of all it’s absolutely important to realize that we are not in the place or situation where we need to be because we lacked the degree of self-discipline that we expect. A person often ends up becoming obese when he avoids exercising and eats all he desires. A student cannot be able to score good marks in his exams if he doesn’t give enough time to study. More often, our failures are the result of our own negligence. But realization is the first step to your success. The need of the hour now is to set realistic goals in your life. It’s time to think what we need to do to achieve our targets. If needed, we should take advices from those whom we trust. Then it’s all about following the road towards our target. Initially it may feel somewhat difficult, but the rewards of self-discipline ultimately pay off.

The habit of self-discipline
Why do some people manage to maintain self-discipline and succeed in their lives, while most others avoid maintaining any sort of self-discipline? But the reality is that maintaining or not maintaining self discipline actually becomes a habit. Self-disciplined people in reality have some feeling of responsibility and urgency towards fulfilling their target. On the other hand, not being able to maintain self-discipline points out of a habit of being spoilt. Most of us have the habit of seeking instant gratification which thus discourages us from setting responsible targets for the long run. Strong determination and commitment towards following a certain code of conduct is actually an important part of developing and maintaining self-discipline. For self-disciplined people ignoring the code of conduct would in fact be more painful than the pains of making small sacrifices. Following a self-disciplined routine becomes a habit.

Maintaining self-discipline
Many people who seem to be motivated from early on, lose their way somewhere in the middle. They go fine for a while, but then start procrastinating and end up like everybody else. But this sort of tendency could in fact hamper our efforts to achieve success. To avoid this scenario, it’s important to be self-aware about what sort of behavior are you following. Self-discipline is achieved through consistent motivation. Here are some ways through which you can maintain self-discipline in your life.
• Find immediate and long run motivation
It’s essential to have a sound and healthy mind to maintain self-discipline in the long run. Don’t ignore your daily priorities. It’s essential that you maintain a certain level of balance in your life so as to keep on focusing towards your target. Find ways to always remind yourself about your targets and goals. Maybe post a poster or a picture on the wall that reminds you everyday about what you need to achieve. Avoid things or circumstances that shift you away from your goals, no matter how painful it is. As mentioned earlier, you need to make small sacrifices for the big gains. In fact, the small pains of everyday life will motivate you even more to follow your goals. Remember that those people working in the gym everyday bear some sort of bodily pain every day. But their reward is their healthy body. No pain, no gain.

• Get inspired from the achievers
Everyone lives the ups and downs of life. The achievers are no exception. However the achievers as we know them didn’t allow themselves to feel down in spite of unfavorable circumstances. Take Richard Branson for instance, he was jailed in his younger years for tax evasion, went nearly broke and had to sell several of his good businesses too. But he rose up against all odds and now is an inspiring figure throughout the world. Nelson Mandela didn’t lose his hope of a unified South Africa in spite of 27 years in prison. His persistent self-discipline and motivation managed to build and unite the country and make it a prosperous nation. Learn from the achievers- don’t quit.

• Maintain a daily routine and don’t get deviated
The habit of self-discipline comes by following an organized routine everyday and not breaking it. The famous sportspersons of the world never allow themselves to quit exercising and fitness routines. Top musicians practice every day. Good students don’t set time for anything else when it’s time to study. A lot of us are good at planning routines and fantasizing the favorable consequences. Yet, somewhere down the line we start ignoring the routines and thus the small failures accumulate everyday to deviate us from our goals. Hence, don’t break the routine that you have made. You can opt to make a realistic routine instead of a hard one, but once you have decided it, remember that there is no quitting.

• Don’t make unrealistic goals and routines
Forget the urban myths about the need to cut your sleeping hours to achieve more. Be realistic! If you haven’t played football throughout your youth, you have to accept the fact that professional football just isn’t for you. Make goals that fit your resources and circumstances. You are in a peculiar position to achieve some sort of unique success, just like the footballers are! Introspect and decide about the things you can achieve with your abilities. Similarly, make routines that won’t harm your physical and mental balance. If you have never exercised before, start from half-a-hour a day, not four hours a day like the professionals. Set easy routines at first and if you can follow it then go further.

• Reward yourself for your achievements
A good idea to maintain self-discipline is by rewarding yourself for your milestones. The achievement of bigger successes can only be done with one step at a time. For example, if you want to lose 10kgs then reward yourself with a chocolate with every kg lost. At the same time if you end up gaining weight, then you have to punish yourself with a further 1km of walk. Self-discipline is all about maintaining the right balance to achieve your goals. Remember, that every achievement that is rewarded motivates you further to do more.

Real happiness comes with self-discipline
Self-disciplined people certainly know the secret behind real happiness. While most people seek happiness by buying the latest fashion or gadgets in the market, self-disciplined people look at the long run and are happy because they are giving the efforts to achieving their goals. They don’t lose their way or get distracted. Mental strength increases with self-discipline and thus comes the increased well-being. Optimism and hopefulness are some of the major qualities of self-discipline people.

Success and self-discipline
While it may not be absolutely true to state that success only comes with self-discipline, the life-stories of hundreds of successful people do indicate that success and self-discipline go hand in hand. However, it’s also true that many people seem to lose self-discipline with success. We have often heard about many rockstars becoming drunkards or drug-addicts after achieving success. People who were very self-disciplined and motivated suddenly start behaving like spoilt brats. But again, there are instances of people, who not only become successful once, but consistently become more successful by applying self-discipline in their lives. Even if you don’t manage to achieve success by applying self-discipline, you can notice the difference between your life and other live and see that you are indeed faring better.



Indian state wins coveted UN award


God's own country
God’s own country

Known as God’s own country, Indian state Kerala, for the first time, has won the prestigious Ulysses Prize from United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for its tourism project at Kumarakom and for bringing in excellence and innovation in the sector.
The prizes were announced in Madrid, Spain and Kerala’s Kumarakom project won the prize in the category “Innovation in Public Policy and Governance”. The prizes were conceived to honour innovation, policy making and information dissemination the field of global tourism.
The Kerala government official attributed the success to locals, communities, self help groups and business in the tourism sector who coordinated and cooperated well to make the project a success.
Under Kumarakom project, the locals, including vendors, farmers and small business were supplying their farm produce to the thirteen hotels and resorts in the area for their daily use.
Speaking at the function, UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said, “Tourism is increasingly becoming a transformative force, bringing in economic growth, creating jobs, and most importantly, changing people’s lives.”
“We are humbled by the UNWTO’s decision to confer this highest international award on our state,” said Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar.
It must also be noted that tourism management has also become a specialised field for tourist spots, and there have been demands in India to stress on the need of having a system where the numbers of tourists coming in the country are managed considering the effects of climate change on the ecology and flora & fauna of India. It must be hoped with this award India lays greater emphasis on responsible and innovative tourism in the country.
Abhishek Bhardwaj

Sir James Dyson to create jobs for 3,000 engineers


Sir James Dyson to create jobs for 3,000 engineers

Sir James Dyson to create jobs for 3,000 engineers – Telegraph.

India celebrates its 65th Republic Day


After August 15, 1947 (when India earned its freedom from British Empire), January 26, 1950 remains the most important in the history of India and its people; since this was the day when India enacted its Constitution and done away with British rule completely.
In 2014, India celebrated its 65th Republic Day across the nation as President Pranab Mukherjee greeted the public on the occasion. The day was celebrated in India’s capital, New Delhi, where a ceremony was held near India Gate at Rajpath as India’s first citizen received guard of honour from Indian Armed forces in the company of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was the chief guest this year.
The President honoured personnels from armed forces who laid down their lines in the line of duty bestowing upon gallantry awards on them posthumously, in addition to that children who performed acts of bravery were also rewarded. The event also saw India flaunting its military might and cultural fervour.
While the Indian Army put on display its arms and artillery, on the other hand, India’s prominent states, union territories and important government ministries showcased their regional pavilions. Going by the “unity in diversity”message the largest democracy in the world stands for India put on display its colours and hues in the heart of the nation for over a billion people to see.
Abhishek Bhardwaj

Alentejo has unemployment decreased by 5% in the end of 2013

Alentejo1downloadThe number of people that were registered in the Unemployment Center of the Alentejo region decreased 5% on December 2013. Also, this number decreased 2,6% in November. In September there were about 1265 job offers, which helped the unemployment to decrease. This decreasing rate has been appearing in the data from the last year, especially since August.

Although this is a good new in some way, it’s a bad in other.  What we are seeing in this numbers is that people, thanks to the crisis, are emigrating. People are called to mensal presentations and to ensure they have been looking for work, if they don’t come, it’s supposed that they have emigrated (if they had found a job, the unemployment center would know).

Especially young adults are emigrating, because after graduating college there’s no job for them, not even on a supermarket. Since some parents can’t afford (many are unemployed as well) to have their kids at home without any income, most of them emigrate to have a better life, even if they have to sleep with 5 people in the same room, and to send money to their parents.

All the regions have suffered this decrease except the region of Acores, which it has actually increased due to political reasons, mostly.

These numbers aren’t showing the reality either, some people don’t register themselves because they feel ashamed or because it doesn’t shows the expensive way of life they’re living, and everyone would be aware that they are “poor”.

There are also big companies hiring people (especially young adults) about 6 months, which is the minimum time of employment that anyone has to have before they can ask for a subsidy. These companies are seen as job giver, but in reality they only hire for 6 months. The income is protested by some but usually the workers of this company defend that the income is great. (about 300 euros)



The City of Education: Rajshahi

Education is the backbone of every nation. To develop any nation, it must need educated work force and it is the key of national progress. Do you know any place in the world, which is recognized for their educational identity? I think there is only one city in the world called the city of education though I am not sure. Yes, I am talking about the city of Rajshahi in the country of Bangladesh. You may ask why we call it the city of education. This is actually very simple, because of the huge establishment of educational institutions.

In Rajshahi we have 41 Kindergarten schools, 911 Primary Schools, 30 Junior High Schools, 215 Secondary High Schools, 63 Colleges, 2 Government Universities, 7 Private Universities, 1 Teachers Training Institute, 1 Physical Training Institute, 20 Polytechnic Institutes, 1 Blind/Disable School, 36 Mass Education Centers, total 489 various kinds of Madrasas, 36 Girls Schools, 36 Girls Colleges and 1 Medical College. Totally, in Rajshahi, we have 1890 educational institutes and that’s why it is called the city of education.

However, some of them are really well known and famous in the country as well as in the world. Rajshahi University, Rajshahi College, Rajshahi Medical College are just iconic names of them.

Rajshahi College: Rajshahi College is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Bangladesh. Established in 1873 in Rajshahi city, it is said to be the third oldest college in Bangladesh after Dhaka College and Chittagong College. Rajshahi College was the first institution in the territories now comprising Bangladesh to award a Masters degree. It also offers three years bachelor and four years honors degree courses in various disciplines. The college is affiliated with the National University. Since 1996, it has stopped enrolling Higher Secondary students. Situated in the city center, Rajshahi College is adjacent to Rajshahi Collegiate School and is very near the famous Barendra Museum.

Rajshahi College
Rajshahi College

The origins of the college were in a private English School that had been founded in Rajshahi in 1828 by the concerted efforts of many of the region’s most prominent citizens (this school is now known as Rajshahi Collegiate School). In 1836 the school was taken over by the provincial government of Bengal and was converted into a Government Zilla (or District) School. In 1873, again through the concerted efforts and appeals of local citizens, the Zilla School was given the status of an Intermediate College, and F.A. courses were introduced into its curriculum. With further development this college was accorded “first-grade rank” in 1878, which meant that it could teach B.A. courses and be affiliated to the University of Calcutta. The name “Rajshahi College” came with the first-grade rank in 1878. The year 1881 saw the inauguration of the M. A. classes; B.L. classes were added in 1883. The postgraduate Departments in Arts and in Law continued till 1909 when they were withdrawn because the college could not meet the requirements of the New Regulations of the University of Calcutta which came into force in that year.

Admin Building of Rajshahi College
Admin Building of Rajshahi College

Starting with only 6 students on the roll in 1873, the college counted 100 in 1878, 200 in 1900, 400 in 1910, 800 in 1920 and no less than 1000 in 1924; there was only one Muslim student at the college in 1873; 5 years later it was still one, but the figure rose to 156 in 1916 and climaxed at 215 in 1924. Subsequently, of course, Muslim numbers rose in the college and after 1947 eventually exceeded the Hindu numbers. Today, in independent Bangladesh, the college has been accorded “University College” status and no longer teaches Higher Secondary or Intermediate courses. Currently, it is part of the National University system of Bangladesh and its curriculum includes only undergraduate and post-graduate courses in a variety of disciplines.

Rajshahi University: University of Rajshahi or Rajshahi University is a public university located in Rajshahi, a city in northwestern Bangladesh. University of Rajshahi was established in 1953, the second university to be established in what was then East Pakistan.

Rajshahi University
Administrative Building of Rajshahi University

The university’s forty-seven departments are organized into nine faculties. Rajshahi University is located in a 753 acres (3 km2) campus in Motihar, 3 kilometres (2 mi) from the Rajshahi city center. With 25,000 students and close to 1000 academic staff, it is one of the largest universities in Bangladesh. In addition to hosting programs in the Engineering, arts, sciences, agriculture, social sciences, business studies and medical sciences, the university houses a number of institutes of higher studies. This is the premier university in Bangladesh to have online subscription of world-renowned journals.

Rajshahi University Library
Rajshahi University Library

The first proposal to establish a university came in 1917, when Calcutta University created the Sadler Commission to assess the university system in Bengal. However, the recommendations of the report had no immediate consequences.

Zuberi International Guest House of Rajshahi University
Zuberi International Guest House of Rajshahi University

Following the Partition of India in 1947, what is now Bangladesh became East Pakistan. University of Dhaka, established in 1921, was the only university in East Pakistan at the time. Demand for a university in the northern part of East Pakistan gained momentum when two universities were established in West Pakistan without the establishment of any in the east. Students of Rajshahi College were at the forefront of the movement demanding a new university. Finally, Rajshahi was selected as the home for the second university in East Pakistan and the Rajshahi University Act of 1953 (East Bengal Act XV of 1953) was passed by the East Pakistan provincial Assembly on 31 March 1953. Itrat Hossain Zuberi, the Principal of Rajshahi College was appointed the first Vice-Chancellor of the university. Initially, the university was housed in temporary locations, such as the local Circuit House and Bara Kuthi, an 18th-century Dutch establishment. B B Hindu Academy, a local school, housed the library, teachers’ lounge and the medical centre of the university. The university started out with 20 professors, 161 students (of which 5 were female) and six departments—Bengali, English, History, Law, Philosophy and Economics. In 1964, the offices moved to the permanent campus.

The 1960s was a turbulent period in the history of Bangladesh, when demands for East Pakistani autonomy became stronger. The students and staff of the university started playing an increasing role in politics during this period. On 18 February 1969, Shamsuzzoha, a professor of the university was killed by the police when he tried to prevent them from shooting student demonstrators. This date is now commemorated as Zoha Day. During the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, the university campus was used as a base by the Pakistan Army. A number of professors, students and officers of the university were killed by the Pakistan army during this period.

After independence, a new act regarding the administration of the university came into being—the Rajshahi University Act of 1973. The post-independence years saw the university grow steadily in student enrollment and size of the academic staff. However, the 1980s were turbulent years for the university, as the students agitated with other institutions of the country against the military rule of Hossain Muhammad Ershad. Since early 1990s, the university have seen relative calm and lowering of session backlogs, though active student politics remains a contentious issue to date.

Rajshahi Medical College: Rajshahi Medical College, located in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, is a state-sponsored medical school affiliated with the Rajshahi University.

Rajshahi Medical College
Rajshahi Medical College

It was established in 1958, the second such institution in erstwhile East Pakistan after Dhaka Medical College. It has a large hospital that is the central provider for advanced health care in the northern part of Bangladesh.

Rajshahi Medical College admits 175 students every year for its M.B.B.S. program. It’s dental unit admits a further 50 students. Students are admitted in these programs after high school and get a degree after 5 years of study and 1 year internship in the Government owned public hospital.

It has two boys’ hostel named ‘shahid muktijoddha kazi nur un nobi hostel’ and ‘shahid shah moinul ahsan pinku hostel’. Shahid muktijoddha kazi nur un nobi hostel is locally known as Main Hostel. It has three girls’ hostel named ‘polin hostel’,’falguni hostel’ and ‘ayesha siddiqua hostel’.Besides there are also two hostels for intern for males and another for females.The name of the male intern doctors’ hostel is ‘shahid jamil akhtar roton hostel’.

A handful number of enthusiastic and philanthropic people started a Medical School in Rajshahi city in 1954. A four year course was started leading to diploma called LMF (Licentiate of Medical Faculty) offered by the State Medical Faculty, Dhaka. A total of eighty students were admitted in the very first year of its inception. In 1954, the then East Pakistan Government converted it into a government Institute, Rajshahi Medical School.

Later on, the government decided to start a five year course leading to MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree and as such in 1958 Rajshahi Medical School emerged as Rajshahi Medical College. At the beginning, the Medical College was housed in a small building of the Barendra Museum. It was later shifted to the present college building. Forty two native and two foreign students were admitted in the first batch.

Since then, the college has been continuing its steady progress. The number of admitted students is now increased to 175 which is equal in 8 old government medical colleges of Bangladesh. Foreign students of SAARC countries are being admitted in this Institution every year. Other hospitals situated in the city like Infectious Disease Hospital founded in 1962, Hospital for Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases founded in 1966, Leprosy Control Center founded in 1968 are all affiliated with this college. A Nuclear Medicine Center was also established within the campus in 1970. Following the war of liberation in 1971, the Medical College and hospital have made considerable improvements in many aspects such as extension of the college buildings, student’s accommodation, number of hospital beds, and establishment of a modern Auditorium etc. There has been addition of new departments like Coronary Care Unit, Nephrology, Neurosurgery, Radiotherapy and Gastroenterology. Recently the hospital is equipped with CT scan, MRI, angiogram and renal haemodialysis machine. There have been a few recent additions in the College too like establishment of a beautiful mosque at the college premises, modernization and beautification of college main gate and premises, extension of the conference room with modern audio-visual facilities. At present besides undergraduate MBBS and BDS courses, postgraduate MD, MS, M.Phil, MPH and Diploma degrees are being awarded in 18 disciplines at Rajshahi Medical College. Already a handful number of successful doctors have achieved their postgraduate degrees from this college and working in various field of their specialization with good reputation.

It has 2 hostels. The Shahid Muktijoddha Kaji Nurnnobi Hostel and Pinku hostel. Between them the Nurunnobi hostel is the oldest. The writers of this paragraph resides in 319 room of this hostel. It is also commonly known as Main Hostel. It has a big field in front of the Hostel and every afternoon we play Football mostly.

Pakistan to concentrate on Coal Reserves for Energy Production

Pakistan houses one of the largest coalfields in the world, spreading over 9,000 kilometer square. The Thar Desert in the Sindh province is estimated to have over 175 billion tonnes of coal. According to Shamsuddin A Shaikh, the Chief Executive Officer of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), this is equivalent to 50 billion tonnes of oil, more than the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Iran put together, and can be utilized to produce more than 100,000 MW of electricity for 200 years.


It is now an established fact that utilization of domestic coal is going to be the cheapest and most effective way for power generation in the long run. According to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company, the power demand will rise to 45,400MW in 2019-20, and 134,800MW in 2034-35. Whereas the country in unable to meet the increasing demand through the current power generation techniques, 40 percent of which rely on imported furnace oil_ a totally non affordable solution for an country going through its development phase.

There has been a long history of critics condemning the government for not utilizing Pakistan’s own domestic resource for power generation which has been gifted to her in so much abundance. Now, as the scarcity of energy is getting only worst with time, the focus is again shifted to the coal reserves.

Thar Coal

Recently, the government has finally taken some initiative in this regard. The Thar Coal Block-II has been allocated to the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC). The Block-II, which comprises only 1 percent of the total reserves, contains 2.0 billion tonnes of lignite reserves, which are said to be capable of generating 5,000 MW for 50 years. SECMC has completed the Feasibility study for the project with the help of several renowned local and international consultants and is confident of the technical and commercial viability of the project.

The groundbreaking of the mining operations would be held on January 31. This project has capacity to change the complete picture of energy production for Pakistan. It will also bring tremendous opportunities of employment with social and urban uplifting of local regions, which are currently in a very underdeveloped state.

Attached to the River

The technical and engineering aspects of rivers, rather than aspects that go beyond the political boundaries of nations influence these treaties

Attached to the River
The River Padma

A hundred years of cultural heritage of the vast community of Rajshahi, which was predominantly dependent on the river Padma, is on the verge of disappearance due to the change in the flow of the mighty river over the last two decades. Peoples of Rajshahi and actually the complete civilization of Rajshahi are attached to the River Padma. The Farakka barrage has caused a catastrophe for many in Rajshahi and other districts the Padma flows through.

A recent study on the Padma River in Charghat upazila of Rajshahi conducted by ActionAid Bangladesh shows how the cultural rights of people are being undermined under the territorialisation concept.

Throughout the decades, Bangladesh has been known as a riparian country. The economy, society, culture, and psychology of the people of this country have been dominated and shaped by the thousands of rivers flown through this delta.

Boat Sailing up Padma River Bangladesh
Boat Sailing up Padma River Bangladesh

The history of civilizations all over the world shows how rivers play a crucial role as the lifeline of human civilization. In South Asia, to some, rivers used to be known as god (and still are in some places) and the life-giver. Rivers do not carry just freshwater, but also play a vital role in the maintenance of groundwater table and temperature balance. In the context of Bangladesh, a certain river flow is important to resist salinity infiltration in the coastal areas, and maintaining the ecological balance of the mangrove forest.

Fishing into the River Padma
Fishing into the River Padma

Unfortunately, the perception of water and rivers has shifted from a humanistic point of view to a more commercial point of view, especially in South Asia. Rivers, despite being parts of nature, have become a property of the state, and the territorializing of such natural entities have further amplified the decision making and control over rivers in more isolated way.

Unlike air and light, water has not been realized as something beyond the political boundaries of states, and hence different states have their own interests in the same river (and in the same god). Instead of sharing the blessings of the river, the issue of water sharing has become prominent in the bilateral treaties and discussions.

Moreover, the technical and engineering aspects of rivers rather than the social, economic, cultural, and psychological aspects that go beyond the political boundaries of nations heavily influence these treaties.

Sapura Begum is a resident of Godagari upazila who is affected by the erratic water flow of Padma. She says she has been observing such unpredictable behavior of the river over the last 15 years. In her words: “This river has become so unpredictable. Sometimes there is too much water, causing erosion and flooding. We have shifted our house eight times so far. From my childhood, I had a dream to decorate my house my own way. But I couldn’t, because I had no permanent home. I am here today, but I don’t know where I will be tomorrow!”

Nunibala, who takes care of her family, shared the most heart-wrenching experience. In recent times, she has been unable to practice her religious rites due to the lack of water. She said: “I am deprived of the chance to say goodbye to my goddess, just because of this dry river.”

Like Nunibala, Tota Mia, who used to be a farmer, witnessed how cultural practices like boat regattas and pitha (local homemade sweet) festivals have disappeared from their locality.

He said: “We used to wait throughout the whole year for such festivals. These formed the very core of our rural tradition. Nowadays, the river has changed. But I still miss those days when my father used to take all our family members to enjoy the boat regatta.”

The examples of cultural decline that surfaced from the study conducted by ActionAid Bangladesh are similar in the communities of all districts subjected to human intervention on the rivers of Bangladesh, under the guise of so-called development.

There are several examples of such psychological and cultural rights violations across this lower riparian country. But there is not enough representation of these issues when lateral treaties are being formulated and discussed.

As long as the perception on rivers is dominated by the state-owned or territorializing concept, cultural, psychological, and social aspects of it will continue to remain ignored, and government will focus more on the sharing of water rather than the well-being derived from it.

So, it is time for the governments of South Asian countries to recognize rivers as natural entities, and that rights to them belong to all.