This post contains an excerpt from the book Manob Sagor Teeray, by Shankar (মানব সাগর তীরে/শংকর) about france, the french and often about how different of similar they are to Bengalis, or the rest of the world. Insightful and funny accounts from 1990.

... এক কাগজে পড়েছিলাম, ঢাউস-ঢাউস শহর তৈরিতে ইউরোপীয় ও আমেরিকান সাহেবদের অরুচি ধরে গিয়েছে. দুনিয়ার বিশিষ্ট শহরগুলির তালিকা এখন তৈরী হয় লোকসংখ্যা অনুযায়ী নয়, লোকের ট্যাকে কত পয়সা আছে তার হিসেবে. ট্যাকের পয়সা এবং রুজি-রোজগারের হিসেব উঠলে আমরা কলকাত্তাইয়ারা অবশ্য গোহারান হেরে যাব, দুনিয়ার দুশ বিত্তবান শহরের তালিকাতেও আমাদের নাম থাকবে না. আসলে আমরা কেবল সংখ্যায় বেড়ে চলেছি, সামর্থ্যে নয়, সমৃদ্ধিতিতে  নয়. স্রেফ লোকগণনার জোরে টাউন থেকে সিটি, সিটি থেকে মেট্রোপলিটন, মেট্রোপলিটন থেকে মেগাপলিস-এর তালিকায় নাম লিখিয়ে কোনো লাভ নেই. 

Though the above was written in 1990, what the writer mulls over comparing his own city of Kolkata and the cities of Europe and USA, seems to hold true still for us in Bangladesh after all these years. Kolkata I hear, has really cleaned itself up on the other hand. Dhaka holds such an allure for so many, whoever comes here doesn't want to leave. One factor is that there are no other cities that come close to it in terms of being active and alive. Chittagong, where I grew up is an important city, and while there, we used to think we'd never leave - it was a blessing in the form of 'less crowded', 'scenic', and thus 'peaceful'. However since being a teenager in the 90s to now, I have only seen the degradation of the roads and the train services that connect Dhaka and Chittagong. Not to mention that Chittagong is the major port of Bangladesh and hence it affects businesses a lot to have to allocate one day for goods to transport in between where it should have taken two to three hours.

The writer is also touching on the subject of the wealth of a city. Dhaka has managed to create a caste system over the years in the struggle to accumulate. Whoever has to be put down, will be put down in an effort to get land, housing, a living. The poorest are the ones to suffer the most (failing even to get justice often when asking for it), and crime is on the rise. The appropriation of utilities of the city - power, gas (for cooking, cars, generators) and water - are under immense pressure.

Yet, the city is growing. Dhaka's allure is so powerful, that it is being grown sideways and upwards so people don't have to feel they are leaving it. Yet, we are not working hard enough in improving communication with, and building other major cities where other industries and commerce might flourish. The government has already given in to their friends from India (Sahara Matribhumi) to build a "New Dhaka" without having gone to the local developers or their association called REHAB. Brav-Oh!

My sense of things when I had the chance to visit Europe, USA, or even closer countries like Malaysia and Thailand, was that they as a nation knew, or was guided to what would be 'peace of mind' for the majority of the country. There are grievances in Malaysia about certain racial issues, but they are still fortunate to have well connected cities where industries exist and people can consider moving from one city to another professionally without a sense of losing out. They all seem to have plans to not burden one particular city with everyone. Our plan seem to be using all the projects that can be set up to get money into pockets where it doesn't belong, in the name of common good. How else do you explain rising taxes and a provision for Whitening Black Money?

GINI Index of Bangladesh
Sahara vs. Developers in Bangladesh
Critique of Sahara Group
Tax lawyers oppose legalising black money