The world’s oldest intact shipwreck has been discovered more than two kilometres beneath the waves of the Black Sea, archaeologists believe.
A team of researchers from Britain and Bulgaria found the skeleton of a Greek trading vessel during an exhaustive survey of 2000 square kilometres of seabed.
A small piece of the forgotten vessel was taken for tests and the carbon dated back to 400BC, making it the “oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind”, according to the group.
The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (Black Sea MAP) said it spent three years combing the depths of the Black Sea using remote-controlled deep water camera systems which can provide ultra-high-definition images from more than two kilometres below the surface.
Their exploration unearthed more than 60 shipwrecks, including several Roman trading ships and a 17th century Cossack raiding fleet.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that it was possible to make a big lead into the socio-economic development of the people of South Asia through utilising huge potential of the maritime sector in the region.
“There is a huge potential in the maritime sector in South Asia and by utilising the sector, it is possible to make a big lead into the socio-economic development of the people of this region,” she said while addressing the inaugural session of the Second South Asia Maritime and Logistics Forum 2018 at a hotel in Dhaka.
The Ministry of Shipping in cooperation with the Colombo International Maritime Conference Events and India’s Gateway Media Pvt Ltd have jointly organised the two-day event to attract investment in the infrastructure and innovation of new technology in the shipping sector.
The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh was a country of boundless potentials. “In the water transport sector, new business opportunities exist such as the development of container transport at home and abroad, as well as the further expansion of dredging programs, ferry services, port management and operations by the private sector,” she said.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Indian Union Minister for Shipping and Road Transport Mansukh Mandaviya, Sri Lankan State Minister for National Policy and Economic Affairs Dr Harsha De Silva, Editor-in-Chief of India’s Gateway Media Pvt Ltd Ram Prasad Ravi and Bangladesh’s Shipping Secretary MdAbdusSamad also spoke at the function.
“As in so many other developing societies of South Asia, in Assam too, myths and dogma take root, develop their own reality, and begin to dictate political debate unchallenged by the mainstream media, academia or larger intelligentsia. Such is also the case with what can only be called the myth of continuing Bangladeshi migration into Assam.” – Anindita Dasgupta, The Myth of the Assamese Bangladeshi
The signals from India, albeit stemming unofficially but nonetheless from the mouths of Indian ministers and BJP high-ups, regarding the National Register of Citizens (NRC), sound ominous. From the threat of the ruling party president uttered in Kolkata on August 11, it seems the BJP is all but sure that the four million or so Muslims delisted from the controversial Assam citizen's list are indeed Bangladeshis alleged to have infiltrated into India over time. And the fallout for Bangladesh, as an outcome of the NRC delisting of four million Muslims, is grave.
Quite an outlandish figure of illegal Bangladeshi migrants in India—20 million—has been flaunted from time to time to convey the “magnitude” of the problem. And imagination was allowed to run wild when in 1981 it was estimated that the so-called Bangladeshi immigrants constituted 45 percent of Assam's 1.6 crore population. That was only an estimate since no census was possible due to the Assam agitation during that time. Regrettably, it has continued to be a matter of estimate without any empirical evidence to support the figure of 20 million.
Assam's politics has been largely pinned on the issues of census and migration. And many scholars term the migration issue as a myth. They assert, citing census reports, that the “increase in Assam's Muslim population is nowhere extraordinary.” But census and migration have been linked by politicians to both culture and security creating a fear of xenophobia and security. For those political elites in Assam who want to make political hay out of this issue put forward the argument that the only measure that can save Assamese culture from being subsumed within Bangla culture is to see that these Muslims are sent back to Bangladesh, or ghettoised (it's inevitable if they are sequestered in separate areas pending “repatriation”. Sequestration of the four million of them is an alternative that some stalwarts within the BJP are suggesting, pending deportation to their supposed place of origin, i.e. Bangladesh).
Surprisingly, there has been little reaction from our side regarding the NRC since our government believes—mistakenly, one feels—that the issue is India's internal matter. India as usual has tried to assuage any concern saying that Bangladesh has no reason to be alarmed by the matter.
But the utterances of various BJP members including its president are worrisome. Noticeable in the statements is an attempt to categorise the so-called illegal immigrants into Muslims and Hindus. While Amit Shah says that “all Bangladeshi infiltrators would be driven out of the country,” some of his colleagues classify the so-called Bangladeshis as refugees and infiltrators/illegal migrants. Hindus are lumped into the former while the Muslims into the latter. India's policy that all Hindus, Christians and Buddhists refugees from countries including Bangladesh would be granted citizenship is questionable too. Hence, the vibes emerging from India make the statement of our foreign ministry incongruous since the object or the target, if you like, of the entire exercise—the so-called Bangladeshi infiltrators—has everything to do with us.
The situation as it stands today regarding the NRC and Muslims in Assam is a follow-through of what the BJP had initiated from the very time that it was for the first time represented in the Rajya Sabha, and it is from then on that the 20-million figure has been bandied about without ever producing any evidence to that effect.
The argument touted by Assamese polity to propagate the fear, and make it a political asset, the “Inundation of Assam by Muslims”—is the census statistics which shows the high growth rate of Muslims in Assam since the Partition, and particularly after 1971. But there is also a counter narrative by some Indian scholars who contend that the issue of migration from Bangladesh is a myth which has been allowed to be grossly overblown. (See, Assam: The Mythology of Immigrants by Subodh Verma, Fact Check: Are Illegal Bangladeshi Migrants Responsible for Increase in Assam's Muslim Population? by Ajaz Ashraf, and The Myth of the Assamese Bangladeshi by Anindita Dasgupta).
Indeed, the Muslim population growth rate in Assam in the 20 years between 1991 and 2011 was 68 percent and that, compared to the growth of Hindu population of 27 percent, is stupendous. And this—it is argued by the protagonists of Bangali Khedao movement (which has eventually mutated into Foreigner Khedao)—is due to the unbridled regime of illegal migration/infiltration from Bangladesh. But then there are six Indian states which have had more than 68 percent growth rate of Muslims, including all the BIMARU states (Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, UP), including 143 percent in Delhi and 133 percent in Haryana. And here again, the logic that is thrown around is that the rise in these states is due to internal migration. But that too falls flat in the face of the fact that these states are more poverty-stricken and less prosperous than other Indian states and hence lack the pull factor.
The counter argument, more plausible, is that neither illegal migration nor infiltration but the high birth rate of the Muslim community is the cause of the rise in the Muslim population. The other common factor, apart from the Muslim population growth in these states, is poverty (there being a direct correlation between poverty and high population growth).
Population pressure and economic privation are the other reason for the so-called huge outflow of people from Bangladesh into Assam that some Indian politicians and authors proffer for our consumption. True, we are plagued by both, but common sense suggests that people migrate towards greener pastures. Assam, or for that matter any other North East Indian states, is not quite the land of milk and honey that one would be drawn into.
But logic or rationality counts for very little against the tide of populist movement fomented on the basis of myth and doctored beliefs for political gains. That is what dominates and indeed dictates political discourse in Assam. And what is happening in Assam, despite assurances from India, should force us to emerge out of the state of self-delusion that we are immersed in and be more proactive. We should have learnt enough from the Rohingya crisis to sit out so smugly an ominous development from just across our border.
These are real concerns which should be conveyed to India. Given the fact that our relations with our neighbour is excellent and that we have the highest level of understanding between us, this is the right moment to address these concerns. It doesn't behove us, given the level of mutual trust and confidence, to sweep such an issue under the carpet.
Welcome to Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development (BIMRAD), the first maritime research organisation in the country. BIMRAD was established in July 2018. The Institute is patronised by Bangladesh Navy. The initiation of the BIMRAD lies in a long-felt need to enrichmaritime sector and to fill intellectual void by providing a common platform for discourse amongst maritime-related institutions, organisations, think tanks and disciplines of the country. In broader sense to augment maritime awareness of policy-makers and civil society.
The aim is to bring all stakeholders on board, carry out research on maritime affairs, security, exploration and conservation of sea resources, maritime science & technology, maritime tourism, maritime pollution, biodiversity, marine ecology, coastal disaster, marine renewable energy and climate change impact, food security, adaptation for development of policy option, enhance public awareness through seminar, conference, workshops, training and symposium and put forward recommendations for the decision-makers on maritime strategy for the country.
To achieve the above aim, BIMRAD is committed to building an independent maritime research platform consisting of all stakeholders, maritime thinkers, retired personnel, dedicated scholars and professionals who would have the opportunity to carry out research on the whole extent of maritime domain especially focusing on the areas concerning Bangladesh.