TEDxDhaka 2013 Session 3: Dreams and Dents

Pacing the stage at the first afternoon session of  TEDxDhaka 2013 was one of Bangladesh’s most artistic minds: Shahidul Alam.  The founder of Pathshala, he is an award winning photographer whose institute in Bangladesh trains journalists, helping to imbue them with the skills and values necessary to create positive change. Next, Rubaiya Ahmad, an animal rights activist and the founder of Obhoyaronna, talked about why and how we should stop the everyday cruelty against dogs in Bangladesh. The last speaker, but certainly not the least entertaining, was Yamin Khan – a comedian who got the whole crowd giggling.

Shahidul Alam narrated real stories of people with real problems, describing how his journey as a photographer opened his mind to different worlds and allowed him to connect with his family, community, identity, and nation on a different level.  The title of Dr. Alam’s presentation, Your Eyes are Beautiful, was also part of his closing reflection where we learned the Persian custom: When told that you are attractive, one responds, “You have beautiful eyes ” — meaning that beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

“Human compassion can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind,” Rubaiya Ahmed charged as she took the stage. The founder of Obhoyaronno, an organization that works with the government for the more humane treatment of animals in Bangladesh, Rubiya acts as a true catalyst for change. She urged the audience, “If you see abuse to an animal, a child, even a tree… protest!”

“I have the best hairstyle here,” declared Yamin Khan when he took the stage. A natural comedian (with no hair to speak of) Yamin reiterated the stories of the speakers who preceded him, giving them a light-hearted, humorous twist. Referring to Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Yamin explained why we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The sweet, sari-wearing lady could often be mistaken as a TV cooking host not a high powered environmental lawyer!

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