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Dhaka knows how to celebrate!

Rifat Pasha

27 aug. 2023

World Localization Day and Bicycle Day Rally in 2023

Please enjoy these two short reports by Rifat Pasha covering special days that were celebrated in style by the team at Institute for Wellbeing (IWB) in Dhaka, Bangladesh

World Localization Day Celebration, Dhaka, June 2023

Despite promises to the contrary, globalization makes our lives difficult. Across the globe people are facing the aggression of giant transnational corporations, and as a result, the climate crisis and unprecedented inflation. In this crisis, the non-profit organization Local Futures promotes localization. Localization is the opposite of globalization. Localization focuses on local economies, local cultures, and local traditions. There is a slogan: global problem, local solution. Every year on 21 June, Local Futures celebrates International Localization Day. World Localization Day is close to the hearts of CCA, as carfree cities are by definition local cities. By reducing the need to travel farther, it will be easier to greatly reduce or even eliminate cars. Carfree and localization are closely intertwined.

Various events celebrating localization were organized by IWB in May and June. These culminated with a big, colorful event on 21 June. The program included an exhibition where a farmer displayed organic local food grown about a kilometer from the IWB office. Besides that, traditional items and tribal cultures were exhibited. All the visitors were given local snacks.

The exhibition was followed by a lively meeting where university professors, teachers, environmental activists, human rights activists, journalists, people with disabilities, a transgender person, a doctor and students took part in a hearty discussion on the importance of localization. After the exhibition and discussion, there was a cultural program made up of local songs, poems and dance performed by the guests, including school children.

IWB hopes that the joyous event will remain in people’s hearts, reminding them that localization is the balm necessary to cure the many grievous wounds caused by our obsession with mobility and globalization.

Bicycle Day Rally, Dhaka, June 2023

While there is no data on how many people use the bicycle as a mode of transport, the bicycle is a popular vehicle in Bangladesh. The younger generation are keen to ride bicycles because they are environmentally friendly and fun. Alas the heavy tax on bicycles makes them costly. In this context, on the 2nd of June, a day before the World Bicycle Day, the Institute of Wellbeing Bangladesh (IWB) organized a bicycle rally. Our main theme was “reduce the tax on bicycles.”

On that day, Dhaka was burning with extreme heat; nevertheless more than 100 cyclists, mostly young, joined the rally. Together they shouted, “Reduce the tax on bicycles and make them affordable for all.”

The riders traveled two and a half kilometers to the National Press Club. After the rally, all the cyclists gathered at a famous monument where IWB organized a short discussion . Despite the intense heat, the participants were energetic and enthusiastic. Young cyclists urged the government to reduce tax on bicycles and make this environmentally-friendly vehicle affordable for all.

The media gave us good support. Thirteen newspapers published the news with photographs. In addition to that, two renowned newspapers, the Daily Star and New Age, published stories written by the IWB Executive Director and CCA core group member Debra Efroymson, based on our demand.

We have a long ways to go to get the government of Bangladesh to give due attention and priority to the bicycle…but we will keep fighting.

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