Fighting corruption textually
Dr Binoy Barman
The government soon after assuming power in the backdrop of 1/11 declared an all-out war against corruption. It started to bring corrupt political leaders, businessmen and bureaucrats to book. Many captured bigwigs are now ruminating their 'golden' days of aberration sitting behind the bars. The government has been ruthless, so to say, in its attempt at hunting down criminals. It has not even spared the most powerful ones who were otherwise thought to be too 'godly' to be punished. It is undoubtedly a welcome initiative on part of the caretaker government on way to the purification of society.
The government has strengthened the Anti-Corruption Commission (formerly Anti-Corruption Bureau) to fight corruption efficiently. It has reshuffled manpower from top to bottom, changing the modus operandi as necessary. In its present capacity it is discharging its stated responsibility with an iron hand. It has remained fearless in taking action against the listed big fishes, so much familiar as social enemies. It has unearthed many 'spectacular' stories of irregularity which shows how public money went into private pockets -- how different institutions were destroyed in the narrow party and personal interests. The situation deteriorated so much so that people wanted a change. They wanted a change in political culture, pattern of governance and, thus, change in life.
The Anti-Corruption Commission with the active support of the government has gone the right way. It has fought corruption relentlessly to bring about a basic change in society. In its latest bid to fight corruption, the ACC has decided to include anti-corruption lessons in the textbooks of secondary level. The chairman of ACC, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Hasan Mashud Chowdhury, has revealed that suitable texts will be written for the students of class six to ten. The textual fight against corruption is curious indeed. One does not question the integrity of such a programme but one may be doubtful about its effect and effectiveness, however.
By its action, the ACC is trying to involve the young minds in the anti-corruption campaign. It is a kind of brain training through curricular education. But familiarising young readers with a criminal subject like corruption is a delicate matter. Corruption is a complex social problem which has a close connection with politics, economy, law, psychology and many other phenomena. It is characteristically a subject of the grown-ups and is not usually meant for the minors. So the matter has to be handled very carefully, with utmost sensitivity.
While implementing the text plan, the government must ensure that the lessons on corruption are written appropriately, giving due attention to the age bracket and comprehensive level of the learners. It may affect the tender minds adversely if presented in an inappropriate manner. The text writers must have good understanding of child and adolescent psychology besides his/her literary power and knowledge of sociology. The corruption text should have the appeal to attract the malleable minds to fairness and honesty. The morals of the texts should encourage them to take an oath for standing against corruption in any event of life. It should not exert any ominous effect on them, anyway.
But training the young folks against corruption with textbooks is not sufficient. What is of much more importance is to correct the institutional practices. It must be ensured that offices and businesses are free of all unfair means. It should also be guaranteed that qualified persons get government jobs and promotions in a fair way. No underhand dealings are made in any case. Professional mindset must also be changed positively to zero tolerance to corruption. If there is any lack of congenial working atmosphere, there is every possibility that a person will fall into the trap of corruption in professional life. Elongated period of reading anti-corruption texts in school, college and university can all turn into fiasco.
Nevertheless we hope the government's textual fight against corruption will be successful and the progeny will get a fair and healthy society. Bangladesh will no more be champion in the international corruption index, bathing in the shower of shame. All the corrupt elements will be eliminated and no more dark entry will be allowed. The wound in the social body that corruption has already created will be healed. The textual fight is actually a necessary fight to bring new realisations in life, with evil gone and good prevailing.
The writer is an Assistant Professor, English, Bangladesh University. Email: email@example.com