Upholding the spirit of
Mohammad Shahidul Islam
WE commemorate today the 39th anniversary of our national independence day. This day attests the beginning of our armed struggle for the liberty of our beloved motherland. On the night of 25th March 1971 began one of the most macabre and cruel episodes of human history that culminated in final victory on December 16, 1971. To its timeless dishonor, Pakistan army instigated a military operation and attacked the unarmed humble but fearless population of Bangladesh, the then East Pakistan, which till then formed a part of the same country. It was a case of army butchery on its own citizens merely because they belonged to a different ethnic lifestyle and culture. The observance of Independence Day is effectively a regeneration of freedom for the people of Bangladesh.
What followed after 26th March is the proudest episode in the life of Bengalis. The resultant liberation of Bangladesh was by any standards a triumph in human history. What on the other hand was most shattering was the genocide that was carried out by the Pakistani army all over the nook and corner of the country. Villages were annihilated to the ground. Mukti Bahini and people were killed in the hundreds of thousands to fade our spirit. Nearly three million people were killed and about 30 million people were made homeless. And yet that glorious history of the people of Bangladesh has been lost in the quagmire of opportunism and revisionist history where even the status and the role of the founder of the country have been contested.
It is therefore hardly surprising that after about 4 decades of independence there is neither an objective study of the history of Bangladesh nor a solid biography of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Bangbandhu, who led his people to freedom, also instilled in them a pride in their Bangali identity, stirred an overwhelming national perception and the vision for a socially just, secular and democratic society. Now is the right time to delve deep into the spirit of Bangabandhu's political vision in the wake of persisting political deterioration. The father of nation's message on founding progressive Bangladesh can be a remedy for the rampant maladies in the present day Bangladesh
The fact that we did, that we paid a very high price for freedom, has always been a reminder to us of the unceasing need on our part to hold fast to our legacy. No, we are not about to suggest that political sovereignty has given us all that we need as a nation. There remains, thirty-nine years into freedom, the very crucial matter of coming by economic emancipation. Ours is a society yet dependent on foreign aid for its development. Within the country, there are all the telltale signs of despair we keep going through.
The inability of our governments, one after another, to ensure political stability, a viable law and order situation and a progressive economic system has told on our health as a society. We might not appreciate being labeled as a corrupt society by others around the world. But we do realize that within ourselves, and based on the realities around us, we know just how many things have been going wrong for us. Our political classes have been running out of ideas for years together. The consequence has been a rise in various levels of mediocrity, to a point where it often appears pretty illogical to expect good governance from them. Parliament remains thwarted by the dogged determination of the ruling coalition and the opposition not to interact with each other.
Our struggle for liberation was based on our desire for a democratic society where equality, rule of law and an equitable distribution of resources would underpin our lives. In the nearly four decades since liberation, we have faltered and stumbled and picked ourselves up again. It is such resilience that has kept us going. As we observe Independence Day this year, we recall the unrivaled contributions of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Mujibnagar government and all the soldiers of freedom to the national cause. We also recall with gratitude the moral and material assistance provided to us by the government and people of India.
It would be pretty fair to recommend that the political legacy, which Bengalis had shaped, one layer at a time, in the years after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, was clearly leading to a radical new era for them. The upshot of it is that had Bengalis not attained freedom when they did, they would have come by it in good time. Today, let our resolve be to give ourselves a government based on the consent of the governed, to provide for those who have little or nothing, indeed to do all that may help us uplift our dream of Bengal of Gold into accuracy.
(NHTTI Faculty, Freelance Travel Writer.)
Gender equality for Development
Mohammad Ruhul Kader
TRISHA is a student of the Marketing department at DU. As my classmate I know her well, an extraordinarily brilliant and charming girl with enormous energy, generosity, and confidence. She has a dream to be a politician to serve the country in broader context. But her father confined her to be a teacher of a primary school because a girl should not do manly job. She wants to marry a man of her choice but her father has selected a high profile boy as her escort for her whole life. She likes adventure but her escort dislikes it. Now she is feeling depressed and our highly enthusiastic and charming Trisha is becoming depressed day after day. Trisha is a single representative of the highly deprived female gender in this world of men. We know development is a fruit of combined effort and this fruit cannot be achieved by placing a large segment of work-force in side-bench. Unfortunately we are doing so. The main setback to the road to development is the participation gap. Without ensuring equal participation of women economic emancipation will remain an unattainable dream. So it is clear that participation of women is equally necessary in all sectors and it is a core demand for development.
Although we are talking more and arranging uncountable seminars on women right, our progress is very insignificant. Pathetically a number of our male folks today possess a negative mentality about equal right of women. Moreover, putting all of our efforts in vain, pathetic show of gender discrimination from family to state is going on. Teasing, physical and mental torture, sexual harassment and all other unscrupulous behavior with my sister is increasing alarmingly. There are many tangible factors and intangible forces behind this stagnation. Government is tampering with tendering process, different educational institutions are showing indifference to stop this illegal practice. Though they are talking about exciting steps but results are highly depressing.
To translate the dream of equality into reality some effective and efficient steps should be taken by all important partners of society. A paradigm shift of state, a breakthrough in the structured mentality of society and a conceptual clarity is highly needed. Considering all aspects, like all other societal partners youth also has responsibility to perform. They can firstly change their mental frame-work about gender equality; can promote this thinking through their active participation. They can raise their voice against all inhuman and discriminatory behavior against women.
Development is a long cherished dream in our national life. Gender equality with equal opportunity and participation in all stages of state and society should be ensured fully for the sake of development. And to ensure this equality youth must play their expected role because the best days start when everyone comes together.
(Department of Marketing, University of Dhaka)