Of Hope and Dismays
Kobe ei kothagulo gabo shure? (When will I be able to express my words through music?)
Like this metaphoric verse above, from the famous Nemesis number 'kobe', the youth always aspires to break out of the shell and perform the duties the society has so keenly bestowed upon them. The youth will bring about a better future--this hope has become the order of the day. Phrases like 'Youth Empowerment', 'Youth leadership' have almost become a political rhetoric. As our politicians have failed to resolve the umpteenth number of problems that Bangladesh is suffering from since its independence despite their repetitive tenure in national power, the politicians, whenever are asked about their failures, now tend to relay all the responsibilities on today's youth to tidy up the mess created by the previous generation. However, being irked by the unbearable traffic jams on roads, high unemployment rates, violent student politics and long session jams on universities, anybody from today's youth might ask, does the society provide the youth with the minimum incentives to grow to their full potential?
Negative forces run deep in society to spoil the zeal of the youth. Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
Given the current volatile situation in national politics and educational institutions across the country, the future of today's young generation seems rather bleak. Nasiruddin Shohag, a Dhaka University student says, “It's really disturbing to see our politicians making futile comments about empowering youth on talk shows, while at the same time political parties are maintaining their student wings to realise their narrow political interests on campus. The political parties use the members of these student wings as mercenaries during conflicts with their rival parties.”
Shams Hossain, another Dhaka University student says, “Nowadays the university campuses have become an arena of power politics rather than a place for imparting and creating knowledge. Only the other day, I saw some members of a political party indiscriminately beating up a student who belonged to their rival party. I felt so helpless because I couldn't gather the courage to resist the beating as I feared for my own safety. Never in my life had I felt so low.”
While the youngsters are supposed to nurture a freer and more progressive mind in comparison with their elderly counterparts in society, a section of today's youth appears to be increasingly intolerant towards new ideas and coexistence of different beliefs in the society. It frightens us to a great extent when we come to know that, most of the thugs responsible for vandalising the century old Buddhist temples in Ramu, Cox's Bazar earlier last month, were actually teenagers. According to a Daily Star report dated October 5, 2012; most of the attackers who wrecked mayhem on Ramu's Buddhist community were aged between, 14 and 22. As it is evident that the attacks on Buddhists were pre-planned and skilfully organised by some mastermind group who had vested interest from the political unrest in the region, one might surely wonder, how much hatred the masterminds of the attacks could have poured in the minds of those youth responsible for vandalising, which instigated them so much towards violence? Strangely enough, it is also the youth who is showing us new rays of hope from this gruesome event. Even in the midst of mindless mayhem, six young men named Masud Rana, Harun, Osman, Mosharraf, Helal and Kamal risked their lives to prevent the fanatic mob from attacking Buddhist monasteries and houses. As a result, it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that despite all the negative forces running deep in our society, it is only the youth who still hold the ability to resist injustice and to make us march together as a nation.