How civil and safe is our society?
Leaders in all segments of the country are drifting like sailors oblivious of the thunderheads piling high on the far horizon. Nobody realises that the country is sliding into a national crisis -- a loss of faith in all. This serious erosion of confidence in the leaders may be fatal for the survival of the fledgling democracy.
The current of unhappiness runs far deeper than the normal ebb and flow of partisan feeling usual in a democracy. This situation is a challenge to the settled order of our politics and inflated expectation it had stimulated in us. The institutions that are supposed to keep the country going seem to be too corroded by corruption, nepotism, cynicism and greed for money and power.
The optimism that was bubbling in every mind has given way to fear for the future and anger at politicians who have seemingly "mortgaged" it for short-term gain. Leaders, whatever their standing may be, have failed to take note that the engines of economic growth that heated up in late the '90s appear to have stopped turning. It seems that a virus of pessimism is spreading across the country -- a sense that we are on the wrong track -- and infecting the whole nation.
The recent incidents of vandalism resorted to by a section of Chatra League and Juba League workers with the blessings of some local AL stalwarts during the recruitment examination of Pabna D.C office staff, and Panchagarh, Pirozpur and Jessore civil surgeon office class three and four staff is an ominous sign. Sajeda Chowdhury said: "These sordid incidents triggered by a section of the ruling party workers is an embarrassment for the government."
Despite the fact that the PM has time and again told the nation that her party was preparing a list of errant Chatra League workers and bring them to book, there has been no positive development so far. People wonder why the Chatra League workers should be so keen to get low paid and low status job instead of aiming high after completing their academic career.
The reason put forward for this disorientation is quite understandable. Whatever little economic growth the country has achieved can hardly ensure employment to a large number of educated youths. Secondly, the quality of education has suffered most. Very few students coming out with A+ scores can face the challenge of job recruitment.
So much effort has been put to enhance the quality of English in schools and colleges but, to the dismay of all, so little has been achieved. The large scale violence in the educational institutions and elsewhere can be attributed to flawed learning and teaching in schools and colleges. The euphoria over the glory and achievement of what we have been doing in each of our fields of activity may be wearing off.
The dissonance that is evident in national politics today must not be lost sight of. Both the major parties are basking in their past glory, but the world around us has changed so much. The situation confronting us is just like the day after the wedding, -- "everyone is tired and dishes are dirty."
The crisis that has engulfed the nation, spearheaded by the student wing of the ruling party, strikes terror in every heart and runs counter to development and transformation of the nation into "Digital Bangladesh." While countries like South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong that ranked almost equally with Bangladesh till the other day are taking a high-speed train towards progress and prosperity, we seem to have been left behind gasping for breath.
With unemployment topping 40%, prices of food items shooting up, taxes and VAT on the rise, and austerity programmes only looming on the horizon, it seems that a gloom has settled over the country. There is no denying the fact that anyone who is keeping close watch over the nation's march must be sensing a certain fatigue in the citizens over the country's lackluster economic performance, political animosity and partisan conflict.
Perpetual poverty has obliged the people to become fatalists and, with the indications in sight in respect of the power situation, agricultural production often ravaged by flood and other natural calamities, and transportation bottlenecks, there is no way that they can get over it if the present crisis continues.
Every year, a famine-like condition, mainly unavailability of food grains and job losses in farm lands, in Ashwin stalks some parts of Bangladesh, especially North Bengal, and people in these areas have taken this yearly scourge as a fait accompli.
The politicians, especially of the ruling party, steering the nation's ship through a turbulent sea with a dark cloud looming over the horizon have to show their prudence, charisma, patriotism and commitment to national goals and the aspirations of the people. As things stand today, people have discovered that democratic institutions alone cannot bring prosperity and stability.
As a result, people have begun to recognise that what they need today is not a messiah but leaders with acumen who can make a fledgling democracy perform to their benefit. As political impasse lingers, boycott of parliament continues, and dithering over national issues goes on, the nation is sliding into a chaotic situation which is fatal to growth.
All concerned must realise the truth that if the problem of distribution of wealth and elimination of poverty is not solved there is no way one can expect to reduce the violence creeping up day in and day out.
The problems confronting the country must not be glossed over. The country's antiquated tax system has to be in keeping with the advanced countries of the world. The government effort to stimulate the economy and smooth out taxation and bring about reforms in the banking sector has hit the middle class, salaried people, pensioners and retirees most.
Although the economies in countries like Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore are booming after recovery from the global meltdown, in our case the sunny forecast which should have proved to be true has given way to despair and pessimism, a free- falling economy and disarray in the country.
Social order, family ties, relationships with each other have broken down suddenly. The recent murder of Ibrahim, an AL worker, SI Gautam killing, and shootouts between cops and extortionists, make it clear that terrorists are far better equipped with weapons and tactics than the law enforcers.
Unhappily, there is so much disorientation and waywardness in a section of the teenage boys in the country -- known as "stalkers" -- that parents with grown up daughters feel totally unsafe even within the safe boundary of their houses. In the recent past, in Gulshan, the parents of a girl were stabbed to death by the paramour of their daughter. Evidently the prime need of the hour is to build a crime and corruption-free society, and, to that end, our leaders must rise above self-interest and partisan consideration.