Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bangladesh at a Crossroads & Cautious Optimism

The nation of Bangladesh and its people have once again come to a crossroads where a socio-political change seems inevitable. This is not new for the people of Bangladesh. In fact, the people have faced similar situations several times since the birth of our nation.

I can vividly recall one such instance when the people of Bangladesh overthrew the military regime of Hussain Mohammed Ershad. That day, the streets of Bangladesh saw a remarkable out-pouring of thousands of joyous people as Ershad’s statue of power came tumbling down. It was like a massive festival – no more dictatorship; no more rule by iron fist; signs of freedom everywhere! It seemed, on that very moment, the entire population of Bangladesh had one common dream – “democratic and prosperous Bangladesh”.

When people saw the first fair election immediately after the end of Ershad’s dictatorship, it was like a dream come true. The country seemed to have been moving in the right direction, and all the signs pointed to a better tomorrow. The people elected their leaders for the first time through a fair election, and the promises made by the elected leaders seemed to have seamlessly coincided with the wishes of the people. Even the leaders of many countries saw a humongous potential in a country of millions. Unfortunately, soon afterwards, the people started realizing that the elected leaders were nothing but vultures hiding behind the veils of democracy. As the vultures started showing their true colors, the country started falling deeper and deeper into obscurity. No matter whom the people tried to elect, the results were the same. It became increasingly clear that the leaders only cared about themselves, and not the people. The divide between the rich and the poor, the corruptions, lawlessness, rise in militancy – everything was spiraling out of control. The entire nation of Bangladesh felt extremely helpless because the people could not find anyone who displayed even the tiniest signs or will to put an end to these. The so-called leaders and their family found a way to imprison the entire nation.

In the midst of all these chaos and hopelessness, the people of Bangladesh finally seem to have found a tiny light at the end of a dark and narrow tunnel. The caretaker government, who was given the responsibility to conduct a fair election, seems to be taking steps that no one was willing to take in the past. Amidst a state of emergency and banned politics, the caretaker government is trying to crack down hard on corrupt politicians and officials. Some key political leaders from several major parties are either being put to jail or sent to exile. The government is also trying to establish better law and order, separate the judicial body and de-politicize various institutions as well as many other necessary steps. People are extremely thrilled with the actions so far. In fact, it would not surprise me if the intellectual bodies of our nation choose to ignore some actions by the government that may require bending of some constitutional laws. Why? The people of Bangladesh are so sick and tired of dealing with corrupt politicians that they feel minor bending of laws may pave the way for a better socio-political atmosphere in the country.

As the country is taking a turn for the better, why my optimism is somewhat reserved? Well, dreams of Bangladeshis had been shattered in the past a few times. So, it’s only natural to feel a little cautious. Nonetheless, the events that may transpire in the next few months could very well dictate the future of Bangladesh. Can the current caretaker government create an atmosphere where not only the old corrupt leaders are forever removed from the political scene; but also new leaders emerge to guide the nation? People of all walks of life may need to sacrifice a little. Situation might even get worse before it gets better; but there is hope. Despite the cautious optimism, I truly believe that the people have a great opportunity to build a foundation with care, sacrifice and patience. However, it is absolutely necessary for many people who have good administrative and leadership skills, to come forward; otherwise, the state of Bangladesh will remain unchanged.


Anonymous said...

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