Cursed to be a Bangladeshi?
Despite a twenty-year age difference, my birth and that of Bangladesh’s have been somewhat similar. My mother gave birth to twin sons. One twin unfortunately did not survive and the other is writing this article. Bangladesh, as a nation, was first conceptualized during the partition of the Indian subcontinent. Ultimate statehood came later in 1971 following a bloody liberation war with Pakistan. Since then luck has chased the newly-born state. In 1974, then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, on a visit to Dhaka, labeled Bangladesh a “bottomless basket.” Despite floods, famine, cyclones and perpetual poverty, Bangladesh has demonstrated impressive resiliency. In many indicators, this tiny yet populous nation has emerged a regional leader, but in other ways, Bangladesh has a lot of catching up to do.
The success story of Bangladesh is the same as my life. From postnatal complications to the final attainment of my dream, I have battled every single day of my life. I have stumbled along the way but this has never stopped me. Sometimes I question where my perseverance came from. Isn’t this a common Bangladeshi story? If so, why do I feel there is no hope now? Why do I feel that Bangladesh is trapped in a vicious unbroken cycle?
Fortunately, I know the answer which has become the bane of my existence. I am unable to change the present political status quo in Bangladesh.
My country, which is part of me, is burning. It has now become a nation driven by political ideology. Evidently, the consequence is beyond pernicious. Statistics can measure to what extent our economy is languishing or catalogue how many officials have been appointed strictly on political grounds. But how will we deal with the intangible losses?
The irony is that the political leadership in Bangladesh still cannot come to an accord over whose contributions that led to independence will be recognized. This is the reason that the names of our national leaders, even national holidays are changed as soon as a new government ascends to power. The politicos cannot fix the past. Understandably, how can they move forward together when the ghost of a bitter past still haunts the nation? In order to perpetuate power, they ride the democratic institutions at their will.
In the end, there is barely anything or anyone left that the whole nation can have faith in. The poisonous effect of lack of tolerance, patience, and respect to fellow-counterparts in the highest seat of the nation is discernibly infecting our society. Bangladesh literally is floundering to find a democracy within a democracy.
Like millions of others, I too am frustrated every day watching my dream in the service of my countrymen fade away. I salute my parents who have instilled the courage in me to fight for the common good. Therefore, I will never blame them for my uncertain future. After all this is the Bangladeshi way which they instilled in me. Therefore, why should I feel cursed to be a Bangladeshi?