was talking to a group of journalists in Natore during a recent visit there about the debate on the issue of the quota system in government jobs.
I have already written before that there should not be any such facility, except for the physically disabled and the indigenous communities, especially because of the implementation of the landmark CHT peace pact.
Our martyrs gave their blood, giving up worldly things, including their families, and they did not ask for anything in return. I am a son of a martyr, and in my entire life, I was not allowed to use quotas for anything as my late mother instructed me against it. Now, I agree with her fully that these quotas take away something from one’s credibility.
Even if you are a meritorious student and use quota, you are looked down upon. It takes away your pride and worth. I would have never liked to be known as a “Shaheed quota beneficiary.”
Bangabandhu considered the quota system with a good intention, considering the state of the country’s overall condition at that time. Despite several amendments, it has failed to calm the quota seekers. Why? Are they not capable of getting a government job on the basis of their merit?
I am from the first generation of a martyr’s family. If a quota is at all required, it can be acceptable if only the children of the freedom fighters get the benefit of quotas. But I still cannot understand why it has to be passed down from generation to generation.
I have already proposed that all quotas, except the two mentioned, should be abolished as per the prime minister’s announcement.
I believe women, too, need to be at par with men. My experience says they are more meritorious than men. I just visited the Bangladesh Army University of Engineering and Technology in Qadirabad Cantonment, Natore, and its Vice Chancellor, retired Brig Gen AHM Shahidullah, told me that girls were doing much better than the boys in his institution.
I still cannot understand why it has to be passed down from generation to generation
So, I think women, too, should not seek such an advantage, and achieve their rightful honours based on merit. When I told some friends I was going to write this piece, they warned me that I might be “gifted” with labels like “razakar” and “anti-women.”
Just because I wish to see that our great-great-grandchildren are not labelled as “dull,” and only able to get good positions due to the “quotas,” does that make me a razakar? Competing and proving one’s worth should be the call of the day.
After 47 years, if the families of the martyrs still seek such kind of benefits, I don’t think it is acceptable.
Instead, they should all teach at home what the spirit of the Liberation War is, and also how to spread the message from generation to generation in a country where pro-Pakistanis and razakars continue to remain “influential,” in some cases.
The mission of the families of martyrs should be to get rid of these elements from the country, and especially out of important decision-making positions, where they can harm our great journey forward under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s term.
If anybody is already screaming after reading this, it is OK; as you have the right of your freedom of expression, and I have mine too.
Nadeem Qadir is a UN Dag Hammarskjold Fellow in journalism.