What does progress mean for a country like Bangladesh?
It is an undeniable fact that Bangladesh is growing at an unfathomable and miraculous speed. The branding of the country in women employment, peacekeeping, and micro-financing are signs of global recognition of a developing nation graduating to a middle-income country. Bangladesh draws global attention through its progress in agriculture, communication, industrial, and informational sectors.
The diversification of agricultural products has served the booming population. Internal distance has been defeated by not only communicational infrastructure development but also by the mechanization of all modes of communication. One who visits a village after a long time would now find it difficult to distinguish it from a town.
Development is the currency for the government to secure power, and the citizens choose their government believing that they will carry the promises of development.
Has the power of development and its yield reached out to the people? Can all sectors of people draw benefit of the development that the country reached in rational share? Do people believe that the country has developed and do they contribute in carrying it further?
There is a need to cross-examine how a tiny segment of population highjack the development from the rest, and how an informed group of people project their country in an international forum to win fame.
The reality of our development is in how the farmers survive, how the expatriates are living abroad to contribute to the national remittance, and how the labours sweat behind the machines to drive the export earning wheel.
Interestingly, the informed people of the country who make films and sell art in the international forum is the portrayal of this scenario, to ignorantly convince the world of the opposite picture of development.
The reputed filmmakers create art movies to take to the international festival in order to earn an individual award. But seldom they realize that they portray the underdeveloped state of the living of people to eventually damage the national developmental picture.
The movie Matir Moyna, which earned several international awards, was actually a portrayal of the country living in its dark ages. The film shows a Bangladeshi father as a conservative Muslim opting to send his son to an Islamic school in order to shelter him from the worldly influences of the 1960s.
Another film Television reflects an un-pragmatic scenario of an area of Bangladesh where technologies like the television were banned by the local leader under religious reasons.
But the current image of a village as mentioned before justifies the character of our country as to how to accommodate religion and culture, as well as modernity, as opposed to what was portrayed in these films.
A more recent film Komola Rocket, which is a Netflix production mind you, is a portrayal of a dramatic story of an eventful steamer ride. It shows Mosharaf Karim playing the role of a broker to arrange benefits to passengers from the steamer authority, while Taukir plays a first-class passenger trying to disappear after burning down his factory to claim insurance money. The crowded journey by the steamer depicts the deplorable state of communication, as well as the unscrupulous characters of businessmen.
Let the psyche of our people develop, and let care for national glory replace individual greed, and let us harness collective efforts to further our national development.
Only then would our farmers, expatriates, and labours be able to herald the development flag and hoist it atop our neighbours.
AF Jaglul Ahmed is a contributor.