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Standing in the way of progress

  • Published at 11:41 pm March 26th, 2019
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Complacency usually gives way to oppression

An ageing population can be a dangerous thing.

We are, indeed, grateful for their service during their nation’s darkest hours, the role they played in liberating their land -- but countries change, problems escalate, the needs and rights of the people progress.

All the while the leaders of yore grow old, their perspectives harden, their cognition slows down, and soon enough they are all but required to be put to pasture, lest they limit the potential of the very land they helped liberate.

It is a tale as old as the men and women who are currently occupying the highest seats of our government, in our educational institutes, and various other vital arms of the state.

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Lieutenant General Ziaur Rahman are two personalities that practically all of our current politicians are still adamantly imitating, in vain attempts to try and emulate their political success.

But the war for liberation died decades ago, we have a nation of our own now, and the only oppression to be found anywhere is the one we are imparting on our own people.

There is very little point in looking back anymore.

Age does not automatically translate into wisdom, nor experience into intellect. The cliches that we were taught growing up have done nothing but stifled our progress at best and pushed us to the edge of oblivion at worst.

Our youth are either relegated to a life of meaninglessness, or are being groomed and primed into becoming the old leaders of tomorrow: Student politicians is what we call them for now.

But how long can the status quo be maintained?

If history is anything to go by, complacency is usually followed by oppression, and oppression followed by revolution. And revolution is usually the domain of the young.

But perhaps we are already witnessing the seeds of revolution take root?

Last year, we observed a historic student-led movement demanding safer roads for all, a movement that was as peaceful as it was constructive. But the old guard found something to be offended by that as well.

They found a way to politicize and incentivize a call for public good, muddying the waters in a bid to use the ensuing mess to their advantage. And it worked.

Young men and women are still dying out on the streets, and any current protests sound feeble and misguided. The desire to maintain decorum and a false sense of gravitas trumped the need for change -- and thus the old ways are maintained. 

Rubaiyat Kabir is an Editorial Assistant at the Dhaka Tribune. He can be followed on Twitter @moreanik.