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OP-ED: Surreptitious shenanigans

  • Published at 02:05 am October 24th, 2021
protests against communal violence
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Communities must reach out to the Hindu faithful and re-build faith in humanity

The concept of communal harmony has never been delved into deeply enough so as to come to a conclusion whereby peaceful co-existence prevails. Devilish politicians, self-interest seekers, and power-hungry religious bigots have for too long been allowed to push ahead with reprehensible policies, often unspoken and unwritten, that only hit at the heart of such a concept. 

Added to that is the atheists that prefer putting a spin on belief. Slowly but surely, they have succeeded in eating away at the vestiges of faith forcing a silent but dangerous move by religious groups that are just as reprehensible. Squashed in between are those who would like to pursue a belief, limited as they are by their understanding of such beliefs.

So much for the slogans of religions sitting side by side. Traditions can’t be changed by statements alone. Living the values of the world is as important as existentialism of faith. Making the world a better place as promised by the unique benefits of science and technology is beginning to pale. On the contrary, science has reached a stage wherein its practitioners almost take on a guise of supremacy. 

Unbeknownst, there are more sinister activities in close-knit groups that combine belief with mystique that are at play. These secret societies are run by impressive minds devoted to ideals that aren’t for the many. 

Feasting on the resultant confusion are the equally sinister intelligence agencies endorsed and maintained by all countries. Ostensibly there to protect the interest of their countries, such agencies are given latitude that overrides rule of law, jungle or otherwise. The Lord Macaulay type shattering of education, culture, and belief in order to rule can no longer exist in the overt. 

The recourse is in the covert, using all means available -- muscle, money, business, and intimidation. Exceptionally gifted in the way they merge with public life, they are almost impossible to pick out. One of the ways they operate is under innocent-looking public banners. The good to society at large does at times earn plaudits, such as the combined effort of law enforcers under the umbrella of the FBI that enabled a simultaneous hit on the drug trade internationally. It took years of effort to breach the carefully guarded inner circle to do so. Just as difficult was exposing the Panama goings-on revealing how the rich and powerful use tax havens to siphon their wealth. 

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that such an exercise, for all that it exposed, wasn’t as shocking to the world. People aren’t fools, and find little of being consequential, especially when it comes to political corruption. It’s when strikes on belief take place that there’s cause for worry. 

The recent stark communalism in different parts of the country didn’t happen by chance. There are too many questions with few being asked. The abject failure of intelligence, administration, and local political leadership is one of them. With proper steps, the despicable could have been prevented. Nonetheless, the deeper convection, that of a total breakdown of tolerance, is what has emerged as being of greater concern. 

Rumours are dangerous. Provocative acts are more so. Who and to what objective such acts were committed become of great import. Probed deeply enough, the answers may be as unpalatable as they may be a sucker punch. The blank and bewildered faces of those that have been left devastated wrenches the heart. Salves that offer succour can never remove the utter trauma that will leave scars of bitterness. 

The human chains and mostly city-based protests won’t mean anything till there is integration, appreciation, and understanding spreads throughout the country. Unless the influential in communities can rise to the Herculean but not impossible to address issues when they pop up, there will be more rather than less in future. 

Religious leaders have the most significant role in demystifying aspects of their preachings and build trust. If faith is true, a Qur’an in a temple, a Gita in a mosque, a Bible in a monastery, or a Tripitak in a church should be welcomed rather than light the spark of dissent. All of these scriptures seek the truth of creation; they don’t subscribe to differentiation. 

The rituals may differ and appear to clash. The deeper reflections point to unravelling the knots through mutual respect. Above all, sanity rather than radicalism must prevail. Mankind is the greatest creation of He who is given different names in different faiths. Humanity must win over prejudiced and jaundiced views. 

Communities must reach out to the Hindu faithful and re-build faith in humanity. Those that provoke the peace deserve the rod in no uncertain terms. It takes all kinds of people to make this world. Those that stir trouble, the surreptitious, have to be exposed for what they are -- pitiable.

 Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.

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