Saturday, June 15, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

The road to victory

All we do is wait and wait

Update : 10 Mar 2020, 06:16 PM

As I sit down to write this, I can’t help but dread my commute today. 

It’s not because the traffic is especially bad on this particular day of the week or anything, but because of one recurring road that I find myself plying on my way to and from work every day:

Bijoy Sarani. 

I’m fairly certain that the name alone is enough to trigger a shiver down the spines of many, as it is perhaps the most notorious intersection in the entire city of Dhaka -- notorious for its gross mismanagement of oncoming traffic; for its absolute state of confusion when it comes to direction; and the palpable, simmering sense of anger that threatens to make one burst out of whatever vehicle they are in and just end it all. 

Maybe that last bit is just me. 

However, upon wasting what feels like an eternity on the cursed intersection, I can now proclaim -- with justified conviction -- that if there is any area indicative of where we are as a nation, where we are headed, it is indeed Bijoy Sarani. 

Stalled, confused, and angry -- three of the most common states of the average Bangladeshi.

But what else can you expect from a people who have no choice but to engage in an endless wait as the nation finally goes from red to green? 

The Mass Rapid Transit (or metro for the layperson) is supposed to revolutionize the way we commute, they say; it would reduce our daily transit from multiple hours to mere minutes.

And yet the development of the project itself is, ironically, in need of such a catalyst, with no end in sight and the seemingly haphazard way the system is being all but wedged into our already-crumbling roads. 

Are the existing long hours even worth the potential shorter minutes? 

“Bijoy Sarani,” the name roughly translates to “road to victory” -- but there is very little victory to be found in the waiting line with millions of others as you watch a wide swath of the road adjacent (or opposite) get cleared by chumps in uniform for some “gobment shaheb” in a decked-out, all-black SUV, waving the red and green of the traffic lights in the form of a little flag affixed to their imposing vehicle of choice. 

All we can do is wait, wait for a day when “bijoy” will actually mean something for the average Bangladeshi, and not just the ones who have the power to define what it means.

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

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