Friday, June 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

The dark side of Dhaka

Update : 14 May 2017, 08:21 PM

The recent Banani rape case seems to have opened a can of worms, so to speak. Reportedly, the alleged perpetrators have said that they used to hold raves quite often.

The fact is right before our eyes: Dhaka’s nightlife has seen a disreputable transition in the last decade, where rather innocuous and loud sessions at a local bar have been taken over by all-night euphoria parties, with heavy usage of drugs.

The drug at the centre of it all is none other than yaba, the methamphetamine-based tablet, which, in local lingo, is called “baba” or the “pink pinik.”

I read almost all the reports related to the Banani incident and in one, a line struck me. Reportedly, the alleged had confessed to the girls that, since they were high on yaba, they did not have any control over their senses.

Materialism plus a deadly drug

These are the words which everyone should be taking seriously -- the drug provides instant adrenaline plus a sense of invincibility, leading takers to venture into risky escapades.

There is an outcry underlining the decay of moral values all around, not only due to this rape, but after the shattering suicide of a father and daughter, when the girl’s violators were roaming about freely despite a complaint lodged with the police.

We do accept that with hard-core materialism setting in, society in general has become somewhat vacuous. However, in directing our wrath against a decadent outlook, one of the real causes fueling such extreme ideology often remains untouched.

The tale of these two young men and the unfortunate women is not an isolated one. In this city, after dark, rave sessions happen almost regularly. With plenty of disposable cash, young people from affluent backgrounds organise exclusive parties where admission is restricted.

Under the protection of reputable hotels, inside closed doors, hedonism with all its deviant forms, is unleashed.

The young becoming vicious

Regrettably, a lot of young women attend these gatherings fully knowing that drugs will flow freely.

We come back once more to a vicious youth culture, triggered by a desire for instant gratification, which has developed insidiously in the last decade.

“Living life” is what this is called among the young. They flout social norms because they have grown up seeing the unassailable power of political influence supported by money.

We do accept that with hard-core materialism setting in, society in general has become somewhat vacuous. However, in directing our wrath against a decadent outlook, one of the real causes fueling such extreme ideology often remains untouched

To ferret out the causes of the Banani incident and the rape of the village girl, we have to go back to our social credo which has, over the years, solidified a belief that once there is power and wealth, immunity is almost guaranteed.

Purists are slamming social degradation but let’s be more specific here: How many times have we seen people in authority facing corruption charges brought to justice?

Subconsciously, the social zeitgeist teaches us to be courteous to the political party student leader, irrespective of the allegations of extortion against them. At the same time, we become servile to those in power, desperately hoping to exploit possible links to authority to advance one’s own social position.

Questionable family values

Dhor, maar, kha (grab, exploit, and enjoy), is the unwritten social mantra. Some coat it with pseudo morals and platitudes, whereas others are too brazen to resort to any facades.

In this toxic sub-culture that has impacted a large section of urban youth, amorality is the guiding force. This is the case because a lot of young people have seen exactly this sort of unethical convictions nurtured within the family circle.

Many parents wave aside the all-night parties, calling them “young people having fun.” Nothing wrong in having a good time though with the presence of yaba at almost all levels of society, there has to be some vigilance over such social gatherings.

In many such all-night extravaganzas, substance abuse is done as an act of bravado. Women are also involved, because in the trade of this drug, they have proven to be the best medium.

Countless young women, peddling the drug, later became addicts themselves. Caught in the vicious circle of yaba, traditional restrictions about sexual intimacy crumble, leading to a murky world of abuse.

Permissive attitude of parents, a ferocious belief that “money is king” propagated within the family circles, plus an ingrained conviction that wealth can solve all problems are the culprits here.

Youth sub-cultures to be monitored

Like I said earlier; having fun is not a problem. Young people will have some wild moments, try something unorthodox. This happens everywhere in the world.

The attention needs to be given when drugs are becoming a normal ingredient in a youthful gathering.

Young members of influential families are often in the news, either they have beaten somebody up, or opened fire at a public space, or drove recklessly. Over time, we get a feeling that these youngsters are never reprimanded by their families, which acts as a covert go-ahead.

Common sense states, when we see elders mocking values and becoming nonchalant about bending laws or exploiting a situation, youngsters won’t learn much.

The alleged rapists are now in custody. However, one feels that their guardians also need to be questioned thoroughly as to how they brought up their children.

What we have seen so far is frantic attempts by the families to safeguard their sons.

This is normal behaviour, but if the case of rape is proven, then they need to come forward and condemn the acts, accept the sentence.

That way, they will have set an example.

Towheed Feroze is a journalist working in the development sector.

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