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Dhaka Tribune

Time for the youth to take the reins

Update : 21 Apr 2013, 07:03 PM

Bangladesh needs you. Yes, I am talking to you - the next generation. When the entire country around us goes down in a tailspin, the onus lies on you and me to pull it back. The older generation has failed to live up to Bangladesh’s founding dreams; you and I need must pull things back together. Such a feat is only possible if we can learn to overcome our differences and work together towards a shared purpose.

Nowadays, political conversations are everywhere. More precisely, the political failures. I wonder how much time our intellectuals lose every day talking, debating and analysing differing viewpoints. Maybe I wouldn’t have said ‘lose’ had those conversations resulted in tangible improvements. Unfortunately, it’s still the same old drama, beating about the bush.

In moments of such crisis, the younger generation needs to step up. As the torchbearers, we need to find new and non-traditional ways of intervening in the system to clear up this horrible mess.

The first step is to create a strong linkage between young people from diverse backgrounds: from different social, educational and religious backgrounds. In today’s Bangladesh, we find significant discrepancies in terms of values, ideals and aspirations among these groups. Unfortunate as that may sound, it is the bitter reality we face.

Why is it so hard to imagine youths from different backgrounds come and work together? Has it really become the norm? Can’t we do anything to overcome this initial crucial barrier to bridging the gap? Perhaps the answer lies in exploring and establishing a more tolerant and liberal mind-set.

As the former director of a youth leadership institute, I have worked first-hand with English, Bangla and Madrassa students on a common platform. Watching them share the same classroom, engage in meaningful discourse, and participate in team-building activities, I have gained ample insight to believe that a brighter future rests on an inclusive young community. Having said that, I certainly do not state that disparities do not arise. But when they do, those involved should attempt to solve the disparities with respect. Note that the key word here is respect.

Imagine a generation that is bound by shared values and where respect is an undertone for any communication. Imagine a society, driven by a united young force, beyond ‘dirty politics’, which is ready to commit time and energy cautiously and effectively. Most importantly, a generation that genuinely cares about the nation’s development.

A collaborative approach to learning will help break traditional thinking and create enduring friendships. Friendships that transcend all differences, resulting in a renewed spirit of hope and enthusiasm. In present-day Bangladesh, facilitation of more such platforms is the way forward.

Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish, is the managing director of LightCastle Partners.



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