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Dhaka Tribune

The consequences of national greed

Update : 23 Jul 2013, 04:33 AM

Forty-two years into independence, we Bangladeshis have excelled at one thing above all others: hatred. We now stand as a nation divided. Hefazatis hate Shahbaghis, Shahbaghis hate Hefazatis; supporters of the two major political parties hate each other; people originating from certain districts of the country hate people originating from other districts; brothers will come to hate brothers over petty matters such as land disputes. Acute hatred seems to be a prevalent and incurable disease within this country.

In our country, the rich hate the poor. Perhaps that statement was a little too strong; most people, because of the strange social system we live in, hate the idea of being poor.

So chances are, if you are poor, you will be in a mad struggle to become as rich as possible.

You will be in a mad rush to hoard as much money as possible, be it through illegal means such as cutting trees in protected areas; contaminating food; receiving bribes for low quality work; building low quality buildings, bridges and roads to stash away the extra amount of money – essentially through any possible dishonest and unethical way of earning money.

There is hardly any fear of getting caught, since you are aware of the fact that, even if you do get caught for your misdeeds, there would surely be a way to “manage" – that is, clear yourself of the accusations or punishments that you deserve – by giving enough bribes in the right places. Sadly enough, that is currently the norm in our country.

Furthermore, interestingly enough, a famous Bengali proverb relating to this has now become completely obsolete, if not literally then in practice: “Poralekha kore je, garighora chore shey." Translated, this means that in order to be rich and successful, you need to study hard.

Unfortunately, this saying is no longer true in our country, with the majority of those who are rich and successful today either being corrupt officials/businessmen or ill-educated political goons. This inspires other people to behave in the same way, taking the quick money route regardless of the morals they leave by the wayside.

What these people fail to comprehend is that the more you amass an unfair share of money for yourself, the more deprived people you will see, which will push them towards crime and violence – which affects everyone. All major religions, including Islam, encourage charity, and not only because it is a “good deed" but also because it brings social harmony. Therefore, we have a vested interest in seeing more equality.

The larger the gap between the rich and the poor – the haves and have-nots – the more crimes and other socio-economic problems the country will face and the less unity you can expect within the populace.

Incidents of cars and other vehicles being vandalised or broken down on the streets are becoming increasingly common these days.

Although it is a despicable act and it is very easy to write them off as terrible acts that “should not” have been done, did any one bother to ask what caused these people to become so agitated or to behave so irrationally?

Perhaps it is the hatred they have for the super-rich in the country, who are happy to sport their most luxurious cars and SUVs in a country where many people live below the poverty line.

Although the government, non-governmental organisations and some other people have come forward to improve poverty alleviation, the effort seems hardly sufficient given the fact that so much poverty and suffering still remains in this country. Most of us, it seems, are too busy with our own lives, running in our mad rush towards more, more and more money!

All of us need to come forward, in whichever way we can, to help people rise up out of poverty; by getting ourselves involved in more community outreach programmes, teaching the uneducated so that they may become self-sufficient, giving as much as we can to the poor, living a humble and less luxurious lifestyle, and in any other way we can. Together, I believe, we can alleviate the poverty in this country and prosper as a nation. 

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