We cannot let the guard down
The future of a country depends on the success and failure of its citizens in taking vital decisions at the right time. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wanted to bring economic liberty for the people through socialism. He wanted to bring such gigantic social and economic changes in the highest interest of the country and its people. But some critics say this noble attempt required first the building of proper foundations through creating national consciousness or a mental revolution, which, in case of Bangladesh, would mean the Bangalee-Jatiotabadi consciousness.
It was a proper time to transform the national psyche towards such a movement. Instead of taking that route whole-heartedly, the then administration was criticized for appeasing religious fundamentalism and engaging in building relationship with Pakistan and other nations which opposed the very independence of Bangladesh. Allegedly, truly friendly nations, like India and Soviet Union, started deserting Bangladesh in that period.
Unfortunately, no one learns from the history. Today. religious fundamentalism is poised to threaten positive politics in Bangladesh. History tells us that a mixture of religion and politics may work for a while in a monolithic society, but it will become explosive as an admixture in a non-monolithic society. The pressure is on Bangladesh to move away from the secular ideals of Bangalee-Jatiotabad, and the result is right before our very eyes.
Sometime, political parties may think they will only come to power using religious fundamentalism, and then shun it. The Awami League might have considered such policies at times. Former Pakistani President Musharaf will attest to this statement as well. Even, USA will attest to it; they created Taliban and Al-Qaida. You know what happened after that. The fact is once the Jinni is out of the bottle, it cannot be put back. Therefore, such duplicity will never work; it’s against the natural rule.
Politics is not a faith, it’s a science; it follows certain laws. For correct and sustainable results one needs to apply correct formula consistently. For example, religious fundamentalism will create conflict in a non-monolithic society, and it will push the society backward. You won’t need to be a genius to figure it out; it’s dictated by social and political laws.
Religious fundamentalism is driven by illusions, not by reality. Even communism/socialism is partly illusion based, without much logic. It is true one can organize a society using such illusions. Hitler did it, and it worked for a while. Religious fundamentalism will also work for a while, no doubt, but it is bound to hit the reality at some point.
World today has become very small. If someone makes a noise at one corner, the sound reaches the other corner . Even geographical boundary does not mean much today. People share same thought instantly around the world. There is no universal apptrciation for religious fundamentalism in this new day and age.
Bangladesh was born out of a secular spirit, and it was at the forefront of this new age. Unfortunately, what happened to this new country is really a sad story. The country is now considerably under the sway of religious fundamentalism, which is against the Bangalee-Jatiotabad.
Religious fundamentalists are ashamed of being Bangalee; they want to destroy Bangalee culture and instill a foreign culture in its place. They want to go back to the pre-independence era of exploitation. They know full well they cannot succeed as long as Bangalee-Jatiotabadi sentiment is alive in Bangladesh.
Ziaur Rahman wanted to introduce Bangladeshi-Jatiotabad in an attempt to erase Bangalee-Jatiotabad. The fact is – there is nothing called Bangladeshi-Jatiotabad, it’s a fake Jatiotabad. His argument was there are other ethnic groups in Bangladesh, and he wanted to be fair to them. Actually, that was a lame excuse on his part to try to erase Banglaee-Jatiotabad.
Since 99% of Bagladeshis are Bangalees ethnically , and we have religious sectorial divisions, only glue that can unite this majority is the Bangalee-Jatiotabadi consciousness. There is no alternative to this option to achieve this goal. We need some leaders who can make this case to the people, and say, without hesitation, Joy Bangla, and Joy Bangalee-Jatiotabad in front of the crowd. This is the only medicine that can cure Bangladesh from the illness of religious fundamentalism.
Religious fundamentalism is a social cancer. Even if we cannot cure Bangladesh from this dreadful disease, we may be able to manage it, if we act early enough. If we wait too long, this disease will spread so much that it will become unmanageable. Some people may think that we have our country, why we need secular idea. But it’s not enough that you have planted a tree; you need to water it and protect it from diseases. The story is the same here. We may have Bangladesh, but it needs nursing and care. Bangalee-Jatiotabad is the fertilizer that will keep Bangladesh lush and vibrant. Bangladesh is independent, but the enemies of independence are not sitting idle.
So, those who are for the independence cannot let the guard down. Sometime ago, the uncivilized activities and opposition planned by so called Islamists centered on Indian PM Narendra Modi’s coming to Dhaka, was a case in point. How resurgent these so called Islamists feel and how dangerously anarchic they can be in their behaviour or intent, was manifest in their declared plan to stop the Indian PM from coming to Dhaka.