Minhazul Anwar Mridul
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Shakespeare's famous protagonist Hamlet first uttered the well-known dialogue to his close associate Horatio more than four hundred years ago, which still can be related with our country and national politics, though in a modified way. It can be said that at present there are more things in Bangladeshi politics, than are dreamt of even in our worst nightmare.
Probably our politicians love the country too much, more than the mass people. But the humble citizens are quite ordinary to perceive the real nature of that deep love. There is a famous Bangla quote that in translation means - deep love does not always binds the stakeholders or parties concerned, but sometimes places them poles apart. Unfortunately, the second one is true in the context of our country.
So, when the politicians of the developed as well as developing nations are relentlessly busy with affirmative projects to cure ills like global financial meltdown, poverty, hunger, inflation, unemployment, terrorism, climate change etc, the majority of politicians in Bangladesh, willingly or unwillingly, have overwhelmingly succumbed to various self-destructive activities that are in turn taking the country back or at least hindering its forward march.
It is said that ghosts do walk backward because of the reverse structure of their foot. There might be a possibility that some of our present political leaders, being spiritually dead, resemble closely with spectres rather than humans, and they also treat the countrymen as their homogenous. Therefore, they prefer 'one step forward and two steps backward' as the ultimate motto of all their plans and activities taken for countrymen.
Besides engaging in highly confrontational politics, our favourite politicians are failing to rise above their self-centredness, and not showing the minimum respect or at least tolerance to their rivals. They are literary treating the country, its land and water (and probably air also) and all the things that exist within its territory as their own properties, as well as its inhabitants as their bands of slaves, left exclusively to them by their noble ancestors.
Many of the politicians, while virtually sacrificing their lives several times during their speeches just for the sake of countrymen, send their hard-earned money as well as dearest off-springs abroad forever, so that they need not bother much about what would happen to the country in future. Above all, the politicians have shown their utmost ingenuity in dividing the nation into some arch-rival groups. The gulf between these groups is ever-increasing, and unity among them seems quite elusive even for the sake of national interest.
It will not be too exaggerated to accuse this vicious cycle of politics as the Mephistopheles or major evil or root cause behind almost all the existing problems of Bangladesh. The people of this country, though unwillingly, have been severely tormented in the turmoil of this cycle of politics. And it is definitely affecting the young generation or the Gen Y (roughly speaking, the population born between the late 70s and late 90s) most.
An in-depth analysis into the psyche of the Gen Y may reveal diversified pathways and attitudes. Some of them seem to be hardcore careerists and hyper materialists, some are following cultures blindly other than their own and trying to prove themselves as worthy global citizens, and some of them are trying to cope somehow with the vicissitudes of life and manage their existence. Besides, some are seriously baffled amid the cross-currents, not quite sure of what to do and are just thoughtlessly floating with the flow even without knowing what would be their next destination, while some others, probably too vulnerable to bear the harsh realities, have become escapists and taken resort to various negativities.
It was not too long ago, even in the 1950s, 60s and to some extent in 70s, when meritorious or students of better calibre used to come to politics and lead the nation in all hard times, as was seen in 1952, 1962, 1969 and in 1971. However, with the passing of time the trend has almost reversed, and those golden days of ideological and constructive student politics are totally gone with the wind.
Nowadays good students are as a whole awfully scared of politics. But, as the nature does not like to keep any vacuum, so pseudo-students, non-students or armed cadres are now dominating the arena of student politics in all institutions across the country.
These so-called students, brainwashed and patronised by their political godfathers, are entering politics with a mercenary attitude. To them, politics is not a path to engage oneself in the welfare of countrymen, rather it is the magic lamp, from which a wish-master comes and fulfils all their basic necessities and thus ensures a good present and better future for themselves and their upcoming generations. Thus these hoodlums, who were pawns at the hands of their godfather, are gradually metamorphosising into Frankensteins and whole-heartedly devoting themselves to the art of intensifying the level of anarchy in the country.
As an aftermath, on the one hand, good students are getting more and more disconnected from and disillusioned of politics, and treating it as a dreadful monster from which to maintain a safe distance. On the other hand, the situation of student politics is worsening and the quality of future leaders is deteriorating day by day in the absence of quality input. Thus, student politics, itself a victim of national politics, is contributing to the vicious cycle of politics. So, the future prospect of the country, once termed as the 'Emerging Tiger' or now included in the 'Next Eleven', is often getting shrouded with uncertainty.
Now the question is how long our politicians will continue to play the part of the blind, dumb and deaf. Without shaking off their filthy and obnoxious politics and without purging themselves of their idiosyncrasies they will never be able to take the country to the golden shore of its destiny, where it definitely deserves to reach. The wake-up bell for the politicians has started ringing, as the members of the Gen Y want them to be heard, more earnestly than ever before. So, the youths are vigorously expressing themselves - their thoughts, hopes, aspirations, dreams, frustrations, disgusts etc - through various mediums.
The sooner the politicians get rid of their willing inertia, and make a firm choice between darkness and light as well as development and self-destruction, the better. Nevertheless, if the politicians cannot break the vicious cycle of politics and show the next generation at least some rays of hope, it is not far away that they will definitely be binned and remembered long for their cruel callousness. Are they waiting for that? The choice is entirely theirs.
Minhazul Anwar Mridul is a news consultant at The Financial Express and an Assistant Professor at Department of English Studies, State University of Bangladesh. E-mail : email@example.com