| September 18th, 2007

* am i a good or a bad bangladeshi ?

This blog is a response to Ms. Tahiat-e-Mahbooba’s article “Am I a Bad Bangladeshi” printed on Lifestyle, a supplement of the Daily Star newspaper on August 28th, 2007. What is an ideal attitude towards Bangladesh for all its citizens? I found this to be a dilemma which is part of all Bangladeshis, whether living in Bangladesh or at a foreign country. The topic of my blog is what do we feel about our country, and living here? And explore the younger generation’s logic of choosing a life in a foreign country over Bangladesh.

We at Adhunika thought of opening the floor for discussion with the article itself my Ms. Mahboob 1st, but I proposed to write something as a respond to her article with a link to it. I was thrilled to read one response to the article under discussion on the following issue of Lifestyle by Quazi Zulquarnain Islam named “Desh on a Dish”. I am putting both the links up so that the readers have an idea of both the pieces.

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“Am I a Bad Bangladeshi?”
http://www.thedailystar.net/lifestyle/2007/08/04/page04.htm

 

“Desh on a Dish”
http://www.thedailystar.net/lifestyle/2007/09/01/page03.htm

 

The 1st article questions the ability of Bangladesh to provide its citizens with the basic needs of SAFETY, WELFARE & FREEDOM and expresses the notion of today’s globalized world where “I” comes before “WE & “US”, trying to justify one’s desire of choosing a SAFER, FREER & better WELFARE providing country over Bangladesh.

 

The response to the article by Mr. Islam went to the core factor which seems to be lacking in most Bangladeshis, that we have become so individualistic that we want our country to provide us with everything that we desire for us to show patriotism. We no longer want to devote our lives to help Bangladesh achieve those qualities which we want from the country, but want others to make sure the country attains those and then want to return only to enjoy the amenities!

 

Being in the academia, it is interesting to notice how such mentality was expected to be the outcome of the Modernization Theory launched in the 1950’s which said all traditional countries must follow the footsteps of the west to become modern and satisfy all its citizen’s needs. A simpler explanation would be that once an individual from a developing county used to having water as their only drink tastes western Coke and Pepsi, they will not want to go back to the tasteless water. Although the theory has been disputed by many scholars around the world, from the 1st article it is obvious that many Bangladeshis are following the over 50 year old theory in the 21st century. Again failing to use it in a constructive way, trying to produce better lifestyles in the country instead of going to a country already providing a better lifestyle.

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Expressions, such as considering one’s country to be a “chart topper” for its problems, and lacking the security of another country is prevalent among many Bangladeshis. But instead of trying to find solutions to the problems and constantly comparing relatively newly independent Bangladesh with countries which does not have historical background of colonization, and such a recent independence war only shows how narrow our thought processes have become in todayâ’s day and age. I cannot blame anyone else but ourselves to have failed to grow patriotic and constructive thoughts among the adolescents of the country.

In our society everyone who has built a life abroad is considered to be someone to look up to, no matter what kind of a lifestyle they are leading abroad. Most our good students want to go abroad and stay back, leaving the country in the hands of the mediocre to do whatever they think is best for it, yet never give up the chance to victimize them for all the negatives that occur in the country and ignore the constructive. If you are not going to contribute in making your country a better place, then you should not have any right to criticize it either. If you have chosen to take your expertise in a certain sector and sell to a different country who already has a solid base just for a larger paycheck and certain superficial securities then live your selfish life and stop trying to put down your country at every instance. We would rather forget about your lot and invest in and appreciate the larger share of the mediocre ones who are left here with a stronger sense of belonging and devotion.

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I must also mention, not all who leave the country refuse to come back, nor everyone who is living abroad are ignorant about their country’s development. Many I see around me has been abroad for a higher degree and are back in Dhaka working here full time. Also many who live abroad are contributing is many ways to make Bangladesh’s social structure better than before.

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Let’s have some constructive and committed solutions to the problems of Bangladesh through this blog, and prove that most of the new generation is still eager to see their country develop and flourish while and make a positive mark in the world order. Lets not just keep going on and on about the problems but also mention some of the strengths of Bangladesh.

 

3 Responses to “* am i a good or a bad bangladeshi ?”

  1. Fariha Sarawat says:

    nazia,
    just providing some more food fr the debate. read this and if you like it, link it in the main post
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200701220027

  2. Oneza says:

    Nazia, thanks for bringing the issue. Let’s set aside our frustrations. Here are some of my thoughts.

    Generally speaking, referrring to the original article I don’t think criticizing some social problems makes anyone a “Bad Bangladeshi”. The point is how we try to address those problems. To help rebuild a country one doesn’t always have to physically be there. I think many expatriates can, and are contributing more by staying abroad. Almost everyone I know who are abroad are involved in some kind of development works in Bangladesh.

    However, it is worth for expatriates who have great potentials and entrepreneur skills to give it a try. Not everyone can be like Dr. Yunus, or Dr. Zafar Iqbal moving back to Bangladesh and making a huge difference in the society. But I think if I can contribute my little share, that will make a difference.

    Then again, let’s not leave out the people who are already there in Bangladesh. Let’s bring everyone in the boat to take their fare share in redeveloping the nation.

  3. Sharmin Islam says:

    Very good point Oneza. Some people, like my own father for instance, didn’t really have much choice but to leave Bangladesh in the early eighties. There were not many opportunities in his field at the time (nuclear engineering)and he also had to financially help out his large extended family. He had to support many of his younger brothers and sisters who were still unmarried at the time and in their school going years, not to mention his own nuclear family.

    Actually, for my father (and for many other Bangladeshi expatriates like him, e.g. those who drive taxis in N.Y), getting a job abroad enabled him to better provide for his whole immediate and large extended family. My grandmother became a widow at an early age and without any formal education, could not work. If my father had not helped out, many of my chachas and phupies would not have been able to go on to college, get jobs, get established, etc.

    I don’t think that my father’s choice to leave Bangladesh back then makes him a “bad Bangladeshi”. At least the food he provided for all of us to eat and any luxury we enjoyed was earned through his honest and hard work. I know that there are many honest people in Bangladesh, but there are also those who earn money in not such an honest way. So just because they are living in Bangladesh (but are doing corrupt and immoral things) does not automatically make them a “good Bangladeshi” either, just because they are working back home.

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Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more

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