Striking A Chord
Running on 'Chaos'
A black flag hoisted at a building at Nimtoli in Old Dhaka in June last year. A 117 people were killed in the blaze that ripped through the area.
Recently, the government enforced a ban on begging on the streets and is trying very hard to eliminate it completely within the next five years. In fact, the High Court, last week, had issued a set of directives upon the government to stop abduction and maiming of children and forcing them into begging on the streets of Dhaka. This step taken towards the betterment and development of the society by the authorities is highly welcomed and will definitely motivate others to do the same. In spite of the fact that children have been begging for years on the streets of Dhaka city, this ban was issued after the graphic descriptions of maiming children and then using them for begging on the streets and prostitution were revealed. The members of the gang (that was caught by the RAB officials) mentioned incidents where an eight-year old child from Jessore was stuffed, by the gang, in a large aluminium pot for six months, so that they could cripple the boy and use him for begging. In another incident Korban, one of the gang members, mentioned abducting and raping young girls and then forcing them into sex trade.
One wonders why the very obvious seems to come under notice only after a chaos is let loose in the country. For instance, the series of deaths of young girls caused by 'eve-teasing' last year left everyone enraged, which led to the government forming special mobile courts stationed outside girls' schools and colleges. Sexual harassment of women on the streets, loosely termed as 'eve-teasing' by many, has been a part of our society for decades. In fact, 'eve-teasing' would often be romanticised in movies and also on television fictions, where the girl would eventually fall in love with her 'eve-teaser', and in many cases live happily ever after.
And this is the way the story goes here. Private university students go wild after a sudden tuition hike. Tuition hikes in private universities were always normal and pleas and petitions would not convince the authorities to take back their decision. Finally last year, students revolt and break cars to prove their point. The authorities too, step back and bail out of their tuition hike plans.
If creating a chaos is the only way to get noticed here, then one wonders as to how many incidents of domestic violence have to occur before the government finally issues laws and policies to protect the domestic workers. Another Nimtoli blaze would probably have the government think of finally issuing a law to have a proper fire escape in every home and office building. One more building leans and crashes to the ground killing hundreds and we are all set to have strict laws for regular inspections on construction sites. As the American author Henry Miller says, “Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.”