|Volume 5 Issue 05 | May 2011|
On western democracy and dogma
It must be something about the air around Boston: Samuel P. Huntington, purveyor of vast generalisations about Islam, was a Harvard man.
Now we have Dr. Jalal Alamgir spreading equally vast, and equally silly, generalisations about "The West". Except that, as far as one can tell from his article, The West = The United States of America. To be fair, it seems he means a certain segment of the policy wonks and punditry of the traditional elites, particularly around the Capital.
Just as Islam is made up of many peoples and many related beliefs, so "The West" -- west of whom, and where is the dividing line? -- is made up of a number of nations, very few of whom have ever subscribed to the three great fallacies he attributes to them. If one only counts the political scientists' West, that involves about 24 nations: North America has three, at least one of which has a large Muslim population, oil of its own and is well aware that Islam and democracy are completely compatible.
The majority of nations in western Europe and North America are well aware of the economic realities of oil, the dangers of right wing dictatorships and the variety of political systems which Islamic populations have created. We are also, which Dr. Alamgir is apparently not, aware of our political, social and intellectual differences both with the US and with each other. While it is true that the majority of the US policy establishment seems to think that their nation is all that makes up "The West" -- or the only part that matters -- the rest of us, who outnumber them considerably, are quite as diverse as the various nations with Muslim majorities.
Perhaps Dr. Alamgir should get out more. It's less than 390 km to the nearest foreign nation: a weekend trip might be enlightening.
Family education: The architect of human behaviour
Education is a basic need in life, which develops one's inner qualities and one's ability to think and which change one's attitudes. But only 'proper' education can do this and the root of proper education lies in the family.
Institutional/formal learning is of course inevitable. It prepares one for competition, earns one certificates and ultimately helps people earn a livelihood. It also provides exposure to different people. But the education imparted in a family is of utmost importance.
A child develops his/her listening capacity before speaking capacity. So before making a habit of speaking he/she observes other's way of speaking. A child observes the behaviours and attitudes of his/her parents and other members of the family very closely. If these are positive, she/he also develops a positive tendency in most cases. Otherwise a negative environment affects a child's behaviour negatively. It is family which can teach honesty, modesty and what it means to be a good human being. A child's bringing up is a gradual process and so parents should be very careful about the psychological development of a child. They should keep in mind that they can play a vital role in the gradual process of bringing up their children. A child spends at best eight to nine hours in a day in school. Teachers remain concerned with the syllabus, examination, etc. They cannot always concentrate on teaching morality. But a child spends 14/15 hours with his/her family and so parents have the opportunity to teach their children much more than is possible at school. Thus there is no alternative to family education and a child should have a strong family ground from where s/he can have proper guidance and the family should provide a strong grounding of love, security and values for children.
On launching local computers
Telephone Shilpa Sangstha (TSS) will start manufacturing and assembling laptop and notebook computers in the country within six months in collaboration with a Bangladeshi IT company and a Malaysian equipment manufacturer. It was great news for the young generation of the country. At first, I would like to congratulate the information and technology ministry for this great effort. But we are still waiting for the 15,000 taka laptop or notebook. Now we do not know what the present condition of the said government project is. We are hopeful about the project of the digital government because the decision came at a weekly cabinet meeting at the Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. If the government fails to launch the product, the people will react badly and the government and concerned authorities should be aware of this. Otherwise it will not bode well for the digital government.
Avoiding 'short-cut' method
Money is considered an essential ingredient for a balanced lifestyle. No one can deny its significance. However, people are, somehow, busy producing more money in different ways. The most lucrative way, many prefer, is to make money in a 'short-cut' scheme. People are likely to reach the peak of wealth through the easiest, most hassle-free and least laborious ways. This trend is now commonly visible among a certain quarter of students. Financial insecurity may be the root of such necessity to generate the wheel of their education. But it exceeds the boundary of needs when they are busy making money at the cost of their academic obligations. Enticed by a comfortable and opulent lifestyle, these students are easily caught in the net of some marketing houses and agents, tempting them to become rich through 'honest' and 'short-cut' ways.
While the importance of money is a reality, it must not take priority over everything else, especially students' academic obligations. As the future builders of this nation, they should avoid the inducement of 'short-cut system' of making money and fulfil their own responsibilities.
Ashim Kumar Paul
The opinions expressed in Readers' Forum are those of the writers' and in no way reflect the opinion of the publication.
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