This issue of Forum is themed around challenges of political stability, governance based on rule of law, democratic deficit, institutional weaknesses, sustainable economic growth, still non-binding Durban climate accord, building of Tipaimukh Dam, culture and identity.
Despite a flicker of hope lining the presidential initiative to engage political parties in a consultative process to reach a consensus on reconstitution of the Election Commission, the political future in the essence has yet to come out of the woods.
Intertwined with political stability is sustainable economic growth. Equally, if not more, important is the imperative need for the economy to be inclusive. One major means of endowing an inclusive character to the economy is through the social business model. While discarding profit maximisation and corporate greed, it fits into a worldwide craving for social justice.
We have been cast adrift from the core values of democratic, non-partisan, impersonal and benevolent governance. These have lost to a political culture intolerant of political opposition. Even in the best system of government, 'those entrusted with power have in time, by sheer operations, have turned it into tyranny'.
Let's not forget, one-third of the people languish below poverty line, are still illiterate and our shrinking coastline poses a constant danger to livelihoods. Where is the drive for an equal opportunities society we had envisioned at the birth of Bangladesh? Instead, what we have seen is going through the motions of democracy, and not living by its content as institutions like parliament and local bodies lose touch with the people. All we have been obsessed with are personality and dynastic cults and street fights.
In the cultural sphere, there is more than meets the eye. It is palpable though, to a discerning mind. We have gone 'diasporic' in our own land, in a manner of speaking, because the 'indivisible identity is splitting into several contesting ones'.
Along with the modernist temper, we go back to our political moorings remembering the staple role of Maulana Bhashani in waging the 1969 movement paving the way for a self-deterministic longing for freedom.