At the dawn of 2013, we feel what stands between us and our future in politics. The buoyant socio-economic indicators put a shine on our sheen and promise to lift us from the LDC status to middle-income pedestal. But politics boiling over shows no signs of abating, even though recipes for resolving the contentious caretaker government issue are floating in the air.
Political leaders have just to pluck the plausible and doable from the range of options, narrow them down to moot points and negotiate a settlement on the bone of contention in good time for the next election. The challenge before the political parties, therefore, is to rid themselves of the no-holds-barred intransigence and 'let national interest override their personal pride and priorities'.
Hartal as a political weapon has outlived its purpose. Originating as a powerful instrument of protests against British Raj and Pakistani rule, it doesn't fit into an independent and democratic Bangladesh. Hartal being an imposition on free choice is undemocratic. It encompasses both moral and legal questions.
'A tale of political dynasties' rolls out into a historical narrative that makes a convincing point about the 'phenomenon around the world'.
On the flipside in social sector is violence against women. It is jarring to note that stalking led to suicide of 40 girls between 2006 and 2010; and family violence, physical and mental, resulted in 4,747 women killing themselves between 2001 and 2010.
There is a law on the subject of domestic violence dating back to 2010. The nub of its implementation challenge is in the fact that out of 109,621 complaints lodged with the police, 14,489 were taken into cognizance, of which again a third was considered 'genuine and fit for further proceedings'.
The police role is crucial when violence has occurred and been reported but prevention is fundamentally important. Social mores and patriarchal attitudes that condone violence against women 'have to be eradicated,', aided by a greater awareness among people as to their constitutionally protected human rights.
While existing laws need to be firmed up, some legislation is called for to match with the intensity and span of violence perpetrated on women, an emphasis should be placed on infrastructural mechanisms to implement laws.
'Victory's Silence' is a moving narrative on war babies during and after the liberation war.
Bangladesh is placed at 102 below Rwanda and Sierra Leone in the 2010 branding index of BBC World Service. Bangladesh being looked at as a home to enormous opportunities, we need to present a bouquet of our achievements to the world by way of getting a positive branding.
From Hay Festival to 'diplomatic snubs and putdowns' to the very mundane but touchy allusion to a law in 2011 that makes maintenance of parents and elderly a legal responsibility of their children, it is an interesting mix we offer to the readers.