writer Nancy Mitford (1904 - 1973) said in The Pursuit of
Love, 'Abroad is unutterably bloody and foreigners are fiends'.
One may not agree with that in entirety, or could swallow
it with a pinch of salt.
What the heck, believe in it, if you will. 'Foreigners fooling
about in others' civil wars are a menace. They excite baseless
hope of a fair, lasting peace', so said Woodrow Wyatt (1918
- 1997), the British journalist and writer. This has to be
applicable in the Iraq case and by a long shot to today's
novelist Anthony Trollope (1815 - 1882) has recorded in Orley
Farm: 'We cannot bring ourselves to believe it possible that
a foreigner should in any respect be wiser than ourselves.
If any such point out to us our follies, we at once claim
those follies as the special evidences of our wisdom.' For
long many in this country have believed to the contrary.
Russian president Boris Yeltsin (1931 - ) insisted, 'People
in our country don't like it when foreigners take too active
a hand in our affairs'. (See 'The View from the Kremlin' by
Catherine A. Fitzpatrick) This is a universal truth.
Dhaka, soon after nine-eleven, a local university, luring
students with the tag of foreign connection, had obliterated
the word 'American' from its name on its microbus with masking
tape or something similar. Inside were all local people, not
ostriches. It was downright treachery towards the Master,
one could conclude. What morality do you expect this university
to teach its students, it that cannot hold on to its name?
local university doing business in Bangladesh, in recruiting
teachers for the posts of Professor,
Professor and Assistant Professor advertised thus: 'All postgraduate
degrees must be from reputable foreign universities'. Why!
particular university is a private university under authority
from the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Ministry
of Education and the government of Bangladesh, and is having
the Honourable President of the Bangladesh as its Chancellor.
This university is neither located in the North or in the
South but inside Bangladesh territory, and is recruiting Bangladeshi
students at a heavy price.
should not impose a requirement that is not required at any
other reputable Bangladesh university because the said requirement
(a) undermines the quality of postgraduate education in Bangladesh,
which is unfair and unnecessary, and beyond its authority,
(b) places Bangladesh below other SAARC, Asian and African
countries, as they are all 'foreign', again without any authority,
(c) suggests that local education is inferior and thereby
is self-defeating for this local university, (d) contradicts
with UGC uniformity of university employment and (e) contradicts
with reputable foreign universities which has been accepting
since long undergraduate and postgraduate degrees offered
by other local universities.
is most unfortunate that a university operating in Bangladesh
with fund from Bangladeshi students on Bangladeshi soil under
rules of the Bangladesh government should have the audacity
to propose employing teachers with only foreign degrees.
there was this 18-year old American visiting Bangladesh to
raise awareness about diabetes. The media photo showed a very
senior doctor listening to her giving a lecture from a high
table. God knows how many more doctors were among the audience?
What could the lady tell that the very reputable doctors did
not already know? If it was about raising awareness among
the mass, would not a local celebrity, a Bangali actor or
an actress, a Bangladeshi cricketer or sportswoman, or a singer,
have done a more meaningful job? But then she is American.
When will we ever learn?
another local academy is publicising in leaflets 'First time
in Bangladesh..., Taught by American Scholars' and that 'All
our faculties are American scholars'. How much poorer can
we get? How much lower shall we be dragged down by our so-called
intelligentsia? Is this the meaning of educated sinner or
as they say in Bangla gyan-paapi?
one, being taught by American Scholars for the first time
in Bangladesh is not true. Big deal if all the teachers are
American Scholars. In their statements there is a tendency
to tempt students, a philosophy more apt for a commercial
enterprise, which perhaps they are, than the nobility of an
much is being said about the mushrooming of universities in
this country, knocking around the half-century mark in number,
most undertaken only as a business venture, many are housed
in single buildings, they have no campus as is mandatory,
most have no acceptable number of full-time teachers, almost
all are without proper lab facilities, most depend on the
services of part-time teachers, many of who are not teachers
elsewhere, and almost all stink of trade and commerce.
may not have dawned on them that people in Bangladesh as a
whole have always resented too much of foreign involvement
or interference, socially and politically. And that is right!
Let us try to groom local scholars, let us train them to excel
their talent, let us pride in our resources, let us be self-sufficient,
let us stop licking.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004