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     Volume 7 Issue 20 | May 16, 2008 |

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One Off

Taking a New Look at Ourselves

Aly Zaker

A friend of mine was lamenting the other day that his son has not quite taken after him. He said, that while he talked of idealism, honesty and living for a cause et al his son maintained that these were of no consequence in the present day world. This friend of mine has a stickler for honesty, served in the bureaucracy in a very senior position with total dedication until such time that he retired. He didn't even accept an offer of extension to his service when it came his way because he thought that it would block some one from his opportunity to go forward. He also told his son of an old adage that he was taught in his school days that said “starting off to making money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you have a knack for doing, if you are good at it, money will come”.

His son said, if it were so, then Bill Gates wouldn't have become the richest man at such an early age. My friend was flabbergasted and was very sad that he had not been successful in infusing the right spirit towards life in his own son. Well, many of us, many a times, in our own lives have been confronted with similar rebuffs from the generation younger to us and made a hasty retreat from an inevitable battle of words. I learned the hard way that when adulthood reached any life that you were a part of, you had to learn to adjust or part company with. I had opted for the first option. The one difference that my friend had with me was that he was not willing to reconcile with the hard realities of life. I intervened while he was still brooding and asked him light heartedly, “Did you ask your son if he had the certain something special that Bill Gates had?” It takes creating of Microsoft in order to make someone as rich and famous as Bill Gates was at such an early age. Most of our kids tend to forget this and look for an easy way up. Indeed I should think that my friend is lucky that he has a son who dropped the name as credible as that of BG as an example. Many youngsters today did not even care about how the money came.

We have seen in recent days how the young people from no where becoming millionaires over night. This inspired others to follow suite and in course of time became the order of the day. I don't think anybody bothered to consider if what they were doing was right or wrong. There is nothing wrong in making money and becoming rich. It is also not a fact that one had to be a genius like BG to become moneyed. All that's required is that one should pause to think at what cost the money came. Was he making that money at the cost of his fellow beings? Was he depriving others of their birth right in opportunities? Was he depriving his society by going against its norms? And, last but not the least; was he acting blatantly against the law of the land?

The other day in a talk show in one of the local channels the participants opined that the only way to root out corruption was to involve the youth in the policy making process. I could not agree more; the world that we are leaving behind is the world of the young until such time that they became old and leave it to their young ones. And therefore the famous saying, “old order changeth yielding place to new”.

But it is also a reality that in the present day Bangladesh things have gone awry. The oft-repeated complaint is that our youth has got it all wrong. They are responsible for the state that we are in. Most people, if talked about the state of the youth of Bangladesh would say, “you could count them out”. This counting the youth out is what makes me a bit agitated. It is often said that a society gets a leader that it deserves. Well, I'd say that our youth, if they were way ward, were so because 'our' generation have failed them. We could not lead from the front. Or we lead them from the front indeed; but on the path of destruction. Most of these young people have been, I dare say, a victim of their parent's misdeeds. We were in a hurry to make the most of the 'going' when the going was good and we did not think about what example we were leaving behind for the posterity. Therefore they got a wrong signal and the rot set in. We have to address this and address this from the 'front'. A whole generation is in dire straits for our own expediency. We cannot absolve ourselves of this blemish. Let us start looking at life anew. And let the younger parents take a lesson from the failure of 'our' generation.

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