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     Volume 8 Issue 83 | August 21, 2009 |

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The Statesman in Bangabandhu

Syed Badrul Ahsan's tribute piece "The Statesman in Bangabandhu" is well written but does not tell the whole story. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a great leader -- he inspired our nation through the liberation war. But he was not always successful as a statesman in the post-war period. The tribute piece focuses on how Bangabandhu was on the world stage, but leaves out the post-liberation rule of the Awami League. One of the failings of Bangabandhu was that he focused on state matters, but neglected domestic issues and local government. Many of the younger generation may not know these things, but those of us who lived through that period remember how Bangabandu's economic policies of nationalisation and industrial socialism suffered from lack of trained personnel, inefficiency, rampant corruption and poor leadership leading to the famine of 1974. We remember how the Awami League and central government exercised full control and democracy was gradually weakened, and finally abolished in February 1975 through the formation of Baksal. At the urging of his advisers, Bangabandhu reversed democratic principles and subscribed to socialism. Bangabandhu's immediate circle was accused of corruption and nepotism. Using government forces and a militia of supporters called the Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini, these people oversaw the arrest of opposition activists and strict control of political activities across the country. The country was polarised and divided. Thus the gains and the unity achieved through the glorious war of liberation were gradually squandered. It is important to pay tribute to our great leaders, but it is also important to draw lessons from history itself for the greater good of the nation.
Md. Abu Jafar
Jashimuddin Road
Uttara, Dhaka

Tipaimukh Dam Debate

Nowadays Tipaimukh dam issue is a burning matter in our country. Many environmentalists and water resources engineers are saying it is a curse. But our parliamentary team went there, and collected data. The parliamentary team has said that India will not do any harm to Bangladesh. After analysing the data by an expert panel, and carrying out a joint survey, if it is found that no harm will befall Bangladesh, we could have a dialogue with India about it. Bangladesh could ask India to provide a share of the electricity produced from the dam. This could help solve our chronic power shortage. The Tipaimukh dam could be a blessing after all!
Bimolendu Bhowmik
Dept of Economics
University of Dhaka

University Ranking and Role of UGC

Every year, a large number of students are passing H.S.C examination and entering into the arena of higher education. Unfortunately many of these students who get admitted for higher education with high hopes are deprived of a quality education. Our universities cannot maintain any acceptable standard. As a result, we do not see any name of our universities in the world's top 500 universities. Even, we do not have any university ranking system in Bangladesh.
Our universities are facing a lot of problems, which are the obstacles to quality education. Our public universities are affected by dirty politics and session jam. On the other hand, our private universities are blamed for higher tuition fees and low standard. Even some private universities opened illegal business chain like outer campus, distance-learning centre etc. University Grants Commission (UGC) is the most inactive commission for education, and does not show any responsibility to stop these things. So the Government should come forward to take some effective steps to resolve these problems and start a uniform university ranking system. It will create a competitive spirit among the universities as well as help to improve the quality of the education. Otherwise, our students will not be fit to compete in the global village.
Md. Arifur Rahman
Department of Textile Engineering,
Primeasia University

Price Hike

Regardless of the assurances of the government and the business community, the price of essential food items rise during Ramadan which has become almost inevitable. All promises and rhetorical discussions seem to fall apart when Ramadan begins. Ramadan makes businessmen irrational given the opportunities of profiteering. It is regrettable that Muslims become irrational eaters in the holy month of Ramadan whereas Ramadan talks about patience and austerity. The government and intellectuals are advising the businessmen to make 'reasonable' profit. It would be better if the common people were also advised that they should follow reasonable eating habits in Ramadan. Keeping the price of essential food commodities low is the promise of all governments, which becomes futile in the end. The government on its part does and says almost the same things every year. They should promise that they would not break the promise.

Vindictive Politics

It is really disappointing that the mural of late President Ziaur Rahman at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka was defaced at dead of night on August 3. Not only that, but a few days ago the name of our national leader, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani was also removed from the Novo-Theatre, which was named after that great leader. As the present government talks about change, such disrespect to those national leaders was not expected.
We are really an unfortunate nation. I used the term “unfortunate” because we did not adopt political decency as yet, which, I think, is essential for establishing a properly democratic environment. We are going through the nightmare of vindictive politics even after 38 years of liberation. In the present context of our country, it seems that our politicians have failed to imbue themselves with the light of those historical events of which we are so proud. When will we see a change from the politics of arrogance and narrow-mindedness?
Sunny Rahman
Department Of Business Administration
East West University, Dhaka.

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