Questions that need to be answered
Many years back (23 June 1995) I wrote in Chintito, 'All questions and no answers', because we all love to talk in query form, even if we are answering. For instance, if you ask someone how he was, the retort could be, 'Are you not seeing (how am I)?' But, following are some questions (there could be many more) that deserve a response, please. The 'I' is 'you'.
1. Am I always pointing out the mistakes in others?
2. Why do I blame the government when I myself jump a red light when the police do not stop me?
3. Do I do what I think and say?
4. Do I commit the same mistakes when no one is watching? Or when it suits me fine?
5. Does my behaviour endanger or discomfort others?
6. Am I honest when no one is watching?
7. Am I doing enough in my work to make it different for Bangladesh?
8. Do I ever tell a lie to take advantage of a situation?
9. Will I help a neighbour to get to the hospital at the dead of night?
10. Do I smoke even though I know it endangers my life?
11. Do I drink alcohol even though I know it has an adverse effect on my family and children?
12. Will others around me consider me sincere in my work and social calling?
13. Do I volunteer for social work?
14. Have I seized opportunities to serve myself, my community, and my country?
15. Is my relationship with my family based on sharing mutual responsibilities? Or do I only take, and never know how to give?
16. Do I spend quality time with my partner and my children and my family and my friends?
17. Am I ready to take criticism as a friendly advice?
18. Will I take a bribe? Will I bribe someone?
19. Do I consider the rural area important? Is there a village that I can call my own? Do those villagers know me as one of them?
20. Do I pay income tax if it is due based on open books of accounts? Do I maintain any hidden books of accounts?
21. Do I think of others enough? Or do I take good behaviour of others as granted?
22. Is there something in me that is hindering my progress or that of others around me?
23. Am I doing something to overcome my shortcoming/s?
24. Am I afraid to tell the truth? Do I tell the truth?
25. Is it the responsibility only of the politicians and government officials to tell the truth?
26. Am I jealous of the success of others?
27. Do I hold open a door for elderly persons and ladies?
28. Whatever happened to eve teasing? Has it stopped or has reporting on it stopped?
29. Is Dhaka a crowded city because of others who live here and not because of me?
30. Do I throw things on to the road from a car or a rickshaw or while walking?
31. Would I have thought the same way about the poor if I myself were poor?
32. Have I spent a night in my/any village in the past one year? Past five? Ten?
33. Is something right only because a family member has done it?
34. Do I have the courage to report my son/daughter/parents/relatives to the police?
35. Or, will I not do it because I think the police are hardcore corrupt?
36. Are police/customs/government personnel I know also corrupt?
37. Why do I then maintain relationship with such corrupt personnel?
38. Do I hate it when the car behind mine is honking?
39. Do I honk and honk to demand that the vehicle in front of mine vanishes?
40. Am I ready to smile or say a kind word just to make someone happy?
41. Am I affected by what others think, say, or write about me?
42. Do I talk about others behind their back without any basis?
43. Do I gossip about others just to make an adda interesting?
44. When was the last time I gave charity in time or money?
45. Do I only give advice and taken none?
46. Do I expect social workers to continue sacrificing while I sit and enjoy the fruits of their labour?
47. Does my wardrobe have clothes that I have not touched in the last five years?
48. Will I die if I gave some of them away?
49. If my idle clothes are unsuitable for the humbler in the society, have I considered selling them to raise money for charity?
50. Why am I never wrong?
Don't bother answering. If the question bothers you, then we are heading in the right direction.