Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, December 17, 2009

Salam Bangladesh

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

What a day is today!
A day where dreams are woven,
Hopes, rediscovered
Aspiration, rejuvenated.
Today is a day.

Today, I sing a song of freedom,
For freedom, about freedom.
After months of blood and tears,
Today I am vindicated,

Today is the day,
I found myself,
Breathing freely,
Across miles of shorshe khet,
In colours so green and red,
Today is my day.

Today, I am a Bangladeshi.
Free spirited,
Awake and motivated,
Strong and venerated.

Photo: Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Today, I am Bangladesh.
HEY tell me I come from one of the least developed countries in the globalised world. They tell me how every year, I get swept away by floods and hurricanes, and cling onto a broken log for my dear life. They tell me I'm a piece of mockery and they probably can't find me in the magnanimous atlas.

They tell me I'm making a mistake; I should run for my life and save my future while I still can. It's ironic; the same people who tell me such are not only foreigners, but my own countrymen. They're just like you and me, they're probably you and me and all we've really done for 38 years is complain.

Honestly, do you agree with me?
I don't.
Welcome to Infinite Possibilities

While many have indeed made a grand effort in accurately identifying how miserably we spent our 38 years of independence, some beg to differ. An anonymous quote once read, “I have but seen one beautiful country. Its people, places and perceptions truly touched me. I want to come back to this country every year, I want to come back to Bangladesh.”

It cannot be denied that we form one of the most people-driven economies in the world. We are lauded as one of the most struggling countries that somehow house an incredible positive energy that exudes through our population. A large part of our development comes from community strategies developed by individuals who feel the need to give back something to their country.

Ordinary men and women spread across 144000 square kilometers of urban and rural landscapes contribute every day to the prosperity of our country.

Sure, we don't have the latest technologies of Japan or the standard of living from Europe. However, what we do have is an amazingly strength of human resources that toil 24 x 365 'round the year making sure you and I have three straight meals a day in abundance and our lives here are as comfortable as possible, providing us with little joys at our every step and dreaming a better Bangladesh from wherever they are.

A Nation in Progress
Bangladesh currently homes the largest shopping complex in South Asia, runs 24 TV channels (12 are on air, the rest got its license) and has recently been proclaimed (at COP15) having the most effective, community-based disaster management system. We house a Nobel Peace Laureate, pioneer to the concept of microfinance and our economists go worldwide to envision others nation's economies.

Professors from Bangladesh go to the land of dreams (in other words, U.S of A) and participate in conferences or act as guest lecturers. The mayor of Houston, one of the biggest states in America has declared January 14 as 'Yunus Day'.

One of the national cricket team players has won the Wisden Best Player Award, and our cricket squad has successfully beaten every cricket-playing country in the world at least once!

Our arts and literature are read by enthusiasts and students across the globe, and our rich natural resources are of envy to many progressive economies.

Around 1999, UNESCO declared 21 February (Shahid Dibosh) as International Mother Language Day. Being a country that fought for its freedom of speech in its native tongue is a movement that is acknowledged and currently celebrated worldwide. Not to mention we're one of few proud nations in the world who went to war to seek its independence.

According to recent statistics, the infant mortality rate in 18 years has dropped from 103 to 48 (per 1000 children) and maternal mortality reduced from 149 to 54 (per 1000). Today, each land line connection is equivalent to 29 mobile phone connections.

In 2008, it was estimated 11.4 percent of GDP comes from remittance that contributes 6 percent to poverty reduction, therefore making Bangladesh 15th in line of highest remittance inflow countries.

In addition, it is known as one of the few nations who with all the intentions of commercialism have achieved remarkable figures in CSR (corporate social responsibility) ventures.

Truly, you still believe we have achieved nothing so far?

Moving Forward
However, this may not be the time to look back. It's an age where every individual competes

PHOTO: Mohammad Moniruzzaman

and looks to the future. It's about the present everyday achievements and joys that drive us towards something bigger, more prominent.

It's a pity many people fail to recognise our wonders as a nation and compares us to countries like United States of America and India. We somehow forget to realise the former has over 200 years of history and progress to look back, while the latter has nearly had twice the years of independence than we have.

Every day, we are progressing. Every minute is a victory. Sure, the traffic is awful and we lack civic sense, we are rustic. Yet, in spite of every unpredictability, we still aspire and we still contribute. Believe it or not (and much to your shock), young people of this country actually care about its future and try to influence the present to change it.

Sure, some of us do fly away and many remain and even while stuck at chilling dormitory in UK, send e-mails with ideas on how we can make a difference. We are here, and it's time we stop complaining, look around and realise that we are, at the end of the day, all Bangladeshis!

This is our home, our real identity and dual passports don't exactly make up for the steaming bhapa pitha in winter. Like one of my friends beautifully summed it up, “You can take a Bangladeshi out of Bangladesh and put him anywhere in the world; but you cannot take Bangladesh out of a Bangladeshi!”

Let us celebrate Bangladesh every moment. Trust me, it's a feeling like no other!

Wikipedia, “International Mother Language Day”
Blog, positivebangladesh.wordpress.com
The Daily Star
The Daily Prothom-Alo




home | The Daily Star Home

2009 The Daily Star