Does anyone have propositions about what to do with other weak and marginalised individuals of our society? Are we responsive enough to such issues? asks Rubab Abdullah Shukla
MANY stories are heard about girls ending up at brothels against their will; they make a living by selling their body and hiding their pain. We have often raised our voice against such harassments and vouched for their right to lead a normal social life, free of mental and physical exploitations. Does anyone have propositions about what to do with other weak and marginalised individuals of our society? Similar to sex workers, these individuals too are demoralised and victims of mental pressure from their authorities. Are we responsive enough to such issues?
At the workplace, a man serving in a junior post has to endure lot of humiliation. It’s not unusual for low graded staff members to experience mistreatment for their bosses’ mistakes. The junior worker has to endure abuse of the boss, lest the boss decides to fire him/her, given that many others are waiting to pick up the same low paid job in an economy where almost 40 percent able workers are rotting under the curse of unemployment. Although those in higher positions often suffer for having treated their subordinates unfairly, the low positioned workers can rarely verbalise their unfortunate experiences with their bosses.
Similar to the culture of corporate abuse, in an academic atmosphere, politicisation, instead of real proficiency, is the basis of patronage for some teachers. Biases in administration have ruined the images of many teachers. Their ideals for social reforms and development are ignored as a result of this politicisation of the academic atmosphere. Today, at academic institutions we witness cliques, bootlicking the heads of departments, poisoning superiors’ against good teachers, or joining political teams for fulfilling one’s own dreams instead of contributing effectively to nurture the student’s intelligence. Therefore, it is seen that when a person or a party of choice comes to power, its followers among teachers enjoy privileges, favouritism and preferential treatment which are in turn denied to good teachers who have earned their honour not only for imparting knowledge but for giving the nation selfless guidance in times of need. These teachers eventually become tangential and are cast out in due course.
Another proviso should be a change of our attention to a certain population of children in our society. The birth rate of mentally and physically handicapped children, with parents anxious about letting them live alone, has increased noticeably. Unfortunately, these children are often treated poorly by their fellows. Sometimes, even the parents consider their child a curse for all the offenses they have to bear. This is truly unfortunate. People must remember that these children are God’s creation. If anyone reproaches such a creation, it means he is reproaching the creator himself. On a similar note, those living in poverty force their children to work and earn for their families, often against the children’s will. At the workplace, when a child worker has to toil hard while his/her master’s child of similar age enjoys a show on TV or plays games, the child worker feels persecuted. The child labour activists must attribute such persecution to the burden of poverty.
On another note, the situation of single and divorced women in our society is extremely poor. Although large number of divorces takes place in the west, the people experiencing them continue leading a normal life. But that is not case in our country, where a divorced woman’s independence and life choices are often determined by others. Widows face a similar fate. Even in modern day, we deprive a widow of the chance to live with dignity. Many practise their prejudices against widows, for example, many widows are refrained from participating in wedding rituals, as they are considered inauspicious. In case of a rape victim, the sufferer and her family often become vulnerable to the perpetrators. The victims are afraid of lodging complaints with the law enforcing authorities. This happens due to the lack of effective law enforcement departments, which leads the victims to commit suicide instead of seeking justice. Being alive, these girls are forced to lead a life of misery and despair. Similarly, even the lives of young married women are falling prey to the lascivious instincts of some power hungry men. Although these women do not choose the course of suicide, neither do they dare seek justice, lest the honour and sanctity of their family should collapse.
Another population that suffers today is the ageing one. Old age is the most traumatic phase in our society as the elderly often find themselves in a difficult situation when their children become engrossed in work for earnings and have little time for their parents. The elderly are often left alone with domestic help, in turn becoming victims of negligence. Since there is no security for the elderly from the state, we have to depend on domestic help for their care.
Every society has certain mannerisms and practices that regulate the life and activity of its members in order for the nation to progress in harmony, discipline and peace. However, in our country we notice a serious lack of courtesy. Rushing to occupy seats before someone else on busses, with no deference for women, the elderly and children, jostling with women in crowds, and jumping ahead in queues are very common. Similarly, there appears to be a mad rush for people to get into elevators and public vehicles, disregarding the possibility of minor accidents in the process. Such behaviours are not at all civil. There are also those who pick and blow their nose in public, some others who have a tendency to urinate on the roadside drains and spit on walls and streets after chewing betel leaves which prove to be inconvenient for the general people walking by. Such behaviour can be very disrespectful to others. These are some of the numerous examples which reflect the large number of our countrymen who lack a sense of proportion.
In our country, the removal of any political party from power results in the mass media exposing irregularities, political dishonesty and scandals of the departing government. It has become a part our culture for the new party to come into power with corruption charges. Due to this, many politicians, MPs and ministers have been jailed, although they eventually escape through the loopholes present in our legal system. The general people are very much aware of our politicians’ deeds and misdeeds, and have the power to change a government once they lose their confidence in it. But they don’t know what to do with so many corrupt civil servants. The most common form of corruption practiced by these officials is bribery. Without paying bribes, the general people can not get their work done. In most cases, a government employee demands bribes even for performing their duty. These immoral government servants maintain a high standard of living and enjoy a luxurious life with the extra income they get from bribes. The common people have no countermeasure against these dishonest officials and undergo a time-consuming procedure to get their work done. The government officials are further respected by their colleagues while their crimes remain unnoticed and unpunished, and they remain irremovable from their positions. The peace of our country is under threat, as it always was, under such officials and in the hands of maastans. Places such as business centres, stationery shops, multi-storied buildings under construction etc. are targeted by them, who take money from common people and in the name of charitable services. If the people refuse to comply, the miscreants damage property, hassle and sometimes kill innocent people. In some cases, drug addicts resort to this sort of crime for drug money. But in the most other cases, as it has come to light, many politicians are involved in these crimes. It is a matter of regret that the governments never really take practical measures to stop the miscreants.
In a system like ours, the persecutions are multilayered that pervade all walks of society. In reality, pride, prejudices, and greed for power, wealth and possessions are lessening the importance of compassion, resulting in the destruction of civil life. However, fortunately we still have a few individuals who have held onto their values. And every individual has his/her worth - the sooner this worth rises to prevent the total degeneration of the society, the better.
Rubab Abdullah Shukla is a former part-time faculty at Independent University, Bangladesh and Daffodil International University.
comments powered by Disqus