Hiren Pandit: The people of Bangladesh attained independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu through liberation and the historic struggle of the people of this country and nine months of bloody war.
The driving force of this long struggle was the dream of a happy, prosperous, and peaceful society. But in the 50-year history of the state, that dream has been repeatedly thwarted, misguided. In his address to the nation on December 25, 1974, Bangabandhu said, “To build a happy and prosperous country, the people have to increase production through hard work.”
But one thing should not be forgotten – it is doubtful whether the fate of this unfortunate country can be reversed if the character does not change. We all need to self-criticize, self-control, and self-purification from above nepotism, corruption, and self-deception’.
Laws, regulations, plans, and various strategies have been formulated and its implementation is continuing; Strict measures are being taken against corruption. But state regulation, enactment, and enforcement of laws alone are not enough to establish good governance; It requires holistic and uninterrupted activities.
‘To build a Golden Bengal: National Integrity Strategy’ has been formulated as a supportive strategy for the overall initiative in establishing good governance. The implementation of this strategy requires the active participation of state institutions, civil society, and private industrial and commercial enterprises.
To bring character, one has to take action from the very beginning of one’s life, from one’s family and educational institutions.
The government is moving ahead with the policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ against corruption and irregularities. PM Sheikh Hasina is in a strict position in this regard. No matter how influential and close to the government or the ruling party, no criminal is exempt. The government and the party are also reluctant to take responsibility for someone’s crime. This tough stance of the government is being appreciated by all including civil society.
Undoubtedly, everyone will be on the same point of view as to the conscience which is determined by the judgment of good and evil. This difference may depend on the individual, society, area, time, event, etc.
The function of conscience is to assist humanity in making appropriate decisions by judging future thoughts based on the present by surrendering to the principle of something good-evil, advantage-disadvantage, ability-disability, but the real decision must come from the conscience or entity itself. We all talk about the peace of the country, we talk about the unity of all, we talk about the brilliance, we talk about the principles, we talk about the truth, we talk about success, and we like to listen to these things. In comparison, when one’s bag is not being filled in such a way, conscience becomes hungry.
And the peace or other positive thing that one has set oneself up for is covered by a sick conscience, just as the clouds come and make the blue of the sky disappear, which gives birth to all the misery.
The Prime Minister’s various speeches and statements also reflect the ‘Zero Tolerance policy against irregularities and corruption. Action is being taken against those involved in corruption and irregularities. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, PM Sheikh Hasina has been outraged by one irregularity after another, especially in the health sector. She stressed tackling the global pandemic as well as cracking down on irregularities and corruption.
Various disciplinary measures have also been taken against some influential in the health sector for corruption during the Covid period. The government has also given a stern message by immediately dismissing the people’s representatives against whom allegations have been made during the relief operations in Corona. Many have also been arrested.
There was already such a strong stance against corruption and irregularities. In particular, the government is trying to implement the election manifesto’s pledge to establish a ‘Bangladesh of corruption-free good governance.
The anti-corruption drive has been intensified under the direction of the Prime Minister along with the anti-terrorism and anti-drug drive. We know that everyone has goodwill and sincerity to suppress irregularities and corruption. However, to prevent such corruption and irregularities in advance, the concerned institutions including the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should be more active. Their surveillance needs to be more stringent.
No matter how influential a person is involved in corruption and irregularities, no one should be spared, that is everyone’s expectation.
Corruption-free administration and good governance are very important to build a poverty-free Bangladesh. Salaries, allowances, and other benefits of government officials and employees have been increased. There is no doubt that if a corruption-free society is formed where the country is located, that position will rise much higher very soon.
However, corruption and irregularities are still one of the major problems in Bangladesh. Everyone believes that if the Zero-Tolerance policy against corruption is implemented, Bangladesh will be able to be included in the list of developed countries after overcoming all the shame. The government has made a lot of progress in the last 15 years, no one can deny that.
But it is also true that in the last 15 years, the image of the government has been good on the issue of irregularities and corruption, but it needed to be better.
Government officials and employees will show respect for the aspiration of the people to build a corruption-free country inspired by patriotism and will remain firmly committed to corruption and irregularities. That is everyone’s expectation. However, it is time to take a closer look at how government money is being misused and wasted through irregularities and corruption by taking in the development projects with the tax money of the people of the country.
The National Integrity Strategy has been formulated and adopted as a national strategy document in establishing good governance through the acquisition of character integrity or purity and the suppression of corruption. The activities to be undertaken for the proper implementation of institutional laws and regulations, systematic reform and development, capacity building, and establishing character integrity of all concerned in the organization have been identified.
The successful implementation of Vision 2021 and the implementation of SDGs by 2030 to build a happy and prosperous Golden Bengal, the establishment and maintenance of effective justice and integrity in the state and its institutions and society is now imperative. The implementation of the National Integrity Strategy is urgently needed to successfully prevent corruption and establish integrated good governance. Certainly, in terms of society, state, justice, and transparency, such financial transactions can be not only corruption but also a breeding ground for corruption.
Now we’re busy competing on how far we can go. We don’t think about how much moral degradation is happening every day, we are all preoccupied with how to get ahead of everyone involved in the race of life, and we don’t care about the degradation of conscience. All have the desire that must be wealthy at any cost. We are constantly sacrificing the human qualities we have, to acquire wealth, to enjoy luxury. We are losing principle and morality; we are losing the ability to judge good and evil. Human sympathy towards man is disappearing, love and kindness are slowly disappearing from our midst.
Why is animal instinct growing among us? Where is the end of this social unrest? This degradation cannot be overcome by a legal framework alone. The necessary social movement and civil society must come forward in this regard. Our human values are at an all-time low. Why is that? Bengalis are a generous and passionate nation.
They are blessed to benefit the next. This is what we have known for so long. Now we have lost endurance and patience. What is the benefit of increasing the rate of education? No kind of education is helping to create our values and sense of humanity. In reflection, it seems, we are gradually returning to the primitive age. It is important to think deeply about the matter. Once dropped from the edge of the ditch, it will be difficult for the nation to stand up straight.
For all these reasons, the number of talented people in our society is declining. The number of people who are idealistic and honest, and ethical is decreasing. As we become more educated, our sense of humanity is bound to increase, but our sense of humanity is constantly declining. But why? Educated people are supposed to have more human qualities, but that is no longer the case. Where are we going, where is our sense of humanity? We have to think about our country and society and for the development of humanity.
The writer is a columnist and research fellow