– Anisul Haque*
There were three questions in the ‘Three Questions’ story written by Tolstoy. Who is the most important person? What is the most import work? Which is the most important time? Answer is: The most important person is who is in front of you. The most important work is to do good to man. The most important time is ‘now’.
I request the policy makers and controller of fate of Bangladesh to pay heed to these three things. The most important person is man, the 17 crores of people who are before you. The most important work is to do good to these 17 crores of people. And that has to be done right now.
Corruption has turned our development efforts into futility. After constructing flyovers at a cost of thousands of crores of taka we understand that it was not that much necessary for us. During as much as four governments gas transmission station in Jashore has been constructed at a cost of 1200 crore taka. The project was completed in 2016. It is now an abandoned project because there is no gas there to supply in this area. From 2006-2015- in these ten years a sum of about 6 lac crore taka was laundered in the foreign countries which is equal to our budget money of two financial years; with these news if we bring together the news of development allotment and extortion of money of Jahangirnagar University; if we consider the background of losing of positions of Chatra League leaders, if we think about the allegations raised against the Juba League leaders the heart get trampled; is there no hope before this country?
In his book Pararthaparatar Arthoniti Dr. Akbar Ali Khan has discussed from book of Nobel Laureate Economist Gunnar Myrdal. About the four demerits of corruption has been told there. 1. Corruption decreases revenue income and propensity to spending rise is noticed. As a result the economy of the country breaks down. 2. In a Corruption-prone society the environment rapidly deteriorates. 3. Corruption enhances disparity in the society, the poor becomes more poor. 4. Corruption discourages investment in the country.
If we add the epidemics of the laundered money from the country to the foreign lands all worriness about the future of the country holds tight like pincers; breathing comes to a stop.
Corruption always existed throughout the world. Two thousand year ago Chanakya wrote, the government servants become rich in two ways- they cheat the government and persecute the subjects. There is an account of corruption in the mediaeval Bengali Literature and also in the story of Malua Opera. However, in the British period corruption assumed the institutional form. Predominantly colonization itself is a great corruption of all corruptions. The white people caught the black people and sold like cow-goat; and turning them as slaves for life they were persecuted. It is said that the British people by introducing the English system in this country built up
a middle class who spread an extensive corruption.
In the unfinished autobiography of Bangabandhu we of Bangladesh get a description of the corruption of our leaders in the 40’s of the last century. He wrote ‘I had no idea that MLAs can receive money in this way. They are representatives of the country and its people’. At that time as the floor could be crossed the MLAs were bought and sold. This happened in Pakistan period extensively.
Let by gone be by gone. Like that of three questions story we shall say, work is to be started right now. An all-out struggle is to be initiated against corruption. Our farmers are laborious; there is no comparison of their creativity. They put hard labor day and night by sweating and drudging. They are providing food for the crores of people from a very small area of land by adopting new technology and idea. The small entrepreneurs endeavor through their varied enterprises throughout the country in bringing about a dynamism into the economy. The immigrants are exhibiting the highest patriotism and service to the country by inhuman labor; they send remittance.
The garments workers are bringing foreign exchange for us by passing out the days of their juvenility-youth under the dazzling light. But we, the beneficiary class of the society are squandering away with these sweated and blood-stained money. We draw up, plan for plundering public money. We try to snatch away the lions part of government money by applying tiger’s claws.
On 12 September, 2018 a report was published in the Los Angeles Times where the theme of the report was the results of a research showing the relationship of loss of earthquake in Mexico with corruption. There it has been said, ‘the buildings that were collapsed by the earthquake in 2017 in Mexico got demolished not virtually by tremor but due to corruption’.
Due to corruption the structures could be built by avoiding rules and regulations. Rana Plaza of Bangladesh also got razed due to corruption and not due to rains. Fire caught on the building at Banani; its reason was also corruption. Here epidemics break out by mosquito biting; corruption is the reason.
Due to corruption the problem of awful unemployment in the country has been created. Money gets plundered and money is being laundered to the foreign countries; so expected volume of investment does not take place in the country and thus employment opportunities are not created. A new illusion in the economy has appeared. Here is growth but why unemployment increases? Why the opportunities for work are not created? Default of loans increases due to corruption. He who does not repay the loan by taking loan of crores of taka against the mills-factories, actually has not invested the money in this country; he laundered that money to foreign countries; so how employments would take place?
With the blaze of corruption has annexed money laundering to foreign countries. The cause of this phenomenon is also corruption. Why the corrupt leader or official or businessman or plunderer would keep their money earned through corruption? Sending this money to foreign countries would save all sides. So the pressure falls on the domestic banks. The government has to find out sources of new money to manage annual budget.
This situation should not be allowed to continue. The vigorous efforts, labor creativity etc. of the majority of the people of the country are going in vain due to the corruption, plunder, money laundering of a few persons. This should not be allowed to run. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said, ‘Are my farmers corrupt? No. My Laborers? No. Then who receive bribe? Who do black-marketing? Who become foreign agents? Who launder money to foreign countries? Who hoard? We are these people who are 5 percent educated. Amongst us there are bribe-takers, corrupt.
Due to a very few persons the future of 17 crore people is going to be demolished today. We are to turn about from this situation. Corruption took place in the past but now we have come to the edge of the ditch. If we fail to return from this position we would fall in the bottomless trench and won’t be able to rise again.
This moment is the best time. Please start war against corruption from today. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina spoke many times of zero tolerance against terrorism, narcotic drugs and corruption. Now action against corruption should have to be initiated from upper side. Resistance would express disgust; but the crores of people of the country who returns more than they get would be happy, be benefited.
Freeing the country through the Liberation War after struggle of many years we have journeyed a long way. Now we can’t let a few corrupt persons to eat away the bright future of the country. We must have to free the country from eclipse of the corruption-doers. In that case only the good fruits of the development of the country would reach every man.E
* Associate Editor, Prothom Alo and Litterateur.
** Translated into English by ‘The Economy’ Analyst.