Tuesday, February 22, 2005

BANGLADESH: Why attack on BRAC and Grameen Bank?

Government is the custodian of the citizens. It must nod all its efforts to face and suppress all kinds of anarchy. We nurture different kinds of intelligence agencies. Through these agencies government must unearth the clues of these heinous activities and give exemplary punishment to those who will be found guilty. The nation needs the true sincerity and effort of the government. Real religious people also feel insecure. Bangladesh is a country of peaceful coexistence of different religions. In no way we should tarnish this image. We must not follow the heinous activities of other countries. It is true that many countries of the world see the extremism and religious conflicts. At any cost we cannot let it happen in this country.
Why attack on BRAC and Grameen Bank?
Md. Masum Billah

Of late four area offices of BRAC and two local offices of Grameen bank came under bomb and grenade attack . It has been deduced that the members of JMJB might have occurred this untoward incident. The whole world has been experiencing the brutal attacks and counter attacks either for some reasons or without any sound reason. Sometimes due to misunderstanding and sometimes for satisfying the anger and grievances these incidents are taking place. Whatever might be the cause, the innocent and common people are becoming the victims of these gruesome attacks creating panic and anarchy in many parts of the globe. In the greater interest of the peaceful humanity these incidents must not be appreciated and allowed to continue.

There runs a rumour about the NGOs and particularly about BRAC among the common people. The people of our country are religious minded and fond of simple living. They live close to nature developing a serene relation with nature. Necessarily they are guided by divine law and spirit. But is unfortunate that some people try to explain the laws and rules of Islam not in its true perspective which not only makes the religion a matter of exacerbation to others but also they are misguiding themselves. These people most of the time misinterpret the message of religion as well as the aims and objectives of NGOs working in our countries. Islam is not a religion to be viewed through a narrow perspective. The other day when I was offering my jumma prayer in a city mosque, I heard the imam shaheed preaching the devotees that they should do something against the NGOs which have stuck their roots in Bangladesh to convert the Muslims into Christians. How strange! The religious leaders must study a lot and preach something which means reasonable and acceptable. The reality for the existence of NGOs in our country and other poor countries of the world must be understood by them. The aims, objectives and success stories of the local and foreign NGOs must be clear to them. Without learning the reality and necessity of NGOs, nobody should pass any comment.

Poverty reigns all over the world and it bites severely the poor countries of the world. Every poor country sees the existence of NGOs as poverty alleviation and development partners of the government. Governments of poor countries cannot afford to continue the development and development related works and projects. Closing our eyes we can imagine the financial condition of the poor countries of the globe without these development partners of the governments. Definitely their condition would have been further deplorable.

BRAC proudly proclaims its existence as the largest national NGO in the world. It is the brain child of Fazle Hasan Abed, a real patriot and freedom fighter , chairs this largest organisation. This organisation nurtures more than sixty four thousand regular staff who are the regular bread earners of more than three lakh people. All these beneficiaries are the citizens of this sacred soil. Another sixty thousands temporary and invited staff give service to the organisation. The success stories of BRAC spread its branches from the busy capital city to the remotest part of the country where the blessings of science still disappear. BRAC has reached to the ultra poor who have been neglected even by the government. To bring a change in the lot of these deprived humanity BRAC stretches its untiring efforts towards them and unfolds newer and viable opportunities for them. Poverty reign supreme in the lives of these homo sapiens. The curse of poverty has eaten up all the vitalities of their lives. The poverty alleviation devices of BRAC has taught them the meaning of life and a dream to establish a peaceful society. Definitely BRAC does not do these things at the cost of religious and our cultural values. Your closer look at different programmes of BRAC will give you a clear cut idea. You can see the branches of BRAC adjacent to your house, market, school, madrashas and mosques enjoying the love and support of the people. The micro-finance programme of BRAC is absolutely dedicated to the welfare of down trodden population where government agencies have no access. This model of micro finance has earned international acclamation. Many developing countries particularly African countries have employed the devices of micro finance to attain sustainable economic progress. How poor people can contribute to the national economy standing on their own feet has been released through this micro financing. In the same way Grameen Bank also reached to the poor with the message of micro financing. The beneficiaries are the ultra poor who are not loan defaulters like the big guns of the society. We must not condemn these friendly organisations without learning their aims, objectives and procedures of work. Islam puts topmost priority on education. There is no alternative to education in human life. But a vast majority of our population remain beyond the reach of literary. Only formal schooling cannot increase the rate of literacy of this huge population. BRAC opens non-formal education programme for those who left the hope of being acquainted with letters. Now BRAC runs the largest non-formal primary education with its 34000 non-formal primary schools breaking the traditional idea of education. One million deprived children have access to this non-formal education programme. After passing the primary school these sixty percent of these children go to secondary school. The untiring efforts of BRAC have opened a new vistas of education for the deprived children. Is it the fault of BRAC? Is it anti religious concern?

Again, science, mathematics and English are the vital subjects in the secondary level. BRAC imparts training to the non-government rural secondary teachers belonging to science, mathematics and English. Professional and subject based training for the rural teachers is a must. BRAC has undertaken the programme to give training to all the rural English, science and mathematics teachers. The standard of teaching has fallen drastically in rural areas. Who bothers about it? BRAC has opened scope for the neglected rural teachers who come to BRAC training centres for eighteen days and receive residential training on these important subjects. After coming to the training centres the teachers express their opinion and say they knew and heard many negative things about this organisation. Now "our attitude and idea about BRAC has totally changed." So our request to all is " know what is BRAC and what it really does for the welfare of the nation and ailing humanity". Without knowing these facts please don’t misunderstand BRAC.’

Islam puts equal emphasis on education and due respect to women. But what happened to our womenfolk in rural areas? They have been deprived of their rights of due share in every step. Parents consider them as the burden of the family. Dowry emerges in the poor family as curse. To save the rural women from these chronic social diseases BRAC invites them to come out of their home and engage themselves in economic activities to stand on their own feet which will consolidate their position in the society and elevate their position in the family. It is not that they have been converted into Christians or these steps are against religion. Rather religion encourages and enhances the participation of female education. Again half of our population is women. Can we go forward without including them in the development activities?

Actually religion has been descended upon man to give him a right direction so that he can lead a peaceful life. World has advanced a lot. It experiences the peak of development of science and technology. Humanity wants to judge everything based on reason. The tendency to seek the reason does not necessarily mean anti religion. Gob has created this universe very mysteriously. There is no end of its mystery. Trying to unfold the mysteries of nature does not necessarily mean atheism. Islam cannot be viewed from a very narrow perspective rather it should be looked into with wider and broader mind.

Islam must be followed and explained in its true perspective. We should not leave scope for others making it a questionable situation. Islam is the religion of peace, amity and brotherhood. Islam came to earth with the message not to engage ourselves in quarrels.

NGOs are the development partners of the governments of all the poor countries. The government of these countries directly and indirectly invite NGOs to work them for the welfare of the nation. NGOs try to meet up the expenditures from the donor agencies.

BRAC nurtures sixty four thousand regular staff who run a family of five members directly meaning more than three lakh people are getting their bread through the projects. The number of irregular and temporary staff is also amounts the same. It is seen a huge number of people are the beneficiaries of BRAC directly and indirectly. The scope of government job proves very limited in the country. Had there been not the existence of the non-governmental organisations, what would happen to our thousands of youths? A social chaos and disparity would peep through the veil of unemployment problem. So any hasty or emotional decision or step will directly hamper the development of the country.

All the religious scholars must come forward in the juncture of the nation and unfold the true message of religion to the people, to the world. No scope must be left to make the religion a focal point to be discussed critically.

Government is the custodian of the citizens. It must nod all its efforts to face and suppress all kinds of anarchy. We nurture different kinds of intelligence agencies. Through these agencies government must unearth the clues of these heinous activities and give exemplary punishment to those who will be found guilty. The nation needs the true sincerity and effort of the government. Real religious people also feel insecure. Bangladesh is a country of peaceful coexistence of different religions. In no way we should tarnish this image. We must not follow the heinous activities of other countries. It is true that many countries of the world see the extremism and religious conflicts. At any cost we cannot let it happen in this country.