Torturing the torchbearers: A wake-up call to correct thyself

Zayed Bin Naser
Published : 29 June 2022, 10:59 PM
Updated : 29 June 2022, 10:59 PM

The future of the country depends on the grooming of the younger generation. The attitude and behaviour of the members of youth society indicate which way the country is heading. In the past teachers were very much involved in policymaking. We used to get more teachers elected to parliament. The chairman of the constitution drafting committee, Dr Kamal Hossain, taught at Dhaka University before his involvement in direct political activism. We may name Ahsan Ullah Master, the slain MP who was a teacher-cum-politician. In current political practice, teachers are not involving themselves much in active politics. Unfortunately, goodwill to participate actively in politics is decreasing for the absence of a good and ideal political environment. But if we want to change the situation, then it is clear that the urgency for teachers to get involved in politics is much more than before. Currently, so-called teachers, who are no more contributing as the conscience of the nation, but blindly supporting a particular party or person, are seen as very influential in active politics. People used to give respect to teachers and religious leaders all over Bangladesh. No doubt, economically we are gradually improving in terms of quantity. But what about ethics and a quality-based ideal society?

Members of so-called mainstream student organisations, such as the Bangladesh Chhatra League and the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal are often accused of disrespecting teachers. Unfortunately, effective measures have not been taken, which led to the recurrence of attacks on teachers. It is our collective failure that till now we are unable to make precedents to prohibit or restrain people from getting involved in such crimes. Blame games and denials must stop. For correction, admitting the fact or mistake is the first step. Yes, so-called teachers who rape students or steal institutions' funds deny their professional ethics, thus they deny their existence. The sacred profession is indeed being polluted by many infiltrators who are not teachers by heart and soul but have an artificial presence physically as a teacher. Teaching is nothing but a veil for them to justify their misdeeds. Because society respects teachers, seen as the most vital and influential people in society. But these cannot justify attacks on teachers who are devoted to their profession.

On Jun 18, the acting principal of a college in Narail was garlanded with shoes in front of police, although such public shaming is not allowed by the law. "No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment," states article 35(6) of the constitution, which guarantees equality and protection for all citizens.

The teacher, Swapan Kumar Biswas of Mirzapur United Degree College, was accused of hurting religious sentiment. The monster mob's action was in no way justified or legal, but the police's silence was unthinkable and very alarming. The time has come to think about the law enforcers' effective training. Torturing, cruelty and behaving in an inhumane manner toward a person are not allowed in any way by the constitution. Are the members of law-enforcing agencies aware of this fact, or do they consider themselves above the law? How could they allow such an incident to occur?

Another teacher, Utpal Kumar Sarker, was killed in an attack allegedly by a student at Haji Yunus Ali School and College in Savar's Ashulia. Utpal was also the chairman of the college's disciplinary committee. Besides punishing the 16-year-old student of class 10 in line with the law, we must find out how a teenage boy grows a demonic perverted mentality. The time has come to focus on the iniquitous crimes. If we want to preserve societal values and morality, then we must act. Silence is tantamount to supporting all these inhumane crimes.

It was not only Swapan but the society as a whole that was wounded. It was an insult to the conscience of the nation. We should remember that many martyrs of the Liberation War were teachers and they were targeted for their power to keep the nation on the right course. They didn't make the supreme sacrifice for an intolerant, impatient and inhumane Bangladesh.

The actual problem is moral values are decreasing alarmingly and many more people are getting involved in barbaric crimes. People who are in positions to take necessary measures are sometimes seen involved in these crimes. So how can they prevent all these if they get involved in such crimes? Many people lose their moral rights to perform their obligations properly by direct or indirect involvement in indulgence and criminal activities. But we must not let them prevail. To uphold the essence of independence, we must preserve, protect and defend the respect, honour and dignity of each person in the country. We must not let hatred, cruelty and torture spoil our love, empathy, respect and humanity.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher