Anu Muhammad addresses the discussion at TSC, Dhaka University, on 10 December 2021
Prothom Alo

Slamming the government formed by Awami League, professor of the economics department at Jahangirnagar University, Anu Muhammad has said the position of the government is that it cannot be criticised for any faults and mistakes. Instead, everyone has to praise and admire it all the time.

He further said the governance we are going through is like the rule of (army) generals. If there were military rule in the country, it would not have been anything different from this.

Anu Muhammad said this while addressing a discussion at the Teacher-Student Centre, University of Dhaka, on Friday afternoon. Samajtantrik Chhatra Front (BSD) organised the discussion on Bangladesh’s educational system marking the golden jubilee of independence.

Anu Muhammad said we have been observing that many programmes are being organised marking the 50 years of the country. Those just fanfare, not analysis on what has been achieved. The government has been saying one thing but doing the complete opposite. The position of the government is that, no criticism could be made about its faults and mistakes; instead, everyone has to praise and admire it all the time. Many of our intellectuals have been habituating with that. Many of our writers, artistes and intellectuals have nothing to say except to parrot admiration.

Fled the country with honour at night

Anu Muhammad criticised the government for “allowing” Murad Hassan, who was forced to resign for his extremely abusive and detestable remarks about women, flee the country. Without mentioning the name of Murad, the economics professor said, a cabinet member, who is nothing but a personification of sexual violence and crime, fled the country at night with honour in front of everybody as the government allowed it. Writers, artistes and intellectuals faced lawsuits, were sent to jail even for a little criticism of the government in Facebook. On the other hand, that man (Murad Hassan) left the country without any retribution even after saying extremely violent things and disturbing many people’s lives. Death sentences are being commuted, a bureaucrat is getting presidential pardon – this is the nature of current regime. It is not possible to evaluate things here objectively. If there were any responsible government, that government would have encouraged that.

Chaos in health sector, business in education

After 50 years of Liberation War, we cannot say with certainty that 50 per cent population of the country are truly educated, Anu Muammad remarked. He said we have two things in health and education sectors when we are celebrating the golden jubilee of independence -- one is chaos and another is business. Though there was pledge for non-discriminatory educational system in the movements and spirit of liberation war, the discrimination in the sector has increased in the last five decades. The government has given the rein of the sector to the businesspersons. There are a few countries like Bangladesh in the globe where so huge discrimination and business steps are seen in the education sector. Very few countries of the world have so costly education, medical treatment and transport sectors in respect to per capita income. Still, how could the government be so ecstatic? Whereas the government has taken a totally opposite route, it has been saying that we have implemented the spirit of liberation war.

President has only two main tasks

Slamming the government, Anu Muhammad said, the governance we are going through is like the governance of (army) generals. If there was military rule in the country, it would not have been something different from this. Bourgeois economic system, which is inclined to looting and devoid of even the least possible scope of creation of knowledge it can accommodate, has been running in Bangladesh. There is no importance of education and medical treatment to them. Still, how could (the government) be so ecstatic?

The professor at Jahangirnagar University also said this is a country that could not build a hospital even in 50 years where the president can go for regular health check-up. Our president has only two main tasks. One is to go for medical check-ups abroad and another is to cut jokes at university convocations. How could we feel proud in this condition?

No difference with colonial educational philosophy

Addressing the discussion, BSD member and coordinator of Left Democratic Alliance, Bazlur Rashid Firoz said the philosophy of education of independent Bangladesh and colonial time is the same. In the last 50 years, Bangladesh did not give importance to education even like the oppressive bourgeois countries, rather it neglected its responsibilities. Education has been commercialised and is being still done so. At the same time, people’s democratic and fundamental rights are being shrunken.

Certificate-business in the name of education

BSD member Razekuzzaman alleged that though our educational system was supposed to be democratic, secular and science-oriented, it has not been so. Our victory has been lost. Our education system has been taken towards lack of logical analysis; we have got digital fraudulence in the name of digital development. It could be done because of the loss of essence of education. Certificate-business is being done in the name of education. Education has been alienated from culture while brilliance has been alienated from values intentionally. The state should take the responsibilities of education. This is not an advantage or mercy, rather, right.

Chhatra Front (BSD) central committee secretary Nasir Uddin presented a written statement at the discussion that was presided over by the organisation’s central president Al Kaderi.