'We have fought for you'

Mahbub Manik | Update:

Thousands of job-seekers and students gather at Shahbagh intersection around 8:00pm on 8 April. Photo: Suvra Kanti DasStudent protest against the quota system spread over the whole country. The movement in public universities across the country is a rare example in the history of independent Bangladesh. It seemed to be a movement beyond narrow interests. The unity and coordination of the students were surprising. It will hopefully be a brilliant example for the future generations. At least they can say with pride, “We have fought for you.”

It is obvious that among those who have protested on the streets, is the future of developed Bangladesh.

It is more or less normal when a politician or a criminal is threatened by police, injured by boots, rods and bullets. However, a slight threat from police to a general student can have serious adverse impact on his mind. And the attack on these innocent young people, the firing and the tear gas can affect both the mind and the body. Those horrors are unforgettable. It is not understood what is going to happen in the country in the future.

I heard the comments of senior people in the government regarding the quota movement. These were derogatory comments in foul language, insulting to these meritorious students.

These students did not want jobs, nor did they claim any position. They just wanted to have a chance based on merit. But the comments of certain ‘educated’ have really disappointed the nation.

The government can give all the facilities, including the quotas, to the fighters who fought and liberated the country. There is no problem with that. But will their children be rewarded too? Okay, everyone has the right to receive something from their parents, but why the grandchildren too? Isn’t that stretching things too far?

I do not have any job quota in Bangladesh. I don't even need any quota. I speak from a neutral stance. I most definitely support quota reforms. I can see clearly that my dear country is falling back. All we need is minimum commonsense and education. The government should ban the overall quota except for those people who really need it.

If we want to go ahead in this modern world, we need talented people everywhere. This does not mean that the quota holders are not talented. If they have talent then they should be competing with other meritorious people.

Lastly, if the government is completely unable to reform the quota system, at least they can appoint those in the quota slots through exams. This will give more space to the general job seekers.

For the sake of a better Bangladesh, we nominate the talent, not quotas.

* Mahbub Manik is a researcher at Merseburg University of Applied Science, Halle, Germany

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