Aftermath of Dr. Humayun Azad attack
Some societal reforms is what is urgently needed in Bangladesh
A desperate appeal from Mukto-Mona to the PM of Bangladesh
Begum Khaleda Zia
Honorable Prime Minister
People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Fax: 88-02-8113244, 88-02-8111015, 88-02-8113243
Dear Honorable Khaleda Zia,
The recent events in Bangladesh have perturbed the minds of many expatriate Bangladeshis all over the world. Mukto-mona (www.mukto-mona.com), an internet-congregation of Freethinkers and Secular Humanists of mainly Bangladeshi origin requests your office to go over the recent posting in myriad e-forums such as 'Mukto-Mona', 'NFB', 'Mukto-Chinta', 'Vinnomot', 'Nirvana', 'Drishtipat', 'Alochona', 'Future of Bangladesh' etc. to see for yourself the outrage ordinary Bangladeshis are showing over the recent attack on Professor Humayun Azad. We all love our motherland and we can no longer sit back and be passive at this time. The attack on Prof. Azad is no isolated event. Many freethinkers, educationists, prominent members of the civil society, and some well-respected politicians such as Dr. Kamal Hossain have either received physical threats or their civil rights were grossly violated. A list of such persons who lost their life, endured such attack, or who received death threats from extremists are now available in Mukto-Mona web-site. The list contains all documented cases. Under this dire backdrop, may we respectfully place before you the following proposition?
1. Create congenial surroundings in Bangladesh so that people having diversified opinion can harmoniously exist side-by-side. Unfortunately, a group of religion traders is creating enough miasmas in Bangladesh to poison the proverbial air that we all breathe. No monolithic idea should dominate in a pluralistic society such as Bangladesh.
2. The judiciary and law-and-order enforcing department should be freed from politics. For a pluralistic society such as Bangladesh, the judiciary and allied departments should have a complete independence and free from executive branch. This separation is necessary. Please exercise your power and influence to make sure that Bangladesh's judiciary and police are free from influence generated by the executive branch of the government.
3. Much is desired of Bangladesh's antiquated primary and secondary education system. The future generations of Bangladesh who one day will rule Bangladesh should be groomed with a broad-based educational system that is so lacking in our motherland. The overhauling of the system is urgently needed. The archaic syllabus seriously lacks an upgrading. Students in their formative years should be exposed to more humanities subjects including anthropology, history of the world, European enlightenment movement in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Students graduating from our high schools have slightest ideas who are Hume, Mill, Marx, Emerson, Darwin, Russell, Aroj Ali Matubbar, Ahmed Shariff; never mind their creative works. For better or worse, the world we now live in is globalized. To live and compete in this environment one has to know the evolution of modern mercantile system and the underlying ideas that shaped everything from philosophy to modern biology. Unfortunately, Bangladesh's educational system has failed miserably to truly educate our future generation. Instead of receiving a broad-based scientific, rational and liberal education, what the schools are teaching is a plethora of archaic subjects including the history of 6th century Middle East. The rest of the world is teaching their children modern science, history, philosophy; creating awareness of civil and human rights so that they can lead their life in an effective way to communicate knowledge. Bangladesh on the other hand is taking a retrogressive journey by promoting parochial schools. The sheer number of Madrassahs boggles one's mind. Therefore, educational reform is what the nation needs very desperately.
4. Bangladesh is marred by fanaticism of a handful fringe groups and sectarian feuds have just started. These do not bode well for our impoverished motherland. We do not like to see Bangladesh treads the slippery slope religious intolerance as practiced by defunct Taliban regime of Afghanistan. By changing the course and curriculum of our primary and secondary schools and by saying no to religion traders we can help build a modern Bangladesh imbued with a modern spirit. Let science and rationalism be our guide. There is always a place for religion in our society but that should be a private matter. Freedom to practice religion should be an inalienable right of any individual but the state should maintain a healthy distance from it. Increasingly we see that religionists are making inroads into our public life and soon they will make demands that will infringe on civil rights that we esteem very much.
In summary, Bangladesh is now at a crossroad at this time. Either we do nothing and let the nation plunge into a state of hopelessness or despairs or we do need to take corrective measure to make amends to things that we have done wrong in the past three decades. The choice is yours, Madam Prime Minister. As conscious Bangladeshis, we took it incumbent upon us to draw your attention to myriad of problems our motherland is facing now. Nothing will please us than seeing our motherland grow and prosper in this very competitive world. Corrective actions are needed at this time. With an anticipation of that we close this appeal.
Spontaneous Reaction and Protest:
Prof. Ajoy Roy writes on Humayun Azad
Prof. Sirajul Islam writes ...
Dr. A. H Jaffor Ullah writes...
Humayun Azad: The marked man
Only few days ago a nervous but determined writer, Prof. Humayun Azad, sent e-mail to the moderator of a forum for freethinkers by the name Mukto-Mona. (Read more...)
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