“It was the best of times,
It was the worst of times…”
Nowadays, it is. The paradox of modern civilization is highly explicit; whereas there is opulence for few but hardship for thousands of our fellow citizens. Some of us around the world are living lavishly and numerous in wretched slums. Where there are latest technologies in almost every sphere of human life for having ‘less’ trouble and hustle free movement, there are sense of ‘less’ logic too in the name of religion sometimes.
The recent communal unrest due to defaming of the Qur’an during the Durga Puja festival in Comilla, a city in eastern part of Bangladesh, has been in the news. According to sources, the holy book was found on the lap of a Hanuman idol adjacent to Durga pandal. It is an uncommon scene, indeed. Who has ever heard of a Hanuman idol put up close to a Durga pandal? The Administration must look into the matter with all seriousness and sincerity. During this turmoil, several religious structures have been vandalised. Mob came on the road with large number and went on rampage. Meanwhile, Police have lodged 72 cases and over four hundred people have been arrested. Finally, Police has identified the culprit on the basis of CCTV footage named Ekbal Hossain in exchange of lives of our seven innocent fellow citizens.
In 2019, more than 31 thousand Durga Pujas were held in Bangladesh. But this time, the grief of the people who lost their relatives, the helplessness of hundreds of burnt families may have eroded that place of trust in the government. Bangladesh foreign ministry briefed: “The Prime Minster called upon all to maintain communal harmony at any cost. The government has urged all concerned to uphold the spirit of tolerance, inclusivity, peace and pluralism and stand guard against further efforts to malign the state institutions and tarnish the image of the country.”
Religion has become a pawn on a chess board. These barbaric acts stand for lust for power; get the people life more chaotic and destabilize the peace and harmony of the Indian subcontinent. In India, the pattern remains almost same. Be in favour of majority, incite them in regular intervals by raising some fabricated issues and let them on way to make the people frightened and disorganised. It is a matter of great concern no doubt. In our Constitution, it has been clearly affirmed that India is a secular state (articles 25-28). The state will protect all the religions, but interferes with none. But in reality, we are all aware of what is going on. It’s like everything is fair in the name of religion.
The Comilla incident has been used as a tool for political benefits. The Awami League government is trying to take political advantages. They have failed to restore the democratic rights of the citizen throughout their regime. The last parliamentary election is still a much talked about topic. Awami League has almost restricted the movement of the opposition party in the political arena. What’s more for democracy then? There is an undercurrent polarisation everywhere. People are looking at each other in disbelief.
There is a silver lining too. People from different walks of life e.g. social activists, authors, journalists, sports personalities, cultural activists and bloggers are out there on the streets all over Bangladesh. Students have raised their voices in various campuses. The spirit of 1971, which pops up intermittently, is making a comeback.