After celebrating the Eid-ul-Azha, the Dhaka city is regaining its usual crowded look. Along with the teachings of sacrifice from this occasion, there were many other teachings for the citizens. We all have responsibility to keep this city liveable, but certainly lack interest to do so. Instead we keep blaming the authority. Several protests were wadding the media in recent days which called for several actions from the authority.
But we cannot avoid our own responsibility as we are actually missing out on awareness about ways of leading lives and hence are creating chaos. Moreover, once aware, we are reluctant to act on our learning due to our habit to ignore those. To move ahead as a nation, citizens of Bangladesh must come out of this tendency and must act aware.
During this year’s Eid-ul-Azha, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) assigned 625 and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) assigned 549 spots for slaughtering sacrificial animals to keep the city clean from slaughtering garbage. They also assigned an Imam and a trained butcher along with sheds and water supply to help out the animal sacrificing citizens as both the city corporations claimed though at several places except for the sheds, almost all facilities were missing. But the most concerning thing was that despite several campaigns during the last few years, very few citizens came to these places to slaughter their animals. Rather they slaughtered the animals on the open roads often creating trouble for the vehicles and other citizens. They did not even bother to follow the instructions of the authorities.
The city corporations officials seemed to also know that such will happen and prepared their teams to clean up the mess from everywhere of the city. We must appreciate that the citizens were very active to clean up the slaughtering wastes and also the city corporation workers did a nice job to clean the Dhaka city. But it is alarming that we are reluctant to follow an official instruction and everyone is comfortable with that. It actually describes an attribute of common Bangladeshi citizens.
Few days ago, a strong protest was staged by the student in demand of safe streets. Their demands and actions comprised of trained drivers, disciplined lane system, fit vehicles but missed out people’s obedience of rules and regulations. Even these protesting students also know a very little about the traffic rules and they often violate the laws regularly as in reality they were never taught about these rules by their parents or their teachers. This much hyped protest was not actually about restoring traffic laws rather it was a reflection of their anger due to their fellow students’ death.
Our fellow countrymen constantly violate the rules when they are on the streets. It is the fault of the public transport drivers to pick up passengers blocking the roads but the people are riding that bus wrongfully. We often inspire a rickshaw puller to drive on the wrong side of the roads.
We almost never cross the roads by foot-over bridges or underpasses and cross the roads whenever we want to which causes many road accidents and if we dig into the incidents it will come out as the main reason behind such accidents. Of course, it is not acceptable that unfit vehicles will run on the roads or drivers without license will drive a bus, but we are completely ignoring a major reason behind the usual mishaps on roads.
During the traffic week 2018, rover scouts were deployed on the roads to make the citizens aware of following road regulations. But several pictures were posted in different media which showed how terribly they failed to stop the people from violating rules despite their utmost effort depicting our unwillingness to follow the rules. Alarmingly, our children are learning this lifestyle of violating rules from their parents and elders. With such behaviour, it is quite impossible to stop road accidents. If we are aware and act properly, incidents on roads will be much less undoubtedly.
A major problem in all cities of Bangladesh is dumping of wastes and garbage in public place. None stops us when we do so. Truly lack of proper dumping place is a big reason behind that. But even if the arrangements are there, we are often unwilling to use those. City Corporations in Dhaka installed dustbins at many spots of the city, though inadequate considering the population density. But those bins are often unused. Rather we throw garbage on the roads. It creates severe environmental pollution but we are reluctant to shape our behaviours.
In spite of having laws against smoking in the public places, people are found with such acts all the time everywhere in our country. Even though they are aware of the law, they do not feel the need to follow. After smoking they throw the remaining part of the cigarette anywhere on the roads. Vehicles on the roads are continuously honking their horns creating severe sound pollution. Whenever we are in a line like; for taking a doctor’s serial or purchasing the tickets of a game, we try to break those lines and even remain ready to bribe the officials to get forward illegally.
Whenever a foreigner arrives at our airports, from the very beginning they find hundreds of irregularities and that always gives a very negative idea about our country as well as our countrymen. At every aspect of our life, we are showing the signs of indiscipline and someday it will come out as the greatest barrier against our development.
It is a matter of disgrace that our behaviour is unworthy of a good citizen even if we pay our taxes regularly; and in this aspect almost all citizens are equal irrespective of their educational background.
The character we portray is unbelievable in most of the countries of the world. We are in a habit of continuous violation of rules and regulations. We have enough laws in regard to different environmental aspects like; air pollution, sound pollution, food safety, municipality rules, traffic rules etc. But these laws are not communicated or taught to the citizens. Moreover, the authority is loath to strictly implement these laws. It is actually related to our education system and we need to look into this problem with utmost importance.
In all developed and most of the developing countries, the children are taught discipline from the very beginning of their educational life which shapes up their morality and ethics. Children are taught practically how to behave on roads, at public places or at home. In some Asian countries, the children are even taught to respect their parents at school. They regularly assess a child on its behaviour and understanding of rules. The parents as well as the teachers are very much alert if their children learns something wrong.
It is because the parents had the same schooling and teachings. But in our country, we lack such education.
The policymakers of Bangladesh must look into this matter deeply. They must plan to integrate behavioural training in the education system with proper marks imposed to that part. A student must pass the behavioural tests to move forward. Different environmental or traffic rules must be taught properly to the children at junior schools.
The teachers must be well trained to focus on children’s behavioural growth as they are the key to put a sense of discipline into the next generations of our country. An awareness to act in civilized ways must be created from childhood. The parents should also be integrated with this program. With majority of our children at both urban and rural areas attending at least primary school, it is a great opportunity to change the face of our country by putting some extra effort in this area.
Our country is going through several development works with commendable goals like Vision 2021, Sustainable Development Goals, Vision 2041 etc. And we are performing incredibly on those set goals. But none of these is actually meaningful if the lifestyle of the citizens does not change. We must be aware and should portray civilised behaviour so that we, as citizens, can play our role as the development partner of the government. Only if we can do that, then we will be able to sustain our position as well as be able to take our country forward. It is high time that we start acting fast.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)
Published : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018 at 12:00 AM