December 09, 2004


While passing our remark about other country or people of other societies, we often forget that we do it without having enough information about the wider world. We do the stereotyping carelessly without keeping in mind how others will feel about it. I came across this post titled "Think how lucky you are you don't live in Bangladesh" where Jack, a 42 year old American recollects the experience of his brief stay in Dhaka 18 years ago. If you are from a developed part of the world that you will agree with him reading that article that the modern infrastructures of developed countries is almost non-existent in Bangladesh where people flock to the new overpass as they have never seen one road top of another. And Jack had to undertake this painful experience because he got into the Bangladesh Biman flight which was $50 cheaper than the competition.

Dear Mr. Jack, you do not know much about our history. Bangladesh, a relatively new country was liberated in 1971 from Pakistan through a bitter war which left 70 million free people in a fertile delta of only 56000 sq. mile. Most of the infrastructure (bridges, airports, roads) were destroyed by the Pakistan Army and Bangladesh has come this far without much help from others (of course there were some grants and loans from developed countries but not without conditions and interests) . We had to face natural disasters (like flood, cyclone) almost every year. You will be surprised to know about the courage and determination of the people of Bangladesh to start everything all over again and carry on with their dreams. You were liberated a couple of centuries ago and you have gone close to a welfare state only in this century. Give us atleast a century to develop. I think you have heard of Rostow's (he's an american) model of economic development where he uggested that countries pass through five stages of economic development. To many in the world Bangladesh may seem poor among similar countries according to the economic indicators, but I am sure if those countries would face such natural disasters, they could not be better off than us. And how can you measure standards of living where in a rural Bangladesh village, a familly can survive well with $50 income which maybe your one night dine-out cost.

Some years ago a study was carried out by the London School of Economics where Bangladeshis was declared the happiest nation on earth. US was ranked 46th. See what I mean. You don't have to have US standard of living all throughout the world to be happy. If you read the article "Don't worry be happy" you will understand what I am saying. A quote from Iqbal's Diary:

"If a person has no family to go back to, no real friends to talk to, no community which will treat him as one of their own what use is all the money, the nice roads, the nice schools and hospitals? "

As for me I am lucky to be living in Bangladesh because I am happy with my living standard and proud of our culture and fighting spirit. You need to know more about Bangladesh & Bangladeshis to understand this.


Post a Comment