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Why can’t we follow the rules?

  • Published at 09:57 am August 24th, 2018
There’s a designated place for everything / RAJIB DHAR

Animal slaughter took place out in the streets, in clear violation of city corporation directives

Getting away after committing a civic crime has become the norm of the day in Bangladesh. We blame the government or the authorities involved in a certain service almost always, without ever admitting that we as citizens also have some responsibilities. 

I met one my neighbours inside the elevator of our residence as I was returning from the Eid congregation. We greeted each other, and as usual, were looking at our own ways. As we entered the elevator, a few sacrificial animals had already been slaughtered within our premises. My neighbour suddenly broke the silence and told me that we shouldn’t have done the Qurbani within our premises.

“Where would you do it then?” I asked.

“On the streets, brother!” He looked at me as if I was a clown from the circus.

I told him: “Brother, but that’s illegal; our city corporation has directed us not to perform the Qurbani rites there.”

“But everybody is doing it,” he exclaimed.

“They are all violating the directive of our city corporation,” I insisted.

He wasn’t very happy with my answer but kept quiet.

I believe my neighbour wasn’t the only one who felt that. On my way home from the congregation, I saw that most of the super rich of the neighbourhood were performing this religious ritual on the street in front of their apartment complexes. 

The reason I call them “super rich” is that it’s quite easy to differentiate between the super rich, the rich, and the middle class by looking at their residential complexes.

As I waited for my rites to be completed, I spent some time clicking a few news links of the day. One of the news sites provided a news report claiming that most of the citizens of the city corporation didn’t know that they would have to perform their Qurbani either in the spaces stipulated by the corporation or within in their residential premises. 

I haven’t heard such nonsense in my entire life, as I explicitly heard the imam explaining what the city corporation had to say about “dos and don’ts” regarding this religious ritual.

What would I, then, conclude about these super rich? Should I come to the conclusion that these people didn’t go to perform their prayers on Eid day? And they only waited for the prayers to end and wanted to slaughter an animal for the sake of slaughtering? Well, I won’t come to conclusion like that, as that would make me a socially and religiously-despised person. I’d rather say that they didn’t want to give a damn about what happened to other people or to our authorities, who had directed us to become a bit more civic-minded during the time of a mass event.

I believe this is a rustic attitude of those who don’t want to listen to the authorities that govern the city. I also believe that it is because of them that a thousand other kinds of rusticity also exist in our lives that we so ardently want to remove. The super rich around the world work for a cause with their riches, but here in Bangladesh, they only show off and violate the laws.

One has to remember that the super rich (or even the rich) earn their wealth from this society, and they have a responsibility to give back to the society -- that may not be in cash, but in kind. What about abiding by the laws of the land which are allowing them to make that much money? One has to understand that the common people look to them for their aspirations. 

And if they, the rich, behave like the rustic commoners, they are certainly as rustic as we are! The money, for that matter, the wealth isn’t bringing any good for the nation. It is to be understood that the rich have acted, in most countries, as torch-bearers of many aspects of life and livelihood. 

In those countries, the commoners had followed them, looked up to them for various types of social and economic advancement. The rich had also brought various kinds of social change for the good of society. 

Although they have the tendency to show off their wealth in every society, they have done that along with shouldering some responsibility.

There’s a dearth of that in our society. We at least hope they may think of taking a lead in abiding by the laws of the land, and for that matter, make a true difference in the state of the affairs. 

Ekram Kabir is a story-teller and a columnist.

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