Digitalization has opened the doors for mass involvement
Youth involvement in pre and post-liberation Bangladesh has played a crucial role in the shaping of its history. Starting from the Language Movement of 1952, university and college students from urban and rural areas and all kinds of socio-economic classes congregated to make their voices heard, and have their demands met.
Despite all kinds of military resistance, the brave youth of Bangladesh roared on, and brought their people great victories, but not without great human cost.
Similarly, when all diplomatic channels for a peaceful transition of power collapsed, once again these youths took upon the responsibility of being the frontrunners of Bangladesh’s Liberation Movement. This time, they faced the sharp edge of the Pakistani war machine, and countless young lives were lost.
Nevertheless, it did very little to mitigate the spirits of these brave men and women, who eventually picked up arms and engaged in guerilla-style warfare that lasted nine long, bloody months. Their struggle did not go in vain, as the war came to an end on December 16, 1971, marking Bangladesh’s inception as a sovereign state.
In the 48 years after independence, the political landscape has changed drastically. The primary catalyst for this transformation is the far-reaching influence of technology in the world.
Communication, access to information, and platforms for exercising freedom of speech have never been as prominent and widespread, and their undeniable influence has managed to add a whole new dimension of youth involvement and activism.
Due to the digitalization of the political playing field, I am certain more youth than ever before will now be able to advocate for non-partisan interests, wage movements for establishing legitimate rights, provide constructive criticism of the actions of the government, and serve the greater cause for the benefit of their great nation and its people.
Although digitalization may have some drawbacks in terms of curbing physical activism and action-driven student movements, its reach among the people is evident, and growing.
A democracy thrives when all citizens of the nation remain involved, the youth are eager to participate, and free speech is promoted.
Due to the digitalization, the circulation of news via online news portals has leaped to new heights.
These agencies are attracting many young students who are voicing their opinions through writing about the causes they are passionate about.
Additionally, social media and social networking platforms have aided this process by upgrading their technology to the extent where real time updates can also be circulated.
Remaining aware of the glorious history of student involvement in Bangladeshi history, one might contemplate on how to take adequate measures to further enhance youth involvement in our democracy. In a country populated to the brim, and more than half of it being youth, it is imperative for our government to always be seeking and implementing new measures and tactics, using which youth involvement can be maximized, and their demands considered and, if possible, met.
Digitalization has opened the gateway for mass involvement, and it is the responsibility of the government to nurture the minds of these young activists so that when their time comes, they can take up the great responsibility of the governance of this great state, never compromise the livelihood of its people, and work simultaneously with the new generation in establishing a firm rule of law in this country.
These young minds must remain well-informed, for when the time comes to choose a leader, they will remain educated and aware of their choices, give a mandate to those who will be the best choice for the nation, and rise above partisanship to ascertain a prosperous, involved, democratic society for the upcoming generations of Bangladeshis.
Wasif Jamal Khan is a freelance contributor.