COMMENTARY

Published:  03:59 AM, 11 July 2019

Life is short, work is long

Life is short, work is long

An inhuman and atrocious atmosphere is prevailing around us. People are getting killed in broad daylight. Children and women are facing physical violence every now and then. Even small kids, who are innocent like angels, are falling victims to brutal murders and rape. I met some foreign diplomats last week. They told me that they are shocked at the incidence of physical assaults on women and children in Bangladesh.

We have forgotten about the value of serving humanity. We have a lot of things to learn from monarchs and icons like Akbar, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Harsh Vardhan, Dharma Paul, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Swami Vivekananda, Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Vallabhbhai Patel, Sir Isaac Newton and other illuminated figures. They have become immortal through their contributions for the welfare of human beings. Life is short but work is long. We can become timeless by means of virtuous deeds.

The government has conducted an anti-narcotics drive all over Bangladesh which has been applauded by most of the people. However, narcotics still remains a social menace. For this reason the drive to wipe out narcotics should be continued.

Ethical values are declining among the people. Telling lies has become more popular than speaking out the truth. Winston Churchill once said, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." False messages unfortunately have a faster pace to cross remote distances though the ethical strength of truth is invariably much superior. Sometimes people prefer to tell a sweeter lie instead of unfolding a bitter truth.

It happens in personal relationships, in business, in politics, in corporate life and so on. But no matter how much we try to cover up reality with false canopies, the visage of truth gets exposed sooner or later by virtue of its own sublimity.

Whenever we make references to the widespread malpractice of telling lies around us, politics comes up in our minds as one of its most dazzling instances. All politicians are not liars. Some political leaders of the world have achieved legendary stature with the worth of their transparent images. But still people are too fond of talking about politics almost everywhere in the world when it comes to the comparison between lies and truthfulness.

There are also sayings that if a lie can be told ten times, it turns into truth, though such maxims cannot be supported from moralistic angles. The expansion of the practice of saying right things, conveying true messages and presenting honest statements in politics, business, professional fields and even at homes is one of the most essential prerequisites for building up an ambience where integrity, peace and justice can become established.

The Holy Bible says, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." A peerless mental relief pacifies us when we disclose all pangs and woes in light of the whole truth while telling lies puts strenuous burdens on our heads. The essence of peace is located in the middle of truth, not under the delusive camouflage of fallacies.

Loan rackets and financial scams have devastated the banking sector of Bangladesh. Defaulted loans in Bangladesh's state-owned and private banks have reached nearly 1 lakh 44 thousand crore taka including written off credits. This is an official figure.

The original sum of defaulted loans, according to economists, is much higher. Some banks are suffering from liquidity crisis and capital deficit. Dollar price has peaked as a result of heavy import costs. Continuously rising import bills have exceeded Bangladesh's export earnings.

Different domestic and international sources have informed that 6 lakh crore taka has been illegally transferred abroad from Bangladesh during last ten years. Money launderers often transfer money overseas by means of over-invoicing and under-invoicing. Unscrupulous traders open letters of credit (LC) in banks but the goods imported do not match the goods described in the LCs. This is how money laundering takes place.

The facts and figures associated with the top loan borrowers should be scrutinized to judge the true magnitude of defaulted loans. At the same time initiatives need to be carried out to ascertain why Bangladesh is now facing the highest ever trade deficit.

Several countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the governments of some other states give opportunities for a short period to the owners of black money to whiten their money. But people who take mammoth sums of bank loans and illegally dispatch those funds to foreign countries are no less than robbers. These loan scammers should be prosecuted without compromise.

Monopoly by a few business syndicates, nepotism and political influence are also responsible for the banking rackets in Bangladesh. Influential loan defaulters have rescheduled their loans ten to twelve times and even more. As a result most of the banks have failed to recover defaulted loans from powerful clients. On the other hand, small and medium entrepreneurs hardly get any chance from banks to reschedule their loans. Strong steps should be taken to eliminate this sort of discrimination.

We can also see ideological degeneration in the society. Anti-liberation groups are always trying to defame Bangladesh. Countries which opposed us during the Liberation War of 1971 are trying to manipulate us. Nevertheless we should always uphold the spirit of 1971 and sustain the ideal of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu once said, "Nobody can hold us down". We should always keep our heads high with the glory of truth and patriotism.

Truth is never barriers while lies are never remedies. At the end of the day it's the truth that can settle up all disputes and heal all agonies. Currently the world is so packed with injustice, repression and hardship because we have mistakenly moved away from the sanctified posture of truth and have become entangled with the cobwebs of lies. Everyone should enable themselves to embrace truth, no matter how harsh or benign that is.

Living in an ultra-capitalistic era, most of us have forgotten about the beauty of ethical uprightness and humanitarian edges of life. This is one of the main reasons behind the escalation of lies. Precepts like "end justifies means" have made us devoid of the power to differentiate fair mechanisms from foul games.

Falsehood can be compared to the mythical "Pandora's box". When this box is opened or when we spin false yarns to conceal an apparently unpalatable truth, we trigger an inundation of hazards, humbugs and malevolent pranks.  Following the pathway of lies is like calling up one's own ultimate misery though it cannot be perceived at the beginning.

The world's richest tycoons like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have donated a huge part of their earnings to charity because life on earth is short. It is good works which can keep us alive even after we die.

A couple of days ago I asked Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a press conference about the direness of debt traps related to loans from certain countries. Sheikh Hasina boldly replied that her government is highly alert about debt traps. Such firm assurance from the Prime Minister has delighted me and it has made the country's people happy too.

The Holy Quran says, "Do not become disappointed." I have full confidence on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her competence. I would like to urge the Prime Minister to initiate a countrywide drive against rapists like the operations against drug dealers. It hurts us to see the death of little children at the hands of abusers. The government should crack down hard on these criminals with immediate effect.

The writer is a diplomat,
entrepreneur, author, Chairman of Editorial Board
of The Asian Age and a CIP

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