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22 October, 2021 10:00:23 PM
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Obliviousness and the crisis of social capital

It is time for us to work on the development of social capital like economic and infrastructural development. Education is one of the elements of social capital through which society can prosper economically, socially, culturally and overall.
Dr Matiur Rahman
Obliviousness and the crisis of social capital

Scholars have long ago referred to the Bengalis as a forgetful nation, because, we forget everything very quickly. There are both advantages and disadvantages to forgetting. However, some things should never be forgotten, because, if we forget those things, the crisis of our existence as a nation may arise. Various social, cultural, political, economic, psychological and moral problems may arise. Analyzing some of the recent events, it seems that we have forgotten the disasters and catastrophes caused by the covid-19 pandemic. Experts say that in the last one hundred years, mankind has not faced a deadly event like this pandemic. The whole world is now struggling to cope with this deadly disease.

The coronavirus was detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It was detected in Bangladesh in March 2020. More than 24 crore people have been infected with this disease and more than 49 lakh people have died worldwide till October 2021. The number of people infected and dying from this disease is increasing day after day. This deadly virus has changed the whole world, including Bangladesh. This pandemic, which has been going on for almost two years, has made our world unfamiliar in all respects. It has also changed the way people live. There have already been many studies on the social, economic, political, health and psychological impact of this disease. Those studies have shown the widespread impact of this disease worldwide. The corona pandemic has caused many negative problems in the lives and livelihoods of people of different ages, classes and professions. It has created a variety of psychological problems. Bangladesh is no exception from those problems that we have already faced and facing on.

Before the discovery of the coronavirus vaccine, several measures were taken in different countries to prevent this disease and are still being carried out (e.g., lockdown, mask-wearing, isolation, quarantine, etc.). We kept ourselves as isolated from society as possible to avoid acute infectious diseases such as the coronavirus. Almost all social communication was cut off. There is no question of associating with strangers. Did we forget what happened to us as a result? Have we forgotten how we felt threatened by the closure of all communications, including air, road, and waterways? Have we forgotten what happened to us when shops, factories and businesses were closed? Have we forgotten the damage of our sons and daughters due to the closure of all kinds of educational institutions for a long time? Did we further forget that the shrines of all religions were closed when the covid outbreak was high? Have we forgotten how many people around the world are unemployed and living inhumane lives due to the cessation of industrial production, import and export? What happened to those families whose only earner died of covid-19? Have we further forgotten the covid-19 infected patient's condition due to lack of oxygen in the hospital and dying, the cries of his/her relatives? The long queue of dead bodies in the graveyard and the crematorium for burial and cremation? Have we also forgotten how our four-pronged nature came to life in the long lockdown to prevent corona infections?

Yes, we all forgot. We have now become engrossed in communal madness. We are practicing again all the illegal things as drug smuggling, fraud, forgery, murder, rape, abuse of women, human trafficking, bribery, corruption,  gambling, making extra money from the pockets of ordinary people by hiking the price of essentials. We are again active in selling adulterated food, establishing family, social, political domination, conflict, violence, fights, injuries, theft, snatching, juvenile gangs, propaganda through social media to spread religious extremism, etc. Through all this, we have forgotten the disaster caused by the pandemic. We have proved that we are a forgetful nation.

If we were not oblivious, we would refrain from these activities. We wondered how many people have become poor in just two years due to the global coronavirus pandemic, how many children, young, old, women and men are starving. A pandemic of hunger may begin in the future. We also needed to think about how to prepare for the next pandemic. We could have wondered what the consequences of our mistreatment of nature, the consequences of global warming and climate change would be for our future generations in the next fifty years.

We could have thought more about how our country has been able to sustain its economic success despite the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. How this small land with a large population has evolved from a least developed country to a low-middle income country. As a result of the construction of various mega projects such as Padma Bridge, Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant, Matarbari Coal Power Plant, Payra Port, Bangabandhu Satellite, Metrorail, Karnafuli Tunnel, Elevated Expressway, where will our country stand in the next twenty years? Because, all these are completely new for our country. According to experts, Bangladesh is going to become a developed country through these projects.

Considering the situation, experts have repeatedly said that the massive changes that have taken place in the minds of large groups of people, from children to the elderly, have led to a crisis of social capital in society. In general, social capital is defined as the ability to engage someone in social and economic development without thinking of any kind of material interest by changing the mental state or mentality of the people. When there is a crisis of social capital, in a country like ours, various social instability and religious intolerance can take a deadly form.

So, it is time for us to work on the development of social capital like economic and infrastructural development. Education is one of the elements of social capital through which society can prosper economically, socially, culturally and overall. It is time to build up an integrated social development movement collectively. Through which we can build a healthy, prosperous and developed society by preventing all forms of prejudice, illiteracy, bigotry, bribery, corruption, fraud, human trafficking, drug addiction, violence against women, trafficking in women, and propaganda through social media. For this, everyone in the society has to come forward.

Dr Matiur Rahman, Research Consultant, Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), Dhaka

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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