Sunday, March 18, 2007
My uncle told me this story years ago. During President H. M. Ershad's time, a village was facing a disaster. Mr. Ershad had ordered officials to deal with the matter urgently. They had worked hard and disaster was averted. Now the President was visiting in a helicopter. When his helicopter landed in a field, it was completely surrounded by hundreds of joyous kids. Mr. Ershad apparently looked at the official next to him, pointed outside, and said, "We have averted disaster today, but what will happen tomorrow when all these kids must be taken care of?"
Well it looks many of those kids are doing Bangladesh proud today. One example is the really young team that defeated India at World Cup Cricket yesterday. There are several teenagers in the team. As the Daily Telegaph said,
"These Bangladeshis have an impish verve all their own. Their youngsters are not only ardent but cheeky and streetwise. They are the youngest Test nation but they don't die wondering."
Ah, all those years of eating chotpoti/fuchka and playing truant/cutting classes to practice cricket pays off! A day like this is enough to make a fan out of a crusty cricket-agnostic like myself.
Another example is GMB Akash, a young photojournalist, who was chosen in an important list of worldwide top 30 "New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2007". Akash is 30, the only South Asian in that list.
Yet another example is young novelist Tahmima Anam who I have mentioned on this blog before.
And so the list goes on. Naeem Mohaiemen, in an essay, commented on how young Bangladeshis who have been successful abroad rarely get the rave reviews they deserve in their homeland. Yes, they deserve more attention. Problem is that our culture has a historical tendency to tilt towards elders and towards the past.
But today I see a change. So many of the kids I meet at different occasions - from the classrooms and halls at BRAC U. where I teach, to budding software engineers at various firms or friend's houses, to school and college students I run into while wandering or photographing - show confidence, self-esteem, and yes, verve.
The future of Bangladesh is in good hands.