I have wondered about this for some time. My Bangladeshi Hindu brethren want an exemplary and courageous leader to follow, but they are loathed to act on their own. In dire times, they are quick to blame everyone, including the government, Awami League, Oikkyo Porishad (Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council), Hindu Mohajote (Grand Alliance), etc., but they will not take initiative on their own. Surely, those organizations carry special responsibility because one of their missions is to protect minority rights, but don’t you – my fellow Hindus – also have some obligations to fulfill?
Have you taken responsibility for your own actions? When miscreants attack your house, are you not to defend it first? When your sister is abducted, are you not standing first to save her? When your deity or temple is vandalized are you not to resist that? Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” You do not realize that by not standing up you are giving your neighbor permission to violate your life.
I understand that you are scared for your valuable life and want somebody else to do that defending you! Squatting helplessly, you wail the next day over your burnt house, but you lacked the courage to defend it the night before. It is not a benevolent society that you live in, you know that. How is it that you are so naïve that you do not understand that it is your problem first, and only when you act, then others will be motivated to join in. Well, what is needed is some courage and maybe a little bit of sacrifice! Sacrifice here means abandoning the comfort of running away at the slightest sign of trouble. You are not ready for that? Then do not expect others to sacrifice for you!
This is why I always say, just do your part. Criticize, but do not blame others for your failure to stand up to adversaries. Unfortunately, this is what is happening with the Hindus in Bangladesh. Everyone is blaming everyone else, and no one is taking responsibility.
Am I advising you, people? No! I am writing this from my life experience. After the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I was fortunate to find advice from two esteemed leaders who said, “Surely, you can be an activist of the Student League, but you need to safeguard the interests of the religious minorities of Bangladesh.” I am simply fulfilling the advice of those leaders.
Are there tangible results that I can show for my efforts? It is hard to say, but should I stop because nothing tangible has come out of it? Surely, I will not stop. As Lord Krishna says in Gita, “You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work.” I try to perform my duty without attachment to the fruits of my action.
I follow three great leaders: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Of these three, two failed in their mission, and one was successful. The first two inspire me and the latter gives me the hope. Humans live on hope, I too hope my dream will be realized.
What is that dream? Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” My dream is that the Hindus of Bangladesh will live in security in a nation where they will not be judged by the religion they practice. Such a dream is not bad. Some may say this dream is impractical in a Muslim majority, but it is good to dream! Stand on your feet! God bless you all. Pic courtesy: The Telegraph