‘I, as a common man, as an intellectual, as a politician, as a teacher, as a journalist, as a barrister, as a sage, as a saint, as a winner or as a loser, as a musician, as a litterateur, as an artist, as an actor or as a doctor, as a butcher, as a businessman, and finally as a worker sing the paean, the dithyrambic song for Dionysus, god of music and fertility in Greek mythology, where this puny, dinky, Lilliputian incident of stealing baby food by an unemployed father does not have a place in this celestial wonderland of wonderful happenings’, writes Abdullah Al Mamun
To me, recent incident of a young father stealing baby food for his child and then being caught red-handed is nothing but an isolated happening. Yes, I repeat, it is an isolated episode with a humanist approach of a police officer and a super marketing technique of a super shop.
Now please put aside this trivial shoplifting and let me tell you a story of a wonderland. A wonderland full of earthly and serene wonders where thousands of lives vanish every year like fallen leaves in winter, while this land has the most expensive roads and highways in the world. Millions of dollars evaporate to heaven routinely but this wonderland has one of the highest growths of mercenary groups.
Also, endless torture on the women in the bus, in the office, and in the family goes on like the flow of the river even if it has the prime minister, opposition leader, and speaker in the parliament who is women.
The water flow of rivers can be backpedaled by the buildings and blocks for the bucks but not the delays of the payment of garment workers and laborers. Not only that, giant bankrupts, in this land of wonders, can be let go off but the deficiency of annual budget seems to be mounting a buddy-buddy relationship, every year, with yearly economic plan.
Besides, this wonderland can sacrifice the world’s largest mangrove forest but so what since it looks like Sweden or Los Angeles from the top. No wonder, it does not have any university in the nearly top five hundred recent rankings in a particular region, but its oldest university cafeteria has samosa and singara only for Tk 10, the 8th wonders of the world.
It will be small-minded to think of the voting rights for it has a cricket team who brings glorious moments of celebrations every now and then. Blacksmiths of this wonderland play the role of clay modelers but again, who cares, ‘jack of all, master of nothing’ does not carry any wonder here since this land itself is a wonder.
Every monsoon this wonderland is floated in water from its friend nation as a token of love but how puniness it would be to talk about the death of hundreds of ‘Felanis’.
This wonderland helps other nations develop through sending millions of (unskilled jobless) workers to other nations (like beggars), but it is nothing before the construction of heavenly bridge of which no one knows when it will be taken the chair to pass through for the mass killing carriers and coaches.
No wonder whether there are millions of certified (educated) unemployed people but the saints of this land will have technologically advanced cities with metros and elevated expressways.
Yet, I, as a common man, as an intellectual, as a politician, as a teacher, as a journalist, as a barrister, as a sage, as a saint, as a winner or as a loser, as a musician, as a litterateur, as an artist, as an actor or as a doctor, as a butcher, as a businessman, and finally as a worker sing the paean, the dithyrambic song for Dionysus, god of music and fertility in Greek mythology; where this puny, dinky, Lilliputian incident of stealing baby food by an unemployed father does not have a place in this celestial wonderland of wonderful happenings. This may be the story of thousands of fathers but how come it carries weight as similar as to the million dollars mega-projects.
Although this wonderland diligently and tirelessly gives birth to brand new wonders every time, I got tired of singing the rhapsody of this land and hence decided to bring the curtain call but could not because I was forced to continue by one of my seemingly crafty friends and so started again.
It was believed in the 18th century Britain that ‘people are the riches of the nation’ and this noble belief made the wealthy nobles of that period pay low wages to its workers otherwise without low wages this ‘riches’ will not be there anymore. Moreover, their belief left no child too young to work (or to slavery).
The affection, the justice, and the concern for the poor majority reached to such an extent that a mad-like, insane Irish pamphleteer named Jonathan Swift suggested a proposal modestly to the authorities of Great Britain to show how much their children can be valuable.
Swift in his essay ‘A Modest Proposal’ said, ‘A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout’.
Only a crackpot and a psycho like Swift could brush off the great kingdom of Great Britain. And it was possible only for a person like Swift who could not foresee the upcoming industrial revolution that took place shortly after (two or three decades) his writing of this essay. Although, it (industrial revolution) was a beginning of another form of slavery but what on earth can equalise its contribution to the introduction of middle-class society who by the big Britons of Big Britain got rescued from the margin of extreme poverty line. Nothing! And then if anybody spared his lifetime to the remaining little number of paupers, how the hell this kingdom would go further!
Interestingly, it seems that in today’s wonderland also some boneless characters like Swift are present who just put their nose on the joblessness of that thief father but forget about those hundreds of fathers who are ministers, MPs, and political leaders. In addition, they will look into the small numbers of victimisation of working fathers but recruitment of large numbers of fathers in garments, industries and ship breaking yards will be brushed off of their head. In fact, what more one can expect from those rats who have undersised brains. Hail to the Great Britain and to the controlling father figures of this wonderland.
All of us know that a cynic is always a faultfinder in everyone and everything. Unacknowledged the wealth and rich GDP growth of this wonderland, these cynics will be skeptical about government employment and employees as well. They do not even try to understand that coin of this land is so powerful that it can easily import any scientist, technologist, philosopher, intellectual, doctor, or educator or whatever it needs.
So why do they become so restless and devised about question-leak, or bribery, or corruption in royal or mercenary institutions? Why do they assume themselves as Alice in wonderland who fights against the red queen to protect the world? Thanks to the almighty that there are still some open-eyed visionaries and intellectuals who lash and thrash those Swift-like dumb heads.
These visionaries include teachers, journalists, doctors, intellectuals (grand figures of this wonderland), political leaders (grand protector) and what not. These are those for whom this land is a wonderland. For them, this land secures top position in the world.
Shame to those Swiftian juveniles whohunt after loopholes to that superiority of that land. They even continue their devilish attempt through breeding rumors using their self-made phrases and nouns like corruption, injustice, inequality, poverty, traffic problem, load shedding, pollution, population, and unemployment and so on. And with all these wonders the story ends here with a humble request to all, O People! My People, please do not pay heed to those rumors and wear helmet.
Finally, I don’t know who is the fabricator of such gibberish wonderland story but hail Shakespeare for his one, King Lear, where this eponymous character gives his elder daughters, Regan and Goneril, their due but Cordelia, the youngest of them, being the most spineless, unworthy, and repugnant creature gets nothing.
Abdullah Al Mamun is a student of Jadavpur University.
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