FARHAD UDDIN AHMED BHUIYAN ||
This article, more particularly, discusses, analyzes and brings to light the real scenario of the poverty stricken people around the world including Bangladesh; being deprived of fundamental and constitutional rights as guaranteed by the constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. It focuses a through criticism and consequence of not ensuring the fundamental rights to the unprivileged community. More so, this article gives birth and out lines some recommendations to wash away the untold pain of poverty stricken people by means of preserving fundamental rights and so on. Finally, it brings to book the concerned for whom poverty gets skyrocketed.
• The poverty stricken people face endless consequences with extreme violation of article 15 of constitution The state is bound to ensure the following basic necessities to every citizens as per the provision of Article 15 of the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh: “It shall be a fundamental responsibility of the state to attain through planned economic growth, a constant increase of productive forces and a steady improvement in the material and cultural standard of living of the people, withal view to securing to its citizens –
• The provision of the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care;
• The right to work, that is the right to guaranteed employment at a reasonable wage having regard to the quantity and quality of work;
• The right to reasonable rest, recreation & leisure; and
• The right to social security, that is to say, to public assistance in cases of undeserved want arising from unemployment, illness or disablement, or suffered by widows or orphans on in old age, on in other such cases.”1
But it is a matter of great regret that people from every knock & corner of the country are not getting such above told basic necessities which are their constitutional rights to avail from the state. No telling to say that despite having countless motherhood, love & affection, a mother has to wipe the tears of her children for not being able to provide food grains when they demand school going students cannot get meal instead they get scolding of their moms. Reason behind this is nothing but poison like “Poverty”. I think & strongly believe that not in the far but in our country we see millions of innocent people cannot get their square meal; other fundamental rights are, though, aloof from them. Being hungry how a person can think about creativity, development & other important issues is the matter of worry and question. To me, ‘Poverty’ is a fry pan where unfortunate people get fried & roasted with the pains of not getting a bit taste of living in this world. Love, thought, affection, emotion, education, Progress and many other abstract things do not get place in the mind of a person when struggling with “Poverty”. In fact, from my point of view, it is nothing else but a crucial trap set by the influential & so-called affluent part of the society and
1 Article 15 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
nation. How many people in Bangladesh starve day after day, hour after hour, there is no accurate statistics to the government. Not only this, because of poverty and illiteracy, sufferings and torture on women have increased alarmingly in the least developing world. For example, in Bangladesh, rate of acid throwing and divorce has no boundary at all. In the family courts of Bangladesh, we find many of family dispute related case are pending for trial. In fact, overall situation of poverty stricken people in south East Asia & Africa is being worsen day by day. For developing any nation where women can take part and keep contribution; they should not be chased to be fried on the torture pan of the society headed by the so called men. It is undoubtedly true that the education rate is also being interrupted and flopped down due to the inevitable impact of poverty in the least developing country like Bangladesh. Life of the coastal area people and harbor area has no touch and flash of the light of education. People rather suffer from shortcomings of their fundamental rights. The way of living has no rhythm and life is there to struggle and struggle against poverty to get a handful meal. People of river bank cannot even think for celebrating their social & family festivals with a little bit arrangement. Also it is admittedly true and matter of sorrow that poverty makes nest even in the Hilly areas of the countries. People of hilly area do not hunker after getting all the fundamental rights; they only desire to get square meal with potato mash or any other very basic things.
• Discrimination & violation of Article 28, 19(1) & (2) of the Constitution of Bangladesh
In fact, the spirit of article 28, 19(1) & (2) of the constitution of the people’s republic of Bangladesh always does not march and go to the all citizens of this country where as it is their constitutional right. Whenever in all respect, the provision of article 28, 19(1) & (2) of the constitution will be complied by the state out and out for its all citizens, then poverty and related other complications of livelihood of citizens will go astray and die out. In article 19(1) & (2) of the constitution of Bangladesh, there is provision that-
• The state shall endeavor to ensure equality of opportunity to all citizens.2
• The state shall adopt effective measures to remove social and economic inequality between man & man and to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth among citizens, and all opportunities in order to attain a uniform level of economic development throughout the republic.3 “Apart from this, the following provisions include in article 28 of the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh:
• The state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place or birth –
• Women shall have equal rights with man in all spheres of the state and of public life.
• No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex on place of birth be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to access to any place of public entertainment or resort, or admission to any educational institution.
• Nothing in this article shall prevent the state from making special provision in favor of women on children or for the advancement of any backward section of citizens.”4
If the provisions of article 28, 19(1) & (2) of the constitution are followed and complied duly for all classes of citizens by the state, undoubtedly it can present a good example for the backward, poor, unprivileged talented community to be herald in bringing excellence and tremendous development of the country. But in fact, because of not having this practice, wise and meritorious but talented
2 Article 19(1) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
3 Article 19(2) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
4 Article 28 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
people are leg behind. Throughout the world, there are many meritorious and wise people who not only do suffer in career planning development and decision making but also lead their life having no minimum standard of living. How life can be much painful only the victims of poverty can really understand. Being talents, if and when a person starves day after day; is not it a day dream for him to fit and place in a very peak of career development? Question may arise, many poor and helpless people of this world have proved and established themselves by fighting with poverty; but in fact, these are exceptional upon which the wholesome situation and fate of the poverty stricken talented of the world can, in real sense, not be determined. It is very true aspect that poverty matters and sets grip in the passion, desire, dream and creative mind of the meritorious people, if they cannot have a minimum support of living and others. Actually, having keen desire and ambition to sway in the future development friendly cord car, poor enough students do not find alternative except tearful eyes of frustration in their life. There may have arguments from different corner that poverty is not or may not be the prime and single bar to the talented people to go ahead in life only. Spontaneous and diligent willingness can be herald to make all out success. But this kind of argument is fragile in a sense that when a person is in need to meet all fundamental rights and he/she struggles miserably in such point hoping for being the extra-ordinary professional is to be considered nothing but in vein. When a student having absolute creativity and talents cannot get higher education and/or basic education, it is admittedly a silent cry and discrimination to them nothing else. On the other hand, having got birth with a silver spoon many raw student i mean less talented students get the classic and global standard higher education scope which is just like mocking at the real meritorious student of four walls of the world. Despite having hatred eyes to them, the poverty stricken students have nothing to do but crying silently. To whom my wording on the topic and for whom my appeal for poverty stricken people will go, I do not know at all? Whether someone will concentrate on the marked and badly important issue in these modern days or not is doubtful enough .Even though, by trying inhumanely and struggling deliberately, a few poverties stricken talented students can proceed a bit toward their mindset goal, they have to count and face a lot of mandatory suffering and difficulties when stepping in to the job market and/or professional life. Talented but not backed by political or recommended by big guns does not necessarily guarantee any struggled professional’s career up liftment in the long run. Apart from this, nowhere in this selfish world poverty stricken students get privilege rather they are adamantly made deprived by the snap of affluent society. Year after year, Century after century, this bad trend is rolling on and breaking the heartfelt dream of the world’s millions of poverty stricken brilliant students and professionals. Why so happens has no valid and reasonable answer. But I feel and think it is to be considered as of selfishness and dominating trend of a class of people of the world. However, dreaming for higher studies and career development, the term poverty is the prime obstacle for almost talented from the deprived family. Sometime, it becomes true to think that poor should not be extra ordinary talented, this is not their right compass. We sound tall talks in seminar, meeting and do not realize the crucial reality of the poor and deprived people. Despite having eagerness and all sorts of qualities, only because of being poor some people cannot take any initiative for business or/and any creative activity. Hidden talents and its flourishing is absolutely hindered in every stages of life being victim of the poverty.
• Inadequate compliance of article 18(1) & 32 of the Constitution so as it relates to Public health & right to life of the people In article 18(1), there is provision that • “The state shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and he improvement of public health as among its primary duties, and in particular shall adopt effective measures to prevent the consumption, except for medical purposes or for such other purposes as may be prescribed by Law, of alcoholic and other intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.”5
And the spirit of article 32 is read as follows:
“No person shall be deprived of life or personal liberty save in accordance with Law.”6
But in reality what we find is that the provisions of article 18(1) & 32 are not being properly ensured for the citizens of the state causing untold sufferings and uncertainty of life & health. Old aged people, I mean, senior citizens and pregnant women face troublesome hazards in their way of living. They, being victim of poverty, have to count the days without having any hopes for their rest life. Standing on the face of crucial reality, grandparents repent a lot for turmoil destiny and pray to Almighty to exhale the last breath soon. Though getting proper treatment is a fundamental right for every citizen, poor people are, in real sense, drastically being deprived from this opportunity of being treated by the country’s patronization. For the ordinary people health sector has no head ache at all. People embrace the death not being treated properly and number of life killing disease has been increasing roughly. Actually, there is no way escaping from the sufferings for the poverty stricken people as they have got birth in a vulnerable and poor family. Article 18(1) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
6 Article 32(2) of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
• Lapse of proper implementation of the spirit of Socialism & freedom from exploitation by the state as guaranteed by article 10 of the Constitution of Bangladesh
“A Socialist economic system shall be established with a view to ensuring the attainment of a just and egalitarian society, free from the exploitation of man by man.”7
If the citizens of the state could get a socialist economic system and proper implementation of the sprit and provision of article 10 guaranteed as the rights of citizens in the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, then ultimately the imbalance of poor and rich would get resolved noticeably.
In practice, what we see is that the provision of article 10 of the constitution gets unfolded and remain unimplemented which contributes today’s poverty and hungry faces in the country. But the extreme sorrowful fact is that sensing the weak point of poor community, a group of advantageous people tactfully incept different development activities through so called NGO’s banner. Heads and coordinators of different NGO allure the poor and unprivileged people stating that they will stand by them with financial aids, loans and so on. With the tricky attempt of social aid or service more or less all poor in a certain region become the victim of opportunist NGO owners. Truly, NGO’s do not do anything wholeheartedly and dedicatedly for the poor community rather than availing their long term interest. A few of NGO’s play positive role in alleviating poverty but in Bangladesh there has been a convention to pour oil on the oily heads. In fact, starving people have nobody but their Creator. A vulnerable poor can, properly, understand how long the days, nights and even the life because they count the moment of death being deprived from the minimum fundamental rights of living. It is very much unfortunate that the difference between poor and affluent community in our country is unbelievable. Whatever we do and say as politicians’ academics on anything; all together we are acting pretending such philosophy that we are security worried about the changes of fate of ill-fated poor. Should it be left to o on decade after decade or turmoil it in no time? On the other hand, who cares for ensuring the natural justice for millions of poverty stricken people around the Globe? Poor one, being dominated and used in the society, take the food chain of Animals. Knowledge can spark wall, though it is admittedly true but money and monetary sense is paddling the sense and wisdom barely in these days. I feel so scared and shame when I notice the legendary and landmark stakeholders having up to the mark honesty in their life have to ride on rickshaw and for their treatment, they appeal for financial help. Now a day, the concept is being turned to be true that where there is novelty, honestly and knowledge, there is pains but no money even for simplified way of living.
• Where poverty strikes on
Uneducated poor community sometimes, failing to fight with poverty, have to be involved in different offence and crime. Many of them have no way of being out from the hatred black and dark life as they carry on doing even the heinous crimes be-digress. In this beautiful world, every children has absolute right to live with the basic fundamental rights there is no doubt and for sure all critique will be agreed on it. But my heart bits much faster and it pinches when i have to notice the hungry, vulnerable children cannot pave the way for and carry the day in life battle who is responsible for that? Surely we all are blamed for it. When people will stop thinking only about themselves sparing the millions of poor children around the Universe, more particularly, in the developing and least developing country. A conscious person cannot help wiping his/her eyes when he/she has to see the lucid angel like children’s are being used in different factories and industries in life risk work paying some lump sum amount.
In the hungry world, people are helpless when not getting the way of fooding, it is true. Sometime, being not able to tolerate the crucial strike of poverty, helpless innocent girls or women have to choose the hatred Sinful profession prostitution. Though they know very well that this profession will decay their life like poison, finding no other alternative they become used to doing this by forgetting all religious teachings and myths. Are they really worse in nature is the question to the conscious human being of the world? Not only this, when poor community cannot sustain with the burden of loans, normal expenditure of livings; they do not hesitate even to sell their important organs of the body like kidney, liver and eyes. For surviving in the race of struggled life they face is heartbreaking and full of pain. But some culprit of the society looks for the opportunity to start their heinous business by using the shelter less people. They make them handicapped to use for begging as their business. How inhuman work is it? Which society do we live in? We have been appeared as animal by doing such brutal and cruel deeds. With the passage of civilization, human being is being notorious, not civil and decent. Being the victim of poverty, some people take decision to do household works as maidservant because they think they will get at least a meal by paying such kind of labor. But the hopes get void. Almost masters of the house start doing crucial torture on them with the silly excuse. Sometime they are beaten mercilessly and in some case, household workers are murdered when they refuse to do illicit physical relation with the master of the house. Indeed, cannot it be said that poor community has nobody else in this world except their Creator? Inquest of livelihood, poor labors never hesitate to do risky works like high rise building painting and working in different chemical industries. Many labor have to die when painting high-rise building with risky way of working. Even after, they continue to do so as because they have no choice left before them. How poverty can roast a person only the victim can perceive it, others cannot imagine the fatality of such pain staking livelihood.
Unprivileged people are aloof from modern facilities of life leading. Most of the cases, they are unaware of all the factors of modern living. Rich community few and far between extend their helping hands to them with insufficient and short term aids. In these day, one song is about to be proved as false that “Chirodin Kaharo Soman Nahi Jay”. It is not true for poor community. Poor are born to remain poor; there has no change in their fate.
• Criticism as to corruption originated from the violation of fundamental rights
It may be worthless attempt and standing from my part to move my pen further on the issue poverty since most of the solvent and affluent will get pinned with my salty, Fundamental rights including all other rights and provisions of the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh should, obviously, be ensured for all citizens by the state to wash away the nation paralyzing term “Poverty” forever from the bed of this country. At the very edge of my write up, my heartfelt appeal to all conscious human being is that let’s extend our helping hands and sympathy to the poor community to let them the minimum standard of living. We do not want seeing the painful, crying face of the starving people around the world; we want them to be happy with having at least square meal. How can we title us civilized? How the term “Sophisticated” goes with the culprit’s wealthy? In our society and country, we are used to putting oil on the oily heads. When we celebrate family function, social festivals, we do not care for inviting the poor and unprivileged people. In some cases, honest middle class people cannot get pass to attend the functions hosted by the hatred affluent. However, our trend goes to show up the social status in any function who are used to wasting the valued foods since these are their routine meal and their stomach gets oily and pasteurized with the decomposed rich food intakes. With heart pinching feeling, I, with aqua in my eyes, want to say poor people, lower middle class people, middle class people are entitled to get the invitation in these functions; since most of them may not take such fabulous, delicious, and costly rich food in their whole life. Some of them count the days of holy Eid-ul-Adha for getting a piece of meat be collected by knocking at the door to door. I hopelessly can convene the people of our surroundings not to neglect but to give entry pass to the distressed and vulnerable people to enter into any function; considering the spirit of Humanity and ensuring the potentiality of getting the doors opened for you in the paradise by virtue of your such noble deed. Why not we should be ashamed of wasting foods where as people, starving for days after days and getting the scent of your foods be served in your arranged function, awaits with all of your grimace and critical eyes just at the very far of your venue. One question always beats my feeling how much food and land does a person require? Only the required area of land prescribed as per the height of a person while putting on a graveyard, nothing more than this. Forgetting all the moral values and practice of being a perfect human being, we run after wealth to keep pace with the nudeness and etc. Those who have earned limitless and enormous money by way of corruption, dishonesty malpractice of power and any other illegal means should be boycotted in the society and in such way we may be able to choke the trend of their reckless illegal earnings & so on; though it can, in true sense, be a day dream to rectify the devil root like people. Personally I am dead against the usurper, corrupted, dishonest people who ever he or she be does not allure me; even the person having the ownership of the whole world. Let’s spit on the face of the corrupted, dishonest moneyed man living in every knock & corner of the world. In no time, we should start bringing to book the persons who have been wealthy by corruption and dishonesty. More so, Govt. should not put up with the increasing desperate corruption and it should take and task such practices side by side initiating strict proceedings against the concern. Eventually, poverty is such an issue which encircles and originates all pains, drawbacks, barriers, putting coma and or full stop in life. Different philosophers opined that where there is poverty, there is a burning ‘charcoal’ which will burn you delicately and till the end. If people do not get food, how will he/she desire for quality life? That is why, life of most of the poverty stricken people nips in the bud. I no longer want inking a lot on the issue. Let’s start doing a little bit for poverty alleviation. Keeping poverty alive, dreaming to title us civilized and prospered is nothing but laughing stock. Our all initiatives aiming to step in with the developed countries status will go astray, if earnest and the best efforts to alleviate poverty are left undone; so far as I understand. To me it is just like keeping a burning wood or coil under the bed and trying to sleep on it, if steps are taken to crawl for being a develop country and civilized nation; lagging behind the eradication of poverty from any society and/or country.
The state must give value and respect the constitutional rights of the citizens. Unless and until the Government stops ignoring the fundamental rights of every citizen of this Republic, the dream to eradicate poverty from this land will attempt to be stockpiled in the bottomless pit. In this way, a well-founded reasonable ending may be approached by accelerating the tendency of the Government to ensure the constitutional rights of all citizens by virtue of washing poverty away from Bangladesh. We deeply need to think and realize that we born with a silver spoon which is not our creditworthy matter. We could get birth in a poor family. Getting birth in a poor family is not a curse, it is the divinely order. So, we require to be thoughtful enough that saying prayer round the Clock to Allah is not only the way to Jannah, standing by the Ashraful Makhlukat in all needs and want is also the pre-condition to get the key to enter into the paradise.
[The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Head of Chamber : Farhad Ahmed & Associates who can be reached at [email protected]]