Although bureaucracy is a vital part of a country as it runs its administration, nowadays, particularly in Bangladesh, it has become controversial as many government officers are found guilty of corruption and power abuse.
In a bureaucratic system, the permanent staff of a country is called "civil servants", who are expected to be honest, patriotic, and non-political; and through their good governance, a system is to be established in the society.
Contrarily, what we see in Bangladesh frequently is nothing but a painful scenario where their power is very much abused. Recently, many of such examples have disrupted the moral values of the people of Bangladesh.
Let me start with what happened on March 10 in Jashore. Three senior citizens were punished in Manirampur upazila by Assistant Commissioner (land) Saima Hassan.
While those oldmen – presumably, above 60 – were standing up and down holding their ears under the open sky and in front of the audience, the young magistrate herself captured the punishment procedure using her personal phone.
How could she do that with such day labourers who are at such an age of seniority! It becomes more tragic when an employee of the government behaves maliciously.
As much as I know, it is unconstitutional, immoral, and against human rights. According to Article 35(5) of the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, this is inhuman and degrading punishment, which is prohibited as well.
Even after 49 years of independence, this bureaucracy is depriving the people of their self-respect and justice as it was manifested during the British and Pakistan rule. Although the country is now liberated from the British and Pakistanis, it has not yet liberated from the vicious bureaucracy established by this kind of public servant.
I understand the situation of the spread of coronavirus, and I also agree that regarding its action, they were doing their duty. At the same time, they also needed to think about the situation, especially about day labourers, as the country has been locked down for many days.
Why did the team led by that magistrate forget the human conscience then? I think no one asked them whether they had food at home or not. If the officers had time to ask this, they would not be so violent.
In that situation, they were supposed to work with patience and wisdom to handle it. When the situation is out of control, they can arrest and put them in a place that seems to be as safe as quarantine.
But under no circumstances can citizens be treated inhumanely in public places.
Not only this but also the cruel face of the deputy commissioner of Kurigram came in front of the people through her so-called operation to stop a journalist who used to work as the district representative of the Bangla Tribune.
At midnight, when everyone was about to sleep, he was abducted, taken to a room at the commissioner's office and was horribly tortured. He was also threatened to be killed through "crossfire" just because he reported against that powerful bureaucratic officer in the newspaper.
In this operation, the senior assistant commissioner (revenue) of Kurigram, Nazim Uddin, was also involved, and he was also found in another case where he was holding an older man's collar.
The video hurt everyone people who saw it when it became viral. This happened in 2018 when he worked as the assistant commissioner (land) in Cox's Bazar.
Also, he was transferred to Juraichhari upazila of Rangamati because of multiple charges of corruption and irregularities. He was not appropriately punished at that time, so he showed his real face once again in Kurigram.
A hundred incidents are happening every year by these "talented" people, who graduated from good universities after having excellent results. After many additional studies, they take part in the Bangladesh Civil Service examination and join the action of the republic, proving themselves the best to serve the nation.
They get a lot of facilities nowadays. Then why is it that some of them are still not happy? I do not understand.
So, the question arises: are these corrupt officers really interested in serving the nation? As the "British sun" never goes down around the world, so do these corrupt officers of the government. Whatever mistakes and illegal actions they make with the trust of the people, they hardly face any strict punishment.
Although this magistrate Saima Hassan has been put down from her duty for a few days, this type of punishment will bring no solution. Because this has become fun to stop them from being transferred from one place to another where they become more furious than before.
They show their power because they know that nothing will happen in their professional career except the so-called transfer. This is a mighty job, a sustainable career, and a permanent future. Isn't it a reason for falling on this trend nowadays?
In front of Shahbagh's Central Public Library, the ambitious youth who recently graduated waits in line to enter the library. Anyone seeing this scenery of library worms can be happy to believe that these people are so enthusiastic about reading books.
Unfortunately, they do not go there to read more than two lakh library books. Rather, they carry their own guidebooks, which are particularly prepared for government jobs, especially for BCS examination candidates.
I am not criticising them. Rather, I am pointing out how the system pushes people to think from inside the box. So, how will this competition bring good vibes for the country?
Moreover, after this hard work, when they get the job with uncontrollable power, many of them forget their background and become corrupt and inhuman.
Moral values are decreasing day by day. We have inherited the British bureaucratic administrative system, which was very intimidating, although it was effective.
After the establishment of Pakistan, the continuation followed, but the quality dropped a lot. After Bangladesh's independence, the procedure remained the same, but the quality deteriorated to its least.
These are a few stories of the last month only. It is so painful to remember other cases that happen around the year. Why are they behaving inhumanely with the people who made the scope for their monthly salary?
Moreover, they should not forget what Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said, "You work, poor farmers and workers pay you. Your family survives on their money. We ride in the car with their money. Talk to them respectfully, talk to them with honour. They are the owners of the country."
The writer was a Fulbright TEA Fellow, Montana State University, USA. He writes on contemporary issues, education, and literature.