Anthropologically Bengalis are of mixture of three races in general. And these human races are Aryan, Mongolic and Dravir races. Though, it is not true to the extreme. There are other races' blood is also dormant in this area of pre-partitioned Bengal. All these situations are responsible for creating the Bengali psyche. Since time immemorial and over the years Bengalis emerged as a nation. In ancient Bengal three main religions were dominant in different times of history. Traditionally this land was the home of lower caste Sanatan Hindus. But in certain times of our history a large number people were the followers of Buddism. We got the proof of this statement as different shrines of Buddism found in different times of archeological excavation in different places of present Bangladesh and Indian state of West Bengal. In this regard we can mention the shrines at Paharpur of Naogaon district and Mahastan, Maynamati of Bogura and Cumilla districts. Recently excavated Wari Battesher and Nawabganj area of Narshinghdi and Dinajpur are also the proof of dominancy of Buddism in the then time of this part of this area. But after hundreds of years Hinduism turned again prominent by the strong influence of Bhramins and other upper caste Hindus.
Since 11th century Islam started influencing the Bengal commoners. In general, Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma) was heavily influenced by caste system. Brahmins and upper castes considered the lower caste people as almost untouchables. But with the fraternity of Islam some Saints/ Dervishes who came from Arab land and Asia Minor had changed the mind of a large number of people in this part of this sub-continent. And the common people started following Islam. They got back their dignity and respect in the Islamic religion and culture. In broad sense, in this way Islam had emerged as a major religion in this part of Eastern Bengal and adjacent areas. Still now Islam has tremendous influence in the cultural and social life in present day Bangladesh.
But some recent incidents happened in Bangladesh have showed some serious discomposure in Bangladesh society. And those are as follows:
a. Covid-19 outbreak and people's behavioral patterns;
b. People's attitude of shopping during pre-Eid days;
c. People's movement and their die-hard mind to visit their village home;
d. Lack of coordination;
e. Rumor taken place in people's mind;
f. Mutual no confidence and conflicts between emotion and logic in people's mind.
We all know covid-19 commonly known as corona was first detected in Bangladesh in early March of 2020. Since that time the whole world is being severely affected by this virus. Last one and half year our social life is in with this stalemate and everything of us is in total disarray now. Not a single institution in Bangladesh is functioning smoothly. The behavioral patterns of us have been changed now in many ways.
Restlessness is now very common in Bengali mind. Recently in many occasions we have passed many of such type of experiences. In the last Eidul-fitar people were very much die-hard to go out of Dhaka and other big cities to their village home endangering their lives. For precaution of spreading covid-19 government had taken decision not to allow inter-district bus service, railways and waterways for peoples' movements. Though from 24th of May government has allowed inter-district public transports with some restrictions. During Edul-fitar people were restless to the extreme point for going to their village home. They went to their village home by hired microbuses, privet cars, motor bikes, goods trucks, cycles, autorikshaw and on-foot also. In the ferry terminals people took the risk of life and in this regard some videos got viral in different national and social media. In one such type of videos we saw that some people were in monkey-like hanging position with the pontoon steel rope tied up with the capstans of ferries and pontoons. This videos and pictures have showed that how much die-hard were the people of our Bengali Muslim community in Bangladesh to get on board of the ferries for celebrating Eid festival. On the way to the home most of them had to change their vehicles in different points of the journey and that we call break journey. Some newspapers reported about 4-5 million people left Dhaka during last Eid festival.
We know that this time we are passing worldwide pandemic situation. Homecoming and back to Dhaka and other big cities might aggravate the corona situation after some days and weeks. Government and public health specialists are apprehending this. But we could easily avoid this consequence by logic and not by emotion. About 15 days back of Eidul-fitar government had to take decision to open shopping malls, shops by the tremendous pressure of businessmen with some restrictions. Taking this as a chance, as if it would never come, people jumped to the shopping malls and shops like swarms of bees. In this situation many of us did not follow the health regulations and government imposed restrictions. This throng in the malls and markets definitely made contribution of spreading corona virus. And now we are seeing the results of our behavioral pattern of last Edul fitar.
During Eid journey several accidents occurred in different places in Bangladesh. Among those about five people were killed and many were injured in ferries in Shimulia and Banglabazar terminal and some people including children were choked up by heavy rush in ferries.In different places of Bangladesh some bikers and persons on the pillion seats were killed by head-on collision with trucks. These were also reported in the newspapers and TV channels. Government has now freshly imposed restrictions till 30 June but allowing inter-district bus service, launch service and passenger train service. But those will only carry the passengers of half of their capacities with some additional charge for every ticket.
Now the overall corona situation is static but the situations in the border districts are aggravated. Regionally some districts are in lockdown process now. But for the consequences of behavioral pattern of the people the situation might be aggravated further anytime. As a nation we are restless and emotional. It was proved many times in our national history. Sweeping remarks are the common phenomena of Bangladesh people. So in every national crisis we should comment and behave logically. Many a times filthy comments turn the situation worse and ultimately that can create many untoward situations in the society and state. So in this pandemic time we all should act and comment logically. Untoward comments on sensitive national issues will cost heavily of our national and social texture. Time is running fast. Everybody of us should think of these issues for the betterment of society and nation.
Dr. Syed Nesar Ahmad Rumy, Retired Civil Servant, Dhaka
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