M A Hossain
On 28 November ’20, a 17 days old infant’s dead body was found in the pond at Bagerhat in Bangladesh. Latter on police arrested the parent in connection to such bone-chilling incident and primarily parent confessed about their involvement to the police. Media became vibrant to criminalize this poor parent. But that’s not the dead-end of this story. The parent is very poor and the infant was suffering from severe cardiac and kidney problems. It was going almost beyond to do anything further for their beloved child (radio today, 89.6fm). Now, I will share two of my personal experiences with my readers.
Due to my professional reason, I was posted at outskirts of Dhaka. On my daughter’s 2nd birthday party, I was well-clad and ready to receive my guests. Suddenly, I got a phone call from my superior officer to attend a complainant who was an ex-senior bureaucrat. With my all throes, I went to my office and found an elderly couple waiting for me. I was battling inside me to remain calm and tried to forget the disturbance of my personal program after all I paid from their taxes. The woman first opened up and unabashedly told me,” baba! Amar chele ke crossfire dete hobe (Oh dear! Kill my son in the crossfire.)”. Her husband was beside her and stayed mum. Being a father, I was missing my daughter’s birthday party that was rampaging inside me and after hearing these sorts of appeal or complaint could only stoke more. Possibly the gargantuan anger made me pile and I forgot everything for a moment. I just smiled and said, “What you said is not what it is. Tell me what happened and how can I help you?” The husband started talking now and said that they had a son and a daughter. In a nutshell, the son became addicted, and they spent all the money to cure him but miserably failed and last they had only six stored building in town. The unfortunate son physically assaulted them and forced them out from their own house. Their only daughter was a college student. They could not share this apocalypse with anyone due to social opprobrium.
Second, a small plastic particle was stuck inside the nose of my one-year aged daughter while playing. We rushed to a private clinic. I avoided my credentials not to puzzle the local staffs but I introduced my wife (as she is a physician) and got the emergency visit to an ENT specialist. The doctor instructed us to hold the baby tightly. A blood-curdling shock enshrouded in the face of my little angel for our strange approach and grabbed her all the loose limbs of her body. The doctor used a nasal forceps and brought out the foreign particle. While doing so, my daughter trembled with her head though it was grabbed by her physician mother and it made a disturbance to the operating doc. After the small operation, the doctor vented his anger and resentment on me for the failure of silly responsibility though I was not responsible for. I imbibed all his bullshits as my little angel was out of danger again I was cautious about my covert staffs who all were deployed for my security that whether did something else for the sake of their commander’s honour. The doc was totally ignorant about my acquaintance and after finishing the formalities we were ready to embark on our journey home. But I saw that my wife was a bit frustrated. To make the situation light, I said, “forget it, when I did a commando course, instructors used to swoop on us wielding sticks, that poor doctor did nothing just to vent his anger on me.” When our vehicle started moving my wife broke her silence and replied,” I did dissect so many corpses, so many surgical operations, even my hands never shivered but when I saw my daughter, my hands refused and shivered. Sorry for everything”. The vehicle kept on moving, meant alright, but not my wife internally — though I replied with a smile.
Apparently, it seems the parent of slain Sohana committed a crime but there is something left behind. Already it became a subjudice matter. Those farmers who all were set them on fire in India or the French student set himself on fire are also a crime because as per law no one can take his or her life at his or her own. But, there was a message behind all these crimes (!) which strongly demanded to be addressed. If the baby would alive, what could be happened? Does the baby come under health insurance coverage? Do we really care about others in our society at present? How far can the mammoth expenditure go on with donations? How long would they bare of tremendous hardship and struggle of their daughter? Perhaps, a mixed answer is there but don’t antagonize me as an abettor of such crime! It’s our collective failure, and they didn’t show love and respect to the daughter. To me, the best came to their mind they did because the poor parent was not able to carry on such expensive treatment nor the government would take the responsibility as in Austria, a family ran 27 years-long lawsuits against the state to remove the oxygen ventilator and made their moribund daughter rest eternally.
In my opinion, it would be better if we consider them with sympathy and let not magnify their shortcomings with criminologic lens. The root cause of this type of crime was the lack of confidence in social security and values. On a religious point of view, it’s a crime, and they would be asked specifically about this deed. So we must draw a line here and revive our social and religious values that we must not lose our confidence collectively as a nation. We have enough educated people but very less ‘well-educated’. A human being never comes to the earth as a criminal but social imbalance, power or cupidity makes s/he a criminal. If good governance and social security are the sole responsibility of government then we also have responsibility for social values and social discontent. Otherwise, our millions of A+ or wealthy men will be useless in need of ‘humanely human being’. Let the hands of parents shiver to commit such heinous act again. At present, the government is coming forward to eradicate social stigma and creating social awareness. Let us all realize the Khalil Gibran’s tribute” they come through you but not from you, And though they with you — yet they belong not to you.”
(M A Hossain, a political and defence analyst writes on diversified topics in Bangladeshi and foreign newspapers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)