Intellectuals are the guiding force of a nation. Common people are influenced by the way of their thinking. Those who are meritorious make their mark easily by their creativity. They are the pathfinders of a nation. If one wants to ruin a nation, it is enough to silence the intelligentsia. Many great intellectuals have been born in our country. Former British prime minister Tony Blair praised Bangladesh's meritorious students while visiting the country. A professor of Harvard University has admitted that Bangladesh has many intellectuals who are at par with the international standard. But political tensions remain a cause of concern.
This nation takes pride in literature, culture, heritage, science and arts. Philosopher Plato said, "An ideal ruler must be a philosopher". He did not mean traditional philosophy. He meant a high level of wisdom of a ruler that can help him guide the nation towards the path of development. Such rulers are, of course, meritorious and their patriotism is beyond any doubt. It is a matter of concern that our bright students are leaving the country for staying abroad. If this is allowed to continue, the time will come when the country will turn into a lame duck. If we want to have skilled human resources, we have to build a knowledge-based nation and there must be a close connection between the industry and merit. Students must be imparted modern technological knowhow. Setting shining examples for those people to follow is the duty of the intelligentsia. How will a nation progress, if the man does not? There may be a dearth of leaders in future, if the brain drain continues? Meritorious students are going abroad and they are not returning after completing their studies.
A country can land in a crisis, if there is no patriotic man in its true sense. The students must be encouraged to be patriotic from the childhood. Neither a beast nor an angel, one needs to be a real man. Great men always come forward for the cause of national-building. When we see a circular for appointment in ten posts, the employer receives 100 bags of applications. Who will stop the upward spiral of the unemployment curve. It is impossible for a government to solve the problem alone. We have to put all heads together. The rifts running deep in society are the signs of selfishness and lack of patriotism. No society can progress with these rifts keeping each away from the other.
Socrates taught the Greek people, "Know thy self." The man who knows himself can know the ultimate reality. It is natural that the man who knows the truth can acquire virtues. Kindness for humanity is a characteristic of them. Is there any guideline? Philosopher Bradley says when a human being is gripped by materialism, there remains no attraction for any unknown matter. Today we are helpless, when we see what happens on the campus. It is a matter of sorrow that half-educated policemen are assigned to establish peace on a campus. Sometimes they misbehave with the students. Apart from our job-oriented education, we also need to learn art, culture, ethics and aesthetic education. The day when society will be established based on knowledge and the nation will be enlightened, there will be no need to fight for peace. Peace will be there in the society automatically.
This scribe participated in a lecture series of the Gyantapas Abdur Razzak Foundation as an invited quest at the Nabab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban of the Dhaka University recently. There was a lecture titled "Bangladesh's permanent liberation struggle: Building an inclusive democratic society'' by Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). At this lecture Prof. Rehman Sobhan said the dream of freedom fighters still did not come true.
The patriotic educated people should think about nation-building. Their well-thought- out plans can help us improve the lot of this nation. We have to adhere to values and morality and continue the quest for truth. Because, truth is beauty and truth is freedom. Where there is no freedom of thinking, there is no wisdom and creativity. We should not tread the path of deep division. We have to quest for eternal truth which can lead us to peace and prosperity.
The writer is a philosophy lecturer at the Ispahani University College, Keraniganj, Dhaka-1310