Generation gap with unpredictable consequences

Dhaka,  Sun,  24 September 2017
Published : 18 Aug 2017, 20:33:07 | Updated : 18 Aug 2017, 20:33:19
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A CLOSE LOOK

Generation gap with unpredictable consequences

Nilratan Halder
If the story of all the rich people is not just a rags-to-riches one, most of them boast a humble beginning. People like Bill Gates are drop-outs. But admittedly in this age of technology explosion, it is easier to get so phenomenally rich than ever before.

Leave alone the world's richest crop of people who have earned their money honestly. Shifting the focus on the moneyed people in this country, it cannot be said that these people, except rare exceptions, have always been straightforward in accumulating money. The super rich of the land have taken the definition of life and living to an unprecedented order. No tradition of richness followed, the transformation of lifestyle has been more amazing than rags-to-riches.

They live in palatial homes, can afford the latest luxurious cars costing several crores of taka. Now unless they have exclusive garden resorts for them to retire and even a second home in one of the fastest growing East-Asian countries or across the Pacific, they feel rather uncomfortable. So the ambition has shot up like a rocket bound for the outer space. All this they have achieved in one generation and the gap between them and their parents is as wide as the largest ocean on the planet.

Leave these super rich of the country as well. There are millionaires in droves whose humble origin and struggle for survival stand in sharp contrast with their current affluence and living. Some of these people are teachers who earn half a million taka or more a month from private coaching. Doctors as well earn in the same range from private practice. All because there is no cap on the number of batches of students they coach or patients they see at a sitting.

No wonder if a private tutor had to borrow money for paying the mess or dining bill but is now driving a brand new car of the latest model. A doctor's student life could be full of even more struggle but now that s/he (it's usually he not she) has found a lucrative source in private practice. When a teacher or a physician thus overstretches his or her professional credentials, can he do justice to the job s/he is recruited for? Without professional dishonesty, source of income cannot be augmented so strikingly. What is more, such incomes are not disclosed at all for payment of taxes. But salaried people have to pay for every taka they earn.

If professional dishonesty marks incomes of teachers and doctors, there are others who just make money by all foul means. So teachers and doctors argue in favour of their extra income. Contractors, engineers, politicians, traders, middlemen and many others take recourse to dubious means for grabbing unearned income. There are rare few who do not make use of the opportunities they have open before them to their advantage. But exceptions do not make a rule. This is how consumerism has invaded the country and there is an unhealthy competition for acquiring wealth and all the gadgets that, most people in Bangladesh now believe, ensure a luxurious and comfortable life.     

Time is also on their side. Technology is becoming smarter day by day. What is important here is that scientists and technologies in the West and in some of the enterprising countries in Asia have not forgotten about the need of the mass people. It is because of this, they could churn out the cheapest possible cell phone. But then there are the highly costly ones as well. Look at the eye-catching ads for their promotion. All this is meant for fuelling people's desire for consumerism. There has been a leap forward for all those who can afford the luxurious items. They are dissociating themselves from the past when they had to struggle hard for their basic needs.

Society is thus getting polarised. Some are enjoying the opportunities on a platter and others -in fact the majority of the population -are still struggling for keeping their body and soul together. Class consciousness, though, is getting blunted. When most people have to be satisfied with the minimum, there are a segment of people who are wallowing in luxuries. On this count, there is a serious generation gap in a given time. How long can the country afford such wide discriminations? Depravity and discrimination have their backlashes in some form or other. That is what history of man teaches. But few care to learn from it.
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