Yunus banks on youths

Says they will change politics
Prof Muhammad Yunus yesterday called for an alternative political stream in the country, saying politicians were failing to fulfil the aspirations of the people.
He said frustration over politics was deepening among the people. “People are not satisfied with the politicians. So, politics has to be pursued in new ways. Alternative political stream has to be introduced,” said the microcredit pioneer.
The Nobel laureate’s observations came at a get-together of development activists at the Gonoshasthaya Kendra in Savar.
Forty NGOs have organised the three-day event to mark 40 years of the nation’s independence and the anniversary of Gonoshasthaya Kendra (Peoples Health Centre). On the first day yesterday, they accorded a reception to 40 distinguished individuals for their contributions to the Liberation War.
Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, also shed light on the achievements from the Liberation War and the current situation.
He said, “Before 1971, all our potentials had been trapped under a cloak. The war blew off that cloak. And it did not happen on anyone’s orders.
“After 40 years of independence, similar cloaks seem to have ensnared our potential for the coming days. The younger generation must remove the cloaks and tap the potential.”
Yunus said, “The current stream of politics will come to an end in the next 20 years. I can guarantee it. The country will change automatically if the youths stand straight with their full inner vigour. They will have to lead the new stream.”
Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, executive director of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, said, “Muhammad Yunus too has responsibilities in changing the country’s politics in future. Calling upon the younger generations is not enough; he [Yunus] has to lead. I will stand by him in his efforts toward change.”
He urged the prime minister to take steps so that the Indian Border Security Force stops border killings in the next two years. “Realise a fair share of the Teesta waters and ensure healthcare for the people. You will be able to win the Nobel prize within two years.”
Hossain Zillur Rahman, former adviser to a caretaker government, moderated the programme.
Brac chairman Fazle Hasan Abed, who was earlier scheduled to attend the open discussion on “Achievements of 40 Years of Independence, Challenges and Possibilities”, stayed away due to illness.
Taking part in the discussion, Prof Yunus said, “Although a lot has been achieved in 40 years of independence, still many things have remained unachieved. The dreams behind our joining the war of independence have largely faded away.”
Emphasising the formation of Gram Sarkar in order to take Bangladesh forward in the next 10 years, Yunus said the local government system has been turned into a farce. “Bangladesh will move ahead a long way in 10-20 years by making the local government system powerful,” he said.
Comparing the administrative structure to a car, he said the administration functions as per instructions of the politicians. “But the administration can’t perform properly as politics has come into the administration. Politics is now also among university teachers and we are being stopped and interfered with everywhere due to weak politics.”
At the beginning of the discussion, Hossain Zillur Rahman said that the largest achievement of the liberation war was the revolution of the personality.
He said there are many drivers behind the revolution of independence of Bangladesh, prominent among them are people like Muhammad Yunus, Fazle Hasan Abed and Zafrullah Chowdhury. They have contributed a lot in social and economic achievements, but not in the political arena.
Hossain Zillur said the 40 years of independence were the first round. Terming the next 10 years the second round, he said, “Many thought we would say something about it today. They have got some hints from the speech of Prof Yunus.”
Those given reception included barrister Amir-Ul Islam, Maj (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, Shahidullah Khan, Kader Siddiqui, ASM Abdur Rob, Kazi Kamruzzaman, Shefali Bhoumik, Maj Gen (retd) Amin Ahmed Chowdhury and Maj Gen (retd) Mainuddin.
Leaders of Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, Gono Forum, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Jote, Bikalpadhara and Communist Party of Bangladesh are scheduled to take part in an open discussion at the re-union today.
Also today, Biranganas will be accorded a reception.

-With The Daily Star input

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