January 23, 2018

Slaying the Saviour

Slaying the Saviour

–Shahinur Islam

Slaying the Saviour? Yes, it is. I will explain below why it is.

If any faith or belief is not established and practiced by holding the hands of logical arguments and scientific evidences— rather they are employed in order to establish the imposed faith or belief, then its other name is ‘superstition’. Superstitions are harmless as long as they do not harm others, and do not cause any big problems to the lives of general public, which are thousand times more valuable than superstitions.

But when the interest-seeking quarters, especially the politicians fulfil their own purposes, capitalizing on the superstitions without the knowledge of the superstitious, some conscious person must come forward to nip the beliefs in their buds.

However, it is not so easy to root out superstitions; so some people do not do it, though they know it is a cause for major troubles because it needs fathomless erudition as well as indomitable guts. And one or two persons with these two qualities, who venture to weed out the baseless beliefs, have to sustain a tragic consequence.

Such one tragic but invincible upshot was writer Humayun Azad ten years ago, and another one recently has been blogger and writer Avijit Roy, who was brutally hacked to death on February 26, 2015 on the street of his way back home with his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonya who is also a cowriter, from the Boimela, a national book fair held throughout February every year in Bangladesh. Bonya survived the attack, but not the irreparable loss. One young man called Farabi was arrested so far in this respect.

Avijit’s crime was he loved his home country despite living, working in the US, and being its citizen and, for which he wrote books and blog, Muktomona(free-thinking) to sensitize people of unscientific beliefs and practices in Bangladesh.

His writings may be hurting to the superstitious people, especially religious zealots, but for greater betterment, he honed the sense, sensibility, and spirit, which would lead to amity and workability resulting in overall progress and development. If nobody ventures to whet the blind beliefs with logic, then people will be shrouded in superstitions for life. Consequently, tricky and unscrupulous people will cheat them on their beliefs; they will be partially human; their progress and development will be hindered; their lives will be in constant peril.

And we know honing or whetting is hurting just as the blacksmith strikes the iron and makes useful metal weapons. But it is ultimately sharpening, which is urgently required for Bangladesh as her majorities are now replete with blind faiths and beliefs, which are stupendous obstacles to changing their lot, to being true human beings. This is why, as killing the blacksmith is condemnable and unforgiving, and more so is hacking to death the person like Abhijeet.

Bangladesh was not as it is now. She boasted of not only her naturally rich diversities but also tolerance of other views, religious liberalism. People of all stripes lived almost together in their weal and woe, in religious and national festivals. The scenario underwent substantial changes gradually. One of the major reasons was religion was institutionalized and nationalized; once practiced secularism was replaced with Islam, and ethnic identity with religious identity, which has now been dominating ritualistically, thoughtfully, and constitutionally.

In her recent interview to the BBC, Bonya, who was also wounded and lost couples of her fingers, exhibited her outstanding zeal and spirit to continue her fight against the fundamentalists, who once threatened the couple on Facebook and the like, and, in the end, killed her husband and cowriter, Avijit Roy.

She won’t stop…She can’t be stopped. Killing can’t stop spirit or ideology.

If someone presents a remedy for the cancerous growth and s/he is slain just for that, the disease will obviously grow further. His/her remedy can, at best, be refused, by no means, can s/he be killed. To survive as a good, peaceful, and proud nation, Bangladesh must perceive the truth that she needs more people like Humayun Azad and Avijit Roy; she must save the savior who involves himself/herself in saving the nation. And if it is too late, the worst is ready to appear, because of the way the flames of knowledge and scientific inquiries are being extinguished.