MNA Editorial Desk: Status of a country is influenced by many factors like; economy, humanitarian factors, technological progress and many things else. Culture is also an important factor as it shapes up the characteristics of a nation which drives a country towards progress and development while protecting a specific self identity. There are special features of every culture which the citizens of a country bear and try to protect. But unfortunately we are observing a huge degradation in our cultural attributes and we are actually moving to a culture which can be regretfully termed as ‘culture of fraud and illusions’. Though we might not realize today, this cultural transformation is going to hurt our future generations as well as the future of our country someday.
In addition to its intrinsic value, culture provides important social and economic benefits. With improved learning and health, increased tolerance, and opportunities to come together with others, culture enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities. Participating in culture can benefit individuals in many different ways, some of which are deeply personal.
In children and youth, participation in culture helps develop thinking skills, builds self-esteem, and improves resilience, all of which enhance education outcomes. A culture doesn’t survive because its people fail to die. It survives because the values it creates become encoded in the minds of its people, that they grow those ideas into meaningful actions, and that those actions are replicated again, and again, and again throughout centuries.
A decaying culture is being observed in Bangladesh during the last few years. Especially with spread of technologies and wide use of social media we are entering into something like peculiar culture as we are getting used to things which are actually morally and ethically misguiding and in destroying our cultures. We are forgetting our values and appreciating catchy but disgraceful materials. Though we are progressing from different aspects, this will not help in the long term if we are morally and culturally destroyed. It is regretful to say that, from its outlook, we cannot place any dream on our young generation to take our country forward.
Our youth along with other age groups also mostly use different social media platforms. They are from very tender age exposed to illegal, illicit and inappropriate materials which is destroying the characters due to being a part of the wide cultural transformation we are experiencing right now. Almost every teenagers or youths have multiple accounts in social platforms like facebook. They portray an imaginary lifestyle and try to influence others on their wrong identity. In this process, they are actually harming their own psychology as it significantly destroys their self-confidence resulting in hating self and finally getting negatively aggressive in different aspects of life.
In our country, the literacy rate is below the mark. But due to spread of technology, many with low education are using social media platforms. They do not know how to behave socially and by commenting rudely or giving inappropriate posts, they actually express their grudge of not being in a better position in life. Their language, emoticons, stickers are often very dirty. These are not acceptable in the society and in real life, they cannot talk like that. But they are often doing so as they are living a double life – the real one and the social media one, in which they feel they are invincible. It is destroying their moral character and at a point of life, they will do the similar conducts in their real life.
Social media is causing disrespectful behaviors to women. Women are often subjected to social media violence. There are millions of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or other social media platform users who often engage in inappropriate behavior towards women hiding behind a fake identity. They find illicit pleasure by disrespecting women. Many women also intrigue such behaviors by posting pictures or something else which is not appropriate to display in public as they try to draw attention towards them which they might lack in real life. Both men and women express their unfilled desires on these social media platforms but they cannot realize, it is not life and rather at a point of life they feel troubled. Incidents like rapes, eve-teasing, blackmailing, prostitution and many other crimes are often rooted by social media platforms. We are losing our ethics, respect for social norms and attachment towards family values due to this perverted use of social media and in the process it is destroying our culture.
We often see examples of defamation of honorable persons through social media. Even Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina or veteran politician Begum Khaleda Zia had to endure such acts along with so many other politicians, intellectuals or celebrities. It is a cowardly act which is very much appreciated by our youth expressing perversion in their minds and behaviors. Thanks to social media, a pervert named Sefayetullah Sefu is a social media star now. He, living in Austria, posts videos with pervasive sexual and morally degrading messages and often talks nasty about PM Hasina and other politicians. He recently disrespected Quran, which might push the authority to take some actions against him or at least against his social media accounts. But shamefully he has millions of followers and showing our ill cultural transformation, we appreciate him inside.
Our culture is turning disturbing. Due to open media exposure through social and online media, we tend to make anyone a hero and someone a zero whenever we like. There are hundreds of motivational speakers in Bangladesh right now who have all emerged from social media. Shamefully, these inspiring talkative ones have no achievement in life. They do not have outstanding education or did not achieve anything which can be termed as ‘extraordinary’ in their peculiar life. The more peculiar they are in terms of outlook or communication style, the sooner he becomes an inspirer.
We are not mentioning any names but a motivational speaker of our country is very peculiar and works in a local company. But due to social media, he sits with honorable people on stage. Another motivational speaker’s only achievement is being rich by born. Most importantly, they teach wrong things to the youth like one such speaker in a program was advising the young generation to be selfish. He did not know humanity is a big factor in our life and our youth is learning doing wrong from them. But we, especially our youth, are quickly accepting them to be their guides and it is becoming a peculiar part of culture. The youth should know that these so-called motivational speakers are no Dr Atiur Rahman or Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed.
Though many will not agree but today we have become too much achiever. There are so many awards or platforms which recognize the works of our youths but most of them are not really significant. We are becoming too motivating to limit their thoughts in their achievements. This culture is often making peculiar leaders who are often found to copy ideas from abroad and becoming a big hit in the country which is sort of an act of fraud. It is not bad to motivate someone by acknowledgement of good works but who are judging and what are the perimeters of judgment should be a concern. Moreover, honesty, innovation and significance towards the national development should be of most importance.
It is the peculiarity of our culture today that someone like Hero Alam is a celebrity. As a celebrity he only sells peculiarity and we are actually making him a hero. He even dared to submit his nomination paper in the last national election and truly such stars will be found more in the near future.
We have a culture of music videos now-a-days. Pornographic acts and out of our culture materialism has become common in these music videos. We are yet a Muslim majority country and this cannot be our culture. Our dramas and movies have gone down so much in quality that using ill words is the most significant part of our productions today. All these are actually depleting respect for others and for the youth it is dangerous.
Without strong culture, traditions and values, a country cannot move much forward. It is a matter of sorrow that however we show motivation, our youth cannot create much hopes as they are getting away from the humanity. Crimes are increasing, drugs are spreading and everyone is having a dual personality in which the evil will mostly win eventually. It is high time we act to stop destruction of our future.
The government should take some strict measures to impose age limits to the social media users. Demeaning posts must be punished. Mass awareness campaign should be run among parents to monitor the technological activities of their children. The schools and colleges should put highest emphasis on moral education. Every social media account should required NID or some other identification for opening. It might sound tough but few countries have done so to protect their youth already and we can do it also.
If something cannot teach us humanity and values, we do not need that and however harsh it might sound, that is the only solution. We must protect our values, norms and traditions to protect decay of our culture. We hope the government, the society and the family takes necessary steps to save our future. Of course, we need a smart future generation but we want them to be good human beings first.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)