MNA Editorial Desk: Recently gambling in casinos inside different sports clubs has been the talk of the country. Huge corruption and malpractices were revealed surrounding these sports clubs. According to the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government has started a drive against corruption throughout the country and its first phase was apparently against these casinos or to be precise against illegal gambling which has become a sports of money as the gamblers are often termed as ‘players’.
This gambling has ruined many families of our country by taking away every possible asset of these families. But the addiction of gambling is very hard to overcome and despite realizing the destruction, many could not resist from getting ruined.
This dangerous game cannot be a sport by any means. But seemingly this has turned out to be very popular throughout the country and this has grown under the wings of government backed leaders, youth leaders and student leaders. Sheikh Hasina’s uncompromising leadership is well known to us by now and she courageously started this fight against corruption against her own party people. There is no way that this drive can fail as it is being the greatest cause of money laundering which tremendously hurts the economy as well as a great cause for the destruction of the youth. Hence this is a fight to protect the future of this country.
The sports clubs those are being identified as the source of gambling in Bangladesh are all very old clubs with extraordinary achievements in country’s sports. Clubs like; Fakirerpool Youngmen’s Club, Mohamedan Sporting Club, Arambagh Club, Victoria Sports Club – these have earned the titles of national football, cricket or other sports competition on several occasion. But it is very different now.
If we look into the recent records, all these clubs have lost their edge in the national sports competitions. They have no decent achievements to show in the recent past. And now we can realize, it is due to their focus on a very different sports – gambling, which is earning the related officials and administrators millions of taka every week that compelled them to forget the real reasons for establishing these clubs.
It is very unfortunate that while our fellow countrymen are very enthusiastic about sports which often astonishes the experts from abroad, our sports clubs are getting ruined. Illegal business has spread its claws into the places where the youths are supposed to channelize their spirit, enthusiasm, competitiveness and strength for the right purpose. It is actually due to the failure of the administration which is completely corrupt and aids all sorts of illegal business in Bangladesh.
The leaders of youth wings of the government, who are not so young but holds position in those wings due to their power, terror and illegally earned money, are actually running these businesses with the help of the administration and under the shelter of the top leaders of the government. Recently two top leaders of the government’s student wing were eliminated from their post due to asking for huge amount of donation from an educational institute. The amount was so big that it raises questions, if these student leaders are to be pleased with such a large amount, then how enormous an amount will be required to please the government leaders.
Corruption and vandalism has reached such a height in our country due to the involvement of the law enforcers with the corruptors, which even the Prime Minister had to interfere directly. It is a sheer shame for the administration of our country and an example of the lameness of other leaders, who even deny knowing about the malpractices inside their own constituencies.
Not only gambling, these cubs are associated with drug peddling as it was evident from recovery of huge amount of alcohols and drugs from these clubs. Drugs being the major reason of the destruction of our youths are spreading rapidly throughout the country. Drug peddling from these clubs cannot be ignored. Every year thousands of sportsmen come to Dhaka and get associated with these clubs from all over the country. Most of them cannot leave any substantial mark in the field of sports. They are mostly not from well earning family and hence these clubs involves them in crimes like drug peddling or they become the muscle for local leaders to help them in their crimes.
The current drive against corruption and malpractices is very admirable. But the concern is how these malpractices reached such a height while the taxpayers are spending billions from their income behind the law enforcing agencies, especially the police. It was found out in few cases that when the police conducted a raid, they found nothing but when RAB did the same at the same spot, they found huge amount of liquors, drugs and other illegal materials. Hence, the purification should start from them as they have been definitely the greatest support to these criminals.
For a country to progress, infrastructural development is surely required. But that is useless if the human development does not take place. If the next generations or the youth becomes obsolete or useless, then no development can be sustained. With the spread of gambling, drugs, corruption, eve-teasing, rape, gang culture, brutal murders and many crimes else, the fate of our next generation is under serious threat.
Though Prime Minister took so many development initiatives during the last decade which actually changed the landscape of Bangladesh, the main thing will remain to sustain these developments. But with a rotten young generation, these developments or progress will go in vein and all her good efforts and bold steps will remain fruitful only for few years.
Many citizens of this country now believe that Bangladesh cannot provide a good opportunity for the growth of their children and only for this reason, many, who are capable, want to migrate to other countries. We are chasing so many dreams for the past few years – to become a middle income country, to become a developing country, to attain all our SDGs, to attain Vision 2021 and 2041, and most importantly to build ‘Golden Bengal’, which Bangabandhu dreamt of. But we cannot expect reaching those goals and to sustain those with a paralyzed young generation.
To build a healthy young generation, there is no alternative to create scope for sports and cultural practices. Sports create healthy physical and mental growth as well as bring in competitiveness among the youth while cultural practices nurture creativity and humanity inside. Only creating schools or universities or introducing the children to digitalization is not sufficient to build a qualified next generation. We must ensure scope for excellent physical and mental growth.
PM Hasina, being the daughter of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is very farsighted and we are expressing this concern, she had already realized the need for this sort of humanitarian development. She received the prestigious ‘Champion for Skills Development for Young People’ award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to skill development of the youth recently.
She expressed that her government is committed to building a knowledgeable young generation which can face challenges and help build ‘Golden Bengal’ as envisioned by the father of the nation. PM Hasina also mentioned that the government has focused on skill development and taken several initiatives to equip youths with proper knowledge and skills.
Along with educational and skill-based capacity building, she has already ordered and declared plans for engaging youths with sports. The government will build mini sports stadium at every district and upazila. Swimming pools are also to be built even at upazila level. Many sports field will be created for the youths all around the country. The schools were instructed to create playing field and facility for the students as a compulsory addition. The government is opting for creating excellent sports facility for the young generation and it is commendable. But here also it is important to ensure that these projects are implemented without any corruption.
Cultural facilities are also required to be ensured. As so many sports clubs were found involved in malpractices and illegal activities, the cultural arena of Bangladesh is also similarly polluted. Hopefully the government will focus on eliminating drugs, prostitution, human trafficking etc. from this sector also. Huge corruption in our cultural sector is also limiting the young generation’s scope for mental growth.
We are very hopeful that the current drive against corruption and illegal activities will bring in good results for us by eliminating threats for our young generation. Without a good young or next generation, we will fail as a nation at some point of time. We have to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by contributing from our end, however small that scope is, to win this fight against corruption.
This sort of drives has to be a continuous process and can never stop. We hope that we get engaged in good sports and cultural activities rather than getting involved with criminal activities. We want our next generation to be safe, secured and prospering in our beloved country.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)