Ashraf’s Column

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Women and corruption

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has by this time published two lists of persons who are allegedly corrupt. They have been asked by the commission to submit their wealth statements for verification. What surprises me is that these two lists of one hundred persons, or so, include only one woman. (She is Sigma Huda, wife of former minister Barrister Nazmul Huda.) Does that mean that the women in our society are all ‘dhoa tulshipata’ (innocent)? In our society we find most of the working and non-working women, especially the well-to-do ones, want to live their life as luxuriously as possible. We see them in a rat race for more money and more power. They take a kind of perverted pleasure in living beyond means. They suffer from a mental disease called exhibitionism and are fond of showing off their expensive houses, cars, dresses, ornaments etc. If these women could be motivated to live within their means, if the society could openly question and condemn such exhibitionism, I believe, their men would not have run after unearned and ‘haram’ (forbidden by religion) income to meet the insatiable greed of their wives. But the question is: how to motivate these ambitious and exceedingly greedy women and bring them to the path of modest living within the means?

I have two humble suggestions. Firstly, women organisations of our country can initiate a movement to make the women aware of the far-reaching ill-effects of corruption on their families and on the society as a whole. They can tell the women that every married woman must prevail upon her husband to refrain him from acquiring wealth by illegal means by taking bribe or indulging in dishonest business. She must tell her husband that she is happy with his honest income, even if it causes her financial hardship. She can also tell her husband that it will never be good for their children if they are brought up with ‘haram’ money. Moreover, when these children will grow up and learn that their father was a corrupt man they will have no regard for the father. Can we expect to see our senior women social workers starting a movement in this line, or in a better line, by addressing our women through media, meetings, seminars and symposia? Secondly, the wife of a corrupt man, being the main co-beneficiary of the corruption of her husband, should be made a co-accused as an abettor in a corruption case. She may be acquitted by the court if she can prove that she tried her best to refrain her husband from making money by corrupt means. But the husband must be punished if found guilty. If necessary, the existing relevant laws may be amended to involve the wife of a corrupt man in such cases. Before I conclude I must make it clear that I do not write this letter to absolve the corrupt men of their crimes. Under all circumstances they must be punished as per law. They must be condemned by the society every time and everywhere. I write this letter to seek the active support of our mothers and sisters to combat corruption.

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