Ashraf’s Column

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Corruption and women

Bangladesh is already well known as a corrupt country. It’s because most of its powerful and influential men and women, within and outside the government, practice corruption as a way of life. Sometimes we find names of such allegedly corrupt persons published by the media, though most of the time these people manage the corrupt owners of the media and go unnoticed. What is surprising is that we seldom find names of the women among the corrupt people. Very recently we found the name of only one woman who is allegedly corrupt. She is Mrs. Jasmine, wife of Hallmark boss Mr. Tanvir. Does that mean that the women in our society are all “dhoa tulshipata” (innocent)? Certainly not. I am sure, an intimate study of the corrupt men, will prove that, if not more, at least 95% of them indulge in corrupt practices at the behest of their wives and, in some case, their mothers. In our society we find most of the working and non working women, especially the well to dos, 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 folk would not have run after unearned and ‘haram’ (forbidden by religion) income to meet their wives’ insatiable greed. But the question is: How to motivate these highly ambitious and exceedingly greedy women and bring them to the path of modest living within the means? I have two humble suggestions. Firstly, women organizations of our country can initiate movements 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 or son to refrain him from acquiring wealth by illegal means by taking bribe or indulging in dishonest business. She must tell her husband or son 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 female social workers starting a movement in this line, or in a better line, by addressing our women, especially the ones who are still students and not married, through media, meetings, seminars and symposia? Secondly, the wife of a corrupt man 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 piece 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. We don’t any more want to see such persons selected or elected as the chairmen of the local masjid committees or the school committees, not speak of members of the parliament. Let us have the active support of our mothers and sisters to combat corruption.

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