Contributions of Common Men | 2018-03-13

Contributions of Common Men

Dr. Kazi S.M. Khasrul Alam Quddusi

13th March, 2018 11:24:35 printer

Contributions of Common Men

Human being is gregarious animal. It is an intelligent animal too as it declared itself to be so as Homo sapiens (wise men) hundreds of years ago.

Human beings have a very natural hunger for praise. Praiseworthy activities of humans are bound to bring them praise, too. Face-saving is thus very common with every human being capable of thinking on his/her own. It is not unnatural either. Unfortunately, however, megalomania is such a phenomenon that it influences the incumbents having powerful positions in our society.

Such people have a tendency to think that they are the ones who know everything and they are the ones whose contributions should be acclaimed by others only because they are in influential positions in the society. It is true that they hold very important positions and number of people are there for serving all their orders and desires. This official and social advantage goes to their heads and this very thought becomes ingrained so much so in their psyche that they always find their ego to be of utmost importance.

They thus become ultra-reactive to any criticism pointed at them without much objective thinking. They tend to think that their personal achievements should be placed above all other contributions. This tendency grips the official incumbents of the country to a great degree. They always expect others to cajole them and they are not receptive to any objective evaluation as to their true significance in terms of genuine contributions. For example, is the contribution of an entrepreneur is lesser than an official incumbent in the public sector?

A public official becomes the incumbent following hard work and good scores in some examinations and he or she gets promoted which is a routine affair. Once he or she holds a relatively strong position in the service, he or she gains control of plenty of resources for allocation. This is indeed an enviable position. Interestingly, however, he or she does not have to work hard to garner the said resources. Because of being official incumbents, resources are naturally at their disposals and this very thing gives them a clear edge in the society.

However, should that turn him or her so self-important and egoistic that he or she should undermine the contributions of others? Unfortunately, this has turned out to be a regular phenomenon in our society where official incumbents are having a heyday in the arena of self-adulation. They become so hyper-sensitive as if the common people were relying on them for their survival. If some officials fail to convince the audience with their intelligence, some even tend to brandish their official prowess of threats and sanctions.

As against the official incumbents, think of small entrepreneurs who start with some penny and by dint of their tremendous hard work becomes owners of some factories and employ others in their factories in addition to exporting millions/billions of dollars. Are all official incumbents ready to recognise their contributions with an open heart? Though some of the officials are happy to do so, many find it rather uncomfortable. Though such entrepreneurs are supposed to get due recognition from the former, inflated ego of officials stands very much in the way.

Think of a highly-placed bureaucrat, a police officer, an army officer and a vice-chancellor and a well-positioned University Professor as against an entrepreneur who has attained everything without any assistance from his or her position in the service. Who is more admired in the society? Is contribution or official position the yardstick of gaining esteem? The official incumbents have the ability to feed the commoners from the resources that emanate from people’s tax. However, the entrepreneurs feed many from the foreign currency they earn by exports.

In fact, it is rather difficult to measure the contribution of an official incumbent. However, he or she may be given full credit if he or she allocates the resources properly and discharges the duties impartially. However, how many can claim substantial amount of success in these regards? However, contribution of an entrepreneur is easily measurable. His or her contribution to the economy is always adding value and Bangladesh is hoping to become a rich country banking on the contributions of such entrepreneurs and workers.

On November 7, 2017 a panel discussion titled “Partnering for Reduced Inequalities: How business can contribute to the UN SDGs” was held at Grameenphone headquarters. The discussion emphasised the need for participation of the private sector in implementing UNICEF’s 10th Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as adopted by United Nations (UN). It was mentioned in that discussion that the private sector is doing 78 per cent of the development work in Bangladesh, so it is impossible to ignore private sector in attaining SDG goals.

The market-based economy of Bangladesh is the 44th largest in the world and 32nd largest by purchasing power parity. It is classified among the Next Eleven emerging market economies. According to the IMF, Bangladesh’s economy is the second fastest growing major economy of 2016, with a rate of 7.1 per cent. The financial sector of Bangladesh is the second largest in the subcontinent. In the decade since 2004, Bangladesh averaged a GDP growth of 6.5 per cent that has been largely driven by its exports of readymade garments, remittances and the domestic agricultural sector.

Thus, the private sector entrepreneurs and workers can claim great credit for this upbeat state of our economy.  Moreover, the country has pursued export-oriented industrialisation, with its key export sectors include textiles, shipbuilding, fish and seafood, jute and leather goods. It has also developed self-sufficient industries in pharmaceuticals, steel and food processing. Bangladesh’s telecommunication industry has witnessed rapid growth over the years, receiving high investment from foreign companies.

The intention of the article is not to denigrate the role of the official incumbents in any way. The aim is rather to highlight the contributions of others who are serving the people and the economy without positional advantages. The common men of the country are grouped in this very category. One may underestimate the power of these common men at their own risks. However, their contributions cannot be underestimated under any circumstances. Hopefully, an attitudinal change will be in the offing and contributions of the common men will be duly acknowledged by the influential ones.


The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, Chittagong University. E-mail: [email protected]