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Silence, not always a powerful scream

Maksud Ibna Rahaman
28 Mar 2023 00:00:00 | Update: 27 Mar 2023 23:05:53
Silence, not always a powerful scream

Their eyes glow with greed and gluttony, prospect of profit blinds them, they never flinch, they are not frightened even of God, they never feel the prick of conscience, morbid imagination of pockets full of money and bank accounts with money one can’t dream of in a whole lifetime drive them to suck bloods of bloodless people. The holy month of Ramadan appears to be unholy with their mundane desire, their money-making and profit making ventures.

Who are these people? They are nobody and yet they are everybody. They don’t have any power and yet they are powerful. They are not in power and yet they are in power. They believe in God and yet they don’t believe in God. They have their faith in religion and yet they don’t have any faith in religion. They are visible and yet they are invisible. Do they sound paradoxical? Yes, they do but there is some degree of truth. These people can define and redefine everything. They have replaced God with money. They believe in the theory that money begets money.

Nothing on this hell earth allures them because they are saints. They are always absorbed in meditation religiously on how to amass money, no matter in whatever means they do it. These holy saints and sages are making the holy month unholy with their savage and insatiable desire. Nothing can stop them, nobody can prevent them and their determination can never be undeterred like revolutionaries who intend to change the course of the history. They are hell-bent on their mission. They are determined to change the notions of ethics and morality.

They always come up with their own new definition of literally everything. If you ask them why they have increased the price of broiler chicken they say the price has shot up as the prices of poultry feed have gone up. If you tell them the poultry feed prices had gone up even much earlier than the month of Ramadan began they are going to tell you it is because utility cost has shot up. When you ask them why then it does have to be just before Ramadan, the answer to your question will be just blowing in the wind.

These people are always out of the reach of our laws of the land. There are laws but they can’t deter them as they have mastered the art of giving a damn to the laws enacted to rein in the prices of daily essentials. Currently there are at least three laws in our country to protect consumers from price manipulations. The equal number of government agencies is also there to monitor the implementation of the laws. The country has The Control of Essential Commodity Act - 1956, Consumers’ Right Protection Act - 2009 and Agricultural Marketing Act - 2018 to check price hikes of essential items.

Those acts have long been only on papers as there has been no instance in the country that they have been used to protect people’s rights to living and stop price manipulation. When one former secretary of the Food Ministry says despite all those acts and laws fair prices of daily essential products have remained a distant reality. I would rather call it ‘distant dream’ as not all dreams come true. Reality can easily be changed with our efforts and goodwill but not all dreams. Her statement to a reporter of a daily proves that it will be our futile effort to try to execute those laws. Put simply, nothing really can be done.

A former director general of the Department of Agriculture Marketing (DAM), one of the three organizations responsible for enforcing those laws, told the same daily that a strong political commitment was needed for proper monitoring to solve the problem as the interest of the businesspeople gets priority in this country. I think, what he says latter is the punch line. If we dig deeper we are surely to end up agreeing with him.

He has answered the million dollar puzzling question as to why laws are not executed even after there are laws. Here lies the power of a section of those unscrupulous traders and businessmen. And this is the reason why common people have never been protected from price manipulation. And why and how those people can be so powerful, so deceptive and so manipulative with tricks up their sleeves to carry on with their mission unobstructed.

If those laws could have been executed, if those laws could have been used to punish the price manipulators and if at least some examples of punishment could have been there before people, I think, they would have never dared to do what they are doing now. Of course, the bottom line is the ‘political commitment’ without which laws can never be executed. Lack of this political will gives upper hand to those who are corrupt. They look for their friends in a corrupt system. If the system is set right corrupt people will find nobody to assist and abet them.

This is the reason why this section of corrupt and unscrupulous section of people are so powerful even after there are different departments, bodies and government agencies to oversee the entire process of price manipulation. It is because they find their friends there to form a nefarious nexus. This nexus, if allowed to continue for a long time, eventually runs supreme. They, at one stage, turn on their creators like the Frankenstein’s Monster. We have not only one but many versions of these Frankenstein’s Monsters. These monsters must be stopped otherwise this price manipulation will never ever come to a stop.

To them, there is no room for morality, ethics, social values, sympathy, empathy, love, affection and compassion for others. If these sinister forces, if these monsters can’t be resisted we have to pay dearly for today or tomorrow for being silent because silence might be construed as acceptance of whatever evil is going on. Silence is not always a powerful scream.

The writer is a journalist. He can be contacted at [email protected]