In December last year, I went to Bandarban to visit the projects in Rangamati. When I arrived, it was already dark. After going to the hotel, I learned that due to the municipal election, tourists could only stay until the next evening. So, I immediately took a rickshaw and set out to explore the city. The rickshaw puller took us to a Buddhist monastery located inside the city. I was amazed when I went inside because the interior of that monastery was fully air-conditioned. Amidst expensive tiles and ornate decorations, the search for Buddha’s teachings became a heavy burden there. So, let’s continue quickly.

The next day, when we reserved a CNG to visit six spots, the golden temple was also on that list. At first, I thought I would see the illuminated Buddha in the deep forest with broken chains carved on the mountain, but the journey took a turn after crossing the broken chain and reaching the main gate. Even the golden temple had ticket arrangements like a bird sanctuary or a children’s park. They had commercialized and monetized the life of Buddha, who spent his life lovingly in half-starvation. You had to buy a ticket for 10 taka to enter there! Those who cannot afford to give 10 taka are not allowed to see that Buddha! Many may think that 10 taka is not a lot of money. But it’s not about the amount, it’s about the principle. I couldn’t comprehend why one would have to pay to enter a place of worship. If someone understands, please let me know. If you say that there is a donation box in every temple for the development of the temple, and devotees donate voluntarily, that would make one happy for Buddha and could even give 100 taka for his followers. But why should I have to pay to see Buddha? That’s where my question lies. This is an insult to Buddha himself. In my childhood, I read a book called “Chhotoder Gautam Buddha” (Little Gautam Buddha). It had such extraordinary stories! I learned throughout my life that Buddhism is not a religion; it is only the teachings of Gautam Buddha. Buddha himself rejected the concept of God or worshiping any deity. Yet, his followers have now labeled him as a god and are essentially doing business in his name.

I am saying these words because many of you may not be aware of the plight of the people living in the remote areas of Bandarban. Even if it doesn’t come to your attention or you choose to ignore it, I want to emphasize the situation. When I mentioned going to Nilgiri, I said that those who haven’t experienced it in their lives haven’t witnessed its beauty. And those who have gone to Nilgiri but haven’t seen the hardships of the mountain people on the way, haven’t felt it, they are truly blind, devoid of the capability to see any beauty. Throughout the year, so many people go to explore Bandarban, spend so much money, and pour out funds into the Buddhist monasteries, but do they know that these people are dying? Does anything come of it? It raises the question of what was done to address the crisis outside the confines of the Prasad built around Buddha, surrounded by the preaching of non-violence and the message of peace among humans!

Of course, when it comes to business involving religion, others are not far behind. Has anyone ever eaten at an ISKCON hotel? Imagine you order rice, cauliflower curry, cabbage curry, and soybean curry there. After eating half of it, you feel that it’s impossible to consume all of this. You want to return the soybean curry that you haven’t touched yet. But there’s no profit in it. They tell you that once it’s offered in Lord Krishna’s name, it cannot be taken back. Whether you eat it or not, you have to pay the full amount. Such practices exist in many other places as well.

My father is a religious and devout person. In our neighborhood, he has established an ashram in the name of his spiritual guru. Many people have come to our house, stayed for days, and eaten meals centered around this ashram and its devotional chants. But when my father wanted to open a charitable clinic focusing on the ashram, he faced resistance from the religious community, and no one supported him. When my father tried to save some ancestral land from being sold, again, no one came forward to help. Lastly, when my mother had to sell her wedding jewelry due to financial difficulties, these people were nowhere to be found.

When my father was unjustly fired from his job and fought a long battle for his honor, similar to a middle-class Bengali’s struggle, I used to stand at someone’s house gate like a beggar every time I entered a new class to collect an old set of books. I would write in notebooks using the posters of various products from the crow’s shop as a replacement for paper. Even during those difficult times, we didn’t receive any support from these people. But once our financial situation improved, these very people started praising my father as a great sage. This is their religion!

So far, I may not have received much support for my writing because those I write against are not part of the majority. However, even if many people misinterpret the word “sanghaguru” when pronounced, without hesitation, from the Prime Minister to everyone, they can use the term “sanghaguru” freely. But when I use the term “sanghaguru,” I can’t understand why it bothers anyone. Honestly, this numerical term doesn’t occupy my mind with the philosophy of numerology. That’s why I use the word “sanghaguru” for those who label others as numerical beings. Now, let’s go by their words.

I often see a foreign woman and man riding a rickshaw in front of my house. Perhaps they work in an organization located here. The man wears a shirt and pants, while the woman wears a veil with a shirt and pants. Yesterday, I watched a movie that was shot in Libya, where an American woman also went to Libya and covered her head with a cloth. Not only in this movie, but I have also seen at different times in different places that when people from European or American countries go to Muslim countries, they also cover their heads. I have seen many people appreciate this on Facebook. Now my question is, if they show respect for the culture of your country by covering their heads and dressing like the people of your country, why does it create a controversy when they ask you to uncover your face for the sake of their customs and laws? Why does it spark such outrage around the world? And if you believe that their culture doesn’t align with yours, then shouldn’t you stick to your own culture wherever you go?

When the demand for additional facilities for Sylhet was made at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, I protested as well. Because I believed that by asking for extra facilities based solely on numbers or by labeling our region, we would be demeaning ourselves. But I was surprised to see that the mathematicians themselves were applauding in favor of additional facilities for the sake of the state religion, Islam! I have left out the discussion about Turkey or India and instead, let’s talk about Nepal, a small country where 81.3% of the population is Hindu. Even they, being reactive to Hindu sentiments, choose to maintain themselves as a secular state, keeping their eyes away from religious bias. However, in this country, do mathematicians feel demeaned by someone just because they receive these privileges due to being a numerical minority? I would like to know. (It is not necessary to have a state religion. If you don’t understand the problems associated with having a state religion, you can read my other writings on the topic or explore articles written by other intellectuals. I don’t want to initiate a new discussion on this matter here)

But when these same people settle in Europe or America, their religion doesn’t go away in other secular states. However, they consider Islam to be gone as soon as their own country becomes secular!

No one becomes a martyr without being a Muslim. Because martyrdom means being a martyr in the path of Allah. Why don’t people know this theory, such as Dhirendranath Datta, Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta, Govinda Chandra Dev, and numerous others? If they knew, they wouldn’t have lost their lives so easily. If after 45 years there is a debate on whether they were martyrs or not, it would have caused them immense grief, perhaps leading them to commit suicide.

When I was a child, there was a shop in front of my school. Chirer laddu (a type of sweet) was my favorite thing. Every day, after school, I would buy four laddus for 1 taka each and enjoy them on my way back home. I never asked the shopkeeper whether he was Hindu or Muslim, and he never asked me either. Yet, the exchange of four laddus every day created a beautiful bond between us. When he brought potatoes or pointed gourd from the market, he never asked which household’s potatoes they were meant for, Hindu or Muslim? Or, when a doctor performs an operation, is the blood Hindu’s or Muslim’s? I left all these things aside. The Quran, Gita, Tripitaka, or Bible that you carefully keep at home, printing them on computers, in printing presses, distributing them to various cities, and from those cities to individual shops, are you sure that not a single person involved in this vast chain belonged to a different religion than yours? Those who pray in mosques or temples, were there no individuals involved in the construction of those places of worship who belonged to a different religion? Then why is it deemed inaccessible for people of different faiths after its construction?

In my circle of friends, it’s probably impossible to find someone who hasn’t watched a PK movie. And in everyone’s perspective, PK is an extraordinary film without a doubt. But I wonder what would happen if someone tried to make a movie like PK with the religious leaders of this country. I’m getting anxious just thinking about the state of affairs in Hindu society, whether it’s that individual or their family, or the entire country, if someone tried to become a “Chakravarti” (a title akin to a ruler) like the way someone became a “Khan” in that country. Everyone watched PK, but they didn’t take away the message it conveyed.

Religious individuals, who take so much pride in the creator of this universe, have reduced their own faith to such insignificance today that they feel insulted by the writings of a small person from a small planet in a small country in a small city within this vast cosmoverse. And everyone rushes to defend it with blind fervor! The God in whom they have so much faith, whom they consider immensely powerful, that same God and their religion are diminished by a mere insignificant writing, by a mere insignificant statement. Have you ever considered if you yourself are belittling your own creator and religion by thinking in such small terms?

Why am I writing all these things today? Because it’s someone’s birthday today. It has been 40 years since they passed away. If they were alive today, they would have been subjected to blasphemy and even killed for their beliefs. Even after their departure, controversies surrounding them have not subsided. Some wanted to label them as a follower of Shyama Sangeet (devotional songs to Goddess Kali), while others wanted to associate them with Hamd and Naat (Islamic devotional songs). However, this person was simply a human being who spoke about humanity above all else. Happy birthday, Nazrul.

“I despise those who despise humans,
Those who kiss the Quran, the Vedas, the Bible and die, die,
They forcibly take scriptures from the mouth,
And kill the person who brought the scriptures,
They worship the heap of scriptures! Fools, all listen,
Humans brought the scriptures; – the scriptures brought no human.”

First Publication: | 25 May 2016


  1. A WordPress Commenter

    May 9, 2023 at 3:31 pm

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  2. kshuvra

    May 18, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    Good Writing


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