An expatriate economist has regretted that despite certain improvement in the people's economic status in recent decades, development in Bangladesh is largely concentrated in a handful of privileged groups.
"Development of a few living in posh Gulshan and Banani areas is not the actual development of the country. It's not a good sign for a nation," Haider Ali Khan, a professor of economics at Denver University, USA, at an interaction with journalists of Prothom Alo on Tuesday.
On the current culture of party monopoly in the name of parliamentary democracy, he said there is no alternative to mass mobilisation or taking to the street in any circumstances. "I think, it is the responsibility of the media and the civil society to float ideas, forcefully, to impel the political society to change or accommodate policies," he added.
An economist, who served a number of international organisations including the ADB, Haider Khan expressed his opinion that salvation of the Bangladesh people lies in introduction of cooperative system, as envisioned by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"Be it for rural land or urban service delivery, in a densely populated country, cooperative system can be useful in solving our problems," he said.
One who represents the generation of Bangladesh during the 1960s and 1970s, Haider Khan pointed out, "We've been dependent on others in terms of thoughts and solutions to problems. The gentlemen [of the West] cannot solve in any way the problems of the subalterns here."
He also felt that the much-talked about globalisation has largely failed in ensuring its cherished goals, as reflected even in disillusionment of many in the West. "Yes, there is development here and there but credit goes to the initiatives and hard works by the individuals and people," he said.
Haider Khan appreciated the development attained by the East Asian countries despite the challenges they faced during the cold war era.
Responding to queries on Bangladesh's challenges, he maintained that certain strategies must be worked out in view of the current realities, to bring positive changes. "I am sure there are good people within the Awami League who would listen to the voices if heard that speak of democracy and development," he said.
Emphasising the need for good ruler, the economist cited the example of US president Franklin D Roosevelt who once asked a delegation of workers to "make me do it". "That means good politicians listen to the voice that help them to convince other dominant constituencies to take a decision," he pointed out.
*The article is rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir