Mohammad Mamun Mia :
Moral degradation or breakdown is a phenomenon in which a major degradation or complete loss of moral values takes place. The morals and values which are held in high esteem are now eroding with the trend of present. This erosion has taken a dangerous turn and at the same time it is very difficult for the peace loving people to bear with the miserable aspects of life. It is not only a national, but a global problem also. The densely populated country like ours, which is progressing by leaps and bounds, is experiencing the sharp contrast of decline of moral values especially among the youth though some aged people are also lacking moral standard.
The revolution of Science and Technology has made our life easy and reachable to a new height. But we should realize that our moral degradation is making our society ruthless than ever. We had a rich culture where people respected each other and there was harmony in the community in religious and social terms. But today, when we keep eyes in the daily newspapers, we cannot but be ashamed and thundered as we have to see the news of pervading cruelty, notoriousness, deviant behavior, disturbing, appalling, rape, bribery, killing, trafficking and many other reports every single day. But what is causing our society to engage in such ominous deeds? The answer is very clear. It is nothing but lack of moral scruples along with religious base.
Time is passing away to think over the questions: Why does the mother kill her children? Or why does the son kill his father? What causes are there in the conjugal lives? Why the wife leaves her husband? Or why the husband leaves the wife? Why does a section of people leak out question paper knowing full well education is the backbone of a nation? What we want to say is the occurrence of rampant crimes and vices in the society from the lower class to the higher class. Incompetent persons are seen to seek favor through bribery. There are hundreds and thousands of immoral practices in which people take part to serve their illegal purpose. They never think whether such practices are right or wrong or these are allowed by law or religion? The fear of the Creator and justice both here and hereafter has no compassion to them. They are heedless to religion and law of the land.
If we keep our eyes at the international level, some living pictures will flash upon our minds which are sure to cause tear roll down from our eyes. Let's look at the innocent Rohingyas facing extinction through 'ethnic cleansing' or 'slow genocide in Myanmar. The helpless victims are fleeing from their homes in Rakhaine State and living at the refugee camp in Bangladesh. Innumerable numbers of Muslims were killed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The tragedy of the homeless Palestinians, who lost their territories due to the brutal occupation by the Israelis, are not forgettable. The foolish war in Yemen, Syria and Iraq but an act of barbarism. The people of Kashmir are being are being suppressed. Numerous examples may be cited from the international perspectives.
We are to focus from the Bangladesh perspective. It is known that Bangladesh was liberated from the brutal regime of Pakistan that colonized her for a long time. The after-effects or impact of their tyrant and oppressive rule has its indirect effect on the morals and values of our people.
Once the social motto was 'each for all' and 'all for each' but at present we see that every person is for him-herself. People take pride in their self-her aggrandizement and self-satisfaction. The ailing father is weeping in the bed in the hospital and the son has no time to see him. A next door neighbor is ill-clad and without food. People have become so careless about the surrounding that they do not think of the sorrows and sufferings of his-her fellow people. A shocking news, a youth was hacked to death in broad daylight when returning home with his wife while several people watched and many even recorded it on their cell phones but no one came forward to help him! This incident undoubtedly portrays a dark and sinister side of our society. At present, we have entered into a dark-age where we prioritize our selfish motives first and so we often think about helping ourselves more than anything else.
If we go to think about our social values, we will perceive that we are in extreme degradation. The greed for money and power, injustice and discrimination in society, excessive desire or mania to gain something illegally and unfairly-the desire for material gain are the causes of present degradation of social values. Besides, many juniors don't show any respect to their superiors, May of the family ties are facing breakdown, often a family disintegrates, children go astray, and young people become drug addicted, or get involved in various anti-social and immoral activities. These are all signs of people's loss of the sense of morality of ethics resulting from moral degradation.
The pathetic case of the young lion Heera which died in the National Zoo in Dhaka after starving for almost two and a half months is a clear indication that our society's moral degradation is outright dangerous! Can a person call himself human being if he steals food meant for a caged animal? Are we so selfish and so hungry for money that we have to starve a helpless, sick animal and use the money for our selfish motives?
We are struck with remorse when some high ups of the society are found implicated in immoral activities and the media expose and bring them to the spotlight. The recent scandal with a responsible person of a district with his female lower staff is a terrific incident and very sorrowful event. A higher educated man like him including others in the unethical activities, yet to be found out are potential danger to the state.
In case of Nusrat we see that she was ruthlessly oppressed by the Principal of her Madrasha. She was abused and burnt. When the Principal was accused, people in favour of him took out a rally. Nusrat went to the Officer-in-charge at her thana. The OC somehow using his mobile recorded the account of brutality against Nusrat and then it was exposed as viral. Nusrat tried her level best to protest against her oppression. The innocent girl trying for some days for life at the hospital, at last, breathed her last. This incident reflects that some teachers are so-called educated and are in the depth of degradation.
The teachers are considered as the maker of the future humanitarian mind and preparing the budding generation as the future of the nation. But today the dangerous tragedy is that the section of teachers without human ideals become the killers of civilization. It is often seen that some teachers are getting involved in raping students for several times, record it on their mobile phone and blackmail the victims! The nation vigorously condemn such teachers.
However, only female students are not victims of sexual harassment in educational institutions, rather the male students and female colleagues also face the threat of harassment. Specifically, in residential madrasas, schools and colleges, the students are directly or indirectly sexually harassed by hostel tutors or supers.
Many helpless students are bound to be involved in homosexuality. Otherwise, they are mentally and physically tortured. Most of them are from needy families. The boys suffer from mental and physical trauma. It also affects the future life of that student.
The female colleagues are victims of sexual intrusion by their counterparts. Recently in a reputed University, three female teachers alleged against one of the male colleagues.
The recent incidents of killing within families in the capital are the outcome of financial hardship, moral degradation and intrusion of foreign culture.
Back-to-back incidents of double murder within two families that took place in the capital recently manifest degradation of moral values. One of the two incidents occurred over land dispute while another over extramarital affair.
Child rape, trafficking, and many other ways in which children are being abused are in the headlines with depressing regularity. Concurrent rapes against minors have doubled in the second quarter of 2019, according to the Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF). At least 164 children were raped in the first quarter of 2019, but the rapes were doubled within three months, ballooning to 332 from April to June at 102% according to a BASF press release. In the first six months of 2019, there had been 496 child rapes reported in total, while the number was 351 during the same period last year. Among the 496 reported rapes, 53 were gang raped, 27 were raped of differently-abled minors, and 23 children were murdered after they had been raped.
Adulteration of foods has become another national issue. The problem is not only ignoring the human rights for safer food, but also endangering public health seriously with numerous acute and chronic diseases. Our future generation will be seriously affected with vulnerable physical and mental growth inflicted by food adulteration. This is one of the most heinous crimes and stage of moral degradation.
Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Drugs like heroin, opium, marijuana, morphine, cocaine, phensydyl etc. give exciting feelings to those who take these. But frequent taking of these drugs leads a person to certain death. Among the addicted people, the young generation is larger in number. There are mainly two reasons behind it. The first is : young people are more curious. So, whatever they see either harmful or useful, they to taste. Again, frustration is another cause of taking drugs. When there is no hope left for a young, there is a probability of being addicted to drugs.
Running casinos, gambling, extortion and drug abuse have become a common affair in our country which spread like mushroom around the big cities and towns ! Such types of illegal activities bear the testimony to extreme moral degradation. Moreover, in the name of Beauty parlor and Spa Centre there are some illegal businesspersons who run sex business at broad daylight. These activities cripple our society drastically.
In a recent newspaper news, several unethical news like '13-year-old girl killed after rape', ' father kills daughter', are published. All these are nothing but dangerous lack of morality. Besides corruption, looting, river grabbing, land grabbing, killing and food adulteration are all ominous and terrifying which can be attributed to the degradation of moral values in the new generation.
Recovery must start from the grass-root level and the leaders, parents, teachers and other social influencers must understand that the need of the hour is to acknowledge the most heinous moral degradation and to impart human values to the youth and children so that they can differentiate between right and wrong. The invaluable treasure of moral values must be passed on from the present generation to the next. Just like many other countries, who are already working on such initiatives, it is imperative that 'moral education' as a compulsory subject in our curriculums should be included up to HSC levels. The lessons will focus on the promotion of ethics, personal and community growth, culture and heritage, rights and responsibilities, good citizenship, etc. Such a course, if implemented well, will raise moral standards across our society and side by side, marks on humanistic activities of the students should be rewarded so that they are brought up with human valves.
In our country Muslims are 89.1% the Hindus are 10%, and other religions make up the remaining 0.9% (includes Buddhist, Christian) of the total population. As most of the population in our country are Muslims and we have the Holy Books Quran and Sunnah (Hadith) of the Greatest Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Sm) they can certainly show us the right path. We have also many scholars who adhere to their Islamic values and behavior and they also achieved vast progress in Scientific and technological fields. The Holy Quran is a methodology of morals and virtue. It is a Book that contains guidelines that are pertinent to performing religious rituals. The fact is that in the Quran Almighty Allah has given the complete guidelines and there are verses for readers whatever they want to know about this universe in general and the way of living life in particular. Islam puts great emphasis on the height of characters and for this purpose it encourages the followers to adopt good moral qualities in their lives. The life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stands as an evident and clear example. From him can be learnt what the height of moral is like. In the Quran, there are mentions of numerous moral values that should incorporate in his or her character (Al-Quran Sura Imran: 17). Morality teaches man code of conduct to help segregate truth from falsehood. Morality develops the conscience of human beings by which a man can judge a thing whether it is good or bad, right or wrong. It helps a man choose the proper way to become a complete man. Continuous practice of moral virtues and a conscious effort to internalize those qualities can lead to the formation of a morally good character. Al Hadith contains the morals and human values. Allah has said that Prophet Mohammad (Pbuh) is the testimony of the best character Uswatun Hasana, for His Ummah and they should follow him.
The Quran uses the words 'adl' qist, qast, wasat, and Mizan in referring to Justice, with the word 'adl' being mostly used and literally meaning to straighten, to balance, to depart from wrong, or to be equal. Its meaning is thus "a combination of moral and social values denoting fairness, balance, temperance and straightforwardness." In Islam, justice is not only a moral virtue but also an obligation to be fulfilled under all circumstances. The Quran at its two hundred places warns people against injustice, and at its one hundred places directs people to establishing justice. The Quran enlightened the early Muslims, as it can enlighten the present Muslims, as the primary source for the notion of justice. As his capacity as a Prophet, the Quranic notion of justice was explained and translated into practice by Muhammad (Sm) in dealing with various social issues, thus setting moral and legal examples and standards of justice in society and paving ways for the later Muslim theologians and scholars to "formulate theories of justice". As Almighty Allah says about justice "O you who believe, stand firm for justice even against your own selves" (Al-Quran 4: 135) According to the scholars of the Quran, rendering justice to people is a trust from God entrusted on mankind, and this should be fulfilled with a sense of responsibility, not just as a formality. In Islamic Shariah, fulfilling a contract is regarded as compulsory (Al-Quran 17:34) and is one of the three qualities necessary for becoming a true Muslim (Sahih Muslim Chapter 2, Hadith 177), as the famous Hadith says "Three are the signs of a hypocrite, even if he observed fast and prayed and asserted that he was a Muslim: when he speak he tells a lie, when he makes promise he act treacherously. If the above discussion is followed, the crisis of moral values will be removed from society and Bangladesh will be a spiritually enriched country.
To conclude, the crisis of morals and values reveals that it has come to such an extent that it cannot be discarded as a negligible issue. It is eroding the vitals of our nation day by day. Except a good number of men and women of upright thinking and ethical consideration it affects other people. Our young boys and girls are victims of the affects of the evils of immorality. Those who are morally weak, succumb to the lure of the immoral practices. Success gained by fraudulent men and at the cost of moral principle cannot endure for long, because the touch of truth is the touch of life, which we expect to be the foundation of the society. Courtesy, honesty, sincerity, kindness, compassion, fellow feeling, respect for superiors and sacrifice for others were the cardinal virtues which in the past were cultivated and practiced by all those who were living in the society with norms and standards. Now-a-days all these values are few and far between in our modern society, where we are awfully busy only with ourselves. As a result life has become awesome and deplorable. To get rid of this malady we have to change our minds and enlighten the mind.
The cure must be sought through governmental and individual effort. A nation unblessed by Divine light and humanitarian spirit cannot stand upright. In this context the cultivation of the moral and spiritual values among our youths should be brought to the limelight because they are the torch bearers of the nation. This is how we can encounter the challenging task by which our society and nation are beset with. Above all, we have to lead our life in accordance with the Commandments of our respective religions. All religions have the mÃ©ssage of human norms and moral upliftment.
(Mohammad Mamun Mia is the Principal (Acting), Mohanagar Ideal School and College, 44 North Mugdapara, Dhaka-1214. He is a Poet, Columnist and writer of some books.)