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‘Partisanism’ in professional bodies March 28, 2008

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Recently I had the opportunity to attend the election of a professional association. It was set by the election commission of the association that there would be no panel on political basis and candidates were allowed to campaign on their own only. In practice, it was found that the candidates are divided along the political lines and they also campaign for their like minded candidates not in much disguise.

Most of the professional associations in Bangladesh are divided along the political lines. Look into university teachers’ associations- the political divides take different colors- such as Blue, While and Pink and everybody knows what the color means. Blue represents the AL, White BNP and/or Jamaat and Pink stands for the left leaning parties.

In the same way, other professional associations are divided. In the university, which is the highest seat of learning, if politics play more than professionalism, you can imagine the situation in other ‘professional’ bodies.

The lawyers are one of the vibrant force in our country and they are also more divided on the political color. Journalists are no exception.

And when a professional body is formed on the basis of politics, you can imagine its impact on the profession and the politics.

With time, our professional associations are becoming more politicalised. They are trying to expand their influence; they try to influence the selection process to recruit their own men in the profession, try to promote them ignoring the rules, and make it difficult for others to administer the organization.

Their activities not remain confined within the area of the profession, the interest of the political parties intrude into their agenda. So they arrange meetings, observe anniversaries and waste their professional hours for achieving their political goals.

The privileges for the members are also distributed along the same line.

The caretaker government had the intention to clean the professional bodies from politics. They wanted the teachers association not be linked up with the political parties. But they could not make any progress in this regard. And you will find teachers of the universities are engaged in giving ‘lectures’ in political meetings.

Lack of professionalism in our professional associations is a grim state of our society. The decay extended to such a state that during the last regime the selection exams for the postgraduate studies of the physicians were also manipulated to give the privilege to the doctors of same political ideals.

Compromise has gone beyond the extreme point. We should turn back and be more professional and less political.

An ordinary citizen



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