A peace accord was singed in 1997 and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was awarded UNESCO prize in 1998 for that. Though with the passage of time, the issue has become much challenging, yet I am sanguine that it is very well possible to establish peace and enhance development in CHT. To do so, we need a concerted plan for its development. The people of CHT need special care, and the region has potentials that need to be utilised. However, the matter is national and strategic, not of military alone. Before arriving the relevant part, let me describe the meaning of ‘SOLDIER’ as any military-man interprets. The word ‘SOLDIER’ refers to Sincerity (S), Obedience (O), Loyalty (L), Discipline (D), Integrity (I), Efficiency (E) and Regularly (R). It is worth mentioning that such ‘SOLDIER’ is not only from the military society, but also from all spheres of society who are respected by the people of main-stream society and who truly loves the country selflessly. However, a few other related theories may be pertinent to consult for formulating a plan for CHT. For example, Chinese military thinker and theorist Sun Zu says “Winning a victory and subduing the enemy without fighting is the highest excellence. War is not for slaughter; if you win without fighting, the way you can do so is the greatest military strategy”. Whereas, Carl von Clausewitz, an ex-soldier defined war as a political act. His philosophical explanation on war may hold good in future also. He says, “War is, therefore, not only a true chameleon, because it changes its nature in some degree in each particular case, but it is also, as a whole, in relation to the predominant tendencies which are in it, a wonderful trinity, composed of the original violence of its elements, hatred and animosity, which may be looked upon as blind instinct; of the play of probabilities and chance, which make it a free activity of the soul; and of the subordinate nature of a political instrument, by which it belongs purely to the reason. The first of these three phases concerns more the people; the second more the general and his army (military); the third more the Government.” Since the war challenges are threats to ‘Human rights’ and the military is the serious and demanding profession, we must consider and re-consider present socio-politico-military realities. Therefore, some aspects of ‘Discovery of Bangladesh’ written by one of our respected scholars-Doctor Akbar Ali Khan is important. The author was awarded Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Gold Medal for the book as it was adjudged the most outstanding work in the arts and humanities by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Some of the significant research conclusions as described in the book are given bellow:
“…One of the recurrent themes of the study is that grass-roots institutions in Bangladesh region had been historically weak. This implies that local governments in this region were never well-organised. …Lawrence Ziring described Bangladesh as an “anachronism within anachronism” which are just reactions to past mistakes and warned that the real Bangladesh is yet to emerge. …The energetic individualism that characterised historically the people in this region had nurtured a social milieu which is antagonistic to institutional development.”
Why Army? If so, how can they be utilised?
Worldwide, military training institutions (including BMA), provide training which is based on history of success and victory of nations and various heroes. Moreover, the source of inspirations of an officer normally stems from the dictums, maxims and golden words of the leaders and generals where the generalship is portrayed with heavenly spirit. Therefore, ‘The word impossible is not in my dictionary’ as stated by Napoleon Bonaparte is considered to be baseline of military-mind. Moreover the military training is based on Natural law whose content is set by nature and is thus universal.
As described before that the CHT matter is strategic, therefore, all stakeholders to be on board professionally. Bangladesh Army has been in CHT since 70s. Many Generals, both retired and still serving, of ours started their career in CHT and served there almost in all ranks. Many of them walked many thousands kilometres within a few thousand days in CHT. Due to emotional attachment with the locals for prolonged stay, they also feel an urge to contribute to the main-stream tribal society and their emotion is also absolutely eternal.
Secondly, an army with a vast experience of preparing a National Identity (NID) cards and of peacekeeping operations in the UN, can support the people’s decision in CHT. Logic for such assignment must substantiate the Samuel P. Huntington’s assumptions as he said, “The military officers play a highly modernising and progressive role. They challenge oligarchy, and they promote social and economic reform, national integration, and, the extension of political participation. They assail waste, backwardness, and corruption, and they introduce into society highly middle class ideas of efficiency, honesty and national loyalty.” (The Clash of Civilization? Asian Response, p 44). Otherwise it may frustrate the people and situation may turn worse.
Finally, to create another historic event in CHT we must look for ‘SOLDIERS’ in generic sense as described before. Notably we need to draw a bottom-line between discipline and over-democracy and meaning of human rights in CHT perspective. To do so we need to define and identify the noble, honest, dedicated professionals and scholars who believe like Confucius ‘Sincerity and the truth are the basis of every virtue’, as General Marshall did for the Americans. This plan may also be presented to the new scholars of university students as General Marshall did to the Harvard graduates. Possibly days are ahead when a ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ may travel to the top leaderships of Bangladesh and its ‘SOLDIERS’. Let us work together and hope for the best.-----------------------------------------------------------------
The writer is a General Staff Officer First Grade in Army Headquarters. ------------------- courtesy: Daily- sun