Thanks to my dad’s overly hopping career (unlike the majority who’s reading this) I’ve had the privilege to experience what the gram bangla’r haat is, first hand. From the Sunday haats in my village home to other weekly haats in various towns across Bangladesh, they have always been appealing in their own ways. Its a must visit for all who cherishes the famed picturesque Bangladesh. Since that day is not far when we might actually have to re-live the haat experience through word of mouth alone.
But I am not a policymaker nor am I the golden son of the soil who stands up to a “haat bachao” movement. If anything, I am the geek who resorts to a blogging platform and power of words to use haats to get reader’s attention to my demeaning diary.
To us, the masses… the aspiration to go digital by 2021 was an ambitious dream by the Government. But a good dream, indeed. I mean at least through that our policymakers and citizens could at least go to sleep knowing in the dream world lies the next Matrix or Tron :p A place where anything and everything is possible and nobody takes NO for an answer. You can learn and unlearn everything… and you are truly the master of your own destiny (there goes my effort to not sound blasphemous). The fact that a skilled technician or a honed business manager is just a skill that needs to be downloaded into your system (aka. the brain) makes anyone and everyone a talent of choice. There would be no LinkedIn, no books like Winning Job Interviews or Boost Your Interview IQ, no suits with matching shoes and ties… in short, no showmanship at all! But as reality stands today… Digital Bangladesh is a mirage that’s as dreamy as The Grid in Tron. And the case with talent pool in Bangladesh is not much different either.
The story goes like this… about a decade back every time my dad brought in “koi” fish, my mom cooked a delicacy. It wasn’t a regular occurrence since “koi” was comparatively expensive a fish and if anything took considerable effort to cook and eat. Now-a-days “koi” is widely available, significantly cheaper (time value) and also better looking (whitish as opposed to darkish). Yet the whole family looks at “koi” as just another fish and looks for delicacies elsewhere. The bottom line is quite simple – the delicacy is now in abundance, but its no more a delicacy at all. The cost of making “koi” an affordable fish through farming bombed! Sure people can and will buy more and more “koi” fish every passing day, but not with half the admiration they had a few years back.
The talent haat in Bangladesh sings the same lullaby as well. Back in 20th century we admired and aspired to be a graduate, then if lucky a postgraduate. Today our aspiration (if any) is in the league of MPhil and PhD. While there was a dearth of talent back then, the talent were actually talented. If a job circular got 200 applicants, you could safely have a desired pool of 20 candidates amongst them. Whereas with better education system and higher literacy rates if there are 200 applicants today, chances are only 2 will fit the bill. The point remains quite straight forward, one that I have stood up for ages. With an increase in quantity, there has been a decrease in quality!!!
My father took me to haats because they had all the traditional delicacies that one couldn’t find in city markets. From a 20 kg “bowal” fish to 20 kinds of “shaaks”, they just had a different offering all together. We can make a million sites like monster.com or bdjobs.com, but the quality of people plying those are nothing better than the widely available “koi” fish of today. And that my friend, is where we stand!