Rohim Chacha Calling

What started out as a US Army recruitment poster for the two World Wars, ended up being “the most famous poster in the world.” Yes, I am talking about none else but the venerable Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam
Uncle Sam

The poster went on to stamp an identity which personified the US Government whole-heartedly. The obvious nature of dictating terms, the relentless pursuit of self-serving objectives and the frequent yet unnecessary agression in world politics… all can be drawn up from this one-the-face visual.

When they want it, they would leave no stone unturned to get it! They are, and will be America!!!

But as always, the beginning of my stories are hardly in relation to the body. Its sole purpose of existence is to get you to the body :p

With the growing number of GPA-5 achievers and declining number of Science students, the dynamics of the talent pool in Bangladesh is changing fast. The traditional employment behemoths are facing the heat and their efforts to recover lost ground is quite apparent.

Take the military service for example. In a country like ours, throughout history (after Pakistani occupation) a career in the military has always been perceived an excellent choice. From giving their daughters hand in in marriage to buying their used cars, army men are just respected, trusted and admired unquestionably. I’ve experienced it first-hand. After all my dad served in the Army :p

Money turned out to be the root of this evil, too. As exposure to capitalism and materialism increased, students leaned more towards a business degree than the traditionally respected science. Back in Class 9, a friend of mine (after being disallowed in the science section) had said, “Study science and become and engineer, only to come and work for the company I run/own”. It didn’t matter back then, but fifteen years down the line… I thank the Almighty, my parents and myself for taking the timely decision to switch over to business studies in grad school. I did try to follow my father’s footsteps into the armed forces, but thankfully that wasn’t to be.

Traditionally a military career drew interest from the middle-class of Bangladesh. The social status, the modest pay, the countless facilities and overall a stable life was all they sought. And a career with the armed forces, more than made up for it. Although rising inflation and exposure to a better lifestyle was covered for by UN Missions/Appointments; by the mid 90’s the mindset was in a downward spiral nonetheless. From an esteemed employer, Bangladesh Armed Forces had become the destination for the less-privileged talents.

As the number of applicants kept falling, there was the obvious dip in quality of officers the academies were producing. Garbage going in, wasn’t producing anything but garbage itself.

The brand Bangladesh Army was going down…

Fortunately some “Smart Alec” General came up with the idea of mass communication aka. brand building (another child of capitalism). An order is an order, and in the military the best thing people do is echoing the words “Yes, Sir. Alright Sir”.

Their idea of attracting the Saving Private Ryan, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Commando and Rambo fans into the army came to life with the “Join Bangladesh Army” campaign. The first of its kind. A brilliant work by the amazing Amitabh Reza and his crew at Half Stop Down.

The Army went on to complete the full circle with the launch of its own flashy website.

I guess, Army wasn’t the only force feeling the heat as the Navy soon followed suit in launching their version of the brand awareness campaign. “Join Bangladesh Navy” was directed and produced by Gazi Shubhro and his team at Red Dot.

Theirs too had a website to ensure proper web presence. As I browsed along for more on Bangladesh Armed Forces, I cam across a rather interesting one. Interesting because of the recent history of the force. The site belonged to Bangladesh Border Guards (BGB).

After the Pilkhana Carnage and public knowledge of their heinous acts during the mutiny, I wonder what can they do to earn back the trust of fellow countrymen; let alone being the place you send your kid to get enlisted.

Perhaps a deshi version of Uncle Sam can be the solution.

Perhaps a platform we can all connect to…

Perhaps our very own Rohim Chacha!

I will vouch and ideate for one for sure.

Who else?

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2 thoughts on “Rohim Chacha Calling

  1. i wanted to join the army as a kid but by the time i finished high school i realised where my heart was set… i found my "niche". i think "rohim chacha" idea would be effective in bringing the forces in the limelight which has been greatly bruised/damaged by the pikhana carnage. but what i deem is the most important thing is (call me an idealist) the mind frame of the public– one motivational visual can make an impact on our minds.. but what we as bangladeshis need is to reestablish the respect for the forces. we are either too appalled by them because of what's wrong around us or we condescend their "profession". if anything, the youth and their folks should be persuaded to join the forces after the bdr situation… since the intellectual mass knows what happened is not as it looked… there's more to that! we never got a chance to "dig" too deep into matter… that which is getting side tracked already (so i digress… i was inspired by you!)THANKS sabih bhai for sharing. it was a very good read indeed.

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  2. :)as unfortunate as it is, a nation that never got around to promote itself properly to the world will never understand the need of a positive image of its armed forces. "we mourn to forgetwe forget to forgivehypocrisy is in our blood yet we are so passionateo dear lord, save uswe are Banglaees.."thanks lot for your invaluable words, rifat 🙂

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