She has three sons in the police department -two of them officers and one a constable, a daughter serving as a primary school teacher. Yet septuagenarian Monwara Begum has to beg. The emaciated mother has two other sons -one a trader and another an easy-bike driver. To go by the report carried in a Bangla contemporary, all her sons and daughter seem to have abandoned her. Only the easy-bike driver tries to take some responsibility of his mother.
On February 16 last, Monwara Begum had her leg fractured when she slipped on her way to begging. The old woman has been compelled to take shelter in a shack near Babuganj town's steel bridge since then and was spending her days with hardly any food to sustain her. An online report on her went viral on social media on Monday last and this caught the attention of lawmaker advocate Sheikh Md. Tipu Sultan of parliamentary seat Barisal-3 (Babuganj-Muladi). His initiative was crucial for the poor woman's admission to Shere-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital. The member of parliament has taken the responsibility of all the expenses including her treatment at the hospital.
The MP made it clear that his heart melt when he came across the news and advised the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) to send the woman to hospital for treatment. If the lawmaker was moved by the plight of the woman, he has also been enraged by the neglect shown to her by her sons and only daughter. The MP contacted the Ministry of Home, the deputy commissioner of Barisal and the police superintendent beside the UNO to complain against the three sons and a daughter in government service for their utter neglect to their mother.
Monwara Begum is lucky to draw the attention of the lawmaker of her constituency. Many like her are abandoned in their old age by their well established sons and daughters to fend for themselves. True, such incidents are not common but those are not few either. Statistics on this issue is unlikely to be available because of several reasons. First, society is not organised enough to have a count of such injustice. There is no official arrangement to receive complaints from aggrieved parents. Even if there were such arrangements, not all parents would have come forward to lodge complaints against their sons and daughters. Cruelties like this happen mostly at levels where parents in their old age are unlikely to be aware of their rights to complain. Then others would not do so because by doing so they cannot lose face.
In the case of Monwara Begum, the cruel treatment she has been subjected to by her sons and daughters is simply repugnant. Notably the lawmaker has not suggested punitive actions against Monowara's two other sons. The one who drives easy bike for a livelihood is not well-off and although nothing has been mentioned about the financial condition of the trader (most likely small trader), he may as well be leading a life of hardship.
The two sons serving in the official rank in the police, in particular, have abdicated their duty to and responsibility for their mother, particularly when their father has been dead for three years now. Earlier this year, an old woman's daughter and son-in-law left her in a faraway place so that she could not return home and they could enjoy her property. Only the other day, a son struck his father on the head with a bamboo stick to kill him instantly following a heated argument over the possession of some land.
If such incidents are prompted by narrow self interest and sometimes at the heat of the moment, the police officers and their constable brother and school teacher sister have calculatedly disowned the filial bond. Why? They have behaved inhumanly and also guided by calculations on narrow interests. That they have forsaken their brothers not financially well-off is unkind of them. But if that much flexibility is allowed, they have no right to treat their mother so cruelly.
In many societies, such brutal acts are not only looked down upon but are also made legally accountable for. The lawmaker has done the right thing by bringing this to the notice of the Ministry of Home. People who cannot take the minimum basic care of their mother, are unfit to serve under the police department. Mother and motherland are synonymous to the valiant sons who have fought for the independence of this country. If someone in a disciplined force can be so mindlessly inhuman to his or her mother, the land of birth will prove immaterial to him or her. Self-seeking such men or women are more concerned about advancing their happiness to the neglect of service to the land and the people. Monowara's daughter, a school teacher, also has set a bad example. Usually daughters are close to their mothers and do all they can for the latter. It is not known if the daughter is married or not. Even if she were married, at least she was supposed to have some financial independence to help her mother.
This is wrong. Society cannot be so impervious to human suffering. When such things happen in case of immediate blood relations, the world turns into a hell. Let social values prevail before self interests turn more and more people into self-seeking morons.