There were few to catch up with Fahim Saleh in attaining remarkable entrepreneurial success and that too globally. The young man earned reputation beyond the land of his forefathers-- Bangladesh. Co-founding Pathao, he revolutionised transport service in a crowded megacity like Dhaka.
In a country that boasts youth bulge, young Fahim Saleh’s murder in New York, however, did hardly move his compatriots unlike the gossips about issues of an unreal world, where millions of Bangladeshis have no job to do.
As the incident was an act of brutality, that should have been a matter of concern, if we mean justice for crimes. If Fahim Saleh failed to present himself as role model of young entrepreneurs, you could have at least suggested correction of his business model, had there been any or offered an alternative one.
It's not understandable how the Bangladeshi minds couldn't connect Fahim Saleh even after noticing his promises as an extraordinary son of the soil. He was the product of a family that pursued education for generations beginning in Sandwip, Chattogram. Isn't it enough for his being an example to be followed by others?
Of course, some people admired him and were shocked at his gruesome murder. But their condolences and reports of generosity shown by him even to his suspected killer, were overshadowed by hundreds of thousands of social media posts in the form of harsh criticism of some other persons, now in trouble, who received eulogies until recently.
Muhammad Fouzul Kabir Khan, a retired secretary of the government, regrets the practice of 'worshiping the fake heroes' in different arenas of life today, forsaking the real ones like Fahim. He piously hopes, "Someone from some obscure corner of Bangladesh will step up to assume Saleh's mantle."
While his family maintained privacy during the tragedy, most of us were busy with fallen 'fake heroes'. Perhaps they are comfortable making negative criticism about controversial figures than appreciating the responsibility carried out by only a few in society.
In almost all forms of the media, there are specialist critics on Shahidul Islam MP, Md. Shahed alias Shahed Karim and Dr Sabrina Chowdhury, who have already been arrested on charges of cheating at home and abroad. By using even derogatory remarks about people like them, cynics may have tried to prove that they are at least better than those 'scoundrels'.
This practice shows how people suspected of cheating, corruption or crimes are 'tried' and maligned socially, instead of being properly prosecuted for crimes or corruption they commit. Their family members face stigma but the issue of criminality is often sidelined. There is barely any constructive criticism of the system that breeds such crimes in general. This time around, photographs of a number of influential persons with Shahed offered a deceitful picture of how he became 'so big'!
Still, only a few names, be s/he a criminal godfather, extortionist or fraudster, came to the limelight, and a section of opinion leaders and also the naïve elements jumped to their feet to criticise their personal affairs but their acts are eventually 'erased' from the public memory. Some names were put under the shadow of scams of, for example, share market, banking fraud, and extortion.
Thus, failure, inefficiency or misdeeds of others in providing services during the crisis like the ongoing pandemic remain hidden from the public gaze. The culture of maligning others may also be a testament to the taste of society or reaction to their suppressed views of society. They don't have many around them to revere. When citizens are freed of some duties and responsibilities, they are supposed to act otherwise.