The importance of building a solid national moral character

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By Barrister Nazir Ahmed


Men and women without basic moral character cannot be proper human beings:  they can often be even worse than animals.  Are those who are responsible for Biswajit’s and Mojahid’s [who was brutally killed in 28 October 2006] murders better than animals?   Each and every human being has his own desire and conscious.  His desire will always tend to lead him towards immoral, illegal and bad ways, whereas his conscious will attempt to protect him from those ways.  Characteristics of morality and conscious differ human beings from other creatures of the Almighty God. 


These are two exclusive distinct qualities all human beings suppose to have.  When human beings lack or loose [after having] these qualities, they can do anything what animals cannot even do.  They can kill their fellow human beings in the most barbaric ways, they can take bribes without feeling a slight degree of guilty and they can misuse their power with comfort and so on.  None of these illegal and immoral activities would knock or touch their conscious, for they do not have such conscious to be ashamed of.  Therefore, a national character of true patriotism, honesty, discipline, feeling of respect and dignity, determination and sacrifice mentality based on morality and conscious is essential for building a nation or taking a nation forward.   Population, no matter how big or small its size be, with such solid moral character are assets [in Economics’ terms, human capitals] for the nation, whereas population with degrading morality often becomes burden for the nation.  Have those who run the country ever thought of these? 


The government uses [and often misuses] huge amount of money in different useless and unproductive plans or projects.  Many of such useless and unproductive projects do not bring any positive or fruitful results for the country.  Often these are seen or perceived as a way for corrupted civil servants and politicians to fill up their purses/pockets.  The government should really consider investing sufficient money in building a pure national moral character.  Instead of investing in those useless projects, if needed, they should consider diverting financial resources from useless and unproductive projects to this core area.  Respective religions, no matter what it is, have greater role to play in building solid moral character.  Helping others, wishing welfare and wellbeing for other fellow citizens, giving due respect to others and elders, love and affection for younger, honesty, dedication, sacrifice mentality and being truthful are all teachings of the religions and religious values.  In the second largest Muslim country in the world with at least 85%-90% Muslims, Islam has certainly greater role to play in mass peoples’ life.  Basic Islamic teachings should be the founding stone for the upbringing of all Muslims children.  Likewise, other religions should have the same role in their fellow respective followers.       


Water drops from the top of the mountain, not vice versa.  Those who are in power would have to have strong moral character in order to motivate mass/general people to build up a sold moral character.  Otherwise, sweet/delicious foods cannot be expected to come from poisonous trees.  Without building a solid national moral character, the nation will have propensity to march backwards.  In a country with continuous morally degrading environment, if the development increases at the rate of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, the corruption, nepotism, lawlessness and misuse of power will increase at the rate of 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16.  This is exactly what we see right now happening in our country.


Laws are certainly essential for any society.  But, the laws alone cannot guarantee peace and security for the people.  Laws or making new laws cannot also ensure smooth running of a country.  To obey the law and follow the legal rules, people need to have basic moral character.  When people become morally bankrupt, their propensity becomes to disobey the law or break the rule.  In such circumstances, law and police cannot keep the law and order situation of a country under control.  Constitution of Bangladesh [consisting of 180 pages, 153 Articles and four Schedules] is quite a big one, with detailed provision of almost all possible key areas.  Such detailed Constitution cannot be found many in the present world.  In terms of size, our Constitution is more than three times bigger than the US Constitution.  In spite of this, can we claim that our law and order situation is better that that of the US?  


When a nation’s fundamental character is based on high moral ground, the laws become passive and secondary.  Two examples can make this point clear.  In spite of having a detailed written Constitution in Bangladesh, our ongoing division, fighting, mistrust and absence of mutual respect know no bounds.  By comparison, the UK does not have any written Constitution.  Their important constitutional provisions are mere customs, conducts and conventions.  Yet their country is run competently and efficiently, making a hallmark of democracy in the world!  Another example can be given from ancient times of over 1400 years old.  When Abu Bakr Siddique (R) was the Ruler/Statesman (Khalifa), Omor Faruque (R) was the Chief Justice.  Having waited for more than a year, not a single case came to his court!  Can we image what sort of society with solid moral character it was not to have a single case filed in a year?            


Young generation is the future of the nation.  They are the force who can change the course of the history of the nation.  Those who are young, with the passage of time, will take the responsibility of running the country.  Have we planned and invested enough resources to train our youngsters morally?  We have clearly been observing the ongoing moral degradation of our youth generation.  They appear to be careless and disinterested in religion and core religious values.  Not only this, defaming the religion and maligning religious values have appeared to become their regular fashion and habits.  They consider this defamation and malignment as a sign of progressiveness!  As a consequential result, a significant number of young generations appear to have become unruly, undisciplined, arrogant, enemies of religion and its core value.  What can we expect from such young generation?         


The most important part of the life of all human beings is the childhood.  The education, teaching, guidance and behaviour that a child receives from the school, teachers, parents and environment will reflect in his next young and adult life.  What have majority of our younger generation been learning in school and environment?  They appear to be learning agitation, rough behaviours, arrogance, indiscipline, selfishness and corruption.  The environment and the culture are helping them to learn on how to vandalise and damage public properties and vehicles on trivial matters, being ruthless to opposition, copy/cheat (nokol) in public Exams, disrespect elders and so on.  Can the nation be safe at their hands?  More importantly, can the nation march forward with such generation taking the lead?     


Finally, without building a solid national moral character, a healthy and ordered society cannot be thought of.  Moral character must be based on the respective faith, nature, character, culture and environment of the population.  Unfortunately, it appears that those who run the country seem not to be bothered of this important and fundamental arena.  Laws and legal force are needed for any modern state.  But the history and examples tell us that the solid national moral character is more powerful than the law and legal force.  It is worth remembering that once the nation is on the barge of collapsing its moral character, especially of the youth generation, it will be impossible or extremely difficult to build a solid national character. Therefore, initiatives for building a pure national moral character should be taken without further delay.          


In order to build a solid national moral character, the following recommendations can be made:


  1. 1.Those who are in power or would go in power should take the lead to build a solid national moral character based on core religious values.
  2.  2.Enough funds should be invested [and if needed sufficient financial resources should be diverted from useless and unproductive projects] in building a pure national moral character.

 3.Detailed comprehensive religious studies of each and every section with its core values should be made compulsory up to at least secondary level, the time for forming moral character of the generation.

 4.Short intensive and extensive parenting course consisting of core religious values of the respective religions should be made compulsory for each and every parents and potential parents with an aim to teach every parent to bring up the children with proper moral training, guidance and


  1. 5.A step should be taken to reward some patriotic citizens every year from the State who have shown utmost patriotism and honesty resulted from their high moral grounds/moralThese could create role models for the forthcoming young generation.


  1. 6.The solid moral character cannot be built up unless other core factors and indicators of the assessment of the country’s performance [such as, rule of law, independence of judiciary, accountability of the executive, containment of corruption, efficient justice delivery system etc] act, run and function properly, naturally andThe government of the day must make sure that the above indicators are functioning properly while initiatives for building a solid national moral character are taken.        



Barrister Nazir Ahmed: Legal expert, analyst, writer and author

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