A disgusting and derogatory act, adopted by millions of Bangladeshis since long, has become a norm — lowering age by manipulating birth date during registration at schools.
The practice began possibly with a view to get privileges in the job market, especially the government jobs where age is a crucial factor.
Government job in Bangladesh is the most lucrative opportunity for the educated class because of the financial benefits, privileges in the society and for the ample impunity in the cases of criminal charges or corruption.
There had been no initiative by any government to stop this ill-practice of fake birthdays until birth registration was made mandatory.
However, it doesn’t matter how many fake birth dates they have, all people but one observe their birthdays on the original day. And that person is Khaleda Zia — a three-time former prime minister (the widowed wife of the country’s first military dictator Ziaur Rahman and the mother of two corrupt and radical Islamist sons).
For the last three decades, she has been observing her birthday (by inviting the media) on August 15 — the day when the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with most members of the family at his residence at Dhanmondi 32 in Dhaka in 1975.
Zia’s BNP and Mujib’s Awami League are arch-rivals in Bangladesh’s politics.
There is no hint that she’ll refrain from cutting huge cakes weighing her fake age this year! Sigh!!!