|The Lost Moment
Dreams with a Nation Born Through Fire
[Papers on Political Economy of Bangladesh]
ISBN 984 05 1223 4 1993 210pp 215x136mm HB Tk.275.00 US$23.00
After tracing the conflict that gave birth to Bangladesh, a member of the first Planning Commission of the new country presents us with the prescriptions he wrote for the nation to start building itself upon the glory of its independence war. These included a policy of shared austerity, and educational and cultural reforms to establish the dignity of labour and to involve all classes in the society in manual labour for national reconstruction, along with structural and institutional reforms to move toward socialism which was a mandate for the government.
As the country took a less glorious course, we have reports on Anisur Rahman’s personal attempt to motivate student communities to “go to the people”.
The chapters in this book show deep faith in the ordinary people of the country who in Rahman’s view, no matter how poor they are, deserve no sympathy but only respect. Rahman’s diary of a relief operation is a moving corroboration of this extraordinary philosophy. His discussions on socialism combine incisive original questioning of conventional socialist platitudes, with a sense of imperative that Bangladesh must follow radical methods of mobilizing, its huge labour force to stand up as a proud nation.
In a postscript on the evolution of the country’s political economy to date Rahman sees the quantum of foreign assistance as the principal stimulus for continuous degeneration of the society.
Rahman’s thoughts are of more than historical interest, for the nation is still looking for a way out of its economic stagnation and all-round demoralization.
Muhammad Anisur Rahman was Professor of Economics in Islamabad University and in the University of Dhaka, and a member of the Planning Commission of Bangladesh. From 1977 to 1990 he worked in the International Labour Office in Geneva directing a programme on Participation of the Rural Poor in Development, and from this base has contributed to the philosophical, theoretical and methodological elaboration of Participatory Development. His recent publications in this field include Action and Knowledge: Breaking the Monopoly with Participatory Action Research edited with Orlando Fals-Borda, and People’s Self-Development, Perspectives on Participatory Action Research (UPL). Dr. Rahman was elected President of the Bangladesh Economic Association in May 1993.