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Middle Class Bhadralok (Gentleman) Culture Vs Entrepreneurship


My Father, a retired government employee, wants me to be a BCS Cadre. He has been insisting and trying to convince me to apply for Preliminary exam of BCS for last two years. When I discuss this issue with him, simply I do politics. Most of the time I win .Secret is that I discuss with him in a way that you can call it “Emotional blackmail”. Obviously I arm my speech with the exact logic for which I rejected the idea of becoming a powerful, happy BCS Cadre having a wonderful social status.

I admit that he wants nothing bad for me. He wants me to grow like a man who lead a happy, safe life, who has the power to make his family secure from all social and political turmoil. I understand his point of anxiety and more consciously I understand his stereotype thoughts about a person’s career. It is a dangerous generalization most of the parents make regarding their son’s or daughter’s career. You don’t need to be a Darbesh baba or Astrologer to predict that your middle class father wants you to be a government official. A Godfather wants his son to be a godfather; a political leader wants his child to be a political leader, a Barber father wants his son to be good barber and like this equation a middle class government employee wants his son to become good government employee, to become a Bhadralok.

You will find two representative cultures throughout the 19th century, in the history of Bangladesh. One is Babu Culture, another is Bhadralok culture. “The Bengali Bhadralok culture of the latter half of the nineteenth century clearly differs from the Bengali babu culture of the first half of the nineteenth century. The later didn’t shy away from supporting active participation in trade and commerce. One may recall here the significant involvement of the early babus in the indigo trade. In contrast to this the bhadralok culture clearly displayed anti-entrepreneurial bias, higher education through English language being in main criterion of achieving the status of a bhadralok. The stunning lack of higher-caste Hindus in the jute trade may be due to this particular attitudinal problem” (Binayak Sen, 1992)

It seems that we are growing up in that sort of Bhadralok Culture even now in 2013. This Bhadralok people want latest amenities for leading a modern life; demand hundreds of products and services to relish their daily bhadraloki life. But, they don’t like to produce that product; they don’t want their boys to provide these services. What will happen? Others will come to relish you as multinational companies have come and covered the whole market. We are becoming parasitic consumer nation. These attitudinal problems should be discussed more extensively and inclusively. We have to decide whether we will keep our Bhadraloki culture alive or will be very practical and self-dependent as a nation.

Mr. Julfikar Islam is currently studying Marketing (4th year) at University of Dhaka. He is truly an organizational being. He has been working with a number of knowledge-based organizations for last 3 years within the University. His area of specialization is Supply Chain Management. He also has an effective knowledge about Branding, Current Market trends. He has been blogging for last 1 year about these issues in a number of national blog and community website.

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