I see local government as a social organization that takes place in everyday life: Dr. Islam
I see local government as a social organization that takes place in everyday life: Dr. Islam
In an interview with the Khabarhub, South Asian researcher and local government expert, Dr Mohammad Tarikul Islam, outlines the most significant changes in his thinking to continue his research areas spanning local government, grassroots political movements, human security and sustainable development with a particular emphasis on social justice.
Dr Mohammad Tarikul Islam is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Policy at Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh.
He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, UK. Prior to joining the university, Dr Islam served with the United Nations Development Program for a period of seven years.
Professor Islam is a regular contributor to the South Asian Blog at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK, the Oxford Political Review and the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore.
The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London recently appointed Professor Islam as a visiting scholar. Dr Islam is the Editor-in-Chief of Oxford Transitional Justice Research (Academic Journal and Blog), Center for Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, UK.
His forthcoming book is “Local Government in Bangladesh: Contemporary Issues and Challenges” by Routledge.
He has been researching different aspects of local government and sustainable rural development in South Asia since 2014. He has lectured at different universities in UK, India, Indonesia, Nepal and has been interviewed by a certain number of electronic media and press in his country. and abroad. Extracts:
Can you tell us the most significant changes in your thinking for further research and teaching on local government?
I was born in a typical isolated village in Bangladesh. I remember reading social affairs in high school and thought it was very interesting – some of the stories my teacher told about the role of Union Parishad (a local government body in rural Bangladesh) me still remain after all these years.
I remember a relative of mine who was the president of the Local Parishad Union telling me about his passion for serving the interests of the people in general. I had to see, when I was young, the major problems facing the rural community.
One afternoon in the village, a member of the Union Parishad parish came to settle a dispute in a neighboring house.
Without any reason, I was in and around officiating and the experience was devastating for me; it suddenly made me aware of the threats of settling rural disputes where force takes the place of law.
I witnessed two major floods affecting my village where I barely found help from Union Parishad.
One fine morning, I was heading to my school (the school I was enrolled in as a class VI student was 2.5KM from my home) and met the local president’s uncle on my way.
With all due respect, I asked him why he hadn’t provided adequate relief to the flood victims and in response he told me to grow up first and explore why we are being treated too badly. to be at the side of a vulnerable community despite our strong will.
Since then, it has occurred to me to understand the importance of local government in ensuring the well-being of the local people.
I believe that creating a sense of community belonging for local government will help bridge the gap between government and rural people in Bangladesh.
My research has had a huge impact on society. With my research enterprise, I see local government as a social organization that takes place in everyday life.
Apparently, due to the underlying characteristics of local government as a social organization, people can monitor their daily work and involvement in other activities which are controlled forms of human interaction.
To have a sense of identity with the social organization, being closer to each other helps to build a sense of community.
My academic work has been greatly influenced by the socio-economic, environmental and political events that have shaped my personality and character.
For me, for development to be truly sustainable, we must assume the political commitment of all States of the world, as well as the greatest collaboration of state and non-state development actors in the economy, environmental protection , protection of human security, and social development.
Human security, centered on the opportunities to make choices, presupposes that people must influence the process that shapes their lives.
In other words, people have to participate in different decision-making processes, implement those decisions and monitor them.
Safety at all levels concerns individuals. Human development cannot be achieved without ensuring human security.
Security means that the benefits people have obtained by expanding their opportunities and improving their capabilities are protected by current social, economic and political arrangements.
Can you clarify the equitable development approach?
The equitable development approach is based on a broad social acceptance of the rights and obligations of people, based on a sustainable system in the shadow of national government.
It is evident that the link between human security and sustainable development manifests itself in conceptual terms from the perspective of the four fundamental components of human development: equality in terms of equitable access to opportunities; sustainability with regard to the responsibility of future generations as well as those of the present generation; productivity on human resource surveys and the creation of a macroeconomic environment that would allow people to reach their full potential; and decision-making – in that people must achieve a level of individual development that would allow them to exercise options based on their own desires from a larger framework of existing opportunities.
And of course, sustainable development by people and for people highlights an important dimension of human security, that of the participation of citizens in the creation of a peaceful, stable and justifiable world system.
What is the scope of your current research?
The scope of my current research is based on the broader area of local governance, grassroots political movements, human security and sustainable development, with particular emphasis on social justice, participatory rural policy and equitable development in South Asia.
Above all, I take holistic approaches from understanding decentralized authority and power to participatory local governance.
I am in a way fascinated by methods that go beyond perspectives to explain the social experiences of citizen participation from individual perceptions, the context of rural development or social inequalities.
I seek to situate the concepts and determinants of socioeconomic inclusion and injustices within a broader social and environmental context to help advance the current understanding of the dynamics of social interactions within and between various social groups, thereby contributing to significantly to inclusive and equitable rural development empowering local government institutions in South Asia.
Can local government serve as a training ground for mass political education, political leadership and social responsibility?
The Functional Side of Local Government explains aspects of policy development and service delivery that take place within intergovernmental frameworks.
In the modern era of democracy, local governments increasingly face public policy challenges spanning multiple authorities. Local representative democracy has enabled local populations to be attentive to the selection of their local leaders and to engage in the development process at the local level in South Asia.
Such a party-based local government election enables elected officials to get the most out of political government.
The central political party in power implements its agenda at the local level with the maximum support of local elected officials.
In addition, the democratic facet of local government is conventionally deployed in political parties, local elections, local leadership and participatory mechanisms.
In practice, the grassroots political movement makes it possible to mobilize individuals to express their demands for change and to influence the decision-maker or the competent authorities at the local level to take specific action for the overall development of society.
Most developing countries are struggling to uproot the colonial legacy of the development paradigm by bringing about the elusive phenomenon of people’s participation in development initiatives that has been ignored and only stuck in the newspapers as a striking slogan over the years. decades.
It is misleading that participation is the key to the inclusion of community members in development efforts and that the human element in development efforts persuades them to manage change effectively.
What is the most important piece of advice you could give to young academics?
I suggest that young academics should believe it and should know that self-confidence is more important than they can imagine. It can change your whole life for the better.
They must be dedicated to creating, sharing, using and managing knowledge. As the situation eventually grows strong people, don’t fear failure, but keep trying with confidence.
Like many applicants, I came to higher education on a non-traditional path with its ups and downs. But for me, this trip ended with more than a diploma; it was crowned with a distinctive character that combined my life.