Shabagh Upsurge in Bangladesh: A Manifestation of ‘Effective Freedom’ and ‘Functionings’ for Change?

NOOR, TAWHEED REZA (2014). 'Shabagh Upsurge in Bangladesh: A Manifestation of 'Effective Freedom' and 'Functionings' for Change?' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.

This paper attempts to analyze the recent Youth Upsurge at Shahbagh Square in Bangladesh through the lens of the capability approach as well as the human development paradigm. In fact, just a year ago, Bangladesh experienced a remarkable escalation of the youths that was a broad-shouldered protest against violence and violators, but was completely a non-violent movement in nature. A small group of young bloggers initiated the movement through cyber communications and their physical presence on the streets, which was strongly supported by different social, cultural and political forces of the society. This paper considers it as a momentous socio-politico-cultural movement that was exploded all over due to the manifestation of 'effective freedom' and 'functionings' of the individuals as well as the groups, and extends the capability approach to explicate these voices for change. This paper contends that freedoms are understood within the concept of democracy in its broadest definition where it (democracy) refers a system of civil and political freedoms contingent on collective responsibilities. At the advent of narrating the Shahbagh episode, this paper searches the root causes, dynamics and potentials of the protests. The ultimate importance that this paper deems is that people have the freedoms or valuable opportunities (capabilities) to lead the kind of lives they want to lead, to do what they want to do and be the person they want to be.


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