Ever since the Nobel Peace Prize 2006 has been announced this month, with Md. Yunus and Grameen Bank from Bangladesh being declared joint winners, the Bangla blog world is abuzz with conversations regarding this win.
Congratulatory posts have been pouring in, indicating that the people of Bangladesh are happy about this recognition. There is a palpable feeling of pride, not only for being awarded the prestigious prize but also because the indigenous concept of microcredit has caught the attention of other countries where it is being implemented.
Yet this event has also brought to the forefront a heated debate as the bloggers introspect on the pros and cons of the concept of microcredit as propagated by Dr. Yunus and its execution amongst the rural masses.
Juthika maintains that the overwhelming praise for the concept belies the fact that some extremely poor people, living in rural areas that lack basic infrastructural facilities, are getting caught in the web of taking loans which, they are unable to either leverage or to repay. This, to her, does not indicate a concept that is wholly successful. Baki Billah asks whether the concept of microcredit willl actually help eradicate poverty in the long run or will it merely stop at bringing the poverty ridden marginalised section of the society under the grasp of capitalism and consumerism where they may be exploited further. Shiblinoman points out how in some regions, people are taking such loans from multiple NGOs, (often taking one to pay off the other) and how they are being harassed by the ‘collectors’ for repayment when they are unable to do so.
Apbak expresses his ambivalence to the news; while he is proud that Dr. Yunus, a Bangladeshi has got the prestigious award, he questions the rationale behind giving him a Peace award rather than the award in Economics.He debates whether this sends out the message that the concept of microcredit,, while being a welcome project is not really a viable as an economic theory. Apbak also expresses dissatisfaction about the repayment/collection methods used by some of the field teams of the loan providers which often border on harassment of the person or persons taking the loan.
Finally however, after participating wholeheartedly in this debate, Bhaskar points out that in the midst of such introspection and debate, it would be unfair to forget that with this recognition has come a new pride in being a Bangladeshi, both amongst the people at home and those living abroad.