Of Founders Namesakes and Development

Published on Tuesday, 5 December 2023

Riddle Me This
Riddle Me That

How Did You Become the Head of Your Organization?
Was It Through Merit?
Or Was It Through Birth Right?

Some trace the history of meritocracy to ancient China and Confucianism, while other advocates included both Plato and Aristotle from ancient Greece. While no one can debate the merit of meritocracy, it seems that countries like Bangladesh continue to get lured into the never-ending spiral of nepotism and family-based inheritance of titles and namesakes.

While people in the country can easily identify cash-based bribes as corruption, some would never even think of raising an eye when corruption takes place in the form of nepotism. You may for example see job advertisements seeking Heads of XYZ at organizations with at least 15 years of experience, but would an existing or a prospective employee or even a donor or an investor have the guts to question the HR and Management system for example when a fresh graduate son or daughter of the founder of your organization inherits the title of the 'Head'.

Whether it is daughters, wives or sons of political leaders taking over the seat of the political party, or whether it is NGOs in the country being governed as directors by the sons and daughters and in-laws of the founders, there is no ending to the vicious cycle of the tell-tale. While politics and business may sometimes wrongfully justify their inheritance game as of gaining popularity and retaining family ownership of titles, development organizations on the other hand also continue to run a hypocritic cycle of good governance through running down of titles through blood lineages of the founders like it's their birth right also.

One may ask, if the top is riddled with such hypocrisy in the name of development, how is the bottom layer expected to play through fair game? When the head of the organization questions your qualifications at either recruitment or job performance, who haven't once asked silently at least as to whether the head is qualified enough to judge them or was just handed over the title via a golden spoon of birth right?

Similarly, like the political sphere, private companies as well as non-profits are busy in the name-game also. I personally don't have a problem with anyone naming anything or any institute after anyone for example. But the curious may ofcourse ask what's the point of renaming something old that is already there instead of creating something new as a gift to the people in the founder's name?

It's time to think deeply also. Would you want your legacy to continue in mediocracy, whether in business or non-profit or even politics? Or are you only going to cry the old tale that “Blood is Thicker than Water” and wait out in grave as they water down your fine wine.

Ofcourse, we all want to protect our next of kins, but can they not shine elsewhere where they deserve to shine instead? Or perhaps even outshine you, every step of the way, but through merit and fair game for all.

~ Guest Writer: Simi Chowdhury