The Irony of Being Naya Diganta

Dhaka Shohor

Dhaka Shohor

s Jyoti Rahman pointed out, Naya Diganta was one of the few papers to carry the news about the torture report issued by HRW. I have already discussed certain aspects of the interrogations transcripts. Yet another that obviously caught my attention was the almost exclusive focus on India throughout. I don’t know if this was a solely a scare-tactic or whether the intelligence agencies really believe that one, and ONLY one country out there mean us any harm and everyone else is a সাধু. I sincerely hope it’s the former.

But even if it was a scare tactic, what enables this sort of tactic in the first place? A disproportionately large fear of India within our populace, stroked by the communally-charged elders, certain political forces, a parochial and outdated foreign policy (if one can call it that) community, and the media. Naya Diganta, while focusing on certain very worthwhile India-related stories, does run others that make it seem like a card-carrying member of this sort of baseless India-bashing group. Which ironically enables the very torture on suspicion that it has run a story about! Are these guys so dumb that they don’t see the irony?

At the risk of repetition: there is nothing wrong with a focus on India. My beef is with an exclusive, wrong-headed focus, not cool-headed analysis. I have previously described the latter attitude as that of a foreign-policy hawk, and the former as that of dodos. It seems that in Bangladeshi foreign policy circles, we have don’t have hawks and doves, but instead are blessed with do-nothings or dodos.

I’m not quite sure where to put Naya Diganta in that category. When I see ND reporting on how the civil aviation delegation might have sold us out during negotiations in Delhi – the civil aviation secretary was made OSD on return – my heart warms up. (New Age had a similar report). That is an instance of keeping people informed about the relevant points and people, thus adopting a tough stance vis a vis India.

However, a few days previously, I had seen this absolutely incredible report on how apparently there was a vast আন্তরজাতিক চক্র (International Conspiracy with a capital I and C) led by none other than that Ancient and All-Powerful Secret Cabal, the Indian Thread Makers! This Secret Cabal is apparently in control of some NGO in UK which has managed to convince major retailers like Marks and Spencer’s not to buy from Bangladeshi suppliers if they use Uzbeki cotton. Of course, I am tempted to ask why the Indian government is so stupid as to let a bunch of thread-makers disturb their diplomatic ties with a country that is increasingly becoming a major regional supplier of gas even as India is becoming ever more energy-hungry, but such questions are more likely to fall on deaf ears. Worse, they can get me in trouble with the (lack of) intelligence services for harbouring “pro-Indian” sentiments!

I understand that ND does not like the current government. Nor do they like India or Daily Star journalists who talk openly about Jamaat’s connections to religiously-inspired violence in Bangladesh. (It is said that ND is backed by Jamaat-leaning individuals; I’m also told that it gives space in its monthly magazine to some staunch left-leaning “secularists”, and not just Farhad Mazhar!). So the irony of these two reports within the span of a week is simply laughable. Or is it simply the cynicism of using a more helpless adversary like a tortured journalist to get a bigger fish, like the current government?

Lastly, at the risk of repeating myself ad nauseum, let me say once more: if crying “wolf” becomes the national pastime, you will have a desensitized, disbelieving population that really doesn’t care about TRUE stories of being pushed around by its bigger neighbor to the east. And if that happens, there is clearly only one winner: India.

Tip to Naya Diganta: stick to facts. Leave the conspiracy theories for the fools who fall for them.


652 Responses to “The Irony of Being Naya Diganta”

  1. NiRBashito

    India is the only “wolf” our ur-natoinalists can think of as our “arch-enemy” — and so they “cry India” to rally the support of common people, whose *first resort* is patriotism, a patriotism that is historically rooted in their religious identity and not much else (in what other way are we really different from our neighboring citizens?).

    Naturally, India bashing serves as an all-in-one, multi-purpose tool for demagoguery — a tool employed by thuggish political parties (BNP/Jamaat, e.g.), usurpers of govt powers (the army, e.g.), and rogue elements of the press (the Naya Diganta, e.g.) alike.

  2. Incidental Blogger

    How about preparing some lists? The “White” list would name newspapers that can be read and trusted and can be passed on to friends; the “Black” list would name the newspapers, which cannot be trusted but must be read meticulously to get glimpses of what our Army is up to. In between there may be a “Grey” list.

    Everyone is making lists and acting accordingly these days. Govt-Army thinks it is their prerogative to make lists and harrass decent people. What would happen if we too start to make lists? lists of newspapers; lists of editors; sycophants; army officers who killed Cholesh etc. Would not that be interesting?

  3. Engr. Khondkar Abdus Saleque

    It is our geographic reality that India is surrounding us from 2.85 direction. India was the only place to go when Pakistan army satrted genocide in 1971. India gac ve shetleter to our refugees and suported our liberation struggle with men, mterials , training and also with Army. India aoff course wanted to break Pakistan in their own interest. But we must not forget they helped us in our distress and stood bu y us. Those of us who grew during Pakistan days always had an Anti Indian psychology. Anything Indian is bad , anything Indian is directed against Muslims. This came form very narrow communual outlook. Indians also through their big brotherly attitude always tried to squeeze benefits from bangladesh deprived Bangladesh from legitimate rights. But Bangladesh can not survive peacefully ignoring India. We should rather explloit the situation through increasing tarde with neighboring Indian states. We must keep them in good humour. If India wants transit facility , opprtunity to utilse Chittagong port we must first get required share of Ganges water for all season so that our rivers in ICU get back their youth, we must be allowed free trading facility with Nepal and Bhutan through Indian corridor. India must provide necessary technical assistance to develop our manpower in IT and Energy sectors.
    Indians must also do soul searching why Bangladeshis in general are always apprehensive of its attitude towards Bangladesh.

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