Politics in Bangladesh: Where absurdity is reality

Manirul Islam

Manirul Islam

This article has been published in Feed Back column of the daily New Age on September 28, 2008, conveniently tailoring the theme, totally disfiguring writer’s view, in conformity with the editorial message of the same issue. I do believe that in the present partisan terrain of our politics, proposition of meeting of our two main leaders is an absurdity and bears no substance. I consider, printing an article in the paper is the prerogative of the editor, but distorting view without writer’s consent is an aggression to free opinion. Here is the uncensored (blue color portions were expunged in the New Age) article:

Politics in Bangladesh is as indefinable and shapeless as ever. The general citizens always expect stunning events in politics. Stakeholders of politics prefer to maneuver like stunt man through risky climaxes and capricious events. Intellectuals and civil society, movers and shakers of one-eleven, after staging dramas of high hopes and tall talks now are on the defensive retreat. Lethal results of municipal election put these elements in cognitive dissonance, now shifting their blame from politicians to the public. The powerhouse holding the steering of our politics has been as enigmatic as ever, subcutaneously lurking in politics, dangerously silent. With this backdrop and before the curtain of currently played drama finally drops, on the stage appears Barrister Rafique-ul Haq, the voluntary legal counsel of the two most celebrated defendants of corruption charges – Sheikh Hasina and Begum Khaleda. His rhapsody, not too lyrical but in cold-bold-crude words, ‘sit together and discuss national issues or face dire consequences’, has been percolating through every layer of the nation. The crux corralled support of intellectuals, civil society, merchants, journalists and professionals, even of Khaleda Zia, swinging the nation with fresh surge of euphoria amid few feeble voices of dissents. Talk show idols are busy canvassing it as the ultimate magic balm to straighten the dog tail. Dr. Wahiduddin Mahmood has sent a passionate plea to two leaders to transcend above parochial partisan issues and unite. So did M. Hafizuddin and other titans. The guarded response of Sheikh Hasina put her on the foreground of the dissidents. Borhan Kabir and Barrister Shafique are among other few skeptics.

Let us focus on the brighter side of the wood, skim our history and simulate our journey to future of national unity. We ask our two leaders to raise themselves above their party lines and offer them an elevated level garden like Babylon to stroll or air-walk into national issues. Bangalee or Bangladeshi – leave behind trivial national identity issues and move forward, secularism or evangelized – set aside touchy religious issue and march forward. What about 1971 – rise above this thorny, bloody divisive incident and charge the light brigade, high, higher, up above 1952 – garden of Eden of national consensus – 1947. The journey will be a cakewalk for rejuvenated Khaleda, impossible for visually and hearing impaired Hasina. Let us leave her behind. Neo-national unity symbol Khaleda makes ground breaking pilgrimage to Tungipara and peppers flower on the grave of Sheikh Mujib, in the same air streams back to Shere Bangla Nagar and sprinkles flower on Zia’s grave. This is the beginning of a new chapter of reconciliation and reconstruction of our nation. From now on a monumental birthday cake and a somber press note will bedeck August 15.

Human mind is capable of anything, capable of holding villain and hero with equal esteem. It is further capable of transforming a wishful thinking into a national agenda. How it will work in the national context, we can envisage, yet to see, until dust settles.

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