Political forecasts and 'Bangla Spring'

Dec 3, 2011

The word 'Arab Spring' is possibly no more new to the major segment of the global population by now. The tide of ousting autocrats or political and family dynasts from the power has surely achieved significant strength with the ouster of Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya and imminent fall of Bashar Al Assad in Syria.

Kuldip Nayar and Anwar Hossain Manju are two veteran editors in the Indian sub continent. Both were also elected into parliament as people's representative, and most importantly, they enjoy the esteem of excellent political analysts for their balanced comments. Incidentally enough, both of them are talk of the Bangladeshi political and social circles now because of their extremely critical assessment of prevalent situation and possible consequence in Bangladesh's tomorrow.

Speaking to the largely read Arab newspaper - The Gulf News, commenting on ruling government in Bangladesh, Kuldip Nayar said "Popularity is a rare quality which begins to elude the rulers when they need it the most. Bangladesh Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina is in a similar situation. Her stock has shrunk at a time when she requires it badly. People had returned her with a sweeping majority. Yet they increasingly feel, three years after her being in power, that her non-governance, if not mis-governance, has only made their life miserable."

He said "After staying in Bangladesh for five days I find that she has not only lost her sheen but also the trust she enjoyed once. People expected her to deliver but there is nothing they can recognize as her achievement. For example, she promised electricity and substantially supplied it at great cost by borrowing from overstretched banks. But people wanted to see large power stations to come up since their demand is ever rising. What India promised is yet nowhere in the horizon."

Harshly criticizing Sheikh Hasina government's policy in sufficiently voicing against the Tipaimukh Dam, a project, which would cause natural catastrophe to Bangladesh, journalist Kuldip Nayar said, "The beleaguered Hasina has further lost prestige. Her efforts to befriend India have got rebuffed. There is no doubt that the Teesta water and Tipaimukh will cut into her votes when Bangladesh goes to polls two years later. The fallout will benefit Khaleda Zia who is sitting pretty and not issuing statement after statement as she did in the past. But are the Bangladeshis a shuttlecock to be tossed from one side to another—from Hasina to Khaleda?"

The senior Indian journalist rightly assessed that the Bangladeshi Prime Minister "bothers little because the haze of popularity has not yet awakened her to the reality." He said, "She believes that a few newspapers are tarnishing her good name. She does not realize that the papers' circulation is in proportion to their credibility. They could not be leading papers if they had reported or interpreted the situation wrongly. But then, like the communists, she forgives the renegades but not critics."

One more important point Kuldip Nayar has, for the first time, exposed in his interview is, the ruling party in Bangladesh has "unilaterally" accorded transit facility to India, which would help New Delhi in combating militancy in the North-Eastern States. He equally said that rebellion in Assam in particular is once again at a re-starting point.

Meanwhile, Bangladeshi editor and political analyst Anwar Hossain Manju has predicted a "mass revolt" in the country, which is beyond any speculation of the people of the country. Speaking at a political gathering in Dhaka, Anwar Hossain Manju said, "When sins of the rulers cross extreme limit, there always is divine wrath. For this, there is no necessity of any political leadership, but the people would voluntarily come of the street in protest of such misrule."

He said, "No government can remain popular for a long time in any of the developing nations. Because, after riding into power, they [ruling parties] always try satisfying party cadres at the cost of the taxes of the people."

Anwar Hossain Manju said, "Social elites are predicting dire consequence of the country, while sections of the people are saying there is no politics in the country saved looting. Khaleda Zia [leader of the opposition] is saying, no one will be allowed to flee. She surely is not making such comments based on the air."

Commenting on neutrality of the judiciary, Anwar Hossain Manju said, "We used to talk about the rule of law. But now, eminent lawyers are saying, highest judiciary is giving verdict seeing face value. Hearing this we have stopped seeking rule of law."Mr. Anwar Hossain Manju has also pointed out the ruling party's continuous efforts in "eliminating" democracy, which he said - politics of elimination actually causes extinction to those who attempt doing this.

Statements and predictions of both Kuldip Nayar and Anwar Hossain Manju are worrisome enough for every sensible citizen of Bangladesh irrespective of their professional and political identities.In my personal opinion, while Bangladeshi may be greatly dissatisfied with the performance of the current government, there is no valid reason for them to start putting faith on the opposition either led by Khaleda Zia or military dictator Hussain Muhammed Ershad and war criminal ridden Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. In such case, surely country's democracy is at a hugely dark point and whenever there is any such political dark time in any nation, there surely is sudden emergence of new voice from amongst the people. It happened in many nations in the world in the past, and most recently continuing to happen in the Arab world, with its so-called Arab Spring. There is no room to debate the courage and patriotism of the Bangladeshi people at large and also it will be stupidity of the highest degree to consider them as mere duffers. Bangladesh historically is the land of braves and heroes and Bangla speaking people in particular, be it in Poshchim Bangla [in India] or Bangladesh, are always seen at the forefront of any anti evil-regime movements. It is truly difficult to predict if a 'Bangla Spring' is really in offing in this part of the world.


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