Anyone closely following the events across Bangladesh would be surprised to note that the normally docile people of this country have recently begun to vent their hatred for the oppressive regime that the country’s government has become. The tenure of a normal government is usually around 5 years, an election being held then to decide who forms the incoming government. In between, there is a ‘caretaker government’ to manage the election and run the country’s affairs. A unique political system, it also shows the absence of any trust whatsoever between the two main political groups, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Awami League (AL). The AL is a centre-left party, while the BNP is a centre-right party, meaning that ideologically they quite similar, including their policies. The only other major party is the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). Jatiya Party (JP) is in tatters, as they are led by a former dictator and also due to continuing factional clashes leading to it being one of the most fragmented party. Other parties present are of little use, except when the main parties require some hired muscle to take out a big, noisy and unruly strike or procession. It takes little to understand that most of these parties do nothing than contribute to the lack of oxygen pervading the country’s atmosphere. As mentioned, the parties are close in the similarities between their ideologies and policies, viz. get to and stay in power by any means.
The country was born through great turmoil and with enough internal disputes to keep many future historians busy for years about who did what and intended what. Heck, they are still trying to figure out who first uttered “Bangladesh is independent,” Sheikh Mujib or Zia-ur-Rahman? One reason why both those women hate each other’s guts is that one’s husbad killed the other’s father after the latter accused the father of corruption and nepotism. The other reason, atleast to the male chauvinist in me, is that they simply get puffed up with female jealousy when one is the ‘Prime Minister’ and the other is the ‘Opposition Leader’. It is to be noted that only the two women hate each other, at the lower levels, the workers and supporters actually work hand-in-glove to rape the nation and benefit themselves. The only times they fight is when one takes more than the other.
The confrontational politics, political immaturity, lack of leadership and the cream of the lot, no education, has led the nation downhill since independence. Not only that, but the downfall has led to increasing levels of the same problems spreading throughout the country. Food for thought.
The people of this country have done next to nothing to change the system as it is and the very few who did try were silenced by being bought out or made to. But recent events have shown a side to the people not expected. At Kansat, a town close to the the Northwestern border in Chapainawabganj, people led by the Palli Bidyut Unnayan Sangram Parishad (PBUSP) went amok after suffering for over a year from lack of electricity and water. In Dhaka, at places, people actually beat up the riot police and the local ward commissioner after suffering from the same problems. Two weeks ago, the country witnessed an unprecendented surge of worker agitation in a key economic sector, the ready-made garments (RMG) sector. Boycotting factories, leading strikes and burning down factory units and stocks worth millions, the workers were demanding increased wages and working conditions as well as fairer treatment from the factory owners. The owners and government quarters were quick to blame “external influences.” The only comic relief about this particular episode was that factory owners, who would normally travel in expensive SUVs or cars, were lying down on the roads, blockading them and demanding government protection for their investments. All these people are furious and are venting their fury in what they see is a valid expression of their feelings towards this government. Personally, I think they are wrong in beating up the police, should’ve finished the local ward commissioner (I could go to jail for this!) and the workers were harming their own interests in burning down the factories and warehouses. But no one has, till now, said that they are willing to change anything for the better. All that happened out of these situations is that the people revolted, were shown some carrots and they went back to their homes thinking they had won a great victory.
The only winners here were the wretched politicians who continue to bleed the country to quench their never ending greed. In the case of Kansat, money appropriated for those injured in clashes with the police (who had opened fire unprovoked) was “misappropriated”. The illegitimate receiver of the money were the same people who had flamed the fires in Kansat initially, the leaders of Palli Bidyut Unnayan Sangram Parishad (PBUSP). Amazing! The same people who come forward to demonise corruption and take a stand against it become party to it when they see the slightest profit to be made from it. I firmly believe that this country actually EARNED the top spot in Transparency International’s list five times in a row.
One thing to note here is that most people indulging in corruption happen to have negligible education, grade 6 or lesser. At first glance it seems that there may be a strong link between level of education and coruption, but that goes right out the window when one is forced to consider that the biggest source of corruption happens to be the educated, wealthy elite of the country who know how to push the buttons and where to drop the money to lubricate their work. The conglomerates, factories and indutries being led by educated people actually possess and pass around the largest amount of black money. Statistic – over 50% of the money supply is in the hands of less than 5% of the population. No prizes for guessing who has it all.
A simple question now – who should all these agitating people be angry at? The wealthy, educated elite propagating the corruption or the government who just take what falls their way? The people themselves for not doing enough to change the system or the people who simply follow the system as is?