Following on the analysis presented in the part I of the above-titled write up (13 May, 2012), I propose to elaborate on some of the relevant and related aspects of the theme, that I am happy to find has attracted a remarkable level of interest. This post intends to put on a constructive spotlight on the rationale of the concept as well as chart out a suggested road map of priority attention and action. Such a strategy is only the start, making it happen is what counts.
Bangladesh is a hope and a tragedy as it is apparently, and till now even, permanently poised on the cusp of a vast expectation with arguably significant possibilities. Nobel Prize for its re-generated idea of micro-credit, Conrad Hilton prize for one of our well-known organisations working for the progress in agro-rural areas, and a clutch of varied recognitions and appreciations of Bangladesh’s efforts underscore the possibilities and potentials . Bangladesh now needs to have a vision of the weight and the breadth of emerging and expanding aspirations of the people and to have the wisdom to address these challenges.
A hard look at our records so far would show the reasons for the gap and these, far too well-known, are viciously rooted and are sprouting the clouds of failures of policies and promises. While democratic credentials, gained out of people’s desperate trust, tend to spawn a band of gold-diggers, horde of marauders who are supported with self-serving measures and corruption of incredible dimensions. Bangladesh gets repeatedly buried in the tunnel where there does not seem to be any light even at its end.
We are then told that mere four decades do not matter in a nation’s history. And we take a long march back to history to re-write it. It is said that the victors write the history. In Bangladesh there is this ’see-saw’ approach to the reconstruction of our history. The country is ever waiting at the gate of opportunities, the people are ever kept guessing as to who and what they are. Where they are heading and probably, more immediately relevant is the question ‘where exactly are we now?’
It is not so much a question of unbridled greed and audacity and shamelessness of some of those who wield power on the waves of trust and expectations of the people, hapless and insecure praying for hope, but of destroying the well-established institutions for petty personal gains and selfish ends.
One needs to be reminded that the poor, defenceless people can be exploited for long by many who are in authority, but when they reach a point where they have no dreams, no hope left, they would have no tears to shed as the husks of the mighty are felled to the dusts. Only redeeming feature is that Bangladesh has survived many such nightmares as they have come through many a cyclone.
Another window of opportunity is coming our way in about a year and a half’s time to show the world that sane responsible and people-centric politics have taken roots in Bangladesh. Any non-partisan view should enable us all in this country we all so dearly love, to allow the people at large to exercise their right to vote and elect the government of their choice, without fear or favour. It is undeniable that on previous occasions the lawfully installed interim governments have been able to deliver free and fair national elections and these were acknowledged to be so by all within the country and without.
We should take serious note of the fact that the Supreme Court verdict, as mentioned earlier, has taken a very rational and realistic view on the issue of non-partisan, neutral interim caretaker government and together with the general awareness of the need for such an arrangement to conduct, inter alia, the forthcoming national elections, we have a clear prospect for a win-win situation to emerge.
One is also much encouraged by the recent signal of an initiative by the country’s leading business personalities in proposing the enabling political environment for trade and commerce to proceed and the investments and the economy to flourish unhindered through a sensible and equitable mechanism of an interim administration.
It gives a golden opportunity for the incumbent government to show their bold respect for the people’s preference and to the highest court of law in the land a tribute for their wisdom. It should be added that the concept of the inter-regnum arrangement to ensure transparency, objectivity and neutrality beyond reproach came through the initiative of the parties in power and in opposition now. And for them to carry the torch forward should be a unique feather in their cap.
The nation would be receiving the ‘caretaker’ dividends right from now as the confrontational politics now looming large would end. The shouts of ‘battle of the streets’ or ‘we know how to deal with them’ will fall silent, as would the meaningless loss of lives and destruction of state and personal assets would cease. Our image as a right thinking, peace-loving, democratically cultured nation would do us proud.
In a spirit of goodwill thus generated, we dare even hope to have a model national political agreement on the ways of restoring the full governance responsibility, including the conduct of all future elections, to the elected governments. Can we also dream of an across-the-board understanding of all political parties to defined roles of some of the most crucial national institutions that serve the nation and the people irrespective of the political orientations of the government in power?
In an earnest belief that given the wisdom and good will of our leaders of this proud nation, we can re-invent and thereby, ennoble ourselves.
Syed Muhammad Hussain