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Trapped in Faux Parallel

November 30, 2013

In the wake of growing differences between two leading parties over the upcoming election, there are (directed) columns and news analyses on foreign countries role about Bangladesh’s internal matter on op-ed pages, pandered to satisfy a target group. What is more dangerous is ,in that attempt, a faux parallel has been drawn between Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Some have even gone to dub the present political scenario ‘Great Game’, ‘Bajkhushi’ and ‘Great Gamble’. These all sorts of rubbish are penned by people who held important positions in military and civil administration.

Except religion and presence of few extreme Islamist groups, there is nothing common between Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country and inhabited by different ethnic groups. Pasthuns are the leading groups with feuding clans in Afghanistan. They are basically governed by a traditional code Pashtunwali, where Melmastia (hospitality), Nanawati(asylum), Badal( revenge), and Sabat (loyalty) are the prominent principles.

Bangladesh is very much open to the world. It has two large ports and vast marine resources. Unlike Afghanistan, its population is homogenous. Bengalis are not governed by such nomadic laws. British introduced legal systems are still functioning in this country.

Russia could snatch away British East India Company’s prized possession India to weaken England’s economy gave birth to Great Game. All the parties involved in this game did not have any genuine economic stake in Afghanistan. Back then they thought this country could only give a ‘passage to India’.

Compared to the 19th century Afghanistan, present Bangldesh possesses an outward looking economy, which is fuelled by export and remittance. A factory in Gajipur, in Chittagong or in Ishwardi is also contributing to the Gross National Product (GNP) of a North American or a European country. Bangladesh is also a big consumer in international trade. A large part of imported goods are being used in the export sector. India, China and other industrial countries are supplying huge quantities of goods to keep our economy moving. All these countries have genuine economic stakes, which are greater than any geo-strategic stake, in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is part of a long global conveyor belt. Any disruption in this belt will cause serious trouble in other parts. In this post 9/11 world, growth rate of postmodern world is a function of poverty, growth and stability of modern and premodern world.

At this critical juncture, this faux parallel seems too simple to analyze the current political situation, let alone solves the political problems.

British Pakistani writer, journalist Tariq Ali, who came here to take part in a literary festival, read correctly the political situation. To him, “It is a clash between the spirit of 1947 and the spirit of 1971”.

Now, Bangladesh’s political landscape is dominated by two extreme poles. In this circumstance, inclusive democracy sounds like a farce. If rampant attacks on civilians, public installations and public transport systems continue unabated and the culprits go unpunished, I’m afraid there will be no end to the political violence even if there is a regime change.

It is highly unlikely that few party apparatchiks of both the parties have the solution to current stalemate. What has been going on in Bangladesh is more than the differences over next election . It is a clash of identity—-Bangladesh vs Banglastan


From → Analysis

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