Thursday, February 15, 2007

When ‘Good’ is ‘Bad’ in Bangladesh

ZAHID KHAN

The perpetual ‘sin’ of ‘some of our intellectuals are NOT in their ability of exercising critical thinking on contemporary issues but on the direction that they intend to take the nation through their eloquently written articles. Under the guise of free thinking and freedom of expression, they propagate ideas to make everything controversial, divides the nation at a time when need of national integration is paramount. One such idea was put forward in this forum against the Army Chief’s speech that supposedly had a ‘long’ and ‘short’ part as observed by the writer.

The article argues that the speech was ‘long on vision’ and ‘short on substance’. It appeared that the ‘substance’ what the writer was looking for was ‘an explanation as to how the President changed his mind’. Thinking rationally, I failed comprehend how such a short view could qualify as being the ‘substance’ of his vision.

In my view, the correct ‘substance’ that one might be curious to know is the ways and means of achieving the vision as outlined by the Army Chief. Again one need to understand that for an army chief, it might be difficult to elaborate on that line as the tools for achieving that vision is NOT under his disposal. It is rather the government mechanism and society at large that needs to work out the modalities of materializing the vision. Thus the Army chief has gone up to that far in his statement which was ‘politically correct’ and I’m sure any normal person with commonsense would agree that there was no scope for him to elaborate on the issues that the writer labelled as 'substance'.

So, why is someone residing so far away so much concern to know the compelling reasons of President’s change of mind? The answer probably lies in their inherent ability to see ‘good’ as ‘bad’ and the love of making everything controversial. I remember one quote of Monir Choudhury, in his famous novel Roktato Prantor, “Manush more gele poche jai, beche thakle bodlai, karone okarone bodlai, shokale bikale bodlai.” (Human being rots after death but changes if s/he is alive; they change in the morning and in the afternoon; they change for reasons and without reasons.) Change is the only constant thing in life and we should applaud if the change ushered something good for the nation. If the Army played a role to bring that positive change, than it’s more logical to support that and not to raise a controversy about it.

There is some truth in the characterization of the current administration as a ‘military backed interim government’. But that is only the half truth; because, first, except military there were no other institution at that time to bring about the changes that the people wanted; second, the backing of military was perceived by many as a benevolent step to save the nation from utter anarchy. In other words, military, as the ‘last institution standing’ was a facilitator to realize people’s desire. Taking such context into consideration, the term ‘military-backed interim government’ dispels much of the negative connotations that are otherwise attached to it in a classic sense.

The deliberate attempt to connect Dr Yunus’s decision to join politics and the recent changes has become an obsession of the writer. I have elaborated one it in my last response. I guess the cure of such ‘obsessive idea’ cannot be found by anyone unless the writer is receptive to sound logics and commonsense. It appears that that the obsession is so deep rooted and devoid of logic that one may find it futile to offer any cure. Indeed the incubation of rotten eggs gives birth of mentally challenged creatures that need especial care by the parents and the society at large for their development. Thus we need to be vigilant and also caring to such mentally challenged creatures and handle them with care. At the same time we must remain alert to protect us from any harm from such handicapped writings.

The bottom line for us would be to ask our own conscious simply these questions: Did the military do a service to the nation by coming in aid to bring this change? Was this the right role of the military under the given context? Do we need Dr Yunus in our politics? Has he got the integrity and capability to contribute any amount to purify our political culture? If the answer is yes, then we shouldn’t be bothered for anyone incubating another story from the corridor where ‘conspiracy’ and ‘whispers’ thrives. We should rather support their missions and wish them good luck. #