Thursday, March 22, 2007

Yunus: His experience in Politics and Politics on his Experience

MOHAMMAD GANI

Very disappointing!

"National search committee for political background check" has recently interviewed Dr. Yunus; a tyro at the game of national politics, for a possible "politician's" position in Bangladesh national politics. In this first round of preliminary interview; the committee asked him, "Mr. Yunus, what do you know about politics?" Nervous Yunus could not get their question properly and said, "Well, I don't know him much but all my friends say, I look like politics". The next question followed with, "What could be your strength and weakness as a national level "politician?". Yunus instantly and boldly added, "Even at this age, in a nationally televised election debate, I have enough muscles to hand down high speed body slams with Hasina and Khaleda together like chickens by myself and my weakness? I have no weakness for them at all, they are no beauty!" So, this former professor at Chittagong University, an occasional supply depot of fake law "certificates" to the sitting judges, received a miserable grade F- in politics.

This stunning development frustrated many of us badly; and now I ask myself, why he didn't take few political science courses in "Gazipur College" or at least few summer courses in a Community College in USA. At this point, I find the most sagacious approach for him is to immediately appear before a district magistrate and make some changes in his name; like adding Sheikh or Zia before or after (his name) to get a waiver of experience requirements. You see, our Sheikh Rehana and Sheikh Joy Wajed should need no experience if they would jump into national politics tomorrow and shall be catapulted to become senior leaders in few days with a rancorous welcome!

So, how much experience does a Bangladeshi national need have in his pockets before-hand while jumping into the podium of national politics and where could he/she get this experience from, as a neophyte? For the first time, we hear some of our "experienced politicians" and few "political philosophers" questioning backgrounds on political experience of Yunus though it was never raised for last 36 years. It is not clear whether they truly mean it or discovering few frivolous issues to smear and discredit Yunus; we shall see this during coming days.

Without citing many examples of national and international leaders and statesman those are not alive today, let us explore briefly the earned political experiences of our few "living politicians" in Bangladesh.

BEGUM KHALEDA ZIA: This legendry national leader and statesman (woman) Khaleda Zia was never born in politics nor politics was ever born in her. Taking a free ride on the public sympathy due to her husband's brutal death, she has become a veteran politician instantly and overnight. Her academic backgrounds are graduating from Dinajpur Government High School (1945) and briefly studied at Surendranath College. At the age of 15, she was married to Ziaur Rahman (1960) and devoted to her private family life as a housewife and spent most of her times raising their two children even after her husband General Ziaur Rahman grabbed power in 1975. Khaleda had no history of political activities during her early life nor taken any interest in politics until 30 May 1981, when Zia was assassinated.

SHIEKH HASINA: This firebrand, a pioneer of "hartal and aborodh" though was born with a silver spoon of politics in her mouth, politics truly was not born in her either. She is the "solid fuel" beneficiary of her father's political capital and so could possibly be fairly appropriate to say for upcoming new Awami League leaders Sheikh Rehana and Joy Wajed. Hasina graduated from Azimpur Girl's High School, Dacca (Dhaka) and then to Government Intermediate College before entering to the Dacca (Dhaka) University. At the age of 21, Hasina married to physicist Dr. M.A. Wajed Mian (1968). Hasina was a member of "Chhatra League" at Dhaka University and Secretary of the Rokeya Hall. That’s it!

We now know of all the glorious public services of these political-dynasty beneficiary politicians and of many of their lieutenants who have been forced to live in "Dhaka Sheraton Hotel of the other kind" with free meals and logistic benefits. May God bless them all.

HUSSAIN MOHAMMAD ERSHAD: On March 24, 1982, this army chief of staff seized the control of the Government in a bloodless military coup. With the parliament under his control, Ershad proceeded with his recondite plans for a presidential election. He quit as army Chief of Staff in August 1986 but remained the chief martial law administrator and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. He officially joined his "homemade" Jatiya Party in September 1982, was elected its chairman and became the party's candidate for president. Ershad earned a Ph.D from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University!! He is well known for his adroit vacillation, churning political career and a sweet valentine's heart!

NIZAMI and GOLAM AZAM: These religious fanatics and enemy of our freedom have extensive political experience those shall send our sisters and mothers to the kitchen and to underground dark bunkers at once that Hitler desired to. Our founding "fathers" washed off their brutal crime records and since 16 December 1971, government of no political party brought these criminals to justice. They only fooled this nation; touting heavy handed lectures against Golam Azam/Nizami during their uncompromising political campaign in public while clandestinely became sycophant of Jamaat, establishing amorous relationship for "political kickbacks".

TAREQ RAHMAN: A mighty BNP senior leader with 36 years political experience. Sadly and also strangely, our questionable Caretaker Government is now humiliating this ephemeral but prospective and experienced national leader alleging for unfounded offences those he never committed!!

The nation also has produced few "Benjamin Disraeli" like Tofail Ahmed, Shahjahan Siraj, Kazi Zaffar Ahmed, A.S M. Abdur Rob and others and we do not hear their stentorian voice on nationalism and patriotism anymore. These superheated (spirited) and boisterous national leaders probably completed their national patriotic mission of squeezing this impoverished nation at the last drop and have now become very tired! There are ostensible reasons to conclude that they have made their enormous fortunes during their reverent political career, dedicated public services; and their next few generations, thank God, do not have to worry for enjoying profligate lifestyles.

Everyone is a born leader. We must examine the concept of leaders with new eyes. No matter how our "experienced politicians" try to spin Yunus's globe of national politics, the entire nation has decided to see a change, the change of coming out of a corruption ridden all political disgrace for years, nationally and internationally. It could be Yunus or any other alternative for his/her probity but truculent opposition to the above mentioned capricious crooks shall not change. This time, the nation shall not support our "experienced politician's" hegemony and slow-bleed policy that made the country from a bottomless basket to the "most corrupted country in the world".

Mohammad Gani is writer on Bangladesh affairs and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA