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18th-Jul-2014

Hereditary politics has failed to save democracy

By MAINUL HOSEIN

The hereditary leadership has reached its final end. Whether in power or in the opposition it has lost its steam and self-sustaining attraction. Power of negative pull for attracting crowd angry with government will be there. But constructive purpose will not be served. Paradoxically it is Awami League, which finds BNP helpful for it, as the people want change and not more of the same.  BNP has a hope if it can organize itself as a political alternative and not a hereditary alternative like before. With the system of election in the form of auto selection between two hereditary leaders is gone, the previous system is also broken. Now the battle is for restoring election politics and that will need organizational strength and positive acceptability as a wider political alternative. How to change hereditary politics into democratic politics is something to ponder seriously by those who can think politically and who are willing to distance themselves from politics of easy job and easy money.It does not matter that the country is into a dark hole of crime and lawlessness, those who are in power or who behind the power seem ready to do everything to preserve the failing government.  The public wealth is being plundered every way by those who can as there is nobody to oversee or stop. Every now and then it is reported in the media how easily thousands of crore takas being looted away from banks and government bodies. Money allocated for the poor is not safe. More than half of the amount earmarked for poverty alleviation, have gone into wrong pockets. Even police discipline is tenuous for using them politically and they get involved in various crimes, including picking up innocent persons for money. Only the other day, Sub-Inspector of Police of Mirpur Model Police Station was arrested for causing death to a businessman in front of his children. Life and living have become hard and unsafe for the general public. The politics of power is dehumanizing whole society.Any honest and responsible government will be ashamed for its incompetence. Surely, democratic politics is not for unqualified ones holding highly responsible positions.    Those who call themselves political leaders do not appear to have any idea what is happening around them. Otherwise, they would have felt sorry how negative their corrosive presence in the government is.Instead of considering political alternative for a democratic accommodation, the government and its game players are withdrawing more from the people. The government is actively considering how to make closing down an errant newspaper easier.  Not being happy with the politicization of the judiciary, their new plan is to make the judges of the Supreme Court live under the threat of political impeachment. We have to think that the parliament that will impeach them is not a democratic parliament but as one like the present fully unelected and fully controlled. The government is also the opposition. After the people were denied of their vote, their voice has to be stifled and their right to get justice has also to be denied. This is how authoritarianism reaches new heights. Those who are essential for functioning of democracy and who could be most consequential are the journalists and the lawyers. But they have chosen not to play their professional democratic role. With few non-conformists, they are snared into undemocratic and corrupt party politics for self-aggrandizement. No intimidation was necessary, pure greed worked.  Because of this, not only our party politics but also our national politics turned out to be a conspiracy against democracy.The idea that the lawyers and journalists are to be party activists and not maintain their professional independence to be fighters for the cause of democracy was foreign to us. It is unbelievable that the lawyers and the journalists are active supporters of hereditary leadership, instead of demanding democratic leadership. We cannot live with communist kind party politics and hope for democracy to work. Post liberation war politics has gone against the very basis of the liberation war. The new communist thinking came with the liberation war though it was officially fought under democratic government of Awami League for establishing democracy in free Bangladesh.That, our liberation war failed to make Bangladesh a safe place for democracy and human rights should be seen as the greatest tragedy. In fact, Bangladesh has become a dangerous battleground for defeating the forces and institutions of democracy. We must have our lawyers and journalists ready to respect their own professional independence. Only then they will become the forces of democracy against the tyranny of authoritarianism. The issue is to save the country from political adventurists.  We know party politics has become so selfish and thoughtless that nothing sensible can be expected to happen. But we deserve to live with dignity of a successful nation.  Our people have shown an ocean of patience in the hope of living in peace and unity. This much has to be admitted. Those who are trying to foment occupation politics in Bangladesh has nothing to learn and everything to forget.