Friday, July 29, 2011

Of Generational Revolt and the Sins in our Eyes, Filth in our Soul

Maqsoodul Haque - Mac

"No one reads if the headlines don't bleed" – Sharon Chadha

  • The last weeks have been traumatic for those who have had the time and/or luxury to flip through daily newspapers or watch TV. Rapes, murders, assault, Madrasa children sodomized by Mullahs, and road accidents leading to death of school children. Ganja smoking students out on Shab-e-Berat night lynched by villagers apparently mistaking them for robbers as police stood watching in Gladiator sports like glee…….it goes on.
  • Female students of the premier Viqarunnissa Noon School are on a hell hath no fury campaign to bring a rapist teacher to justice. While the accused is behind bars, the defiant girls in the process have not been spared. Labeled with hackneyed Awami-BNP-Jamaati political shade they neither understand nor have any interest, the Governments subsequent menacing tactics in positioning the death squad RAB outside schools is the final seal to the coffin. 'Will we be on the cross-fire list?' wonders a sixteen year old on Facebook.
  • The list of our national woes gets ever longer and knuckles are bare. Is our next punch-up going to be with our children? After all they have legitimate grievances. Their teachers, the guardian angels who we thought were defacto parents in schools have defiled them. Rape is too simplistic and generic a word. What we have in hand is institutionalized INCEST and while the Nation remains mute spectator, the Government and Education Minister complicit in their impunity and arrogance have not come out looking any prettier. The wrath of God hangs heavy on our shoulders. We will be judged for the Sins in our eyes, the filth in our Soul.
  • The public mood at the moment cannot be gauged as quite characteristically the Bengali race has a unique quality: resilience. That said, the worry really is our psyche and sensibility too have gone wayward and is de-sensitizing us. We are shutting ourselves from reality, compartmentalizing our thoughts. Like it or not, our mentality has taken on the facade that all injustice is condemnable as long as it is not happening to me personally.
  • Condemn and hold photo-op human chain demonstrations and you have done your job and its over..…wah? Core values that our parents generation held holy and worthy of respect and taught us to emulate, have all been blown to smithereens. The Nation has been bludgeoned into numb disbelief and despair. On surface no one seems to care, so who could be the real beneficiaries in the chaos? Your guesstimate is as guessable as mine!
  • On Facebook we have an entirely different story and set of rules – i.e. no stories, no rules just stark naked reality! Its worthwhile reading angry status updates on friend's walls and groups, and then the unending Punch and Jody comments that follow sometime in jest, others dead serious. But surely these reactions have more insight than the boring, predictably boxed-in and politicized space of our newspapers, or time in TV or Radio cumulatively.
  • The caustic hatred is not limited to the Government or political parties. By looks of things it is the status quo per se that is on a trial of the conscience, the accusation spree are unrelenting and unforgiving. On the flip side, for a fossilized, myopic and impotent generation warped by sheer poverty of fresh thoughts and not prepared to believe the unbelievable, from seeing the un-seeable the truth is a hard swallow. Warning - the first shots have been fired; the howitzer salvos are on the way.
  • Targeted are public, private and tutorial institutions, teachers, policemen, press, Principals and Ministers as also parents, indeed anyone who by pretension or default has decided to be somebody in authority is in bull's eye. Verbal non-lethal brick batting has become the order of the day, yet no one in or out of Government seems to be pushed. Worse, we have already made up our mind that these are things that have happened in the past, lot of noise made and as quickly brushed under the carpet. We couldn't me more wrong.
  • If Sheikh Hasina, Khaleda Zia or Ershad had genuine Facebook profiles, they would have needed entire Ministries to save themselves from the onslaught! The President himself has been made mincemeat after his pardon of a death-row killer. Ahommok (nincompoop) be a man and free the killers of your wife Ivy Rahman and we will applaud are among the better swear comments used in condemning him and his actions. Referring to the Prime Minister another comment screamed only killers of my father cannot be pardoned. Our diabolical deceit has not gone unnoticed, unmarked or unchallenged. Are we prepared to see or listen?
  • If we are talking about Democracy and freedom of expression, the onus is on the Media to play the all important role of a catalyst for a mass upsurge. Amplifying voices that are saying important things out there but do not have the space or platform to be heard in the mainstream, the real world as such should be the first order of business. If we are serious about foreseeable changes to our fate on global terms, the only available option out from our dizzy-taal morol-ocracy is to make peace with our young citizenry.
  • Sadly whenever there are issues with the 'now' generation, insinuations are first made about their age….Shob Polaa Paan, ki bojhey – or 'these underage imbeciles, what do they really understand?' Then there are snide remarks of how scantily they dress, hug or hold hands in public, drug addicts, loose morals and the forever vilest of abuse – Beyadob or Impertinent! It is this bestiality in our mindset, the vulgarities of our thought and vision, the sins of our eyes, the filth in our soul, the incessant domineering and pulverizing of our young's aspirations, which leads to the creations of monsters like Porimol. Who knows how many more are lurking in the shadows ready to pounce?
  • We are guiltier than those rapists, for we have over generations, never listened to our young, never given a thought to their opinions. Mother of all crimes, we never discuss sexuality with our children because our culture even in this enlightened millennium considers it inappropriate, nongra or filthy? We love our children but do not respect them. They in turn respect us, but do they trust us? Never discussing things of crucial importance because of so-called social stigma or taboo means we not only lie to them, but teach them how to lie. In turn lying has become our national pastime with politicians doing it every time they open their mouth, and we expect change?
  • We have a 'youth' Ministry that is alien to our youth. We have an Education Ministry who decide policies for educational institutes, without ever seeking student's consent, without taking cognizance of their views that will ultimately affect their lives. In a round about way, while we may pat our own backs and pay glowing tributes to our vibrant Democracy, in our dealing with the young who constitute nearly 60 percent of our population, we are murderous and patently Hitler-istic. A Generational revolt is therefore not only inevitable, I will be more astute and say it has become OBLIGATORY.
  • And as we merrily sin with our eyes we also have premeditated eyewashes with the Media an overt accomplice. For instance the week long hartal (general strike) holidays had nothing to do with Constitutional amendments or whether or not the words of Allah preceded the preamble to our soiled national doctrine. The assault of a BNP lawmaker half stripped by police outside Parliament was not denounced by the silent citizenry. They understand well that this was a charade to divert attention from the ongoing loot and plunder of our national resource, gas - by corrupt Government officials and the US Company ConocoPhillips.
  • Not surprisingly on this one, there is a quiet alliance. I am sure the bribe-line pipeline is all encompassing, lining pockets of Ministers to politicians from position and Opposition, from corporatized criminals to street thugs, not to forget NGO's and newspaper Editors. The only voices of reason and patriotism seen and heard were committed left leaning parties and individuals. Yet street protests have met unimagined brutality. An article by Rahnuma Ahmed in New Age on 11th July carried a photo of a female demonstrator being kicked in her groin by a male policeman! No, despite the graphic evidence the policeman has not been arrested. And no, our uncivil Civil Society hasn't made a BIG Noise. Why?
  • Clearly as far as the establishment is concerned, leftist live in a utopian paradise and best they could do was to make a foreign agent (read spy) with an agenda out of Professor Anu Muhammad. With the Government and the establishment out-and-out bartering their orifices to ConocoPhillips and the US, no one under pain of arrest, torture or even crossfire dare tilt the ante, dare question the usurpation of our national wealth. Therefore if there is one issue that will determine the fate and future of Bangladesh, lead to violent revolt and conflict, it is GAS.
  • Problem is when they erupt as I am sure it will, our eyes will not only be targeting the Government or establishment, indeed all our known and sworn enemies and many friends will be collateral casualty. A cauldron of a magnitude unimaginable will envelop us. Our restless and agitated young will no longer be on Facebook talking about revolution. A New Year (or years), new days and new Martyrs will be etched into our His-story, Her-story, making it finally OUR STORY. From Surreal, Reel to REAL the Revolution will be LIVE!

New Age Xtra – Print Edition

Friday 29th July 201

Friday, July 08, 2011

Of Turbans and legitimacy of pro-Indian Bangladeshis

Maqsoodul Haque – Mac

"Stupidity is an elemental force for which no earthquake is a match" Karl Kraus

  • No one could quite give me a sure fix on timing of the recent take by Indian Premier Mahmohan Singh and his remarkable xenophobia that at least 25 per cent of the population of Bangladesh swears by the [Jamaat-e-Islami] and they are very anti-Indian, and they are in the clutches, many times, of the ISI. When I say 'timing' what I really want to know is precisely when during the 24 hours cycle we call a day, were the above words uttered?
  • intention here is to give Mr.Singh a benefit of the doubt. Was it just past 12 in the afternoon? A time of the day that some very distasteful puns from the past infer, is really not the best for any Sardarji worth his turban? Apparently the heat that builds up inside the Sikh headgear of faith is so intense at mid-day that it makes them err on side of caution. Their sight, hearing and overall mental bearing become a trifle traumatized!
  • The let down felt by Bangladesh is understandable. The Awami League, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Ministry will have to burn a lot of midnight oil to enforce damage control, especially when the Opposition will chuckle…..ahaa isn't it what we have always said about India, the behemoth, the hegemony? For now it seems all good work done by the pro-India Awami League at appeasing India after it was installed in power by a brute majority - is just not working or just not good enough.
  • The real fear and fault line is exposed in the second part of Singh's statement. [The] political landscape in Bangladesh can change at any time. We do not know what these terrorist elements, who have a hold on the [Jamaat-e-Islami] elements in Bangladesh, can be up to'. No one from India could placate us as of now, whether the personal fear psychosis of the Indian Premier is likely to turn infectious and cascade down to common Indians in pandemic proportions……..
  • More salt to wound, the words terrorist elements and in this particular case Islamic, is exactly the sort of thing that the terrorist leaders of the US-led War on Terror would like to hear! One may easily conclude that it is India in its own overheated imagination that is hell bent upon pursuing an enemy with ISI links in Bangladesh territory, when the reality is, they do not exist. Brings us to the question: is Delhi looking at doing a Baghdad on Dhaka?
  • The Awami League meanwhile has opened up one too many fronts in the domestic political scenario and doing a fantastically bad job of it! To imagine that it will also embrace India's narco-fantasia and take on imagined Hezbollah like armed Islamic elements embedded within 25 percent of our population is a mirage that will lead to collective political hara-kiri. For Jamaat e Islami this must be the glorious moment they were waiting for. Finally no less than the Indian Premier thinks we are a worthy enemy – Subhanallah!
  • These are ominous signals, because unknown to Mr.Singh the Jamaat e Islami has been successfully defanged not by the Government or any political party worth its name, but by the people of Bangladesh. His statement is therefore seen as an insult to the very same people, who in recent years have withstood religious extremism, confronted and marginalized the bigots.
  • True the Awami League check list of goodies delivered to India is impressive! It has arrested and handed over North Eastern insurgent leaders, but they were never terrorists as no weapons were ever recovered. Quite simply these were anti-India elements who with their families had sought shelter in Bangladesh territory for fears that they may be killed back home.
  • Also, not even one of the hundreds of terrorist camps pin-pointed hysterically by Indian Intelligence RAW and bad mouthed by its media were ever discovered! On the flip side many Bangladeshi nationals with criminal records (and they include real terrorist, Mafia dons and murderers) are being harbored across the border as I write. We haven't seen India do us the great honor of a good neighbor by arresting and deporting them back to Bangladesh. Why?
  • While everything is up for conjecture, as things stand, the clarification on 2nd July, 2011, that the remarks made by Mr.Singh were off the record and not meant to be judgmental, may appear on surface to be one of those things that happens occasionally between neighbors. However on deeper introspection one cannot help overlook the atypical mentality of the Indian ruling class that views Bangladesh with contempt, hostility and unwanted suspicion. These seemingly koochie-koo innocent non-judgmental aspersions are barbs and ones that India will have to pay heavily in the days to come.
  • The 25 percent population equation is only a continuation of the old run-of-the- mill Indian RAW propaganda, and it is not as if Bangladesh doesn't know why it is happening. Disturbing is the fact that all of the above occurred in a meeting between Mr.Singh and supremos of India's fourth estate which for long has been a centripetal receptor for all open source intelligence, intrusive espionage and propaganda that guides and drives the Republics foreign/defense policy.
  • Add to that the common knowledge that India's fourth estate is communal, rabidly anti-Bangladesh and that too because of a situational imbalance. The majority of Bangladeshi's are unfortunately Muslims and it matters little whether it is a pro or anti-India Government in power. Therefore it is not at all surprising that Mr.Singh could specifically identify 25 percent of our anti-India population who swear by the Jamaat e Islami, making it legit perhaps in a round about way that they also swear by the Quran? The equations go awry in these changed times.
  • Calling apples apples and oranges oranges, it is insinuation such as the above that has done the greatest damage to Bangladesh-India relation in the past 40 years. All Mr.Singh has done is to pour fresh combustibles thereby giving communal elements across the border a head-start to trigger a new round of demonization of Bangladesh. This isn't about any miscalculation or a faux pas. This is willful and deliberate.
  • Drumming up support for its proxy war with Pakistan and imaginary ISI cohorts in Bangladesh territory is in essence India, opening up a new and a most undesirable front. But is it equipped or even capable of handling the onslaught that will surely follow? Press report quoting an aide to the Bangladesh Prime Minister on 4th July 2011 that the Indian premier would communicate with Sheikh Hasina to explain his remarks on Bangladesh, doesn't quite sound like sweet music to anybody's ear either. Bangladesh – not India stands to be the loser and we haven't heard the last word yet.
  • If we are not to lump in too many issues and look for a common one glove fits all solution, the question of enormous significance: assuming that Mr.Singh's contention that 25 percent of the population is anti-Indian is true, does it imply that the rest 75 percent of the population of Bangladesh are PRO-INDIAN ? Let's take a digressive break.
  • What is the real percentage of the population of India who are patently pro-Indian? Seventy percent of the country's geographical territory has low to medium intensity guerrilla warfare, insurgencies and national liberation/self determination movements at any given time. From the vast swath of North East India, despite Bangladesh's initiatives in handing over rebel leaders, anti-India elements still rule the roost and the problems are enormous.
  • Peace remains elusive and there is no end to systematic oppression and genocide in Kashmir. The (Naxalite) Maoist guerrilla movement covering territories from Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal is considered India's largest internal security threat. The participants are up in arms against India – and they also happen to be non-Islamic terrorist movements. Clearly religion is just NOT the sole issue that makes more Indian's than Bangladeshi - ANTI-Indian.
  • India despite its facade of a regional superpower has more poor per capita living within its territory than any other country in the world. Add to that the misery of the have not's and the unending resistance to Delhi that continue to dog its existence and is a grave drain on its resources and military? With almost 70 percent of his own population, his own people up in armed resistance, Mr.Singh should best concentrate on how to deal with the rats in his own kitchen. There is no reason for him to kill a few chickens just to scare off the monkeys!
  • And that brings in the concluding take. Do we Bangladeshis per force or through compulsion have to be pro-Indian to survive? I mean isn't it a travesty that as an independent nation state we have to sit back and take such predetermined nonsense from no less than the Prime Minister of India?
  • Why then did this nation go to war in 1971? Why is it that 40 years later we either have to be pro-Indian, pro-Pakistani, pro-US, pro-this and pro-that and NOT pro-Bangladesh? Something is tragically amiss about our identity.
  • Was our birth in 1971 a forced abortion or a premeditated and perfected case of illegitimacy?

New Age XTRA Print Version

Friday, 8th July 2011