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Spring Bloom In Bangladesh

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By Farooque Chowdhury *

Can the mass activity now, the spring, overwhelming Bangladesh society and politics be ignored? There are two ways: either to ignore it, non-recognize it, or the opposite. Either of the two bears relevant questions, and has source.

The section of Bangladesh press that reports the masses of people getting mobilized at an intersection of the capital city and around the country bear the responsibility for factual reporting. The numbers of people getting mobilized are cited as tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands; the places of these mobilizations are cited as around the country, major towns and cities, educational institutions; the style of these mobilizations cited is spontaneous, self-mobilized, people from all walks of life.

The press reports of people’s mobilizations are appearing for weeks. Bangladesh press reporting the political incident is aware that factual reporting is an editorial responsibility, the responsibility of editorial institution. The section of the press shall stand on the dock of history if its reports turn fabricated and orchestrated.

Serious questions related to the state of the society shall emerge if the press reports are fabricated, etc. and the fabrication, etc. go unchallenged.

Serious questions shall also emerge if the press reports don’t turn fabricated, etc. Serious questions have to be encountered if the press reports turn factual, credible, responsible. Bangladesh politics also faces similar questions. Either of the two, politics and press, can’t shed respective responsibility.

Bangladesh politics of all manifestations have to realize the reality and compromise with the reality if the press reports are factual. Or, the press reports are to be ignored.

One can ignore it or not. The stance depends on respective outlook, and outlook stands on economic interests. Shall it be wise and prudent to ignore the press reports if the reports are credible, if the reports telling a spring bloom of protests and yearning for justice are factual?

Brushing off the facts reported in the press or trying to comprehend the reality shall influence acts of those concerned/related.

Comprehending reality pulls one to living with reality. A failure brings nothing but doom, and with no scale of force the doom can be averted.

Examples of coming into terms with reality are many in the pages of modern history:

The British colonial rulers took initiatives to organize political parties in this subcontinent as they realized the situation might go beyond their control.

The same reason pressed the colonial rulers, to accelerate their date of leaving the subcontinent.

Powerful Latin American generals had to experience the same experience after waging a Dirty War against people. The well-planned DW that went on for years killed many. Many disappeared for ever. But, at last, the mighty generals preferred retreat.

The Russian rulers under the leadership of Gorbachev had to compromise with the reality created out of years of misgovernance, etc. by the Russian managerial class.

The racist rulers of South Africa had to bow to the black people under the leadership of Mandela.

The subcontinent bears a few more examples:

In Pakistan, following a mass upsurge, Ayub had to relinquish power on a March night. Niazi had to brace humiliation and surrender following the War of Liberation in Bangladesh.

Failure to make compromise with reality also bears examples: Hitler and Mussolini with a wrongly crafted economy on a crumbling social base exerted a supremacist ideology. At the end, they failed to find themselves.

All of them wielded magnificent intimidation machine fuelled by a brutal power of money, intellectual capacity and coercion. The biggest empire in the pre-WWII world had to face the half-fed, bare bodied masses of people in this subcontinent. With an efficient blackmailing power and skill to hatch intrigues Hitler’s war machine went unchallenged for a period while his Gestapo terrorized all under his rule. But, all and everything turned useless and stood idle in the face of sociohistorical force.

A part of the cited examples realized futility of their intimidating power and wealth while another failed. One was maturity while the other was the opposite. One realized the role of people and the other ignored the determining factor. One made a retreat, but the other chose a head on collision. One identified the importance of consent of citizens while the other had a contrary outlook.

Facts that come out from reports by the Bangladesh press are:

1. A small number of youth with yearning for justice assembled on a capital city- intersection; within a short time the number of people joining the youth increased to thousands and on certain days, it grew to tens/hundreds of thousands. Similar assemblies got organized in different parts of the country. On occasions, people around the country joined in minutes of silence, candle light vigil, singing national anthem. All their yearning is for a fair judgment of war criminals accused of crimes against humanity committed during the War of Liberation of Bangladesh.

2. There are reports of a beggar contributing his day’s earning to the assembled masses for buying food; poor villagers joining an assembly with a huge number of pithaa, Bangla cake, which they made collectively; students, youth, freedom fighters, petty trader, educationists, artists, housewives, old lady joining protests, which is going on for two weeks.

3. In the face of demands by the protesters, Jatio Sangsad, the Bangladesh legislative assembly, made amendments to the relevant law. The JS, a number of ministers and many members of the JS have expressed solidarity with the masses.

4. The ruling party and its allies have expressed solidarity with the people. The ruling party and the main opposition party, in a way or another, have expressed their willingness to carry on trial of war criminals.

Questions that appear from the facts provided by the cited section of the press are: (1) Shouldn’t the yearning be taken into account? (2) What’s the galvanizing factor that pulled together such a big mass of people in such a short time? (3) What’s the factor that keeps them vibrant, relentlessly raising slogans, rendering song, as part of voicing demand, for already passed two weeks? (4) Why so many people around the country are spontaneously joining the programs announced from the assembly in Dhaka? (5) What’s the social reality that now reveals such yearning at mass level? (6) Is it part of unresolved contradictions within Bangladesh society?

Political forces shall identify further and fundamental questions and dynamics of the incidents. Questions have to be encountered whatever the questions are.

Even, one can prefer not to search questions. But can one ignore people’s spirit? Shall that help reach a proper conclusion?

* Farooque Chowdhury from Dhaka is a freelancer.


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