Three and a half verdicts

Verdict 1: The High Court has declared the autocratic regime of Lieutenant General Alhaj Hussain Muhammad Ershad as illegal. The court also suggested that Ershad should be prosecuted for usurping power illegally and unconstitutionally.

Rumor has it, at the time of the verdict, the poet dictator was finishing his latest book titled “Premer Mora Joley Dube na” (the submarine poet).

Verdict 2: The High Court today also extended the parole of Arafat Rahman Coco by 40 days. His cousin on the other hand was granted four days’ remand by a Dhaka court (as if he asked for the grant!).

In an unrelated news, singer Sting’s daughter began performing as I BLAME COCO.

Verdict 3: The High Court broke the heart of another MP by cancelling the results of Noakhali-6 constituency. The court has ordered the Election Commission to hold re-elections to the seat.

Verdict 3.5: A Dhaka tribunal has relieved Awami League leader HBM Iqbal, MP Nurunnabi Shaon and 12 other people from charges relating to the Malibagh quadruple murder case of 2001.

It has been reported that former parliament member Iqbal was not present at the time of the ruling. However, as has been reported, he was present at the time of the shooting.


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” ~ Charles Dickens

Demystifying Bangabondhu

[Published in the on 15 August 2010]

I have a confession to make– I probably do not know Bangabondhu well. Do you?

All these years, I thought I knew him. I mean, how can I not know the person who inspired us through our struggle for independence? How can I not know him when his 7th March speech still gives me goose bumps? How can I not know the person whose contribution in making and shaping of this country is unprecedented?

Well, when it comes to knowing a national leader, knowing the work is more effective than knowing the personality. Personality helps a leader to influence or motivate the people. But it’s the understanding of the works that helps people trust and know a leader.

Non-political leaders who rise to power at gunpoint carefully construct an untainted personality, based on facts and fairy tells, to blanket their unknown past and ruthless deeds. All the ruthless military leaders who reigned in this world had one thing in common—they spoke softly and carried big guns. Trust in those leaderships was not a choice for the people. Fear came first, which was then followed by respect. Later on, people renamed that fear as trust.

But political leaders need to earn the trust first. Here the legitimacy is earned through decades of struggles and public works. No one would have heeded if one unknown Sheikh Mujib went to Racecourse on 7th March to announce independence. He had to earn people’s trust spending thirty years’ in political campaigns before he announced “this time the struggle is for our freedom, this time the struggle is for our independence”. He did not need an army to support his cause; rather, his cause was against an army. People were willing participant in it. Read more of this post

Being patriotic, selling patriotism

07. পূর্ব দিগন্তে সূর্য উঠেছে

1971 version of national flag can only be used in depicting that period. This photograph is part of a series on 1971.

When competition is fierce, patriotism is the business panacea. Add a drop of patriotism in your product, and it will sell like hotcakes. The West probably has gone too far with it. Thanks to our heritage, we are still uncomfortable with Bangladesh-flag themed undergarments or shoes.

But our corporate houses do use national history, national flag or national anthem to make profits. Think about mobile ringtones. The mobile company doesn’t have to pay any royalty to Tagore or the government, but people pay the companies millions to use it on their phone. Recently there have been a law and a verdict in relation to the use and abuse of such materials. However, there are some functional and political complexities in it.

Read more of this post