Saturday, August 4, 2018

Road rage faces student spirit

ROAD rage in Bangladesh is not new. And not new is death due to road rage. The new phenomenon is the student spirit has stood against road rage. To the students, life matters.
A movement against road rage has recently been carried on by the students in Dhaka. They stood for life. And they stood against disregard to life.
It was anarchy in a part of roads. The students opposed that anarchy. It was dominance of lumpen culture and practice in a part of roads. The students opposed that part of the lumpen culture and practice. The students standing for life sent a powerful message to all concerned or to-be-concerned. They served society — a thankful job.
Total inconsideration to ordinary people is not new in profit-powered economy. There is no scope for the Bangladesh economy to go ‘awry’ of this path — ignore the interest of ordinary people.
Roads are one profit-friendly area in a profit-driven economy. The consequence: the people passing the paths — millions in number every day — pay price heavily. Profit-hungry roads turn cruel under the mastership of crudely-earned capital. All, an entire society — from tax payers to tax controllers, from petty traders to politicians, from day-labourer, private car driver and driver’s daughter of to film director, from pupil to policeman, from children to octogenarian — turn victims of this arrogance-filled neo-capital.
‘Lion’s share’ in the death-market on Bangladesh roads is of the ordinary people, and especially of the poor. A look into class composition of the deaths in road accidents shows the fact. Mostly, the dead in road accidents are low-earning members of society. The affected families are in the lower strata of society. Is it that the road deaths love the low-earning people?
And, strangely, it is the ordinary people who collectively pay the most part for the roads. It is the ordinary people who keep the wheels of profit running on the roads. It is the fact seen from any angle: whether from the angle of source of profit gathered from roads or from the angle of payments made by the public.
It is a strange ratio: death market on roads and payment for roads! The ordinary people are the biggest payers in terms of life and in terms of money. Or, they make payment with their money and they are paid back by their lives taken away. It seems the more the ordinary people pay with money the more they are paid back with death!
The stories of road deaths or deaths under wheels, in any way one likes to name the deaths, are known to all. Media reports are evidences. It has many descriptions: high speed, reckless driving, mechanical failure, damaged road, broken bridge railings, rules ignored, overburdened either with passengers or with goods, fatigued driver, inefficiency, lack of training, and a few more including role of organisations claiming to be unions. A deeper look will find wrong design, lax in enforcement, and super-greed — scoop most possible money within shortest possible time. A further look will find management problem. A further look will find disregard life.
Problem is not with the transport labour. Nor is the problem the owner. The same labour will behave in a different way, in a responsible way, in a considerate way in a different circumstance, in a different atmosphere. Labour is not anti-people. Nor it is killer-friendly. Labour has no contradiction with the student community, not with citizens. There is no reason to consider labour anti-student, anti-public. A labour-student contradiction only serves that part of capital, which is in an anarchic spree.
The same owner will behave in a different way in another situation. Owners go for money all over the world. But that does not mean that they are motivated to kill.
It is a circumstance — amalgamation of many factors — that creates a situation with particular tilt. A circumstance grows in strength and overwhelms all around. Road rage, to put it in a simple way, has, thus, grown brutal, taking lives, many lives, lives of ordinary people. It has taken an anarchic appearance.
Road rage is spread over, broadly, all around the country. A classification of the spread out problem will find — village paths tax lives least; lazy roads are lazy in driving death; the more the speed the more the death, the more the power the more the disregard. And, it is the poorer the weaker.
It is a mismatched reality with all disproportions: the poor, the powerful, the speedier, the disregard, the rules, the slack.
These are known to all. These are old observations. These are tiring narrations. These are clichés.
The anarchic situation does not help politicians. Neither does it help production. Ultimately, its the people that suffer, it is production that gets hampered. And, politicians face awkward situation with possibility of deterioration, a serious deterioration, which opens path to further play by others.
The new development is the student spirit — standing for life, defending life. It is anchored in the history of student activism in Bangladesh. The history begins from the days of colonised Bangladesh: Students riding revolutionary road to overthrow colonial rulers. The days under the Pakistan rule blazed with student activism. The independent Bangladesh also found that the student community is not short of activism and martyrs.
All these student activism conveyed messages. The messages were noticed by a group while ignored by another. Lost was the ignorant group.
Student organisations were the organisers in all student activism during the Pakistan period. The school students’ movement opposing a book — Pakistan, Desh O Krishti – in the post-1969 uprising days also had indirect or distant presence of student organisations.
The movement, generally identified as desh o krishti andolin (movement), was significant as it was opposing the ideology the state was formally trying to impose on young learners. The Pakistan state had to retreat. The book, prescribed for the secondary level, was withdrawn. A few months later, the Bengalis stood for their liberation through an armed struggle, which was widely joined in by students from middle and lower strata of society.
The Bangladesh students gained trust and love of the Bengali people through their years of activism since 1948. The activism centred, basically and broadly, on people’s interests. A part of this love and trust gathered rust resulting from a number of mal-activism or counter-activism — a loss for people’s interest, but a gain for anti-people camp.
The anti-road rage movement bared parts of a reality encompassing the state and people. There was the question of responsiveness of the students and the state machine and attitude of the people. The students’ response was instant. Parts of the state responded very quickly; and the response was positive. Hostility to each other was absent as the state machine was not standing opposed to the protesting students, unusual signals from both sides, which need to be deciphered.
A major question remains to be solved: the role of student organisations. The question carries within it a few more questions, answer to which will reflect the state of the overall and of different parts of student activism. Any observer will look into the outburst: its speed and extent, and the element powering it. Student organisations can take responsibility to stop all possibilities of deteriorating to anarchy. These organisations can stop play by provocateurs with some other agenda.
Anarchy will harm all — the people, production, political atmosphere and politicians. The move for safe roads will get harmed with anarchy. And the student spirit vibrant on Dhaka roads will lose face if anarchy sets in. The honour the protesting students from schools and colleges are gaining will get lost if anarchy steps in. So, that should not be allowed.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Fires within the Arctic Circle

All these news are alarming: ‘Sweden Wildfire: Blistering heatwave sparks fires within Arctic Circle as Europe boils’.
‘Two major forest fires raged out of control Monday on either side of Athens, killing at least 50 people, burning houses, prompting thousands of residents to flee and turning the sky over Athens a hazy orange from the smoke.’
‘At least 44 people have died across Japan as extreme heat waves continue to grip the east-Asia nation.’
‘Sweden faces “extreme” risk of even more wildfires’.
‘Denmark, southern Norway and northern Finland are experiencing extreme heat.’
Aircraft and helicopters were battling the forest fires near Athens.
‘Intense heat wave to build up across western Europe’.
‘Sweden heatwave: hottest July in (at least) 260 years’.
The further a reader goes through the news coming from Japan in the east to Sweden in the west the more concern creeps in:
What’s happening?
Is it the Arctic Circle? Is there any error in the reports?
Are the numbers of dead 44 in Japan and 50 in Greece? Is the info correct?
Media reports are almost unbelievable as none of these are coming from the ‘cursed’ south, the hemisphere that fails to provide its citizens with adequate arrangements for a safe life. Two of the countries in the cited news — Sweden and Japan — stand on a strong technological-industrial base, and spend a lot of money behind arms.
All the news cited say:
‘Wildfires are raging in Sweden gripped by the worst drought in 74 years. The fires have broken out across a wide range of territory north-west of the capital of Stockholm as the hot, dry summer continued to stir up the flames. A number of communities have been evacuated and tens of thousands of people have been warned to keep windows and vents closed to prevent smoke inhalation. Rail services have been disrupted.’
‘The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has called the recent fires the country’s most serious wildfire situation of modern times.’
‘The severity has caused the government to appeal for help from other countries. Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Poland have responded by sending water-spreading helicopters and planes, and emergency personnel. Carl XVI Gustaf, king of Sweden, in a statement said he was “worried” about the fires raging in 59 locations in Sweden.’
‘Sweden is experiencing an unprecedented drought and soaring temperatures which have reached the highest figures in more than a century. Other than a negligible 13 millimetres of rain in mid-June the country has not seen any rain since May. Farmers are struggling to feed their animals. The heat also arrived early.’
‘The lack of rain in Sweden is now so bad that the government is even considering state assistance for farmers struggling with the conditions.’
‘Dangerous heat will threaten millions of people across Europe this week with no lasting relief in sight.’
‘A heat wave is building up from Spain to Scandinavia.’
‘Locations that may have their highest temperatures of the year this week include Madrid, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Stockholm.’
ACCORDING to CNN, out of the 44 that have died since July 9, 11 lives were claimed on Saturday alone, with temperature remaining around the 38 degree Celsius mark in central Tokyo.
‘The temperature rose past 41 degrees Celsius in Kumagaya, the highest ever recorded temperature in Japan. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the temperatures recorded have been around 12 degrees higher than the average temperatures.’
‘GREECE is seeking assistance from the European Union to battle forest fires.’
‘A state of emergency has been declared in the eastern and western parts of greater Athens as fires raged through pine forests and seaside towns on either side of the Greek capital.’
‘The blaze has created such thick smoke that the main highways between the Peloponnese and the Greek mainland have been shut down.’
The real curse
CLIMATE crisis deniers will confidently claim: these are (1) mere accidents; (2) these are exceptional incidents due to weather pattern; and (3) these should not be cited as examples of anomaly in the climate system.
But, shall not the citizens in the countries experiencing unusual incidents in the nature search for answers to the fires within the Arctic Circles and sudden surge of death due to increased temperatures? Citizens in the ‘cursed’ South are concerned as they are experiencing unusual pattern in the nature, and their coping capacity is almost non-existent.
This reality is pushing many to search for the origin of the crisis in climate.
A few years ago, Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and adjunct professor of crop and soil science at Cornell University, and John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review and professor of sociology at the University of Oregon, discussed the issue in an essay — ‘What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism’.
They write:
‘For those concerned with the fate of the earth, the time has come to face facts: not simply the dire reality of climate change but also the pressing need for social-system change.’
To them, knowledge is essential for survival: ‘Knowledge of the nature and limits of capitalism, and the means of transcending it, has therefore become a matter of survival.’
On climate change, they write:
‘Climate change does not occur in a gradual, linear way, but is non-linear, with all sorts of amplifying feedbacks and tipping points. There are already clear indications of accelerating problems that lie ahead.’
Fred and Foster raised the issue of living standard:
‘[T]here are biospheric limits, and that the planet cannot support the close to 7 billion people already alive (nor, of course, the 9 billion projected for mid-century) at what is known as a Western, ‘middle class’ standard of living. […]
‘A global social system organized on the basis of “enough is little” is bound eventually to destroy all around it and itself as well.’
They raised the issue of economic system:
‘[M]ost of the critical environmental problems we have are either caused, or made much worse, by the workings of our economic system. Even such issues as population growth and technology are best viewed in terms of their relation to the socioeconomic organization of society. Environmental problems are not a result of human ignorance or innate greed. They do not arise because managers of individual large corporations or developers are morally deficient. Instead, we must look to the fundamental workings of the economic (and political/social) system for explanations. It is precisely the fact that ecological destruction is built into the inner nature and logic of our present system of production that makes it so difficult to solve.’
On solutions, they wrote:
‘“[S]olutions” proposed for environmental devastation, which would allow the current system of production and distribution to proceed unabated, are not real solutions. In fact, such “solutions” will make things worse because they give the false impression that the problems are on their way to being overcome when the reality is quite different. The overwhelming environmental problems facing the world and its people will not be effectively dealt with until we institute another way for humans to interact with nature — altering the way we make decisions on what and how much to produce. Our most necessary, most rational goals require that we take into account fulfilling basic human needs, and creating just and sustainable conditions on behalf of present and future generations (which also means being concerned about the preservation of other species).’
They concluded by proposing a system:
‘If there is to be any hope of significantly improving the conditions of the vast number of the world’s inhabitants — many of whom are living hopelessly under the most severe conditions — while also preserving the earth as a liveable planet, we need a system that constantly asks: “What about the people?” instead of “How much money can I make?” This is necessary, not only for humans, but for all the other species that share the planet with us and whose fortunes are intimately tied to ours.’
Current developments in the areas of temperatures and wildfires lead us to consider the ideas presented by Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster. The countries — Sweden and Japan — stand on capitalist system. Greece is another case — a capitalist country, a victim of capitalist plunder, a country whose population has been burdened with the load of capitalist anomalies, debt, bankers’ dictation and austerity. Sweden and Japan are part of the world imperialist system while Greece is entangled in the system. The three countries’ present situation shows their level of preparedness to face the climate crisis. With so much resource in their command, Japan and Sweden are failing to cope with the crisis. This is the system’s — capitalism’s — failure.
A closer look will find:
The amount of profit and the amount of money spent for research on weapons system development are larger than amount of money spent for research to face climate crisis.
Profit enriches a few while climate crisis affects all — millions and millions of people.
This situation leads to the question: Isn’t it the time to question the governing system — capitalism?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Facebook post on quota mobilisation

THERE is no reason to imagine that a single Facebook post usually carries possibilities of raising any question on the quota mobilization — students demanding reforms in quota system in government jobs, which with its long preparatory phase has been going on for weeks in Bangladesh.
But the Facebook post carries the possibility — questions and serious questions, meanings and serious meanings, implications and serious implications. The reasons: the Facebook post was from, as has been claimed in a number of media reports, the US embassy in Dhaka; and, the developments are in Bangladesh, the country passing through an important phase in its history of inter-state relations.
A New Age report by the daily’s diplomatic correspondent said: ‘The United States on Monday criticised attacks on peaceful demonstrations of university students and observed that such attacks were against founding principles of Bangladesh.
‘ “The outrageous attacks on peaceful demonstrations by university students, the future leaders of Bangladesh’s proud democracy, is counter to the founding principles upon which our countries are established”, the US embassy said in a statement published on its Facebook page.
‘The US government “stands together in solidarity with those exercising their fundamental democratic rights — freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and the right to engage in peaceful protest”, it said.’ (‘US expresses solidarity with peaceful student movement’, July 10, 2018, p 1, Dhaka)
The Asian Age, the Daily Ittefaq, and other Dhaka dailies, and, a Dhaka-based news portal, also carried report on the US embassy Facebook post.
The news portal said in an earlier report by its senior correspondent: ‘The Embassy of Germany in Dhaka has said that it has with “great concern” followed the “brutal attacks” on peaceful protesters during the last few days.
‘“Freedom of speech and freedom of opinion are constitutional rights of the citizens in this country’, it said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
‘“Attacks and repression aimed at denying these rights undermine the rule of law and run counter to the founding principles of Bangladesh”, it added.’ (, ‘German Embassy in Dhaka concerned over attacks on quota protesters’, July 5, 2018)
The Facebook posts, one type of voice in the sphere of public diplomacy, are related to an ongoing mobilisation by a part of society and the mobilization is related to greater society, public life, public policy and government. Consequently, political parties from different positions have got involved with varying extent or have expressed respective positions on the issue. The issue is stirring debate among at least a part, large or small, of society. The state machine has so far dealt and is dealing with the issue and the mobilisation in its way. The way of dealing is also an issue of debate.
There are the need and scope to continue with the debates on the issue and the way of dealing with the issue. Moreover, there are need and scope to express reaction to the issue and the way of dealing with the issue.
But the reactions or expressions of opinion of diplomatic missions add an element to the perspective of the entire development. The added element is vital. It is vital from the stand point of the mobilisation, from the stand point of the other related parties, and from the stand point of countries getting involved in their way.
There is no doubt that the countries’ reactions or expressions of opinion are a product of a deep observation, review of all related questions, assessment of an entire situation and all relations, and relating these to the concerned country’s policy, geopolitical strategy, etc.
Words, and even punctuation marks do not go without weighing in diplomacy. Style, mode and timing of expression do not go without examination and re-examination in diplomacy. The process begins prior to expressions and is continued with in its post-phase.
Similarly, other countries do not keep their eyes and ears closed to the expressions already made by others. In this Bangladesh case, it is normal that especially the Russian, Chinese, Indian, UK, EU and Pakistan press and other officers will take the expressions/reactions into notice. The Bangladesh offices concerned will also take into consideration the reactions/expressions.
At the same time, quarters in Bangladesh — political parties, student organisations, organisations concerned with and related to society and economy will review the reactions/expressions. This will help these organisations review respective positions, identify relations and characters related to the issue. Any or all of them have the liberty to look at the issue from a narrow angle or with a wider perspective, to have an isolated view or a view with all its connections.
Considering these aspects, it can be claimed that the Facebook posts have helped take away a few confusions, have helped identify a few positions, have provided an opportunity to review respective positions. Thence, in one way, these were like friends or teachers — positive or negative.
One can compare the reactions to other incidents, can relate these to other developments within society and outside the border of the country — in a few other capital cities. One can relate these to other diplomatic developments related to Bangladesh.
Even, one can compare these with incidents in other countries — adjacent, near or far away. The incidents may be similar or dissimilar. The countries may be Afghanistan or Syria, India or Venezuela, Pakistan or some other country.
If one likes, a look-back — leaf through related history — can be done. The history may be of this land — Bangladesh since August 14, 1947. This land witnessed many student movements. Most of those were democratic in all senses, not in a fake form. Most of the Bangladesh student movements were anti-imperialist; and they never cajoled imperialism; they never denied, discarded, satirised and humiliated sacrifices made for the country, for the people.
One can recall the students protesting imperialism’s Vietnam bombing —sorties and sorties of B-52s dropping Napalm Bombs, carpet bombing crop lands and communities in North Vietnam. Martyrs arose from that protest. Memories of those martyrs are alive to many, and have faded from some.
The Facebook posts thus carry many messages and signals much.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Marx in Bangladesh

MARX was not aloof in the Bangladesh socio-economic-ideological-political reality. Incessant class struggle in society along with development of ideas cropping up in the soil of class conflict was a home for Marx, the scientist-theoretician of the revolutionary proletariat. Society’s antagonistic classes compelled him to play a role in defining goals of society, of the exploited in society, which got manifested in the economic and political struggles the exploited were waging in society for decades.
Millions moved
THUS, Marx has made manifold impressions in post-mid-August 1947 and independent Bangladesh. It ranged from analysis of ideology, socio-economy and politics to theoretical formulations related to life around, from culture, arts and literature to people’s organisations, charter of demands and struggles.
Thus, Marx moved millions of disposed people as the philosopher-politician of the disposed suggested: philosophy is to be realised through politics. (Letter to Ruge, March 13, 1843) The act of making impressions continues. At times, it is explicit, and at times, it is implicit.
Over the decades, it was wide and wider, and never narrow or narrower as a tyro-description based on a few individuals depict. Sometimes, the entire society, other than a handful of exploiters, based its basic demand on the ideas and analysis of Marx as masses of the people in the land unequivocally stood for an exploitation-free society, as they made a clarion call for socialism, which made parts of dominating segments in society to inscribe socialism in its political document for class collaboration — the constitution. Even, the exploiters had no guts to oppose the demand at that moment.
Working classes
WITH irregular intervals, the entire working people in branches of industries stood for fair wages, better working condition and shorter working day; and the poor peasantry stood to claim its fair share of its produce and to get rid of interest-seeking capital in the formal and informal credit market. Marx defined those moments.
Labour’s demands, movements and organisations in Bangladesh were directly influenced by Marx. Indirect influence of Marx was wider. The same was in many moves by the poor peasantry. White collar employees went through similar experiences. Marx sharpened those actions.
Intellectuals’ sphere, cultural orbit, and student, youth, women and environmental activism in the country could not elude Marx’s influence in spirit and analysis.
None will claim that all of these activism/movements were completely influenced by Marx. But, parts, sometimes significant parts, and, on occasions, the determining/dominating parts carried spirit, ideas, analysis and politics of Marx.
Obviously, there were variations in extents in getting influenced by or carrying ideas of Marx, which depended on historical circumstances, class-power equation, level of development of people’s politics and organisation of classes. But Marx was always present, directly or indirectly, in these as class struggles sharpened at times.
A few scholars miss the history of the Bangladesh people, the people’s relations/antagonisms with the production-distribution system, and their yearning for decades — since mid-August 1947. The existing reality in post-mid-August 1947 Bangladesh experienced by the people led them to rise in revolt; and they found Marx as a pathfinder. At times, they rose in arms; and they were determining course of politics compelling some other parts of the society to move along.
Moments were there in Bangladesh that found complete absence of rightist, reactionary ideas and initiatives in the areas/initiatives of people’s struggle. At significant moments in the history of Bangladesh, the rightist, reactionary ideas and forces failed to influence the people. Those were moments of changes in class powers equation within the reality — a crossroad in the country’s politics. Marx geared up those moments.
The labour took bold initiatives at the peak of the 1969 mass uprising as it initiated gherao, encirclement of management authorities/owners of mills and factories in their industrial/office premises, and the capital had to bow down to those demands within a very short time. Those were unprecedented industrial actions. Marx was there in those industrial actions.
Significance of those grew as the labour that took those industrial actions was mostly young in the factory/manufacturing process, mostly first generation of industrial workers having ties to medieval and rural background with its ideological, cultural and political life. Much of that first generation labour also had connections to small landholdings and rural life with many feudal and semi-feudal practices and relations. Much of that labour also tried to purchase land for cultivation and homestead with the part of their wages that they could save. But, the age, connections and practices failed to restrain the labour from taking those heroic industrial actions, which, in essence and in appearance, challenged and trampled laws of the state protecting the owners of the industrial establishments. Those industrial actions showed existing property relations, not life, are violable, one of the lessons from Marx. Those were advanced ideas and political actions being practised in a society stifled by backward ideas and neocolonial rule.
Before to that gherao movement, the workers and white collar employees organised strikes in important branches of the economy and state, which included railways, postal and telegraph services, jute and other industries, and in banking sector. A few of those were country- (at that time the country Bangladesh, then identified as East Pakistan, was a province of Pakistan) and industry-wide. As a strike-breaking measure, the Pakistan state had to deploy army on occasions. A number of those industrial actions were of longer time-period with a historic appearance. The Bangladesh labour, white collar employees and students, not the national political leadership, were the first to stand against military rule. Many of the demands of those struggles were forged by Marx.
However, those moments lost their momentum, which was a very normal consequence in that perspective, the historical, social, economic, political, organisational reality. But, it was not a total eclipse; and, all messages were not lost. Experiences of struggles and politics educated the labour. Marx had a role in those lessons, struggles and politics.
In the national political life, Marx shaped many political demands of the people. However, none of these moved along a straight line, a wrong expectation a group of pundits nurture within their heart. Similarly, none of these were beyond the existing class power equations of the time, a fundamental factor those pundits invariably ignore with their genre of knowledge they stubbornly clutch. Consequently, all these imprints were not always having a complete Marxist, revolutionary proletarian character. That was a show of existing reality, which included position and power of classes involved with the actions.
None of the peasant movements in Bangladesh were organised by the crooked rightist, reactionary classes or any of its parts although, at times, it tried to mobilise part(s) of the peasantry — rich, middle and poor. All the peasant movements, from Sunamganj and Golapganj in the north-eastern Sylhet region to the Tanko movement in the northern Mymensingh region to Nachole in the western Rajshahi region in the early-post-mid-August 1947 Bangladesh were organised by the communists. The demands these movements raised and the rights it claimed were progressive, and anti-feudal in nature contributing to progressive march of the society. Marx assisted in formulating the demands and identifying the rights.
The state machine used its force to subdue the revolting people. People and the organisers had to pay with blood as the state machine stood in defence of the existing property relations. Jiban Sangram by Moni Singh, Nankaar Bidroha by Ajay Bhattacharja, and Bhasha Andolan O Tatkalin Rajniti and The Emergence of Bangladesh, Class Struggles in East Pakistan (two volumes covering 1947–58 and 1958–71) by Badruddin Umar, and similar works describe the struggles. Statement by Ila Mitra, a leader of the revolting Santals in Nachole — a description of torture with boiled, hot eggs, etc, inflicted on her — and the force employed on political prisoners in hunger strikes for weeks tell a story of brutality the state, exploiters’ ruling machine, practised.
One of the major political demands of the poor peasantry was abolition of zamindari, a feudal system with Bengal variety, without compensation. This demand was organised, among others, by the Communist Party; and the party, despite deviations, was trying to follow Marx.
The poor peasantry actively took part in the mass upsurge in 1969. Their haat hartaals, strikes in rural weekly market markets, were like flames in a seemingly bucolic background. The fires of protest by the rural masses resembled the days of the famous Tebhaga movement, the share croppers’ historic movement that engulfed wide parts of undivided Bengal.
Participation of the rural masses in the 1969 mass uprising was wider stretching the entire Bangladesh, and was basically political in nature as it lent its force to the movement’s major call for direct, universal franchise, and opposed the existing system of truncated representation. The rural masses routed out the rural political cohorts, crystallised in local government structures based on distorted representation, of the state. Marx stands for people’s representation in all levels of governance, for a people’s democracy.
These local operatives of the regime were mostly the rural rich with reactionary, rightist politics and ideology. The peasantry’s other demands were related to lessening of land tax burden, and abolishing of predatory credit system, profiteering and hoarding, all of which were operated by private capital. All these demands were political and progressive; and Marx unfurls the flag of progress.
Consequently, the rightist, reactionary political forces rotten to the core lost ground in the rural areas for the time being. As an upshot of this successful move by the peasantry, the state lost its rural ‘legs’ — the truncated local government system, which was controlled by those regressive political forces in the rural rung. That was a meaningful development in the people’s struggle for progress. The dominating part of those reverting socio-political forces lost its acceptability and credibility, which had an impact on the following political developments in Bangladesh including the people’s glorious war for liberation. Marx is always against regressive forces, which leads those forces to not turn misers in their act of condemning the proletarian revolutionary.
With dedicated work for years, bracing persecution including long prison terms, and making supreme sacrifice communists organised the poor peasantry. Maulana Bhashani, a left-leaning political leader with a mass following, also had a leading a role in rousing the poor peasantry. Dhaka dailies of the period as well as Unasattarer Gana Abhyutthan: Rashtra, Samaj, Rajniti (The mass uprising in 1969: state, society and politics) by Dr Lenin Azad present detailed description of the 1969 rural scene with peasant actions. Marx was for mobilising the masses, for masses on barricades.
Youth and culture
A MAJOR part of the students and youths got imbued with progressive ideas since mid-August 1947. It was a hard struggle. But, the ideas turned popular gradually, and the student and youth communities actively organised democratic movements. A part of this democratic movement was anti-imperialist. The democratic student movement continued to oppose imperialism. They popularised the slogan for socialism. Should one not find Marx there? A failure in that search is nothing but presenting self as a joker with a scholar’s identity.
Modern cultural movement was overwhelmingly progressive in Bangladesh. It opposed reactionary ideas, upheld progressive thoughts; and reached the masses, which was evident during the war for liberation the masses of people carried forward. The cultural movement played a substantial role in mobilising the people for initiating the war for liberation. Much of it talked about exploitation, told about the exploited. Marx is an unwavering warrior against exploitation.
Two politics
THE reality that generated the concerned organisations and movements was of exploitation, inequality, deprivation, and class conflict. The concerned organisations and movements were shaped and articulated by analysis and ideas of Marx: a society free from exploitation, a humane society, a society based on equity and equality, a society marching for termination of property relations that exploits all of human existence, a people’s democracy, a commoners’ voice in all spheres of life. These were evident in the programs, demands, literature, etc. of the concerned organisations spearheading the movements.
The ideas with the socio-political forces aiming progress challenged the ideology and concept of the state, and parts of the state’s political mechanisms existing at that moment. These reached a point of significance during the war of liberation, the period the people rejected the ideology the Pakistan state was upholding. The political program the leading faction of the society during the moment adopted reflected this development in the mass psyche.
In the entire scene, two politics, two cultures and two ideologies were in existence; and all of these emanated from the economy, which was based on exploitative property relations. One of the two politics, ideologies and cultures never questioned the exploitative property relations while the other consistently raised those questions, and challenged ideas and concepts related to the system of exploitation. The first was of the exploiters with coatings of confusion, lies and imagery figures while the other was of those questioning the exploiters in a point-blank way — identify exploitation with its modes, methods and tricks, name the source of inequality and profit, question rationality of the system. The politics questioning the exploiting system was led by the adherents of Marx. They based their position on the analysis, ideology and politics of Marx although they had differences in interpretation and implementation procedure of those.
Even, many mainstream political leaders very often/regularly premised their political position on the concepts of equality and exploitation-free society. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s many deliberations in the Pakistan constituent assembly based on those concepts. Those deliberations criticised huge property amassed by a few in the western part of Pakistan while described the striving Bengali poor failing to arrange burial shroud for their dead dears in the eastern part. Many rightists of the rightists profusely promised an exploitation-free society while they approached the people. None of them were Marxists. But they had to borrow from Marx as the people were yearning for equality, were aspiring to get rid of the yoke of exploitation. A number of rightist organisations had to float labor unions, obviously with rightist ideology and politics, and obviously escaping the question of exploitation. But those rightists had to rely on labor although the basic concepts of those rightist forces don’t accept the concept of conflicting classes. That was their game with a mirage. However, with their effort to organise the labour they failed to ignore the class question, which is a denial of their ideology. It is an act of self-denial. It is really impossible to make Marx vanish or to escape from the author of Capital, a book that stands for the exploited.
An essential antagonism
THE exponents of the exploited, Marx and his friend Engels, once wrote: ‘[T]here is an essential antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat’, and ‘bring the property question to the fore’. (The Communist Manifesto) The people’s politics in Bangladesh persistently tried to proceed along this line of class antagonism, and to raise the property question over the decades.
Any learned scholar obviously will fail in his adventure to find Marx in Bangladesh if the scholar begins counting the words ‘Marx’, ‘Lenin’, ‘Mao’ in political documents of left-leaning political parties/organisations, and draws conclusion of presence or absence of Marx on the basis of number of the words he counted in those documents. That type of wetting of brows will be a game, and a childish game, or a below-novice level of search/research/scholarship, or a futile exertion to present a broad issue with a narrow circumference. That type of learnedness neither understands Marx nor succeeds in looking into related history, ideology and politics the pro-people socio-political forces carried forward over the decades. It’s a distorted perception and practice producing a corrupt presentation, and a rookie-level of exercise with Marx. The more serious part of such sully effort is its belittling of the concerned people’s struggle, and ignoring many sacrifices the people have made over the decades — a dishonest, dirty job, no doubt.
Note: Observations/comments made in the article, supplementary to an earlier article — ‘Confusion in finding Marx in Bangladesh’ (New Age, Dhaka and, June 6, 2018; and Frontier, June 11, 2018, Kolkata) — are based on research findings by and news reports from the main and people’s streams, publicly accessible official documents, and other related literature.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Drug money and ambulance

IT IS a breeze through the Bangladesh economy. And, it tells a part of the economy.
A report in Dainik Ittefaq, a leading Bangla national daily from Dhaka, said: The number of persons addicted to Yaba, a sort of drug, is about 7.7 million in Bangladesh. They consume, on an average, two tablets a day. Each tablet is sold at Tk 300 ($1=approximately Tk 80). Thus, the total amount of the taka consumed daily in the form of Yaba is Tk 4.62 billion. (‘Dainik char sha bashatti koti takar yaba khachchhe ashaktara’ (Yaba-addicts are consuming Tk 4.62 billion daily), June 5, 2018, p 1) However, the report claims the actual number is higher than what is cited in the report.
Thus the total monthly and yearly amount of money on that account — Yaba consumption — stand as Tk ‘Something’ or a huge amount of money in terms of Bangladesh economy. The information tells a few aspects of the Bangladesh economy, society and politics although the political aspect tainted by class interests goes unidentified.
The drug money moves further as another report in the same daily newspaper said: About 50,000 drug addicts in Rupganj, now a suburb of the capital city of Dhaka, annually spend about Tk 1 billion on account of drug. The number of wholesale drug dealers is about 400 in the area; and their trade is operated by about 1,200 retailers. Drug trading is being done in 112 of the total 128 villages under the Roopganj upazila, an administrative unit. A part of younger generation is getting involved with the trade to have a huge quick money. (Should it be named huqumo? (‘Roopganje madak byabasayi panchash hajar, bachhare byay shata koti taka’, May 25, 2018, p 5)
On the next day, May 26, 2018, a report in the same daily newspaper said: Two ambulances with the public-owned Sadar Hospital of Rajbari were not operating for the past 15 days. The reason: the filling station supplying fuel to the medical vehicles has stopped the supply as the hospital authority owes about Tk 3.4 million to the station on account of fuel. The amount of the unpaid fuel bill has accrued over three years, from mid-2015 to mid-2018. Consequently, it is the public that suffer. Members of the public are to take service of privately operated ambulances, which charge higher than those public-owned ambulances. According to a driver of the ambulance, rate for each kilometre charged by the public-owned ambulance is Tk 10, and that stands as Tk 660 and Tk 4,400 for a service up to Faridpur Medical College Hospital and up to Dhaka Medical College Hospital respectively while the privately owned ambulances charge Tk 2,000 for the Faridpur and Tk 8,000 for Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Moreover, the privately owned ambulances are not equipped to carry patients with serious condition while the public-owned are better equipped. (‘Rajbari Sadar Haspatale ambulence seba bandha’, ‘Ambulance service is not available with the Rajbari Sadar Hospital’, p 13)
There are many similar stories. A random pick from or a purposive scanning of newspapers/media reports presents similar info related to money — money (mis)spent or money needed or ‘something else’. These range from rural roads, bridges and culverts to health care to educational institutions — all are spheres of public, the tax payers in the common category, which is the largest segment among the tax payers.
These — the infrastructures and institutions — are required by the ordinary persons — the people. Educational institutions catering to the rich face no problem. Those are problem-free. The usual movement pattern of the rich produces no problem for the wealthy segment of society.
Money dearth problem is usually linked to the areas linked to the lives of the poor. It is a clear bias of the problems — inclined to the poor as if the problems ‘love’ the poor. Even, the poor can be cursed as they ‘invite’ or ‘create’ the problems. These ‘sustain’ as long as money, to use the term in a loose fashion, accumulation process is not affected. Any wealthy person can claim: problems love the poor as the poor are themselves a problem. The wealthy person’s claim will be accepted as fact as that is the powerful voice.
But, serious issues are there even someone likes to ignore these ‘silly’ aspects — ‘problems’ poor partiality’ or the ‘poor’s problem partiality’. The issues are serious: from where the money or the problems come?
Drug luxury is one of the cases cited above; and the question is: who is creating the huge amount of money consumed in the form of drug? Is it a win-win situation — the consumer wins as wins the drug capital? Or, is the situation such that many within the rank and file of the parties related to the drug luxury — drug trading and consumption — are victims of predation? An affirmative answer to the latter question shall stand against the drug capital, part of the capital that dominates the economy.
Ultimately it is the owner of the capital invested in drug magic — huge, quick profit by trading types of substances. The payment — a huge amount of cash — is, ultimately, made by the entire society; and the money paid as price of drug is part of the surplus labour appropriated from labour in society. A part of this drug payment also comes from the money that the Bengali labourers send back home; and the money that the labourers send back home is part of necessary labour time — an essential for the labour’s survival. Thus the drug trading turns into a crueller character in capital’s ‘drama’ with drug and drudgery. It not only harms individuals and families, it also turns into a super-exploiter. (Other aspects of the trading like the money’s different roles, its contributions, etc are omitted in this lightly composed article.)
The rate of profit made by the part of the commercial capital invested in the drug trading is higher than the profit it could make in other areas of commerce and in manufacturing. This allures the part to the trade. Its power is perceptible as its pawns fall — a ‘supreme sacrifice’ for profit — while the aristocrat owners of the capital behind scene stay safe — a magic!
Therefore, on the basis of the three news reports, a breeze through a part of the Bangladesh economy, it appears as:
— The reports are not representative; but a part. Moreover, there is space to thrust questions into the info cited in the reports, which include source of the info.
— The info cited in the reports tell a part of the economy if these are not totally falsified; and the Bangladesh media or any other source has not yet questioned the info.
— It is a part of a market, where drug and healthcare services are traded, or of a number of markets, where private capital operates in drug market and in healthcare market, and the market is free — free market.
— These markets bring profit; a part of the profit from ambulance service and a part from drug-peddling; alluring parts of capital to these markets, which is an efficient performance of free market.
— It is safe for the part of the capital to operate in these markets as long as captains of the capital remain safe and pawns pay for the mishandling of the trade.
— An allocation of capital is there: a part of capital to the privately owned healthcare service and a part to the drug trading.
— It is a free market scene: move capital where the profit is higher; it does not matter whether or not society, especially the poor tax payers, suffers.
— Two spaces appear: one, the space owned by the public, the public-owned health care service; and the other, the private capital’s free ‘loitering’ – to anywhere to any trade to higher profit without taking into consideration the cost the entire society pays for greedy capital’s higher profit.
Now, the questions:
— Is it an efficient and rational allocation of capital in an economy, within which millions of working people are putting their labour power to have a better life?
— Is the way capital allocates parts of it safe for society and beneficial for the poor tax payers — the majority?
— How much public-owned space is there in comparison with private capital; and should the public accept it?
The questions deserve answers; and the public, in a bold political move, shall search for answers to the questions tomorrow.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The disinformation campaign on Venezuela

The disturbances created by the wealthy are part of the imperialists’ intervention plan in Venezuela. The disinformation campaign carried out by the mainstream media is a key component of that effort. So, no one should be surprised by the profusion of Orwellian statements and the incessant vilification of President Maduro in mainstream coverage of Venezuela.
Venezuela, it seems, is a riddle to the audiences of the mainstream media. Yet the riddle conceals a fact. A conflict between opposing interests is roaring in the country, and attempts to stoke that conflict are being intensified by the imperialist-interventionist quarter as the day for a vote on the proposed Constituent Assembly—July 30— nears.
Every day the mainstream media showers its viewers with news reports that are partial and biased. Here are some examples from the past several weeks:
  1. A Venezuelan diplomat to the UN has decided to break with the government and resigned. The diplomat called on President Nicolas Maduro to resign immediately.
  2. Recent protests have led to the deaths of more than 100 persons.
  3. Venezuela’s chief prosecutor has confirmed a second death in Thursday’s protests. The chief prosecutor said she was investigating the death.
  4. Maduro has decried the general strike called by the opposition a crude attempt to sabotage the country’s economy.
  5. Maduro has also denounced an opposition attack outside the offices of VTV, Venezuelan state TV.
  6. Opposition protesters and pro-government forces threw rocks at one another while the Venezuelan National Guard launched teargas and rubber bullets.
  7. Streets in opposition-friendly neighborhoods in eastern Caracas were almost entirely devoid of activity during the strike. Some businesses remained open in parts of the capital traditionally loyal to the ruling party but foot and vehicle traffic was significantly reduced.
  8. More than 7 million Venezuelans cast ballots in an opposition-led “consultation” on July 16. Nearly 700,000 of those votes came from Venezuelans abroad.
Other news
Yet there is a significant number of other news stories on Venezuela that the mainstream media chose not to report:
  1. Citing the Proletarian Agency of Information, a grassroots media group, on 20 July 2017 Venezuela Analysis reported: In the industrial city of Barquisimeto, many workers have made efforts to maintain production despite several cases of sabotage by business owners, administrators and protestors. In the case of DISICA, a private company that supplies state oil firm Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) with iron construction material, the workers “continue working and have not stopped operations.”
  2. The same news report said: State-owned Lacteos Los Andes, a diary company, has alleged that since early hours of the afternoon, they have been under attack by opposition groups armed with home-made mortars and Molotov cocktails. The groups “tried to set […] fire to an industrial gas tank.”
  3. Workers complained of delays caused by opposition barricades.
  4. Opposition mayors supported the strike.
  5. Working class neighborhoods have largely been unaffected by the strike.
  6. Maduro told VTV: “The 700 largest companies in the country are working at 100 percent of their capacity.”
  7. The government said: Almost all 2.8 million public employees including employees of PdVSA turned up to work. The PdVSA management said it was not affected by the strike. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim and Katrina Kozarek, “Venezuela Divided Over Opposition’s General Strike,” Venezuela Analysis, July 20, 2017.)
  8. Any change to the constitution by the proposed constituent assembly, once elected, will need to be put to a referendum.
  9. The death of Hector Anuel, a citizen, assaulted by opposition protesters in Anzoategui state. Anuel’s death sparked a social media outrage, after footage went viral that seemed to show his charred corpse being beaten by opposition protesters. According to news outlet La Tabla, Anuel was killed after being hit by a home-made mortar used by opposition protesters. The shot itself was allegedly caught on camera. Anuel was burned, before being pummelled with stones and other debris. In the footage alleged to show his death, Anuel appeared unarmed. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, “Venezuela Shocked by Graphic Footage of Alleged Mortar Killing,” Venezuela Analysis, July 19, 2017.)
  10. The Bolivarian government made no attempt to stop the opposition-organized “vote taking” even though it had no legal standing (and, therefore, was no more than a circus). Initially, the show was described as a “referendum” and a “plebiscite”. It had the logistical support of the National Assembly, the regional governors and opposition mayors. The propertied classes and imperialist camp also extended full support to the so-called referendum, which should be seen as part of attempts to organize a parallel government. Five rightist former presidents from Latin American countries were allowed to observe the proceedings. They made fiery speeches demanding Maduro’s exit. All these leaders are entangled in corruption cases, and they have not hesitated to use repressive power against workers and peasants in their respective countries. (Jorge Martin, “Venezuela: July 16 opposition ‘consultation’ countered by a Chavista show of strength,” In Defense of Marxism, July 20, 2017)
  11. The opposition-organized show mobilized a large number of people. However, long queues at “polling stations” in some areas of the capital city were due to a small number of “polling stations.” For example, in Catia, there was one polling station for 90,000 people. Moreover, the opposition leaders have admitted: people could vote more than once. There is already a video showing a person voting three times in one hour in the right-wing stronghold of Chacao. Furthermore, at the end of the day, they burnt the ballots and the registers, which demolishes all scopes to check the opposition announced result. This is the political force, “which has been accusing the Bolivarian revolution of election fraud for the last 15 years!” (ibid.)
  12. There was an official dry run of the proposed Constituent Assembly (CA) elections—a presence of Chavismo’s strength—on the same day the so-called referendum was organized by the opposition. The dry run of the Constituent Assembly vote had a very high turnout, as evidenced by long queues in front of official National Electoral Council polling stations throughout the country. Even in big cities, where opposition support is greatest, long queues were common. Local councils of a number of these cities are controlled by the opposition. In many neighborhoods the queues were so long that the polling stations had to keep open until 8pm (four hours later than the scheduled time). There was even significant voter presence in Petare parish, which supported the opposition in recent elections. In Merida, many people waited in queues for hours and finally had to return home without participating in the dry run. (ibid.)
  13. In a poll by Hinterlaces of over 1,500 Venezuelans the majority said they support a socialist economy, with the caveat that state-run enterprises need to improve their efficiency. The poll asked participants if “the best thing for Venezuela is a socialist economic model of production, where various forms of private property exist.” Three out of four Venezuelans agreed with this statement and only 1 percent was unsure. The results were released in a speech by Oscar Schemel (a pollster with Hinterlaces) to local business leaders in Caracas. Schemel said data shows Venezuelans want a socialist state with private investment and a “mixed economy.”: “61 percent of the population affirms that the economy must be led by the state, 86 percent think that the government should promote private investment, 78 percent consider that the government’s dialogue with businesspeople is more important than with the opposition, and 63 percent distrust the opposition.” While the majority of Venezuelans said they support socialism, 63 percent of the respondents said the government needs to become “more productive and efficient”, 32 percent said the current model should “change”, 74 percent said they would oppose any proposal to privatize PdVSA. When asked whether the electricity grid should be privatized, 67 percent opposed the suggestion while 69 percent opposed suggestion for privatizing state telecommunications giant CANTV. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, “POLL: 75% of Venezuelans support socialism, 63% distrust opposition,MR Online, July 23, 2017)
The mainstream media has failed to cover nearly all of these stories; when they have, the message has been distorted to fit the viewpoint of the US ruling class.
Since the mainstream media incessantly flaunts its “objectivity” we can reasonably ask: how objective has their reporting been on deaths and killings over the last four months? Is there any mention of opposition-induced violence? Any reasonable assessment would conclude that opposition has played little, if any role, other than to protest; whereas most, if not all, have been murdered by Maduro and his security machine.
So far, the opposition organized unrest has left 105 persons dead (date last updated: July 18). There is confusion over the causes of and parties responsible for these deaths. An in-depth account by Venezuela Analysis (“In detail: The deaths so far”, July 11, 2017) showed the following:
Deaths caused by authorities: 13
Direct victims of opposition political violence: 20
Deaths indirectly linked to opposition barricades: 8
Deaths still unaccounted for/disputed: 44
Accidental deaths: 3
Persons dead during lootings: 14
Deaths attributed to pro-government civilians: 2
The mainstream media not only avoid giving any such breakdown, they completely ignore who murdered whom. They also ignore other pertinent details about the opposition protests:
  1. Any details on the tactics most commonly used in opposition demonstrations.
  2. How opposition protestors target day-to-day civilian activities and attempt to create a sense of terror.
  3. Any investigation into the class affiliation of participants in opposition demonstrations.
  4. The extent to which vandalism, arson, bombings are used; or the routine targeting of public institutions (such as clinics).
  5. The assassination of Chavista supporters.
Any honest coverage would compel one to ask: are these opposition “crusaders” genuinely interested in “democracy,” or do they simply want the right to plunder and terrorize until they get their way by force? We simply cannot rely on the mainstream media to provide any insight into such pertinent questions.
Voting mathematics
The voting tabulations given by the mainstream media more often than not conform to the viewpoint of the Venezuelan opposition leaders and their supporters. A look into their very own figures on voting in the much touted “consultation” (or “referendum”) is a sterling example. Following are a few key points:
  1. The opposition has stated that they had 2,000 polling stations and a total of 14,000 polling booths, which remained open for 9 hours, from 7am until 4pm. A few of stations remained opened later, but most closed much earlier. They report a total of 7,186,170 votes. When we divide that figure by 14,000 booths over 9 hours we get rough estimate of 57 votes per hour per booth. In other words, just over 1 vote every minute in each and every one of the polling booths: 9 hours straight! In one minute and five seconds every voter had to go to the table, show identification documents, have their details written down in the electoral register, receive a paper ballot, go into the booth and fill out the ballot, fold it and put it into the ballot box. Surely a “believable” estimate, commented Jorge Martin: “massive achievement for the opposition, one which breaks all election records and a few laws of physics”! (“Venezuela: July 16 opposition ‘consultation’ countered by a Chavista show of strength”, In Defence of Marxism, July 20, 2017)
  2. In Spain, there are 63,000 Venezuelans, according to the census taken on January 2017. Of these 9,000 are below the voting age, leaving 54,000. The opposition claims that 91,981 participated in the consultation. Now, there may be some discrepancies between the census and the real figures, but is it reasonable to accept that there are 38,000 more people than are actually registered officially? Are we not justified to doubt these figures?
  3. The opposition officially declared that 7,186,170 people had participated. Let’s assume that the figure is true. That would fall short of the 14 million they themselves had announced would take part, just days before July 16, and also short of the more conservative figure announced by Capriles as a litmus test for the day. The opposition also announced that “with this result Maduro would have lost a recall referendum.” This refers to the Constitution, which states that for a recall referendum to be binding on the sitting president, more people would have to vote for his recall than he actually won in the election. Unfortunately for the opposition, Maduro was elected with 7,587,579 votes in 2013, and thus would not have been recalled. More confusing yet, the figure they apparently plucked out of thin air are less even than the opposition candidate won in that presidential election, which was 7,363,980. (ibid.)
As one might expect, the mainstream media have totally misrepresented the news of the official dry run process of the Constituent Assembly, most claiming poor voter turnout. The Spanish El País informed its readers that in Caracas there was “little influx to some polling stations […]” where a few “looked empty.” Yet the four photographs published by El Pais were of very long Chavista queues, with a false caption saying the cues were of Chavistas going “to participate in the opposition consultation”! (ibid.)
Interventionist propaganda
The upper classes of Venezuela are trying to regain their lost fiefdom. The program of violence they are implementing, which has rocked Venezuela since April 4, 2017, is part of that effort.
Venezuelan bonds have crashed as result of the sustained unrest, with five-year debt yielding 36 per cent. Economic problems and corruption are wearing down the Bolivarian revolution’s social base; as leaders are forced into a policy of class conciliation, revolutionary mobilization are weakened; and, thus, creating conditions favorable to the upper classes. The disturbances the wealthy elite are creating is part of the imperialists’ intervention plan in Venezuela. The disinformation campaign carried out by the mainstream media is a key component of that effort. So, we should not be surprised by the profusion of Orwellian statements and the incessant vilification of Maduro, in mainstream coverage of Venezuela:
  • “The proposed Constituent Assembly would disenfranchise millions of Venezuelans.”
  • “If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the US will take strong and swift economic actions.”
  • Mercosur has asked Maduro to suspend his plan to rewrite the country’s constitution.
  • A group of US lawmakers has warned of a new Cuba as Venezuela is trying to transform the country to serve its own people. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said of Venezuela: “This is a dysfunctional narco-state.” Rubio also said: “How truly tragic would it be for […] one of the most democratic societies in the hemisphere to become Cuba.” Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey said: “We are talking about a nearly failed state in our own hemisphere.” Venezuela is a “nearly-failed”, “narco-state,” and yet is “one of the most democratic societies”?! Which statement to believe?
  • Maduro is just another Fidel. [Yes, they say this.] Cuban-American Republicans and Democrats agree: Maduro must be stopped.
  • Rubio brought the wife of Mr. Leopoldo López, one of Venezuela’s opposition leaders, to the White House in February.
The US would obviously prefer to restore its allies to the throne in Venezuela so that they can go on plundering the country; so that surplus labor of the toiling people of Venezuela can be appropriated.
It might be argued that while most of the facts presented above are objective, some are biased. But that would miss the point, which is the wildly divergent narrative presented by the mainstream media. The interests of capitalists and imperialists are stated and restated incessantly; while those of millions of people of Venezuela are downplayed, distorted or ignored.
We cannot remain silent. We must recognize that many other countries may face (or are already facing) the same situation. Would an imperialist state allow some other state to decide/define:
  1. The imperialist state’s constitution?
  2. Who runs the imperialist state or who should be the president?
  3. Its domestic politics?
  4. Type of constitution, form of democracy and form of government?
Shouldn’t people of a country be allowed to decide the issues? These questions must be answered by those who support or downplay imperialist intervention in Venezuela and elsewhere.
No intervention should go unchallenged, whether in Venezuela or elsewhere. Piercing the edifice of mainstream media manipulation is a key part of exposing imperialist intervention, not least because it contributes to the political education of those fighting similar battles, leading to more effective organization and resistance.
This article was originally posted in MR Online on 25 July 2017.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bangladesh Liberation War Exposed A Neocolonial State’s Failure

With flawed political process, mismanagement of contradictions in body-society-polity, failures in political arrangement, incapability in handling of aspirations ingrained within the society, limitations in socio-political farsightedness of the dominating part of the society and failures in making compromises with emerging reality the dominating elites in pre-1971-Pakistan exposed its historical limits in its domain. It was a failure of the neocolonial state as well as of the imperialist power that stood by it as its guarantor and savior. The Bangladesh people’s War for Liberation in 1971 exposed the failure, a significant development in the people’s stride onward.
Pakistan, the moth-eaten country as was reportedly described by its leader M A Jinnah, was always in a precarious position since it was organized in 1947. “Pakistan has never been a country where the institutions might be stronger than personalities. The country has generally done well under authoritarian rule”. (British Ambassador in Islamabad to Secretary of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1973, Diplomatic Report No. 392/73, August 16, FCO 37/1334, The National Archives, London, cited in Mahboob Hussain, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Pakistan Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, “Parliament in Pakistan 1971-77 and Chief Executive: An Analysis of Institutional Autonomy”, Journal of Political Studies, vol. 20, Issue - 1, 2013)
The state’s deep rooted problem is evident in the following finding and the question:
“Pakistan has been in existence for more than four decades, yet has still not […] resolved the question of its nationhood. Does Pakistan’s national identity depend on Islam, the common faith of the majority of its citizens? [….] The country’s foreign policy files contain evidence of a seemingly unending debate about the nature of Pakistan state.” (Mehtab Ali Shah, The Foreign Policy of Pakistan: Ethnic Impacts on Diplomacy, 1971-1994, I B Tauris, London, New York, 1997) Mehtab Ali Shah cites “the contradiction that exists between the country’s official status as an ‘Islamic’ nation state, on the one hand, and the reality of its existence as a multi-ethnic society […] on the other.” (ibid.)
The state dived into more perilous position in 1971. Quoting Robert LaPorte’s “Pakistan in 1971: The Disintegration of a Nation” (Asian Survey, vol. 12, no.2, February, 1972) and other Syeda Sara Abbas writes: “Pakistan was a country without a viable government, money, international policy or a constitution […] (“Deliberative Oratory in the Darkest Hour: Style Analysis of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Statement at the Security Council”, Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, 2011) The state “survived” on “fatal links”, and the “fatal links” or the “linkages of failure” are told by Tariq Ali in his Can Pakistan Survive? The Death of a State (1983) and by Ayesha Jalal in her The State of Martial Rule (1991). Both of them cite linkage to, among others, the US imperialism. Like a business organization, the state at least once, had a CEO – Chief Executive Officer, a show of the state of the state’s nefarious political arrangement and compulsion, which many of the state’s 1971-mainstream politicians failed to perceive, which itself was a weakness in its system of observation, analysis and theory related to politics, especially the state.
The last act began on March 25, 1971, and the act concluded on December 16, 1971, the day Bangladesh people formally achieved victory by waging an armed struggle. A retired brigadier writes:
“On March 25, 1971, Gen Yahya Khan ordered the army to restore the writ of the state in East Pakistan [today’s independent Bangladesh]. On Dec 16, 1971, East Pakistan was no more.
“That afternoon [of December 16, 1971] in Dhaka, the Pakistan Army lost its honour […] when Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi (Tiger) and his Eastern Command surrendered […] — honour that can be regained only on the battlefield. Until then, the ignominious defeat will continue to haunt the armed forces and succeeding generations in Pakistan.
“After he [Yahya Khan] chose to solve a political problem by military means [….] East Pakistan, as it stood on Dec 3, 1971, was ready to fall like a ripe plum.” (Dawn, December 3, 2009, “Blunders of the 1971 war”)
The military officer admits: “[T]he people there [in erstwhile East Pakistan, today’s independent Bangladesh] had risen in rebellion against the Pakistani state.” (ibid.)
“In 1971 Pakistan suffered a near death experience: genocide, civil war, migration and territorial reconfiguration.” (Syeda Sara Abbas, op. cit.) US Senator Fred R Harris cited a March 31, 1971 datelined report from The New York Times while urging the US government to “immediately end all military and economic assistance to Pakistan” in his letter to William P Rogers, the US secretary of state: “Pakistani soldiers have been dragging political leaders in East Pakistan into the streets where they are summarily shot. […E]xecution squads led by informers are systematically tracking down and killing East Pakistani intellectual leaders so that the people of that region will forever remain without a voice.” (US Senate, Committee on Government Operations, April 1, 1971) Congress member Halpern said in his statement: “thousands of people are being killed”. (Congressional Record House, “The need to clarify the Pakistani situation”, April 7, 1971, H 2524) US Senators Walter F Mondale, Edward W Brook, Mark O Hatfield and Edmund S Muskie in their letter to William P Rogers mentioned “bloodshed in East Pakistan” and “indiscriminate killing of unarmed civilians”. Senator Kennedy’s comments in early-April are much known: “It is a story of indiscriminate killing, the execution of dissident political leaders and students, and thousands of civilians suffering and dying every hour. It is a story of dislocation and loss of home. It is a story of little food and water.” With the situation the Pakistan state created in Bangladesh since March 1971 the state was engaged in its last act of delegitimizing itself as it was conducting genocide in a part of the country while waging a war against the majority of the population under its control as the majority of the people yearned for justice and equity.
The state found no tools and mechanism for controlling and cowing down the majority of the population other than carrying on the genocide, which was a stark show of the state’s limits in the capacity to rule. The state of business in 1971 in the Pakistan-statecraft was an example of a neocolonial state’s failure; and the genocide and the war against the people was no exception in the imperialist-neocolonial system. The genocide took away the state’s all claims to rule, and denuded its barbaric character. The war the state was waging against the majority of the population under its dominance “was intricate in nature as it involved gross human rights violations [….The] murder, rape and arson were severe enough to deem it an international crisis. (Syeda Sara Abbas, op. cit.) Ishaan Tahroor referred Sydney Schanberg, an eye witness and reporter, who termed it a pogrom, and cited the rape of 400,000. (Tharoor, “Keeping Dhaka’s Ghosts Alive”, Time, September 24, 2008)
Failure of the Pakistan state began since it was organized. “Political and economic mishandling of the East Pakistan by the former West Pakistan caused deep dissatisfaction and growth of nationalist feeling among the almost entirely Bengali population, regarded as inferior by most of West Wing’s Punjabis who were the majority of administrators. […] Unrest in the East was suppressed in a brutal pogrom by the army”. (Brian Cloughley, War, Coups and Terror, Pakistan’s army in years of turmoil, Pen & Sword Military, Pen & Sword Books Limited, South Yorkshire, Great Britain, 2008) Taha Siddiqui refers to a retired major of the Pakistan army, who fought in East Pakistan in 1971. The army officer “claims the cracks in the system had started to show long before 1971” (The Express Tribune, December 16, 1971, “Remembering 1971: A retired major tells the story he’d rather forget”) “The retired major, who is a third generation military officer, says that when he was young, he used to visit his father who was also posted in Chittagong, Bangladesh. ‘The civil service, military and other high ranking government positions were all occupied by West Pakistanis, who considered Bengalis an inferior race,’ he says. Many times he saw Bengalis openly humiliated and treated like ‘untouchables’.” (ibid.)
The failure culminated in 1971 while the Baangaalee people rose in revolt against injustice, deprivation, killing, violation of honor of its women, arson and loot.
Political crisis that the state was nourishing within its head began taking acute shape since the overthrow of dictator Ayub Khan in a mass upsurge that reached its peak in 1969. A general election based on universal adult franchise was held in the later part of 1970. The days going to the election and the election results signaled the forthcoming conflict, and failure of a faction of the dominating elites of the state and success of the Baangaalees, the majority of the population, in their political fight. The following finding is only an example picked up randomly from among many:
“Between May and December 1970 the Jama‘at campaigned frantically. Competition with the Awami League and clashes with Bhashani’s supporters escalated tensions in East Pakistan and Punjab, and clashes with the People’s Party tied down the Jama‘at in West Pakistan. […] Despite untiring efforts, it won only four of the 151 National Assembly seats which it contested, all in West Pakistan [now, Pakistan], and only four of the 331 provincial assembly seats it had aimed for, one in each province except Baluchistan […] It trailed far behind the Awami League and the People’s Party […] and to its dismay and embarrassment finished behind the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam and Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan. The Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam even gained enough seats to serve as a partner to the National Awami Party […] in forming provincial governments in Baluchistan and North-West Frontier Province. To the Jama‘at’s surprise the two ulama parties did better than the Jama‘at, although they had contested fewer seats and received a lower percentage of votes cast. […] Where the Jama‘at had won only four seats (and none in East Pakistan), […] the ulama parties had won seven seats each. […] In contrast with the Jama‘at’s four provincial seats, the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Islam had won nine and the Jami‘at-i Ulama-i Pakistan eleven. The Jama‘at’s 6.03 percent of the votes cast in National Assembly elections had yielded only 1.3 percent of the seats, and its 3.25 percent share of the vote in provincial elections a mere 0.67 percent of the seats. […T]he Islamic parties taken together did poorly in both parts of Pakistan. This limited the political power of Islam and further constricted the Jama‘at. […] The election results dealt a severe blow to the morale of Jama‘at members. Mawdudi’s leadership was questioned, as was the party’s time-honored reliance on Islamic symbols and the putative Islamic loyalties of Pakistanis. The election results, moreover, effectively eliminated the Jama‘at as a power broker.” (Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jama'at-i Islami of Pakistan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994, “7. The Secular State, 1958–1971”, The elections of 1970 and their aftermath) Almost similar pattern was experienced by other rightist political parties including Muslim League, the party that claimed spearheading the political moves for the establishment of Pakistan.
Moreover, the Pakistan state found the ideological and theoretical basis of its existence was lost in the political fight as Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr writes “[t]he inability of Islam to keep the two halves of the country united”. (ibid. “8. The Bhutto Years, 1971–1977”) The developments of contradictions, and deepening of failures led to further developments or complication of contradictions as Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr describes in the following way:
“Driven by its dedication to Pakistan’s unity and unable to counter the challenge of the Awami League, the Jama‘at abandoned its role as intermediary and formed an unholy alliance with the Pakistan army, which had been sent to Dhaka to crush the Bengali nationalists. After a meeting with General Tikka Khan, the head of the army in East Pakistan, in April 1971, Ghulam A‘zam, the amir of East Pakistan, gave full support to the army’s actions against ‘enemies of Islam.’ Meanwhile, a group of Jama‘at members went to Europe to explain Pakistan’s cause and defend what the army was doing in East Pakistan; another group was sent to the Arab world, where the Jama‘at drew upon its considerable influence to gain support. In September 1971 the alliance between the Jama‘at and the army was made official when four members of the Jama‘at-i Islami of East Pakistan joined the military government of the province. Both sides saw gains to be made from their alliance. The army would receive religious sanction for its increasingly brutal campaign, and the Jama‘at would gain prominence. Its position was, in good measure, the result of decisions made by the Jama‘at-i Islami of East Pakistan, then led by Ghulam A‘zam and Khurram Jah Murad. This branch of the Jama‘at, faced with annihilation, was thoroughly radicalized, and acted with increasing independence in doing the bidding of the military regime in Dhaka. The Lahore secretariat often merely approved the lead taken by the Jama‘at and the IJT [Islami Jami‘at-i Tulabah] in Dhaka. Nowhere was this development more evident than in the IJT’s contribution to the ill-fated al-Badr and al-Shams counterinsurgency operations.” (ibid. “7. The Secular State, 1958–1971”, The elections of 1970 and their aftermath)
The reality the neocolonial state was facing surfaced forcefully, and concerned quarters were looking at roots of the reality. Citing ‘Abdu’l-Ghani Faruqi’s “Hayat-i Javidan,” (HRZ, 31) Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr mentions one of those searches:
“Since the beginning of the East Pakistan crisis, Mawdudi had claimed that the problem before the country was the product of lackluster adherence to Islam. He in fact blamed the loss of East Pakistan on Yahya Khan’s womanizing and drinking. The IJT echoed Mawdudi’s sentiments: its answer to ‘What broke up the country?’ was ‘wine’ (sharab). Some in the army apparently agreed.” (op. cit., “8. The Bhutto Years, 1971–1977”)
On the basis of an interview with lawyer S. M. Zafar Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr cites another similar evidence:
“In 1972–1973, the military high command uncovered a conspiracy […] hatched by a group junior officers, led by Brigadier F. B. ‘Ali [….] S. M. Zafar, who defended the officers in court, recollects that they believed East Pakistan had been lost because of the government’s “un-Islamic” ways and Yahya Khan’s drinking in particular.” (ibid.)
Answers to the questions cropping up from the circumstances the neocolonial state faced, thus, are abounding. But don’t the answers also create further questions for further inquiry? As, for example, picking out a few from many questions: (1) Why institutions are not stronger than personalities? (2) Is it factual that the country generally does well under authoritarian rule and, if the claim is factual, what’s the reason? (3) Why the state failed to solve the question of nationhood? (4) Why the country was without a viable government, a constitution, etc.? (5) Why the state’s official status faced contradiction? (6) Why a state failed to resist a sharab addicted womanizer in usurping the helm of the state? (7) Is sharab more powerful than political process or when does sharab turns more powerful than political process? (8) Does a person or a group of persons determine fate of a state? (9) Is the state defensible if sharab turns more powerful than political process? (10) Are these the real questions? The questions turn more complicated if one looks at the political fight within and around the state machine that was going around since April 1971, the reactions among a part of its allies, and the genocide the state was carrying on. Positions of Z A Bhutto/Pakistan People’s Party, and its competitors during those days help find the reality of political jockeying that the state was experiencing. Statements of Z A Bhutto, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, Nawabjada Nasrullah Khan, Maulana Golam Gaus Hazarvi, Maulana Mufti Mahmud, Chowdhury Rahmate Elahi and other political leaders show their understanding of the situation and factional fight within the political system while the system was facing one of its most critical hours. The banning of all groups of National Awami Party and the cancellation of national awards of 32 high ranking civilian officers in 1971 are a few more evidences of the state’s vulnerabilities. There are more evidences. Even failure of a part of mainstream political leadership related to the state to foresee the coming events or the path of political developments or the destined path of the state is an important question, which haunts political scientists and politicians. The complications thicken if the scene is compared with other neocolonial states. The complication deepens if the reality or the questions are related to the Baangaalee people’s armed struggle for liberation and its victory. It was a people’s interaction/contradiction with a neocolonial state, and their way to carry forward the contradiction with the aim of liberation. Throughout the entire course of incidents/development the Baangaalee people appeared as the hero of history, which was blindly ignored by a part of the mainstream politics of those days although this principal character of history – the Baangaalee people – shaped political destiny of many. Actions by the people were impacting not only destiny of their land, but politics of other countries, Cold War days-super power relationships, etc. also. It was a unique moment in the life of the Bangladesh people. There were dynamics, equations, momentum, relations, speed and velocity. Hence, for furthering people’s political participation/activism, and for learning, the issue demands study.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


EDUCATION market in Bangladesh deserves ‘thanks’ for its exhibition of a part of its power with anomaly and tyranny. The market does not care about common benefits. It moves and it demolishes dignity of teachers and dream of young learners. It laughs in the face of the powerless, the citizens without money power.
Two recent incidents in the Bangladesh education area is a show of the relevant market: the issue of the university teachers’ dignity and the recently concluded admission tests for medical and dental colleges. With this show, it exposes the fact that market does not favour the weak, the underprivileged, the people without purchasing capacity.   Bangladesh university teachers are demanding dignity. To have dignity in this society, it seems, one has to demand in a loud voice; otherwise, the question of dignity goes ignored. It is a show of real economy with its power of dominance. The dominance is such that it does not recognise the dignity of teachers; teachers are to demand it; they are to demand it repeatedly. The dominance unveils its sense of dignity.
The economy is so efficient and powerful that it feels confident with its way of bestowing dignity proportionately or without proportion on different parts of the broader society. The economy is so arrogant with its dominance that it can ignore the question of the dignity of teachers. It is its face. It does not care about the dignity of others. It cares about its dominance. It cares about its dominance in a foolish way.
It does not know that Alexander reproached the members of his suite as those ugly devils began to make fun with the philosopher Diogenes, and then, Alexander said: ‘If I were not Alexander, I would wish to be Diogenes.’ Alexander had not only muscle power. There was brain power also.
On the contrary, the dominance, it seems, relies on muscle power. It is a power to dominate the weak, the silent. And, it is a power of the weak. Hence, seemingly scholarly opinions shamelessly search and fail to find ‘bargaining chip’ of the Bangladesh university teachers as the teachers raised their voice for dignity and the opinion was entertained by a few others including media outlet considered respectable.
It is a show of scholarship on which the dominance depends. It can move with this level of knowledge. It does not need other level of knowledge.
Economy in England required an appropriate level of the knowledge of science, philosophy, history, politics, technology for its own sake as it was extracting resources from beneath the earth, transporting goods in huge quantities, encroaching on land, pushing out peasants from land, enslaving thousands in industrial centres, securing interests tied to the resources. Appropriate philosophy and literature cropped up. France had, broadly, the same history: Requirements in economy generated appropriate scholarship, logic, arguments. Hence, there is Rousseau, there is Robespierre. Material production demanded the scholarship.
There were social requirements. These pushed forward science and technology. Science was turned into productive force. There was class struggle. This, at times, turned direct, fierce, powerful. These advanced knowledge. Ideas emerged and evolved. A few lost relevance while a few proved as essential. The complex process required knowledge as issues like rates of profit, accumulation, surplus value, and crisis and decline were encountered. The complex process required violence and restraint, law to protect property, and coercion to impose law. Market was playing its game with its level of scholarship.
Bangladesh finds an education market; not a small in size within Bangladesh reality. ‘Money’ involved in note book/guide book business is a small part of the market. Its business connection is wide.
 ‘Money’ involved in note book/guide book business is a small part of the market. Its business connection is wide.
‘Money’ involved in note book/guide book business is a small part of the market. Its business connection is wide.
There are bigger organisations involved with the market encompassing an area from primary to higher education. It goes to collaboration with organisations from other countries. There are recruiting/admission centres, local centres delivering parts of course of centres claiming to be educational from other countries, regular events organised for admission in organisations claiming to be educational from other countries, diplomatic support to these marketing approaches.
There are private organisations that train children handwriting as if never in this land none learnt handwriting in primary schools. A few very costly and luxurious schools are emerging that are catering to a very minor group of the rich of the country. People claiming to be teachers are imported for these schools.
A lot of these go beyond public view and scrutiny. The issues of transparency and accountability in this area are daydreams. Even, a complete account of these is almost impossible to find out. Here, in this article, it is a very sketchy description of the business, which can produce a very long list.
At the same time, the Bangladesh journalists regularly digs out stories of ‘from zero to hero’ — a lorry driver or a petty thief active in a city market place turns millionaire without any investment within a few years, wields wide power based on connections, terrorises a population in an area, and amasses a huge property. A Dhaka gang of pickpockets regularly spent a few hundreds of thousands of takas for travelling to Saudi Arabia during the holy Hajj with the plan of pick-pocketing the honourable hajis, Hajj performers. The gang has recently been apprehended. It is an international pick-pocketing operation! The multi-level marketing scam is a repeated incident. The total amount of these scams over the years is huge in terms of Bangladesh economy. The stories of other loots — from nature, banks, public property, property of individuals from weaker parts of society, from consumers of public utilities, hardware and software projects — are much narrated as are the stories of speculation, black marketeering, smuggling. These are related to the stock market of Bangladesh variation, essential commodities, agro-products, valuable metals and drugs. Together they make a size to be ‘appreciated’. [Appropriation of surplus value is not considered here.]
What happens to these ‘monies’? What connections do these build up? What are the areas and organisations these ‘monies’ infiltrate? How these ‘monies’ behave? What senses do these ‘monies’ own? What influences do these ‘monies’ spread across organisations, masses and culture?
The way and the amount of the ‘generation’ of these ‘monies’ astonish many traders, many manufacturers, many service providers, and many industrialists in Bangladesh. It takes an ‘astonishing’ shape and character as these ‘monies’ metamorphoses and enters into the broader economy that includes manufacturing, processing, etc. Culture, institutions and politics in all areas of public life cannot stay beyond it. The required ideology is framed accordingly and appropriately. Formal and dominant education is part of the ideology.
The pattern, the character of dominance that thus gets shaped, gathers energy in market — a region of tyranny. Education cannot escape the forces in the market once it is brought to market for trading. Honour, dignity, merit, labour, all are traded and subordinated to the market where only profit dominates and profit belongs to the powerful. This finds the more the power, the higher the dignity; the more the ‘money’, the higher the honour; the more the ‘money’ power, the more the ‘merit’. The merit as an output of labour falls down on dust — it is pushed back as ‘money’ owners purchase meritorious positions. It is part of the market’s manipulation. Merit produced with ceaseless hard labour haplessly is thrown out of market as the ‘money’ ‘germinated’ through the process mentioned above does not require scientific knowledge for a time being, and at initial stage. It can carry on its business — loot, etc. — with the ‘merit’ without merit. Even, trading with seats of merit is a lucrative business for it.
A comparison makes it easy to comprehend the lucrative business: The time and effort required to introduce or to import a technology in agriculture, in garment factory, in market place, in public education area, and the time required for ‘innovation’ of transmitting answers in a recently held admission test and the device used for conducting the smart business. The device, as media reports cited an official concerned, is a hearing machine small enough to hide inside ear and it was imported. The official concerned is not that irresponsible that he will concoct a device gossip.
What is the price of the device? What is the total amount of money required for entering into the deal for admission — getting answers in an admission test for a slot in a medical or dental college. Getting such a slot is a young learner’s dream nourished for years? How many months’ labour of an ordinary wage earner is required for earning that amount of money required to enter into the deal for admission — Tk 6,00,000 to Tk 1.5 million? How many ordinary persons can afford that amount? Who can afford that? The takawala, the rich, can afford the amount of money. An ordinary wage earner of Bangladesh in a far away land toiling under hard working condition has to forgo a few months’, and for many, years’, wage or savings.
Two aspects emerge from the, let it name, device deal: (1) the poor, meritorious gets kicked out; and (2) the broader society has to bear the burden of corrupt, non-merit. On the one hand, inequality widens and consolidates; and on the other, society suffers and is going to be suffered. However, the rich, the corrupt, the powerful entering into the device deal reaps benefits. Thus, it stands as, a few money-powered benefits at the cost of many weak, poor citizens.
This biased reality, a corruption of reality, does not go for the dignity of teachers as the money power dominating the reality considers that money is dignity, power is dignity, everything is purchasable, merit does not matter. Goodwill and intervention of an individual leader or a group of leaders may redress the dignity issue as the aggrieved group raised the issue of indignity, but the reality of increasing inequality persists. It persists because of the character of the ‘money’ involved. With this persistence, the ‘money’ involved confirms its harmful role, and creates rational for making it irrelevant.
The students and guardians demanding redress of their grievances related to the admission test, thus, stand as part of discontent that the ‘money’ concerned creates. The discontent can be ignored temporarily but cannot be wiped out. Instead of getting wiped out, it will silently creep in and turn powerful until redressed properly. The placards that the students held during their recent protest near the National Press Club in Dhaka read: Jadi habe prashna fans, keno parba bara mas (Why shall I study round-the-year if the admission question paper is leaked), and Taka achhe bap-dadar, medical naki chorakarbar (Parents have money, probably the medical admission exam is a black marketeering). The slogans are a rejection of the money power that corrupts reality, increases and confirms irresponsible ‘money’s’ harmful role. It will impact deeply and negatively as young learners’ yearning for justice shall not go in vain.