August 27, 2012

Arup Rahee. Probe News, Monday, August 27, 2012, 12:09 am CST.

The future emerges from the womb of the past and the present. When I dream of the future Bangladesh, I see its past. I look at the recent history of the people. There is the Language Movement of 1952, the mass uprising of 1969, the Liberation War of 1971, then before all of that there was the struggle against colonial rule. Other than that, there have been many more struggles in our society — the Baul Fakir movement, the fight against class discrimination, and more. All these struggles have built Bangladesh as it stands today and how it will stand in the future. We lay our hopes in the struggle of the people; in where this struggle will lead the nation. Do we give this serious thought? We, the young generation of today, dream of a Bangladesh free of discrimination. We want a society where there will be harmony, love, empathy and friendship. That was the vision of the Liberation War. Unfortunately, over the past 40 years, this dream did not materialise. I envisage a Bangladesh where there is an openended space for democracy in the state system and in the society.

We speak of social change, of the failure of political leadership, However, what is this failure actually? I have to repeat, we built Bangladesh on a dream of democracy, but that democracy is yet to be established. Why are all the political parties and leadership failing in this regard? Actually, it all depends on their will. I believe that the democracy of a society depends on the democracy of the country’s economic structure. The more economic discrimination there is in a society, the more undemocratic it will be.

Take the United States for example, which is always in a state of emergency. Democracy there exists only for the rich. The poor do not enjoy democracy. It is alarming to see the number of voters falling steadily over there. As for the economic process through which Bangladesh is going, we are now at the primary stage. There is only an understanding among a handful of corrupt wealthy persons. They are opportunists who control the state. This socalled democracy is only for them. For the rest of the people, the rest of society, there is a kind of autocracy. I would term this an elected autocracy. In other words, we are the ones who vote in autocracy, we elect those who wield autocratic rule over us. The people are now understanding that this is not democracy. Democracy is the collective reflection of each person’s political, economic and cultural aspirations. This does not exist in the present political system or in the electoral system. However, I hope that even if not in the next five to ten years (I do not want to lay down a fixed time frame), but pretty soon the people will express their determination to be released from such a situation. This has already begun. If our ruling class who change their own economic status as agents of foreign companies, think this will give Bangladesh economic independence, they are mistaken. They will never bode well for our nation. The democracy prevailing in Bangladesh today is an imported democracy. Such forced democracy isn’t working here. The democracy which will be sustainable is the materialisation of the people’s expectations for which they have begun to strive.

Fed up with exploitation by the rulers over the past 40 years, the people are now looking into ways of true independence. The aspirations of the people must be taken into cognizance and then we can build a truly democratic Bangladesh. The day for true democracy in Bangladesh is not too far. I am truly optimistic in this regard. 

Arup Rahee. Probe News, Monday, August 27, 2012, 12:09 am CST.