Friday, December 09, 2005

Hasina ♥ Jamaat

Faisal Kader raised an interesting point on how the Jamaat could be banned, (Pls read the comments to “Happy to be stuck with you”

Faisal Bhai (and a few others who have said things which are similar to his more articulate writing): I actually do not think the Jamaat should be banned. One it would be undemocratic to disenfranchise any proportion of ones population. After all like it or not there are people who subscribe to their political ideology. The Nazi and the Communist Party I am told still have their US wings in operation!

Secondly by banning them we drive them underground and free them from needing to answer to the electoral. My own hunch is that will also allow the more radical elements of the Jamaat to take over their manifesto, support base and most importantly the highly efficient organisation.

If what you say about Sheikh Hasina is true then she has gone up a few notches in my appreciation. If she had banned them then the whole democratic political process that we say we enjoy would have collapsed then and there!


Probal Chakravorty said...

the prevalent situation is far beyond than a nix in the process of social and financial development. It is indeed the need of the hour to react than waiting for the tempest to hit the shore. rehabilitation is not only costly but extremely time consuming. What seems to be the basic fear behind the reluctance to act ?

Faisal Kader said...


I commend you on your brilliant observations. In particular, your point about the stand of Sheikh Hasina's inaction on the ground that banning Jamaat would nullify the very ideal of democracy that we stand on, is poignantly valid.

The issue, however, that I wanted to raise is a bit more in-depth. I NEVER recommend that Jamaatees should be banned. That would be a meaningless exercise. The points of debate that I wanted to raise are as follows:

1. Do we want to religionise politics or for that matter politicise religion?

2. Do we wish to have a secular state as was envisaged in the original Constitution (note that I am not a AL supporter) or do we wish to have an Islamic Republic?

Remember, if we wish to have an Islamic Republic, the "Saudi Model" is what is considered by the proponents (and perhaps followers alike) as the ideal model. They don't for instance feel that Indonesia is an alternatively acceptable model which, although is a Muslim majority country but still not an Saddam/Saudi style Islamic Republic.

If we are to accept secularism, then why don't we just do so without banning Jamaat. Let them continue to propagate their orthodoxy and try to establish if MAJORITY or even SIGNIFICANT MINORITY wants them.

The difference is, at that time the Constitution itself gives the people and the Government legitimate rights to ensure that their movements are more disciplined rather than weaponised.

I make this observation with full understanding of the fact that not just Jamaat, but all the political parties have greatly contributed to creation of the current state of a weaponised society. BUT in the name of Islamic Jihaad, Jamaat seems to be able to claim legitimacy in their flash of weapons. That's their added advantage under an Islamic Republic banner.

In summary - no banning of Jamaat but yes, we want a secular Bangladesh without religionising politics.

Hope this debate becomes more lively.


tommy said...

Dear Farhan Bhai

I just went through one of your blogs and they make an interesting read.

If ever you need something on food to spice up your columns do let me know.


Nazim Farhan Choudhury said...

Tommy Bhai!

Food is something close to my heart! Please do come back and leave your views in the future!

Supriyo said...

Secularism, in South Asia, is often viewed as the 'right', 'enlightened' way to approach politics. One has to be secular to be politically correct, it seems.

I guess, however, the key reason a country needs to be secular is to create a meritocratic, opportunity society. This is not just a feel-good way of doing things, it is a necessity for surviving in the competitive, 'flat' world.

Surely, banning a party and stopping people from saying what they think is the wrong point to start in the journey to meritocracy. That would only confuse the issue and play in the hands of opportunistic politicians.

I suggest an alternative point. I am sure Jamaat is less of a danger to a functioning secular democratic bangladesh than the apparently ubituous corruption in public services. Why does not one start with those? Put a strict code of conduct in public services, tighten the recruiment and review processes, instill transparency [do we say freedom of information here], strengthen the press etc. Surely, these will help more than banning Jamaat.

Probal, are you saying that these two are unrelated issues? I would think not - I would believe they are closely related. It is time we bid farewell to 'feel-good' secularism, but take on a pragmatic approach to nation-building.