Sunday, December 18, 2005

My Rejoinder

I think Mr. Hossain missed my point.

I am never saying that Jamaat is not to be blamed for the sins committed in 1971. Or forgiven!

I am not saying that Jamaat is right and that they are voice of the majority.

I am not saying that we should adopt the Islamic rule over our secular democracy.

I am not saying Jamaat is the answer or our weapon in the war against terrorism.

What I am saying is that to put Jamaat and JMB under the same banner is to over simplify a complicated and dangerous situation. We by doing this will not put our concentration, energy or resources behind finding the actual root of the problems facing our nations.

Bangladesh’s electoral, despite being by and far illiterate and Muslim has not been swept by the hypnosis of our Islamic leaders. Unfortunately because we (main stream political parties and the intelligentsia) are busy pointing fingers at each other we have forgotten to guide the citizens of this land. This has left a blank slate for the JMB and its ilk to draw on. To mould young impressionable minds. We need to retake the leadership. We need to preach secularism. We need to convert the disillusioned. We need to give the nation hope and a vision.

Without vision there is no future! And with hope there isn’t any suicide bombers!

This is not going to happen overnight. But the process needs to start.

2 comments:

Supriyo said...

Farhan! One comment on your post. In fact, uneducated and illiterate people rarely succumb to the charm of fundamentalists, as you say. In fact, the electorate is more intelligent than one would think - they have booted out successive governments in Bangladesh and done the same in India [look at Bihar].

It is actually the middle class, 'educated' urban people, who will succumb to the charm of Islamists. This is because they are the most disillusioned, having failed to become a part of the priviledged community. This is the battleground, not the villages to start with, even in Bangladesh.

And, this is hardly a battle of ideas. This is one of action and intention, if you see. It is about transparent public service, efficient education and hospitals, more jobs etc. This political battle is to be won, if you think, by good intentions and visionary entrepreneurship, rather than politics.

Faisal Kader said...

I have to commend Supriyo's comment on the unlikelihood of the uneducated people to fall prey to the "charm" of the fundamentalists. His next comment "the electorate (which Farhan rightly described as largely illiterate) is more intelligent than one would think..." is simply profound.

However, I would not readily agree that the "so called" educated urban middle class is more likely to give in to Islamists. The middle class has always historically been opportunists and lack any true ideal. They will only hail those who can provide them with immediate benefits rather than appreciate the long term greater benefits. The illiterate electorate, on the other hand, holds on to their beliefs which is not necessarily based on rhyme, logic or education. It's just sheer faith, and that's the key word - faith. The educated ones, alas, have no faith.

Therefore, faith, which can take many forms including committment is lacking at the levels which Supriyo has pointed out, matters most, entrepreneurs and politicians. One could argue that entrepreneurs are key drivers of the economy even if the political regime is unfaithful. The fact remains that they scratch each others back and contribute (or don't contribute) hand in hand to economic growth. If politicians don't ensure the right environment for growth, entrepreneurs cannot excel. But, if entrepreneurs don't keep the poticians happy with substantive material gains, a growth oriented environment is not nurtured.

I raise a question again to the Optimist - who will bell the cat?!! Any Kamal Ataturk in the offing?

Thanks to Supriyo again for posting an excellent comment.