Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hearts and Minds

Now you might be wondering what I have to say about the new CG and why I haven't been "active" in the blogsphere the last week. As many might already know my boss (and mother) Geeteara Safiya Choudhury has taken up a position in this government. This in turn means that now I have to do three times the work (she being a workaholic heaped on her plate more than any I know). Also I don't want anyone to think I have any inside track (or ear) to information. I am like the rest of you outside looking in.

And as usual I have some very strong opinion on the current role of the CG.

Those who have been reading my blog over the last six months or so, will attest to the fact that I've been a proponent of an quasi army/technocrat government. I don’t clearly know where the balance of power lies in this government. But I believe there are a few things that need to be done.

As the American’s in Iraq had so rightly assessed (and so miserably failed) the real victory is in the “hearts and minds” campaign. Similarly whatever the structure or powerbase of the current government might be, one thing is for sure, they need to win the public opinion to their side.

So far the general public has given its overwhelming endorsement to the new administration. I have not yet seen any dissent. Even the major political parties have welcomed the opportunity that it represents. But for how long will it last? The CG has to show that they mean business. Show that they are different from their predecessors (ie BNP, AL and previous CG) and more effective.

To do this they need to do a few things without delay:

1. Declare to the nation their intentions
2. Dialogue with various stakeholders
3. Be (and be seen to be) active with day to day governance
4. Move out of Dhaka to the districts and meet “common” deshis!
5. Crackdown on the big daddies of corruption.

I believe that if the advisors of this CG break out of the mould created by the previous rulers of the nation, they will create a new benchmark of what our leaders should be like. They have the citizens behind them now. It is now up to them to them to carry the nation into a democratic future.


Rezwan said...

Congrats Farhan Bhai and I also agree to your views.

Hope you will get some time to blog and share your well coined analysis from time to time. We are missing you.

arild said...

@arild says: they have a golden opportunity to bring bangladesh back on track. they even are in a position where most people, except some politicians, would love to see them carry on for at least six months (years, if you ask me) to make a permanent change.

however, rooting up the worst bads in this community require tremendous strength, extreme focus and top organisation. in this situation a day's rest may put the process back a month.

if they just can manage to clean the garden, administrate the right pesticides and secure strong fences around the fresh soil, enough to give new seeds a chance of growing up, they will forever be heroes of this country.

for the right gardeners, nothing could be more rewarding i guess.

to contact arild, send @arild "your message" to 5455 from any mobile in bangladesh ;-)

Khairul Anam said...

Dear Mr. Farhan:

I am taking this opportunity to convey some message to your mother. Let me congratulate your mother (not you :P) for being chosen as an advosor. We all know her as a dynamic business lady, we want to see her dynamism in administering the country too.

I am 28, working now as a currency strategist and chief FX dealer in a local corporate bank. Though I am working in a capitalist system I am personaly co-running a school for destitute children. I have also made a plan for setting up an integrated agricultural farm in my ancestaral village. I have acquired through inheritance and purchase some land and chalked out my plan. My vision is to create a self sustaines commune system like in China. Now why I am bolstering myself is because, there are a lot of foreign and bangladeshi nationals advising what to do and bla bla bla. But if you ask them if they common mixed with the common people, the farmers, the fishermen, the backbone of this country they start to lecture a lot of bookish theories. I TRY my best to ask them questions about their problems and sympethasize with them. Almost all bangladeshi doesnt care about constitution or separation of judiciary or property price hike. All they are asking of five hours electricity to run the irrigation pump, and finish their dinner and children's studies by 10 pm. And that he gets a fair price for his crop. And that the mullahs doesn't give fatwas to do 'dorra' their raped daughter or their home is not washed away in river erosion. If we talk with the root people, the common people and listen to them carefully, you will understand that the commoners have lost their power to dream. The bangladeshis have lost their power to dream. We are survivng everyday.

Sometimes I wonder have we really fought the liberation war in 1971? If we really did it then why this situation now? Can we destry what we fought for? (I am not entering the eternal enigma of the number of martyrs, 3 million or 0.3 million). I can not tell you what could be done. Perhaps I have also lost my power to dream too. This country has turned into a den of lying corrupt politiancs. Ask any bangladeshi with no blood relation with any politiacans and they will tell you that they agree with Dr. Younus. The mass voted the four party alliance in 2001 to survive from the terrorism of Awami rule in 1996. They controlled the terrorism indeed but did so much corruption that the hardcore civilian BNP supporters are shocked. We were again looking at AL, but action of entering into written contract with Khelafot Majlish and this recent stance of upholding the constitution by holding the election in 90 days have yet again unmasked them. You have direct access to your mother, so could you please convey some thoughts of mine (that I got in my dreams) to her to ponder for not more than 5 minutes?

1. Nullify the officials secrets act.
2. Make national ID card and a central database, containing all the necessary information.
3. Create an agricultural marketing company with private participation of BRAC, Grameen Bank, ASA and public participation through stock market. This company will purchase agricultaral products from the farmers, have their own transport, marketing, development, IT, research system. Merge BADC with this company and will be run under contract management, with no inteferance from government.
4. Privatize only bangladesh biman, bangladesh shipping corporation (bsc). These two corporation will save the government 450 crore a year.
4. Give licence for community radio stations.
5. Open chittagong port for private investment. Enter into contract with India for transhipment in return of opening of Farakka barriage, and free trade access.
6. Convert all power stations into companies and float their shares in the stock market.
7. Implement a regulation of floating shares if a company's capital is 20 crore and restrict barring of loan from banks higher 40:60 debt equty ratio. In that way, public participation will be more.
8. Cancell 'Sanchaypatra'. So that public money will be channeled to banks and stock markets, which will raise liquidity and make the banks lower their deposit rates. Infaltion will also rise, but to contain that, Government will increase the SLR amount and Reverse repo system. The government then can easily get money from Banks at 0%, 4.5% and 7.5% respectively instead of 12%. Think how benefitted the government will be.

Anyway, my fingers are aching :P but I have some more eutopian sujjestions. Will give them to you for free and and unasked HA HA HA...

But think about the points. They don't need much effort, only some decisions and initiatives. Mail me if you want at

Take care and best regards.


Salam Dhaka said...

Congrats Farhan. The general public seems very hopeful of this team.