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23 September, 2018 10:37:37 AM

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'It is undemocratic to want to have more democracy'

In the present term the government had to become more forceful, because they had to crush the rise of the jihadists and the killers of bloggers, violent fundamentalism, and the other antisocial elements in the country
Abdul Gaffar choudhury
'It is undemocratic to want to have more democracy'

Recently I was reading an article in a British magazine written by a teacher of political science titled 'It is undemocratic to want to have more democracy'. He wrote that modern democracy is now not only threatened by the rise of ultra-authoritarian forces but by ultra-democratic forces also.

Those who do not understand the change of society and social patterns they think that western democracy which is not practiced even in the west now, is the only pattern of democracy. We find them in a large number in Asian and African countries. Under western colonial rules they were made to understand the pattern of old western democracy only. After their independence they could not come out of their mind set. We can call them ‘text book democrats’ or the ‘orthodox democrats’. When in an Asian or African country the plant of democracy starts to grow these textbook democrats want to see the same exact pattern of democracy they have read about in their old textbooks.
When they see that the society is not ready to absorb the old pattern of democracy these elite class who were taught about democracy under the colonial rule see the lack of their version of democracy in their country and attack the democratic government as undemocratic. In reality these text book democrats become a greater threat to democracy than the authoritarian forces. After reading this article I thought that if this British academic could visit Bangladesh his article would have been much more informative from citing examples from Bangladesh.

We, in Bangladesh have an elite class whose majority of the leaders are educated in Oxford, Cambridge, Heidelberg, Harvard and other famous western universities. After returning to their own countries under the patronage of western elite or ruling class, they also become a circle of vested interest. They want more and more democratic rights, which in reality is a hindrance to the developing democracy and help the autocratic forces who are the real enemies of democracy under different disguises.

Though Bangladesh was liberated more than 40 years ago, almost for three decades it was under religious or military dictatorship. Only for three and a half years the country had been under a democratic and secular government. Then the government was overthrown by a military coup and there was a combination of the mosque and the military. The anti-liberation communal forces were behind them. Almost all the leaders of secular Awami League including the founding father of the state was killed and a leaderless democratic party took a long time to organize itself. The task of this democratic party was very arduous. It took about 21 years for Awami League to establish a fragile democracy which is under the threat of antisocial and undemocratic autocratic forces.

There was enemy within Awami League who thought that the time has come to establish scientific socialism when the basis of democracy was not even rooted in the country. They took the path of terrorism to overthrow the government by organizing what they called 'people's army' inside the military forces. Along with them the defeated forces of the 71, the anti-secular religious and other groups with the constant help and advice from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia started a politics of conspiracy.

The elite class, who very recently were benefitted by the independence and cleaned the upper strata of the society started opposing the government by demanding their text book democracy. The government was engaged in severe wars against these enemies of democracy and the so-called left terrorists known as Sarbaharas, Maoists and Naxalites and had to resort to harsh measures against them. It was also called as the-then government's undemocratic autocratic attitude and a large number of our text book democrats participated in this propaganda.

Of course Awami League is in power for 10 years now. But Hasina government had hardly any time to behave like a government in the pattern of western textbook democracy. Because the war of 1971 is still continuing. They have survived the military defeat of 71 and won two political wars and formed the real opposition. However, Hasina government had the very big misfortune that they could not have a democratic opposition to build up a natural democracy on two- party system. The present biggest opponent was organized in the cantonment under a secular name, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and it allied with the enemies of independence and was constantly patronized and guided by the Pakistani military junta.

These oppositions did not follow the rules of democratic politics. Their patrons came to power by blood bath and they also sometimes took the path of terrorism and if that failed, they tried to bring foreign interference in the country. Recently they went to Delhi and Washington soliciting their interference in Bangladesh and to do it successfully they appointed international PR companies spending millions of pounds and dollars.

With all these confrontations at many fronts Hasina government had to take some stern measures which may not be approved in a normal time but may be approved at a war time democracy. When Hasina government was in their second term they had to arrest thousands of anti-social elements and highly corrupted people. BNP protested calling all of those people their party workers and blamed Awami League for suppressing their leaders and workers. This was supported by the so-called elites or civil society and their pet two media also.

In the present term the government had to become more forceful, because they had to crush the rise of the jihadists and the killers of bloggers, violent fundamentalism, and the other antisocial elements in the country. They all unitedly became a threat for the country's fragile democracy. Now BNP and their allies in the civil society who were defeated in the past political conspiracy have joined hands to start a worldwide propaganda against AL and begging from door to door for foreign interference in the country. Some foreign observers have labelled this as an act of treason. The ensuing General election will prove whether Awami League and the secular forces of the country will be able to defeat this war of propaganda and conspiracy.

London, Thursday, 20 September, 2018

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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