Vol. 5 Num 972 Fri. February 23, 2007  
Front Page

Yunus' second letter
Dear Citizen,
I am writing to you again. First, let me express my salam to you. I could never imagine that I would get such massive response from the letter I wrote to you on February 11, 2007.

You have encouraged my entry into politics with such logic and emotions that I could not help being astonished. I again felt the infinite blessings of Allah on me. From your replies, I have come to realise that how deep into your hearts you have let me in and you have put me in a position of great trust.

You have come forward and advised me with the desire to create a new politics for a new Bangladesh. A handful of young volunteers have been struggling to keep up with the incessant flow of mails, emails, fax and sms that you have sent to me after reading my letter in the newspapers. Your letters are continuing to flood in. The replies ranged from the people in remote villages of Bangladesh to the enthusiastic expatriates. I have received many valuable advices through your letters. I thank you from the depth of my heart. I express my gratitude to you. I also thank those who have asked me not to join politics out of their love for me. To them, I only have to say that only Allah can give us respect. If one wants respect, that person should earn it himself or herself. I want to go ahead with what I think is my duty. Overall, the message that you have clearly articulated to me, is that people from all walks of life want to go forward with me with a wish to bring widespread changes. I have no way to disappoint them.

In light of your enthusiasm, I have decided to take part in your efforts for creating a new politics. I will join politics and establish a new party. Please pray, so that I can fulfill your wishes and so that Allah's blessings are with me, as always. The foundation of my new party will gradually build up through the same consultative process I have used to come to this decision.

I have received many proposals regarding the name of the party and have decided on proposing the name 'Nagorik Shakti' (Citizens' Power) to constantly remind the people of the creation of a new politics through unleashing the hidden power among all citizens. In short, we can use "Shakti" for promoting the party. We want to establish our beloved country among the frontline countries with the slogan "March ahead, Bangladesh." We want the central motto to be the pledge being echoed inside each proud citizen today: "We Can."

I have expressed on several occasions my ideas and opinions on the objectives and programmes the party requires to build a new Bangladesh. In this regard, I am enthusiastically trying to discern the hopes and desires of the nation. The messages that I have received from you recently, contained some questions, some opinions and some preferences on this matter. You wanted to know what would be my party's goal and purpose? I will outline the goals and purpose of the party later. The party itself will decide on it once it is formed.

Let me say which aspects would characterise 'Nagorik Shakti' as a political party. I have been saying these for years. The politics of this party would be to move towards the future by coalescing the people under a unified goal; not to go around in the circles of the past by creating divisions. The activists in the towns and villages would be in charge of the party's policy making. Those who break the law will not be allowed to become its leaders. All the nominations from the party for all elections, including national parliamentary elections, would be given by the local committee; and they will decide on the candidate by comprehensively considering their honestly and competency. To maintain public relations, it will follow alternatives to grand rallies. Women and the youth would be the lifeblood of this party, they would come to the leadership in huge numbers. This party will not judge everything from the party perspective; rather it will consult all other parties, non-political citizens, experts, expatriates and others. They will move forward together. Overall, this party would be the beacon of national unity and implementation of the nation's dreams.

Our politics would be the politics to materialise the dream of the liberation war. This politics would be a politics of unity, a politics of peace, a politics to establish honesty, a politics of labour, a politics to change the fate of the people as quickly as possible by reviving a new work ethics, a politics to send poverty to the museum. This politics will be non-communal, secular, democratic, good governance, free from corruption and against politicisation. It will be the politics of equity for women in all spheres, building the future of young generation and not to bow down to foreign power and to stand in the world holding the head high. I am urging all the citizens to come forward actively in support of this politics to make it a success.

Come, let us start our work from this moment to establish these characteristics. Let our preparations begin by maintaining the existing provision of internal politics. Key areas of our activities at this moment will be our respective constituencies, villages and wards; take initiative to form, as many possible, 20-member 'Primary Preparatory Team'. If you are staying outside your area, try to visit your area and contact people to take the initiative. It is your task to do the work of the organisation in your area. It is also your task to select honest and competent candidates and make them win in national and local elections; others will not do it for you. And it is also your duty to contribute money and other resources for it according to your ability. Those who can afford, can set up preparatory offices and contact centres of 'Nagorik Shakti' with their own initiative and financing, if necessary at your shop or personal workplace or own house, and hang signboards and banners in this regard. It will be better if these are many in number in an area. Write name of the party and our declaration (March ahead, Bangladesh) in clear letters on them. Make arrangements as best as you can to receive phones, letters, faxes, emails from people, give information and receive people's opinion and let me know. Let the volunteers work here. Send us information and get recorded after forming a 'Primary Preparatory Team' or setting up preparatory offices and contact centres. Also encourage your friends to form preparatory teams. The success of 'Nagorik Shakti' will depend on your zeal and efforts. For the time being, begin your preparatory stage work on the basis of the draft outline as written below. The draft will be finalised after receiving opinion of all.

Those, who will be member of the party, set up one or more offices in each ward of the villages of Bangladesh. Form preparatory teams in each ward as many as possible. Each 'Primary Preparatory Team' will comprise of 20 members with one convenor. These will be formed on the basis of different groups. Innumerable such preparatory teams of same groups may be there in each ward or you alone can form several such teams. Make sure that the number of teams of women members is equal to those of the men. Special initiatives have to be taken to form teams of women. To form teams, the groups would be: 1. male students, 2. female students, 3. adolescent male workers, 4. adolescent female workers, 5. young male workers, 6. young female workers, 7. young male social workers, 8. young female social workers, 9. young male service-holders, 10. young female service-holders, 11. young male professionals, 12. young female professionals, 13. young housewives, 14. farmers, 15. workers, 16. professionals, 17. service-holders, 18. small entrepreneurs, 19. businessmen, 20. young male businessmen, 21. young female businessmen, 22. housewives, 23. elderly men, 24. elderly women. It is not mandatory that each of the groups will have to form team. If any group has small number of members they may form team after joining members of other groups.

Elect a group-convenor in a ward (mahalla in the cases of metro cities) from among the convenors of all the teams in the ward. The group-convenors will form a convenors team. One of the tasks of the convenors team is that it would form a 'Ward Preparatory Team' with honest, competent and enthusiastic people of the ward. It will be your collective task to bring in the right people in this regard. Electing at least one third from among women for the 'Ward Preparatory Team' and other teams at all levels is a must; but equal number of male and female members is desirable. Form Union or town or Metro-ward preparatory team with three elected members of each 'Ward Preparatory Team' or 'Mahalla Preparatory Team' in case of metro cities. With three elected members from each such team, form 'Constituency Preparatory Team'. The 'Constituency Preparatory Team' will play the key role in nominating the panel of honest and competent candidates for national and local elections and it, after getting approval at party selection at all levels of union/town/metro-ward, will later be sent to central committee. The district and national level teams can also be formed this way. By electing 'Constituency Team' at this moment quickly, we will have to begin the task of finding out honest and competent candidates for national and local elections. You yourselves will be able to turn these preparatory teams later into well-formed committees. After forming group-based 'Primary Preparatory Teams' as many as possible, you go forward to form preparatory teams at next levels. We will distribute detailed policy to all about the formation process of 'preparatory teams' at different levels to make things clear to all. I myself will begin the task of forming a general preparatory team with those among you who will be identified as more successful leaders among you and the experts.

The ward level team will have many duties. They will be responsible for local development and political organisation. Its key duty will be freeing the area from poverty. Key among its political duties will be to review continuously who will be eligible for contesting in the elections and for which post, and taking the responsibility of electoral task, to perform the task of nominating candidates.

Those, who are working in a distant workplace outside their village, take a week's leave and go to your village. Going there, form as many as possible Primary Preparatory Teams and come back. These processes will not start if you do not go there. Preparatory teams would form one after another as soon as you go there. Encourage union parishad chairmen and members to establish ward-level preparatory teams. Now there's no scope in criticising politics from your living rooms. Now is the time to overturn the political culture of the past. You are the sole creator of this change. If possible, take a long leave from work and go to your home. It is doubtful whether the chance to change politics would ever come again. Do not let it slip away with indolence. Your fate and the fate of future generations are in your hands.

Those who cannot come within the organisational structure because of personal reasons, please establish Nagarik Shakti Supporters Group from wherever you are or join your local supporters group. Three to 20 people can join each supporters group, including members or non-members of the party. Let me know the creation of the supporters group and its future developments. Even friends who are located in different areas can establish a supporters group. You can create your supporters group through emails, telephones or even through a blog on the Internet. Contact others and encourage them to create supporters groups. This force is needed to enforce the required change.

Dear Expatriate brothers and sisters
I am especially thankful to you. I have received a huge number of emails and telephone calls from you. You have expressed your trust in me. You have clearly stated your interest in bringing change to the country's political arena. Now is the time to start work. Create supporters groups in the countries of residence. Establish its offices at your workplace or your home. Build up communication centres. Effectively use the modes of communication, discussion and disseminating information available through the Internet. Take steps to create supporters groups in your own village or your town back in Bangladesh. If possible, visit the country for a week or two. Go to your locality and create supporters groups. Ensure financial assistance for them. Identify and then talk to honest and competent candidates and then encourage them to join Nagorik Shakti. Constantly maintain contact with us and describe your activities. Give us your advice at every step. If possible, take leave from work or your business to come back during elections. This is your chance to earn the honour of establishing a new politics in the country with your own hands.

Dear Youth
You are the greatest strength of this country. You will establish a respectful future for this country. You surely want widespread changes in the political arena, then you must come forward with innovation and enthusiasm. You will have to build up organisations across the country. You must create effective and proactive support by establishing Nagorik Shakti Supporters Groups in schools, colleges and universities. You must echo the clarion call of "March ahead, Bangladesh."

Call to the women of the country
Half of the country's people are women. But, your role in the decision-making process is ignored. You have to come forward in publicising the new identity of Bangladesh. You can become a very powerful force in the materialising the dream of a new country. Gather your relatives and friends. Build up Nagorik Shakti Supporters Group. Everyone from Rural women to urban women, teachers, doctors, nurses, and students, all have to come forward. Now is the time to shed your dilemmas, fears, anxieties, and divisions to march forward in resolute steps. Come forward to ensure this beautiful nation becomes a country of peace.

You are the Citizens Power
I will be very happy if preparatory teams are set up in each locality. Those who have and will express such, I will understand that they have come forward to implement the dream of creating a new politics with their own labour, money and assets. You are the citizens' power. I want to work with you. I strongly believe that many others would follow in your footsteps. The challenge ahead of you is big, and time is short. But you cannot forget that citizens' power is a very powerful force. All of you have a strong belief in your heart "I can." We want to awaken the entire nation with the declaration "March ahead, Bangladesh." The merciful Allah will help us.

I am extremely sorry that I could not reply to your messages separately. I will certainly try to do so. But you must continue your communication with me. Your letters are shining the light on the path ahead. Please do not take this light away.

My address, fax number, phone numbers etc will remain unchanged. I am again providing them below. Others have expressed interest in volunteering on conveying your messages to me and vice versa. I will create more opportunities for them. Those who want to assist me in whichever way, please let me know in writing. I urgently need you. Otherwise, arrange the conveyance of people's messages to me by creating preparatory offices and communication centres in your own areas. I am waiting for your progress reports, advice and opinions.

Thank you and greetings
Muhammad Yunus
February 22, 2007