Back Issues
The Team
Contact us
Volume 2 Issue 9 | October 2007



Original Forum Editorial

Month in Review: Bangladesh
Month in Review: International
What does the opposition want to oppose?- - Farid Bakht
Turning point for the Bangladesh Economy--Forrest Cookson
Entry strategies-- Jyoti Rahman and Syeed Ahamed
Coal policy needs finalisation now -- S.M. Mahfuzur Rahman
Energy sector issues and an open mind-- S. Nazrul Islam
Country at a crossroads, nation cross-eyed-- Shahnoor Wahid
Building a knowledge society -- Ananya Raihan
Photo Feature --After the Rains 
Private Universities: New laws and the real picture -- Kazi Anis Ahmed
Remote control -- Kamila Shamsie
The Tin Bigha corridor 15 years on--Jason Cons
Emerson and Islam-- Syed Ashraf Ali
Golden past, golden future-- Kamran Rahman
Science Forum
It's No Joke
Forum Lit


Forum Home


It's No Joke

So, politics as usual then? Not quite. Even with the relaxing of the political ban, with our two leading ladies playing a backstage role, things are not quite as before.

And yet they in many ways they are the same. The divisions remain ... and divisions within divisions have come to light.

This has nothing to do with the ban on indoor politics being lifted, of course. Rather, it is a natural consequence of the creation of even a temporary power vacuum.

But this brings me to something that has been puzzling me.
I understand the concept of a ban on outdoor politics, namely political rallies, meetings and demonstrations.
I more or less can grasp the concept of a ban on so-called "parlour" politics ... and the need for lifting it so that the crucial issue of electoral reforms may be discussed within the parties and with the Election Commission.

But my question is, both before and after the lifting of the ban, why are we continually subjected as a nation to the daily blow-by-blow accounts of in-fighting and political manoeuvring of politicians? Shouldn't there be some kind of ban on that for a while?

After all, there are more than two types of "political activity," beyond the so-called "indoor" and "outdoor." Politics is primarily defined in the dictionary, if I am not mistaken, as having something to do with governing a nation, taking decisions on affairs of state ... or some such description to that effect!

But have we ever been truly subjected to that kind of politics as a nation ... not much!
The relaxing of the ban has shown us one thing .... that "indoor politics" barely touches our lives. What political parties discuss behind closed doors in councils and party meetings is a mystery. Do we have any more than the haziest idea of what principles guide our parties or what policies they propound-apart from empty and repetitive political rhetoric, that is?

No. But we do have an intimate knowledge about who said what about whom, where and when … and, what the reply was to that comment … and what a third person said about both comment and reply … and so on … ad infinitum

Does this get us -- the public -- anywhere we want to be?
No, again. But as long as our political leaders are having productive exchanges, who are we to complain!

Well, "we" are the other half of the political equation.
Didn't someone mention something about a "new social contract" recently? And, is it too obvious to state that some form of social contract is meant to exist between a democratically elected government and the people? But if we don't know what we are being offered by the politicians and parties up for election, then any contract would seem to be pretty much null and void.

Politics--whether indoor, outdoor, national or party politics -- is meant to serve the people, society, nation … not the politicians.

Do the politicians themselves understand this basic concept? Should they not be taking advantage of the lifting of the ban on indoor politics to be getting their houses in order? So that when the time comes they can give the public a notion of what they will have to offer on the election platform in 2008.

I understand you can't have national politics without party politics … but it has to be productive, enlightened, constructive party politics. Can anyone remember a time when we had that?

When the political ban is totally lifted, when circumstances permit and outdoor politics are allowed once more, I know what my rallying cry will be: "More national politics. Less party politics."
And less of what omouk said about tomouk, in the meantime, please …

- Bandicoot


© thedailystar.net, 2007. All Rights Reserved