Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 33, Tuesday February 22, 2005







Hartal is not the Answer

Before getting to the point, let me assure the readers that the sole objective of this article is to stand against the Hartal culture, not to look down upon any political party's activities. Everyone from the root level to the top most community of the society will agree that hartal is nothing but a curse that has been haunting the development process and is an irritable threat for the peace loving population of Bangladesh. Hartal has lost its appeal to the greater mass of this country because we are independent and concerned about the country's economy, stability and reputation. However, there are some that pose a completely different view and exercise a destructive and violent bustle named hartal. Any person who has respect towards the country and its population can't possibly support hartal because it impacts very negatively on our economy and puts our society in great peril as it terrorizes the country folks and repeatedly devastates public properties.

Many would like to refer to hartal as a democratic right. But how right is this democratic right when this very hartal puts the democracy and its people in greater jeopardy? Killing people by throwing petrol bombs, burning public properties, creating anarchy and chaos on the streets and terrorising society cannot be any one's democratic rights. However, there are some political groups of this country that practice terrorism and exploit hartal as a part of their ill political practice. It is often that we've heard some so-called politicians boasting by saying that they will paralyze the Raajpatht and bring the population and the country to a standstill. The question is, isn't this a threat against the peace loving and law biding population of the country? What kind of democratic right allows that person and her/his political party to put the country in violence? The truth is these so called leaders consciously use hartal to fulfill their personal agenda and political ailing intentions.

The street and Raajpath belongs to people. If there is a political dispute we, the mainstream population, expect the political leaders to resolve the matters in the assembly of our Parliament. Since it is always us who dedicatedly practice democracy, we have established a Parliament so that the leaders can talk about our issues and the matters that involve the country. However, it is often that we hear the opposition party has walked out or withdrawn themselves from the parliament. The excuse is always the same, which is they are "barred" to speak in the parliament. What these political parties need to understand that they have to earn themselves positions which will allow them to talk in parliament. If they cannot express themselves even in the country's parliament how will they express the country's thoughts, views and expectations in the outside world? We need strong leaders who know how to converse in the right place about the right matters. We do not need escapists. We have established parliament so that the political parties can discuss their differences peacefully and come to a conclusion that serves the country's best intentions. Since we do not want any chaos and anarchy in our society, we expect the leaders to resolve matters either in the parliament or in the court. Definitely not on the streets. We don't want our elected leaders turning into rioters on the streets.

The representatives of the political leaders must realise that they have expectations to meet. And these expectations can only be met by resourceful discussion which ensures peace and stability in society. And disappointingly when some leaders chose to move away from the path of dialogue, we get violence and anarchy in the name of hartal. And this truly questions those leader's commitment to society and the country. Every time this hartal, which is nothing but political terrorism, gets to finish a horrific spell, some leaders start thanking the population for their "support" to hartal. Those leaders must realize that we do not support events that put our lives and properties in great risk and humiliates the country's image abroad. We stay inside during hartals because we are afraid that hartal supporters would beat us up, or worse, burn us alive in broad day light as our previous experiences prove so.

The practice of politics that is distracted from the mainstream mass cannot bring any good to society and to the country. Hartal is indeed a violent act, which is practiced by those who support violence and have no respect for the nation as a whole. Many have died in the black path of political violence of Bangladesh and the Shah A.M.S Kibria was one of them. This leader dedicated his entire life against violence and terrorism and gave his life for his beliefs. It is unfortunate that so called leaders are using this great leader's martyrdom to fulfill their personal agenda. This has to stop as a vicious act like hartal can never be the answer.

By Obaidur Rahman
(This Article is Dedicated to the Late Shah A.M.S Kibria)

Reader's chit

I lost my friend

If you have a good friend, you're a lucky person. In that sense .... I must say I am a lucky person. Until now I've always been lucky when it came to friends. I say 'was' because my school, college and university buddies are now far away from me. They are settled abroad pursuing their own careers, and we've lost touch as a result of that distance. Nowadays, whenever we suddenly meet with one another we greet each other with a 'Hello, how are you?' and reminisce about the past. And then again we go our own ways. In truth, we live in the same city but we haven't been able to pick up from where we left off because of our own affairs and a distance of communication. I have always had better relationships with boy's than girls. Also, most of my best friends are boys. And this has carried through to my career life.

After I completed my education I joined my new job. At the office, I became good friends with my colleagues, and we've grown closer day by day. During tea break at the office, we enjoy our addas and watch programs. As a result, I've forgotten my old friends because of them. I got married, and I am happy to say that I'm satisfied with both my personal and professional life.

One day a new colleague, Saif, join our office. I knew him from before as we had a mutual friend. We've started working at the same office in the same section. He is a very nice person and a hard working guy. Day by day I have been impressed by him. We've grown to know each other and he has become a good friend. I like his job related ideas and I can trust him wholeheartedly. After office, when we are at home on holiday's we talk long hours on the phone. However, my husband would really feel jealous because of such a deep friendship and intimacy. Some times he says, "you quarrel with me but cry on Saif's shoulders."

My career afterwards suffered somewhat of a set back when I had my baby. I wanted to be a good caring mother at home, so I dropped my job. Saif managed a part time job for me. I had become very lazy and Saif also tried to make me busy again. If I don't want to do the work he would get very angry with me. A good and wonderful understanding has developed between Saif and me. He was the best friend in my little world. My happiness, sorrow, problems all of the things I can share with Saif easily.

Time has gone by since. My tiny son has started going to school. I could not join any full time job, so I take care of him. But in the mean time I am also doing the part time job Saif gave me.

At last, he has set me up with a well known office. He feels very happy for my job as we discussed job related problems like those days. One day Saif told me he found a girl friend who's made for him and he wants to marry her. And after a few days Saif married his love. I am really happy for his new life. After one year of marriage the new couple got another gift from God--a sweet little baby. They are now very busy with their family life. On the flip side however, I feel I've lost my best and greatest friend. He has no time to talk with me. I feel Saif has changed too much after marriage. In the past, he used to call me every day but nowadays he doesn't find me any where. Some times, I am surprised--how could he do this to me?

How could Saif forget his friend? I understand that he's somehow avoiding me and he feels disturbed with my calls. He doesn't want to talk to me anymore, and it makes me sad and miserable.

My career is going smoothly nowadays, but full credit for this goes to Saif. In truth, without his help, I would not have reached where I am today. After work, for the rest of the day, I miss my friend Saif.

By Lamha Rezwan


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