Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 7 Issue 21 | May 23, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  Photo Feature
  Book Review
  Dhaka Diary

   SWM Home


Nominate good people
It's like telling a wall


With the national and local government elections due in December, here is a repeat of a Chintito from 2000, then too just before the national elections. Let us all realise that such matters cannot be repeated enough, because you all know what we ended up electing then. Let us only not repeat the slogan and not the mistake.

With temperatures rising to the 40s these days, you are bound to come across banners, placards and wall graffiti, each as emotive as the next. But the one that caught my eye, mind and soul the other afternoon read (if translated from Bangla): Nominate good people.

The Leader of the House and that of the Opposition were nowhere in sight; they would hardly have the opportunity to even see it. But the poignant irony was it was addressed to both of them. Perhaps any of the party stool pigeons (who would have seen it) will inform the next higher up in the slippery party ladder and maybe ultimately the message will reach the uppermost advisers, who will have the astuteness to inform their Leaders the feeling in the field. But by the time the self-seeking adviser stoops in the audience of the Chief ('boss' seems so inappropriately appropriate), the public plea may be translated into 'Nominate me'.

Given that background, and acknowledging the intricacies and the 'politics' of Bangladesh politics one has to appreciate the boldness with which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned Awami League parliamentarians the other day to hold their sons or lose their seats. (DS, 6 June 2000). At least that is what I understood. We hope the parliamentarians did too. The PM's frank statement is wholly sympathetic to the placard pleading for 'good people' to be nominated for the general elections next year.

Now who are the good people?

People who earn their living by honest means, and not by defaulting bank payments and cheating people.

People whose assets can be traced to a legal source, and not by the finger assuming a banana tree.

People who do not maintain separate accounts books for the Income Tax office.

People whose assets include self-respect, modesty and devotion, sociability, kindness, and transparency in thought, word and deed.

People who have a track record, political or otherwise, of helping others.

People, who are pleased and thankful for any action that is good for the country, and not base his judgement on whether the deed was done by someone of his party or of another.

People who have been brought up in a respectable family, and who are conducting a healthy family life.

People who have control over their family, and near and dear ones.

People who have the courage to shun the near and dear ones who step out of line.

People whose intention of being in politics is to organise the present based on lessons of the past for the good of the future, and not organising his aakher (as different from the one that comes after death).

So where do all these bad people seeking our votes come from?

This is where the wall comes in.

Because it is so obvious not many of us realise that walls play a vital role in our lives. It protects us from driving rain, the blistering sun, blustery weather and peeping neighbours. (Some are welcome peeping neighbours, but more of that some other Friday.) And of course the boundary wall serves as a urinal too. Although not necessarily connected with that facility, the wall also gives birth to a few politicians.

Some politicians have virtually been delivered in painless labour on these vertical slabs that belong to someone else. Just a year or so before the fray for Sangsad some new faces will slip with consummate ease on to the party wagon, already buckling from over-enthusiastic opportunists. And it is not at all difficult. Here's how.

In the dead of the night when even his most faithful chamcha is sleeping, the future neta, say a Omuk Ali, who has accumulated some black money, covers himself up with a chaador and starts his journey as a political leader. In his own hand, he writes on the wall in Bangla, “Omuk Ali's character, pure like a flower”, and then he signs on behalf of the none-too-wise Elaka Bashi.

The following morning when his excited chamcha informs him of the writing on the wall, Omuk Ali expresses his total surprise and suggests bashfully that it could be the work of his supporters in this mahalla or that. And so another neta is born by wrongfully using someone else's property. The wrongdoing does not stop even when later he is rightfully elected, because the illegal behaviour and unlawful activity is in his vein; and unfortunately in that of his children, and near and dear ones.

The following week Omuk Ali writes again in the dark of the night and again in his own hand on someone else's wall, “Omuk Ali march ahead, right behind you we tread”.

From there on Omuk Ali is unstoppable. The terrorists Q up to his door for he has the dough. The businessmen shake his wrists in camaraderie because he has the terrorists. The party rallies behind him because he has the Elaka Bashi, the businessmen, the terrorists and the cash to flaunt. Omuk Ali's only interest is to see all that is black turned into white. Such a small wish and so much sacrifice for the party? Omuk Ali beats seasoned politicians with twenty to thirty years involvement in the party and wins the coveted Sangsad ticket. This encourages him to spend more and he wins the elections quite easily.

The only scourge remains the people, who know exactly who Omuk Ali is and what he is capable of. It is those people who today are raising the slogan, Nominate good people.

WRITE TO CHINTITO <chintitoforever@gmail.com>

Chintito Letters

My dear Chintito,
What's wrong with you and your writing? Why are you always hard on people who are not thinking like you? Sorry to say you are misleading the youth who are reading you spontaneously and quite impressed by your arrogant (maybe impractical) writing. Your writing shows your lack of knowledge and may be you are a person (I think you are a woman) who is driven by her emotion rather than her brain. You write who is the US assistant secretary to say something like that? Are you insane or have no brain or your editor gives you the authority to write anything? Bangladesh is a country under development which is 80% dependent on developed countries like US, Japan, England, Libya etc. We have to listen to them and converse with them to know what they are trying to say to us and if we have any dispute we can say to them logically because as far I know developed countries like US never do anything without logic. They attacked Iraq with some logical explanation (Oil to run their factories and vehicles which is bad but they are doing this for their country. So everything has one good and bad side). You only write with the negative side of a matter without giving any practical solution. I think you are a woman. Only a woman can write nonsense and childish writing like this. Don't be angry but if I were you I would have quit writing long before. I think you should stop now and pass this department to an intelligent and practical person. If you have any limited courage or capability of accepting criticisms then publish this letter in your letters department and if you want to keep writing then be practical.
Mir Abidur Rahman, Department of English, South East University

Dear Chintito,
Another distressing issue for fresh jobseekers is that applications are invited online. Although it is certainly fairer and securer than the postal system, yet many of the meritorious fresher live in remote areas where there is not even a single Cyber Cafe. Please write something on this type of robbery/thievery in your articles so that some new systems of application and bank drafts are introduced for the next generation and the unemployed people. Be blessed.
Md. Hasan Iqbal

Dear Chintito,
Thanks for your reply, which was unexpected to me. 'Pahela Baishakh', the first day of the Bangla year, is celebrated with traditional festivities across the country as well as by Bangalis living abroad. Yesterday, I was watching a <>Noboborsho<> programme on ATN Bangla, telecast Live from North Side of Vallance Road Weavers Field, London. I was astonished to see some 'Bollywood masala'(!) They organised a Bangla Noboborsho programme but they were having some events which contrast with our culture. My heartfelt request to every Bangali through you, if they can't show respect to culture, it's ok…but don't insult it in front of whole world. With best regards
Shushmita Ahmed, Dept. of Law (2nd year), University of Chittagong

Dear Chintito,
I am 25 and doing my masters. My academic result is moderate. I always studied in Bangla medium. So my English is not good. All my first cousins and second cousins are very good in English. And so they are in good positions. I am afraid I will not get any job. In front of them I always feel inferior. My mother who was a student of Dhaka University always asks me that why I cannot speak in English fluently. I am very confused what should I do to improve my spoken and written English. I am very much tensed. Another thing is that my confidence level is going down everyday. All my friends are in service. Most of them completed their graduation from reputed private universities and BUET and DU. I am a National University student. I always feel ashamed. Would you please tell me what should I do to improve myself and also improve my confidence level? I will be very grateful to you if you advice me. I think your suggestion must work. Please answer me as early as possible.

Let me tell you one thing, very few people from English medium schooling could write a letter in Eengrezee with so few mistakes.
First, congratulations for being good in a foreign language.
Second, try to speak in English when necessary.
Third, read English newspapers and magazines, and watch English movies and programmes with the intention to picking up the language. For your enjoyment, keep on reading and watching Bangla.
Fourth, ask your (presumably) Bangali cousins to write something in Bangla. You will discover how wonderful you are.
When you get a good job, which you will if you are just yourself, please share your joy with me too and your mother.
Take care. Be good. Best regards. Chintito

WRITE TO CHINTITO <chintitoforever@gmail.com>

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2008