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      Volume 10 |Issue 17 | April 29, 2011 |


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Democracy in the air


Today, Monday April 25 is a great day. The newspapers are screaming the wonderful news. But that is precisely their work, to scream wonderful news. But today's banner headlines are special because they concern every jodu, modhu and kodu. Those of you who are Anglicized to the extent that you feel left out, please read 'tom, dick and harry'.

The national jurisprudential tinkers have made the door ajar and the idea is so great that it will finally open wide to pave the way for me to become (cough! cough!) the head of the caretaker government. Isn't that wonderful? You too can celebrate because you too have a chance unless you expect to wear the head wig. But why am I telling you all this? You are my competition. But that is the great beauty of this development. I realise I invite you subconsciously into my fold because there is democracy in the air.

The present parliament is manned (okay also woman) by a party that has ninety percent members, I mean they could pass anything. And yet they invited free and frank opinion from the not-so jodu, modhu and kodu of the legal profession, and their varying views were aired live on TV and spread promptly in the print media. I tell you we have come a long way towards better since the days when the Ershad government told us to make or decorate with arches all boundary walls on the VIP (very improved path) roads. You can still see some remnants of that despotic order near Dainik Bangla Mor and near the Cantonment's Jahangir Gate on the facade of a bank.

There is of course the Achilles' heel that the opposition is yet to point out, but undoubtedly will. That is why they are the opposition, and that also enforces democracy to the level that it is brought down to earth. They may well raise hue and cry why other professionals have not yet been invited to vent their opinion on such an important issue. For even the doctors, engineers, architects, ex-military and civil personnel, cultural doyens and doyennes, poets and authors, chemists and druggists, sportsmen and women playing for money, teachers and students (yes! some of them are quite senior and professional)... many of the also have their patriotic vision and egotistical mission and... oh! 'confusion' so easily rhymed.

Some from among the legal practitioners said that the lure of automatically becoming the chief of the caretaker government every five years was a moola that was making controversial the highest office of the judiciary. The dangling of the carrot in front of a sitting or a would-be chief justice made them loyal to the executive branch of the state, they opined. (Bloody hell! I thought they were above all that.) Again, we must be careful not to dub any judicious verdict of a judge as being pro-government only because the judgement went in favour of the incumbency. Otherwise no government will win another case, and that is a non-starter.

In view of the guru-ghambir expert counsel of the constitutional experts it is almost assured (we hope) that in the future, it will not necessarily be the most recent retired chief justice and if he refuses then the immediately one before him..., but any one from us, yahoo, the common citizens, some of who wear the wig only if they have no hair, the source of all power, could be riding all the way to the Bangabhaban in a limousine belonging to the people. And out in a two to three months.

Democracy takes a long time in coming. We are only at it for the last forty or so years, and much of that time too has been taken by military governments and (Tch! Tch!) the last caretaker government that tried to take too much care to ensure that elections it was to hold would have doctored results, or so it appeared from its meddling in too many non-caretaker issues. And the time it took, oof! Two full years it took from a mandated three months to hold one election.

Yet, we can already see the fruits of our collective efforts. People can say anything and everything they want. They are saying indeed at talk shows and public meetings. People can write anything they want. They are in nearly sixty dailies in the capital and more in the districts. People can threaten anybody and everybody. People can ask for any price they want for anything. They are free; the people and not the goods.

It has also been established over the last four elected governments that people can listen to what they want. People can read what they want. People can feel unbothered about intimidations. People unfortunately cannot pay what they want. They are not that much free.

Where are all these good and bad and grey freedoms taking us? To democracy, silly! It was always destined to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride.

The people are triumphing!


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