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            Volume 10 |Issue 33 | August 26, 2011 |


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The Mafias must be Busted


Call them what you may: clique, gang, coterie, faction, set, cadre or circle; this country has for long been besieged by mafias. By definition they are mutually supportive, close-knit, influential groups of people who work together and protect one another's interests or the interests of a particular person. They are everywhere: among political parties, within political parties, among the cadres that make the bureaucracy, among professional groups, among workers, among traders, among business people, most sadly among academicians and students... the list could go on.

This death knell in our society is typically more pronounced in urban areas. They range from the so-called very learned to the humblest employed eight-paash labourer, from the well-heeled industrialists hovering in a helicopter to someone drawing minimum wage brokered by the bargaining agent. They vary from large groups of thousands to a couple, a trio or a little more.

The mafias are differentiated by their occupations, and are therefore variously organised, some even as loosely as just meeting regularly in their canteen to gossip, as opposed to those banding together for the explicit purpose of executing a planned crime.

The first and often only objective of these deshi mafias is to save from within their ranks a proven-beyond-doubt criminal, such as a reckless killer bus driver, a truant officer absenting for days, a cheat with false university certificate, and a fraud who cheated the innocent. The mafias have this damaging notion that if one of them is punished for an offence and is not given this illegal protection by their group (read 'mafia'), then when the axe will grind on them they will be left all alone in a dark room. But, you are supposed to be alone in a dark room if you are a lawbreaker.

The mafias always act to gain selfishly and collectively. Their efforts are channelled towards obtaining unjust favour for the entire group or for the advantage of an individual so that in future they too can have an illegitimate benefit.

They will muster their energies and resources to raise the price of goods unabatedly.

They will freeze all road communications across the country if one bus/truck driver (licensed or not) is penalised. But he killed people. So what? He is one of us, is their battle cry.

They shall transform the waterways devoid of any transport if one motor vessel is fined for its unsafe condition. But that would cost lives. So what? He is one of us, is their battle cry.

They will squeeze money from patients or their companions for favour of admission in a government hospital. But you have no right to do so. Who said so? We work here for years, is their battle cry.

They will go on strike if one of them is sacked for violating service rules. But he forged a signature. So what? He is one of us, is their battle cry.

They can help manufacture a positive report from any commission in lieu of pecuniary gains. But it was he who violated the election rules. So what? He is the one who paid us.

BUT they all talk big, very big, even on TV talk shows, and lament on how the 'two netris' are ruining this nation. Little do they realise that they too have a responsibility, especially to differentiate between right and wrong, particularly that done by them, and to identify good leadership from the bad.

The mafias have no true political affiliation. They are supposedly above interparty politics, which otherwise is a glorious tag. They take the full advantage of politics but are so self-centred that their disposition is hurting the country bad. Outwardly they have a party but in reality they do not believe in any party. They provide illogical protection to each other even if belonging to opposite political camps.

Let us take for example the case of two classmates, who are both academics, an area I choose to strike my point home because if there is corruption in a university, a college, or a school, we have lost everything. So what? They say. Now this little mafia is characterised by one of the friends belonging to BNP and another to Awami League. Depending on which of the two parties is in power, the two teachers promote and defend one another. You will see that when BNP is in power, the Awami Leaguer is protected for his faults. And when Awami League is in power, the BNP teacher is promoted. This ultimate back-scratching is extremely harmful to the institution and the country. How! Well, for one, all the wrong doings of one of them as institution head is given illegal coverage by the other, and vice versa.

There are instances of such friendships within mafias, big and small, in almost any professional or business undertaking where the government has a say. Friendship is one of the finest attributes of society, but that too is severely abused at the cost of the nation. So what?




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