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|Volume 10 |Issue 49 | December 30, 2011 ||
The Politics of being Apolitical
What really is so despicable about politics? Why are we so bent on being apolitical and why do we think that's a morally superior stance to take? I think the youth of today feel that by separating themselves from the “dirty politics” of this country, they can rid themselves of the shame, the corruption and the pettiness that we usually associate with politics. But it's as my father always says, the bad guys can only come to power if the good guys don't do what they should; and if the good guys don't do their job, how can we call them good? We need to realise that if we don't take responsibility for the state of our country, we are complicit in its state of affairs. Also, we should broaden our conception of “politics”, and understand that being a politician is not the same as being political. The former implies that one is involved with formal politics, while the latter denotes a person who takes an ideological interest in the social, political and economic state of the world.
Pithas – taunting the Bengali palate for generations
Your last issue whet my appetite. I wish the photos of your cover story could come alive somehow and I could consume the mouth-watering delicacies then and there. However, as the writers mentioned, it is not fun eating pithas alone. The story reminded me of my childhood — the wonderful moments my cousins and I had spent sitting around my grandmother and aunts, watching them turn the white rice powder and molasses into succulent delicacies. Our grandmother would tell us the Tona-Tuni story and we would laugh at Tona's gluttony, Tuni's wit and the other animals' failure to taste Tuni's pitha. The warmth of the earthen-stove would glow like red cherries on our chubby cheeks as we would fight for the first smoking pitha, brought down from the stove. The cold winter days were thus filled with sweet and warm love.
I am ecstatic to read your current issue aptly titled, “Beyond Freedom.” A round of profuse thanks to all of you for bringing out such a sparkling and informative issue in the Star. I would like to share a few thoughts that passed my mind while reading your cover story. On each national occasion, we show our love or patriotism for our country, but what happens to our sense of patriotism the rest of the year? Meanwhile, our national history is being distorted by some traitors. It is a sad fact that many of our youth are ignorant of the true history of our country. I earnestly request you to keep letting us know the true history of the country.
I wonder sometimes if our national character is changing. Or is it our perception of Bangladesh that is changing? The once golden Bangal is now the most corrupt country in the world; our national fish Hilsha can no longer be afforded by the masses. Who stole our golden Bangla? Are we really free? Who will be able to stir our conscience again?
The cover story on pithas really roused my intellectual curiosity, so I went on a book-shopping trip to look for an informative book on this age-old art. To my greatest disappointment, I found no books on pithas anywhere! I went to Nilkhet, New Market, Kolabagan and Bangla Academy, and felt quite silly asking for a book on pithas and have everyone either look at me blandly or hand me a book of recipes. It made me wonder if it's just me who thinks that the history and tradition of pithas should be recorded before it gets lost forever! After my sad and failed adventure, the only thing that cheered me up were the delectable bhapa pithas in one of the numerous road-side stalls!
Bad Image of Politics
The political air of Bangladesh is heavily polluted by malpractices of politicians of both the main parties. Attention should be drawn to two specific issues. The allegations recently raised by the BNP about the transparency of procedures of International Criminal Court are nothing but a sign of political bankruptcy of the BNP. Sadly, it reinforces Awami League's allegation that BNP shields war criminals. Instead of offering suggestions regarding the issue and pressing the government to implement them, the BNP is trying to stop the war trial altogether.
The other important issue is the splitting of Dhaka City Corporation into two by the ruling party despite being widely criticised by the civil society and the opposition. The worst is that the bill to divide Dhaka City was passed in the parliament in four minutes without holding any discussion on the issue. The AL leaders argued that the splitting would expand a new horizon of opportunities but the kind of facilities people will enjoy was not specified. The politicians of Bangladesh should not practise this kind of politics and start thinking about the greater welfare of the country.
Md Shafiuddin Sabuj
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