Sabhanaz Rashid Diya
has been proclaimed as the most corrupt country for the fourth time
in a row. An accomplishment undoubtedly - of recognition, regardless
of the fact it's not one of the most positive things to be known for.
Plus, to add in the humour of the whole situation, the government
disowned the statement saying that it was biased towards the opposition.
insincere apologies for my incapability of feeling ashamed at this
fact. Why me only? It's the whole nation, its people and the oh-so
concerned government all too indifferent to react. It is after all,
a repetition of the same statement and it's natural to get bored of
corruption, dishonesty, theft, murder, rape and every crime beyond
my limited vocabulary at every corner of this "pretty" country
of mine. The place reminds me of a drain that's bubbling with dirt
and stagnant water, stinking so bad that it's impossible to even look
at it, let alone stand next to it; and we all pretend to never notice
its existence and walk past it, hoping the next passer-by can bother
about how to clean it.
Believe me or
not, you and me and everybody else who we can think of is the person
who walks past, without caring and leaving it to the rest of the world
to deal with.
A few months back,
my mother's colleague's son got kidnapped. The son (who just happens
to be an over-smart, brilliant kid) was imaginative enough to tell
the kidnappers that his parents were in the village and he studied
alone in Dhaka, living in a hostel and he couldn't afford to pay one
lakh taka as demanded. Those hoodlums believed him and after a bit
of a bargain and beating, settled with a sum of twenty thousand taka
(imagine how pathetic even criminals have become these days, pfft!).
So the witty son
called up his tutor and through some code-language or whatever, managed
to get the message through that he was in trouble. Apparently, the
tutor consulted the police and met with the kidnappers in the decided
son did get released and while he was getting up in a CNG (the "sweet"
kidnappers came to wave him goodbye) said, "Mama, chehara
toh chine rakhsi. Erpor dekhe nibo. Beshi chalak hoite geso toh, porre
I leave the readers
to use their imagination to decide how the poor guy felt at the moment
and how he frightened he feels while he walks on the streets.
That was just
the simplest and least "scary" of all incidents that I know
of. A year back, a distant relative of ours got both his arms cut
off because he denied from giving the hijackers his engagement ring,
that too after they've taken all his money, his Titan watch and his
The latest trend
is to cut down the dead body of the murdered into twenty or more pieces,
pack it up in a sack and throw it off somewhere where it'll get discovered
and reach to the headlines of the newspapers. (The shortest way to
fame, I guess!) As far as I can recall, there's been a set record
of forty-five pieces of a human corpse found in a local lake. Guess
I don't have to wait too long for someone to break that record; not
at the rate we're going along with these things.
Those were just
a few gruesome murders in the city. Nothing much, really! Let's talk
about corruption in the offices, in the streets and in the hearts
of the people. The other day, our car got a case-record from the traffic
police for parking in the NO-PARKING ZONE (I distinctively remember
a sign saying 'private cars park here' there). Nevertheless, after
the routine, boring and unimportant license checking, noting down
of the car number and blah blah, the real fun part began the bargain.
The traffic sergeant
pretended to be shocked when my driver offered him money in order
to release his license (my God, the sergeant is such an awful actor!)
and then said he'd settle for something around Tk.1500. My poor driver,
knowing very well that I had no money with me and he had only a hundred
buck or so in his pocket, complained to the sergeant for asking for
such a large sum on such a small crime. The sergeant yawned and replied,
Eid toh! Eijonno rate shobshomoy-er cheye ektu beshi!"
My driver still complained and finally managed to settle with a sum
of Tk.900, with constant reminders from the sergeant of his generous
consideration on the matter. My driver promised to return with the
money after an hour as he was short of cash ("Ami toh eikhane
ekta porjonto thaki, er aage taka anlei cholbe," said the
sergeant) and eventually, got back his license when he paid him.
the streets to the markets, corruption has made every corner of our
country its home. Speaking of markets, I saw this television feature
the other day which said that nowadays they mix urea with puffed rice
(muri) because urea makes them puffier and whiter (don't
know if it makes them tastier too). We've become such selfish, dishonest
creatures that we don't hesitate when it comes to cheating people
for many citizens buy this same puffed rice and have it for Iftari.
don't even want to describe what happens afterwards (just so you didn't
know, a rise in the natural urea level of the body may result to kidney
failure). Not only puffed rice, the sellers even mix brick-powder
with red chili (imagine biting on brick-powder while you're happily
having with a scrumptious meal with mouth-watering gravy items in
front of you with lots of red chilies in them), left-over oil from
beef curry with jhalmuri (supposed to add in the spice to
your taste buds) and dead bull's meat to cook tehari at local
I've heard (and
seen) of cases where fruit-sellers fill empty (but already-used and
picked up from garbage dumps) syringes with red colour (paint mixed
with water) and inject it inside watermelons to make them look redder,
riper and juicier inside. Some even add special power to mangoes and
bananas to make them look more yellow from the outside, thus fooling
the people into thinking it's ripe.
If I haven't made
you lose your appetite already, then I guess you can imagine now how
we've dumped our sense of humanity and honesty in the dump yard.
We've gone from
worst to "…." (we need a new term, for we've exceeded the
dictionary limits to express our condition). We walk in the streets
of our "free" nation, of our mother nation with the fear
of getting either raped, killed, kidnapped, hijacked or all four,
constantly whispering every prayer that crosses our minds under our
breath. How free are we?
It's a question
I ask myself every morning and realize with sadness what a big joke
this is to me. The Liberation War of 1971 was against heartless, dominant,
unjust Pakistani rulers who won't let us (Bengalis) have our rights.
Now in 2004, with no such huge war going on and our so-called rights
restored to us, each one of us is a fighter to this irrational poverty,
discrimination, corruption and fear that oppresses us constantly.
We're fighting to live, not as a Bangladeshi, not as a Muslim; just
as a human being who wants to breathe in God's earth.
I don't expect
much from a country where 101% of the crimes go unpunished and unknown.
I don't expect anything from a country where the state administrators
and the political opposition party are too busy fighting about who
declared independence 30 years back. Fighting about declaration of
independence? Spoof! When we can't even protect our own freedom and
want to play around with it, we're too busy quarrelling about who
had a bigger and more fashionable moustache between Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman and Ziaur Rahman. That leaves us (me, at least) with zero expectations
and deepest of sighs.
I, alone cannot
make a difference. If I go out on the street and yell my head off
to people to start thinking, to stop being indifferent, to kick Hasina
and Khaleda off power, there's 99.9% chances of me getting arrested,
thrown to jail and probably hanged on charge of treason. That's the
kind of democracy, the kind of rights, the kind of independence I'm
ashamed to be proud of.
Sometimes I wonder
if God has lost hope on us and handed us over to the fierce Lucifer
(devil) of our fantasy. Maybe He has. I guess even Lucifer feels inferior
next to us. All Hail to Our Evil !