Ashraf’s Column

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dysfunctional democracy

After the fall of the autocratic regime of Ershad in 1990 there was no bar on our way to establish a viable democratic political system in Bangladesh. But since then our politicians have been continually failing to establish a pro-people democratic system in our country. What we are having now is an anti-people democracy. I call it anti-people democracy because it is a dysfunctional democracy. Instead of serving it is harming our people. Of course, theoretically speaking, it is ‘by the people’, But certainly, from our practical experience of the last 15 yeas, we cannot say it is ‘of the people’ and ‘for the people’. Rather it is of the politicians and for the politicians. And the politicians, being overwhelmingly corrupt and inefficient in number, are anti-people. No amount of crying, begging, cursing or cajoling to the present politicians to mend themselves is going to help the nation. They are not naive, and not unaware of what damage they are causing to the people and to the state. In the name of politics they are doing an unholy business. They will not do anything to change the system which brings huge amount of black money for themselves, which make them get away by doing anything, and which does not make them accountable to anyone, not even to their own conscience. Our Constitution has proved to be an inadequate and confusing document. It does not cover many constitutional issues which the nation faces today. On many issues its provisions can be interpreted in conflicting ways. Article 70 remains as an undesirable leash on the neck of an MP. Wicked politicians and lawyers are indulging in all sorts of anti-people activities by taking refuge under these weaknesses of the Constitution. Under the circumstances, it is only the people who can take initiative to set the things right. In all elections our people have been traditionally voting for a ‘marka’ (election symbol), and not for the man. The level of political awareness of our common people needs to be raised to understand this vicious game played by the politicians, so that, in future, they cast their votes in favour of a good man, and not for a’ marka’, to rewrite the Constitution to meet the challenges of the present day. All responsible citizens whose conscience is not mortgaged to a corrupt party boss, and the media, must voluntarily come out to politically educate the common voters so as to raise their political awareness. Otherwise, no amount of crying, begging, cursing or cajoling to the present politicians to mend their ways, as we are doing now, is going to help us. ‘Chora na soney dharmer kahini’ (black will take no other hue).

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