Ashraf’s Column

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hasina’s negative reaction on Dr. Yunus's joining politics

Sheikh Hasina is known for her irresponsible and, at times, indecent remarks against her political adversaries. It is on record that she was once admonished by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, while she was the prime minister, for making some irresponsible remarks. Very recently she has again (New Age, 18 February) criticised Nobel Laureate Prof Dr Muhammad Yunus in a very objectionable way, to say the least. It is the present set of politicians of the two major political parties, the BNP and the AL, who are solely responsible for bringing Bangladesh to the brink of collapse by their inefficient and corrupt handling of the affairs of the state for the last 15 years. During this period, Sheikh Hasina governed Bangladesh for 5 years as the prime minister and for 10 years as the leader of the opposition. (In a parliamentary democracy leader of the opposition is also a part of the government.) Prof Yunus is a commoner. He has no blue blood in his veins. He has not inherited his greatness from his family or anybody else. He is a self-made man. His contribution to the alleviation of poverty has been recognised and acclaimed all over the world. By getting the Nobel Prize he has already become one of those great men who are considered to be the architects of the world civilisation. Other countries, including our neighbour India, have borrowed his idea to alleviate poverty. Prof Yunus is known to be an honest and incorruptible man. On the other hand, Sheikh Hasina has not earned, rather inherited her present leadership of the AL from her illustrious father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She does not have much education, no grooming and no training to lead a party like the AL. While leading a non-violent democratic party like the AL she groomed and patronised godfathers like Joynal Hazari, Abul Hasnat Abdullah, Shamim Osman, Haji Mokbul and many alike. She patronised many corrupt politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats and made Bangladesh first in the TI’s list of corrupt countries. With this (brilliant?) antecedent can a politician like Sheikh Hasina criticise a person like Prof Yunus? Yes, one may have a different opinion about the principles on which Prof Yunus’s Grameen Bank is functioning. But calling him a ‘usurer’ for that is much below the sense of decency. Prof Yunus has never criticised the politicians as a class. Like all other people in Bangladesh he has criticised only the present set of politicians who are solely and entirely responsible for the present political state of the country. By joining politics he wants to bring in a positive change in the quality of political leadership and in politics of Bangladesh. What is wrong in that? Why should Sheikh Hasina react so harshly to that? I am sure, many people in Bangladesh, after having seen the corrupt and inefficient leadership of Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina for 15 years, would love to have a universally acclaimed personality like Prof Yunus on the driving seat.

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