Published:  01:01 AM, 12 July 2018

Demonized politics

We are passing through a critical time in politics. To what extent we are a democratic dispensation is too frequently reflected in our everyday life. All of our political parties, over the time, have slowly diverged from the glorious legacy of ideology-based politics -- that very idea which assembled the whole nation for independence struggle in 1971 -- to the path of muscle power and repression.

It is painfully observed that money and criminalisation have merged with today's politics by alienating it from the common people whom politics is originally meant for. The political system in our country, by and large, has been embedded with the loathsome nexus among politicians, businessmen, thugs and the law enforcement agencies weakening the political parties' role of strengthening democracy.

Since our liberation from Pakistani occupation force, our political system has gone through a massive changeover. We have seen one-party system, and the emergence of state-sponsored political parties built on a patronage system during the military rule of General Ziaur Rahman and H M Ershad resulting in a new breed of political actors projected to state leadership without having any apprenticeship, whatsoever, in party politics and the birth of two political parties where ideological principles played very little role.

In Bangladesh, the post-military regime acclaimed for the restoration period of democracy also saw state patronage for party building. The party in power carried on using civil administration, law enforcing bodies and even intelligence agencies to consolidate its lingering into the state power.

As a result, an unexpected promotion of only partisan interests, widespread corruption and coercion on opposition parties, forced disappearance of political leaders, culturalists, educationists and so on got extreme. The two major political alliances, of late, have intensified a rightist versus leftist divide in the country allowing enough room to rising extremism.

Similar is the case for student politics too. One feels sorry for the horrible faces of student wings of our political parties. The student fronts are mostly dominated by hooligans who turn the campuses of colleges and universities literally into a battlefield.

What is of more concern is that these thugs, and shameless liars, are appearing on the central political stage to run the country and are enjoying a sense of indemnity from the lawmen, which are giving them even more opportunities to indulge in and promote violent and criminal activities across the country.

These are not what we fought for in 1971 War of Liberation. Instead, the clarion call of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, of our Liberation War -- which brought us together as a nation -- was for the socio-economic emancipation through liberation from political tyranny and oppression.

But we ourselves have launched our vessel of democracy just to the opposite, over these five decades. We have perhaps forgotten the very fact that a nation which cannot adhere to its glorious legacy of political history is sure to fail.

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