Published:  12:59 AM, 07 March 2019 Last Update: 01:02 AM, 07 March 2019

Reflections on March 7, 1971

A retired banker and an engineer, still concerned about the present and future generation without looking for option to settle their progeny in western countries, have expressed disgust at the behavior of politicians in this country which once respected politicians as a sacrificing folk devoted to the cause of the people, nationally and internationally.

At this one reacted do you call those politicians. Said in soliloquy they are not but self-seekers under the cover of politician for post, salary, power and privileges, which increased over the preceding decades of Bangladesh in confrontation politics and ineffective Parliament. That led to share politics, instead of ideology, form alliance/s show multi party and connections.

There are 39 parties registered with Election Commission, but how many have electoral existences except two- Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)? None, once again seen in ongoing local government elections unlike our next door neighbor reported in media but of no effect in Bangladesh.

Nothing can be more preposterous than letters of two Oikya Front MPs, Sultan Muhammad Mansur Ahmed and Mokabbir Khan have expressed their willingness to take oath on March 7, 2019, to the Speaker of 11th Parliament, commemorating historic speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 7, 1971. The Speaker accordingly accepted it reported in the media on March3&4, 2019. So long they did not take oath as per decision of Oikya Front which rejected national polls December 30, 2018.

A lot has been said and now look for what step Gano Forum President Dr. Kamal Hossain takes against them. It is reported they would be expelled from the party on whose ticket they have been elected. They could not check their lust which is immoral and floor crossing unprecedented. Court proceedings may be drawn against them expecting what result Dr Kamal Hossain an eminent lawyer knows best.

 Both of them are from Sylhet, popularly called 'Londoni Sylheti', and Mokabbir per chance became MP as Oikya Front candidate with sheaf of paddy lost her candidature at the last moment in Supreme Court. He resides in London and how much tarnished the image of the country let both of them ask their conscience. This is against the spirit of March 7, 1971speech of Bangabandhu in the backdrop of popular votes of all strata of people and landslide victory of Awami League in national and provincial elections on December 7, 1970 upheld democracy and Bengali Nationalism. 

Is there any real concern about it which was the voice of majority leader in the elected Parliament to form Government vindicating democracy? What Sultan said during his election campaign he is with the symbol sheaf of paddy of Maulana Bhasani, Oikya Front candidate against symbol Boat of ruling mega alliance led by AL. It is known Maulana Bhasani strategically boycotted election in 1970, extended unified support to Bangabandhu. Bhasani was supporter of Regional autonomy and Bengali nationalism, founded National Awami Party (NAP) in 1957 and AL in 1949, for the same and socio-economic emancipation of the people.

 It was on March1, 1971 President Yahiya Khan suspended sine die the Parliamentary session, scheduled to be held on March3, which spontaneously infuriated people of all strata, opposed it and took to streets raised slogan for independence. Consequent events led to March7 and in the afternoon Sheikh Mujib delivered the historic speech at the Ramna Race Course Maidan. He declared in the last sentence that 'our struggle this time is the struggle for freedom-our struggle this time is for independence.' Simultaneously he declared programs for peaceful non-cooperation movement. This is the synopsis, history of which ought to have taught in academic classes, contemporaries opine with remorse that new generation hardy knows.

It has mostly been caused by the lack of knowledge of history of India and Pakistan in two wings in 1947 and eastern wing emerged as sovereign Bangladesh in 1971 conferring  huge benefits to neo- elite, for which University teachers cannot escape responsibility.

Unfortunately they're since 1973 partisan, enjoyed party portfolios and availed foreign funded NGOs having little time left for teaching students, keeping the campus peaceful in traditional academic scenario. Some engaged in twisting history made this country's political fields devoid of politicians, worth the name as in neighboring countries. In this way top to down the education system of the country fell prey to corruptions of various types at all levels.

Autocrat Ershad regime which usurped power displacing nationally elected President Justice Satter institutionalized the process of money, muscle and manipulation that meant rigging the elections, domesticated opposition and so on. Sacrificing politics replaced by Share politics secured by loaves and fishes build Ershad Jatiya Party that now stands splintered. In 10th Parliament both in Treasury and Opposition and ongoing 11th has taken the role of leader of the Opposition only which it is incapable to show guts of Opposition, insiders say. 11-party alliance is in horns of dilemma to be or not to be in Opposition, which won seats under mega party alliance dispensation for 11th Parliament.

Emeritus Prof Dr Anisuzzaman who has access to ruling high command said in a seminar at National Press Club reported in national daily on February 28,2019  democracy cannot have institutional shape without effective parliament and Opposition party. When democratic institutions do not function properly, authoritarian administration comes into force. In the name of liberation war now many things are happening which are not expected.

Journalist Kamal Lohani called for freedom of press and reminisced during erstwhile Pakistan they could write, talk and take out procession which Journalist Unions now cannot. Then what the way out let them say to their successors and the Government without fear and favor. Those dare to say they're kept outside the scene and marginalized by powerful quarters.

The writer is an economist, advocate and columnist.

-Muhammad Quamrul Islam

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