Friday, March 11, 2005

INDIA: Beware of Bangladesh!

There could be a greater Islamic state as well, and Assam might be the most suitable part of such a state. The dangerous rate at which illegal migrants are crossing over to Assam from Bangladesh and the way the Assam Congress has chosen to remain silent, are indications sufficient enough for anyone to feel that political patronage - in the form of pampering the pro-Bangladeshi lobby in order to cater to a solid, permanent vote-bank, is what the infiltrating Bangladeshis are already aware of. The ruling Congress in Assam finds it too difficult, and perhaps hazardous also, to use any harsh word against the quality and quantity of influx. And that is the price the State seems to be paying in order that a peculiar type of secularism, actually pseudo-secularism, could flourish. In other words, the Bangladeshis with a very different and alien cultural propensity, would hardly hesitate to cross over to Assam, given that the Congress, whose most conspicuous hallmark is pseudo-secularism, is always there to welcome them with the IM(DT) Act. Would there be a Bangladeshi Chief Minister in Assam in a decade or so?


Beware of Bangladesh!
Bikash Sarmah


On January 23, in the magazine section of The New York Times, Eliza Griswold wrote a report titled For a new Taliban: The next Islamist Revolution, where she candidly brought to light the bitter truth of Talibanization of Bangladesh. It goes to the credit of Eliza that the report could expose the fanatic rage with which the Bangla Bhai-led Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) Islamists carry out some heinous Islamist operations in order to establish a Taliban-like State in Bangladesh. But it remains to be seen whether the West, especially the United States, would take the report seriously and pressurize the Khaleda Zia government to undo the process of Talibanization.

As if the report was a precursor to the events which were to unfold, on January 27, in the heart of Habiganj, a powerful grenade ripped through an Awami League meeting, killing one of Bangladesh's most liberal intellectuals and former Finance Minister, Shah AMS Kibria. Kibria had also been a Foreign Secretary and an Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). One of the towering figures of the 1971 war of liberation, his killing heralds the Islamic bid to eliminate the secular and progressive minds in Bangladesh. And with it perhaps, the Talibanization drive in Bangladesh would soon become a success story.

The target is not just Sheikh Hasina's Awami League. All secular forces in Bangladesh today face the daunting task of consolidating themselves in the wake of terror tactics perpetrated by the JMJB
jehadis. Over the past three decades, ten Awami League MPs have been assassinated in attacks masterminded by the anti-secular Islamist brigade. Today, to be honest enough, it is all the more heinous. Any progressive scholar, writer, journalist or columnist, who is gutsy enough to decry the foul Islamist decrees, is chased and chastised, often brutally, much against the basic tenets of their holy faith called Islam. If one is a bit considerate while taking up the case of feminist writer Taslima Nasreen, believing that practical Islam does not normally tolerate fiery, sexist feminism, one could very well take the case of Salam Azad who has mustered enough courage to speak about the "ethnic cleansing of the Hindus" in Bangladesh, and who by virtue of this, has now become the most despicable writer in the land of Bangla Bhai. For that matter, take the case of Dr Kamal Hossain too. An internationally acclaimed lawyer and a former Foreign Minister, Dr Hossain has been declared as a murtad (infidel) for having fought for the cause of the minority Ahmedia sect. The Ahmedias believe that there could be other prophets after Prophet Muhammad, and this is blasphemy according to hardline Islam. Worst, the Khaleda Zia-led government, a four-party coalition where two fundamentalist parties, the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Islamic Oikya Jote, call the shots mostly, has even banned the Ahmedia literature. One would better not take the pain of thinking what might be the fate of Hindu literature!

Having said that, one must analyse the politics of religious compulsion in a country like Bangladesh. Ever since it assumed office in October 2001, the Khaleda Zia government has all along been a mute spectator to the diabolical designs of fanatical elements across the nation. If it did anything, it seemed to be just a charade. For instance, a one-man judicial commission was appointed to probe the ghastly violence of August 21, 2004, when Sheikh Hasina miraculously escaped a string of grenade attacks but not before losing 22 of her party activists. Interestingly, and to the shame of democracy whose hallmark is transparency, the commission's report was not made public. Instead of anything like that, what the Judge told journalists was that the intelligence agency of a "neighbouring country" had carried out the whole operation in collaboration with some local goons just to create anarchy. By all counts, the Judge probably meant India and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). But, quite ludicrously, he chose to be oblivious of the anarchy already in place in Bangladesh.

Begum Khaleda Zia would do little. The readers must be reminded here that her active coalition partner, the Jamaat-e-Islami, is a fundamentalist political entity with absolutely no concern for any
secular values, and is the same organization that had supported the "Pakistani occupation force" in their bid to oppose the 1971 liberation war. In fact, the Zia Cabinet consists of some fiery Jamaat leaders. It is crystal clear then that the fanatics across Bangladesh are least bothered about being nabbed because they know well that the government of the day would not do anything "offending", but would rather patronize them.

There could be a greater Islamic state as well, and Assam might be the most suitable part of such a state. The dangerous rate at which illegal migrants are crossing over to Assam from Bangladesh and the way the Assam Congress has chosen to remain silent, are indications sufficient enough for anyone to feel that political patronage - in the form of pampering the pro-Bangladeshi lobby in order to cater to a solid, permanent vote-bank, is what the infiltrating Bangladeshis are already aware of. The ruling Congress in Assam finds it too difficult, and perhaps hazardous also, to use any harsh word against the quality and quantity of influx. And that is the price the State seems to be paying in order that a peculiar type of secularism, actually pseudo-secularism, could flourish. In other words, the Bangladeshis with a very different and alien cultural propensity, would hardly hesitate to cross over to Assam, given that the Congress, whose most conspicuous hallmark is pseudo-secularism, is always there to welcome them with the IM(DT) Act. Would there be a Bangladeshi Chief Minister in Assam in a decade or so?

The UPA government at the Centre, steered by the scholar in Manmohan Singh who has a record of even saying that the highly notorious and discriminatory IM(DT) Act could well be applied all over the country , has by now tacitly acquiesced to the need of the Assam Congress to survive on a very unpatriotic diet: the IM(DT) Act coupled with the continuous appeasement of the religious minority, especially the pro-Bangladeshi lobby that has absolutely nothing to do with the pristine Assamese glory and tradition. Worst, a whole lot of genuine Assamese youths and others alike have already surrendered, shamelessly saying upai nai (no way out). This is a political calamity Bangladeshi jehadis looking for the right time to come and annex Assam! Has Assam fallen short of patriots? If not, beware of Bangladesh!