Mukti

A few old men

Posted in Bangladesh, democracy, elections, history, politics, Uncategorized by jrahman on December 4, 2018

A corrupt, selfish elite rules over you, an elite in cahoots with foreigners, to whom the nation’s assets and future is being sold; and the lying media and rootless intellectuals stop you from seeing the truth; and yet, you sense the truth, that’s why you flock to the leader; even as the enemies of the people demonise him for not echoing their sophistry, you feel he tells it as it is — that he will kick the elite out, drain the swamp, lock the corrupt up, kill the criminals, and fix what ails the country; and make no mistake, it’s not hard to fix things, it’s just the knavery and perfidy of corrupt elite that need to be rooted out, and the leader will do just that; and he has proved it, hasn’t he, in his remarkable career as (business tycoon or mayor or army officer or whatever); he will make the country great, because he is truly of the country, like you are, and unlike those footloose elite who will flee the land with their ill gotten wealth if things get tough.

In recent years, variations of the above have reverberated from Washington DC to New Delhi, Warsaw to Brasilia, and Istanbul to Manila.  And politics around the world has been shaken.  There appears to be one exception — there doesn’t appear to be a Bangladeshi strongman on the scene.

There might have been.  After all, charges of corruption and ‘selling the country to foreigners’ can be laid quite easily against the current regime in Dhaka.  And historically, Bangladeshis have proved as susceptible to the cult of the leader as any other people.  So there might well have been a would be strongman leading the opposition.

Curiously, as Sherlock Holmes might have said, strongman in Bangladeshi politics is a dog that didn’t bark.

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The classick adventures of DS and Dr Gonjo 6

Posted in music, society by jrahman on February 7, 2012

This is part six of a series by Dhaka Shohor, who visited Desh recently. Please direct comments appropriately. — JR

These posts will contain inappropriate language, rampant racism/sexism/age-ism, random references to things good Bangladeshi boys and girls are not to know about until one day they get married and magically become experts. — DS

Part One. Part two. Part three. Part fourPart five.

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It is now only 30 minutes till midnight and the 1st of January 2012. Dr Gonjo and I sing along with Ayub Bacchu as he performs Shei Tumi. An obvious song, but it nevertheless creates an electric atmosphere in live arenas. He barely sings. Instead he plays and the crowd does the singing for him.

I look around me. A few ladies can be spied, sitting in circles on the ground, their male companions standing around them. Protective.

The mascara-lined eyes meet mine again. The large strobe lights have hit the top of her face, illuminating only her eyes. Her husband/boyfriend/whatever has his arms around her.

I smile, reminded of a Hispanic pair of mascara-lined eyes, of putting my arms around Kalpana at a Killers concert all those years ago and swaying awkwardly.

Eyes melt into one another, cities collapse into each other. It’s all very Burnt Norton.

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The classick adventures of DS and Dr Gonjo 3

Posted in culture, society by mehomaan on January 26, 2012

This is part three of a series by Dhaka Shohor, who visited Desh recently.  Please direct comments appropriately. — JR

These posts will contain inappropriate language, rampant racism/sexism/age-ism, random references to things good Bangladeshi boys and girls are not supposed to know about until one day they get married and magically become experts. — DS

Part OnePart two.

It is December 2011 and there is an hour till midnight. Dr Gonjo and I have finished our cigarettes. The crowd is much larger than we were expecting.

DS: Accha, ekta Monty Python style youtube video kortey hoibo Cox’s Bazarer jonyo. Dui jon loke, punjabi, shaal pora. Aastey aastey hetey jacchey beacher paasher raasta ta diye. Dekhtesey amader moto manush concert e jaachey, raat 11tar shomoy Cox’s Bazar er raastaay Moghbajarer traffic jam. Ekjon arek joner dikey takabey. Kichu khon chup thaakbey. Music baajbey – shanai! Tarpor ekjon arekjon ke bolbey, khub khaati Banglay, “Jaygata ar nirob thaaklo na.”

DG (laughs): Eito, eitarey boley filler DS. Kisu bolar nai, kowar nai, tai pechaal mara. Non-stop. Tui kintu chup thaaktey parosh na. Tobey idea ta kharap na.

DS: Arey dhur miya. My bullshitting skill is my livelihood.

But it’s true. Cox’s Bazar wasn’t like this when I visited 5 years back. A lot more people seem to be having a lot more fun this time.

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