Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quit greed, and be despised

"Az bugzar wa padshahi kun;
Gardan-i-be tam'a buland shawad." Sa'di, GULISTAN

"Quit greed and as a monarch reign
For proud his station who for nothing hopes."

If you can brush off the contempt of your father and mother, the ridicule of your brothers and sisters, the condescension of your friends and relatives, then - quit greed!

But if you are greedy and corrupt, your parents will love you, your brothers shall be proud of you, your friends will grovel at your feet.

Be careful, then, of taking Sa'adi's noble advice.

Monday, December 21, 2009

western education and brainwash

I'm afraid my admiration for the western education system has multiplied several fold of late. It is a very efficient system - it can make you forget your cultural roots and origins faster than the famed Soviet-era psychiatrists who removed your memory!

It has taken me more than 40 years to realise the simple fact - not even a theory, but a fact - that the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was a military ruler. Ditto the Khalifa-i-Rashidun. Omawiyah was the author of the Muslim navy (the English word "admiral" comes from the Arabic "amir-al-bahr", Commander of the Sea). And every sultan and emir and khalifa since then has been a military ruler. Initially, of course there was no standing army - the citizen body itself was the army - just as there was no bureaucracy. Later, of course both army and bureaucracy developed together. Whoever had military power had civil power as well, and never the other way around.

In fact, al-Ghazali went so far as to defend despotism completely. He said that it was a religious duty never to overthrow a ruler "no matter how mad or bad". Ditto al-Mawardi. Take General Ershad: he was bad, I guess, with his harem of women and his corruption. But al-Ghazali would have forbidden us to overthrow him: "better twenty years of injustice than one hour of chaos". Therefore, what has been happening since the General was toppled would be construed by him as a product of sin - for treason and sin were synonymous for al-Ghazali. - all the rapes, the murders, the acid attacks, etc.

And all this time I have had to DEFEND military rule against my westernised friends and acquaintances who say it is barbaric - are they saying that Muslims, from the beginning, were barbaric? They must be! Are they saying that our entire civilization was barbaric - they must be? That leaves West Europeans as the CIVILISED race - and at this point I am reminded of what Gandhi said when he was asked," And what do you think of western civilization?" He replied: "That would be a good idea".

Western military might (= western civilization) and the spread of western ideas has gone hand in hand. Ibne-Khaldun, the Arab historian, observed 600 years ago that a race, once conquered, loses all self-respect, and tries to imitate its masters (the Mozarabs, Spanish Christians, back then).

This is what has happened to us - the rewards and penalties that emanate from the West have made us intellectual serfs.

It is fascinating how the education system selects even which WESTERN ideas we are to acquire. How many times have I heard some old idiot repeat what Churchill, the imperialist ("I will not preside over the dismantling of the British Empire") had said about democracy, or what John Locke (the slave-trader and philosopher) said about "civil society" and "tolerance" and man's "inalienable rights"; or what Jefferson (who sired numerous slave children through his slave-women) said about "the people".

I am yet to hear one educated person here repeat what Plato said about democracy ("the madness of the majority") or what Thucydides had to say about the viciousness of Athenian democracy ("the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must"); or what Socrates said about democracy: "If I had engaged in politics long ago, I would have been dead long ago".

If western education is so successful as to get us to parrot SELECTIVELY what their OWN civilization has produced, then think how successful it has been to get us to exclude aspects of OUR own civilization!

Nowadays we have the doctrine of "universal values" championed by the UN, Amnesty International and Amartya Sen (to name a few). That means there are no particular cultures. And universal values is what an anthropologist must deny: Stanley J. Tambiah, the Harvard anthropologist, true to his profession, denies the existence of universal values. Honest man - very rare!

So you have organisations like the UNESCO pushing "universal values" - and what happens to our culture?

There was another guy pushing universal values - his name was Karl Marx. EVERY society, he argued, follows universal principles of evolution. To counter Marx, Max Weber came up with the idea of "verstehende" - trying to understand each society on its own merits. I have met very few anthropologists or sociologists who are faithful to their discipline, like doctors breaking the Hippocratic oath. They usually work for donors like the UN or Action Aid to try and change our society.

And they are very successful - after all it took me 40 years to realise that our civilization is based on military rule and despotism.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

the clever will not be in paradise

I came across the following masterpiece the other day:

Aksar ahl al jannat ablah, ai pisar,
Bahr in guft sultan ul bashar
Ziraki chun bad kibr-angez tust
Ablahe shu ta bamanad din durust."


"For this cause,O son, the Prince of men declared
The majority of those in Paradise are the foolish.
Cleverness is as a wind raising storms of pride,
Be foolish, so that your heart may be at peace."

Immediately, I thought of the clever people of Bangladesh - the so-called educated men and women, our 'thinking' elite.

Take the economists who backed Sheikh Mujib: they thought they knew everything, that they had wisdom enough to determine the future of 70 million people. In the event, as we all know, thousands died through violence and starvation, not to mention the hundreds of thousands that perished in the civil war. People like Rehman Sobhan, Mozaffer Ahmed, Mosharraf Hossain...were 'clever', and they are still 'clever', backing 'democracy' and 'civil society', terms too big for me to understand.

Now, we have 'clever' fools, who pride themselves on thinking like white people, our former masters...Mahfuz Anam, Zafar Sobhan, son of Rehman, Rowshan Jahan, wife of Mozaffer Ahmed, Abul Barkat, the partisan economist, Ali Zakr, an Indian patriot, Rownaq Jahan, wife of Rehman Sobhan, importer of ideas from American universities, my cousin in the United States who thinks I am unintelligent for not believing in democracy....So many clever people.

These people are all 'zirak', Persian for 'clever'. I don't know if they'll go to paradise or not, but I know they have made life hell for their compatriots - those who are not 'zirak'.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Amnesty International - sometimes - opposes the death penalty

Amnesty International urged Bangladesh not to execute five former army officers who have been sentenced to death for the killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

"However, bringing people to justice must not itself violate the human rights of the accused,” it said in a statement issued here and urged President Zillur Rahman to commute the death sentences “as a matter of urgency”.

It also asked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Mujib’s elder daughter, to request the president to commute the sentences.

Bangladesh Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the appeals of the five jailed convicts, upholding a previous High Court order awarding death sentences to twelve former army officers.

“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner,” the statement said.


So why didn't Amnesty urge the government not to hang the jihadis? Why doesn't Amnesty International urge the government not to torture jihadis?

Where jihadis are concerned, anything goes - murder, hanging, torture....

What a hypocrite!

Of course, the government flatly refused Amnesty's request: after all, a family vendetta is a family vendetta.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The seven sages, and Caesar's wife

Seven High Court judges refused to hear the lower court's verdict in the Sheikh Mujib killing case. They were intimidated by Sheikh Hasina's followers, with ministers taking to the streets with sticks.

The names of these High Court judges should be engraved in gold – not golden – letters in the premises of the High Court. The reason they were embarrassed was obvious to any student of law: they did not wish the judiciary to be involved in a moral, not a legal, issue, and thereby become politicized, and a branch of the executive.

The other day, I attended a dinner party where the host was in agreement with the Supreme Court affirmation of the earlier High Court ruling of guilty.
However, what was truly interesting was his view of the judiciary: "This government would never have allowed the convicts to be acquitted". That is to say, the judiciary was simply carrying out the wishes of the executive.

This view of the judiciary will be permanent: no one will ever again believe that the judiciary is independent.

The late Justice B.B.Roy Chowdhury told me that General Ershad had never interfered with the judiciary: he was highly critical of the fact, indeed furious, that Chief Justice Shahabuddin had become president after Ershad resigned, thereby violating the constitution.

Now, no judge can ever claim that the executive does not influence (to use a mild expression) the judiciary. Caesar's wife has lost her credibility. She will always be suspect.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Background to a Killing

What was the background against which Sheikh Mujib and his family were killed? The younger generation do not know and those who know do not care to enlighten them. Here are a few excerpts from Lawrence Zirring's classic "Bangladesh" (Dhaka: UPL, 1994). Please share this blog with as many as you can.

"Mujib believed he was Bangladesh, more so that he was good for the country and that it could not manage without him. Those who reinforced Mujib's impression of himself and his role did so because it benefited them politically or materially, not because they truly believed in his leadership." (p. 93)

"Mujib's bitter struggle with the army high command is illustrated by the decision to construct the Jatiyo Rakhi Bahini or National Security Force.…The Rakhi Bahini had quickly developed a reputation for intimidation and wanton aggression against the Bengali nation. Opinion was strong that that the para-military organization was no different from Hitler's Brown Shirts or the Gestapo. To informed observers as well as to a large segment of the population, Mujib and the Rakhi Bahini, not the Bangladesh army, posed the more significant threat to the country. The Bangladesh army, therefore, began to think of itself as the nation's salvation, the 'true' friend of Bengal." (pp 97 – 98)

"Unrestrained by law or law enforcement, defiant of the formal military establishment, gangs of toughs, many identified with the Rakhi Bahini even if they were without any official affiliation, roamed the countryside, looting the poor villagers and committing bodily harm on those resisting their demands. In the name of protecting society, the Rakhi Bahini, Bangabandhu's own, was viewed employing methods no different from the other anarchic groups." (p 98)

"In point of fact, Mujib exerted little if any control as the Rakshi Bahini assumed a life of its own and took upon itself the responsibility of eliminating Mujib's adversaries." (p 98)

"By 1974, several thousand local politicians had paid with their lives for their defiance or support of Mujibur Rahman. [Footnote: The environment of violence contributed to the events that ultimately took Mujib's life.] (p 99)."

"The momentum of violence had shifted from non-governmental to quasi-governmental contingents. Mujib, therefore, could not avoid the responsibility for the climate of fear and terror that gripped the country. Many of those allegedly killed by the Rakhi Bahini were rural leaders who had defeated Awami League candidates in the local polls that followed the parliamentary election (p 99)."

"Famine, always a threat, spread through the countryside in the summer of 1974, and no one, in or outside the government, seemed capable or willing to effectively grapple with the situation. Mujib was forced to acknowledge the starvation deaths of almost 30,000 people, and that was known to be a very low estimate (p 99)." [According to the Britannica, the figure was around 50,000, and there was food in the country, but the food was exported to India: see 'famine', Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition.]

"Thus, rather than starve in their remote villages, tens of thousands of peasants trekked to the towns and cities in search of relief….The task of keeping the famine-stricken outside the city limits was given to the Rakhi Bahini which showed little sympathy for their plight. The popular reaction to this callous display, this apparent breaking of a sacred promise, was predictable. Mujib was held accountable and he finally could not talk himself out of a hopeless situation. Empty words and gestures were exposed and the 'Friend of Bengal' witnessed the fading of his beleaguered popularity (p 100)."

"By the end of 1974, four thousand Awami Leaguers were reported murdered, including five members of parliament. There was reason to believe that many of the Awami League deaths had been cased by the Rakhi Bahini, which sensing a declining government apparatus and the loss of Mujib's prestige, sought to advance as well as protect itself….Mujib's fear had reached panic levels and he understood that this crisis would not pass. In a fateful move, he tried to back away from his reliance on the Rakhi Bahini, publicly attacked their violent excesses, and called upon the regular army to contain and control the smugglers and criminal elements in and outside the government (p 100)."

"Mujib found himself entangled in a web of his own making. His first order exposed the Bangladesh army to the magnitude of the national problem. His second order proved to be more fateful. On 28 December 1974, Mujib proclaimed a 'State of Emergency' in the country. These acts implied a form of martial law imposed by civilians rather than the military. Mujib had swept aside the constitution. Eventually the parliament was itself dissolved and the Awami League was transformed into a non-entity. Mujib had already laid plans for his new functional organization that he said better reflected his goals and hopes for the nation. BAKSAL was the inevitable outcome of these manoeuvres, but it was to be short-lived. Mujib sealed his own fate when he abandoned the three-year-old constitution and publicly condemned it as a legacy of colonial rule….But Mujib's coup did not have army support (p 101)."

"In January 1975, Mujib had himself sworn in as the country's president….Mujib, not the Bangladesh army, had removed the constraints on the arbitrary uses of power (p 102)."

"Having reached a moment when the only instruments of government lay in the utilization of violence, the question that emerged centred on where the violence would be directed. Mujib must have believed he could punish his enemies, i.e., anyone who challenged his supremacy. Indeed, Bhutto shared that thought two years later. But Mujib, as Bhutto was to learn, had the violence visited upon himself (p 102)."

"Mujib presided over a court corrupted by power. It acted as though it could shelter itself from the realities of Bangladesh. But the license that might have been ignored in some other societies, could not be ignored in a country overrun by self-styled enforcers, gouged by profiteers, and raped by government officials. With literally hundreds and thousands dying from hunger, with millions more threatened, high living in Bangladesh could only be equated with debauchery and hedonism, with irresponsibility and indifference. To anyone with a grudge or a sense of national purpose, the conclusion was the same. Deliberate efforts had to be made to reverse course, and the only option for such a reversal lay with a new team, and the only team capable of making the manouevre was the Bangladesh army (p 103)."

"BAKSAL was not only a coercive assembly, it was predicated on the elimination of other organizations. BAKSAL was Mujib's way of expressing his One-Party State. Thus in a more significant way, BAKSAL was meant to serve the purpose of the Bangabandhu's personal dictatorship, not the cause of national development and unity. BAKSAL was proof positive that Mujib intended to convert the country into a personal fiefdom for himself and his family members, and his many detractors did not need convincing that their once respected leader, not they, was the real threat to the nation's 'democratic' future (p 105)."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vendetta in Bangladesh

15 August, 1975 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and part of his family killed

June, 1996 His daughter Sheikh Hasina comes to power after western donors restore democracy

April, 2001 High Court confirms death sentences for 12 of the accused

October, 2001 Shaikh Hasina loses election and Khaleda Zia becomes prime minister

December, 2008 Sheikh Hasina reelected

August, 2009 Final appeal hearing begins

November 19 2009 Appellate division confirms judgment of death by hanging

Thus, we see that the case had lain dormant, under the protective mantel of an Indemnity Ordnance, promulgated by President Khandker Moshtaque Ahmed, and later ratified by General Zia as Indemnity Act of 1979.

The "assassins" were rewarded with lucrative posts and given heroes' status by every subsequent government until the election of 1996 produced Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Mujib. She had survived the killing becasue she had been out of the country in 1975.

Therefore, the pattern that emerges is this: killers are hailed as heroes till 1996, the dynasty acquires state power in that year, loses it in the election of 2001, when proceedings against the killers stop, and are resumed again after Hasina, the daughter, returns to power in December, 2008.

A personal vendetta? A lynching? Victors justice? All three.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was fourteen, and I lived in Dhanmandi, very near the scene of the killing. At dawn, I heard the booming of guns, and woke up in fear. Later, we learned that Mujib and his family had been killed: there was rejoicing throughout the land!

Against this background, what are we to make of the Supreme Court verdict? Well, to put it mildly, it opens up an enormous gap between law and morality. The law must posit that every killing in peacetime is murder; but a moment’s consideration will show that morality can never posit that every killing in peacetime is immoral. Was the killing of Caligula murder? Certainly. But was it immoral? Certainly not.

Furthermore, we cannot consent to the proposition that the law, and the legal process, is always just.

Take Chief Justice Taney. A devout Catholic, he had emancipated all his slaves; yet, when the Dred Scott case came up, he had to assert that 'a black man has no rights'. When the Bengal terrorists were gunning down British officers and, after due process, were being carted off to the Andamans, Bengalis hated the English for that: now, several streets in Calcutta are named after 'terrorists'.

Moreover, the Supreme Court, respect for which must be implanted in the heart of every citizen if we are to live in peace and with a clear conscience, has been sullied by a case that was basically moral, not legal. Now, no one, except the narrow band of fanatics devoted to the House of Mujib, who reck with neither morality nor logic, will regard the ‘due process’ as little more than an elaborate charade. The Supreme Court came into bad odour the day democracy was introduced: December 6, 1990. On that day, after General Ershad resigned, the Chief Justice became president, instead of the vice-president per constitution; later, he had this illegality legalized when parliament sat and passed two amendments. Since then, no one has ever believed that the Supreme Court is above politics.

Now, they will say, there goes the last institution to the democratic dog.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Corruption and the Family

Omnes diligunt munera

I've known first-hand what corruption and greed can do to a family.

I've looked up Mullah's Principles of Mahomedan Law, and it assures me that I cannot disinherit myself. That is, no doubt, as it should be.

The trouble with corruption is that you have to keep your money with your wife, brothers-in-law and nephews or nieces. So, everybody has a stake and an interest in the family. The family loses its intimacy, and becomes a money-laundering machine. Of course, all goes well if everybody in the family is corrupt and greedy. The problem with me was that I never wanted much in life, just enough to get by.

So, when my father passed away, and one piece of property in an obscure part of town turned up, and I wanted to move in there, the rest of this mafia Corporation ganged up against me. My mother and brother tried to have me declared mentally incompetent; the other 'clients' watched, amused, and no one objected because they were all in on it. Then last night one of my cousins threatened me with a beating, harassment by law-enforcing agencies and - golly! - a defamation suit! Between these two extremes hovered the 'moderate' threat of a police GD. And all this with the connivance of my flesh and blood.

The problem remains: I cannot disinherit myself.

All I can offer are my words as a gentleman that I will not - repeat, not - resort to my rights. I renounce my right to my patrimony.

Will this convince my mother and brother? Even though I put it here before the world, in plain black and white, I don't think so. You see, corruption drives the family members paranoid. They think that just because the state is after their property, everybody is. After all, it wasn't earned, it wasn't something you could call 'mine'.

Now, all my life, I've been obsessed with what's truly mine. That is why I studied Farsi, as I mentioned in an article: to discover 'my' civilisation. This search for authenticity has served me ill materially, and well spiritually.

Into this difference between what's legally mine and what's morally mine - let's say de facto and de jure mine, respectively - enters a million devils. The 'respectable' people in my family are actually money launderers and corrupt businessmen. Therefore in my family I have no honour, for I have no wealth, that solitary standard by which we judge things. But that's no problem: I don't covet the honour of the dishonourable. But I don't desire their persecution either.

So, how do I convince my family that I don't want a square inch of their property? Of course, I could emigrate, but this is no age to leave one's own country, except perhaps for sightseeing, for which I lack the resources. Of course, I could allow the family hoodlum to bump me off, but that would be suicide.

How does one extricate oneself from such a situation, this side of heaven and hell, so that those in the wrong and those in the right can go their separate ways? That is the eternal conundrum.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Ambition is bad enough when your country is independent; but when it's a colony, as Bangladesh is, ambition appears as a contract with the devil.

If not for ambition, Dr. Mozaffer Ahmed wouldn't be grovelling before the DFID, screaming "Corruption! Corruption!" for a bit of attention. He is proud of his background at the University of Chicago, and he does his best to hide his Muslim faith: he never speaks out against Israel because that would put the nails into the coffin of his career.

If not for ambition, Dr. Kamal Hossain wouldn't be kowtowing to every American ambassador: he was sold to the devil when he entered the University of Notre Dame.

If not for ambition, Rehman Sobhan wouldn't be clinging to the coat-tails of Amartya Sen....

If not for ambition, Fazle Abed wouldn't be taking prizes from the mass murderer Bill Clinton....

If not for ambition, Yunus wouldn't have buttered up Bill and his buddies to get his paws on the Nobel Peace Prize....

If not for ambition, Mahfuz Anam wouldn't be giving copies of his daughter's novel to the American ambassador....

We don't read the Persian writers anymore: had we read Sheikh Sa'adi, we would have been impressed by his insistence on the frivolity and vanity of this world. Better to stay away from ambition and lead a humble life, he has said again and again.

Every person I have mentioned above claims to be Muslim and yet they are all busy ingratiating themselves with the killers of Muslim children. There is a hadith that says that the mosques will be full before the day of judgment, and that the truly pious will be unable to live among fellow Muslims....

Why do Muslims fight Muslims? Because some Muslims see that Muslims collaborate with mass murderers and seek fame in a civilisation that is against Muslims.

What is the use of a career that means betraying your people, and your God?

We are trained since childhood by the likes of Mozaffer and Sobhan - and even our own parents - to be munafiq, hypocrites. Nowadays, when I see a pious young person, I say to myself, "He or she will surely go to America". For the most devout among us find prestige and fortune in the Land of the Damned. "God damn America," said a pious, good American. He must be the only one there.

We tell our children, "Look, there is Yunus, he has won a western award! Surely he is a great man. Try to be like him - a flatterer, a dupe, a conscienceless Muslim."

We point to Rehman Sobhan and Mozaffar Ahmed and say, "See, these men helped to create Bangladesh and backed a man called Sheikh Mujib....They are learned people, honoured by the whole of society. Try to lie and deceive like them."

What do you say? You do not wish to be like them but to spend your days unknown, earning an honest income and seeking happiness in family life? You are a fool!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Disinformation and the Daily Star

Disinformation becomes a habit.

Zafar Sobhan, editor of the truth-economizing 'Daily Star' wrote a totally misleading article in the Yale Global Online (

"Throughout the downturn, the government has continued to subsidize the agricultural sector, thus ensuring both food security and a living wage for 60 percent of the population still involved in agriculture, as well as other targeted subsidies aimed at minimizing the worst of the fallout." This is what he maintains.

Yet the World Food Program has called the current situation a "nutritional emergency". Two million children aged under five in Bangladesh are suffering from acute malnutrition. The WFP has a funding shortfall of $4 billion worldwide; in Bangladesh, it planned to help 6.9 million "completely destitute" people this year: it reckons that around 4 million fell through ( .

Here's another old chestnut. "GDP growth in 2009 is estimated to be roughly 5 percent for the second year in a row, down only modestly from the 6 percent plus growth rate that the country had been enjoying since the mid-nineties." (A 1% decline in growth rate is modest? What would be an immodest decline, then?)

I have heard this ad nauseam. According to the AFP, "Despite economic growth of six percent a year in the past five years the benefits have not trickled down to the poorest." Indeed, in an earlier blog entry, I observed how income inequality in the 90s, according to the World Bank, increased, hurting the poor. "In Bangladesh per capita GDP grew at about 2 percent a year during the 1990s, and poverty declined quite slowly. Between 1983 and 1996 the share of people in extreme poverty fell
from 40.9 percent to 35.6 percent—and the share in moderate poverty from 58.5 percent to 53.1 percent. Rural poverty in particular remains very high.Why the slow decline? Part of the answer lies in rising inequality, in both urban and rural sectors, especially between 1992 and 1996, when the Gini coefficient rose from
0.26 to 0.31. Depending on the poverty measure used, a fifth to a third of the potential poverty reduction from growth may have been lost because of higher inequality. If inequality had not increased, the poverty rate would have been about
7–10 percentage points lower in 1995–96 than it actually was (

So much for Zafar Sobhan's obsession with growth rates.

In 2008, food prices doubled, and 7.5 million people fell below the poverty line - and they have not recovered.

45% of the people live below the poverty line - a statistic that never figures in Sobhan's article. Apparently, he's not very concerned about the "ultra-poor", "the ones micro-credit institutions wouldn't dream of looking at," according to John Aylief, country head of WFP.

It appears that Sobhan is pursuing a brief for globalisation, and not its discontents: exactly what you'd expect from a Yale Global Fellow for 2009.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

mass murderer awards prize to local flunky

Remember the guy above? That's right: he killed nearly 2 million Iraqi children in cold blood, and let his lieutenant defend the mass slaughter ("the price is worth it").

Recognise the flunky below? That's right: that's Fazle Abed, founder of BRAC, receiving an award from a mass murderer, and we are all proud of flunky and master.

"Fazle Abed receives first Clinton Global Citizen Award 29 September 2007, Former US President Bill Clinton presented the Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Awards to BRAC Founder and Chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed...""

"After the United States-led coalition devastated Iraq in 1991 to punish 'Saddam-Hitler', the United States and Britain forced murderous sanctions on that hapless country in an attempt to depose him. As in the Nazi holocaust, a million children have likely perished. Questioned on national television about the grisly death toll in Iraq, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright replied that 'the price is worth it'." - Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry (Verso: 2001), pp 147 - 148

"Health Ministry Statistics say that the incidence of abnormal births has increased 400-fold since 1991. The Iraqis also say that, all told, 1.7m children have died because of the various effects of UN sanctions."
- The Economist, September 14th 2002, p 39

Join the group "The Little Funerals" at

Friday, October 9, 2009

Five loaves and two fishes for a multitude

According to this, the DFID has paid BRAC (which has spent) the sum of circa 24 million pounds to raise 4 million rural people from extreme poverty to sustainable livelihood. That comes to 6 pounds per person: so 6 pounds is all it requires to raise a person out of poverty permanently in just 7 years? Per year, that comes to less than 1 pound per person. I suddenly remember reading that Christ multiplied five loaves and two fishes for a multitude while delivering a sermon on a mountain. This guy Abed and the DFID must know some powerful prayers.

Why create these myths about Bangladesh's economy?

. . . while in Bangladesh rising inequality tempered the
poverty reduction from growth
In Bangladesh per capita GDP grew at about 2 percent a year
during the 1990s, and poverty declined quite slowly. Between
1983 and 1996 the share of people in extreme poverty fell
from 40.9 percent to 35.6 percent—and the share in moderate
poverty from 58.5 percent to 53.1 percent. Rural
poverty in particular remains very high.
Why the slow decline? Part of the answer lies in rising
inequality, in both urban and rural sectors, especially between
1992 and 1996, when the Gini coefficient rose from
0.26 to 0.31. Depending on the poverty measure used, a fifth
to a third of the potential poverty reduction from growth may
have been lost because of higher inequality. If inequality
had not increased, the poverty rate would have been about
7–10 percentage points lower in 1995–96 than it actually was.

WDR 2000/2001 p 53

Bangladesh represents a success story among developing countries. Poverty incidence,
which was as high as 57 percent at the beginning of the 1990s, had declined to 49 percent in
2000. This trend accelerated subsequently, reducing the poverty headcount rate to 40 percent in
2005. The primary contributing factor was robust and stable economic growth along with no
worsening of inequality. Respectable GDP growth that started at the beginning of the 1990s
continued into the new millennium and averaged above 5 percent annually between 2000 and
2005. Inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient of consumption, remained stable between
2000 and 2005.

Poverty Assessment for Bangladesh:
Creating Opportunities and Bridging the East-West Divide
Bangladesh Development Series
Paper No. 26

Why did the country paper (below) contradict the global report (above)? Why paint such a rosy scenario for Bangladesh? Why insist that income inequality did not increase at all over the entire period 1990 - 2005?

Was it for political reasons? To buttress our nonfunctioning democracy? To justify donor policies?

When you lie, at least try to be consistent.

The ghost salary of a BRAC worker

A lady came visiting the other day, and spoke to my wife on various subjects. Then the topic turned to work and pay.

"I worked for BRAC," she began. My wife was certain she was going to praise that hallowed institution. "When my salary was 30,000, I used to be paid 9,000. And when my salary was 45,000, I used to be paid 12,000."

My wife's jaws dropped and so did mine when she told me about this. We knew that NGOs mulct both the donors and the staff, pocketing the difference, but we – very naively – hadn't expected it of BRAC. So, where did the money go?

To Abed, the founder, and his family, alleged the lady.

"We can't imagine the kind of lifestyle they have."

Oh yes, we can – now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Machiavelli's lessons lost

For “men ought to be either well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot.” Moreover, “irresolute princes who follow a neutral path are generally ruined.”

These are representative precepts of Machiavelli. Our army failed to abide by them: hence they came to a sorry end in the confines of the BDR headquarters in February 2009.

Where did they go wrong?

First, they tried to keep the two begums out of Bangladesh, with the help of foreign powers: they failed.

Second, they kept the two psychopaths in jail for a year – and then had to let them go.

They should have been either well treated, or crushed.

Thirdly, the army engineered an election to give the Awami League a two-thirds majority. This was lunacy. To set the two parties against each other would have been wiser, and more credible as an election outcome.

Since the politicians had not been crushed but humiliated and allowed to win, they it was who applied Machiavelli's terrible insight: they cold-bloodedly had over fifty officers murdered and some of their wives raped, and interred, or burned. This was a brilliant Machiavellian manoeuvre: the army was mortally hurt, humiliated and disunited, the lower officers furious with the seniors for selling out the officers and women at the BDR HQ.

Can the army ever take revenge? If we go by Machiavelli's formula, not in years. But then, you never know….

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adam Smith contradicts himself, becomes immortal

In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith observed: "Humanity is motivated by self-interest."

In Theory of Moral Sentiments, he observed: "Humanity is not motivated by self-interest".

Therefore, humanity is and is not motivated by self-interest.

If you can contradict yourself on a large enough scale, you get to be famous and immortal – like Adam Smith.(You also get to be trivial and wrong, but then who cares?)

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Gender Gap: now you see it, now you don't

"TRADITION has it that boys are good at counting and girls are good at reading, but the reasons for the differences have always been hotly contested. Now a new study by Luigi Guiso of the European University Institute of Florence and his colleagues published in Science suggests that culture explains most of the difference, in maths at least. The researchers compared a country's OECD 2003 maths and reading test results with various measures of social sexual equality. On average, girls' maths scores were lower than boys' but the gap was largest in countries with the least equality between the sexes, such as Turkey. It vanished in countries such as Norway and Sweden, where sexes are pretty much on a par. And the gap in reading scores increased, with girls doing even better in more equal societies."

This is a chart from The Economist: it shows that Muslim girls (here Turkish girls stand-in for Muslim girls in general) score the lowest over their male classmates in maths.

Now consider the chart below: this shows that the gender gap in income earned is the lowest in Turkey. But I thought Turkey was the country in the OECD "with the least equality between the sexes"! Something seems to have gone wrong. Turkey is and is not one of the countries with the least equality between the sexes.

It appears that the stupid-and-neglected Turkish girls somehow make it though university without mathematics, and, as anthropologists and (no doubt) women's studies experts earn as much as their better-trained mathematically proficient counterparts in the labour market. Curioser and curioser!

"UNIVERSITY offers more than the chance to indulge in a few years of debauchery. A new report from the OECD, a rich country think-tank, attempts to measure how much more graduates can expect to earn compared with those who seek jobs without having a degree. In America the lifetime gross earnings of male graduates are, on average, nearly $370,000 higher than those of non-graduates, comfortably repaying the pricey investment in a university education (female graduates earn an extra $229,000). In South Korea and Spain female graduates pull in a lot more than their male counterparts. In Turkey, although the additional wages are more modest, the difference between men and women is far less pronounced."

The Prophet Motive

When I was at university, a friend of mine wrote inside her book: "There is no God, and Marx is His prophet'.

She didn't know much about Marxism, of course, but she sure hated Islam. Back in the early and mid-80s, if you weren't a Marxist, you weren't respected at Dhaka University, or any university in Bangladesh for that matter (there were no private universities then).

Consequently, universities were hotbeds of communist hotheads. One can imagine the hatred inspired by General Zia and General Ershad's privatization policies, reversing the property-grab of the Sheikh Mujib era. However, we were never immune to the blandishments of money.

My friend – a staunch feminist – received an offer of marriage from a rich Bangladeshi expatriate resident in the USA (yes, the devil's lair). Moreover, this man was a devout Muslim. He would wake up and recite the Koran every day!

Did she agree to such a marriage? In an eye-blink.

I remember how senior students, seemingly addicted to Marxism, would suddenly disappear. On inquiry, it would be learned that he had taken off for some university in America. Ah well! Nothing wrong with acquiring knowledge. Then, after some time, one would learn that he had joined the IMF!

Today, public university teachers routinely moonlight at the (more lucrative) private universities, against the regulations.

You see, there's one thing we can't resist: money.

Marxism brought prestige, which was good for an undergraduate, when your father footed your bills; but the moment you graduated and found yourself in the international labour market, and realized your potential, well, money determined everything. Without a murmur, university teachers went over to democracy and capitalism after the Berlin Wall came crashing down.

Now, there's one idea that pays no earthly dividends: Islam in particular, and religion in general. The old hatred for Islam (that ideological state apparatus, remember?) has, therefore, remained on the campuses. Teachers take every opportunity to instill it into their students. If 90% of American university teachers are democrats (according to The Economist), then 90% of Bangladeshi teachers are supporters of the dynasty of Sheikh Mujib, the apostle of secularism (for which read anti-Islamism).

Hence, when a member of the dynasty was arrested by the army, the teachers incited their indoctrinated students (and paid goons) to burn cars, lorries, restaurants…anything that could be broken and torched.

The intelligentsia squarely blamed the military rulers for raising prices: even though the international media made it abundantly clear that the blame lay on the wrongheaded policy of oil-substitution through ethanol and the planting of maize. From 2007, a chart in The Economist showed a steady rise in international food prices – and January 2007 was when the army took over from the psychopaths

(For international food prices - including Bangladesh's - see Conveniently for our intellectuals, international food prices began to fall just when their psychopathic leader came to power in a rigged election!)

A teacher at a local university blankly accused a bureaucrat of raising food prices – and she was a teacher of (you won't believe this) economics! A banker brazenly asked my wife, "What have international prices got to do with us?"
This year, prices, especially of sugar and ahead of Eid, have risen again – but not a whisper has been heard from the "secular" intellectuals because the dynasty is now in power.

For sugar prices, see

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scoop reports a non-scoop

This ridiculous article fails to mention the connivance of foreign donors in the extrajudicial killings and torture. It says that Bangladesh is an independent country: what a hoot! Bangladesh is run by foreign powers, who allow two psychopaths to run the country in turn. These powers rig elections to ensure the parties rotate to create the illusion of democracy. Since our democratic transition, extrajudicial killing has escalated: now it is practiced by ordinary people on the streets. Every few days, we read about lynchings. There have been around 27 lynchings this year so far (and 78 last year). People are fed up with the violence that followed our "democratic transition". Extrajudicial killing enjoys immense public support, for the people feel that those killed are criminals.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Soldier and His Girl, or Nationalism Castrated

She was a fifteen-year-old nationalist (nothing out of the ordinary about that; I've even known ten-year-old nationalists). She went for a drive with her boyfriend and they stopped at the lake. I hope he wasn't getting a blow job, for at one point she bounded out of the car and went for an angry walk. Had he suggested something more lewd?

Well, depends on your point of view. All he had said was that he was going to join the army. He was lucky she didn't bite off his pecker.

Now, Bengali nationalists hate the army: which is odd, for nationalism and the military have always been grand bedfellows. The French Revolution created the people's army, first seen in action on a more modest scale during the birth of American nationalism: hence the American love of the military. German nationalism reached its peak under Bismarck and a higher peak under Hitler: in both cases, the militarization of society was a hallmark of nationalism. An English friend of mine (who was twice my age, and died in the '80s) used to tell me how during the First World War, young women would bring flowers to young men not in uniform: implying that they lacked balls. Lawrence's writing is full of the associations between nationalism and the military.

Of course, ours is a bogus nationalism: words never travel, for the way of life that constitutes their meaning never travels. So, we have a bogus nationalism and a bogus democracy. Throughout South Asia, these things are bogus, as many a scholar has pointed out. (A nationalism that finds expression in love for a foreign nation, a foreign culture, a foreign religion is one phony nationalism.)

Of course, in Bangladesh, nationalists have a special beef against the military: the military (and politicians) murdered the Father of the Nation, much as Zeus cut off the genitals of Cronos. In Greek myth, the foam that the dick caused in the waters gave rise to Venus; in our case, unfortunately, it gave rise to the Daughter of the Nation (no Venus, unless Venus in Furs without the looks).

Now, she was interned for a year by the army: hence there is an enduring hatred between nationalists and the military.

As for our fifteen-year-old nationalist, I really don't know if she accepted her hussar, or reproduced little nationalists in her turn.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

After the Revolution

"Iranians are too sophisticated to be ruled for ever by a clutch of old men in turbans. The regime has been illiberal and authoritarian. It is often vicious in its suppression of opponents and its disregard for human rights. Iran has the highest rate of judicial executions per head in the world."

- The Economist, 20th June 2009

The Germans were too sophisticated to be ruled by a short corporal. They were illiberal (to put it mildly) and authoritarian (ahem!).
The excelled in everything: from sophisticated composers ranging from Bach, through Beethoven and Brahms, and – whoops! – Wagner, to philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche.

Yet it took a less sophisticated people – the Russians – to stop them.
After the Iranian revolution, the revolutionaries found they had no plan: no one had thought of what kind of regime would replace the Shah's. The only people who had a blueprint – and one from heaven – were the mullahs. Otherwise, the nation would have descended into chaos.

It has been estimated that 11% of Iranians took part in the revolution; the corresponding figure for the Russian revolution is 9%; and for the grand daddy of them all, the French revolution, it is 6%.

All three revolutions had one thing in common: no one knew what to replace the previous regime with, except the mullahs, the Bolsheviks and Napoleon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Muslim collaborators

"In the far east, a Buddhist civilization flourishing in Bengal was forced to abandon that faith by a Hindu dynasty which subsequently oppressed the native people."

"About 1200 these Turkish Moslems swept into Bengal (now Bangladesh) and were eagerly greeted by the people who were seeking a release from Hindu oppression."

- A Comprehensive Outline of World History By: Jack E. Maxfield

We appear, through the curlicues of history, to have come full circle: once again we are oppressed by a Hindu dynasty, but this time through their local, "Muslim" collaborators.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

There's gold in them thar hills!

Bangladesh Gets $19 Million from US & Germany for Reforestation Project

A worthy cause, pity the money will mostly go to waste: it'll end up in the pockets of either government staff and/or the hands of the ultra-corrupt insurgents, the PCJSS, (more likely the latter), with whom we (Bangladesh) have signed a bogus "peace" treaty. It'll buy arms for the group and generate a new source of income to supplement their current appropriations from government/donor handouts, as well as kidnapping and extortion. Their enemies, the UPDF, will also try to muscle in on the act - therefore, a tripartite division of the spoils seems the most likely outcome (not to mention greater violence).

And the worst part is that the western governments and donors know all about the situation. I guess the money has to go somewhere, and aid always serves the ultimate purpose: control over a foreign nation.

Consider this statistic: only 25% of donor money reaches the poor. So you can infer how much is going to go on photosynthesis.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An Evening With Nationalists

As I've mentioned before, most of my wider family are nationalists – they are supporters of the Awami League. That they are beyond reason and sanity, everyone knows: that they are beyond humanity should not be a well-kept secret either.

My wife and I spent an evening with them: it was supposed to be a getting-together to mourn a dead relative, but we found the booze flowing merrily enough, and, naturally, singers at the podium.

But that was nothing compared to what followed.

My cousin and his wife had recently come here for a short visit. A more tragic couple I have yet to meet. She had breast cancer, and had had a mastectomy performed. She was under chemotherapy. They were devout Muslims, and thoroughly apolitical.

But she had a major defect in the eyes of her nationalist relatives: she wore a hijab (albeit with the face showing). That she was very religious seemed to earn her the scorn of everyone present. And they were both revolted by the booze, which the company sensed.

The girl was crying. She spoke, sobbing, to one of my uncles: "Nobody knows what we're going through" I heard her say. And I could imagine: besides the Damocles' sword of cancer hanging over you, there's the sheer cost of treatment in America; even insurance was expensive and my cousin had lost his job in the economic downturn, and his wife couldn't work.

And my uncle told her: "Try to take things lightly".

How do you take cancer lightly? Is religion an inappropriate response to the prospect of imminent death?

So, there were these secular nationalists, swilling booze and listening to the songs of Tagore, and looking down their collective noses at my cousin and his cancerous wife for being practicing Muslims, non-Awami Leaguers.

Isn't that our country writ small?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There's dope in them thar hills!

As a nation, we are expert at being unable to predict and prevent trouble, and past master at regretting it - and of ourselves being the cause.

The government seems determined to pull out troops from the Chittagong Hill Tracts. One of the consequences of such a move will be acceleration in poppy cultivation.

According to a reliable source, poppy is already cultivated in Thanchi Upazila. The circumstances are typical: insurgency around a border area.

The Burmese government has, with considerable difficulty, reduced the area under opium in its border areas. There are reports that opium still finds its way into Bangladesh through the border.

One can imagine the impact that wide-spread poppy cultivation will have on Bangladesh. We will rapidly go from failed state to narco-state: every institution, including the army, will become involved. That means, there will be no remedy for the disease when it begins to spread. Unlike Burma, Bangladesh is, unfortunately, ruled by civilians – and very criminal civilians at that.

Poppy farmers will not include only hill people – Bengali settlers will be heavily involved, making it impossible for a democratic government to root out the evil.

And the evil will include the sale of opium and heroine outside our schools and universities. Opium creates its own demand: some of it may initially be given away free, or at dirt-cheap prices. Once sales take off, profit-taking will begin.
So, if we want to see our children addicted to heroine, we should support the government's lunatic manouevres in the Hill Tracts – in cahoots with foreigners who don't have to live here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mal Aria in the The Chittagong Hill Tracts

(Also see my previous article "Horace in the Hills" at

Late on the night of December 2, 1997 my mother received a phone call from an Awami League MP, Mrs. Chitra Bhattacharya, who is also a close family friend.
The message she had to communicate with breathless excitement was that the Peace Treaty with the PCJSS of the hill tracts had been signed. Her husband, Mr. Debesh Bhattacharya, was an ex-judge of the Supreme Court. How the pair could connive at such a massively illegal manouevre is beyond me.

1) The so-called treaty has a provision for a Land Commission under which all land disputes will be settled – without any scope for appeal to the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, thereby setting up another Supreme Court in Bangladesh; in effect, creating two countries. This violates the rights of all concerned – the hill people as well as the Bengali settlers – and violates the sovereignty of Bangladesh.

2) The so-called Treaty was rejected by a section of the people of the hill tracts – the United People's Democratic Front (UPDF), which, on my last visit, was far more popular than the PCJSS. I do not see how the PCJSS can pretend to speak for all the hill people.

3) The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, a body set up in Copenhagen in the 1990s after the cold war ended to pressure the Bangladesh government to 'resolve' the hill tracts issue, has scant regard for the constitution of the country. They have devised a treaty that is ultra vires of the constitution, as I pointed out in section 1. This won't be the first time that foreigners have raped our constitution: in 1990, when General Ershad resigned, instead of the vice-president taking over per constitution, the Chief Justice, the supposed protector of the constitution, became its chief violator by becoming president – and then legalizing his action by an act of parliament. Henceforth, no one could be certain that, given sufficient international pressure, our apex court won't give in. This was how the international community hoped to bring about the 'rule of law' in Bangladesh. They repeated a similar manoeuvre on 11th January 2007. All the talk about the 'rule of law' and 'the people's rights' is just palaver.

4) Since the signing of the hopelessly misnamed Peace Treaty, over 200 people have been killed in violence between the PCJSS and the UPDF. The Commission insists there will be no slide in law and order after withdrawal of the armed forces: the events of the past years belie that possibility. Furthermore, settlers have put up road blocks to prevent the army from leaving on several occasions: despite these facts, the Commission insists there's nothing to fear.

5) One of the major sticking points in the implementation of the non-treaty, and one which nobody talks about, is the fact that the Bengali settlers are internally displaced people (IDP): they didn't voluntarily go to the hills to settle among the malaria and the jungles. Thus, they have to be rehabilitated as well as the hill people. This is something the PCJSS refuses to accept. No doubt, the Commission and our government will sell out the settlers for a fictitious and iniquitous peace that will be no peace.

6) The disrespect of the Commission for constitutional procedure is evidenced by the fact that the Commission insists there will be no violence if the army is removed from the hills – despite the matter being sub judice and that the High Court of Bangladesh has issued an injunction against troop withdrawal. Does the Commission feel that it is above the judiciary of Bangladesh? Clearly it does.

7) It is unfortunate that the so-called Peace Treaty has stirred up such a hornet's nest of constitutional matters. Whichever way the High Court verdict goes – and no doubt the issue will be taken all the way to the Appellate Division – the verdict will not please all parties. Such verdicts cannot: either the settlers and their supporters will be angry, or the hill people and the PCJSS will be disappointed. And the apex court will once again be discredited.

On Argument (essay)

(click above for essay)

“Two wise men do not contend and quarrel,
Nor does a scholar fight with a contemptible fellow.”

- Sheikh Sa’di

Sheikh Sa’di advises us not to argue: it is a futile endeavour, and levels the fool and the wise person. For the latter, it is best to agree with the former, or remain silent.

Friday, August 14, 2009

All for a few dollars

Suppose somebody makes me this offer: "If you give $100 to a poor person, I'll give you $200."

Would my action, then, be a moral action?

Yet that is exactly what western donors are urging us to do: to pretend to be altruistic, when we are being supremely egotistic.

A moral action must be performed by an agent who has no ulterior motive: otherwise, it is sheer corruption.

And that is what we are: massively corrupt, with the donors corrupting us daily.
Mind you, I'm not saying that the mere act of making money is corrupting: far from it. Trade and industry are dignified pursuits. The western donor corrupts us by making us seem altruistic, by making us lie to ourselves and to others.

The NGO-wallahs know, deep down, that they have been corrupted in the worst possible manner: the man who takes a bribe and does not pretend to be honest is far less corrupt than the donation-receiving NGO-wallah. Self-deception is the supreme corruption.

Then comes pride in your corruption: the command of so much wealth, the adulation of other members of society, the prizes received…all conspire to elevate you above the rest of humanity. We begin to take pride in our fallen nature, like Satan.

"Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth." But our 'philanthropy' consists precisely in letting everyone know what we are doing – noble deeds, generous acts, all for the most selfish and self-centred of reasons.

The Satanisation of our souls is complete. We have sold away our most precious possession – and for what? For a few moments of glory? For a few dollars? In a cost-benefit analysis we would appear supremely idiotic.

The worst cases are those that exhort us to go against our own civilization: for a few dollars, they denounce our culture and our traditions, our sacred and our profane heritage…all for a few dollars.

Take Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB). Do we need to be reminded that corruption is evil by Berliners? Doesn't the Muslim ethical code serve the purpose? Why do we need an alien civilization to instill in us what we can learn better from our own? And aren't those serving the TIB corrupt to the highest extreme? They have given away not only their conscience but their very own heritage.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Nationalism - Across The Border

One evening, in a conversation with my father, he related how a close family friend had lampooned the Koran the previous day.

He had made fun of the Prophet (SA) and the Koran: he had ridiculed the fact that the Prophet (S) had several wives, that he had revelations….In short, Islam was nothing but puerile idiocy.

Some time ago, this gentleman's wife had tried to ridicule the Koran to my face by saying that the Koran mentioned slavery. I said, "So what? It discouraged slavery."

"But why should a holy book mention slavery?"

At this point I ceased to discuss the subject, for I was talking to one of the supporters of the Awami League and Sheikh Hasina, people impervious to reason and united by a virulent hatred of Islam.

This family was a special case: the gentleman was the brother of a certain army general who had been brought out of retirement to be army chief. The entire family (the children included) shared this hostility to Islam. Oddly enough, when the daughter studied in India, she did so at the Aligarh Muslim College, and lived on its premises. Take advantage of Islam whenever it suits you, I guess.

I have learnt that hardcore supporters of the Awami League share a hatred of Islam. It is necessary to join the club. It is like the hatred of capitalism that was required of card-carrying communists.

And, of course, there's the corresponding love of Hinduism and India.

One of my cousins became a bank manager and one of her first democratic actions was to order that all women employees must wear the saree, and no woman could wear shalwar-kameez: the latter is a Pakistani (so Muslim) dress, while the former is an Indian (so Hindu) costume. She and her husband are forever traveling to Kolkata and hobnobbing with the intellectuals there and inviting them over to stay at their house in Dhaka. When my family and I go over to their house, we frequently come in contact with a Kolkata intellectual. It is a nauseating encounter.

An artist confided in me that unless you were anti-Islam (not just atheist), you couldn't succeed in the fine arts in Bangladesh. It seems that the entirety of our practitioners of higher education has gone over to the Awami League.

Why this hatred of Islam? The fault lies with our nationalism. Nationalism usually glorifies folk culture and the ways of the masses: but the ways of the masses is inextricably connected with Islam.

So our nationalism is an ersatz nationalism, as all South Asian nationalisms are. It is merely a cover to loot the people.

My wife and I, out of a perverse curiosity, went to see a nationalist film at a local theatre: I think it was the Balaka. It was based on a story by Humayun Ahmed. What impressed me was the fact that not a single rickshaw puller or garments factory girl was present: the audience consisted entirely of 'ladies' and 'gentlemen'.

This is our 'nationalism': for the elite, of the elite and by the elite – and across the border!

Monday, July 27, 2009

democracy and blasphemy

"Dutch film FITNA has been released. In the film they made fun of our beloved PROPHET HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (S.) n' refused to apologize. Now please join hands to boycott the dutch (Holland/Netherlands) products. 1.6 billion Muslims can surely 'SLAP' dutch economy. Plz forward this sms to all muslims. It's our holy duty as a muslim.
Remember ALLAH might ask you one day, WHAT DID YOU DO WHEN THEY MADE FUN OF MY FRIEND MUHAMMAD (S.). Be ready to answer the questn."

I received this on my mobile the other day. I let as many people know as possible, but I asked myself one question: "Does the sender believe in democracy?"

I know the sender, and I didn't want to start a riot in our relationship by pointing out her incoherence. For in all likelihood, she probably believes in democracy – and freedom of expression.

Like most Muslims who are democrats, she is unaware that you cannot go around sending messages like that and arguing for freedom of expression. Freedom of expression and democracy mean that you can makes movies like fitna without making any apologies.

Many of my friends are Muslims and they believe in freedom of expression, and all the western baggage that comes with it. But they won't take the belief to its logical conclusion – the right to offend by speaking your mind on any subject under (or above) the sun.

If you want to appear 'modern', you run the risk of contradicting yourself, and revealing your hypocrisy.

In fact, you don't even know what you believe in.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Crematorium

Shaheen would like to be cremated.

She is a distant relative of mine, and like most of my wider family, supports the Awami League with blind devotion (that is to say, she is an Awami Leaguer.)

One evening, when we had gone visiting a very sick relative, she was unfortunately there. The subject turned to burial – she maneuvered the conversation towards that topic. Naturally, like any good Awami Leaguer, she disapproves of burial, the only reason being that it is practiced in Islam. Everything about Islam is anathema to Shaheen, whereas everything about Hinduism is glorious.

One of these glorious aspects is cremation; she deplored the fact that she could not be cremated in Bangladesh. I wondered why she didn't just sneak across the border before death and had herself burnt and floated down the river. (Or she could go down to Japan, where she would be toast even before you could say 'rigor mortis'.)

Now, her husband works for a conglomerate and earns a pot of money. If she migrates to India, her husband would lose his status and a significant part of his income, Muslims being more discriminated against in India than dalits, according to academic studies.

Shaheen wouldn't like to live in India, mind you: she loves money too much for that. She would like to sit on this side of the fence and sigh, casting wistful glances at the other side. Ah! If only the money on this side hadn't been so good! If only they didn't live in a mansion with a second home to get away to for the weekends and from that terrible Muslim ritual, Eid! If only they lived in poverty and could make it to the other side, pretending to be Hindus, and take up jobs as coolies. It's all the fault of that man, Jinnah!

If it hadn't been for him, she would have been cremated.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pssst…wanna be a millionaire (or, where are Bill Gates's dollars going)?

First, you set up a small charity, and pretend to help the poor. After a year or so, you set up a central committee…consisting entirely of your family members (make sure your cousins have different last names)…then you wait another year.

Then you approach an NGO like ActionAid and ask for a small donation. The donor obliges, since you are tight with the staff.

Here comes the beauty part: then, using your modest capital, you buy controlling shares in a company: you may not own the company, but you are effectively the owner.

So now you control a lot more capital than before: of course it helps no end if you are already the top man at the company, but that's not always important.

Now, with control over the firms' capital, you buy the controlling shares in another company, and acquire control of more capital.

Meanwhile, you and your relatives take out very modest salaries on your little NGO…but are making enormous money on the side.

That's where Bill Gates's money comes in. Naturally, there are many entrepreneurs – I mean, philanthropists – like you by now. You form a net, a network.
Bill (or whoever the idiot may be) has no option but to operate through the mafia…I mean the network.


The number of NGOs getting into commercial activity is beginning to be significant. I once checked into a hotel where I had often been before…and then I found that the unit had been taken over by an NGO called TMSS (Thangamari Mahila Sabuj Sangha). The tariff had gone up…and the service had jumped off a cliff.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Clothes and 'modernity'

(click above for article)

"For example, I prefer to wear jeans and T-shirt too. Because I need easily to use my legs and arms." My 'modern' Turkish friend pleads efficiency for her attire; oddly, though, efficient farm girls in Turkey wear the shalwar, as they do in Bangladesh, along with the saree. 'Modernity' comes in many covers, and this one conceals less of its sinister side than most.

Please submit the link above to

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Crimes of Finance

(click above for article)

I remember how, on the saree-tails of Sheikh Hasina, the Beximco Group allegedly rigged the stockmarket in 1996, soon after the petticoat came to power; today, again, on the same garmented ladder of the same woman, and again as soon as she came to power, the Beximco Group appear to be treating other people's money as their own.


"The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, appeared on television in a question-and-answer session on every subject conceivable. It was a charade of 'transparency'. Among the three interviewees was one Debapriya Bhattacharya, well-known to the author since his childhood days, and well-known among the elite today (indeed, he is currently president of the Trade and Development Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD). He questioned the prime minister how it was that 50 million takas had been siphoned out of the country and the alleged masterminds incorrectly charged. He noted that it was regrettable, and the subject, of such enormous moment, was quietly shelved. But Bhattacharya had earned his fifteen minutes.

It so happened that Bhattacharya's mother, Mrs. Chitra Bhattacharya, was an MP of the ruling party, and the whole family was tight with the PM. This was what allowed young Bhattacharya to appear to be questioning the executive: a very well-choreographed family affair."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Ignorant Ignorant of Ignorance

Why must people pretend to know more than they do? Is it some kind of weakness or some sort of criminality?

I just had a fight with a friend who seemed to know every subject there is to know: as an engineer, her mastery of the subject invited my deference. But when she makes a casual remark on a solitary sentence of mine that has taken five or more years of study, one wonders if one is dealing with a friend or a charlatan.

Most people are experts on social science, political philosophy, psychology....The man who spends year after year pursuing a single thread through the Minoan labyrinth finds it galling when his most well-thought-out statement is dismissed by an appeal to (fake) 'common sense'.

Why is it that we can't acknowledge our ignorance? I am reminded of Socrates who was regarded as the wisest of men because he knew that he knew nothing. Perhaps this is a very painful position to hold, like grasping a sword the wrong way: but the edges must be grasped even if the spirit bleeds.

If only my fine friend had had the humility of wonderment, the child-like bafflement before an incomprehensible universe, the primitive piety before an inscrutable cosmos, totally insecure in the knowledge that what we know is as nothing compared to what we do not know, not alone on the individual level, but on that of the collective. For the collective lends the individual a spurious pride, as though he is the receptacle of the enlightened ages, when all we know is that we, and I, know nothing.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Fallacy of Accent Revisited

How many women are broken into the brothels of Lahore every month? How many women are trafficked into secular Pakistan and raped into whoredom?

We don't know.

But we know that one woman was whipped by the Taliban: and since this video was circulated throughout the world, it seemed that the Taliban are serial whippers.
This single video clip was enough to galvanise Pakistan public opinion against the Taliban, and in favour of the military action against men, women and children. M.J.Akbar devoted an entire column to refute there can be anything as a 'moderate Taliban' – on the strength of the solitary video clip.

Yet nobody has ever filmed the goings-on at the Lahore brothels.

Behavioural psychologists have dubbed this the "availability heuristic": "The availability heuristic tends to bias our interpretations, because the ease with which we can imagine an event affects our estimate of how frequently that event occurs. Television and newspapers, for example, tend to cover only the most visible, violent events. People therefore tend to overestimate incidents of violence and crime as well as the number of deaths from accidents and murder, because these events are most memorable (Kahneman, Slovic, & Tversky, 1982). As with all cognitive shortcuts, a biased judgment occurs, because the sample of people and events that we remember is unlikely to be fair and full."

Friday, June 19, 2009

People power in Iran?

"Iran’s rural population has historically been very deeply apolitical". This, according to the Economist, is wrong: 66% of poor and rural voters vote as against 33% of the urbanised middle class. But never mind that.

A 'class' analysis doesn't take that modern fact into account: the agent provocateur. In this brilliantly researched article by Seymour Hersh, he shows in vivid detail how America has been priming the pump in Iran:

Also try : Iran mosque blast plotters admit Israeli, US links: report:

They also admitted carrying out "one or two minor operations," the agency said, without providing further details except to say the group launched military operations a year ago.

Besides, we know that people are dumb: they must and will be led and manipulated. Leo Strauss's Iron Law of Oligarchy has always held true.

"They are openly, and in millions across the country, questioning the legitimacy of the establishment, represented at the moment by Ahmadinejad. The people, in short, have moved beyond Mousavi". Millions of people out of a population of 70 million, most of whom are above 15? That doesn't sound like "the people" to me: it sounds like the impressionistic and ill-educated Gucci class of Iran.

I have seen it happen time and again in Bangladesh: a couple of people take to the streets, and they call it a revolution, when the vast majority is farming or fishing.

The writer mentions the misery index: inflation plus unemployment. Inflation has always done nutty things to people, especially the middle class because they see their savings eroded; unemployment creates the hooligans who take to the streets.

What the writer failed to mention was the multiplication of the number of university students: whenever this happens, society becomes unstable. An educated middle class is the worst calamity that can befall a nation: it led to the violent break-away of East Pakistan from West Pakistan in 1971, to the anti-British attacks of the Bengal terrorists earlier.

A wise government, like Malaysia's and Indonesia's, would have kept tertiary education down to a minimum and maximised primary education. However, sooner or later, tertiary education becomes necessary, and then you have lunatic movements like 'reformasi' and Tiananmen.

fear and loathing in the land of the free

Funny you should mention fear of torture in Iran. When I email my Bangladeshi friends and relatives in America, they are terrified if I make any reference to rigged elections in Bangladesh, or electoral violence in Bangladesh, or any aspect of US foreign policy that has anything to do with Bangladesh. And, of course, I must NEVER say anything about extraordinary rendition, Gitmo, etc, and I never do; but I can't help talking about US foreign policy here, on my soil, in my land....
They are terrified that somebody is reading their e-mails, so they beg me not to write about these things, even though I am only writing about events in Bangladesh. I have to confine myself to subjects like appendectomies and caching the cold from my students....

As for controlled elections, well, that's a well-trodden subject nowadays, so I won't bring it up. A recent historian, David Reynolds, has observed that the US electoral system is so tightly controlled that no outsider can ever possibly hope to win. Like Ralph Nader, perhaps.

My friends are afraid, at the least, of losing their jobs, their careers, their bread and butter; and, at the worst, losing sleep for nights without end, and waterboarding….If I lived in such a state, I would be scared dead too.

It's no use saying that these people's fears are unfounded: after all, the US government hasn't (yet) drawned and quartered anyone for criticising their foreign policy.

But that misses the point: their terror is perfectly real – largely because they have Muslim names.

twitter in Iranian skies

"and gathering swallows twitter in the skies"

- John Keats

I wonder what percentage of Iranians twitter (the same percentage of birds that are swallows?).

I seem to recall another upheaval (revolution being too strong a world) of semi-people power where those with mobile phones won out against those without mobile phones. That was in the Philippines.

Nothing like that in Iran, of course: perish the twittering thought!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Intersexuals

A businessman I know describes our intellectuals as 'intersexuals'. One can see why.

Take the two chairmen, Mozaffer Ahmed of Transparency International, and Rehman Sobhan of the Centre for Policy Dialogue. They have recently become brothers-in-law: Rehman Sobhan married the former's sister-in-law.

Rawshan Jahan, wife of Mozaffer Ahmed, is a personality in the NGO world – especially where women's affairs are concerned.

Depapriya Bhatacharya is an acolyte of Rehman Sobhan – a very beneficial nexus. The former's mother was an Awami League MP after 1996.

Rehman Sobhan's son is a big man at the Daily Star, run and partly owned by Mahfuz Anam, whose wife is the Big Woman at the mother of all NGOs 'Manusher Jonno'.

This is how 'consensus' is generated in society: western donors need to control only a few minds at the top, and the rest of the body, testicles included, follow, quite the reverse of Nixon's doctrine ("if you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow").

These people are frequently miscalled 'civil society'. In fact, they are The Intersexuals.

(Please forward any more connections in this incestuous world to yours truly.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tale of the Intellectual Harlot

There was once a whore who wanted much more

Than a career in spreading her thighs;

She thought she recognised a customer disguised

By the feel (she was wrong) of his size.

“Are you Kamaldin?” “No, I’m Aladdin.”

“Aaaah!” she gasped, “I won’t charge you if you’ll

Make me - easy, my boy - an intellectual.”

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

And ceased to say her permitted say.

At the NGO the donors then became her new owners

Who asked her to denounce the Caliphate,

Sing democracy’s praise, and their secular ways,

And to parrot that laissez-faire wasn’t great!

And before each meeting she observed

That the rights of women must be preserved!

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

And ceased to say her permitted say.

But her bottom would smart just as when she was a tart

From the sitting position she used;

And her mouth would be sore like it used to before

While some flaccid old fool stood amused.

So she wanted her honesty back

And let Aladdin have one more whack!

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

And ceased to say her permitted say.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The felis domesticus of Bangladesh

There is an article in today's (24th May) Bangladesh Observer, lifted, it says, from the internet, on Sheikh Hasina as a sort of felis domesticus – a cat. How so? For repeatedly surviving attempts to kill her.

Apparently this female feline is on an international terrorist hit list. And the reason?

According to Messrs. Samuel T. Smith and Tony Shahabarat, her crime in the eyes of the jihadis is that she is a female ruler in a Muslim country. This, apparently, was why Bhutto was killed in Pakistan. Not for being pro-western or pro-Indian, mind you, but for being – female.

It would then have to follow that Khaleda Zia, twice prime minister of Bangladesh, is not on the hit list for being female because – unbeknown to all but the jihadis – she has undergone a sex change. However, she still looks and sounds female.

Then there's Indonesia's Megawati Sukarnoputri – surely she looks female to most of us? Then it is a gross oversight on the part of the jihadis not to honour her with a place on the list.

The answer to the feline's problems is simple of course – she must speedily undergo a sex change, and sport a beard and a moustache. But then one wonders how the unmodern jihadis will react to this modern procedure. (I have had several cats spayed, but a sex change…well, why not?)

Let the she-male prime minister come, and test our hypothesis!

(NB I have not been able to find the article anywhere on the net; if some kind soul would discover it, could he/she please let me know?)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Basenji dogs of Bangladesh

The Basenji dog never barks; Amnesty International sometime does: sometimes it's just a Basenji.

And this was one of the occasions.

A bomb maker of an Islamist group, Boma Mizan, was arrested by security forces, on 14th May after a four-hour struggle.

He gave the signal to his wife, Sharmin, and the lady immediately set off explosives to try and blow up herself and her children. She succeeded only in blowing off her right wrist and wounding her two children, one two years old, the other a baby.

Why did she do that?

Naturally, she didn't want to be raped and tortured for information, as, without doubt, she will be. And with her gone, who would look after her children? It seemed the rational thing to do.

But where were the Basenji dogs of the west: Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and the assorted chorus of our conscience?

Nowhere to be heard.

When jihadis are arrested, there is never any call from the Basenjis to follow due process, avoid the use of torture, the need for transparency….

Yet Human Rights Watch has been snapping like a Russian Samoyed over the arrest of BDR soldiers implicated in the murder and rape of army officers and their wives.

Double standards? Perish the thought: they just lose their voices from over-barking at times.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Another Reformation? Off your rocker, are you?

"SIR – The right to examine and disagree with any institution, especially the church or state, benefits the object of inspection. The UN Human Rights Council's decision to forbid "defamation" of religion fails to recognise the benefits of scrutiny in evaluating the integrity of a religion.
Islam is strong enough to withstand criticism. If the countries that lobbied for the UN vote believe this, the resolution would not have passed.
Stephen Wong
Germantown, Maryland"

Take this letter to the editor: a superb example of bad logic and unexamined premises.

"The right to examine and disagree with any institution, especially the church or state, benefits the object of inspection."

Did the right to examine the RC Church benefit the object of examination? It turned it into a cruel inquisitor and ingniter of bonfires. The Wars of Religion started and Christianity itself became abhorrent to many: it was one of the forces for secularization in the west. Finally, the Thirty Years' War gave complete power to princes in religious matters. No doubt, in some spiritual way, those who were burnt at the stake or who set fire to the fagots were improved, but certainly not in any corporeal sense.

Islam has only on major division: the Shia-Sunni split. What these people who cry for a Muslim Reformation seem to want is a internal civil war within the Muslim polity: sorry, no can do. As R.A.Nicholson observed: "It must be admitted for the credit of the Ulama, that they seldom resorted to violence. Islam was happily spared the horrors of an organised Inquisition." Let's keep it that way, shall we?

Moreover, these 2estern attitudes reveal an essential western value: the love of conflict over concord.

Western history over the last 500 years reads like a B-grade action movie, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor: hostility towards each other, and towards the world, marks western civilization.

After two world wars, Europe discovered itself and stopped shooting. "Halt! Who goes there?" "You!"

Of course, western bellicosity has gained it entrée to every nook of the world, but what it really craves is to enter every niche of the vanquished mind. Sheer physical domination has not been enough. They want the enchained to love their chains.
Mental domination is a unique aspect of the west: totalitarianism is a purely western phenomenon. Its founder was Plato, who deplored the "privatization of thoughts and feelings". It is not enough to control your actions; your thoughts must also be controlled. And in this the west succeeds admirably.

So many have come to love their chains! So many intellectuals try to think the way their masters do: it's not just a question of competence with cutlery, but with psychic manipulation.

Isn't it enough to control Saudi Arabia: why do you have to control the mind of the average Saudi? So long as the oil flows, and Israel is protected, why mess with the religion?

A struggle against the west therefore means a struggle for mastery over one's own mind: a nation of mental slaves, such as Bangladesh, can never resist the west. Pakistan is more to be admired: in pretending to carry out its master's instructions, it pursues its own interests (this is only true of the army and the intelligence branch, of course, the ISI). It keeps its focus on its main adversary, India, and meanwhile spreads weapons of mass destruction worldwide, selling secrets to Iran and North Korea. As George Orwell observed, the atom bomb will be the great equalizer – pitting small states against big, the individual against the state (
) .

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Fallacy of Accent

The fallacy of accent is a favourite of connoisseurs of informal fallacies. The classic example runs as follows.

It is the story of the captain and the first mate. The captain, a stout teetotaler, and the first mate, an inveterate old toper, got along miserably on board. Exasperated with his bibulous subaltern, the captain entered the following in the log: ‘The mate was drunk today’. The mate discovered this and got his own back by recording, when it was his turn to enter the log: ‘The captain was sober today’.

More sinister is the caption under a photograph of two women in chador and sunglasses, laughing at the camera: Not gloom and doom all the time. The implication of gloom and doom almost every living second (except when photographed by a western journalist) in a Muslim country is artfully suppressed.
The most recent example I’ve found is from the inside pages of The Economist (25th April 2009):

“Globalisation, of course, requires global news. But Sir John[Maddox] was equal to that. Henry Gee, another protégé, recalls a trick that Sir John called the “Afghanistan Effect”. “You write a little news story that says that nothing much has happened in Afghanistan, and people think ‘Goodness! Nature has coverage of Afghanistan’.”

If the reader finds any other instances of the fallacy of accent, please do let me know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ahmedinejad speaks the truth

Ahmedinejad speaks the truth - and the west (as usual) doesn't like it. Where women have to give births at checkpoints, it is amazing that this country is respected by the west; a country that practices ritual assassination (Olmert had not ruled out the possibility of even taking out the Palestinian president), western hypocrisy stinks to high heaven. All these countries are seasoned killers, so human dignity mean nothing to them.

In India, the British government stood silently by while 3 million starved to death in 1943 - and they insist it was a good regime. In Orwell's novel, Burmese Days, we see the racist contempt that the British felt for the natives; and The World of Suzie Wong shows us that it was OK to have sex with a Chinese girl, but marrying one...simply not done, old chap. In Lawrence of Arabia, we see the present Israeli contempt for Arabs crystalising. When Lawrence excuses his ill-fitting uniform, he says that his had been stolen. The immediate response of the others is : "Wogs!"

My doctor friend in Britain says that they regard skin colour the way Muslims regard pigs. One of his patients told him to his face: "I don't mind coloured doctors, but my friends do".

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The great BDR cover-up

Gray car in BDR Massacre

This just in, the gray car of the BDR massacre has been identified. Information is below:

Registration number : ঢাকা মেট চ ৫১-৪৪৫৪
Model: Nissan Urvan, Third generation E24

If you know about this vehicle, please call :
Army Headquarters Control Room:

Land line : (02) 8712197,

Cellphone : 0171 3333 256.

Article by Sunita Paul

Barrister Abdur Razzak, a leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami received written notice from Investigation Officer with Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Abdul Kahar Akhand asking Razzak to appear before the investigation officer for interrogation in connection to Bangladesh Riffles (BDR) massacre case.

It may be mentioned here that, Kahar Akhand is known in Bangladesh as he was the investigation officer of Bangabandhu murder case and Jail killing case. He was warned by the highest judiciary in the country for his lack of experience in investigating the cases.

Kahar, basically a loyalist of the ruling party was brought back to service on contract basis from retirement. He has 'high reputation' of twisting various investigations to meet the taste of the ruling party. He is one of the very few officers in Bangladesh Police, who has direct access via cell phone to both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. For such 'high connection', Kahar shows damn-care attitude towards his senior officers while continues to misbehave with all the junior officers in the police department as well in CID.

The present rulers in Dhaka especially assigned their own man like Kahar Akhand as the chief investigator of the BDR massacre case, as they knew, this officer will do everything in finally setting out all the names of Awami League men behind this notorious crime, thus putting several opposition leaders and figures as the accused. Since his appointment as the chief investigator of the case, Kahar Akhand is in constant contact with the Home Minister and several influential leaders in the ruling party.

Top level in the government has reportedly given repeated instructions to Kahar Akhand in entangling some leaders from Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Jamaat and some Islamist forces like Hizb Ut Tahrir etc. He also has been suggested to 'discover' militant connection to this sensitive case.

When Awami League leader Torab Ali Akhand was arrested in connection to this case and was interrogated by several intelligence agencies, including CID, it was crystal clear to the investigators that the ruling party and some opposition leaders played dirty role in giving instigation and patronization to the bloody massacre. Such message was secretly communicated to the high-ups in the government. Hearing such information from Abdul Kahar Akhand, high-command in the ruling Grand Alliance has strongly instructed him to 'do something in turning the matter to another direction or face severe consequence'.

CID officer Abdul Kahar Akhand already knows the case of Muhidul Islam Muhit, who is the plaintiff of Bangabandhu murder case. Muhit was the Assistant Personal Secretary to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and was on duly at the residence of the founding father of Bangladesh during the black night of brutal assassination of him and other members of Bangabandhu's family.

Muhit was found in a poor economic condition in Jessore after Awami League formed government in 1996. He was picked up by the government and was encouraged to lodge the case. Abdul Kahar Akhand was introduced to Muhit from the very first hour, for preparing the First Information Report (FIR) as well as statement for the investigation into this case.

Muhit received more than 3 residential plots and substantial amount of money from Awami League for agreeing to become the plaintiff of the case. This case changed the life of this poor man, who ultimately sold out all the plots, which were secretly allocated in his name to the owners of Akij Group of Companies in Bangladesh.

Abdul Kahar Akhand knows that, if he will be able to serve the purpose of the ruling party, his next few years in the contract-based job in police service will be extremely bright. He will be compensated in diversified ways. But, if he will ignore instructions from the high-command of the ruling party, he not only will lose the job, but his life will also be in extreme danger.

With such tendency in mind, Akhand has successfully saved Torab Ali from making confessional statement to the Metropolitan Magistrate under section 164. It is even claimed that, Torab Ali, instead of being interrogated, is enjoying comfortable time inside the CID headquarters in Dhaka. At the instruction of influential figures in the government, Abdul Kahar Akhand in ensuring all possible comfort to this confirmed collaborator of the BDR massacre.

And, according to latest news, the 'Walkie-Talkie' minister in the present government in Dhaka, Lt. Col. (Retired) Faruk Khan told reporters that the probe report shall be made public “within a week”. This is the fifth extension of the time limit set for the report.

According to various scoops, the investigators have so far identified a number of points and questions in identifying culprits behind the massacre. These points or questions are:

What was the intelligence report sent to the Prime Minister on February 25 in the early morning as acknowledged by the PM in the parliament,

What was the last conversation between Major General Shakil Ahmed and the Prime Minister on February 25,

Why the PM regretted her attendance to the dinner on February 26,

Who instructed announcement from the nearby mosques on February 25 and 26 asking local residents near BDR headquarters to move to a safe distance,

Why Lt. Col. Mukit sent fax messages from the BDR headquarters on February 25 evening against army and the BDR's director general,

Why members of police and RAB were not deployed within gate number 5, through which the mutineers fled,

Why the PM assigned Nanak and Azam at 1:00 pm., after 4 hours of she heard about the mutiny,

Why names and identities of the delegation of mutineers, who met the PM were not registered at the entrance of the PM's residence,

Mutiny leader DAD Towhid told the PM about the murder of director general of BDR and some other officers when he met her with his team. But, why this matter was kept secret by the government till February 26 evening,

Why Bangladesh TV was not showing anything about the mutiny or even news scroll, although the issue was being covered by all private channels,

Why the mutineers were terming the PM as “amader netri” (our leader),

Why some mutineers were chanting Awami League's party slogan 'Joy Bangla' while they were talking to the press,

There had been several overseas incoming calls inside the BDR headquarters during the massacre. Investigators are trying to find the callers,

Why Prime Minister's son Sajib Wajed Joy came to Dubai on February 27 to meet some of the fleeing mutineers,

Why Joy handed over thick envelops to each of the fleeing mutineers at the Dubai airport,

Why Joy made critical remarks on Bangladesh Army and made army liable for the mutiny during interview with various international media,

Why Sajib Wajed Joy has been instructed by her mother not to come to Bangladesh before the investigation issue is over,

Why influential members of the government phoned certain foreign government asking help in case Bangladesh Army revolts against the ruling party,

Why Awami League leader Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir tried to flee the country on February 27,

Why minister Faruk Khan said, militants have penetrated in law enforcing and disciplined forces in Bangladesh,

Why the government is trying to keep the Inspector General of Police, whose son-in-law was murdered during the mutiny and daughter held hostage, is kept aloof from the investigation process,

Why the newly appointed commissioner of police warned the English medium and missionary schools and educational institutions of possible militant attack without any reason,

Why the PM did not allow the army to storm in to the BDR headquarters to rescue the officers and their family members,

What the CID team were removing from the BDR headquarters in the name of collecting 'evidence',

What type of evidences were removed by the members of police when they were assigned to guard the BDR headquarters almost for more than 30 hours,

Why the Home Minister and other members of the ruling Alliance were visiting the BDR headquarters during dark hours of February 26, much after the surrender,

Why Awami League student wing leader Liakat Sikder is hiding since the massacre,

Why Awami League and its activists are continuing to demand trial of killers and their collaborators in civil courts instead of Court Martial,

Why a section of pro-Awami League journalists are continuing indirect campaign against army as well demanding trial in civil court,

Why the ruling party is echoing the voice of Indian media and especially the editorial commentary in The Statesman.

Reply to all these questions will surely help investigators in finding the truth and identifying the culprits. But, it is a big question as to whether the ruling party is willing to let a neutral investigation continue, which may go ultimately against many of the heavy-weights within their home.

Bangladeshi people are getting united with the demand of proper investigation and exemplary punishment to the perpetrators and collaborators of this extreme heinous crime. Anger within the armed forces is boiling like eruptive volcano. Members of the armed forces and those bereaved families can never forgive the killers and the collaborators.

People in power in Dhaka should understand this clearly!

Sunita Paul is a Senior journalist and experts on South Asian affairs

CID investigation : Awami big shots found talking to BDR rebels

Mamunur Rashid

The law enforcement agencies found some ruling party leaders' direct conversations with the BDR mutineers over mobile phone after examining the mobile phone call lists of the detained BDR jawans on February 25-26 at Peeklkhana.

The law enforcement agencies identified the names which are Home Minister Sahara Khatun, State Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) and Cooperatives Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Awami League leader Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Dhamnondi-Hazaribagh MP Barrister Fazlee Noor Taposh and Mirza Azam.

The BDR mutineers held talks several times with the local MP Taposh.

The mutineers reportedly held talks with the leaders between 11:00 am to 3:00pm on February 25.

At least 820 BDR personnel and five civilians have been shown arrested to date for their alleged involvement in the mutiny.

Law enforcement agencies investigated the mobile numbers of more than 35 BDR personnel.

At least 10 BDR personnel had talked to the ruling party leaders over mobile phone. And 5 detained BDR personnel confessed to the law enforcement agencies that they held talks to one MP and another former MP about their demands.

Law enforcement agencies found that that DAD Touhid, Jawan Salim, Jawan Mofiz, Havilder Obaidul with other 10 BDR jawans held talks with the AL leaders.

Source said BDR Jawan Salim reportedly talked to MP Taposh at about 11: 00 am on the day of occurrence.

Investigation team found Nanak and Taposh mobile numbers from the Cell phone of Jawan Salim.

From 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm on 25 February DAD Touhid talks with the Home Minister Sahara Khatun. Touhid had also talk with Nanak, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and Mirza Azam over cell phone.

DAD Touhid also had talks with the Home Minister and the state minister for LGRD minister 20 to 25 times on 25 February at about 10 pm to 3pm.

Investigation officers of the BDR preferring mutiny anonymity told the New Nation that they found names of the AL leaders and BDR personnel after verification from the mobile phone operators.

But the AL leaders did not talk before the 25 February, he added.

Jawan Salim told the investigation officers that they took the Taposh's Mobile phone number from the detrained Torab Ali.

Earlier on Monday Criminal Investigation Department (CID) questioned Jamaat-e-Islami leader Barrister Abdur Razzak for more than three hours in connection with the February 25-26 massacre at BDR headquarters.

Nesarul Arif, police superintendent of the CID and in charge of the case, said yesterday that more people might be required to be questioned in the interest of the case.

A lot of big guns we may need to quiz as the case unfolds," Nesarul told reporters after grilling Jama'at-e-Islami leader Abdur Razzak at the CID headquarters.

Meanwhile, The CID again took 8 suspect BDR personnel to remand yesterday.