Context Bangladesh: Hard Questions for the Fantastically Fascistic Sheikh Hasina

নভেম্বর ২৪, ২০১৭ ৭:২৭ অপরাহ্ণ

:: Jalal Uddin Khan/Canada

Since 2009 Sheikh Hasina has been ruling Bangladesh with an iron fist in the most horrible and horrendous manner—fierce, ferocious, despotic, and dictatorial. Naturally, for the last few years, she has been inviting a lot of tough and legitimate questions from her critics and opponents. Would the neo-and-near-and-more-than-partially fascistic Hasina please have a response to the following?

1. That the Awami paramilitary force called RakkhiBahini was a terrorist organization killing thousands, as many as 30 or even more, during 1973-75.
2. That there was a famine in 1974, thousands dying of starvation and despite, there were lavish and luxury Awami weddings in the Sheikh family.
3. That Hasina had a great love and trust for Hindus, much more than Muslims, as suggested by Matiur Rahman Rentu towards the middle of his book “আমার ফাঁসি চাই” (“I Demand/Desire/Wish/Want To Be Hanged”). In the book, যেখানে শেখ হাসিনা বলে- “মুসলমানরা বেঈমান ও অকৃতজ্ঞ। হিন্দুরা ঈমানদার ও কৃতজ্ঞ। আমি (শেখ হাসিনা) হিন্দুদের উপর ভরসা করতে পারি, বিশ্বাস রাখতে পারি। কিন্তু মুসলমানদের বিশ্বাস করা যায় না। ভরসা করা যায় না।” The whole relevant passage in the English version of the book stands like this: “The Muslims do not vote for me. Muslims are unfaithful and ungrateful. The Hindus are loyal. I can rely on the Hindus and trust them. But I can’t trust the Muslims. Nor can I rely on them. That’s why I can contest from three seats in 70% Hindu dominated areas of Gopalganj and Bagerhat, but not even from one seat in Dhaka. Though I had decided to stand from Dhaka, I had to withdraw my nomination after I made queries and came to know that there are not many Hindus in Demra.” Mayor of Dhaka Hanif said, that the idea was wrong. If the Muslims did not vote Awami League, how could its candidates win? Bangabandhu’s daughter said, basically Awami League had the entire vote bank of the Hindus; the rest is made up by the relatives and sundry groups pressurized to vote in our favour. Had there been no Hindus, my party could not win even in a single seat. I have clinched this caretaker government after so much of movements and fights only to ensure that the Hindus could cast their votes safely and peacefully. Hindus are my strength. Hindus are my hope. The election campaign was progressing fast. Posters, placards, festoons, banners and wall writings were everywhere. There was hardly any empty spot. Meetings and processions were going on all the time.” (;;
4. That Rentu’s claim is substantiated not only by Sheikh Hasina’s appointment of a disproportionately high number of Hindus and other minorities in all the sectors of Bangladesh but also her intense and unrequited one-sided love for India at the expense of the interests of Bangladesh and her turning the Muslim majority Bangladesh into a thickly Hindu-flavored country at the time of the man-made and mythological (rather than divine) Durga Puja and other Hindu rituals that are allowed to be celebrated with an excessively overwhelming fanfare (rather than quiet and moderation), which goes to create tension, division, hostility, animosity, and confrontation between the Muslims and the Hindus (no offence to peace-loving anti-Awami Hindus).
That about one-sixth through Rentu’s book, Sheikh Hasina is said to have expressed her preference for the Pakistani army over Bangladeshi army: “UNCIVILIZED UNPATRIOTIC FORCE On May 3, 1984, in the late afternoon, Sheikh Hasina was chatting with a few people at Bangabandhu Bhaban. In the course of discussions the topic of liberation war and Pakistan Army came up. Also came up for discussion the subject of Bangladesh Army, which emerged through the war of liberation. The leader Sheikh Hasina commented about Bangladesh Army, “Is it an Army? It is a barbaric Force composed of ill-disciplined, greedy, unruly and blood-thirsty men. This Army has no sense of loyalty, no discipline, no patriotism. They are disobedient and benefit of any humane attitude. Talk about the Pakistan Army. You will not find such a gentle, civil, polite, courteous and loyal Army in the whole world. They really are so decent and modest.” “They came in the night of March 25 and saluted my father, (Sheikh Mujib) my mother and even me. Then they said to my father; “sir, we have come only to provide security to you. You can go wherever you want, wherever you please. Anyone can come and meet you. We will only ensure your security. If you go out we will accompany you to provide security. We will search an incoming guest properly before we let him in. Really, whatever the Pakistani Army did was meant for our security. On the twenty-sixth of March when Abba (Sheikh Mujib) was taken away by the Pakistan Army, General Tikka Khan himself came, saluted my father and my mother. He kept standing and courteously told my father (Sheikh Mujib) — Sir, Yahya Khan has asked us to take you for consultations. I have come here to take you. A special flight is ready for you. Please get ready, and if you so wish you can take anyone, including the Madam (Begum Mujib). Abba consulted my mother and went away alone. As long as the Pakistan Army performed their duty, they came and saluted us first. “Not only that. When my paternal grandmother had some fever, the Pakistanis got her transported by a helicopter from Tungipara to Dhaka for treatment at the PG. Hospital. When I was expecting Joy (Hasina’s son), I was taken every week to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) for medical checkup. I was admitted to the CMH a month before Joy was born. When he was born in 1971, the Pakistan Army personnel distributed sweets. All the cost associated with the birth of Joy was borne by the Pakistan Army. We went wherever we wanted to go. The Pakistanis accompanied us in two jeeps. They guarded us to provide security. And the Bangladesh Army! These animals, these inhuman brutes killed my father, my mother and all my brothers. I wish their destruction.” In his (Rentu’s) original Bengali text of আমার ফাঁসি চাই (pp. 53-54):

১৯৭১-এ পাকিস্তান সেনা বাহিনীর আতিথেয়তায় হাসিনাঃ

৩রা মে ১৯৮৪ এর এক পড়ন্ত বিকেলে ধানমন্ডির বঙ্গবন্ধু ভবনে বসে গল্প করছেন বঙ্গবন্ধু কন্য জননেত্রী শেখ হাসিনা সহ কয়েকজন। গল্পে গল্পে ৭১ এর মুক্তিযুদ্ধ ও পাকিস্থানী সেনাবাহিনীর প্রসঙ্গ উঠলো। প্রসঙ্গ উঠলো ৭১ এর মুক্তিযুদ্ধের মাধ্যে দিয়ে গড়ে উঠা আমাদের সেনাবাহিনীর কথা। জননেত্রী শেখ হাসিনা বাংলাদেশ সেনাবাহিনী সম্পর্কে বললেন, এটা একটা সেনা বাহিনী হলো ? এটা একটা বর্বর, নরপিশাচ, উচ্ছৃংখল, লোভী, বেয়াদপ বাহিনী। এই বাহিনীর আনুগত্য নেই , শৃংখলা নেই , মানবিকতা নেই, নেই দেশ প্রেম। এটা একটা দেশদ্রোহী অসভ্য হায়েনার বাহিনী। তোমরা পাকিস্তান সেনাবাহিনীর কথা বল। সারা বিশ্বে পাকিস্তান সেনাবাহিনীর মতো এতো ভদ্র, নম্র, সভ্য, বিনয়ী এ‌বং আনুগত্যশীল বাহিনী খঁজে পাওয়া যাবেনা। পাকিস্তান সেনাবাহিনীর মানবিকতা বোধের কোন তুলনাই চলেনা। কি অসম্ভব সভ্য আর নম্র তারা।

পচিশে মার্চ রাতে তারা (পাকিস্তান আর্মি) এলো, এসে আব্বাকে (বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিব) সেলুট করলো, মাকেও সেলুট করলো, আমাকেও সেলুট করলো। সেলুট করে তারা বলল, স্যার আমরা এসেছি শুধু আপনাদের নিরাপত্তা দেওয়ার জন্য। অন্য কোন কিছুর জন্য নয়। আপনারা যখন খুশি যেখানে খুশি যেতে পারবেন। যে কেউ আপনার এখানে আসতে পারবে। আমরা শুধু আপনাদেন নিরাপত্তা নিশ্চিত করবো। আপনারা বাইরে গেলে আপনাদের নিরাপত্তার জন্য আমরা আপনাদের সাথে যাবো। কেউ আপনাদের এখানে এলে আমারা তাকে ভালভাবে তল্লাশি করে তার পর তাকে এখানে ঢুকতে দিব। এসবই করা হবে আপনাদের নিরাপত্তার জন্য। সত্যিই পাকিস্তানী সেনাবাহিনী যা করেছে তা সম্পুর্ন আমাদের নিরাপত্তার জন্য করেছে।

২৬ শে মার্চ দুপুরে আব্বাকে (শেখ মুজিব) যখন পাকিস্তানী বাহিনী নিয়ে যায়, তখন জেঃ টিক্কা খান নিজে এসে আব্বাকে ও মাকে সেলুট দিয়ে আদবের সাথে দাড়িয়ে বলে, স্যার প্রেসিডেন্ট ইয়াহিয়া খান আলোচনার জন্য নিয়ে যেতে বলেছেন। আমি আপনাকে নিয়ে যেতে এসেছি। আপনাকে নেওয়ার জন্য বিশেষ বিমান তৈরি(স্পেশাল ফ্লাইট রেডি) আপনি তৈরি হয়ে নেন এবং আপনি ইচ্ছা করলে ম্যাডাম (বেগম মুজিব) সহ যে কাউকে সঙ্গে নিতে পারেন। আব্বা-মা’র সাথে আলোচনা করে একাই গেলেন। পাকিস্তান আর্মি যতদিন ডিউটি করেছে এসেই প্রথমে সেলুট দিয়েছে।

শুধু তাই নয়, আমার দাদীর সামান্য জ্বর হলে পাকিস্তানীরা হেলিকপ্টার করে টুঙ্গিপাড়া থেকে ঢাকা পিজি হাসপাতালে চিকিৎসা করিয়েছে। জয় তখন আমার পেটে, আমাকে প্রতি সাপ্তাহে সি এম এইচ নিয়ে ওরা চেকআপ করাতো। জয় হওয়ার একমাস আগে আমাকে সি এম এইচ-এ ভর্তি করিয়েছে। ৭১ সালে জয় জন্ম হওয়ার পর পাকিস্তান আর্মিরা খুশিতে মিষ্টি বাটোয়ার করেছে এবং জয় হওযার সমস্ত খরচ পাকিস্তান আর্মিরাই বহন করেছে । আমরা যেখানে খুশি যেতে পারতাম। পাকিস্তানীরা দুটি জীপে করে আমাদের সাথে যেতো নিরাপত্তার জন্য আমাদের পাহারা দিতো। আর বাংলাদেশের আর্মিরা! জানোয়ারের দল, অমানুষের দল এই অমানুষ জানোয়ারেরা আমার বাবা-মা, ভাই সবাইকে মেরেছে- এদের যেন ধ্বংশ হয়। (, pp. 53-54)

5. That by welcoming back Hasanul Hoque Inu, Rashed Khan Menon, AK Khandoker, KM Safiullah, Tofael Ahmed, H T Imam, and Motia Chowdhury into her cool and cozy corner and by employing them in her government, Hasina has herself betrayed her father for which she should be tried by her own Awami League.
6. That those old Awami-Baksalis who shed crocodile’s tears today on 15 August may be asked: “পঁচাত্তরের পনোরই আগস্ট কোথায় ছিলেন?,” the way Jibanananda Das’s Banalata Sen asked the speaker/poetic persona of the poem, তেমনই দেখেছি তারে অন্ধকারে; বলেছে সে, ‘এতোদিন কোথায় ছিলেন?’ Did those Awamis also পাখির নীড়ের মতো নিরাপদ স্থানে আশ্রয় নিয়েছিলেন?
7. That the daily গুম ও খুন, nonstop হামলা ও মামলা, police detention of dozens a day, and the bloody political butchery of the opposition under the Hasina regime makes every day a doomsday, a black day of mourning, while 15 August, 21 August, 3 November, and 14 December also were very painful. Sheikh Hasina did not learn anything from those bloody days; had she learnt, she wouldn’t have turned everyday into another 15 August, 21 August, 3 November, and 14 December.
8. That democracy has been horribly and horrendously stolen and hijacked by the Awami League to give way to despotic and dictatorial fascistic regime.
9. That the nation under the Awami League totally forgets the month of May (Zia was killed 31 May) as a black month of national mourning, despite the fact that Zia was one of the brightest stars/luminaries in the political sky of Bangladesh, second to none, but, maybe, second among the equals.
10. That Bangladesh, in her dented, demented, eroded, demotic, demonic, decadent and degenerated democracy, has become a totem worshipper. It has become a worshipper of totem cult figures, just as a child fondly and excitingly plays with a mere object, rather than a real thing. With her eyelids closing under the weight of autocracy and authoritarianism, Bangladesh cannot think of anything better than anthropomorphized diminutive idols and miniature statues in human form at the moment.
11. That natural disasters (floods and cyclones and excessive rains) and Hajj/religious pilgrimages and performances are totally mismanaged causing untold and inhuman suffering to the people.
12. That the Awami Apu Ukil expressed her anti-Sinha venom and vitriol, claiming that Chief Justice S K Sinha was not a Hindu. Well, nobody wants to remember those days in 1971 when the Pakistani soldiers had their especial way of checking out if one was a Hindu or not by partially but critically disrobing the suspected individuals on the street.
13. That the opposition has been crippled and cornered by an all-out deadly force since 2009. No government has the right to keep the opposition out of business. There can only be tolerance, compromise, accommodation, respect, and space for the opposition in a civilized society. Had there been no force and ferocity and no blanket oppression and repression and had there been a level playing field like in any other democratic country, and if then the opposition could not play its due and desirable role, only then it could be blamed. Whatever weaknesses and shortcomings the opposition may have, they all become less important and less relevant when they are actually the consequences and byproducts of the Awami neo-and-near fascism. It is not easy to face the boots and bullets of police suppression. Why should there be a neo- fascism in 2017 in the first place? The Awami police fascism must go first, by whatever means—military, miraculous, or mysterious—before the opposition is expected to play its due and desirable role.
14. That when rape becomes inevitable, some victims relax and enjoy, there being no other alternative; some victims do fight back with their hands and feet. The political opposition with their hands and feet fascistically tied can do neither in Bangladesh. Look, how Hasina and her men are treating the Supreme Court. They wouldn’t rest until Sinha goes on forced leave (on the reason of forced cancer, like Ershad was dragged to CMH on the reason of forced sickness and thereby was forced to participate in the 5 January 2014 farcical election), so that they can reap another fascistic victory. Nobody wants to see another Venezuela, another Yemen, another Syria, another Iraq, another Libya, and another Afghanistan in Bangladesh. Fighting back would mean senseless deaths. However, one would like to see if all opposition figures and forces can unite to be on the street and fight back together effectively and efficiently and meaningfully.
15. That the new Law ministry secretary illegally speaks like an Awami mouthpiece. He is another M K Alamgir of Janatar Manch and Rana Plaza ঝাঁকুনি তত্ত্ব/. He should be sacked.
16. That if the Awamis are not held accountable for their contempt of court in the vilest and most vulgar slurs and slangs, the contempt of court law should stand invalid and be struck out completely. Those who were punished for contempt of court in the past should seek compensation for the damage done to their image and reputation.
17. That, while Sheikh Hasina is asking for help for the Rohingiya refugees at the UN, the Awami thugs and the hoodlums and hooligans in the Awami-Baksali-Hasina police have detained the BNP aid convoy (truckloads of the much-needed humanitarian assistance for the suffering Rohingiyas) as they brutally beat up the BNP leader Mirza Fakhrul on the same route to Cox’s Bazar a few months ago. The one-party Hasina police regime, hostile and cruel to the core, oppressive and suppressive and persecuting by its very fascistic nature, would not allow the opposition BNP to have any credit and would not care to help the suffering humanity if the help came from its political opponents. The international community should ask the regime about its deceptive and double standard before they extend their helping hands. And, finally,
18. That Hasina regime should not be given any credit for sheltering the suffering Rohingiyas because at first (August 25-September 10) it refused to take them and, in fact, returned/pushed many of them, in hundreds and thousands, back into Myanmar by force. Only much later the regime had to take them in at the pressure/criticism of the popular opposition BNP as well as the international community, and also the human rights organizations. The unelected or highly questionably and controversially elected (and, therefore, illegitimate), authoritarian, and ruthlessly dictatorial Hasina regime does not deserve any credit whatsoever, which actually goes to the political opposition and the international community at large, minus, of course, India, China, Russia, and Japan.

A resident of Canada, Jalal Uddin Khan holds a PhD from the USA and has taught abroad for a long time.

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