Uncle Tom to Ganj Control 2

Come in Ganj Control, come in! do you read me?
What do you mean you are having trouble deciphering my brain patterns? It is I Uncle Tom come in .......

Went to the Power and Participation Research Centre in dhaka yesterday. picked up a publication of theirs called 'unbundling governance'. Looking in the bibliographic references there's Bourdieau, Foucault, Gramsci, North and Putnam. Very 'SOAS(bourieau, foucault, gramsci) student went to LSE(north+putnam) for an MA' but nevertheless a couple of rungs up from the usual CPD drivel that passes for research and advocacy in the development industry here.

There is a chapter on NGO politics and some attempts to derive new indicators rather than slavishly ape world bankspeak. Ideas of Institutional quality, Interface quality and Civic quality are built upon rather large amounts of data collected according to some pretty involved methods..

At first glance the chapter on civic quality looks like a missed opportunity. I found it unnecessarily quantitative, and that is used strange choice of 'values' categories, the aspiration of 'religious activity' was pushed into the 'Social Role' cluster etc. On the sunny side, there is some data there to mine if only i decide that its believable. Im glad that someone in Bangladesh has decided that investigating the dreamscape and the valuescape of the people is important and that development reesarch should be just about counting poor people.

Anyway, more on that later in anyone is interested. Oh and theres this Bangladesh Freedom Federation publication on small arms and political violence in Bangladesh. Through a trustworthy analysis of lots of data across the vilence spectrum and a universalistic mindset it concludes that the biggest culprits perpetrating violence, killings and terrorism in bangladesh are the centrist elements (the two big parties) not the so called islamists and leftist loons.

In the other end of the scale....

Got hold of a pile of arse monthly magazine called ICE Today. ICE stands for Information, communication and entertainment. What a waste of paper, and 50tk! I could have had several short rickshaw rides for that much! The problem with ICE is that it doesnt know what its about. Its pretty much all adverts and sucking up.

There is a proliferation of publications in English in desh. From piles of arsestyle like ICE, to a well conceived business monthly, from a telecoms industry publication to a highly poncy arty farty publication and nacent new-wave current affairs analysis. Its a sign that the hegemony of the established rags like the Daily Star (good quality production but questionable loyalties and patterns of behaviour) might be nearing an end.

Strange things about desh.

How comes that in the kremlin of uk capitalism, Canary Wharf, Muslims can take time to pray jumma, but in dhaka airport the muslim staff dont have the same option? How is it that in dhaka, a secular american NGO will have a prayer room, but a leading english paper will not, and that the namazi employees of that paper will warn newcomers not to say they are going to the mosque?

Slappage is required here methinks.

oh, and why is every asking me what i think of HT?!?!?

oh (2) Jamaat-e-Islami will you stop monopolising the Islamic space! It is getting very annoying.

Misc observations on the caretaker government that ive heard since getting here.

"Bhaiya, if you saw Sylhet Town you would think it hade been struck by a hurricane!", in referece to the bulldozing of illegal constructions.

"This is good pyscologically for the people, we need these guys(CTG) to stay in power for longer to institute democratic modification to the electoral power architecture and order the different scales of election so they leave us in a better condition" (i paraphrase)

"They are making such a big deal about investigating years old company files that they are creating more opportunities for corruption because govt officials can demand higer bribes on account of the greater likelihood of jail. Business people are scared."

"The biggest problem is getting good people into politics, the CTG think they can destroy the 2 parties, but i tell you this is very bad for the future of the nation. Dr kamal was such an oustanding man but when he split with the awami league and stood for election against a thug, he lost his deposit. bangladeshi people only vote for big parties."

"They are arresting people without due process some even unjustly"

"Because the shops close so early at 7 pm, the money circulation has decreased. Businesses are a more cautious now and slower."

"Tasneem Khalil (CNN stringer,HRW activist, daily star journo who was arrested then released) was asking for it"

I find that the negative comments usually come from people with a stake in the status quo. They really worry who is holding the power. I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round...

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