The allegation of wide spread rigging from the BNP is unlikely to be believed, but the ways in which the election processes and actors have been manipulated are food for thought. If just to point it out for next time. From the behaviour of the '2nd X1' CTG, Characteristically Crafty Awaminess, Foreign Meddling, the Army kicking the crap out of Tareque, and 'on-the-day' jiggery pokery I wish I could know what was really going on.
But I wont.
The use of centralised technology for 'scientific kudos', the ID card distraction and the use of foreign observer/development tourists who know nothing of the local community for 'white power kudos' make my ears prick up.
Tuesday 30th December 2008
In front of the Israeli Embassy
(Kensington High Street tube station, then turn right)
Wednesday 31st December 2008
In front of Israeli Embassy
Thursday 1st January 2009
In front of Israeli Embassy
Friday 2nd January 2009
In front of the Egyptian Embassy,
26 South Street, London, W1K 1DW
(off Park Lane)
Saturday 3rd January 2009
Some will interpret all sorts of secular liberationary mandate , but that is not my interest. It is hard not to be happy *by proxy* when so many others are happy and hopeful for some strange reason. Especially with such sad news from Gaza. My view has always been that adoption of secularism is a Chistocentric mistake and in the Muslim societal contest, a naff abdication of the social and political imperatives of Islam. That Islam frosted political parties at present don't inspire much confidence is not an excuse for cowardly Muslim political practice.
This is at odds with the common sense that is drummed into Bangladesh from the state down, through the education systems and perpetuated uncritically by the media. The Cult of Mujib and a simplistic 1971 creationist mythology drips a bitter blood that seeps through generations. As a consequence, I dont see Bangladesh Space at present as an interesting site for a superior negotiation, especially in an awami political field. Long term efforts should continue now that there is space to think, reflect and hide.
Personal practices and fashions will still be adopted from the global Islamic resurgence (mainly as status symbols), but in situ synthesis will be inhibited. (Unless something nonlinear happens). The Awami League are likely to play TWAT with America. Buckle up folks, this is going to be embarrassing.
They say that the magnetic pole of the Earth flips every now and again. Similarly, the political poles of Bangladeshi politics tend to go the same way. But which way is Up? Unfortunately we operate with an ideologically modified left-right axis. where 'rightist' implies traditional/religious and 'leftist' implies secular/atheist. These aren't completely false categories however as one might ask "What about Islamic left?". Islamic left never really took off, mainly because of political forcing from big powers in the Cold War and Allah took away Abul Hashem's sight. The first half of this rationalisation deserves greater reflection from the global muslim community.
The landslide victory of 'centre left' over 'centre right' means a few things can be assumed to be happening across the country. This is in the tradition of the political pole shifting in a highly nepotistic society where deperation for power swamps chivalry several times over then and the courts are full of Kangaroos. There will be a flurry of Occupation, or 'dokholing'. This refers to property disputes, institutional politics, turf wars, contracting and 'alternative security' complexes. Newly empowered political figures will not be able to restrain their relations and hangers on from capitalising on their status and buggering up society. The losers poor showing and immediate past performance will result in their complaints being heard less seriously.
On the loser's side I wonder what this really bad failure means to the BNP-JI four party alliance, as a compound and as seperate elements.
What happens when Nationalist meatheads get minced?
In a simple view Humiliation can be taken three ways. You fight against it blindly, you may carry on being steadfast and patient, or you can learn to improve. The first option is what the BNP did, but which suits the Awami League more. Indeed, the victorious Grand Alliance is fortunate that its castrated opposition cannot match its rage power.
It would have been a disaster for the caretaker government if the BNP had actually won. They are very angry at how Tareque Rahman was treated by the military, and how their party came of worse in the CTG's attempt to remove the two begums for the political sphere. Yet in many ways its back to square one after two years that had potential. Now its someone elses turn and I hope and pray they can perform the role of a patriotic opposition, even with so few seats.
The BNP was idiotic in many ways. Im sure that Indian intelligence and Awami unpatriotism had a role in its corruption and foolishness, but the fault is essentially their own. Putting aside the lack of an nonsecular political synthesis they don't have the spine to put forward a more accurate, warts-and-all picture of the 1971 creationist mythology. They simply copy and paste, find and replace the ordinary one with a heavily doctored script. At the more practical level they mistreated their talents and allies, alienated them and even killed some of them. Prof Aftab Ahmad's assasination at the break of Ramadan 2006 is a case in point. Intellectual cowardice, cheating and beastly behaviour retards their cognitive and creative faculties.
Following a star going supernova, the constellation remnants move with their own gravity. Are their any remnants? Is their any life in this star? can we have a new one please?
Khaleda Zia apologised towards the end of the campagning for earlier mistakes. I wonder how fundamentally this 'personal realisation' reaches. The country needs a better alternative to Awami-think. Looking at history, without violent insurrection and regime change it is increasingly difficult to construct better ideas and bed them in. Remember Bangladesh is the natural home for Shock Doctrines to be administered during electoral and meteorological depressions. It is everybody's social laboratory. The AnAwami constellation has a lot of work to do, perhaps more than an election cycle.
Its unlikely, but i think maybe its time for the BNP to cease to exist, and allow social forces to renegotiate themselves into a better political configuration.
The Probe Magazine 'analysis' suggests a BNP win, while the NewAge ''scientific' poll' points to an Awami League win. No real surprises there, and a lot to unpack if one was so inclined. If you want an answer in Bangladesh what do you do? ask people boring questions and bar chart their response, or exercise judgement?
Both means of knowing are easily misled.
The pundits are unsure as to which way young people may vote for the first time. I suggest tis will be a function of how many have been schooled correctly in the ways of the Mujib cult, associated blankslate 71ism and how they respond to the usual cynical exploitation of the 'war criminals issue'.
Giving all the parties the finger by voting no is not apathetic as it causes deeper reflection and action afterwards. My feeling is that the anti incumbency effect is most likely to bring in the Awami League this time and of course i dont like them. These people kill youths and jump on their dead bodies while being spurred on to kill more by their witch of a leader Hasina (and no you silly arabs, she is not a religious scholar). Who can forget October 28th 2006?
Voting no is opting out of the 'promise the heaven and deliver hell' approach to politics. Not prolonging it. The reason is simply because the society faces serious questions and there is a lot of work to do. There is only so long you can ignore them.
The bigger questions for bangladesh include:
How has the cult of Mujib and 71 mythology become so emotionally and rationally retarding on the public imagination?
How are secularism, atheism and Muslim stagnancy related to each other?
How can the public be made more aware of what secularism actually means?
How can this society reform itself and promote virtue above vice?
How do we resolve the treachery problem of the Awami League, and increasingly other parties? They seem bound by conscience to run into the arms of adversaries for backing, amplify conflicts and spread chaos?
People have been encultured with a narrow multiply persecuted monocultural experience for a while. What implications does this have?
People are more interested in religion now than in recent decades. How can this rediscovering and envelope pushing process be qualitatively and quantitatively assisted?
What kind of public adminstration do we need?
How can people be induced to paying tax?
How do we protect the land and the people from environmental, intellectual, corporate and political invasion?
How can we improve the three educational streams present in the society?
How much longer can such a fake donor fueled and schooled civil society persist without us completely losing our dignity?
They will be invited to grunt in two main ways, a few minor ways and a radical way. Their are two alliances running 1) an alliance of Muslim Nationalists and Islamists and 2) an alliance of Secular Nationalists, a former dictator, hurt Muslim Nationalists and every single have-a-go lefty one can imagine. In addition, there are a few independants running and some fresh parties.
Suffice to say that there hardly much *actual* choice. I described the political field a few years ago here. It will be business as usual, there has been no deep thought, learning and behavioural change. The political parties wet themselves and bribed their way back into the political arena, while the caretakers were weak and had no better idea.
There is a little bit of choice. There is a new player on the ballot paper. Its name is 'No', not the Democracy-is-Haram No, but a more confident No. Operation No cuts deeply into the foundation of the Tower of Bull that is the society's political space .
Voting No, and encouraging the option to be taken seems to me to be the right thing to do for so many hopeful reasons. It is not just about minimising postworldly personal punishment. The fundamental idea is that the Bangladeshi people, if they are to prosper and dignify themselves, should affirm their latent belief that these politicians and ideas are going to get them nowhere. They cant even administer effectively, let alon address the big questions and dillemas of our time. They are too drunk on development dollars and captivated by the wrong ideas to be of any essential value.
Nationalists, Secularists, Liberationists and Islamists only divide, alienate and deviate society. They score off the margins and survive on our latent idiocy. By giving unworthy people confidence, a voter is pouring more fuel on the fire which is burning down their house. This is a recipe for social suicide in the key of democracy.
Urging people to vote No is not an unreasonable request as it does not extend to those who are unable to eat or those who are stupid. The practical necesity-based logic will always plague the poor, who tend to err on the side of immediate perceptable benefit. The more materially endowed and perceptive must then exercise greater responsibility over the choices they make. It would be sad if they not only consumed resources but also failed to lead the general community out of its current dead end, towards real value.
Neither does the No make big claims or outline a manifesto of lies to play your symbols against you. The No vote will not empower the foolish and the corrupt directly. The Tower of Bull was constructed over more than a generation, by people erroneously giving status to fools and pouring petrol onto socially destructive ideas.
Several newspapers in Bangladesh have picked up on youthful, playful interest in the No option and are playing their traditional patronising role. Other no-so-young voices are voicing their own voices vociferously and interleaving such voices with the voices of youth. Apparently because they are unvoiced. Welcome to the Disaster in Democracy Industry.
The No votes are precious. No Voters are precious, thoughtful and what the future is made of. Their political and social participation does not boil down to a grunt at the time of election. They are very much more musical than that.
The Awami Muslim League was formed as a counter to the East Bengal Muslim League's anal retentiveness. The EBML core, known as the 'Dhaka group', gave no space for incoming post-partition Muslim leaders from West Bengal or from Assam. Think of the disgust of newcomers at this self interest. Disgust is an important trigger for alternative political configuring.
Initially the Awami Muslim League packed quite a bit of Islamic mojo, influenced as it was by Shamsul Huq, a disciple of Abul Hashem. That's Abul Hashem of; Burdwan in West Bengal, ' The Revolutionary character of the Kalima', 'Khilafatur Rabbani' and father of historian Badruddin Umar. This chap, who I am fascinated by is perhaps the closest we ever got to Cerebral Islamic Left. I wonder how things may have been if Allah had not tested Abul Hashem with blindness.
Alternative presents aside, during one tense time Shamsul Huq was imprisoned and the Mujib group got prominence and the rest is history unfortunately. This newer group castrated the Islamic potency of their party to 'appeal to minorities' whilst still showing a safety blanket approach to Islam to the people. Nothing challenging or creative in that department. Its called parochialising oneself out of large mess and into a corner.
1) "Blog Off" is an insult told to the kind of people who comment on Guardian and Telegraph websites. You know, the kind who lead you to believe that literacy and education are overrated and the human race is doomed.
2) The "Blog Off" is a contest between two (or more) bloggers. It proceeds like a Qawwali with some call-and-response conversation between the parties. It resembles a (skilled) jam session rather than a duel. More concerned with meaning than posturing, each discrete contribution feeds to the whole, with learning occuring.
Yet the headlines are more saturated with the Mumbai Mayhem, a highly mean, symbolic and murderous occurrence that has provided a lot of political currency that will no doubt be useful to somebody. Although not strictly communal, Hindu-Muslim relations throughout the country have been disturbed by these events in the western commercially creative armpit of India.
What makes me sad is that 70-80 years ago the All-India Muslim League and other platforms allowed the Millets to liase with and help eachother. How the millets have loosened the cords they are supposed to hold tighly onto. Now we have hurt resentful Indians blaming Pakistan, Pakistanis not really caring for anything other than their national pride and Bangladeshis not even being part of the conversation. Here is an interesting interview with the ex head of the students islamic movement of india, which will probably find itself accused in the blame storm. its an interesting pice to become familiar with the scenario on the ground wrt the State and its Muslims. At present main media coverage seems to overplaying the technical prowess of the crime and dramatising the wrong things.
Knitting grannies and co blockade Bangkok in a protest at the current political status quo. Apparently these yellow shirted and well folks are 'middle class' hence 'anti democratic'. The Al Jazeera coverage showed a serene delayed prospective Haji being held up by the blockade reflecting on his time in the airport and his sympathy for the protesters. Outside the airport red shirted, but seemingly less articulate, gathered in annoyance.
Meanwhile the joke that is Bangladeshi political life continues, with no new ideas and precious little dignity.
The 'secular' and 'democratic' Awami League 'giving' 50 seats for next months national election to former dictator and 'rapist of the secular constitution' Ershad's Jatiya Party. In true silver tongued style they kept mum on the issue of the ex dictator's chances of being President.
A jailed former lawmaker caught using a mobile phone illegally for the second time, it had been swung over to him on a rope from a different floor.
A bunch of morons, calling themselves Ulama attacking 19 year old elegant statues of stalks.
Their tea should be spiked with lysergic acid.
What qualities can rise to reach the top,
When power is wielded by prayer room mop?
First of all there is the problem of space,
Some move through much, some stay in one place,
To stay in once place is awfully boring,
In a comforting zone with no real calling.
Now mind-zoom forward a few more decades,
When qualities can be seen through time not haze.
Will we recognise talent over ritual cheaters.
With the gift to solve problems, or the same old bleaders?
- Former members of relatively uninteresting and at best obliquely related Muslim political organisations feeling hard done by and selling their boring "hug'n'tell" stories of wasted youth activism. Resentment propagation in the 'slim community is an interesting phenomena.
- Avowed secularist types of Muslim background, who bring other political baggage and resentments into their blamestorming operations, further muddying the waters, targeting their enemies and scaring big hits on any dignity they may have.
- Those with particularly focused extra-Territorial loyalties, eg. to the Jewish National Project, who are fond of broadening the problem to include their problem, squaring the problem, then cubeing the problem to cause maximal self-serving political impact.
- Those who capitalise on the blame-storming and take no actual responsibility for community dysfunctions which make people feel endangered by Muslims. Responsibility does not mean self-immolation or secularist abdication, but reflection, adjustment and searching. Some of those who seem to have somehow floated to the top are remarkable 'liberolic' about this. Liberolicism is the inability to think about anyone or scale other than the individual, anyone other than one's own little self.
- the spiritual delinquency it has caused, often exploited by clever Sufi leaders for their own ends.
- the various deep and paralysing effects that it has on society
- the army's and masses resistance to reform of it
- its Messianism
'Oooo Aaaarrgh, they'll be mighty fine picin's on the coast tonight.'
Or even Jack Sparrow ringing in from the deck of a supertanker on a satellite phone, wearing a lungi of some kind, tripping us all out.
I'm dreading that current 'piracy' off the shores of east Africa is already being used to entrench nasty interests. There are hundreds of incidents of piracy annually, many more unrecorded. Why is is a big deal? hmmmm the cargo was a fraction of a day's worth of Saudi oil.
And so news capital follows economic capital. The spice must flow.
One Somali narrative is that some of the coastals were mighty peeved with foreigners using their localities to dump and fish 'liberally', and that the 'participatory autonomous and social naval defence initiative' grew from that, but then some became greedy.
Duas for Somalia and the people there, they haven't had a government since 91 and the last home-valued and nurtured initiative for political organisation was hamstrung by Ethiopia invading. Yes, Ethiopia. No doubt as regional tools of a larger malevolent interest.
Reflecting on the operation itself, I cannot help but be amazed at the shahosh, the daringness and the script-flipping quality of it. They aren't interested in the oil on board the supertanker, they just want ransom for the 25 human beings that constituted the crew.
Anyway, I'm sure some oil speculators made a packet today, off the differentials of danger.
The glass house and the very western-christian ethic of not throwing a stone, and the very Daily Starry ethic of borrowing a ready made easy headline from the bible.
how modern, enlightened and oh so seculaaaaaaar
Their foolishness is imprinted on everything that they say and do.
- How are rascist leaders in parts of Arabia, South Asia, Russia and South America going to deal with a black man, who in other contexts they would call a 'monkey'?
- How is David Cameron and his pro American Conservative party going to adapt their teat drinking habits to Obama Bhai?
- Are we going to see the rapid rise of Environmental issues and departments in the new adminsitration?
- Is Ralph Nader going to run again?
- In the next 8 years how will America's latest conquests (Afghanistan and Iraq) fare?
- How many more countries, who didnt knock down the towers, will get angulled?
Forty-two years ago, a young attorney named Ralph Nader wrote a book titled Unsafe At Any Speed.
In the book, Nader exposed how cars were unsafe and how they could be made safer.
What was the auto industry's response?
They hired spies to tail Ralph.
They hired beautiful women to seduce him.
Faced with this intimidation and seduction from a powerful industry, Ralph did not succumb.
He went on to sue General Motors for invasion of privacy.
And used the proceeds of the settlement to launch the modern consumer movement.
And you think Ralph will ever stop fighting the corporate state?
He never has.
And he never will.
If they wanted to help, the Saudis would support their own institution, the Islamic Development Bank and extend its 'service' further beyond 'muslim' countries. However its always easier to nurture an expertise elsewhere and run an institution into the ground.
I suppose the roots to such dumb parties come earlier, through the foolishness people displayed by adding legitimacy to people unable to protect their interests. These ballot or bullet powered transitions from frying pan to fire are usually done in times of oppression, disorientation, disunity and desperation. Each election, they do it again and again. It is as if there is no learning in the system just a commitment to waste and destruction. These behemoths of cruelty and institutional occupation got stronger off the fat and the foolishness of people. Voting has been regarded as a virtuous act for too long, regardless of intention. It must be established that voting for a pratt, even if to counterbalance another pratt is no answer at all to the problem of leadership.
It is difficult for the less powerful to come out of this trap. It would be so much easier if elites, pseudo elites and subalterns 'got it'. Grass roots is not the only anti-entropic cliche that could be used to pin ones hoped on. Usually anybody invoking the term 'grass roots' is playing a game. How about green shoots, blossom buds, petals, fruit, branches and trunks?
The caretaker's have been promising in places, but rather dissapointing and inept in others. Truly, it is probably the hardest thing in the world to govern a place like Bangladesh. Its easier to take power. you just abdicate repsonsibility to an outsider. In history, each time a party takes a risk to seize control, they ally with a bigger power complex, losing essential dignity in the process. Both scope and hope decline with each seizure. And yes, I regard the second national independance event as one of these seizures.
What amazes me is that these seizure events create political capital amongst folks who know no better. They are kept parochial, locked into Bangla and disturbed to realise how naff it all is. Heroes are created of tools, and perpetuated to the level of real delusion. Demons are created of tools, and intergenerational poisons are spread with pride.
Dementer of a vision,
Devourer of institution,
Repeller of religion.
Now that you've gone to meet your Lord,
The problems are not solved,
The twisted knots, the muddied name,
Even standards have been floored.
You hired men to kill my bro,
because he would not bend.
To your bribery, skullduggery,
and dumb Bengali men.
Even in your death you faked your grave,
To advance deluded interest,
What faulty, skewed, shrewd lovepump,
Did you carry in your chest?
You were no holy man to me,
You soiled a cute tariqa**,
The ronin*** you hegemonised,
Should really have fought better.
Beard, syedness**** and cool brothers,
Are all you ever had,
Living in their shadow,
Like a corrupting bearded hag.
He has infinite mercy,
I pray He'll give to you,
I wish He'd shine some on the mess,
You turned the dream into.
* Dokhol is a Bengali term denoting the unlawful/forced/violent occupation of a property or institution. Commonly perpetrated by individuals, families, political parties and governments. Dokhology, the science of illegal occupation is a craft that the society has nurtured very well. Even nuclear bombs have a thicker silver lining than the institutional occupation culture of Bangladesh.
** Tariqa is any sufi order.
*** Ronin is the term for Samurai who lost their leader and drifted around feudal Japan.
**** Syed-ness denotes an ancestry that connects to the Prophet of Islam in some way. It is a status symbol subject to a lot of exploitation and abuse.
He minted some coins with the first kalima engraved on them
Was he a bro, a broad hearted man, or was he doing islamic finance 'british style'? ... by making money off (andalusian) arabs by playing language tricks.
I shall eventually post a picture here of a replica.
Ok so I guess the mobile sales industry is big in bangladesh. No brainer, them folks love to talk, they can consume you with talk. I'm interested to know who has studied the sociological stuff around this enabling device, which essentially enables you negotiating quite powerfully with your instinct, its own embedded values and the situation around you.
Theres probably a 'gender' aspect too. I remember whilst staying in dhaka the ISPwallah used to turn of the internet (LAN through your window anyone?) when there was thunder lest his gear be fried by a freak lightening bolt. He would regularly get an earful from local ladies who had become increasingly drawn into 'electronic relations management applications'.
How has social spastication evolved with technology?
How do our values express themselves through our visible/invisible behaviours in particular everyday communication practise?
Focussing on erm... 'love culture', whats going on? who is exploiting who? how have men and women been able to be more evil to eachother?
What kinds of dignified technological interventions can be produced in this space?
If we are going to delve into this remote technological sexualisation stuff, what other social forces need to be considered?
Who would have guessed you'd set my world alight?
How can such a space exist?
in a scene jammed shut with lies and mist
It was young lust, alas unrequinted
as i tapped my keyboard my heart it pounded.
Humanising craponomic decision making
to dignify our heedless baking
Your reports actually cause me grating
Buzz words abound the world you're shaping.
I searched my soul and wrote some tat
how I'm so awesome and enthiusiastic and crap.
As I clicked send i felt a fade,
at a futile gesture or history I'd made
Would you read my application?
would someone else fulfill your station?
How many more times must I submit?
to other patrons who's taste is sh!t.
- Oxbridge as a reproductive engine of coloniality, training administrators for the empire.
- The Alighar project as a post 1857-uprising Muslim initiative to change educative tack.
- Alighar's modernist and attempted knowledge culture synthesis's.
- Its graduates association with the Muslim League.
- Bangladesh as a step away from the Muslim League's Pakistan.
- The illusion that Dhaka University was ever of significant to anyone other than the communities it promoted up the local social ladder.
- The self conception of 'East', considering that Bangladesh is in the middle of Asia.
- He refers to western proscription of the organisation.
- He blows indignant about how HT views could possibly be held by responsibly people in Bangladesh.
- He makes out as if the language used by HT is anywhere approaching the levels of bile that our 'traditional' parties spew.
- With righteous aplomb he equates the threat HT poses to Bangladesh's elite state documentation with the threat posed by a military regime.
- He does the typical south asian with religion issues thing and cries 'Look what they are doing in the name of our religion.' How very Mujtahid...
- I think he's effectively spreading HT 'dawa' over his pages. Whether he is stupid, metaphorical, manipulative or all three, Allahu Alim.
v2 to take place in London, Manchester and Johanesburg...
There was this hymn we used to sing at school, it was one badass chooon. Seems appropriate
Would you walk by on the other side
When Anwar called for aid?
Would you walk by on the other side
and would you be afraid?
Cross over the road my friend
Ask the Lord His strength to lend
His compassion has no end
Cross over the road!
Probably mostly wrong, but live and possibly honest.
The ability to discern right from wrong is the objective of education in Islam. The literal meaning of fiqh is discernment, the jurisprudence thing came later. In the practical application of guidance, praxis if you like, there is no one but the performer and his Lord in the equation. It is not a linear equation, nor a first order truncation of an infinite series.
No channeling and no intermediary. In Our culture we do have guides, but explaining the nuances of particular scenarios can only get one so far. And that's assuming the relationship exists into which one can explain. This is not a black box because of its impermeability, but because of its isolation at the point of enaction.
It is probably mostly wrong because that's the way we expand our understanding. It is live because it is not covered in a dusty underappreciated and legalistic book somewhere from another time and place. The honesty bit depends on intention I guess.
As we start Ramadan, the month of the Quran, not only have more people been flooded, but i reckon thousands will have had the land on which they stood and lived eroded away, and not for the first time. Please remember them in your duas, everyone else who is struggling, and everyone else over all time and all space. In your conversation with the All Knowing there's an aspiration ... the human desire for openings to become apparent, spiritual, social and scientific, in the society so it can stand firm, develop its virtues and protect itself.
A friend told me the other day, that the word tarawih can be understood to connotate 'pit-stop'. Something light, like a fuel break, not like a marathonic ritual but something altogether more potent. Just putting that one out there.
Ramadan has broken out everywhere.. including Somalia...
is it the appeal to certain kinds of institutional kudos in the 'take me seriously build up'?
is it the comical meaning of the y-axis on the figure?
is it the appeal to 'donors' to save the brown man (again) from drowning in his own poo?
is it the appeal to the biggest joke in the development industry, the ever-quoted Millenium Development Goals?
or maybe its the total absense of spirit.....
or maybe i am jealous because this Imperialism is not 'mine'.....
shut it, you know nothing... even you know next to nothing. ahistoricise yourself.
what do you hold dear? what are you going to do about it?
He focusses on a different political geneology to that which I sometimes reflect upon. It is startling though that the Muslim Nation States have developed in the way that they have. Ummahtic overstretch, Violent communal conflict, Souring relations with India, Electoral ugliness, Political mistrust and self love, War in which so many of its people were killed by those charged to guard them, Capitulation to great power games, Total destruction of nobility and of course my favourite, Forgetfulness of collective purpose.
Unity, Faith and Discipline were his catchwords, not one of which has been honoured in either spirit or deed. This country, barring its politicians, is disunited as never before. Faith is split between the various vitriolic schools of thought and has but provoked intolerance, bigotry and violence, and as for discipline it is nowhere to be found.
But then that is a negative view, inshAllah the best days are to come. There have been many many ace scholars and institutional innovations, even if these have generally been products of the prepartition phase, when the Millat had a better impression of who is was.
Partition split many of the traditionalists and modernists. It ironically situated the Muslims away from their institutions of higher learning and included the Old Empire's military recruitment center. The South Asian Muslim inteligensia has never recovered. South West Asian Muslim soldiery has had a boom time. Satan is probably laughing his arse off. He probably laughed especially hard when the Muslim Nation state became two in that way.
I read products from Alighar dissing partition aloofly and coughing up Congress platitudes, I hear superficial anti Indianism from the western armpit and I know that forgetfulness and national parochiality is even deeper in the eastern one. ( I hope it has a silver lining somewhere).
So we didnt translate our values... and have warped national mythologies that empower the most capitive political elites through; the consent of middleclasses battling for social position and regular people battling to fill their stomachs. The 'nobility' are busy at some party sniffing eachother's arses, that is they have no character and dont care.
Zia Sardar made an intelligent quip at the recent Tehelka Summit in London, I think it is broadening of the historical imagination,
"Civilisational India is mine, you can keep your nation state"
"Between the billboard self-adulation across highways of metallic isolation there lies the deafening screaming of the millions wiping out the diseased pages of apathy that bleed our innocence..."
This slightly modified spoken word lead-in to the Manic Song 'Love's Sweet Exile' is what i remembered when clicking through tomorrow's Daily Star AKA the Daily Ondhokar, Dhaka.
The caption reads
"Street urchins sit dangerously on the guard rail of a foot bridge in front of Dhaka Polytechnic Institute in Tejgaon yesterday. Photo: STAR"
Street Urchins? are you telling me that beneath all that eastern wiberal development rights secularspoken platitude ridden safety blanket you havent even purged that Victorian Value yet? or maybe you don't recogise it as a dehumanising guffridden term. They are of course born not to be able to read youre blessed paper as your ilk's language ideology would find that worrisome.
Then I remember Late Great Syed Husain Alatas's killer line...
"... somewhere along the line, a fool had left the imprint of his mind"
It can't be just me
Hope the hunting is good out there
Oh crystaliser of community
Learn that jive and plant some seeds
That's what you always do
You won't turn into one of them
Because of you know who.
I'd like to write a rock opera
About that tree you planted
But, who'd play guitar, who'd play tabla?
Now that so many have departed.
Who will keep our lines so straight,
Who has the moves and kudos?
To institutionalise our dreams in life
Not cultish, inbred Judas.
There is a rather virile Notis song that has a line concerning duff leaders that lead their sheep to the wolves. Actually its the chorus,
Sheep, our turn is coming
And you little shepherds can go get a haircut
Sheep, wake up, reach the heights
Wolves will exist as long as sheep exist
But the sheep also share the blame in appointing fake shepherds and false herding techniques. I guess that the heartstrings of the 'International Community' will be pulled more and more in coming days as the Georgian situation and position becomes more desperate. Exhilaration for Russia. Middle finger to the US. Strange political timing, stranger geo-economics and bizarre streams of propaganda. No conceivable Georgian gain...
Nationalism really looks like a stupid idea when you see this stuff happening to small countries. Folks should opt out.
The drenching of stale and dry, abrasive thoughts and folks with some kinda dewey stuff.
"Moronic Irrigation clears the most stubborn of groups of their harmfulness" agreed a panel of shoe shiners at their weekly get together outside Dhaka Central Jail today. Nobody bearing white english captive mind credentials was present and neither were any ugly people shoving microphones in people's faces. No government secretaries were present either, though the party could hear some kind of Fight Club noises emanating from the jailkhana, where celebrity thugs and corrupt politicians were being held in preparation for their eventual re-election. This was the extent of official presense at this landmark gathering.
The Millat of Britain was stumped. Many amongst them equated the most random of things with religious pride and took needlessly strong positions on matters they could not have a clue about. From Biofiqh to Grand Political Theory, from Theological Borders to Cultural Strategy, their wires were crossed in several places. It was cute that they had spirit, but it was really being wrongly directed. Folks, usually blokes, were willywaving embarrassingly and it was turning off the interest of people who were genuinely curious and kind of mind. Moronic Irrigation was the order of the day, but how?
come find yourself a piece of me
eat some food and chat some ring
but for goodness sake dont dare to sing.
Forget about simplicity
im debauched 'cultural fidelity'
why dates and milk? best gesticulate
bring on the courses, proliferate
Upon your face i'll put a frown
youll have no balls to face me down
I'll set you back a good few years
distract your purpose, drink your tears
I laugh at you , you musalmen
adept with sword, if not the pen
culturally you dont take risks,
civilisationally you take the piss
So i'll bleed the young with awesome rates
rest assured i'll make stupid mistakes
Guaranteed am I of endless profit
try as you may you cannot stop it.
At various times the society and government of Bangladesh have thought about translating the educative impetus of Islam without hiding behind the term 'secularism'. But not seriously enough i'm afraid. It is explainable given the weaknesses of both society and government there.
To generalise the three streams of schooling: we have a small set of people who know and care little about their islamic inheritance coming out of the English Medium, a larger set whose Islamic curriculums and facilities aren't that optimal, and a majority set who are locked into Bengali.
Its really not an ideal way to go about getting the best out of your citizenry. The issues present need to be seriously engaged with from an Islamic worldview, without
a) the 'damaged-goods' secularism that so sadly still afflicts the establishment intelligensia,
b) the 'damaged-goods' anti-radicalism pap that still afflicts the White Studies Regime, and
c) the NGO vultures who exploit the cracks in social structure.
Their 'participation' has been observer you see.
Sane committed Muslim scholars and educationalists have looked into this education issue all over the Ummah and all over South Asia. There is a mixed body of critical work, literature and activism out there is anyone is so much as interested.
Progress probably won't come from the government. The Awami League are allergic and occasionally come into power, the Rightists are plain mean and corrupt for no reason and the elves have sailed to Valinor.
This mojo comes, and is coming from the believers who mobilise their resources and creativities in alignment with the spiritual and social objectives of the deen. Expect it to be misreported, unreported or underreported, that is the nature and function of the debaucherous media. Best listen for it and assist if you are able, probably bypass Dhaka if you can. Best not 'go work at BRAC', but then again, are we ever able to learn from other people's mistakes?
NGOs should be disqualified to do the teacher training job in Bangladesh for the glaring and well known fact that they are hardly nationalistic in approach but pursue extra-territorial objectives particularly in matters of value formation.
The falling quality of Primary Education in Bangladesh since 1972 is nothing new to all those who cared for it and kept on tracking the issue as qualified professional educators. It is also true that the other further levels, as well, has been having the same fate as all levels are interlinked, and dependant on each other, particularly the higher ones. It, therefore, appears fairly reasonable that the present Caretaker Government (CG) took up the issue seriously to do something about it and so appointed a NGO, BRAC, to improve the quality by offering training to some teachers, possibly, on experimental basis. . It may be taken as one of their good intentions, no doubt, as they have many good wishes in many other areas, but there are few puzzling questions that they obviously need, at the same time, to ponder about seriously on a priority basis.
First, the question is raised if the CG has enough time to take up the task that can not be considered a mean one but a continuing process of lot of variables impinging on the system of primary education involving many socio-economic realities. Second, has the government taken for granted that the huge government administration particularly for Primary Education has failed to do their task for which they are all paid from the public exchequer, and if so, to get rid of them all? Third, have all the teachers as a group proved inefficient to keep their teaching quality high, and if so why? Fourth, whether the BRAC as a big NGO has been asked by the CG to provide their ‘consultancy’ service to work as Aladdin’s Wonder Lamp for raising quality of Primary schooling through training of some teachers in their own way in Bangladesh?
Improving quality of primary schooling for young children that the educators listed as items of terminal competencies in reading writing, arithmetic, comprehension etc involves many critical factors that remained integral for decades with the overall socio-economic milieu. The first one could be traced as poverty of parents so much so that many children, if not the majority, more often than not go to school ill-fed, half fed or even fully hungry. Such malnourished or hungry young children can hardly accept class lessons even if the teacher would offer his best effort for imparting teaching for pupils’ learning. That remains one of the main reasons for drop-out from year after year until the last primary class or fifth year retention rate being not more than 50%. In advanced countries like Britain where schooling until age 16 is compulsory at free of cost, for example, poorer pupils are normally given a small bottle of milk each day during school Tiffin hour, completely free of cost for the most poor and at subsidized nominal price for those from well off parents for keeping the school children full of energy to take efficient lesson from teacher. There is no question of any drop-out until age 16 or tenth class and no fail to be ousted from school until that statutory age limit is reached. Illiteracy of parents of Bangladesh that many rural and slum dwelling parents of big cities are, is another negative factor against quality learning of pupils as they get little or no help at home for learning.
In the school campus, so far as learning aids are concerned, though books are provided by the government in primary schools, other essential learning aid materials like paper, pencil, instruments etc. are difficult to provide by the poor parents, neither have schools any budget to supply them to the needy learners. Such paucity affects learning quality.
Apart from the above constraints, there is wanting for well qualified, trained and self-motivated teachers. It is not that the teachers have no diploma or degree of colleges and universities. In fact, they have those required diplomas. In addition, many of them have undergone teachers training (One year Certificate in Education, B.Ed., etc) as well. The government primary schools have nearly all trained teachers (95% for rural and 97.3% for urban as of 1998, State of Primary Education in Bangladesh, UPL, 2001, p.8). The private schools and other institutes like Ebtedayee Madarassas, kindergartens etc., however, lag behind in number of trained teachers. Provided the 54 Primary Teachers Training Institutes would remain fully functional and if need be expanded further in their capacities, training of the untrained teachers should not be difficult to provide. In addition, the old idea that the primary school teachers need not have university degree should now be forgotten as in advanced countries many Ph.D.s teachers in many primary schools.
The institutes and colleges might need though reorganization not only in terms of operational mode but also in curricula contents. Psychological motivation for dedicated teaching may be an essential addition to the current syllabus for many teachers, as far as I know, lack in this regard. That teaching is a noble task for service above self unlike many other professions/vocations is unfortunately almost a lost idea in our midst. I still recall many of my dedicated teachers at the primary in early 1940s having no regular salaries but a paltry lump sum of Grant in Aid money, secondary and college/ university at home and abroad who had been totally committed and dedicated ones that I fortunately experienced. I don’t mean to say that the poor Bangladeshi teachers would have no good pay for their service, but what I mean to say is that the teachers should be the role models in teaching to draw satisfaction from and incentive of spiritual kind.
The BRAC’s Chairman in a statement made days before said that they would offer ‘model’ training for 3000 schools’ teachers’ in 20 Upazillas free of cost of the government and at the BRAC’s own expense. The philanthropy looks wonderful. But the government should clarify the prior issue as to why their 54 teachers’ training institutes could not do the required training job equally efficiently, if not more effectively. Why can’t they compete in efficiency with what the BRAC could do? On account of what positive benefits the teachers’ training is being proposed to be entrusted to one of the NGOs here in Bangladesh? Information about benefits, if any, should be given to all concerned for knowledge and understanding. And nothing should be imposed arbitrarily from the top.
To me, NGOs should be disqualified to do the teacher training job in Bangladesh for the glaring and well known fact that they are hardly nationalistic in approach but pursue extra-territorial objectives particularly in matters of value formation. Thus teachers trained by them, in all likelihood would accept their values that may ultimately impinge adversely on young minds of school pupils that may not help healthy social transformation but inhibit it so far as the beliefs and values of overwhelming majority people of Bangladesh is concerned.
As far as my understanding goes, NGOs provide signals for material incentive that attracts the extremely poor people for obvious reason for meeting their first of the basic needs, food for hunger. The proposed BRAC involvement of secular nature in teachers’ training devoid of contents of spiritual elements and incentive in training process would only further deteriorate, I am afraid, the quality of Primary schooling in Bangladesh.
I would rather feel that the teachers’ training model developed and termed as Faith Based by the great educator and the founder V.C., the late Professor Dr. Syed Ali Ashraf of the Darul Ihsan University, Dhaka for B. Ed. and M.Ed. courses I happened fortunately to be involved with for a few years in their design and operation could be worth trying for improved quality and motivation of the trained teachers in the profession in primary schools, as well.
(M.T.Hussain;795/2 Ibrahimpur, Dhaka-1206. 20 July 2008)