Golden days of the Dhaka University and the upcoming general election in Bangladesh

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Half a century back, a student of Dhaka University (DU) would boast of his/her knowledge and intellect. They were considered as intellectuals and social elites who had acquired wide knowledge on the subject they obtained higher degrees. DU stood as the light house of democracy as all of the pro-democracy movements were generated from it. Dhaka University students though actively participated in socio-cultural and even political activities; they were mainly students – more precisely brilliant students, who had commitment towards the society and the nation. In those days, a student of DU would not even think of becoming an armed cadre of any political party or indulge into immoral activities such as extortion. As good days unfortunately do not stay forever, DU’s golden days are gone – long back. Now it has turned into the epicenter of numerous forms of criminal and unethical activities. In the name of student’s politics, Dhaka University students are turning into political thugs if not even worst. They are killers, extortionists, rapists, drug and arms peddlers and what not! They don’t feel any shame in actively participating into such activities. It is said, becoming a student leader in the DU now-a-days is nothing but one of the easiest ways of making tons of money. Even during their student life, many of the students become multi-billionaires. This exactly is the sorry state of today’s Dhaka University.

Now let us look into the standard of education in current day’s standard of education in the Dhaka University. Let us more precisely look into the Department of English. Fortunately (or shall I say unfortunately) a lecturer at the English Department of DU became my Facebook friend. Seeing his profile I considered him as a knowledgeable individual. But quickly my hope turned into a nightmare when I realized, this gentleman was lacking the minimum level of knowledge in English. Whenever this DU lecturer were writing a comment on my posts or sending me a message in English, it was extremely difficult on my part in discovering what he was talking about. Not to talk about his series of spelling mistakes and silly grammatical errors, he definitely does not know English even up to the standard of an elementary level student in any of the English medium schools in Dhaka. But still he managed a job as a teacher in the DU and more shockingly – in the English Department!

I would rather blame those recruiters who had selected him instead of blaming this poor guy. Under what considerations did they appoint him? As he lacks minimum level of English, was there some kind of political influence of he just managed the job in exchange of bribe? Seeing this man anyone will raise these questions.

As another general election is scheduled to be held in Bangladesh on December 30th, most of those students of the DU with political affiliations are now extremely busy in making bucks by extending services to the politicians. Unfortunately, the students of Dhaka University had degraded themselves to the status of street hookers. Anyone can hire them just in exchange of money. This is a matter of great shame for an institution that still holds a very respectable position in the eyes of the people of Bangladesh.

Upcoming general election:

In Bangladeshi politics, two parties actually matter – Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Others are either insignificant or irrelevant or both. Radical Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JIB) has been barred from contesting in any election as its registration were revoked by the Election Commission for JIB’s active participation as the collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces. Most of the top brasses of this party had either been executed or awaiting death penalty for committing crime against humanity. Moreover, JIB had introduced radical and political Islam in Bangladesh. Ideologically, Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jaamat e Islami Bangladesh are notoriously antisemitic. Awami League though proclaims itself as a secularist party; it had joined hands or romanced with radical Islamic parties in Bangladesh in the recent years. General Secretary of Awami League, Obaidul Quader in 2016 had openly branded his party boss as the “Muslim Prime Minister” of the “Muslim Bangladesh.” Such proclamation of Mr. Quader had clearly proved – Awami League no more upholds its constitutional spirit of secularism. Instead, it has been gradually tilting towards political Islam and radical Islam.

Unfortunately, there isn’t truly any secular political party in Bangladesh, a country with 170 million populations.

Awami League is in power since 2008 and according to media reports, it is not leaving any stone unturned in ensuring a third consecutive term through the December 30 general election. In 2014, India and China played key role in helping Awami League in holding a questioned general election which had been boycotted by Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Awami League had hold that election with the help of some minor political parties (which enjoy no popular support) and the party of former military dictator Gen. Hussain Muhammed Ershad. Bangladesh is the only democracy in the world where the main opposition in the parliament is very much a part of the government. Gen Ershad is the Special Envoy to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while few of his Jatiyo Party comrades already are members of the current cabinet.

Gen Ershad has earned the bad name of a ‘Playboy Politician’ a ‘liar’ – a political clown and of course, the most unpredictable and unreliable individual. His partymen were busy in making millions and billions of taka ever since they had joined hands with Awami League.

But ever since the Election Commission had announced the schedule, political scenario in Bangladesh has been changing very fast. According to Intel report of an intelligence agency, ruling Awami League currently enjoys support from only 18 percent of the total population. On the other hand, Bangladesh Nationalist Party is clearly much ahead of the ruling party and is even seen as the most popular political party in today’s Bangladesh.

The report forecasts of BNP returning to power through a landslide following the December 30 general election. BNP also is much ahead of Awami League in communicating various government and policymakers in the West – Europe, America, Australia and Canada. On the other hand, India has become totally silent and even is publicly demanding a free, fair and transparent election in Bangladesh. China has dramatically stepped back from blindly supporting Awami League and also has demanded a free, fair and transparent election in Bangladesh.

One of the key reasons behind Awami League’s lethargy is its leaders. During past ten years, they have almost entirely depended on the law enforcing agencies and civil-military bureaucracy (even judiciary) in remaining in power. They now prefer enjoying luxury and amusement and hardly interested or even intended in going to the people or challenging their political opponents – politically.

With the declaration of the election schedule, Gen Ershad and his party has already gone into the cold storage. Possibly this party now will advance towards extinction. In the eyes of the people of Bangladesh, Jatiyo Party is nothing but a club of political clowns.

As the election day is getting nearer – being totally confused, people of Bangladesh has started considering Awami League as the loser while Bangladesh Nationalist Party as the potential winner. We have to wait until December 31 to finally know – if the public opinion were correct.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz.

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