Does Mirza Fakhrul know the power of the Dark Side?

The Alal-Dulal sorority likes Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.  Not just because he namechecked us.  You know how you hear, ‘good people’ don’t come to politics in our country?  Well, Mirza Fakhrul is a living counterexample.

This guy came to politics the hard way.  He studied economics in Dhaka University, and was involved in progressive politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  He could have chosen a cushy career in academia or civil service.  Instead, he chose politics.  He served as an assistant to a senior BNP leader in the late 1970s.  His father was a minister in the Ershad regime, and he could have made a lot of money and bought his nomination through crores of taka as so many others do.  But instead, he ran for Thakurgaon municipality chairmanship.

Think about that for minute.  A brilliant DU student and a son of a minister, who could have been an academic-bureaucrat-businessman, moved to an ojo-paraga like Thakurgaon, and worked his way up BNP rank-and-file to become its current de facto number 2.  And he did all this while remaining personally honest — there is no corruption charge against him.

An educated, cultured man, one who cares about what the next generation thinks, someone who is trying make BNP into a more tolerant party — what’s there not to like?

So we like Mirza Fakhrul.  And we can see why Abdul Ghaffar Chowdhury doesn’t like him.  Someone like him in BNP high command doesn’t accord with Ghaffar Chowdhury’s partisan mind, so he ridicules the BNP leader as ‘gorjon shing’.

Of course, Ghaffar Chowdhury is wrong.  Mirza doesn’t actually talk as much his Awami counterparts from Jalil to Hanif.  And he has actually been more effective than most secretary generals of either party in rejuvenating the grass root party organisation.  If BNP wins the next election, Mirza’s contribution will be enormous.

The thing is, Mirza isn’t the first ‘good man’ in BNP.

Think about his ideological fellow traveller Mannan Bhuiyan — a valiant freedom fighter, grass roots leftist leader, rising through BNP rank-and-file, holding the pro-71 flag steady when BNP started hobnobbing with Jamaat, incurring the hatred of razakar Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury.  All in all, most would have said Mannan Bhuiyan was a good man in BNP.  Until 2007 that is, when he showed up in Gen Moeen’s side.

Or how about Kazi Zafar?  Legendary student and youth leader (whose followers included both Mannan and Mirza), education minister under Zia, unquestionably a ‘good man’ in the late 1970s Bangladesh, until he ended up becoming Ershad’s prime minister, in which capacity he stole crores of taka worth of sugar!

Ah, Mirza is a good man, not corrupt like Kazi Zafar or Mannan Bhuiyan — you say.  You’re missing the point.

You see, I don’t think Mannan Bhuiyan or Kazi Zafar turned to the Dark Side because they were corrupt.  They underestimated the power of the Dark Side.  Particularly its power to tempt.

Look at how Darth Vader tempts Luke.

Join me, Luke, it’s your destiny….  together, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy….  

Not, join me and you’ll get laid with the best chicks of the galaxy the fastest and the coolest spaceship or some other thing appealing to the baser instinct of a teen ager, but the chance to end the war and bring peace!  Hell, even Anakin isn’t tempted by greed or lust, but a sense of righteous anger and justice.

That’s how Moeen or Ershad would have enticed Zafar and Mannan.  And one can easily imagine a future general approaching Mirza thus: Awami League has destroyed the country, and we had to take over, and now it’s either us or back to Awami chaos, join us and together we can bring order to the country, and end this destructive conflict!

And why will a future general approach Mirza?  Rumi says Tofail is making himself available for the job.  But Tofail will have no party with him.  Mirza has been instrumental in rebuilding BNP.  If he can be enticed to join, a future King’s Party will be a very formidable force.  Mirza Fakhrul could very well become the next prime minister of Bangladesh.

Mannan Bhuiyan and Kazi Zafar had a far less illustrious comrade — a rather uncharismatic man called Khondoker Delwar Hossain.  But this guy knew the power of the Dark Side.  Like Obi Wan, he let himself be destroyed, rather than turn to the Dark Side.  In the process, he saved BNP and Bangladesh.

Does Mirza Fakhrul know the power of the Dark Side?

16 thoughts on “Does Mirza Fakhrul know the power of the Dark Side?

  1. If Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir did not know the power of “dark side” he most definitely knows it now. Thanks to phantombd for revealing phantom mystery of power. Should Mirza Fakhrul (or anyone else for that matter) read this revelation in the spirit of Halloween or Mirza Fakhrul should just quit before phantom (or AD) dark side haunt him for real? What do you suggest, phantombd?

    Left leaning politics was termed as “progressive”. Question: Who, what and how such certification is given to anyone or any flavor of ideology/politics? Or this is exclusive right of AD perhaps DS/PA inspired and sponsored “progressive” rating agency?

  2. because, as the writer points out, think what you may about mannan bhuiyan’s role in 2007, he was at least motivated by the public interest (if i understand correctly, this was the the point of the post, this belief that one is acting in the public interest is the lure of the dark side). i don’t think that kazi zafar was motivated by anything other than self-interest during the ershad years. there’s a world of difference between mannan bhuiyan in 2007 and kazi zafar in the 80s.

    • Was Kazi Zafar seen as corrupt under Zia? He became corrupt by the end of Ershad, but isn’t the Zafar from the early 1980s right comparison?

      • 1) he may have had a good reputation before joining ershad (i don’t know), but the point is he didn’t do join ershad out of anything other than self-interest.

        2) interesting that joining zia in the 70s isn’t seen as dark side-y as joining ershad in 80s or playing footsie with moeen in 2007.

    • I interpreted this post as saying that the lure of the dark side is being convinced that self-promotion will somehow be in the public interest. Mannan Bhuiyan was motivated by the hope of being PM under Moeen, the one promotion he would never get under BNP.

      • Hmm. If your interpretation is right, then presumably the same thing also holds for Mirza Fakhrul, no? I mean, any prime ministerial ambition and his future in BNP is doomed. This leads me to refer to something I wrote a while ago:

        Also, if we take this Dark Side theory seriously, then surely the antidote is dynasty? Want to keep BNP safe and Mirza Fakhrul straight and narrow? Bring back Tarique! (And ditto for Tofail and Sajeeb Wazed)

        Btw, is it just me or this post isn’t all that clear in its message? I mean we have multiple interpretations already. At this rate, it will soon be subject of a post-modernist deconstruction in some anthropology phd class!

      • The difference is Father Time. The netris are nearing the end of their respective innings. MFIA (born 1948) has at least 15 years ahead of him.

    • Well, this is just personal theory, but I think KZ is at the end of her physical strength. She keeps going because of some personal stakes, but this will be the last general election she contests.

      What about SH? One, I think she will not be able to ride out five years in opposition and hang on to her AL post. Also, as soon as one of the netris steps aside, the other one will start looking ridiculous and outdated, especially if pitted against other, younger leaders.

  3. Star Wars characterisations are bound to compel, and maybe youve even got the casting all wrong, but what I get from this is that you see Alamgir as a positive integer politician.

    We live in a moronarchy featuring military punctuation, dynasty and dokhol.

    Im not a particular fan of the BNP or Grameen Bank, but shouldnt at least one of the dark side be the entrenchment of dynasty? What is this chaps position on the reincarnation of Tariq Rahman? Does he have the stones to challenge his leader when she is wrong?

  4. All, got caught up in the election fever, so sorry for late reply. Let’s see…..

    Idune, left-leaning people identify themselves as progressive, just like the right-leaning people call themselves conservative. And that’s true around the world. If you seriously want to learn about it, go and read textbooks. If you want ajaira torko, find someone else.

    Jrahman, you think the post is too confusing? Success! :P

    Logicat and ADB5, both your interpretations are right — see the reply to Jrahman. Seriously, it’s an interesting issue precisely because it’s open to many possibilities.

    Fug, I definitely see Alamgir as a positive integer figure. How he sees dynasty is something I’d like to know about as well.

  5. I am proud & honored to have known Alamgir Bhai from 1972. Some of his credentials are missing from your post.
    – While pursuing a Graduate Degree in Economics at Dhaka University, he shared a room in Salimullah Hall with Ahmed Kamal, Waheduddin Mahmud & Anisul Islam Mahmud.
    – He won the post of VP for Salimullah Hall for EPSU (Menon) against the NSF.
    – He was a freedom fighter.
    – He worked for the Directorate of Education, Govt. of Bangladesh and rose to the rank of Deputy Director before resigning.
    – He is a very charming & unassuming person who looks for the simplest solutions to complex problems.
    – He was promoted by Tarique Zia.
    – His wife is a teacher and he has two daughters – both happily married.
    – Gen. mahbubur Rahman is his Dulabhai.

    …………. and YES, he is very familiar with ‘the power of the dark side’ having had to cope with the likes of Shamim Iskandar while in charge of the Civil Aviation Ministry.

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