Posts by jrahman

India sneezes, will we catch the cold?

The Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai

India sneezes, will we catch the cold?

By Jyoti Rahman   for AlaloDulal.org

Just a year or so ago, the Indian economy was expected to be growing at a 8-9% pace, and people were talking about double digit growth into the 2020s.  Within a year, growth has slowed to 4.4%, without there being any major shock —no financial crisis, no balance of payments crisis, no major natural disaster, nor any particular political tension.  India just slowed, sharply.  It’s now expected to grow only at around 4-5% a year, at least in the near term.  Reflecting the slowdown, and the changed perception of India, the Indian rupee has taken a beating in recent weeks.

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Two wings and a prayer

Source: google.

Ask for a piece on Pakistan and Bangladesh during December and you’re likely to get something about the 1971 wars — note the plural, because the eastern part of the subcontinent simultaneously experienced an inter-ethnic civil war and ethno-communal cleansing, genocide, inter-state conventional war and a war of national liberation, all climaxing in the crisp Bengali winter of 1971.  Naeem Mohaiemen’s seven part series is an example, covering many aspects of that fateful year.  Let me skip 1971 in this post.  Instead, I’ll begin by marking the other December anniversary, one that will have a particular relevance for Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2013.  And I’ll note the parallels between the post-1971 developments in the two wings of former United Pakistan.

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The Jamaat Factor

jamaat-train

A train set on fire by activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh

Delwar Hossain Sayedee, an Islamic preacher and a senior leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, the country’s largest Islam-pasand party, was sentenced to death on 28 February for war crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War. Within hours, Jamaat cadres and activists clashed violently with police and law enforcement agencies. Scores have been killed in some of the worst political violence the country has experienced in recent years.

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Making a stand, taking a side

Propaganda image on various groups, including “Basher Kella”

In the current political theatre, the central character is Jamaat-e-Islami. The Shahbag Awakening started as a reaction against a possible Jamaat-Awami backdoor deal. A month on, I think such a deal looks very remote right now.

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I want to believe

On that day, no soul shall be wronged; and you shall not be rewarded aught but that which you did. (The Quran, 36: 54).

Surah Yasin is usually recited in Muslim households when someone passes away. The above-quoted ayaat from the surah has been in my mind lately. I want to believe those words, not just in the promised day of reckoning, but here and now, in this People’s Republic of ours.

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