Flying with broken wings
by Jyoti Rahman for AlalODulal.org
A magical realist masterpiece, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children has weird and improbable events and people juxtaposed against the history of the 20th century South Asia up to the late 1970s
Politics is hard work — are we willing?
by Jyoti Rahman, adapted from earlier version posted at Mukti
Will future historians think of 2013 as a pivotal year for Bangladesh? If they were to do so, it will not be because of anything that happened in the first half of this eventful year.
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.
The Economist writes: “Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia: Revenge of the migrants’ employer?“
The data is what it is. And the story of Saudi reax against WCT may well be true. But it’s not the only possible story. And I am not even sure it’s the right story.
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.
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.
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.
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.