Disturbance in the Force 2

Couple of weeks ago, we posted Anwar Dayal’s summary of what might have happened in the army earlier this year.  Over the fold are some excerpts of a recent conversation with Dayal.  He tells me that there is a tremendous amount of grievance in the army, but chance of a coup is very low.  Apparently the army is waiting for BNP to win the next election.

What about Tarique Rahman avenging his broken back?

Tarique who?

Disclaimer: AoD is in no position to judge the accuracy of anything reported here.

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Our problem is political, not constitutional

1995-96, AL demanded that Khaleda Zia step down before election because she couldn’t be trusted to hold a free and fair election.  Awami supporters pointed to the Magura by-election for their distrust of Khaleda.  They demanded a caretaker government.  The thing is, there was no provision for a caretaker government in the constitution, and with opposition members resigning from parliament, BNP didn’t have enough MPs to amend the constitution. Continue reading

Tinker, tailor, soldier, coup-maker

The country of Bengal is a land where, owing to the climate’s favouring the base, the dust of dissension is always rising – so said the Mughal court chronicler Abul Fazl in the 16th century. Four hundred years later, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been a country where the dust of dissension has repeatedly risen among the men armed to guard the republic. The allegedly thwarted coup in January is but the latest in a long list of coups / mutinies / revolutions / military interventions going all the way back to the country’s very foundation in 1971.

The country’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed with most of his family in a brutal coup in 1975. Within a decade of the country’s 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan, much of the political and military leadership of the war were either killed or politically delegitimized by successive coups. And the coups of the 1970s reverberate even today, as Humayun Ahmed (a popular novelist) found out recently — Mr Ahmed’s latest novel, set in 1975, has been effectively banned because his depiction of history doesn’t suit the version favoured by Bangladesh’s current political dispensation. The politicised quest for what Naeem Mohaiemen calls shothik itihash (correct history) stifles the freedom of speech and thought, and ssts back academia and creativity.

Of course, what actually happened in the 1970s, and beyond, should be subject to serious debate. History isn’t, after all, mere recount of dates and facts. History should be about understanding what happened and why they happened. Needless to say, one’s understanding depends on one’s own political biases.

Over the folder, I summarise major mutinies/coups/rebellions of the past four decades, and the narrative reflects my own biases and ideological prisms – just as one’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, so is one’s mutiny someone else’s revolution. For the interested reader, a reading list is provided at the end.

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