Untold Stories of Mr. Knot: Democracy 12 – Common Ground 07 By: Khandker Habib Ahmed (All rights are reserved by the author) (Consecutively after last section) Gulshan: Alright Mr. Knot, why do you offer people ‘a cup ...
Untold Stories of Mr. Knot: Democracy 12 – Common Ground 07
By: Khandker Habib Ahmed
(All rights are reserved by the author)
(Consecutively after last section)
Gulshan: Alright Mr. Knot, why do you offer people ‘a cup of tea’ almost always. I didn’t see
you to invite people to for an extensive meal.
Mr. Knot: It is not that I do not invite people for extensive meal or throw a party. However, I
cannot do so often. Nevertheless, there lies a philosophy in my saying ‘a cup of tea’.
Gulshan: Oh my God! What philosophy you have in that, Mr. Knot?
Mr. Knot: Yes, it is, Gulshan. Let me explain it to you. When I offer any people ‘a cup of
tea’, the person concerned may think that Mr. Knot is a scrooge or lacks a sense of hospitality. Otherwise, I could invite people for dinner or lunch for extensive meal. Gulshan, I am indifferent to what people say. By saying ‘a cup of tea’, I express one kind of seriousness to the people. Besides, my philosophy is to turn out to be busy with the work, not waste time in non-productivity. ‘A cup of tea’ takes less time and we have to end up with the essential talks within that time. Isn’t it? Especially, it doesn’t worth mentioning if it is the part of the working hours. In a democratic culture, it is essential to pay respect for the rights of others. It is also necessary to take austerity measures.
Gulshan: Then, you don’t like extensive meals, Mr. Knot?
Mr. Knot: Look Gulshan, I know that we have a long tradition of hospitality. However, that
doesn’t mean it has to come at the expense of others’ ‘charity’. Do you know how the money is poured into the L. R. Fund (local resource fund) of the Deputy Commissioners in Bangladesh? Money is collected from the mass general people who come to take service from them. I do not want to have an extensive meal at the expense of that money at least. I can take ‘a cup of tea’ at the best. Elsewhere, this money comes from the pocket of the contractors. They arrange for meals but recoup that money by doing less quality of public works. That’s why you see, for example, the national highways full of big puddles and the immeasurable sufferings of the people moving with vehicles over these roads and highways. Now, see the far-reaching effects of these extensive meals!!
Gulshan: Then, what is the alternative?
Mr. Knot: The concerned authority could employ standard food supplier on condition of
terminating the contract and trade license in default along with periodic monitoring
and evaluation of their contractual performance. Bill payment has to be completed by
the individual concerned taking the meal. If someone willingly likes to be the host, that is different. But it is not ethical to host extensive meals with money collected from people by obligation which they are not supposed to pay. Certainly, it is against the democratic norms, so is forming of such funds.
(Mr. Knot took a cup of coffee from living room, others also followed him. The stories of democracy have taken a very good shape in the balcony.)
Shormila: Brother Knot, you wanted to tell what a ‘package deal’ (guccho binimoy) is……
Mr. Knot: Yes, Shormila, I am telling you….. It is actually a technique for any haggling or
negotiation. This technique is used persistently in the diplomatic service. The job of a bargain is not an easy one, so is the job of a salesman. If a diplomat is not skilled at selling the ideas, it is better for the person concerned not to join that service. Let me give you an example, so you understand the concept of ‘package deal’ well. Let’s a meeting is being conducted between Bangladesh and India at a certain level of authority in which some issues have to be resolved. If both parties consider a single issue at a time, it appears that it cannot be resolved because no party likes to ‘budge’ when they calculate the loss or profit from the proposed alternative resolutions for that specific issue. Therefore, parties involved in the negotiation bring up a package of a few unresolved issues with some new proposals in it to exchange and again calculates the loss or profit from that. This changed set up of ‘package deal’ usually brings an ease in the negotiation process to ‘budge’ by the parties leading to a much coveted deal eventually. That’s why it is called a ‘package deal’ (guccho binimoy). Do you understand now, Shormila?
Shormila: The concept is so clear to me now as a transparent glass to see through. You tell so
clearly, brother Knot. That’s why I love you so much…….
Mr. Knot: To love humans is not a sin, it’s a virtue. However, no narrowness please….I told you
Shormila: Mr. Knot, earlier you talked about feudal system (Samantatontro). You also told about
the caste system as a separate human class inside that feudal system. Can you tell some more on it? I mean, do you know about any other social discrimination?
Mr. Knot: Listen Shormila. Feudal system is based on such a relation as the ones between
landlord and vassal, master and slave or rich and poor where the rights of the people are not taken into consideration. A society will surely have rich and poor but not at the expense of people’s right or the law itself. So, there are many other types of discrimination as this form, not Shormila? Democracy is not money though, it is the right of people.
Kazi: You know, my father was religious leader (Imam or Moulvi). You might know that, in
Bangladesh, Imams have no money. They work for our religion Islam. They are also the beggars of God (Allah). Nevertheless, the truth is that their family runs through severe hardship of worldly means….People treat them as the beggars of this world too. I myself is the evidence of this claim.
Mr. Knot: Why are you saying this, Kazi? What happened to you?
Kazi: Oh Mr. Knot! Please do not tell anything about it….Some people looked down upon me so
severely that I felt very hapless. Is it not a social discrimination? What type ruthless habit it is….looking down on the poor son of an Imam or his other family members? They understand only their money and their empty conceit….Does democracy says so, Mr. Knot…?
Mr. Knot: What did they say to you?
Kazi: They said, “Moulvi’s son will be another Moulvi, why will he be educated?” Others would
say, “Oh! He is a son of Moulvi…?” It is a social discrimination, not it, Mr. Knot?
Mr. Knot: Absolutely, it is, Kazi. If there were any practice of democracy, people would not be
able to eye on you so diminutively…
Shormila: Do you remember any other form of social discrimination you experienced, brother
Mr. Knot: Shormila, you perhaps know the history of the colonial rule in our sub-continent. ‘Mr.
Feudal’ has made his very sturdy position in our psyche right from that time. The stanza of the Bengali poet itself is a strong evidence which I translate like this: “Because he was a coolie, the gentleman pushed him down (from the rail-car); Tears burst out of his eyes; Will the ill-fated poor be beaten so in this world ever?”
Shormila: Is ‘Mr. Feudal’ exists only in this sub-continent?
Mr. Knot: Oh! Shormila, do not say it….The universal feudalism (samantatontro) might be
living in many countries in the world. Why not you look at the United States merely? Once upon a time, so far I know, ads for selling the slaves were posted on walls or monuments in Washington D.C. Why there were Civil Rights Movements? What is segregation and the segregation law? Read the official details of the famous case Brown v. Board of Education of the Unites States. Fortunately, America has changed over the years a lot, not we though.
Shormila: These things hurt me so much…brother Knot…
Mr. Knot: If you see a democratic change in it, you will surely be happy, right Shormila? I
have been writing to this end and will continue to do so……
Gulshan: You have told us many important words of wisdom, Mr. Knot. You will continue tell
about my issues in the next seating….
Mr. Knot: Alright, Gulshan….I will tell you…I already made my commitment…
(To be continued)
[Disclaimer: A Few Words for the Esteemed Readers: The character(s)in this writing is (are) fictitious. They have no real existence. In addition, the main character, Mr. Knot, is merely an embodiment of a tough and complex knot whose scope of wandering is the entire world. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that whatever stems from the dialogues of these characters or their analytical breakdown is true for the most part and merits active reflection of the esteemed readers in light of the real situation. Again, either in the dialogues of the characters or in the events, at least an issue, petite or hefty, has been unfolded with its proper description, scope and in-depth analysis along with a signal for likely solution, if possible, to it. If any reader has a dissension, other opinion, comment or suggestion, he or she may please inform the writer by an e-mail message or on Face Book or skype. My skype ID is: Khandker.ahmed898. The e-mail address is: email@example.com. Because the characters are fictitious, whatever the description or analysis thereto, there is no reason of contempt for any person or party. Therefore, I request the valued readers to count all explanations or explorations herein as merely an academic pursuit or from a research perspective. Thank you. Khandker Habib Ahmed, June 24, 2016, Bronx, New York]