Untying the Knots: Democracy Decries 03 Conceptual Framework 01 By: Khandker Habib Ahmed (All rights are reserved by the author) (Consecutively after last section) The boisterous cricket passion of the supporters in Imrul’...
Untying the Knots: Democracy Decries 03
Conceptual Framework 01
By: Khandker Habib Ahmed
(All rights are reserved by the author)
(Consecutively after last section)
The boisterous cricket passion of the supporters in Imrul’s living room has put Kazi in a kind of discomfort. This is partly because he is a journalist-cum-writer, a repository of enormous thoughts constantly flowing in and out of his mind, and the flow is interrupted, for sure, by the noisy passion. Besides, he has developed recently a frightening habit of sudden profound thinking and sinking deep in a gulf of contemplations. He cannot keep his eye on the ball! He, at times, dives into imagination so abstracted that he forgets what is or has been happening around him. That is why Kazi used to avoid driving while residing in Dhaka City of Bangladesh. Gulshan, his wife, drove him to places as needed almost all the time.
Kazi: Mr. Knot, let’s go to the balcony….
Mr. Knot: Why?
Kazi: Let’s have a smoke…bidi…
Mr. Knot: Bidi? You mean Akij bidi?
(It seemed that Kazi put Mr. Knot out of countenance…)
Kazi: Oh no! Mr. Knot. This bidi is actually the Benson & Hedges brand…
Mr. Knot: But why do you say it bidi?
Kazi: You know, sellers who I buy from call those branded cigarettes ‘bidis’. I do not know
how they get them so cheap to sell cheap to us as well….Let’s light up one…..I help you….
Mr. Knot: Oh no, Kazi. It’s impossible!!!
Kazi: Why, Mr. Knot? Are you an ascetic?
Mr. Knot: You are a hedonistic, right Kazi? Actually, I had a four-vessel coronary bypass open-heart
surgery in October, 2003. Since then, I have not touched a single stick because my cardiologist
advised to do so. However, as a student of civil engineering, I used to take one or two sticks,
especially during the ‘late-night-fight’ hours before for the exams. Oh! How nice it was….
Kazi: Yes, Mr. Knot. You’re right. I am a pleasure-seeking person too. You know when I light up a cigar
and inhale a deep fume from it, I feel imaginations radiating out of my head just as that happened to Albert Einstein….. O. K., Mr. Knot. I light up one…..
Mr. Knot: Hahahahha….! Is it! That’s good…..O.K. Kazi, I know that you write ample on democracy in
addition to raising your strong voice in TV talk-shows. Did you think one thing?
Kazi: What, Mr. Knot? Say, as you would like to ….. I won’t clam up anything….
Mr. Knot: Did you ever think about the conceptual framework of democracy suitable for situations in
Kazi: Yes, it should be like a model an architect makes for an establishment, right? A democratic
model in politics would conceptually help politicians to run the country, parties and its people in
the society. However, don’t hold your breath waiting for it there, Mr. Knot. You know the
situations in Bangladesh, right? Are you not barking up the wrong tree?
Mr. Knot: Yes, you are right, Kazi. This model has become my Holy Grail! However, I look at it in the
context of Bangladesh. I also believe that democracy should be defined as ‘the government of the people, by the people and for the people’, as stated by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, in his ‘Gettysburg Address’ speech in 1863.
Kazi: Do you think the definition is sufficiently clear, Mr. Knot?
Mr. Knot: It is not an abstruse statement at least, right? Wording is sufficiently clear, not it? Many people
say that the idea of democracy dates back to the time of Aristotle (ancient Greek philosopher born c. 384 B.C. in Stagira, Greece). However, as far as I know, President Abraham Lincoln presented the first formal definition of democracy as already mentioned.
Kazi: I think you’re playing with fire by trying to introduce this concept for
Bangladesh. This is because there are many vested interest groups who will not like your
arguments and explanations that you make in favor of it.
Mr. Knot: Do not sink me into the deep abyss of despair, Kazi! My job is to educate people with
clear description, explanations, and rationales with supporting details as much as possible. It is the job of our politicians to implement the concept given our present situations. I am trying my best to do to attain this goal. If I cannot do anything, sometime somebody will come up on my explanations. I hope for the best!!!
(In the meantime, Gulshan and sister Simi have entered surreptitiously to sit close to Mr. Knot)
Simi: Oh! Yes. I work as a community organizer in the expatriate Bengali-American community and I
observe that people are ruled by themselves which is the essence of the concept of democracy.
Mr. Knot: Right you are, sister Simi. However, the conceptual framework of democracy could be
customized, if needed, depending on place, time and repository of the concept, as applicable, keeping its essential elements intact. I strongly believe that it is not a ‘one size fits all’ idea. For instance, we could take into account variations in the size of population practicing this concept in different geographical locations. Democracy could be practiced by a group of a few dozen people in a small city of local government. Conversely, it could also be practiced by millions at national level for a representative popular government or a legislative body in any country. Further, it could be a republic like Bangladesh or a limited or ornamental monarchy like that in United Kingdom, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, among others.
Simi: Mr. Knot, should we bring that limited or ornamental monarchy to Bangladesh? If we could
place our leader of independence war in 1971, Bangabondhu Skeikh Mujibur Rahman, in such an ornamental monarchy as mentioned, we could avoid the unexpected tragic incident of 1975, right? The system would operate through generations successively. Did we miss the boat, Mr. Knot?
Mr. Knot: Yes, that ship has sailed!! It could be done though. However, it’s a decision of the people of
Bangladesh. If the people want, what is impossible? Don’t worry about it. It’s water under the bridge. Sister Simi, I do not believe in that. You know why? All persons are equal before the law. Also, as human beings, all are equal too, as our religion says. When one moves out at the completion of tenure, another will come in to fill the position. A system should operate, not any individual, on a rational basis. Many countries do not have the system of limited or ornamental monarchy and they go through an entry-exit system as mentioned. When rulers abdicate their positions, they do something else for living. Being predecessors, they can also enjoy the honor and the honorarium or retirement benefits paid for by the tax-payers of the country. Neither the leaders stick to their positions at the end of the tenure nor do the countries have such ornamental provision in their constitution as you stated. We could consider the case of the United States of America, for example.
Besides, I do not support the system of limited or ornamental monarchy because it is very expensive. Bangladesh is still a lower middle incomecountry, only started to take off like a fledgling bird. As such, the people of Bangladesh do not have the luxury to pay for the limited or ornamental monarchy. We should not put more burdens on people’s shoulder. Instead, we could increase the budget for social safety net programs to aid ‘the poorest of the poor’ to gain required skills so they can earn their bread and butter by themselves and stem from the abject poverty, thus being self-reliant. These social safety net programs could also be extended to the totally disabled and the senior citizens who do not have enough means to lead comfortable and meaningful lives, isn’t it? The bottom line is to ensure a peaceful, secured and prosperous society as a whole. Sky is the limit, right?
Gulshan: Is there any other variations in democracy, as you pointed out, Mr. Knot?
Mr. Knot. Yes, it could be, Gulshan. For example, the way people raise their voices or implement their
willpower could take different forms in different democracies around the world.
(Acclamation!! Imrul was calling Mr. Knot from the living room requesting to go there to see in slow-motion how Mahmudu had saved a possible run out. It really knocked everyone’s socks off.)
Kazi: Mr. Knot, let’s go for another cup of tea…..
Gulshan: Mr. Knot, you didn’t tell us how the democratic concept should cope with the issue of religion
or secularism in the constitution of Bangladesh. Will you discuss this issue?
Mr. Knot: I will, Gulshan. It’s not a pain in the neck at all. It’s interesting to me and a brain-storming
issue as well. Let me listen to Imrul first……..
(To be continued)
Tags: Four-vessel coronary bypass open-heart surgery, conceptual framework of democracy suitable for Bangladesh, democratic political model, democracy as the ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’, people are ruled by themselves, democracy is not a ‘one size fits all’ idea, limited or ornamental monarchy, all persons are equal before the law, all persons are equal before the religion, social safety net programs and the issue of religion or secularism in the constitution.
[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 are brought about from the dialogues of these characters or their analytical breakdowns are true for the most part and merit active reflections of the esteemed readers in light of the real situations. Again, either in the dialogues of the characters or in the events, at least an issue, petite or hefty, has been explained with its proper description, scope and in-depth analysis along with a signal for likely solution, in possible cases, to it. If any reader has a dissension, other opinion, comment, question 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 made here as merely an academic pursuit or from a research perspective. Thank you. Khandker Habib Ahmed, April 24, 2016, Bronx, New York]