Professor Humayun Kabir had given up writing columns in the newspaper for a long time. He was so obsessed with the thought of his son that he found neither time nor interest to write anything. For the last few days he couldn’t even have a glimpse of the paper. A man full of anxiety doesn’t like to do anything. He could not concentrate on anything. In spite of all these he wrote a column at the rise of fundamentalism on the request of his readers and well-wisher.
He wrote that religious fundamentalism was not only confined to areas outside Dhaka. It had come to the capital with full vigour.
Recently they came with a new demand although it quite very ridiculous. They demanded that the Ahmadia community should be declared non-Muslims by the government. The Ahmadia community had long been following the tenets of Islam. They believe in the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (sm). They follow Muslim culture. After all these, why should they be declared non-Muslims?
In the Holy Quran Allah said – ‘Your religion is for you and my religion is for mine.’ Don’t obstruct the performance of other religious rituals. Islam teaches to live in peaceful co-existence with the follower of the other religions. Has the government any right to declare anyone non-Muslim? These organizations were putting pressure on the government.
They claim the Ahmadias do not believe the last prophet, therefore they should be declared non-Muslims. These extremist religious organizations have formed an alliance to realize their demands.
They were attacking mosques of the Ahmadia community, and burnt their mosques. The Ahmadia’s were living their lives in panic. They were asking the government to take action against their attacker, but the government was instead warning the Ahmadia, instead of taking action against the attackers. Under pressure from the fundamental groups the government banned all publications of the Ahmadia community. Such events did not occur in Bangladesh earlier. There was harmony among the followers of different religions. Bangladesh was considered a model of religious harmony. This image of Bangladesh was lost due to weakness shown by the government to extreme religious parties.
Suddenly he stopped writing. He looked at the newspapers. A writer using his nickname wrote an article. The heading of the article was ‘Change the U.S. policy’. The article began with their words: “An angel came from America. Her name was Christina Roca. She came to Dhaka and said a few harsh words to the government. On some issues she advised the government. The issues were: deteriorating law and order situation; harassment of the Ahmadia community; banning their publications; the rise of Bangla Bhai and the activities of the fundamentalists; and the arms seizure in Chittagong. She, on behalf of the U.S. government, suggested joint investigations into the Chittagong arms seizure on the following terms of reference –
(a) From where did the arms come?
(b) For whom they came?
(c) What was the destination of these arms?
Christina Roca severely criticized different activities of the government.
From her comments it seemed that the USA was going to change its policy in Bangladesh. Just a few days ago the same Roca came to Dhaka and praised the government for the success in different spheres. The U.S. had withdrawn its support from the government for various reasons. They wanted keep the government under pressure. The U.S. government had wanted to soldiers from Bangladesh for Iraq. For that purpose two heavyweights of U.S. administration, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell flew in Dhaka.
Rumsfeld was the Defense Minister and Colin Powell the foreign Minister of USA. The visit of U.S. Foreign and defense Ministers to a single country was rare. The U.S. had long been after natural gas from Bangladesh. They had been telling Bangladesh to sell gas for its own prosperity. It was difficult to understand why U.S. was so eager for the natural gas of Bangladesh. There is a proverb in Bangla; the wife of a poor man is everyone’s sister-in-law. The same proverb is appropriate for the natural gas of Bangladesh. As the U.S. government did not get what they wanted from the alliance government of Bangladesh, it was angry with the government. That’s why they decided to put different kinds of pressure on the government of Bangladesh.
Humayun Kabir pondered on the article for a few moments. He was brooding over each sentence of the article. He asked to himself, ‘Is it true?’
There is a prevalent idea among the common people of Bangladesh, that the politics of Bangladesh is dictated by the wishes of the USA and India. China and Pakistan also have a role to play in the politics of Bangladesh. The country and the government of Bangladesh are run by the collective thrust of these countries. If the first two countries are angry on any account it becomes very difficult to run the country. The government has to face untold hardships.
To stay in power it is imperative to keep big powers in good humour. Otherwise the government would have to exit from power. There is no other way. If wants to come to power, it needs the support from the big powers. The government will have to follow the dictates of big powers. If these are not done the big powers would be angry. The patriot leaders are obstacles for big powers. The big powers will ask them, what do you want power or patriotism? Forget your patriotism and follow me. Then you can stay in power. If you prefer patriotism you can’t come to power or stay in power.
Abedin Quader, a student of Prof. Humayun Kabir was a mid level leader of a political party. Quader visited his teacher from time to time and talked about the difficult issues from time to time. Their discussion mainly cantered on the political situation of the country. What was going on the country? Where was going the country?
Homerun Akbar met Abed in Quaver at the luring of teacher student centre (TSC) of Dhaka University. Humayun Kabir was very much depressed for Akmal. He wanted to avoid his student. Moreover Abedin Quader liked to talk much. Once he started taking he didn’t stop.
He brought all topics in his discussion. But he was a good guy. He is quite well conversant. He reads more than one newspaper regularly. The tendency of our political leaders is not to read any newspaper regularly let alone books. They don’t know what are happening around at home and abroad. Abedin Quader didn’t that salon to that category. He was neither proud nor did he like to show-off. Humayun Kabir had great deal of affection for Abedin Quader. That’s why he could not avoid him. He asked him how he was. Abedin Quader was excited to meet his favorite teacher.
He had so many things to say to his dear teacher. People at home did not like to listen to such talks. Nor did the workers show any interest to listen to such conversation. He had his lone listener professor Humayun Kabir for such topics. When he started a discussion many topics would come up. Abedin Quader told him many stories of grief, sorrow and sufferings.
Humayun Kabir wanted to say something’s but couldn’t. He didn’t want to say anything about his son just at the moment. At one point of time Abedin Quader said, ‘Sir, are you aware of what is going on?’
Not waiting for the reply he continued. ‘Rickshaw pullers of our country are very conscious about politics. Once you get into a rickshaw, the rickshaw puller will start to talk about politics. There will be no other conversation except about politics. As if there is no other issue except politics. No one bothers talk on, health, employment education and such other issues. Bangladesh is really a peculiar country. I was really stunned to hear the comments of a bus conductor the other day. I was going to Press Club from Mohammadpur by bus. A few passengers were exchanging news on the political situation of the country.
As I do politics I was keenly listening to what they were saying. Interrupting the discussion of the passenger the bus conductor said, ‘The current government can’t come to power in the next general election. The U.S.A will not allow this government to come to power. They don’t want that the same government should be in power for two consecution terms. Once a government had completed its tenure America would like to see a new government in power. It is the trick of America. They play with the pawns of class board in the third world countries.
‘Sir did you notice something?’ Abedin Quader asked him without waiting for a reply he continued; ‘In our country almost every one wants to become rich overnight. They want to be owners of houses and cars–whatever may be the means. To fulfill such ambitions they put in notion a dirty competition in the society. Perhaps for this season, human values are getting lost.’
Humayun kabir was enjoying Quader’s speech. But he was busy. He had an engagement in the evening; Marufa Rahman would be waiting for him. If he failed to reach his home in time she would be upset, Interrupting Quader he said, ‘Quader, I was really enjoying listening to you. I’ll talk some other day. To day, I am in a hurry. I have to go back to my house. Can you visit me one of those days? Are you very busy?’
‘Sir, I’ll visit you soon. I am not at all busy now. Even if I am busy I shall come to your home. Good bye, Sir, Assalamu Alaikum.’
Kabir replied to the salaam silently. He started to hurry to his home.