DEMOCRACY IN BANGLADESH
BY: B. K. JAHANGIR
Reviewed by: MUHAMMAD TALUT
53rd Foundation Training Course
Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center
Submitted on: 18.03.2013
Introduction: “Book Review” is considered a very important and convenient module included in the Foundation Training Course at Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center. The Book to be reviewed in this paper is “NATIONALISM, FUNDAMENTALISM AND DEMOCRACY IN BANGLADESH” written by B. K. Jahangir, a committed social scholar from Bangladesh. The book is a Bangladeshi origin and published from International Centre for Bengal Studies of Dhaka University in November, 2002. Since the book is revolved around the socio-political aspects of Bangladesh, it is important to mention that it was published during the tenure of the then government led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), one of the two largest political entities of Bangladesh though it can easily be determined various evidences that the essays of the book were composed through a long period of time starting from Ershad’s regime. Being a social scientist, the author tried to facilitate diverse understanding of the evolutionary steps of Bangladeshi politics relating to different aspects like Nationalism, Militarism, the rise of Fundamentalism and Democracy practices within the state boundary and beyond. He tried to find out how the state society was divided into different opinions in case of the pattern of nationalism and the associated problematics. He also considered the analyses of the impact of the economic forces on the nationalist movement to be essential for finding the root causes behind hegemonic sub-separatism among the citizens. He took a particular position of a keen observer and analyst in his book to explore a situation of complicated endeavor that reaches every angle of state society. B. K. Jahangir’s writings mainly offer the significant stances on socio-political and politico-economic cultures of Bangladesh basing on his eloquent knowledge in Social Science. The entire book was set in Bookman Old Style font with a font size of 10. Brief Summary: The book comprises treatises on the evolution of Nationalism, Militarism, Rise of Fundamentalism and sporadic propagation of Democracy including their potential effects upon the state environment. He described, following independence how the disturbed Nationalism was devoured by the sudden ignition of Militarism and then how the democracy was restored after a long military rule. In different chapters, he deeply delved into the role of three individuals, three past presidents of the country, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, General Ziaur Rahman and General Ershad and tried to trail the propagation of Militarism throughout one and a half decade. His ardent observations and in-depth analyses opined that Sheikh Mujib, the founder of the republic, interpreted the Nationalism within the struggle of civil society, colonialism and post-colonialism. On other hand, Ziaur Rahman and Ershad, both from the state armed forces, interpreted Nationalism within the discourse of Militarism and Religiosity that reinforced Fundamentalism. Other discussions from the book are critical reflection on the slow and problematic Democratization and shattering propagation of market economy going on parallel in Bangladesh. In the chapter “Sonar Banlga”, the author tried to reconstruct historical idea of politics of Bangladesh approximating a political myth. The last article expresses his sincere concern regarding fundamentalism which haunting Bangladesh since its origin.
Central Argument: The sane author concentrated his views on the pattern of nationalism in Bangladesh to be born between ‘Populism’ and ‘Blanquism’. The Populism refers to the assembly of people against the elites and Blanquism refers to sudden seizure of state power by a small but highly organized...