DhakaTribune
Tuesday December 19, 2017 02:06 AM

The woes of the good politician

  • Published at 08:18 PM December 04, 2017
  • Last updated at 11:17 PM December 04, 2017
The woes of  the good politician
A politician being a good human is a rare thingBIGSTOCK

With Annisul Huq’s death, Dhaka lost a force for good

The death of Annisul Huq, while an undeniable tragedy, has brought to clearer light how loved and respected he was as a man.

Until he had passed, I truly was not aware how highly held he was as a politician, as a force of good in our ever-expanding, ever-burdened capital city, and by so many people.

The reactions spoke of how he “made Dhaka better,” how he was “one of a kind,” that he “maintained a clean image.” But these words, also tragically, highlight Bangladesh’s political scenario, which has, for time immemorial, afflicted Bangladesh, and continues to do so.

Bad politics is good politics

What made Annisul Huq such a good man? That he was kind, that he was morally sound, that he cared for the people, the downtrodden, even the animals. What made Annisul Huq such a good politician? That he was not corrupt, that he was educated and knowledgeable. What made Annisul Huq’s loss such a tragedy? That he was, indeed, one of a kind, one amongst a plethora of politicians who are none of these things.

Is it not the sad reality of the political climate that Annisul Huq, as “good” a man as he was, was one amongst few of his kind?

Politicians, at the end of the day, are the faces which we give to our government. And most of the faces we see, they do not invite trust or respect, but at best, disrespect and at worst, fear. How many of us can truly say that the politicians “elected” do what is essential for any democracy, that is to represent us?

The writing’s on the wall: In the current government, there are no representatives, but mere players, jostling to win. It’s a jungle, full of animals, ready for the jugular.

And this is not specific to politics. From the lowest peon in a government building to the highest echelons of political power, we know that corruption and thuggery are rampant. How far must we have had to fall to allow such an environment to flourish?

How many more of Annisul Huqs are out there, hopping on a plane to the United States, dreaming of a green card?

It is not merely the issue of how organised corruption has become, where we are very explicitly aware of the various machinations that are involved with a single bribe, as it travels up the food chain. It is how we are complicit in its continued sustenance as an acceptable political reality, by giving in to these forces.

Flightless birds

Look at the education system. Every single year there are leaks, and that there are organised syndicates, functioning from within the schools themselves, which allow this to happen.

And somehow we’re still surprised that the people being churned out by our educational institutes do not grow up to be outstanding citizens.

This is one thing which should not have been that difficult to reject.

But we, maybe justified in our fear for the future of our children, continue to give in to this very culture of cheating, instead of allowing our children to fend for themselves.

Look at how difficult it is to buy a house or a car. Look how difficult it has become to travel in the city, and how difficult it is to create something of your own, a business, an charitable initiative, an anything.

Look how volatile the political system is. One party comes in, one party goes, and all the while, those caught in the middle are eliminated or promoted, depending on their political allegiance at the time.

Why would anyone, who somehow manages to get out of this education system even half-smart, half-capable, even stay here, and that too pursue a career in politics? What logic is there in that?

In fact, it is a matter of great fortune that someone like Annisul Huq managed to slip through the cracks and take a position of such power, with little to no word against his good name.

How many more of Annisul Huqs are out there, hopping on a plane to the United States, dreaming of a green card?

How many Annisul Huqs do you know, with great ideas for this city, this country, but are too scared to move, because it is next to impossible have a plan that will ever see the light of day?

How many of them are currently stuck in an under-funded school inside broken cracks and under the misinformed auspices of an incompetent educator, having the dreams shoved out of their heads?

We have not merely succeeded in killing whatever hope there was of having a good, honest, smart, hard-working, works-f0r-the-people politician, we have succeeded in removing whatever room there was for having such individuals everywhere else as well.

SN Rasul is an Editorial Assistant at the Dhaka Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @snrasul. 

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