BD Post Special
All they have but the pillows and a hookah. Like the kings in the ancient times used to rule their kingdoms leaning against a bolster with the pipe of a hookah or a glass of wine on their hand. These leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party at their rally on 30 September in Suhrawardy Udyan were literally on their chair. Is this the way a political leader works for the people? Do their faces, radiating due to excessive luxury, or attire of aristocratic kind reflect anyhow that they do politics for the common Bangladeshis who mostly lead their life so simply? Do their styles or words speak of the common people’s mind, either?
Who is a real politician? A real politician should be one who struggles for his people and risks his life for his people. ‘Simple living and high thinking’ — a concept pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi — should characterise them. Mahatma Gandhi fought for his country all through his life by rearing this simple line within his heart. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Nelson Mandela, all lead a very simple life, for they realised that one could really work for the poor people by going to their state of living not just holding the chair of a ruler. BNP leaders failed to realise the true purpose of politics. Unfortunate!
Grandeur, luxury, lavishness, and a sense of kingship characterise the BNP leaders who are very much used to the bed of roses. One who has no sense of belongingness to a territory or its people is sure to lack the feeling for the poor. One whose birth is not from the womb of common people does not surprise anyone by showing inclination to becoming a zamindar and making the people one’s raiyats.
Going beyond the Indian subcontinent, Uruguay’s former president Jose Mujica, who had donated 90 per cent of his presidential salary to charity and ditched the lavish presidential place, was dubbed the poorest president of the world. Or, Joyce Banda, the first female president of Malawi, sold off the presidential jet and the fleet of 60 Mercedes limousines in an effort to steer the then struggling country to financial austerity. In Nepal where politicians are typically associated with wealth, former prime minister Sushil Koirala’s only declared assets were three mobile phones. The world’s first Latin American Pope Francis has altered his role to ‘foremost a pastor to the flock, not a king’ as the New York Times called it. In our time too, take a look at Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Her ancestral residence at South Kolkata’s Harish Chatterjee Street is a terracotta-tiled roof house, which gets flooded during heavy rain. She has often been seen entering her house during the rain using bricks as stepping stones to cross the waterlogged road.
To BNP in Bangladesh, these people are simply examples of ‘foolishness’ for they, while in power, avoided amassing wealth. How could a man of flesh and blood have no lust for wealth and money? BNP has shown that the idea of serving the poor people is one that is worthless to a bunch of aristocrats.