Dr Siddhartha Shankar Joarder
Greed for power is a fundamental impulse of people, and it is something that makes all people competitors of each other. People regardless of their position and possession use to handle their own capacity according to the ability. From rickshaw puller to secretary of a ministry or from a small entrepreneur to a business tycoon — all people love to be a slave of power. A small tea-bearer in spite of having very insignificant power makes delay while bringing tea for his office. Making delay for a while is an intervention of another’s power. These sorts of interesting event explicitly dominated human psychology.
Power is something that is measured by its intended effects. That Donald Trump is more powerful than Vladimir Putin means that Trump achieves all the desires he intends for and he is more successful than Putin in certain dealings. A small boy who knows advanced technology is supposed to be more powerful than others who don’t. Power has many forms viz. priestly, kingly, economic, technology, military, etc in which political power is supposed to be the key to social dynamics. In Great Britain the queen is more powerful than the prime minister because the constitution has approved absolute supremacy for her. In parliamentary democracy as in India or elsewhere, prime minister enjoys the supreme power; yet the president is placed as the head of the state. Sometimes economic power is overshadowed by politics as we often find that many successful businessmen opted for political service at the final phase.
How is political power defined? In politics, the people who use their maximum ability than others do are considered to be powerful. Certainly, power has always been the centre of biological activities like sex, sleep, thirst and appetite. This case is perhaps very much prevalent in our politics too. To consider the politically important desire, acquisitiveness, rivalry, vanities are almost equal to that of politics but political power is more exclusive and dominating in human psychological intervention. This is not an exception to the case of our politics today.
More than 3,000 people submitted their nomination papers to contest the eleventh parliamentary election this year and this has been the record in Bangladesh history. The figure has exceedingly been big in terms of previous record; as it was 1,107 in tenth parliament, 1,567 in ninth, 1,939 in eighth, 2,572 in seventh, 1,450 in sixth and 2,787 in fifth election. It surprises us when we see more than 4000 people bought nomination ticket from the ruling Awami League alone and the picture is almost the same in the case of opposition. In some constituencies, more than 30 aspirants bought nomination paper from the party, worth making the people curious. Many independent candidates expressed excessive zeal to grab the membership of the parliament including grocer, actor, singer, doctor, writer, and many others. The list of those power-battlers is really long where number of people including politicians, retired and quasi politicians, seasonal opportunists, ousted leaders, and full-fledged conspirators are in prominence.
Very interestingly, an octogenarian lawyer who is apparently successful in own profession makes a challenge to come to the centre of power in spite having very low rating in politics for life-long. In addition, some recalcitrant leaders quit own party following an unsuccessful bargain concerning nomination, which only implies that power is coveted than the ideals, and it is the main propagator of other social dimensions. To be in the centre of power, people of all kinds make their life-long sacrifice no matter whatever the reason is; this may have been the case for parliamentarian, chairman, member, local committee member, etc. And, at the same time, millions of people can be found who don’t have nexus with politics directly but tend to involve in power-gaming. Now, a more important question comes here: who actually deserves to put his shoulder to the wheel? Very frustratingly, it is noticed that politics and power are most often used by non-political ones. In Bangladesh, the quality of MP candidates had never been tested in accordance with their knowledge, honesty, attitude, sagacity and high performance in educational activities. In our constitution, no obligation had been made to be a member of the parliament and within this rift many illiterate or half-literate had taken the chance. And, finally they became successful by making the best use of time and opportunity.
Civil society, a hybrid and envious class of our present day Bangladesh, also likes to play behind the curtain. The society comprises retired bureaucrats, newsmen, police or military personnel, NGO-workers, deposed politicians who also take opportunity time and again to grab the wheel. The society leaves no stone unturned fishing in the troubled water. This trend has dangerously approached due to the crises in our politics. It is explicitly denounced by politicians but it still persists.
Again, it is very clear that a parliamentarian has a definite job and becomes the most responsible in framing up the law by which the country is run. Moreover, this has also been noticed that the people who don’t have any fundamental knowledge about the country were also nominated by political parties. This is an old practice in Bangladesh. As a result, power is often misused by those non-political grabbers.
How can we get rid of this power-convulsion? This serious question is still unaddressed. An important factor we need to know is to cut money from politics. Another is to introduce moral education and the education of patience and austerity at all levels of our education. Money has become the centre of our political activities. It is painfully observed that politics is dominated by muscle power and politics has become the source of earning. Therefore, unless we cut our politics away from money, no good result can be expected to change the traditional way of politics.
Dr Siddhartha Shankar Joarder is Professor and Chairperson, Department of Philosophy, Jagannath University, Dhaka