Monarchy Waning Elsewhere but Shaping in Bangladesh
No matter whether the withering tradition and old institution of monarchy building is almost lost in oblivion, Bangladesh has embarked fresh on the lost model. The Bangladesh Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a silly decision on the 6th July 09 and to take effect on and from the day, the government that observed their completion of the six months’ ‘success story day’, as well, in power. The decision approved by the cabinet provided not only life long Special Security Force (SSF) but also in highly fortified big buildings abode in the capital city protection for the Prime Minister herself and for her younger sister Sheikh Rehana being the daughters of the founder in 1971 of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Huge costs involved in the projects for how many years and for decades or if to end with the two only or to extend later on for other family members, no one knows for sure at this time, would all be met from the public treasury of the impoverished nation. There is, however, already a clamor in the air and street that similar SSF security should also be provided for the opposition leader Khaleda Zia and her family members. Earlier in her first term (1996-2001), Sheikh Hasina did enact such a provision for herself and Rehana that were later on turned down by the next BNP Government in 2002. In 2009, the Hasina government repeated enacting the same immoral act if not apparently illegal decision that has naturally raised many questions now than had been raised in 2001.
Advancing and Retarding
As the human civilization grew up and advanced people’s thinking as well improved and refined in terms of equality and dignity of human beings. Democracy took root in society that replaced gradually feudalism and particularly the idea of Monarchy. Kings, Maharajas, Emperors, etc. gave way to the idea of democracy, that is, the government of the people by the people and for the people took roots in civilized societies. Equality of all citizens became the core issue, albeit sustained by inbuilt social norms, values, usages, morality and rule of law based on those basic humane values in society. Bangladesh in the past had all those days of emperors, kings, oppressive feudal lords, etc. The people in the past fought relentlessly against all those old oppressive systems for democracy, equality, and rule of law and for equal dignity of all human beings or citizens in a free society. That is what Bangladesh in 2009 is duly expected to be one.
British Legacy yet Different
It is true that Bangladesh owns the legacy of the British system of parliamentary democracy as if it had been panacea for all social ills. The system had proved hardly been so not for its essence but for the insufficiencies Bangladesh have had inherently built up from within for centuries that essentially differed from the British social milieu. The overall scenario we have been experiencing for decades in the streets and even inside the parliament are nowhere seen the way of anarchy in any mature democracy, much less in Britain. Merit and quality matters in matters of all democratic dispensations and not rowdyism and street fights killing each other in open and in police presence. The economic social justice though is not to be overlooked along with democratic dispensations.
None Borrowed Monarchy but Democracy
Many countries have borrowed democratic idea and system from the British. But none did take their Royal system of the hereditary Crown for the system is not only peculiar to the British but also untenably unsuited with any other The other crucial matter of the Crown is that it is only titular head and has no power so far the running of the country is concerned. The Prime Minister’s Cabinet in the Westminster Parliament runs the full governance of the country. So far the titular head model adopted in other countries, such head of the State enjoys almost no power just as the Royal Crown of Britain. The Prime Minster enjoys executive power as people’s elected representative just only to provide leadership for a fixed term, certain to vacate high position through reversal of popular votes and then to remain equal not unequal to all other common citizens. Any question of enjoyment of extra and inequitable benefits after one leaves office of public interest is foreign to democratic norms and practice.
I recall clearly a press photograph of an incident of 1974 about the just resigned British Prime Minister Edward Heath with a suitcase in hand waiting in front of the 10 Downing Street for a taxi to take him to a friends home for temporary stay until he would have a rented accommodation of his own. He was a bachelor and had no home of his own in London until then.
Bangladesh is not of any rich country, much less of the level of Britain. How many of our top leaders in politics could have been of the poor pecuniary level of Edward Heath not having his home in London that I cited of his position in 1974?
Permanent Residents of the West
None of Hasina’s and Rehana’s sons and daughters lives in Bangladesh; they have all homes in the USA, Britain and Canada. Hasina owns the late Dr Wazed’s well protected big home at Dhanmondi, apart from the famous Dhanmondi 32. Further security could be added there in both homes, if she leaves office of the P.M. What the need for other secured home? Rehana, a British citizen, has at least one home at Harrow, a posh area in England close to London.
Every Citizen Must have Full Security
When one urges for the SSF level security for particular person/s one must as well be careful to note for security of all citizens irrespective of position and status for that is constitutional rights of every citizen of a free country to have. No specific life is more precious than any other humble being. As each and every human life is sacred, the State has the bounden duty to protect lives of each and sundry that Bangladesh is criminally lacking in this obligatory act as we see lives taken in unnatural ways not only in the cities but also all over the country each day in and each day out.