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June 24, 2021, 2:27 am

The Birth Centenary Issue of Bangabandhu

  • Update Time : Monday, March 22, 2021
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The Birth Centenary Issue of Bangabandhu- PDF File

 

 

 

Editorial on Bangabandu’s birth anniversary

The birth Centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman


On this august day. The 17th March of the year nineteen hundred twenty the young couple Sheikh Lutfar Rahman and Sayera Khatun was blessed with a child in the quiet village Tungipara bedecked with natural beauty, who, later on, enlightened the world with the qualities of his head and heart and brought for him the undying glory of being the father of a nation . It is his courageous and unerring leadership that lies at the root of his glaring success as a leader. He was born to be a leader. Nothing, imprisonment or torture, could detract him from the goal he set for his life and that was the freedom of his motherland and people from the clutches of the barbarous rulers. With this end in view, he joined politics while he was a student. He supported the creation of Pakistan as it was the crying need of the time.

But soon the realization dawned upon him that the interest of the people of this wing of the then East Pakistan could not be served by the rulers of Pakistan. So, he revolted against the unjust and oppressive reign dominated by the Muslim league leaders and Military junta. Provided divinely with a farsight into future, he devoted himself to the cause of the independence of Bangladesh and achieved the goal within a short time on 16 December, 1971 for which he was honoured with the title, “The father of the nation”. While he engaged himself wholeheartedly to consolidate the foundation of the new state, the most shocking and tragic incident took place and he was murdered brutally along with the majority members of his family on 15 August, 1975 by a gang of military officers, the remnant of the Pakistani forces.

True it is that Sheikh Mujib does not physically exist now with us but who can separate him from the people and the country he loved more than his life. He is with us in hundreds of ways. His Physical absence has been overlapped by his spiritual existence. He is alive with the old and the young, with the men and women of this country for which he sacrificed his life. He lives and will continue to live forever in the green fields, in the chirpings of the birds and in the cries of the children whom he loved heart and soul.

This year, his birth anniversary appears with a special message. The country is passing from the LDC stage to the development stage. Development in any country is normally associated with corruption of various kinds. To check corruption, the father of the nation warned the politicians, officers, employees and the people against this demon who is already out to swallow the benefits of development and even of independence, in thousands of his speeches. The pages of the newspapers are now found to be filled in by the news of corruption of different kinds. If this state of things is allowed to continue, the very fruit of development, even of independence, will be set at naught. The soul of our departed father will suffer most in the heaven observing the moral degradation of his people.

He stood  like a rock against corruption. He knew that a nation immersed in corruption can never progress in the real sense of the term. The corruption creates disparity among the different classes of the society. The improvement of a class can never ensure the stable peace in the country. Because the people now-a-days do not shut their eyes to the fact how a class of people dealing with politics have amassed wealth over night through corruption. At present, it is heard in the remote corner of the country that the politics in the country is the source of earning money the major portion of politicians of the country are so much involved in earning money that the word, ” honesty” has been removed from the day to day activities of our life. So, corruption on the part of the responsible persons of the society will lead to a serious situation in our national life.

On this solemn day of his birth, we all, irrespective of post and position, take an oath to curb corruption of every kind at any cost.  Thus, the nation can be saved from the imminent danger. We can pay the best of our homage to Bangabandhu, The father of the nation if we can stand unitedly against corruption, repression and injustice which have already threatened the existence of the nation. Long live Bangabandhu, long live his ideals. E

 

 

7th March speech

The historic speech of the 7th March

-Khaled Mahmood

Of all the speeches made by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his life, the speech delivered on the 7th March, nineteen hundred seventy one, is the most memorable and significant. This is the speech which crowns him as the poet, prophet and proclaimer of the independence of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu was usually known as a leader, who having felt the agony of the sufferings of the people of the then East Pakistan, resulting from the merciless exploitation of the then ruling class, mainly of the Punjabis, made fiery speeches to rouse the people to stand against them. But this speech was a measured one. Nothing but the independence of Bangladesh was in his mind. It was, far from being an emotional outburst, calculated and categorical one as is found in all good compositions or speeches. True it is that the speech made a clarion call to make a nation prepare for the all-out struggle for freedom but at the same time, like a sagacious politician, he used the words in a measured way so that the opponent could not use it as a pretext to fall upon him calling him an insurgent

The speech like a good creation of art, falls under three sections: introduction or beginning, the exposition of the subject matter or the middle and the conclusion or the object for which it was delivered . Instead of being a long one which tells upon the temperance of the audience it is of desired length.

He started his speech by describing the purpose of the meeting. One thing we should bear in mind that he was not a little distracted seeing before him a sea of human beings. He remained calm, quiet and steady to his purpose. Such a colossal meeting is rarely found in history. His thunderous voice calmly placed the condition of his mind heavy with untold sufferings at the merciless killing of the people in the roads of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur. He condemned this atrocious killings of those men who wanted nothing but independence and rights to live like the citizens of an independent country. But the robbers of imperialism do not understand what is humanity and why do the people fight.

In the middle of this historic speech, he enumerated how the rightful demand of calling the session of the National Assembly was rejected by the president Yahiya khan, the then president of Pakistan on the plea of Mr. Bhutto’s refusal to attend the session. This refusal to call the session of the newly elected National Assembly was a gross violation of the constitution. Then he dealt with the history how the people were treated by the government in the past when they demanded their genuine right for the state language. He recalled the torture carried on the people of the then East Pakistan by the government during their rule for 23 years. It is a history written in the blood of the people, he said. He remembered how Ayub khan made the people of this part of the country the slave to serve the masters of West Pakistan from 1958 to 1968. During this period, he reminded the audience how the roads of the then East Pakistan were plunged with the blood of the students and laborers.

When Ayub Khan met his usual fate, Yahiya Khan came to power and ordered for general election in which the Awami League came out with an overwhelming victory under the leadership of Bangabandhu. This election gave him the lawful right to lead Pakistan. But this was denied to him on different excuses at the instigation of Julfikar Ali Bhutto. Bangabandhu made it clear to the audience that the West Pakistani leaders did not want to see a leader of the then East Pakistan in the helm of government. Bhutto threatened to make the entire West Pakistan a deadlock if the National Assembly was convened without his agreement. President Yahiya Khan abided by his decision neglecting the request of the leader of the majority party. It was nothing but the flagrant violation of democratic Principles. On the other hand, he blamed Bangabandhu and the people of the then East Pakistan for the suspension of the session of the National Assembly. It was a blatant lie.

Bangabandhu sharply reacted to the decision of the President and asked for an all-out strike. The people responded to his call by closing down the mills and factories and the wheels of all conveyances. This spontaneous response of the people to his call made the military government anxious and they hurriedly took steps to bring soldiers and weapons to restore order but failed utterly. None, even a child, was afraid as the truth was in his side. The rebuff of Bangabandhu created a panic among these block-headed generals and they all proposed to crackdown in the then East Pakistan. To take preparation they required a time. So, Yahiya Khan convened the session of the National Assembly on the 25th march,1971. The astute politician that Bangabandhu was immediately refused to join the session of the National Assembly and demanded the instant transfer of power to the government to be constituted by the newly elected National Assembly.

Bangabandhu was gifted with a prophetic power to see what was going to happen. The situation was critical. His farsightedness and foresightedness taught him how to face the situation. Immediately, he called a general strike and passed orders to cease all the economic activities except the emergency ones. The doors of all the offices were closed down and the governmental activities came to a standstill. Only the banks were kept open so that the employees could get their salaries to go on with their lives.

A brilliant aspect of his unerring leadership came out when he agreed to sit with the president to talk over the situation of the country. The time spent in the futile discussion afforded him the chance for preparation to declare the independence of Bangladesh. Many analysts ascribe his consent to discuss the situation of the country with the president as an error but they are mistaken as they fail to understand that the country at that moment needed a space to face the new situation. During this gap the historic meeting of the 7th march was held in which he clearly declared the independence of the country.

Who is the announcer of the declaration of independence is nothing but to beg the question. In the last sentence of this immortal speech the answer is given. It is Bangabandhu who declared it openly in the meeting of ten lakhs of people. “The struggle of this time is the struggle of freedom, the struggle of this time is the struggle for independence”. It is transparent like anything that he declared independence on this day, the 7th march of 1971. There is no quibble or sophistry in this sentence. He understood it clearly that there was no alternative but to declare independence. He even was aware of the risk of this declaration. This declaration clearly indicated that the colonial government under which we were trampled night and day, would be angry and start military action at that moment. For this reason, he added the phrase “The struggle for freedom” only to befool them. Had it not been so, why did he call for preparation? He knew that he would be arrested for this declaration. To shroud the declaration, he made use of the words “মুক্তির সংগ্রাম”(The Struggle for freedom)

Bangabandhu made a clarion call upon each of the people to join this war. For this reason, he said in the speech, “If I could not order you to join the war, yet you should be ready with what you have to fight against them.” In his vision, he could see the war of independence going on. Even he stressed that every citizen would have to join the war to make the country free. In this context, he assumes the role of a prophet when he exhorted the attending mass to join the war of independence. He makes a prophesy that no one would be able to suppress us. The fighters for independence are destined to win, he declared.

Bangabandhu did not go underground as he was sure of our success in the war of independence. Declaring the independence of the country he was mentally prepared to undergo any sort of action, even his death-sentence at the hand of the military government. In order to avoid a general massacre of the people, he perhaps, had resolved to surrender to the government. This was his heroic attitude. He called upon the people to be ready with whatever weapons they had in their possession to thwart the attack of the Pakistani soldiers. It is clear from his speech that he exhorted the people to face the soldiers of West Pakistan. Had he not believed in the victory of our people he could not order the people to make preparations for war.

To conclude, the question as to who declared the independence of Bangladesh. should be solved once for all that it was Bangabandhu, who declared independence first of all. He proves himself to be a poet, prophet and proclaimer of independence by delivering this immortal speech on the 7th march 1971 in the meeting of lacs of people who heard him utter, “The struggle of this time is the struggle of independence.” E

* The above article written by editor The Economy

Editorial

Let Democracy make

an Auspicious Start

– Khaled Mahmood*

 

When a state itself turns to be a terrorist, democracy, good governance, fair justice – all get naturally vanished. The law-making body in any welfare state-set-up should have fairly elected public representatives. Here the neutrality of the Administrative authority, independence of judiciary, honesty, justice, impartiality, sincerity and above all dutifulness are essential for the welfare of the common man. If the state machinery fails to be endowed with these qualities, the governmental system of state simply becomes ineffective.

The internal and global politics and the economy of Bangladesh today face a serious crisis. The politics and the economy here do not ensure the real welfare of the people. Politicians, the law-makers, the administrative authority and the judicial hierarchy are attacked with death-causing cancer. Whatever ointment may be applied on the over-side or the chemotherapy administered in any measure, there is no minimum probability of getting relief from this life-taking disease.

New concepts and ideas vis-a-vis time and desire of the people are to be conceived. Hence, it is most essential to think about new political philosophy and good leadership. Unless this depraved state machinery-frame and its activities can be uprooted through people-oriented social and mass scale upheavals, we can never realize the golden dream of new days. The democratic, political and fundamental rights of the common man would continue to be violated time and again. Because, at the top of controlling authority of our socio-economic system lie the corrupt undemocratic and despotic rulers.

Here is the mountain-high question on the abilities of the top-ranking leaders in the social, religious and cultural fields. The role of intelligentsia and of civil society is also controversial. Leaders of professional organizations are busy with the new business avenues. In a word, the judging  power of our society and state has gone down to the bottom.

A particular slice of the intelligentsia and journalists, not being party-blind, is trying hard to the last breath for presenting the real picture of the public opinion through the Newspapers and the Electronic Media. They are playing the true role of the representative spokesman of the broad masses of the country. Some Patriotic Students organizations, few good citizens and NGOs with their dedicated and distinguished leaders are involved in the efforts. They are now the actual ambassadors of the people and of the country. Many concerned persons individually and as NGO leaders are reported to have fallen victim to the wrath of ruling party men due to their role in favour of mass welfare.

In our country, there is a government which champion and charioteer this undemocratic muscle power. Here are also a few opposition parties having no sense of duties and responsibilities. Added to them, are the infidels, traitors, shenanigans, radicalists and the so-called religious militants.

The nation wants to get rid of these evil forces without any delay.

The citizens of the country aspire to have an elected government comprising the political personalities with transparent character and without any involvement in violence against women, corruption, concealed murder, unlawful confinement, terrorism, extra-judicial killings, etc. It is to be kept in mind that questionable election or an unelected government is adverse to the fundamental rights and aspirations of the common man. So, the establishment of a patrotic govt. based on free and fair election is the very expectation of all the people of the country on this solemn day.

The Father of the Nation Bangabndhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his historic speech on the 7th March, 1971, declared: “The struggle of this time is for freedom, the struggle of this time is for independence”. Let his historic declaration be the pathfinder of our right-deprived aggrieved people. Let it be the goal of our auspicious journey to democracy. Let the struggle of the sixteen crore people for democracy be crowned with success. E

 

 

সম্পাদকীয়

 

হোক গণতন্ত্রের
শুভ যাত্রা
– খালেদ মাহমুদ*

রাষ্ট্র যখন নিজেই সন্ত্রাসী হয় তখন সেক্ষেত্রে গণতন্ত্র, সুশাসন, ন্যায় বিচার তিরোহিত হওয়াই স্বাভাবিক। যে কোন জন-কল্যাণমূলক রাষ্ট্রের অবকাঠামোতে আইন প্রণয়নকারী কর্তৃপক্ষ হবে নির্ভেজাল নির্বাচিত জনপ্রতিনিধি। শাসন বিভাগীয় কর্তৃপক্ষের নিরপেক্ষতা, বিচার বিভাগের স্বাধীনতা, সততা, ন্যায়নিষ্ঠা, আন্তরিকতা, একাগ্রতা, দায়িত্বশীলতা সর্বোপরি কর্তব্যপরায়ণতা জনগণের জন্য প্রয়োজন। যদি রাষ্ট্রযন্ত্র এটুকু স্বাভাবিক গুণে মহিমান্বিত না হতে পারে তাহলে ঐ সকল রাষ্ট্রের জন্য সরকার ব্যবস্থা নিতান্তই অপ্রয়োজন।

বাংলাদেশের অভ্যন্তরীণ ও বৈশ্বিক রাজনীতি এবং অর্থনীতি আজ এক ভয়াবহ সংকট মোকাবেলা করছে। এখানকার রাজনীতি এবং অর্থনীতি জনসাধারণের সতিকার মঙ্গল এবং সার্বিক কল্যাণ নিশ্চিত করেনা। রাজনীতি, অর্থনীতি, আইন প্রণেতা ব্যক্তিবর্গ, প্রশাসনিক কর্তৃপক্ষ এবং বিচারাঙ্গণ দুরারোগ্য মরণব্যাধি ক্যানসারে আক্রান্ত। উপর দিয়ে যতই মলম লাগানো হোক না কেন, যে কোন পরিমাণ কেমোথ্যারাপি দেয়া হোক না কেন শেষতক এ মরণব্যাধি রোগ থেকে মুক্তি পাওয়ার নুন্যতম সম্ভাবনা নেই।

সময় এবং মানুষের চাহিদা ও আকাঙ্ক্ষার ক্ষেত্রে নতুন ধারণার কথা ভাবতে হবে। একই সঙ্গে নতুন রাজনৈতিক দর্শনসহ সৎ এবং সু-নেতৃত্বের ভাবনার কথা ভাবা অত্যাবশ্যক। দুর্বৃত্তায়ণকৃত রাষ্ট্র ব্যবস্থার এই অবকাঠামো, উপকাঠামো এবং কার্যক্রমকে জনগণের স্বতঃস্ফূর্ত সামাজিক এবং রাষ্ট্রীয় গণজাগরণ কিংবা গণবিপ্লবের মাধ্যমে উপড়ে ফেলতে না পারলে নতুন দিনের সোনালী স্বপ্নের আকাক্সক্ষা বাস্তবায়ন কোন ক্রমেই সম্ভব হবে না। সর্বসাধারণের গণতান্ত্রিক, রাজনৈতিক এবং মৌলিক অধিকার বার বার লঙ্ঘিত হতে থাকবে। আমাদের প্রচলিত সামাজিক এবং রাষ্ট্রীয় ব্যবস্থার নিয়ন্ত্রনের শীর্ষে অবস্থান করছে দুর্নীতিবাজ অগণতান্ত্রিক স্বৈরাচার।

বাংলাদেশের ধর্মীয়, সামাজিক, সাংস্কৃতিক অঙ্গনের শীর্ষে অবস্থিত নেতৃবর্গের সততা, যোগ্যতা নিয়ে পর্বতপ্রমাণ প্রশ্ন রয়েছে। বুদ্ধিজীবী ও সুশীল সমাজের ভূমিকাও নানা কারণে বিতর্কিত। বিতর্কিত দলীয় কারণেও। পেশাজীবী সংগঠনের নেতৃবৃন্দ নতুন নতুন তকমার রমরমা ব্যবসায় ব্যতিব্যস্ত। এক কথায় বলতে কি, আমাদের সমাজ এবং রাষ্ট্রের সর্বপ্রকার মূল্যবোধ অবক্ষয়ের তলানিতে পৌঁছেছে।

সুনাগরিক, বুদ্ধিজীবী, সাংবাদিকদের একটি বিশেষ অংশ দলকানা না হয়ে সংবাদপত্র ও ইলেক্ট্রনিক মিডিয়ায় তাদের ভূমিকার মধ্য দিয়ে জনমতের সত্যিকার চিত্র তুলে ধরার আপ্রাণ চেষ্টা চালিয়ে যাচ্ছে। এরা দেশের বৃহৎ জনগোষ্ঠির প্রতিনিধির মুখপাত্রের সত্যিকার ভূমিকা পালন করছেন। এদের এই শুভ কাজের সাথে যুক্ত হয়েছেন কতিপয় দেশপ্রেমিক ছাত্র সংগঠন, কিছু সু-নাগরিক ও অল্পবিস্তর এনজিও সংস্থা এবং এর নেতৃত্ব দানকারী বিশিষ্ট ব্যক্তিরা। এরাই এখন জনসাধারণ এবং দেশের সত্যিকার এ্যমবাসেডার। জনকল্যাণের পক্ষে ভূমিকা রাখার কারণে উল্লেখিত সংস্থা এবং ব্যক্তিবর্গের অনেকেই কখনো কখনো ক্ষমতাসীন রাজনৈতিক দলের আক্রমণের শিকার হওয়ার মত দুঃখজনক সংবাদ পাওয়া যায়। এদেশে অগণতান্ত্রিক পেশীশক্তির ধারক-বাহক হচ্ছে সরকার ও কতিপয় দায়িত্ব জ্ঞানহীন বিরোধীদল। এদের সাথে যুক্ত হয়েছে খোদাদ্রোহী, দেশদ্রোহী, মৌলবাদী তথাকথিত ধর্মীয় জঙ্গিগোষ্ঠী।

জাতি এ সমস্ত সকল অপশক্তির কবল থেকে দ্রুত মুক্তি পেতে চায়। দেশবাসী সর্বজন গ্রহণযোগ্য নারীনির্যাতন, সন্ত্রাস, দুর্নীতি, গুম, বিচারবহির্ভূত
হত্যাকান্ড বিরোধী ও জনকল্যাণমূখী স্বচ্ছ চরিত্রের রাজনৈতিক ব্যক্তিদের সমন্বয়ে একটি নির্বাচিত সরকার পেতে চায়। মনে রাখা দরকার, বিতর্কিত নির্বাচন কিংবা যে কোন অনির্বাচিত অগ্রহণযোগ্য সরকার বৃহত্তর জনগোষ্ঠির মৌলিক অধিকার ও আকাঙ্ক্ষার পরিপন্থী। আজকের এই পবিত্র দিনে দেশ ও জনগণের কল্যাণে উৎসর্গীকৃত একটি সরকার পাওয়াটাই হচ্ছে সর্বস্তরের জনগণের প্রত্যাশা।

ঐতিহাসিক ৭ মার্চ ১৯৭১ এ জাতির জনক বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবুর রহমানের স্বাধীনতার ঘোষণা ‘এবারের সংগ্রাম মুক্তির সংগ্রাম’ এবারের সংগ্রাম স্বাধীনতার সংগ্রাম’ অধিকারবঞ্চিত বিক্ষুদ্ধ সমগ্র জনগণের প্রেরণার পাথেয়। জয় হউক গণতন্ত্রের, জয় হউক ১৬ কোটি মানুষের।
* ইংরেজি সম্পাদকীয় থেকে বাংলায় ভাষান্তরিত

 

Special Editorial

A Heartiest Welcome to

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

– Khaled Mahmood*

At last the deep black cloud of the chaos and confusion has dispersed from the sky of the U.S.A. over the issue of the transfer of power to the newly elected President Joe Biden and the Vice-President Kamla Harris. Although we live far away on the other side of the planet, we heave a sigh of relief at the peaceful handover of the administration of the U.S.A. to the new leaders. Because, the heat of the political and social unrest in any country is felt in every nook and corner of the world. Moreover, the U.S.A. is one of the top most countries of the world, in size and strength, which determines the future of the glove in which we live.

The recent happenings in the U.S.A. caused a serious concern every where as the age-old tradition of the peaceful transfer of power was seriously threatened by the activities of the former President Donald Trump. He appeared to have disowned the very election by his violent means opposed to law and order. Unwilling to retire from power, he called upon his supporters to rise and challenge election on the plea of fraud without any proof. Having miserably failed to prove fraud in the election in all the courts of the U.S.A., he took recourse to the illegal measures which created a panic in the minds of the peace-loving people. At his call, his supporters thronged in the premises of the Capitol Hill to compel the members of the Congress not to ratify the election results. Without any acceptable reason, they desired to cancel the election results and forced into the halls of the congress.

Donald Trump left no stone unturned to stic to his position but to no purpose. Because truth cannot be suppressed as it has a power of self-revelation and it always triumphs over falsehood. The career of Donald Trump as the President is full of unprecedented occurrences. The affirmativeness of many treaties has been denied by his eccentricity. The positive improvement of the National health system, known as ‘Obama Care’ has been wound up by him at a stroke of his pen. From many international pacts executed by his predecessor he withdrew without caring for public opinion. Especially his action against the emigrants was not supported by his countrymen too. It is he who has again stirred up the racial discrimination. The recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is the violation of justice and peace and at any time it may flare up into an all-out war between the Arabs and the Israelites. But he is successful in making the white people hate the Black. From Abraham Lincoln, the great President of America who had made America really great, upto Obama, America has been trying to wipe out the differences between the White and the Black. The withdrawal from the International treaty on environment is his crime against humanity. Dedicated to the belief of American greatness, he has made America an isolated nation. No more America can claim to be a great country which thinks and feels for the world at large.

The incomparable tolerance of Joe Biden in all the situations created by Donald Trump deserves our unconditional praise. As a man of conscience, he has already declared to unite the divided America again. The preliminary actions of Joe Biden’s administration have already been hailed by all. To speak the truth, America has a great role to play in bringing about peace in the world. America will rise again to assume her responsibility in making the world free from the fear of war now taking place in the different parts of the world. We believe, he will work for the welfare of the people irrespective of caste, color, sex and religion and he will contribute to the creation of a world of peace and prosperity without the fear of war. E

Joe Biden, The New American President

Democracy has Prevailed

Says Biden, calls for unity, vows to end ‘uncivil war’ in first speech as president;

Kamala Harris makes history as first woman and first black VP 

Joe Biden yesterday became the 46th president of the United States with a call to unity, vowing to bridge deep divides and defeat domestic extremism two weeks after a mob attack tried to undo his election victory.

On a frigid but sunny day at the very Capitol building that was assaulted on January 6, Biden swore the oath of office moments after Kamala Harris, who became America’s first woman vice president, turning the page on Donald Trump’s tumultuous four years.

“Democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” Biden said before a National Mall that was virtually empty due to the ultra-tight security and a raging Covid-19 pandemic that he vowed to confront immediately.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility and we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes.”

“Together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear, of unity, not division, of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healings and goodness.”

But Trump, who falsely said that he was cheated out of a second term and egged on his supporters before their rampage at the Capitol, broke 152 years of tradition by refusing to attend his successor’s inauguration.

Biden appealed to Trump’s supporters, pledging to listen to all sides after four years of deep polarization in which Trump belittled minority groups and tried to cast doubts on basic facts.

“I will be a president for all Americans.”

But Biden confronted head-on the rise of domestic extremism, as witnessed during Trump’s presidency in the Capitol mob, deadly attacks on synagogues and immigrants and a violent march by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The United States faces “a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront, and we will defeat,” Biden said.

“Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear and demonization have long torn us apart.”

At 78, Biden is the oldest president in US history and only the second Roman Catholic president.

Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, became the first Black person, first woman and first Asian-American to serve as the nation’s number 2.

She and her husband Doug Emhoff – America’s first-ever “second gentleman” — were escorted to the inauguration by Eugene Goodman, a Black police officer at the Capitol who lured the mostly white mob away from the Senate chambers in a video that went viral.

Central Washington took on the dystopian look of an armed camp, protected by some 25,000 National Guard troops tasked with preventing any repeat. The Supreme Court reported a bomb threat yesterday morning.

With the general public essentially barred from attending due to the pandemic, Biden’s audience at the National Mall instead was 200,000 flags planted to represent the absent crowds.

Biden nonetheless brought in star power — absent four years ago with Trump. Lady Gaga, in a poofy dress that was Valentine red, sang the national anthem and Tom Hanks prepared for a televised evening appearance with the new president.

Jennifer Lopez sang a pop rendition of “This Land is Your Land,” often considered the unofficial US national anthem, ending it by exclaiming the words of the pledge of allegiance — a nation that promises “liberty and justice for all” — in Spanish.

BIDEN TARGETS

TRUMP’S LEGACY

Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama and first ran for president in 1987, plans to kick off his tenure with a flurry of 17 orders.

Officials said Biden will immediately rejoin the Paris climate accord and stop the US exit from the World Health Organization and set new paths on immigration, the environment, Covid-19 and the economy.

Biden, who has vowed a major escalation of vaccination against Covid, warned of a “dark winter” still ahead from the pandemic that has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States, more than in any other country.

“We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus,” Biden said.

“We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation,” he said, striking a new tone after Trump’s mockery of mask-wearing and business closings meant to halt the virus.

Biden will also end Trump’s much-assailed ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries and halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration, the aides said.

Many overseas leaders breathed a sigh of relief at the end of Trump’s hawkish, go-it-alone presidency, with Biden’s team pledging greater cooperation with the rest of the world.

With so many domestic challenges, Biden delved little in his inaugural address into foreign policy, a longtime passion for the former senator, but said: “We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.”

Although Biden has laid out a packed agenda for his first 100 days, the Senate, in which Democrats are set to take control, could be consumed by Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial, which will move ahead even though he has left office.

The trial could serve as an early test of Biden’s promise to foster a renewed sense of bipartisanship in Washington.

TRUMP VOWS TO BE BACK

Trump left Washington before the inauguration, walking on a red carpet on the White House lawn with his wife Melania to the Marine One presidential helicopter, which flew near the inauguration-ready Capitol before heading to Andrews Air Force Base on Washington’s outskirts.

“This has been an incredible four years,” Trump told several hundred cheering supporters in a campaign-style event before flying off for the last time in Air Force One en route to his Florida resort.

“We will be back in some form,” vowed Trump, who retains a hold on much of the Republican Party despite being the first president to be impeached twice.

Trump did not address Biden by name but, in a rare hint of graciousness, wished the next administration “great luck and great success.”

A spokesman said Trump maintained one tradition by leaving a letter for Biden, although the contents were unknown.

Mike Pence, the outgoing vice president who clashed with Trump in his final days by acknowledging he could not overturn the election, attended the inauguration and was spotted laughing with Harris.

Also taking part were former presidents Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton and their wives — including Hillary Clinton, for whom Biden’s victory was especially sweet four years after her narrow, surprise defeat to Trump.

CONTROVERSIAL PRESIDENTIAL PARDONS

In one of his last acts before departing the White House, Trump pardoned or commuted the sentenced of 73 people including allies.

Among them was Steve Bannon, his influential former aide and promoter of right-wing populism who was charged with defrauding donors asked to contribute to building Trump’s promised wall on the border with Mexico.

Trump also at the last minute ended a ban on his administration’s officials serving as lobbyists — an order he had issued with fanfare at the start of his presidency as he vowed to “drain the swamp” of Washington. E

Source : The Daily Star

 

 

US Election 2020

US riot stuns the World

Congress certifies Biden as president-elect after pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol, clashes with police leaving 4 dead; Trump promises ‘orderly transition’

Agencies

Hours after hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy, a shaken Congress yesterday formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

Immediately afterwards, the White House released a statement from Trump in which he pledged an “orderly transition” when Biden is sworn into office on Jan 20, although he repeated his false claim that he won the November election. The Republican president on Wednesday fired up his supporters to overturn the election result before a mob swarmed the Capitol.

The destructive and shocking images at the Capitol of what other Republicans called an “insurrection” filled television screens in the United States and around the world, a deep stain on Trump’s presidency and legacy as his tenure nears its end.

The FBI asked the public for tips on people involved in the violence.

In certifying Biden’s win, longtime Trump allies such as Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell rejected Trump’s pleas for intervention, while the violence at the Capitol spurred several administration officials to quit.

After the chaos on Capitol Hill, Congress late on Wednesday resumed its work certifying Biden’s Electoral College win: normally a formality but which included efforts by some Republican lawmakers to stall the process. As the tense debate stretched into the early hours of Thursday, the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected two objections to the tally and certified the final Electoral College count with Biden receiving 306 votes and Trump 232 votes.

McConnell, who had long remained silent while Trump sought to overturn the election results, chastised other Republicans who stalled certification. He called the invasion a “failed insurrection”.

“They tried to disrupt our democracy,” he said on the Senate floor. “They failed.”

The outcome of the certification proceedings was never in doubt, but it was interrupted by rioters who forced their way past metal security barricades, broke windows and scaled walls to fight their way into the Capitol.

Security forces fired tear gas in a four-hour operation to clear the Capitol. Police said a woman, reportedly a Trump partisan from southern California, was shot and killed and three others died in the area in circumstances that were unclear.

Some besieged the House chamber while lawmakers were inside, banging on its doors. Security officers piled furniture against the chamber’s door and drew their pistols before helping lawmakers and others escape.

 

 

US Election 2020

 

Joe Biden gave a powerful, uplifting victory speech to the American nation on Saturday evening, after the presidential race was called for the Democratic candidate earlier in the day as the numbers mounted up to give him an insurmountable position in the battle for the White House, despite current president Donald Trump proclaiming that the election battle was not yet over.

Speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Biden was introduced by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, as well as the first Black person and first South Asian, to hold the office.

A smiling Harris, flanked by huge blue screens reading “The people have chosen empathy”, took the stage to the deafening sound of car horns along with Mary J Blige on the sound system, and began talking about the importance of democracy, saying it is not guaranteed, “it is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. It takes struggle, it takes sacrifice, but there is joy in it, because we the people have the power to build a better future.

She thanked the campaign team for bringing more people than ever before into the democratic process, and all the poll workers who made the election possible. And pointedly said they had “protected the integrity of our democracy”.

She then turned to her running mate and said to the American people: “You have chosen hope, unity, decency and science, you have chosen Joe Biden”. Continuing, she said “he is a healer”, someone with a “tested and steady hand”.

Harris dedicated much of her speech to the fact she will be the first woman in the office, saying she was “standing on the shoulders” of all the women who had worked to help her to get where she is today.

President-elect Joseph Biden

After Harris’ turn on the podium she announced her running mate to wild cheers and yet more car horns blaring: “It is my great honour to introduce the president-elect of the United States of America, Joe Biden!”

Biden came running out to loud music and took the podium clearly hugely fired up at his election win. “Hello, my fellow Americans, and the people who brought me to dance, Delawarians!”, which got a pretty good cheer from the home crowd.

Biden’s message was bold and positive throughout and a clear message to try and bring the country back together, although he began by making it clear he has won this election, despite Trump still arguing it has not been decided.

“Folks,”, said Biden, “the people of this nation have spoken, they have delivered us a convincing victory.” The president-elect said it was the most votes ever for a presidential ticket – 74 million. “I am humbled by the trust and confidence you have placed in me.”

Biden calls for unity and cooperation

As expected, Biden reached out to Trump supporters, saying he knew what it was like to lose, and said now was the “time to give each other chance”. He repeated the message he gave in his post-election speeches, saying it was “time to turn the temperature down”, and pleading for an end to hate in politics. “I won’t see red and blue states but I’ll be a president for all the states,” and Biden promised to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify”.

There were constant calls for cooperation from Biden, saying Democrats and Republicans have to work together. “It’s not some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision, a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate. And I believe that this is part of the mandate given to us from the American people. They want us to cooperate and their interest. And that’s a choice I’ll make. And I’ll call on Congress. Democrats, Republicans alike to make that choice with me.”

Along those lines, in the aftermath of a bitter election battle, Biden said “this is the time to heal in America”

There was also a determined commitment to start working before Biden even takes office: “On Monday I will name a group of leading scientists and experts to work as transition advisors to the Biden-Harris administration in their fight against covid, we’ll plan, which will be converted into an action blueprint that will start on 20 January 2021 and it will be built on bedrock science, and constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern. I will spare no effort, nor any commitment to turn around this pandemic, folks.”

The president-elect also spent a lot of time talking about his family and his evident deep love for them, and noted that his wife, Jill, is an educator, “it’s not just what she does, it’s what she is” and said to all educators, “you’ve got one of your own in the White House”.

Smiling he also said that his running-mate Kamala Harris and her husband were now honorary Bidens, “you’re not getting away!”

One word to define America: Possibility

Biden said that if there was one word that defines America it is “possibility”. “Everyone should be given an opportunity to go as far as their dreams. I believe in the possibilities of this country. It is never good to bet against America.”

Biden finished saying that as he left his grandparents house when he was a kid his grandfather would tell him to “keep the faith”, but his grandmother would shout out to him: “No, spread the faith!”

Celebrations around the US before Biden’s speech

Before Biden’s speech parties had erupted in cities around the United Sates, with Biden fans and supporters taking to the streets to celebrate his win, and also the removal of Trump from the office, without doubt the most divisive president the country has ever known.

Trump himself was out golfing when the news broke that Biden was the president-elect based on the reporting of votes (note the official announcement comes after the votes are certified in each state). He responded by screaming on Twitter: “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT”. He also released a statement saying that Biden was “rushing to falsely pose as the winner” and saying the “election is far from over”.

 

The now-lame-duck president also mentioned the legal challenges that his campaign is bringing in a number of states.

Notably, Biden received messages of congratulation from a number of world leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, French President Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Boris Johnson. E

Source : Internet

 

 

Biography

Who Is Joe Biden?

Joe Biden briefly worked as an attorney before turning to politics. He became the fifth-youngest U.S. senator in history as well as Delaware’s longest-serving senator. His 2008 presidential campaign never gained momentum, but Democratic nominee Barack Obama selected him as his running mate, and Biden went on to serve two terms as the 47th vice president of the United States. In 2017, at the close of his administration, Obama presented Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Two years later Biden launched his campaign for U.S. president and was elected as the 46th president of the United States.

Early Years

Long before reaching one of the highest political offices in the nation, Biden — born on November 20, 1942 — grew up in the blue-collar city of Scranton in northeast Pennsylvania. His father, Joseph Biden Sr., worked cleaning furnaces and as a used car salesman. His mother was Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan.

Biden credits his parents with instilling in him toughness, hard work and perseverance. He has recalled his father frequently saying, “Champ, the measure of a man is not how often he is knocked down, but how quickly he gets up.” He’s also said that when he would come home sullen because he had been bullied by one of the bigger kids in the neighborhood, his mother would tell him, “Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day!'”

Biden attended St. Paul’s Elementary School in Scranton. In 1955, when he was 13 years old, the family moved to Mayfield, Delaware—a rapidly growing middle-class community sustained primarily by the nearby DuPont chemical company.

As a child, Biden struggled with a stutter, and kids called him “Dash” and “Joe Impedimenta” to mock him. He eventually overcame his speech impediment by memorizing long passages of poetry and reciting them out loud in front of the mirror.

Biden attended the St. Helena School until he gained acceptance into the prestigious Archmere Academy. Although he had to work by washing the school windows and weeding the gardens to help his family afford tuition, Biden had long dreamed of attending the school, which he called “the object of my deepest desire, my Oz.” At Archmere, Biden was a solid student and, despite his small size, a standout receiver on the football team. “He was a skinny kid,” his coach remembered, “but he was one of the best pass receivers I had in 16 years as a coach.” Biden graduated from Archmere in 1961.

College, Marriage and Law School

Biden attended the nearby University of Delaware, where he studied history and political science and played football. He would later admit that he spent his first two years of college far more interested in football, girls and parties than academics. But he also developed a sharp interest in politics during these years, spurred in part by the inspiring inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.

On a spring break trip to the Bahamas during his junior year, Biden met a Syracuse University student named Neilia Hunter and, in his own words, “fell ass over tin cup in love — at first sight.” Encouraged by his new love, he applied himself more fully to his studies and was accepted into the Syracuse University Law School upon his graduation from Delaware in 1965. Biden and Hunter married the next year, in 1966.

Biden was at best a mediocre law student. During his first year at Syracuse, he flunked a class for failing to properly cite a reference to a law review article. Although he claimed it was an accidental oversight, the incident would haunt him later in his career.

Early Political Career

After graduating from law school in 1968, Biden moved to Wilmington, Delaware, to begin practicing at a law firm. He also became an active member of the Democratic Party, and in 1970 he was elected to the New Castle County Council. While serving as councilman, in 1971, Biden started his own law firm.

In addition to his increasingly busy professional life, Biden had three children: Joseph Biden III (born in 1969), Hunter Biden (born in 1970) and Naomi Biden (born in 1971). “Everything was happening faster than I expected,” Biden said about his life at the time.

Family Tragedy

Just as all of Biden’s wildest dreams seemed to be coming true, he was struck by devastating tragedy. A week before Christmas in 1972, Biden’s wife and three children were involved in a terrible car accident while out shopping for a Christmas tree. The accident killed his wife and daughter and severely injured both of his sons, Beau and Hunter. Biden was inconsolable and even considered suicide. He recalls, “I began to understand how despair led people to just cash in; how suicide wasn’t just an option but a rational option … I felt God had played a horrible trick on me, and I was angry.”

Nevertheless, at the encouragement of his family, Biden decided to honor his commitment to representing the people of Delaware in the Senate. He skipped the swearing-in ceremony for new senators in Washington and instead took the oath of office from his sons’ hospital room. In order to spend as much time as possible with his sons, Biden decided to continue to live in Wilmington, commuting to and from Washington each day by Amtrak train, a practice he maintained through his entire long tenure in the Senate.

READ MORE: The Heartbreaking Car Accident that Killed Joe Biden’s Wife and Daughter

Senate Years

From 1973 to 2009, Biden served a distinguished Senate career. During his time in the Senate, Biden won respect as one of the body’s leading foreign policy experts, serving as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations for several years. His many foreign policy positions included advocating for strategic arms limitation with the Soviet Union, promoting peace and stability in the Balkans, expanding NATO to include former Soviet-bloc nations and opposing the First Gulf War. In later years, he called for American action to end the genocide in Darfur and spoke out against President George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq War, particularly opposing the troop surge of 2007.

In addition to foreign policy, Biden was an outspoken proponent of tougher crime laws. In 1987, Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s failure to receive confirmation was largely attributed to harsh questioning by Biden, who was then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 1994, Biden sponsored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act to add 100,000 police officers and increase sentences for a host of crimes.

Presidential Ambitions

In 1987, having established himself as one of Washington’s most prominent Democratic lawmakers, Biden decided to run for the U.S. presidency. He dropped out of the Democratic primary, however, after reports surfaced that he had plagiarized part of a speech.

Biden had been suffering severe headaches during the campaign, and shortly after he dropped out in 1988, doctors discovered that he had two life-threatening brain aneurysms. Complications from the ensuing brain surgery led to blood clots in his lungs, which, in turn, caused him to undergo another surgery. Always resilient, Biden returned to the Senate after surviving a seven-month recovery period.

U.S. Vice President

In 2007, 20 years after his first unsuccessful presidential bid, Biden once again decided to run for the U.S. presidency. Despite his years of experience in the Senate, however, Biden’s campaign failed to generate much momentum in a field dominated by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Biden dropped out after receiving less than one percent of the vote in the crucial Iowa caucuses.

Several months later, though, Obama—having secured the Democratic nomination after a hard-fought campaign against Clinton—selected Biden as his running mate. With his working-class roots, Biden helped the Obama campaign communicate its message of economic recovery to the blue-collar voters crucial to swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

On November 2, 2008, Barack Obama and Joe Biden convincingly defeated the Republican ticket of Arizona Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. On January 20, 2009, Obama was sworn in as the 44th U.S. president and Biden became the 47th vice president.

Biden seemed to relish the opportunity to play a crucial role in the Obama Administration. Following the 2008 election, he said, “This is an historic moment. I started my career fighting for civil rights, and to be a part of what is both a moment in American history where the best people, the best ideas, the how can I say it?—the single best reflection of the American people can be called upon—to be at that moment, with a guy who has such incredible talent and who is also a breakthrough figure in multiple ways—I genuinely find that exciting. It’s a new America. It’s the reflection of a new America.”

Re-Election and Second Term

Running for re-election in 2012, the Obama-Biden team faced Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, and Romney’s vice-presidential running mate, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Obama defeated Romney in the 2012 election, earning a second term as president and Biden another term as vice president. President Obama received nearly 60 percent of the electoral vote, and won the popular vote by more than 1 million ballots.

Later that year, Biden showed just how influential a vice president he could be. He was instrumental in achieving a bipartisan agreement on tax increases and spending cuts to avoid the fiscal cliff crisis.

Around this time, Biden also became a leading figure in the national debate about gun control. He was selected to head up a special task force on the issue after the school shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school that December. Biden delivered solutions for reducing gun violence across the nation to President Obama in January 2013. He helped craft 19 actions that the president could take on the issue using his power of executive order among other recommendations.

Personal Life and Post-White House

Biden has been married to his second wife, Jill Biden, since 1977. The couple’s daughter, Ashley, was born in 1981. On May 30, 2015, Biden suffered another personal loss when his son Beau died at the age of 46, after battling brain cancer. “Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known,” Biden wrote in a statement about his son. E

Source : Biography.com

 

 

Biography

 

Kamala Harris, in full Kamala Devi Harris, (born October 20, 1964, Oakland, California, U.S.), American politician who was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2016 and began her first term representing California in that body the following year. She was the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African American woman. Harris previously was the state’s attorney general (2011–17). In November 2020 she was elected vice president of the United States on a ticket with Joe Biden.

Her father, who was Jamaican, taught at Stanford University, and her mother, the daughter of an Indian diplomat, was a cancer researcher. Her younger sister, Maya, later became a public policy advocate. After studying political science and economics (B.A., 1986) at Howard University, Kamala earned a law degree (1989) from Hastings College.

She subsequently worked as a deputy district attorney (1990–98) in Oakland, earning a reputation for toughness as she prosecuted cases of gang violence, drug trafficking, and sexual abuse. Harris rose through the ranks, becoming district attorney in 2004. In 2010 she was narrowly elected attorney general of California—winning by a margin of less than 1 percent—thus becoming the first female and the first African American to hold the post. After taking office the following year, she demonstrated political independence, rejecting, for example, pressure from the administration of Pres. Barack Obama for her to settle a nationwide lawsuit against mortgage lenders for unfair practices. Instead, she pressed California’s case and in 2012 won a judgment five times higher than that originally offered. Her refusal to defend Proposition 8 (2008), which banned same-sex marriage in the state, helped lead to it being overturned in 2013. Harris’s book, Smart on Crime (2009; cowritten with Joan O’C. Hamilton), was considered a model for dealing with the problem of criminal recidivism.

In 2012 Harris delivered a memorable address at the Democratic National Convention, raising her national profile. Two years later she married attorney Douglas Emhoff. Widely considered a rising star within the party, she was recruited to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer, who was retiring. In early 2015 Harris declared her candidacy, and on the campaign trail she called for immigration and criminal-justice reforms, increases to the minimum wage, and protection of women’s reproductive rights. She easily won the 2016 election.

After taking office in January 2017, Harris began serving on both the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Judiciary Committee, among other assignments. She became known for her prosecutorial style of questioning witnesses during hearings, which drew criticism—and occasional interruptions—from Republican senators. In June 2017 she drew particular attention for her questions to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was testifying before the intelligence committee on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; she had earlier called on him to resign. Harris’s memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, was published in January 2019.

Shortly thereafter Harris announced that she was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. From the outset she was seen as one of the leading contenders, and she drew particular attention when, during a primary debate, she had a contentious exchange with fellow candidate Joe Biden over his opposition to school busing in the 1970s and ’80s, among other race-related topics. Although Harris’s support initially increased, by September 2019 her campaign was in serious trouble, and in December she dropped out of the race. She continued to maintain a high profile, notably becoming a leading advocate for social-justice reform following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, an African American who had been in police custody. Her efforts silenced some who had criticized her tenure as attorney general, alleging that she had failed to investigate charges of police misconduct, including questionable shootings. Others, however, felt that her embrace of reform was a political maneuver to capitalize on the increasing public popularity of social change. As racial injustice became a major issue in the United States, many Democrats called on Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee, to select an African American woman—a demographic that was seen as pivotal to his election chances—as his vice presidential running mate. In August 2020 Biden chose Harris, and she thus became the first Black woman to appear on a major party’s national ticket. In November 2020 she became the first Black woman to be elected vice president of the United States.

Written By

Gregory Lewis McNamee

Contributing Editor, Encyclopædia Britannica; Literary Critic, Hollywood Reporter. Author of Moveable Feasts: The History, Science, and Lore of Food and others.

 

 

Interview

 

 

Recently Khaled Mahmood, the editor of The Economy met Dr. Md. Mozammel Haque Khan, a Commissioner of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) at his office in Dhaka. The editor asked some questions on ACC to the Commissioner as a part of interview on the ACC, Bangladesh. Thereafter, Dr. Khan duly answered the questions on the ACC, Bangladesh. The Commissioner has explained and narrated the constraints and potentialities of the prevention and eradication of corruption from the country in clear and unequivocal terms in a nutshell. Considering the significance and importance of the gigantic statutory institution in national perspective, we publish the interview proceedings with the ACC Commissioner for our valued readers.

Khaled Mahmood : Would you kindly tell us whether ACC is an autonomous or a constitutional organization?

Mozammel Haque Khan : Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Bangladesh is neither an autonomous nor a constitutional body. ACC is an independent and impartial statutory body. This organization is created by the Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2004.

Khaled Mahmood : Can you independently work or take any decision regarding your actions against corruption?

Mozammel Haque Khan : Definitely, ACC is legally mandated to take any action against corruption independently based on the section no-3 and 17 of the ACC act-2004.

Khaled Mahmood : What sort of cases you deal with for prevention of corruption?

Mozammel Haque Khan : In accordance with the ACC Act 2004, out of 11 operational agenda of the Commission, 6 pertain to action that is virtually preventive to corruption. It is a universal truth that preventing corruption before its commencement, is always a best policy. With a view to doing this, the Commission is taking multidimensional tasks.

 

Commission has formed CPC(Corruption Prevention Committees) in all the metropolitan cities, districts, upazilas, even at union levels, including the enlightened personalities of the societies. In association with the CPCs, Commission has formed 26,213 Integrity Unit comprising students from schools, colleges & madrasas to promote the value of honesty & integrity among the young generation. To promote good practices and prevent corruption more effectively, Commission has taken a five-year strategic action plan(2017-2021) with the support of GIZ. This will help the optimal utilization of limited resources. ACC is conducting countrywide public hearings and follow-up hearings in the upazilas & districts including Dhaka to create accountability among the public servants. Last year i,e 2019 about 2,90,356 posters & 8400 leaflets containing fine adages were distributed to create mass awareness. Besides, 1,09,648 exercise books, 89,093 rulers, 4,769 geometry boxes bearing useful advice as “No bad deeds, do not endure it”, “Go for fair deeds, build the nation together”, “Think the well being of the nation – go the right way” “shall tell the truth, stand opposed to inequality and injustice”, ” shall obey the laws, live with safety”, pledge for patriotism, adieu to corruption”, “None trusts a liar”, “Do not laugh at the Elders”, were distributed among the students at secondary level classes all over the country. In the same year, 7374 umbrellas and 25,451 school bags were also given to the students and teachers of the educational institutions. ACC each year observes Anti-Corruption Week, International Anti-Corruption Day, the Founding Anniversary of the Commission, celebrates the Victory Day, observes the Independence Day, International Mother Language Day, National Victory Day and so on.

 

For raising public awareness against corruption, some short documentary films dubbed as “Punishment”, “Triumph of truth”, “Get good & Let Good” & ” Mistake”. And, additionally, a few TV series have been televised on private TV channels and BTV. Similarly, in the public places of the districts & upazilas, where people largely get together, the same films are being exhibited regularly by the District Information Officers.

ACC is disseminating SMS over mobile phones to create awareness, organizes debate, painting and cartoon competitions and so on. Among the common people Dudak Darpon is distributed each year. To develop public awareness programs like discussions, meetings, debate, human-chains, rallies, seminars are being organized by the prevention wing, from the city to the grass-root levels.

 

 

Khaled Mahmood : What is the total number of anti-corruption cases you filed during the last two years? What number of them has been successful leading to punishment through trial by the court?

Mozammel Haque Khan : In the last two consecutive years (2019, 2020) ACC had lodged 363 and 285 number of FIRs. At the same time, 267 and 195 number of charge-sheets have been submitted to the court. The Number of trap cases for the year 2019 is 16 and 08 in 2020. The conviction rate of ACC cases is 76%, for money-laundering the conviction rate is 100%.

Khaled Mahmood : Please, give us the structure including organogram of the staff of ACC. Do you think that the present man-power is sufficient to deal with such a gigantic work?

Mozammel Haque Khan : At present total manpower of the Commission stands at 2146. Among them only 243 officers are conducting enquiry and investigation. So, it’s clear that we don’t have sufficient man-power here in ACC. ACC is under-staffed. Our officers are  overworked.

Every day we get thousands of complaints through e-mail, mail, over hotline-106 and also written complaints by post. In 2018, as many as 16,606 written allegations were received from different sources including media. From hotline 106 of the complaint center we received 17,18,736, complaints. So it’s a difficult situation for us. Under-staffing makes employees stressed, as a result, deadlines are missed and actions are delayed and so on. However, the recruitment procedure according to the newly approved manpower is going on.

 

 

Khaled Mahmood : Earlier ACC had to file suits against the offenders in the concerned police stations. But now ACC itself can file cases. So have you sufficient arrangement of hajatkhana, police force and other logistics for the purpose?

Mozammel Haque Khan : For the sake of operational interventions one 20 member armed unit has been deployed by the Anti-Corruption Commission since 7 September 2017. Together with the officials of the commission, the members of the armed unit actively take part in effecting the arrest of the criminal and launching the Anti-corruption drives. Meanwhile, the operational procedures of the armed unit are drawn up and the notification has also been issued to that effect. The members of this armed unit are put to operations in pursuing this notification. With the purpose of keeping the arrested accused in temporary custody and to produce them before the court, the hajatkhana is being managed in accordance with the specific policy.

Khaled Mahmood : There is an allegation that the persons related to the present government get advantage of relief from cases but opposition party related persons are sued unjustly, leading to their untold sufferings, what would you say about the matter?

Mozammel Haque Khan : ACC conducts the enquiry and investigation on the basis of information and evidences. The ACC officials collect evidences of the fact and place their report before the commission. Commission emphasises on the gravity of allegations, not on the alleged person. We have prosecuted many veteran MPs and political leaders of the present government. There is no scope for being partial as ACC works in accordance with documentary proofs and evidences.

Khaled Mahmood : Bank Money- plundering cases including Basic Bank, Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Agrani Bank are not as yet in final shape. Abdul Hye Bacchu, the former Chairman of Basic Bank is yet outside your touch, but why?

Mozammel Haque Khan : I think it’s not the whole truth. On the Basic bank issue we have lodged 56 FIRs. 120 accused including the MD of Basic bank have been charged for embezzlement. Amount of 2500 crore taka has been recovered and 4559,58,00,000 taka have been rescheduled. Some cases are under investigation. Those cases are complex in nature. Because we have to find the trail of money to detect the real beneficiary. Concerning Sonali bank scam, we have 35 cases under trial in the court, an amount of 13 crore taka has been recovered. Against Janata bank scam we have filed 5 cases and 44 crore taka has been recovered. Two cases against Agrani bank scam are under trial. The investigators can include a person in the case on the basis of documentary evidences. Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu has been interrogated by our investigators. Some investigation against Basic bank scam is still ongoing. They will disclose the fact before the Commission.

Khaled Mahmood : In the meantime one of the Directors of ACC has been arrested and put up for trial. To remove public perceptions about the existence of more such type of employees in the ACC do you contemplate to make cleansing drive here?

Mozammel Haque Khan : Yes, we do regularly conduct checks and balances for internal corruption. Following ACC Rules 2007, rule no-19, ACC has its Internal Anti- Corruption Committee for constant surveillance, monitoring on internal corruption and misconduct of the officers. If any officer is found to exercise his power wrongly, and to harass anyone unjustly, the Committee is empowered to take action against the officer for any offence under this rule. The Internal Anti-Corruption Committee is headed by the Chairman. The Secretary and DG (law and prosecution) are two members of the committee. Besides, the conduct of the officers is being watched out through the own Intelligence Unit of the Commission. In 2018, 3 officers of the Commission have been given rigorous and 01 support staff has been given minor punishment.

Khaled Mahmood : Many accused persons are found to be innocent in the trial process. Do you take action against the officers who are found to be involved in harassing any innocent person by charging in the court of trial?

Mozammel Haque Khan : There is hardly any scope for the officers to harass any innocent person. Because, at first, the Enquiry officer reveals the truth (primarily) by collecting information from different sources. After lodging an FIR, Commission assigns the case to another officer for investigation. In this stage, documentary evidence is collected. The investigative operations are being frequently and intensively monitored by a supervisor. After investigation, the concerned officer submits the report to the Commission. After analyzing the investigation report the Commission may provide approval for submission of a charge sheet or final report accordingly or if necessary, they may send the file for re-investigation. There are lots of checks and balances for submitting the matter to the court for trial. Still if anyone harasses any person with an ill motive, we have provision to punish him.

Khaled Mahmood : The present law does not authorize any agency to file case or arrest any government official without prior permission of the government. Do you think that such a provision of law acts as a hindrance to the prevention of corruption among the public servants?

Mozammel Haque Khan : The Public Service Act 2018 prohibits arrest of any public servant on criminal charges relating to his official duties, but ACC investigates cases not related to his official duties, but criminal offences. ACC does not have any hindrances for arresting any accused. Besides this, we have a judgment from Bangladesh High Court Division on writ petition no. 12272 of 2013 that says;

“The corrupt persons, whether privileged or general people, are birds of the same . feather and must be confronted with the process of investigation and inquiry equally, based on the position or status in the society, no distinction can be made. The result of the impugned legislation is that the very group of persons, namely, Government officials, magistrates and judges whose misdemeanor and illegalities may have to be inquired into would be decided by the ACC. The ACC should even start an inquiry or investigation against them or not. The reasons as stated above, the Rule deserves to be made absolute. This judgement also favours the ACC to enjoy the power to arrest. In the year 2018, we have arrested 28 government officials.

Khaled Mahmood : Sometimes the court makes remarks that the offenders can not be punished due to weak charge-sheet and improper evidences. Do you have any plan to overcome these shortcomings in this regard?

Mozammel Haque Khan : With an objective to make the country free from the gulping grip of corruption the actions of the Commission are set to become more dynamic, effective and visible. So in addition to enhancing the capacity of its own workforce the Commission devotedly endeavours to ensure its own transparency and accountability as well. Simultaneously, with the modernization of its own work environment the Commission in 2018 undertook a host of measures including training, seminars, symposium etc. for skill development of its workforce. In 2018, the Commission on its own management and with financial and technical assistance from various national and foreign agencies organized a good number of training including searching the sources of money, forensic investigation, foreign aid management system, comprehensive intelligence, senior security courses which were participated by 872 officials and supporting staff of the Commission. To increase the capacity of human resource there is no better alternative other than training. On return from overseas training the officers make a presentation sharing their learning points. The Commission has given the direction to the effect that the officers must apply at least one learning from their training to their respective work areas.

Khaled Mahmood : Would you please tell us-what percentage of the total corruption volume in Bangladesh is being tackled by Anti-Corruption Commission?

Mozammel Haque Khan : Corruption is a comprehensive term. It’s not countable and fixed in number. You can say either our country has high corruption or low corruption rate. This concept of corruption is also not constant, the variables change all the time. Corruption is a vast matter that can engulf every possible unethical thing. Even the slightest lie is the mark of a corrupted mind. But the ACC only is empowered to enquire and investigate the scheduled offence fixed by the ACC act. So, it’s very difficult to say the percentage of corruption tackled by the ACC.

 

 

 

Khaled Mahmood : Please speak something about your chequered and successful career in order that future generation can follow your footprints in their life.

Mozammel Haque Khan : Well, I have joined ACC as a Commissioner with the status of a Justice of the High Court Division of Bangladesh Supreme Court on 02 July 2018. Before this appointment, I served as a Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration till 30 June 2018. I was born in Panchkhola village under Madaripur District in 1959. I passed my Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination from United Islamia Government High School, Madaripur and Dhaka College, Dhaka in the year of 1974 and 1976 respectively. I have obtained BSS (Honors) and MSS Degree in Social Welfare from the University of Dhaka. I have completed my SD degree in Population and Development from Cairo Demographic Centre, Egypt. After that I completed Ph.D. in Public Administration. I joined as a member of BCS (Administration) Cadre in 1982 Regular Batch. In my career, I served in various capacities entailing Assistant Commissioner and Magistrate, Revenue Deputy Collector, Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Additional Deputy Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Jhenaidah District at the field level. Besides, I worked as a senior assistant secretary, Deputy Secretary, Joint Secretary and Additional Secretary in various Ministries of Government. I was the Private Secretary to the Divisional Commissioner, Dhaka, State Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Planning. I served as the Private Secretary to the Honorable President. In 2009, I was promoted to the post of and served in the Energy and Mineral Resources Division and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Secretary of Government and served in Ministry of Chattogram Hill Tracts Affairs, Ministry of Communication, IMED Division, Ministry of Planning and Energy and Mineral Resources Division, Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources. In 2014, I was promoted as a Senior Secretary of the Government (the Energy and Mineral Resources Division and Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs). Outside my professional career, I am inspired by the principles of Scouting. Currently I am the Chief National Commissioner of Bangladesh Scouts and Chairman of South Asian Association of National Scout Organization (SAANSO). I am the President of JICA Alumni Association of Bangladesh (JAAB), Adviser of JICA Alumni Association Forum of SAARC Countries (JAAFSC), President of Greater Faridpur Employee Welfare Association and President of Bangladesh Karate Federation. I am much interested in the welfare activities for the poor and under-privileged people and spend much time working for the rural people of Bangladesh. In this regard, I am associated with some organizations at my village home in Madaripur District. I am the founder of Dr. Md. Mozammel Haque Khan College, Madaripur, Chief patron of Panchkhola Muktisena High School, Madaripur, founder Chairman of Wazeda Kuddus Welfare Foundation, Chairman of Wazeda Kuddus Old Home and Technical Training Centre for Backward Adolescent Children and Chairman of Hazi Nowab Ali Khan Orphanage, Madaripur. In recognition of my contribution to Scouting, I have received the highest award of Bharat Scouts and Guides (Silver Elephant), highest award of Bangladesh Scouts (Silver Tiger) and Tamarrow award of the Philippines. As a part of my official duty, I have participated in many foreign trainings and visited more than 40 countries of the World, such as Australia, Austria, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Nepal, Philippines, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and Vietnam.

Personally, I am very much hopeful of our future generation. They are really promising and competitive. To me, future success starts with a vision fixed in the present. The important thing is, you should do something that you really love passionately. At first, fix a set of goals and then work accordingly. If you fail, don’t take it as a bad experience, rather take it as a learning curve. Choose your role model and follow his traits to keep yourself motivated. Specially for young generation, I would like to say not to do anything for quick success. Try to keep patience and work wisely to achieve your desired goal. And finally, be positive and always believe in yourself that you can do something. E

 

Invention

 

Doctor N. Zoha (Nuruzzoha) is a brilliant possessor of a marvelous career. By profession he is a homeo Doctor of super excellence. In the present time, he has earned the fame of a learned Scholar amongst the Homeo physicians in Bangladesh at a time when lakhs of people throughout the world are dying of Corona Virus (Covid-19) after being attacked by the disease, an that moment, Doctor Zoha has surprised Bangladesh by inventing the Preventive and Remedial Homeo Medicines against the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts think that the invention of Doctor Zoha may lead the globe to hear a message of a highest hope for a Preventive and Curative Medicine against Covid-19 disease.

In an interview with Khaled Mahmood, Editor, The Economy, he explained the symptoms and administration of the medicine ARSENIC ALE and told that the Medicine that Homeo Scientist Dr. Haneman invented against a virus earlier is now being applied as a preventive and curative drug against Corona Virus (Covid-19). However, we prepare the Homeopathic Medicine by a combination of different drugs taking into consideration the symptoms of the patients and the type of the disease and we apply on the individual symptomless and patients with symptoms. We are now carrying on more researches and studies in this process. In particular cases, we are trying to devise preparations of new drug and its administration following the change of symptoms of the disease Covid-19.

Doctor Zoha added, we have supplied by now Preventive Arsenic Album medicine to about 15 thousand people. In general, very good results are noticed in the treatment of Covid-19 disease. This Preventive Medicine generates a Corona Virus immunity power in the human body after the use of this drug. This medicine can be used again after one month for further strengthening of the immunity.

In the meantime, the Homeopathic Medicine for Corona Virus disease recovery designed (prepared) by Doctor Zoha has been administered on the 80 Covic-19 patients of Police members who were under treatment in the Central Police Hospital, Dhaka. Doctor Zoha said he has a plan to extend the area  of application of Covid-19 Preventive and Curative Medicines throughout Bangladesh, if needed. He again told, he and his team are continuing higher researches with Covic-19 Medicines. We contemplate to extend this  Medicine with our success all over the globe.

Eminent Homeopathic specialist Doctor Zoha said more that if they receive all-out help and co-operation of the Government of Bangladesh, they hope to establish very soon a Specialized Hospital of High Standard in Dhaka where there would a combined system of treatment having a co-ordination of Homeopathic, Unani, Ayurvedic and Alopathic systems of Medicines. Here all sorts of patients and diseases may be treated simultaneously to ensure the health facilities of thousands of people. This would be a humanitarian Hospital for the people of all levels in the society. Patients deprived of medical treatment owing to financial incapacities would be treated there free of cost with a full subsidy.

Doctor N. Zoha has been carrying on multifaceted social service works like establishment of school, college, hospital, mosque and madrasha as a philanthropist. As a man of charity, he extends multifarious help and co-operation to the helpless poor people.

Doctor Zoha is the founder of various types of institutions in his home district- Magura and in Dhaka city. Of these institutions the most important are the following:

  1. Nurul Hussain Secondary School
  2. Sufia Khatun Orphanage and Hafezia Madrasha
  3. Kamalpur Idgah Maidan
  4. Donator and President, G. K. Ideal College,

     Nurul Hussain Hostel (for students)

  1. Kamalpur Graveyard Complex

Doctor Zoha has established an IC Medical College (MBBS) and Hospital in the Capital City at Mahedipur, Amulia, Demra, Dhaka. There are 250 beds and 180 students here. Doctor Zoha added that the seat capacity in the Hospital would be enhanced in this year. The Hospital is being run at present with subsidy due to Corona Virus pandemic as the students are unable to pay tuition fees.

Fees and dues of all kinds for institutional expenses are being borne by the college authority from its own fund including salaries and wages of the teachers and other employees of the Medical College. He says, “I am confident that in no time by the grace of the Almighty, we would be able to overcome all sorts of hurdles. Normal life would return to this Medical College soon as before.”

Involvement of Doctor Zoha with different institutions: He is–

  1. The President: Bangladesh Homeopathic Medicine Manufacturers Association
  2. Vice President: Graduate Homeopathic Association
  3. Co-Chairman: FBCCI Standing Committee on Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, Unani, Herbal Medicine, Chemical and Pharmacy.
  4. Regional Chairman, Lion Club of Dhaka Dist-315B-1, Bangladesh
  5. President BAAS (Japan)

Education of Doctor N. Zoha:

Dr. Nuruzzoha (N. Zoha)

DUD Post Graduate (England)

Graduation DHMS from Dhaka University in 1986

PGD (England) Post Graduation Diploma in Homeopathy in 2012

Life of Dr. Nuruzzoha:

Dr. N. Zoha was born in November 1960 in an aristocratic Muslim family. His father’s name is Late Dr. Nurul Hussain and mother’s name is Sufia Khatun, she came of Kamalpur, Post-Nakol, P.S. Sreepur, District-Magura, Bangladesh.

He has been residing in the Capital City, Dhaka at Shantinagar for long years.

His wife is Raihana Zoha, a housewife. The happy couple has two daughters and no son. The elder daughter Rochita Sakina lives in Bangladesh after having passed BBA from the U.S.A. She is married. The younger daughter Miss Binita Sakina studies B. Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering (Final year) in IUB. E

Education

Should Student Politics be

Completely Stopped or Reformed?

– Mohammad Farasuddin*

 

Through the barbarous and brutal murder of Abrar, a meritorious student of BUET, the controversy regarding the student movement has once again appeared before us. Although many times heat-exciting reports spread on the issue wheather any fundamental or fruitful solution has remained beyond our grasp as yet.

As a conscious, elderly citizen of the society I feel the urge for talking something from the direct experience of student politics. It should be kept in mind that just following the driving out of the British and the ineffectuality of two-nation theory and of the danger of serious injustice in the socio-economic fields Chatra League was born in 1948. Awami League came into being one year later. But in the circumstances that persisted in tthis time, a powerful progressive student politics also existed outside Chatra league. Reactionary Muslim Brotherhood also sufficiently was then powerful. The students of this country played a great role in the great Language Movement ’52,  Election ’54, Anti Martial Law Movement’ 58, irresistable anti-Education Policy Movement ’62, support to 6 Points Demand, Mass-uprising ’69, offering Sheikh Mujibur Rhaman the title of Bangabandhu by All- Party Chatra Sangram Parisad and in the struggle for establishing independent-sovereign Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, their participation in great Liberation War and glorious War of Independence. There is no hesitation to say that in the fifties and sixties the student politics specially of Chatra League and Chatra Union was the chief power of Dhaka University. The dominance of National Students Federation (NSF) said to be rightists and pro-government crossed the limit of tolerance in the sixties. Towards the end of fifties Chatra Shakti also moderately expressed their presence and Islami Chatra Sanga which is the pre fore-runner genitor of todays daring Chatra Shibir was also felt in the platform of students politics.

After the Subsidiary Examination towards the end of 1962, I got transferred to the tradition and culture bearing S.M. Hall from Dhaka Hall (now Shahidullah Hall) on the ‘advice’ of big leaders of Chatra Union. Immediately after my transfer, I came to know that I would be nominated for the Students Union Vice President of S.M. Hall 1963-64. In practice, it happened. But on my pressure and for some other reasons a coalition was made with Chatra League. From the combined panel of Chatra Union and Chatra League ‘Jagriti’ Farasuddin- Mohammad Ullah (Chatra League) came out victorious defeating Shamsul Huda- Anwarul Karim Chowdhury of NSF- Chatra Shakti panel. Here the first lesson I got is that if the win-defeat is finalized through impartial, proper and transparent Election there may be no shortage of cordiality and friendship between the contestants of two panels.

Our oath of office function took place immediately after being elected. In case of delivering speech I faced a precarious condition. As a courtesy my close friend Jalal prepared a nice draft for me which helped me pass through by applying the memorizing power with beating bosom. But I had fallen in an odd situation at the time of post-Oath Ceremony Cultural Function. Due to the fire of jealousy of one or two all the Rightist artists refused to attend the function at the last moment. We got saved due to Anwar Uddin Khan, later GM, Bangladesh Shilpa Rin Sangstha friend-classmate Fahmida Khatun, fellow artist Abeda Khatun and Anjana Saha of 4 and half years old for their high standard songs and dance.

Afterwards I had got troubled at the time of preparing the budget for SM Hall for the financial year 1963-64. I made the budget after ample study and at the directions of the spiritual decendants. But the extensive preparation of the opposition side and over self-confidence of the victorious panel turned us to be defeated by vote. Perhaps for removing the deadlock and due to love-affection for me the Provost of the Hall countersigned the budget on the recommendation of the Treasurer. In the budget session an allegation against me was brought that by misusing power I used to bring snacks to my room by a Union bearer. So I got a good lesson.

At the later period with the affectionate directions of Provost Mafizuddin Ahmed and House Tutor M.A. Karim and all-popular Giasuddin Ahmed (martyred in Liberation War), efficiency of Cabinet members (Mohammad Ullah, Abdul Mannan, Khaled Rob, Saiful Islam Khan, Mobarak Hossain and others) and co-operation of student-friends the Literary-Cultural competition got well completed. In 1964, eleven television sets came to East Bengal. Perhaps, because of an auspicious connection I could fortunately have allotment of a set for S.M. Hall.

Not only our Student Union Parishad period of 1963-64, but the sixties was a period of yielding fiery gems for East Bengal specially for Dhaka University. As we enjoyed Mukta Biswa Vs ‘Iron Curtain’ Controversy of Moudud Ahmed against Enayetullah Khan and pingpong game, so also we saw the destruction of rotten Rightist student politics. The students witnessed the ruthless beating of Menon, Reza Ali and Paritosh by hokey stick (at present nothing more than a trifling matter) on a false plea. Again we have also seen in the blind alley of opportunism, greed-lust drop down to decaying stream of Student Union through multi-division. Although the power of a rightist demon-strength became almost zero at the unnatural death of ‘pass part two’ and Khoka, Dhaka University also observed terrorism, poison-vapor of fundamentalism-communalism.

We are now a proud independent sovereign country. Now the world with amazing mood felicitates us at our upward growth in a developed prosperous poverty-free country, women empowerment and the like that makes a heart-warming transformation. For keeping this process just ongoing an alternative leadership of Sheikh Hasina, although not of her equal qualities, of almost same standard is to be produced. So the question of stopping the womb of leadership creation- student politics does not arise.

Of course, it is needless to say that a qualitative change and radical reforms in students politics is highly necessary. From direct experience and as a careful observer of events I think Hall Union Election every year through transparent and proper election process should be held. The elected council may be given training in black and white on the leadership, organization, formulation of budget, poverty alleviation, culture, arrangement of functions on literary affairs, activities of technological procurement and games and sports organization.

I earnestly want to say that the political parties may consider for disconnecting the student organizations from their present status as organs even associating entities. As per the order of the Chief of the government, seizure of all materials including arms of terrorism and ragging in the University Halls and College hostels to bring them under the bounds of trial simultaneously should be the joint responsibility of University Administration and the law and order forces. Compared to the demand for the accommodation the seats are less than the number of students. On an emergency basis Halls may be built. But the examination etc. activities should be turned into obligatory system so that the students put attention to their fundamental duty of studies.

Before the provision of sufficient residential facilities can be made, the senior students on the basis of merit should be allotted seats in the Halls and in line with the Dhaka University exhibited way a system of leaving the Halls just after 15 days of the final examination should be activated. Not more than one student would stay in a seat. The learners should not make common room and verandah as their residence. Careful attention should be kept so that torture cell and common room culture do not reappear. If the politicians do not want, the student politics would never derail from the healthy creative leadership growing flow. By intensive communication with the students and extending advice to them the teachers would create a smart leadership of the days to come. But if there continues status quo in teacher’s politics, is the reform of students politics possible? E

*  Economist, Educationist and Social Worker.

** Translated into English by ‘The Economy’ Analyst.

 

 

Education

Shafiqur Rahman

A Prototype of Successful Leadership

and Parton of Learning

– A Special Report by The Economy

 

One of the objectives of The Economy is to give coverage to the people and the institutions in far-flung areas of the country lying outside the capital and the other big cities. With this end in view, we entertained an authority i.e. Chairman of a School Managing Committee regarding the conditions and situation of a village high school in Brahminbaria district. We produce here the Questionnaires along with the Answer provided by Mr. Shafiqur Rahman, Chairman, School Managing Committee, Bidyakut Amar Multi-Lateral High School of Nabinagar Upazila, Bidyakut, Brahmanbaria for our valued readers.

Q-1. The Economy: When was and who established Bidyakut Amar Multi-Lateral High School?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: Bidyakut Amar Multi-Lateral High School of Nabinagar Upazila, Brahmanbaria is a tradition-bearing educational institution of more than one hundred years. By the personal efforts of late Amar Chandra Bhattacharya, a childless philanthropist of Bidyakut village this school was founded in 1913.

Q-2. The Economy: When and how did this school receive the recognition from the government?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: After the school had been established, it was temporarily recognised in 1913. On the 7th August, 1947 it received regular recognition from the Kolkata (then Calcutta) University permanently.

Q-3. The Economy: In how many acres of land is the school built?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: A great childless philanthropist late Babu Amar Chandra Bhattacharya gifted 9 acres of land for accommodation of the school in which it was built.

Q-4. The Economy: What is the number of installations in the school and is there any plan to build any new school building?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: There are 4 buildings of different sizes in the school. The construction of a 3 storied building having 3 rooms by the grant of the present government through the efforts of the former MP Mr. Faizur Rahman Badal and of the sitting M.P. Mohammed Ebadul Karim Bulbul is completed. The construction of a four-storeyed building has already started after being sanctioned by the government and the construction of another four-storyed building is awaiting the sanction.

Q-5. The Economy: Is there any spacious playground for the games and sports of the students and other recreational facilities in the school? Does the school provide liberary facilities to the student for better studies in the school campus?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: There are two very big playgrounds in the school. There are also unused spaces inside the school area with a pond; there are a mosque, market and a bank branch inside the school area. For better learning there are a science building, IT Centre and a library. By courtesy of our local U.P. Chairman Janab Enamul Haque (VP Enam) a Digitalization Finger Print Machine for ensuring the attendance of the students and teachers has been set up. A Shahid Minar of national standard has been constructed in the school campus.

Q-6. The Economy: What is the number of regular students, teachers and other employees in the school?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: The school has about 2000 regular students and 37 teachers and other employees at present.

Q-7. The Economy: What is the standard of education and teaching in this school? Would you kindly tell us about the  results of S.S.C. Examinations during the last ten years in details?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: The standard of education and teaching was better from earlier days. Although it lagged behind slightly few years back on account of insufficient number of teachers. After my taking over the responsibility as Chairman, the standard of teaching has improved very much. The pass-rate in SSC Examination in the last year was 100% and that of present year is 98%. Good grades including more than one GPA-5 have been received by the students.

Moreover, many learners who have passed from this school, have been placed in the important positions of the country. Out of them many persons are working in the important places of the government; some of them were and are involved in trade and commerce, some were and are in national politics. In literary, cultural and artistic practices many persons are engaged. Even Babu Rebati Mohan Das the present Speaker of Tripura Bidhan Sava was a student and teacher of this school. Moreover, he actively participated in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

Q-8. The Economy: Does your school have good transport facilities for the students, teachers and guardians around the adjacent area?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: Areas around this school have very good road-transport facilities. All kinds of vehicular network are available here and hence movement to and from the school is easy and cheap.

Q-9. The Economy: Does the school have hostel and residential facilites for tthe students and the teachers?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: As because there is school in every union of the adjacent areas, the students from the far-flung areas need not come to this school for learning. As most of the teachers and employees hail from this locality, they don’t require hostel and residential facilities for food and lodging.

Q-10. The Economy: Does the school offer stipends for the poor, helpless but meritorious students?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: The present government supplies new books on the 1st January every year to the students. Sub-stipends are also provided to them. We extend financial co-operation to the indigent but meritorious students.

Q-11. The Economy: When was this school enlisted in MPO and what kind of facilities does your school get in this connection?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: After the establishment of the school in 1913, it received recognition of the Calcutta (now Kolkata) University in 1913 and permanent recognition in 1947. After independence, all the schools of Bangladesh received facilities nominally. But after 1980, like other schools our institution also has been enjoying 100% MPO facilities.

Q-12. The Economy: Does your school receive any contribution/donation from any philanthropist or NGO.

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: Sometimes donations/gifts are received from patrons of learning.

Q-13. You are the Chairman of the School Managing Committee for the two consequent terms. Would you kindly tell us about any reforms and development of the institution during your period?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: After I had received the important responsibility of the school, I appointed a number of meritorious and competent teachers. At the cost of toil and labour of all the teachers-employees, we have been able to upgrade the pass rate to 100%. I have personally arranged annual sports competition and bought furniture for the office and arranged study tour, etc. As accommodation for students in different classes was insufficient,  I took initiative to introduce sections in the classes in 2015. As a result, class-VII B, Class IX B in 2019 and  VI B, Class VIII B, Class IX C, Class X B Sections later, were extended permission by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education and also by Education Ministry.

Q-14. The Economy: What is your future vision and plan on this school?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: Although the school is a century old heritage-bearing institution, no centenarian celebration has yet been held. So I have a plan to celebrate centenary of the school in the near future gorgeously. Moreover, measures would be taken for the reconstruction of the mosque situated in the school area.

Q-15. The Economy: Do you get necessary co-operation as the Chairman of the School Managing Committee (SMC) from the Members of SMC, teachers, students and the guardians?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: I get proper and necessary co-operation as the Chairman, SMC from the SMC Members, teachers, students and the guardians. Their co-operation inspires me in my works invariably.

Q-16. The Economy: You are a patron of learning. You have been carrying out the responsibility of a Member of the Governing Body of Willes Little Flower School and College, Dhaka successively for two terms. What is your opinion about the problems, their solutions and the potentialities there?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: I have a plan to do something good to Willes Little Flower School and College. It includes the improvement of the educational atmosphere in the school by ensuring a cordial, healthy and better relationship among the members of the Teaching Staff, students and guardians for the flowering of the merit of the young students so that the status of the institution comes to the top in the city. The present Chairman of the institution, my respected elder brother Janab Arifur Rahman Titu is making all-out efforts along with all for its general improvement. We want to raise the position of this institution to the zenith of success under his leadership.

Q-17. The Economy: Other than this work do you have any other involvement in the activities of social service organization and humanitarian functions?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: I have been providing poor and common students of any level books and tuition or other fees at different times depending on my ability. Even, Willes Little Flower School and College is not an exception.

Q-18. The Economy: As we know you are a successful businessman. What is the type of your business? How many firms you own?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: I am a self-confident well planned, promising and hard toiling person. My dream and work both are the same. I attach hundred percent priority to my honesty, sincerity, perseverance and pledge. I am a real estate businessman. I am the Chairman of Rungdhanu Properties Limited and this is my single entrepreneurship business firm. Through this business I have kept myself in the service of the people.

Q-19. The Economy: What is your present and future plan?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: Man has many plans in life but in all cases, a plan may not be materialized. As a social worker and a patron of learning, I love the people. I always make plan to serve all the people irrespective of party, opinion, religion, colour, caste, group, tribe etc. Moreover, with a view to establishing a modern highly standard education system, I apply money and thought to  improve education in Bangladesh.

Q-20. The Economy: Are you connected with any political party? If so, what is your future political plan?

Ans: Shafiqur Rhaman: I am a believer in the ideals of the great leader, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation. I want to follow his ideals till my death in my deeds and thoughts. His worthy daughter honourable Prime Minister Jananetri Sheikh Hasina is the pride of our country and the nation. Under her leadership I desire to carry on my activities to build a Sonar Bangla of Bangabandhu. E

 

 

 

Corruption

How a Black Group Grows Up

– Sawkat Hossain*

 

In China in 2014, the Corruption Prevention Inquiry Officials recovered 20 crore Euan (equal to 3 crore, 30 lac dollars) from the residence of a government official. Uae Penjuan was the Deputy Chief, Coal Department of National Fuel Administration. His function was to give approval to the construction of coal based electricity plants. The recovered money was of bribe. The highest denomination of notes in China is of 100 Euan. If put one upon another it will be as high as 328 feet. For counting these notes 16 counting machines were used, four of which got broken.

This record of cash money recovery has been broken by the ousted President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir. On 20 April last, an amount of money notes of different denominations equal to 13 crore dollars was retrieved. And prior to this occurrence in 2016 an amount equivalent to 12 crore 30 lac dollars was recovered from the car, study room and residence of the sister of Dinitri Bakharchenko, a high ranking official of an organization for the prevention of corruption in Russia.

Certainly you remember ‘Forest-eater’ Osman Gani. In 2007 during the rule of Army supported care-taker Goverment, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) recovered I crore, 6 lac, 84 thousand 600 taka from the residence at Uttara of the former Chief Forest Conservator that were kept in pillows and mattresses.

That the tendency to keep money in the residence has not diminished rather increased, has been also learned in 2019. During Anti-Casino Drive the events of recovery of cash money and gold are many. Many persons are astonished at the incidence of the hoarding money in the residence in this way. Of course, the story of devoutness to mother of imprisoned contractor, Awami League leader G.K. Shamim can be said at least a little. He has deposited 140 crore taka in the bank as a fixed deposit in his mother’s name. In the same way, in the residences of Gandaria Thana Awami League Vice President Enamul Haque and Joint General Secretary Rupan Bhuiyan a cash money amounting to 1 crore 5 lac taka along with golden jewellery of 730 tolas (appr.) were recovered. That all money should not be kept in cash, should be kept in a safe commodity like gold, this modern thinking in asset management is worthy of being acclaimed.

But those who have been astonished to see the sudden discovery or abundance of cash money from house to house, few words for them should be uttered. Casino has not been built up overnight in the country. All articles of operating casino has come in front of eyes of the National Board of Revenue (NBR); casinos ran on the tip of the nose of the Administration, at the indulgence of law and order enforcement forces and with the patronage of the politicians. All of them flourished from the ruling party; illegal earnings are huge. But very few of them have been brought to book.

The example of legal investments of unlawful money earnings is very few. Although innumerable times the chance of turning black money into white money in the country was given, very small number of persons availed themselves of this opportunity. Rather statistics say that during the last 10 years more than 6 lakh crore taka has been laundered from Bangladesh.

The world is now advancing towards the building up of a cashless or transactionless cash money society. Other than security for minimizing corruption it is thought to be an effective system also. Even a few days ago the people of the world had the perception that the work was going on properly. Moreover, in 2001 after the terrorist attack in the USA when the monitoring on the bank transaction was enhanced, many people thought that transaction of illegal money would decrease. But in 2017 and 2018, more than one concern-generating reports of more than one Federal Reserve Banks has changed many ideas. It was said there that the use of hundred denomination dollar notes has increased alarmingly. Whereas even a decade bank notes of 1 and 20 dollars were used more. And now out of the total 100 dollar notes 80% remains outside the USA. And the major part of this money is being used in illegal activities. About 100 dollar note, it is now said, ‘Cash is king, but 100 dollar notes are for cooks.’

There are different ways of earning illegal money throughout the world. Online-based Havo-coscop publishes information about the unlawful market and illegal earnings world-wide. There is information about fifty types of illegal earnings. As for example, the market of spurious medicine of 200 billion dollars, the market of prostitution is of 186 billion dollars, the market of imitation electronic products of 169 billion dollars, marijuana has a market of 142 billion dollars, 140 billion dollars of unlawful gambling and cocaine has 85 billion dollar market.

Then what is the size of black money in Bangladesh? Austrian economist Professor Frederic Snider works with black money world-wide. He has said that the volume of black money in Bangladesh equals to 34% of the GDP. In money terms it stands at a quarter to 4 lakh crore taka.

The question is, what is the source of these abundant illegal money? In 1989 a Professor of Economics, Dhaka University, the former Director General, Bangladesh Development Research Institute Sadrel Reza did a research on “Underground Economy” of Bangladesh. In the research he divided the black money income into two parts. For example, simple black income and complex black income. The simple black money has three sources. As for example super normal profit in investment, extra ordinary fee of the professionals and extra income from the capital. Super normal profit in investment includes indenting and construction activities, manpower business, private clinics, cinema business, etc. Extra fee of the professionals includes additional fees of the lawyers, physicians, consultants and of cinema stars. In the extra income of capital there is high value of residence and super normal income from the share market. Sources of complex black money are also three in number. This includes business, industry and service oriented sources including under and over invoicing in foreign trade, illegal trading of foreign exchange, smuggling, production of adulterated commodities and sale thereof, low standard building activities, tax evasion, illegal gambling, non-repayment of bank loan, different types of fraud, etc.

Professor Sadrel Reza further said, the policy deciding activities with political and administrative activities acts as an associate in the channel of earning black money. Here there is bribe, illegal commission and partiality mixed profit, etc. By assigning these activities as pale Economics, he said, in this way under the political umbrella a black group grows up. The research was done 30 years back. But the pattern has changed very little. The change that has taken place is in the commodities only. For example in place of phensidyle, yaaba has come, illegal gambling has turned into casino; the pattern has changed in system, technology in being used. But under political protection the matter remains the same, rising of the black group also continues as before. An order of succession of the illegal earnings of the black group may be prepared as follows: After the independence in Bangladesh the main source of illegal income was smuggling and government permit business. Following this when Bangladesh became dependent on foreign aid a commission-dependent group grew up. Again towards the end of seventies when the private investment was made open, the place of money making became the banks and financial institutions. The entire 80’s was a decade for making money in this way. In the decade of 90’s the share market got annexed. Within 15 years there took place two big scandals. Embezzlement of money from banks and share markets continues as yet violently. And all these matters take place under the umbrella of the government through policy fixing activities. Extending loans anew to the bank-owners-defaulters is an example of such an act only.

One more big source of earning money now is project. In the last 10 years a major change has come in the field of investments. Private sector investment has been stationary over many years. Whereas investment is necessary. The former Finance Minister AMA Muhit in this situation had chosen government investment. The ex-Finance Minister had also a tendency to the policy of increasing GDP through enhancing the expenditure. As a result the size and number of projects of ADP have increased. As the more and big projects are, so is the size of money. Moreover, foreign aid was less, local currency more. So, there was a big deficit of transparency and accountability.

It is sure that many persons remember that in 2011 bringing about a small change in Public Purchase Policy or PPR it was told that in case of participation in the government purchase or development works the contractors need not have any experience for works upto 2 crore taka. Through this change the Chatra League and Juba League leaders faced no problem to become contractors overnight. The government itself showed the leaders-workers the desired path. Side by side, offering different levels including government officials for getting works, transaction of bribe money outside the country, commission for buying, money laundering through over invoicing or under invoicing – all these are concomitants of the above matters. They have all turned large being puffed during the last 10 years. Evidences of it includes recent casino events, roguery of Chatra League-Juba League and many more affairs. And the smugglers of money from banks and share market are already there for ages together.

Together with the above factors fundamentally under the political umbrella a ‘black group’ has grown up that which now-a-days many persons term as ‘Crony Capitalism’. Putting a few into the prison no solution can be had. Because the number of black group is now a very large one; how many of them can be kept in jail? E

*   Special News Editor, Prothom Alo

** Translated into English by ‘The Economy’ Analyst.

 

 

 

 

Tax Revenue

How to Increase Tax Revenue and

Lessen Corruption:

A Reconciliation Oriented Model

– Sheikh Murad Hossain*

The low tax/GDP ratio of Bangladesh illustrates why tax revenue collection should be a top priority for the government. Increasing tax revenue collection and lessening corruption go hand in hand. Keeping this in mind, I can suggest a multidimensional model for increasing tax revenue. The model mainly focuses improving cross-agency communication. We start by identifying the dimensions where such communications will be fruitful and then look into each of the dimensions and the nature of communication suggested.

First, we have to outline the dimensions we will consider. We want to limit corruption using early stage actions. At the same time, based on the size of collected revenue and observed level of corruption, we can take the following dimensions into consideration: land registration, flat registration, building plan permit, automobile registration and corporate loan and advances. For each of these dimensions, a tax-payer is involved with one or more agencies and we want to create a system which allows for data sharing within these agencies and NBR to track the taxpayer’s conduct and validate their records through a cross-platform checking mechanism. This will reduce tax evasion opportunities through tighter monitoring.

Land registration: This service is provided through the land registration authority. My suggestion is having an additional requirement for a clearance letter for the taxpayer that has to be provided by the NBR. This creates a two-step verification instrument that allows the land registration authority to evaluate the land better and NBR to update his profile resulting in better transparency and lack of corruption opportunities.

Flat registration:Parallel to the land registration process, flats should also require a clearance letter from NBR in order to better judge the taxpayer’s ability and wealth. This should have an impact similar to the clearance letter for land registration.

Construction permit: Building plan permits, whether obtained through RAJUK, Municipalities or Union Parishad, should require a dual verification system. The idea is, building plan permits should not go out to people incapable of completing the construction work. NBR has a clear idea of the wealth level of individuals and can contribute to this process. This will also deter taxpayers from understating their wealth for tax purposes.

Automobile (car) registration: This is usually done through BRTA. In this case, the BRTA should inform NBR when a taxpayer is registering for a car, creating a more seamless flow of information. At the same time, NBR can notify BRTA if they find any inconsistencies with the purchase given the profile of the individual. This creates a more prudent system and limits the scope for tax evasion.

Corporate loans from Banks: As there are inclinations to produce multiple audit reports by some valued taxpayers based on the authority it is submitted to, it’s important to reconcile these across different agencies to protect the interest of all stakeholders. A corporation may submit a vastly different audit report to banks for acquiring loans and to NBR for taxation purposes. Whatever the real picture is, to ensure their credit quality objectively, banks and NBR should have to communicate and come to a single understanding about the health of the company. This leads to a better tax assessment capacity for NBR. Whereas for banks, they can now do a better job of credit assessment and reduce non-performing loans.

This entire model has a single philosophy at its core and that is cross-platform communication. This adds transparency to the whole process and will lead to better outcomes for all stakeholders. To achieve this, a robust digitalized database and platforms with multi-agency access should be developed. In doing so, time needed to complete the process and visits to the ministries for the taxpayers can be minimized, ensuring their experience is not hampered. I believe this model can greatly aid in addressing the tax evasion and corruption issue. When we can resolve these issues, we should be well on our way to increase the tax revenue for the government. E

* Above Article written by Sheikh Murad Hossain,

   Deputy Commissioner of Taxes, Headquarters (Admin),

   Taxes Zone-2, Dhaka.

 

 

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