By Nur Hossain
From 28th of November 2013, Bangladesh’s Bengal Foundation and Calcutta based ITC-SRA are organizing a four-day classical music festival. Indians are heavily dominating the lineups of the artists. It is perceptible that, like last year’s occasion of same kind, Indian High Commission in Dhaka played a key role in bringing Indian artists here in Dhaka. It is expected that similar to the previous occasion, we’ll hear a lot of praise about Indian high commission for making this festival a successful one.
It is also expected that a good number of young middle and upper class urban families would spend nights in the festival appreciating a genre of music, which was arguably originated here and whose authority is now claimed by India. Social media networks are supposed to be full of appreciation of this festival. Last year, a big number of our reputed civil society members were seen to gather in the Army Stadium to celebrate ‘ Indian classical music’.
In an ideal world there is nothing wrong in celebrating music of our biggest neighbor. However, the timing of organizing and celebrating this music festival raises several questions and requires public attention. A series of questions should be raised about this festival: is Bangladesh in a festive mood now? what are we celebrating? why are we celebrating? who organized this celebration and why? Was there a public demand for this event?
The festival is taking place at a time when the state of Bangladesh is in severe crisis. Properties are being burnt, lives are being lost, crude hand bombs are being hurled indiscriminately in exchange of indiscriminate police shooting, businesses are on halt, and public lives are in high tension and anxiety because the ruling party does not want to delegate the power to the people of Bangladesh to practice their true democratic right of voting for a day in five year in a free and fair manner.
The ruling party supported opposition’s alibi of violent protest by not entering into dialogue for a peaceful solution to the present political crisis. For the last two years, the Opposition organized non-violent protest activities such as road-march, human chain to raise their demand to amend the constitutional coup, which plunged the country in present crisis. But no one gave a proper heed.
At present many pockets outside of Dhaka such as Rajshahi, Comilla, Chittagong, Bogra, Patukhali, Sitakunda have turned into battlefield. The pattern of conflict underpins that it would be a mater of time when Dhaka would turn into a battlefield. A major sponsor of this crisis is India.
Our neighbor India, instead of pushing for democracy in Bangladesh is stubbornly sponsoring the actors who are causing unnecessarily loss of lives of Bangladeshis. It is true that India helped us achieving independence and it is also true that independence of Bangladesh was never been a priority for Indians, rather they were interested in supporting the split of Pakistan for its own geo-political interest. Which is fine to us- the lucky and proud generation who were born in an independent Bangladesh which however became sub-servant state of India in many ways in recent years.
The evidence of Indians’ disregard to our independence and sovereignty was brutally portrayed recently when the BSF, the border security force of Indian government, not only shot a Bangladeshi unarmed teenage civilian girl Felani dead, but also they hanged the dead body of that poor little girl on the barbwire of Bangladesh-India border fence with arrogance. Bangladesh died on that day and it still is dead. An independent country has a dignity but that is lost with Felani.
It is widely reported that Delhi now controls Bangladesh. For this extra ordinary service of India, our ruling party had to offer almost free transit, cheap Internet bandwidth, power plant near mangrove forest, and many more to Pranabda. Ironically, this ruling party claims to uphold the spirit of independence but in reality it sold our independence to India for narrow family interest.
Therefore, it is true that Indians have lot to celebrate and the classical music festival is the perfect platform for that. However one might wonder what are we celebrating? Are we celebrating our loss of brothers? Are we celebrating our loss of democracy? Are we celebrating our loss of national dignity? Are we celebrating our loss of peace and stability? Are we celebrating the loss of Felani? There should be a limit to our vulgar civility.