• Saturday, September 20, 2014

The ghosts of Plassey live on!

Shahriar Feroze

One often wonders:  how old is politics of treason, betrayal and conspiracy in this part of the world?' Well, officially, and according to firsthand records – it perhaps began with the battle of Plassey and, more specifically, with Mir Jafar and his band of accomplices.
Judged as one of the pivotal battles for the control of India by the East India Company, Plassey emerged more as a battle of conspiracy and palace politics. In many ways, the battle, which was fought on June 23, 1757 tested the characters of the then ruling house of Bengal. Since then, conspiracy and treason laced with an incessant greed for power, had hounded our rulers
Today, details of the battle may be inconsequential, but the nagging question as to why our countrymen conspired against their own and helped pave the way for British rule over India still has resonance. The main reasons were:  succumbing to temptations of power and wealth, absence of patriotism and profound flaws within the Mughal system of administration.
257 years on only the conspiracy modalities have changed, but the lust for power and wealth still looms large in today's Bangladesh.  History of Bangladesh since 1971 is that of political upheavals, carefully engineered by certain individuals to get a stranglehold on power. Coups, counter coups, clandestine plotting; greed for power fuelled numerous military uprisings in the late 70's and 80's, resulting in deaths, disappearances and kangaroo trials. These dark chapters of Bangladesh still remain nebulous though one wouldn't be wrong in stating that many of the key players of that time are still active today, brazenly sporting the façade of innocence. Mir Jafar's true colours came out when he openly rebelled against Siraj but honestly speaking, Bangladeshi elements of vice outfox the villain of Plassey in all departments.
The Ghoseti Begums, Umichands, Jagath Seths and Mir Jafars never die; they emerge in a different form. Plassey stands out as an example of how military superiority becomes impotent in the face of wickedness. The moral of the story – vice within is the worst enemy. Sadly, so many years later, these rancid elements continue to thrive…

The writer is Current Affairs Analyst, The Daily Star
E-mail: shahriarferoze@gmail.com

Published: 12:00 am Monday, June 23, 2014

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