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November 8, 2003 

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A useful handbook for every conscious citizen

Subrata Kumar Das

Parliament Kibhabe Kaj Kore
New Age Publication, Dhaka,
July 2003, Page: 272 Price: Tk. 200

Parliament Kibhabe Kaj Kore (How Parliament Works) by noted researcher Jalal Firoj has been published recently and thus fulfilled a great need of the politicians and parliamentarians as well as the common literati. The author has dived into every aspect related to parliament and complied them in two covers which has been published by New Age Publication, Dhaka.

The book is divided into eleven main chapters. The chapters are: i) Parliament: History, Dignity, Problem and Creativity; ii) Parliament and Government; (iii) Leader of the Parliament; (iv) Speaker: Why Impartiality is Essential; (v) Leader of the Opposition; (vi) How Bills turn into Law, (vii) Committee System, (viii) Rules of Procedure of Parliament; (ix) Back benchers: Role and Efficiency, (x) Whip : What and How does, (xi) Parliament and Women. All the chapters are enriched with historical perspective along with comparative analysis. Along with the above main chapters there are tables and 10 appendices.

Let us have a deep look into the first chapter 'Parliament: History, Dignity, Problem and Creativity'. Under the main heading there are: Mother of the Parliaments; Parliament and Democratic Government in the Sub Continent and Bengal; Bangladesh Parliament 1862-2003: From Embryo to the Full size; Functions of Parliament; Power of Parliament: Its Limitations; Dignity of the Parliament; Dignity of Parliament in Bangladesh; Modern Parliament: Its Challenges; Bangladesh Parliament: Problems and Deficiencies; Bangladesh Parliament: Creativity and Possibility.

The author has not simply collected the information that is commonly available in the government gazettes. Rather all these knowledge are presented in depth and scholarly. No chapters of the books can miss the attention of an eager reader. What more answers can this book on parliament supply with? To this question it is better to translate the flap of the book where the questions have been printed: When did the history of Bangladesh Parliament begin? Did it begin in 1862 or earlier? Were there instances of Parliamentary practices in the ancient and Middle Ages? Where lies the success of Post-Liberation Bangladesh Parliament? Has the Parliament been able to show any creativity by now and in what fields? How do the Leader, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition or Whips work in Bangladesh Parliament? What do the people of country expect from the Opposition Party? Why is the impartiality of the speaker essential? How can the Speaker's impartiality be ensured? Why is the committee system of Bangladesh considered next to that of the USA? What are the responsibilities of the backbencher MPs? How do the women parliamentarians play their role? Where lies the failure of the women parliamentarians? Answers of more questions related to Parliament, Politics, Democracy, Governance, Women Empowerment can be found in this book.

Now let us browse the tables that have made the book more informative in this way or that. The tables are:The tradition of Parliament in Bengal 1862-2003; Functions of the Leader of the Parliament; Standing Committees, Select Committees, Special committees; Speakers of Bangladesh Parliament; Amendment of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament 1974-1997; Number of Women Parliamentarians in different countries: Women Members of Bangladesh Parliament 1973-2003. Certainly these tables are stores of basic information, which are generally unavailable. The printing error on the content page of the tables may mislead a reader. Pages of the last three tables will be 116, 154, 158. Like the tables the appendices also provide vital information. Citing the titles of the appendices may satiate an enthusiastic bookworm of this review. They are: Speakers of Bangladesh Parliament; Deputy Speakers of Bangladesh Parliament; Leaders of Bangladesh Parliament; Opposition Leaders of Bangladesh Parliament; Women Members of Bangladesh Parliament: Reserved; Session and efficient days of Parliament; State of Political Parties in Parliament Elections; 13 Amendment of the constitution of Bangladesh; and Bangladesh Parliament: Profile.

Regarding appendices, I must appreciate the author for attaching such core information especially regarding the full detail of the amendments of our constitution. But it would have been better if the areas were specified instead of Women seat 1, 2, 3 in the appendix on Women Members of our Parliament: Reserved Seat.

Subrata Kumar Das is lecturer of Bangladesh Rifles College, Peelkhana, Dhaka.

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