<%-- Page Title--%> Chintito <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 133 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

December 12, 2003

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To B or not To B


French General, although he may fancy the title Emperor from up there, Napoleon Bonaparte said sometime between 1769 and 1821, most likely not before 1772 because then he was just three, that 'In politics, an absurdity is not a handicap'.

However illogical, irrational and ludicrous it may sound, the birth control pill has failed once again, and there is once again talk of a political birth. As with any birth there is a degree of coyness and hesitancy in making the news public straight away and the parents are breaking the news gradually, to the accompaniment of giggles of the relatives -- we speak for the same party, we agree to disagree, we are still one party, if people want otherwise what can we do, not yet a political party just a meeting of common minds, maybe we will take a new office space -- at that time some bystanders who can hold no longer point their finger and guffaw, 'Sir, the bulge is showing'.

They always say 'floating a new party' whenever they mean that a new political party is in the offing; as if we do not already have enough. Since before Eid there has been talk of a third force, and come the morrow perhaps there will be a fourth. But the fact is they will always be being floated. I believe the conjecture there is that there is no guarantee that they will not sink. Most do. Those which do not have built a reputation of making the people have a good dip in the water.

This nation united under one leader to inflict a humiliating defeat on the marauding and vicious occupying Pakistan forces. In a little over thirty years we have been able to divide ourselves, albeit vastly unequally, into hundreds of political parties and beliefs. Most dangerously there are parties and beliefs within parties and beliefs, big and small.

There are obviously big parties and there have been some pretty small ones, not that they contribute to the society by the measure of their membership. On the contrary, some small party members have been well known for making notable contributions by singular statements, or by Fevecol-ing themselves with a major party.

One party was so small that when the president and secretary arrived at the joutha public meeting in a rickshaw, someone quipped: The whole party has arrived.

To add to the mockery that is our politics today, or for that matter, almost anywhere, even in some of the giant democracies, the major political parties have been ill-famed for making serious gaffes. I refrained from calling the giant democracies 'so-called' for fear of not knowing what then to call those states that preach social equality in the name of gone-oh! -tantro.

Despite there being a choice of parties ranging from pro-liberation to anti, from pro-India to pro-Pakistan, from pro-proletariat to real bourgeois, from in-power to out- of-power, from powerless to powerful, from Teknaf to Tetulia, it is astounding that it still difficult for some people to find a party that suits their politics and beliefs.

Every time a political party was born there was the sincere desire of its founders, often instigator is the right word depending on which way the party headed to, to fix the society for good. But they ended up creating a Frankenstein or two; the mother party suffixed by an alphabet or more within parentheses.

Groucho Marx (1895-1977), the American comic actor -- Yes! There have been and are human beings in that country despite the shameful performance of its present-day protagonists -- once said that 'Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and then misapplying the wrong remedies'. And he was not even a Bangalee.

Those who are unbending in their resolve to do something for the society because they are not in power consider Bonaparte their guru: 'In politics... never retreat, never retract... never admit a mistake.'

I for one have never seen anybody in power conceiving a new political party. I assume they would not have time for such frolics then, just as working couples do not. That is possibly because they suppose that they are not making any mistake --- admitting to one is a long shot. The tendency is lacking even among those who believe they have a chance of winning the next elections. But who knows? Maybe we have not seen the last of absurdities as yet.


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