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     Volume 5 Issue 120 | November 17, 2006 |

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View from the Bottom

Deal with the Devil for Power !?

Shahnoor Wahid

Let me tell you a story, slightly differently and in my own way, before relating it with things that are happening in this country. The story will remind you of Faust by Wolfgang von Goethe or Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlow.

Let us name the protagonist in this story Faul (Read Foul). This Faul craved for power and money but had no way to acquire them. When all his attempts at getting his hands on the two most coveted items failed and he sunk in a ditch of despair, he was visited by the devil. The devil gave him a proposal, a deal, a very strange deal rather. He told Faul... “OK buddy, you want money and power so money and power it will be to enjoy. And know what pal? You won't have to return any of them! Not a bit!” Faul could not believe his ears. He thought....hey, where have you been Mr. Devil all this time? Devil could read his mind (As he can read yours or mine) and smiled and said, “Faul, I was always around....I have been reading your mind last few days and I have come to the conclusion that you are desperate to have power.....to rule over people....to have it your way....to be cheered by people.…and you are ready to do anything for that...anything. That's why I have come to you with this offer.” Faul was a picture of disbelief and he blinked his eyes a number of times to make sure that he was awake and it was real. He cleared his throat and asked, “Well, Mr. Devil, I mean sir....why do you want to give me money and power? You do not have a good reputation. What do you want from me actually?”

Devil bellowed in mirth. Immediately, from nowhere dark clouds began to gather overhead and a chilly wind started to blow across the room of Faul. He pulled up the collar of his heavy coat and looked at the devil. There was some change on the face of the apparently good looking man...err...person....err thing....the devil that is. It was red...as red as a hot iron bar...but within seconds it became normal again.

“Well Faul, by now you must have learned from your life's experience that no one gives no one anything for free. Therefore, I also have a little thing to ask for, from you. It's nothing of great value or significance....compared to what you will enjoy for the next...let's say twenty years or so. So, are you ready to give me that 'little thing' in exchange of money and power that will never be in short supply for that period of time?”

Faul could hardly wait to say 'Yes'. Already he had started to drool thinking about the money and power that he was about to possess. “Yes...yes....Mr. Devil bhai...I am ready to give you whatever you ask for...bhaijaan.…just tell me what is it that you want from a poor guy like me?” He looked around his room. Mr. Devil bellowed again. This time a lightening struck the roof of the house with a mighty cracking sound. For full two seconds the face of the devil glowed like a red hot iron. He looked deep into the eyes of Faul and whispered... “I want your SOUL, Faul, and I shall come to collect it on the day the deal will come to an end. Wherever you may reside then, I'll find you and collect my claim. Do you agree?” Faul was in a dilemma. He had no idea that the devil would ask for his soul in return. He did a lot of thinking and finally gave his decision....yes, he was ready to accept the deal....money and power for twenty years in exchange of his soul. Mr. Devil was ecstatic. He brought out some legal papers and took Faul's signature and thumb print. He also took Faul's mug shot. Both of them were happy to have struck a fantastic deal. They named it 'The Deal with the Devil.'

Now the real life story. In the serio-comical political fracas at the moment in Bangladesh people are queuing up to sell their souls to the highest bidders. Right at the front of the big queue is standing one of our deposed and decomposing political leaders of the country. He has a putrid soul in the bag to sell. He allegedly said in a party meeting last week that if required he would join with 'Iblish' (Devil) to go to power! Could he have said so? Not unlikely. Of late, his sense of judgement, statements and activities keep reminding sensible people of the desperation of Faust for power and money. There are rumours in the air that crores of takas have been transacted to keep him in leash. This would be his last chance to taste power, once again. He is drooling already, smelling the throne. He is ready to do anything to sit on it. So, there is little doubt in people's mind that this particular 'politician by default' is capable of doing anything, even deal with the Iblish, just as Faust of Goethe did in the fiction.



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