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     Volume 6 Issue 16 | April 27, 2007 |

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View from the Bottom

Money given by Gouri Sen

Shahnoor Wahid

Do you know how much money my old and trusted friend Gouri Sen gives every year to facilitate some men and women make this nation a laughing stock before the world? The figure in fact is atrociously colossal. No, it is not a riddle I asked. I am simply stating the prevailing situation in our political and sports arena.

First, let us discuss some facts concerning our sports arena. Have you ever calculated the kind of money we are spending to see us being humiliated by the world media and sports personalities of other countries, all because of some immature sportsmen and women who, unashamedly, continue to expose their weaknesses instead of their world level skill? The erratic performance, lackluster style, low motivation; lack of physical prowess and stature, absence of strong personality, absence of competitive zeal, absence of self-esteem, lack of player-like magnetism, unpredictable temperament etcetera, etcetera in our footballers, cricketers, athletes, swimmers and shooters have now become legendary, to say the least. And all such 'un-sportsman' like endowments become so glaringly conspicuous when our 'boys' and 'girls' go to perform in some world events. More often than not, they return home with their heads between their shoulders and with bagsful of humiliation.

And yet, years after years, millions in terms of taka and dollar are being spent to sustain the sources of our humiliation, which, instead of diminishing, keeps adding and increasing. Let us take the case of cricket. What? Did you just mention those wins against Australia and South Africa? If that was not fluke what else is? Didn't those wins come because of some freakish individual performances? Did the whole team put up a fight worth the salt? No, sir. Imagine what the results would have turned out to be had the one or two individual players failed to perform on those two days. I shudder to think.

Then we do something with a round rubber ball and we call it 'football'. While foreign players in Dhaka kick the ball a dozen times into the nets of the opponents, my Bangali brothers cannot run around the field for long with their thin legs and cigarette-damaged lungs. But when it comes to pose before the camera before a shopping mall in some foreign country they are very good at it. Even after a shameful loss, they never forget to smile like frogs!

We have been playing football since the time Adam's two sons have been playing the game with jumboora, yet we could never ever win a regional cup! But, if you ask them, our thin-legged footballers would jump up and down to play in the football world cup. Aren't they audaciously unabashed? And yet, my friend Gouri Sen spends millions to sustain this national shame.

Well, that was about the sports arena. Now, let us look at the other big sector called politics that sucks up millions and millions of Gouri Sen's hard earned money. Gouri Sen gladly gives the money but at the end of the day politics brings us shame and pain. Because of the putrid politics, Bangladesh came out first in the list of most corrupt countries in the world, five times in a row. Try to calculate the kind of money we spend to have the parliament running, to organise elections, to keep democracy running and so on and so forth. We have to sustain the expenses for running the election commission. We have to find money to print voter lists, including the false voter list thanks to Aziz & Company, print and supply ballot papers; pay the salaries of the polling officers; set up polling booths etc.

The country lost about Tk. 200 crore for allowing duty-free import of cars for the MPs. Can you calculate the total amount of money we paid to the MPs as salary and perks in last fifteen years? Why should they be paid any salary? Haven't they come to politics to serve the nation on their own volition? Is MP-giri a job for which Gouri Sen will have to pay salary?

I have this gut feeling that money comes too easy in this country for anything that is not even mediocre. In sports, when pitted against a moderately strong team or opponent, we expose our weaknesses too quickly. When it comes to politics, we expose our greed and vulnerability to corruption too easily for the whole world to see.

So, how can we improve our quality? In sports, first of all, we have to criticise the performers severely and stop eulogising them for insignificant freakish achievements.

As far as ridding politics of the cockroaches is concerned, we have to use stronger insecticides than what the present government is using. The corrupt politicians have no right to put the nation to shame before the world. We have to throw them into the dustbin forever after having sprayed insecticides over them. I must tell my friend Gouri Sen to stop spending money on politics until and unless it is sufficiently cleansed of the cockroaches. We have to be “cruel only to be kind.'

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