TED Conversations

Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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Why not someone tell the story of Bangladesh in TED?

Bangladesh is a young country that earned it's freedom from a repressive regime through a bloodbath. It's founding ideals had been those of a liberal, secular democracy. But for 4 decades the fate of Bangladesh oscillated between democracy and military rule. The story of Bangladesh remained a gradual takeover of the spirited and progressive society by Islamic fundamentalism. The political parties forgot the founding principles of the country and the sacrifice that its people made for it so that the traitors that once supported the massacre by Pakistani military could go unpunished and sometime even get to be ministers.
2013 is witnessing a historical movement by civil society in Bangladesh named Shahbag movement.
This is possibly the last chance for Bangladesh to win a decisive battle against religious fundamentalism and in favor of liberal democracy if not entirely secular. Can we accumulate our opinions about this remarkable social change by a largely Muslim population striking at the core of it's own religious extremism?


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    Feb 24 2013: Thanks Pabitra for opening the discussion and keeping me in mind !
    You already made long stroy short. However , would like to correct a bit....Shahbagh movement was started not by the civil society (as per the definition) , but by young generation....can say largely are Generation Y.

    As you know in the fateful day of 15th August of 1975 , when the founding father of Bangladesh was killed along with almost entire family.....the regime of not only military rule but also fundamentalism started blooming with direct funding from military rulers and countries who were against our bloody fight for freedom in 1971 when 3.0 Mil people sacrificed their lives and 200K women were violated and tortured in the name of religion....They also took a very well planned strategy of implanting fundamentalism in the country..... over last 3 decade that anti libaration force were in power, at times as military ruler at times in disguise of democracy.

    The killing and massacre done by Pakistani army couldn't happen to the extent as it happened , if they were not supported and helped by the funadmentalist section of Bangladesh......and those collaborators are known as RAJAKAR......

    Over last 3/4 decades RAJAKARs become powerful being nurtured by power monger politicians.......The anti liberation force even changed the text of history book so that new generation are being kept in dark.... I myself have been frustrated so far until this Shabagh Movement started

    It's an eye opener for me. It showed the power of internet and social media. The current government came to the power with absolute majority 4 years back and one of their election time commitments was to bring RAJAKARs under trial... The trial has been going on for quite sometime despite of national and international pressure ....

    On 5th February one of the verdict came out....and the new generation started movement using social media that finally converted into mass protest

    Thanks also to Kate ...will continue later
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      Feb 24 2013: Thank you Salim. We are fortunate to have you within us as you are presently living within the change. May I request you to publish here the links of your wonderful photos in Facebook that show the movement happening? Or if FB is not preferred by you will you take the extra trouble to upload the photos in indepenent photo sharing platform like Flickr and supply us the links?
      I have read the accounts that a significant political party, BNP has come out in the clear in support of the fundamentalist leaders of Jamat by supporting their call for general strike. I have also read that fundamentalists under Jamat are openly attacking the protesters (killing Rajib Haidar in the process) and destroying pickets of protesters and national flag of Bangaladesh. How the youth of Shahbag movement are resisting that?
      Most importantly I am hearing a question being pointed out towards Shahbag protesters which is about their principal demand of capital punishment for the 1971 perpetrators of rape and mayhem. How far do you think this demand can earn support of civilized world and international citizenry of modern times? The perpetrators were tried and sentenced for life already.
      That said, I shall also like to give you the perspective of some of my fellow citizens about the same question with regard to the alleged rapists of Delhi bus rape incident. They said that they will only take my question as sincere if I ask it even after my own sister is gang raped and killed with the same brutality as the Delhi girl.
      I look forward to your views my friend.
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        Feb 24 2013: You are welcome Pabitra....
        With Shahbagh Movement few points become clear to everyone.....

        Though Bangladesh is a country of 85% to 90% muslim population....people at large has more humanistic view in their practices, which has been proven by the Shahbagh incidence. A handful of bloggers called up a protest at Shahbagh on 5th February that finally turned in to a mammoth protest through the participation of people from all walk of life.

        As you rightly said about the major opposition party, their mask has been unmasked through this movement. They stood beside the fanatic fundamentalist Jamat.....the rapist, killers, looters of 71!!!

        Despite violent figght back of RAJAKAR Jamat and their supporters , Shahbagh Warriors still are on the path of non violence....e.g. the whole country Stood Stand Still for 3 minutes or lighted up millions of candles through out the country....while RAJAKARs and their supporter killed Rajeeb, Jafor and few others....

        People everyday spontaneously going to Shahbagh and many staying overnight in the protest of violence of Rajakars and also with the demand of bringing collaborators of 71 under justice ensuring capital punishment...

        Fundamentalists are trying to paint the movement of Shahbagh as movement against Allah....which is a damn lie....last Friday they attacked from mosque after Friday prayer....

        People are more and more relying on FB , Twitter etc....to get information about the movement largely ignoring main stream media.....

        Here comes few links (majority in Bangla , which is fine for you but for other interested friends will try to translate as much as possible).....


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