Nazrul Islam

Suranjit’s unconventional “feat”

April 19, 2012
Photo: bdnews24.com

Photo: bdnews24.com

“Suranjit resigns”, the title compelled me to go through the details of the phenomenon I was barely updated of. The media holocaust has offered me the experience once again what I call ‘the paroxysmal outburst of emotion’ i.e. adequate lack of ethical and social judgment. Media in Bangladesh is blessed with very few extraordinary personalities and is endowed with an exponential number of adequately unqualified media workers. Most of the latter group is indeed hard working with an exceptional weakness in crafting a report with sufficient details. Nevertheless, they are invariably and overwhelmingly inclined to “adding” some extra fragrance of their “own” views. News with views is perpetually perilous; Op-Ed section would otherwise remain undiscovered.

So the story commenced with the April 11 incident — “Ministry car, Tk 70 lakh, some puzzles”. This event inherently demands advanced investigation by an independent (at least theoretically, or should I say hypothetically) team comprising of people with relevant expertise. Even much before the process begun, people started screaming blaming the respective Minister. First of all, such a mischievous activity by someone’s subordinates does not ‘automatically’ justify the allegation against the head; it might be indicative, but certainly not conclusive. Well, then the question is where is the place for what ‘they’ said? These ‘they’ include Mr/s APS, GM and CC. A lot of journalists reported that ‘they’ admitted their tour to the Minister’s residence. This is where social explanation is mandated. The usual phenomenon in Bangladesh, and possibly in the sub-continent as well, is to make sure you are ‘close’ to an influential person to take some advantage, especially when you are in trouble. The ‘trio’ understood pretty well that they were already in trouble, and the best way to get saluted instead is to direct their ‘involvement’ with the Hon’ble Minister’s order/assignment!

The next argument arises out of this is, is it under the assumption that the Minister is not involved with this? The unambiguous answer is, ‘No.’ This is well understood given the local context is well deciphered. This is true under both the assumptions that the Minister may or may not be involved with the ‘endeavour’! In either case, you would expect to get ‘extra’ care by the police or other members of law and order enforcement agencies instead of accusing or even suspecting you at all. In the given scenario, the BGB personnel should be appreciated for their exemplary action. However, this would add crucial value to the investigation to know in detail what happened after the trio was detained and what exactly led the BGB authority to free them thereafter. Knowing whether, and if yes to what extent, the Minister was involved with the event would be pivotal in exploring the scenario. Unfortunately, the Minister was accused before showing any solid ground of being so. This is not unfortunate because the Minister was accused of, but because it was premature!

Now, the Minister should have taken much bolder initiative in inviting ‘independent’ team to investigate the matter instead of what he has done. His statement was not even bold enough. His initiative in formulating ‘internal’ investigation team susceptible to unbiased investigation was too customary. All these do not still conclude his connection with the mischief. Yet, something exceptional was expected from him.

The initiative from the Hon’ble Prime Minister in talking to Mr Suranjit was praiseworthy indicating she has at least acknowledged and addressed the issue seriously. Not quite sufficiently addressing many other sophisticated issues including those ‘performed’ by some

other ministries (e.g. Communications, Commerce), Bangladesh Cricket Board, and Dhaka Stock Exchange among others does not indicate that she would not address (or address superficially) all the activities of her fellow colleagues. In cases where the issue is not addressed properly, people conventionally tend to suspect either the involvement (direct or indirect) of the leader with the incident, or conclude (sometimes even erroneously) that the alleged person must have done this (otherwise what is the reason why proper action was not taken). We want to see that our concerns are addressed in return to our explicit support to the authority. Mr Suranjit was not found to be unequivocally bold in his case as well which allowed people to believe that he himself was a part of it. As predictable, many other issues including the well known corruption in the ministry including those from ‘trio’ and from his son have well been detailed in the media. All these must be addressed carefully and fairly. Whether Mr Suranjit was involved or not is subject to investigation. No comment about that at this point. But, quite unconventional though, at last one of our Ministers resigned creating an example.

Congratulations Mr Suranjit on that!

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Nazrul Islam is an academician and a researcher.

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18 Responses to “ Suranjit’s unconventional “feat” ”

  1. Baset on April 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I would rather say something straight. We all know very well that in all sectors of govt during recruitment a huge trade goes on. Whats our options then? One option is to stop this trade being strict and honest, and the other option is to let it go. while talking about media, a country like us should never enjoy so much freedom in media because all the media owners and staff are not honest too. I firmly believe there are many untold stories like Suranjit’s case. Better find out who and why this thing leaked.

  2. Mozammel on April 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Those trio were scared to digest the gain of employment trade so they wanted to share the gain with the minister so that they can metabolize the money.
    The minister is not responsible for his son.Let his son Soumen Sen face the committee.
    And the same with any one. What you say about Sohel? He does not require the money given to him and he declared it unnecessary and irrational for him.
    My country is unlighted with a beam of light of the truth.

  3. Sarwar on April 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    My comments below might sound irrelevant in the first instance but a deeper reflection would take one to the constitutional weaknesses.

    Every government has been failing since 1972 due to weak constitution which in turn gives all power to the ruling regime or more specifically now to the PM. Constitution must be revised and rewritten by all. The sooner, the better. Weak constitution is the root cause of all evil of the ruling regime. In this regard, I would cite one example i.e. due to the existing constitutional provision if an MP is absent for 90 days continuously, the MP would lose his/her membership and that provision obligated members of that political party (BNP) so obstinate to be in the parliament. Had this provision been like ‘that if an MP(s) is not present 90 percent of the days in a parliamentary session it would lose its membership.”, we would then have seen BNP members present 90 percent of the days in a parliamentary sessions. But unfortunately, the provision was made in a way that harms the very purpose of the parliamentary presence. There are hundreds of examples of weaknesses that are corrupting absolutely the PM, Ministers and MPs. The Constitution must be revised and rewritten for correcting our politicians in general and members of the ruling regime in particular.

  4. Ali on April 20, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    I can see the common thread conspicuously.

    There has been ENOUGH evidence and clear confession of their (the famous trio) destination; then where is the doubt? And why was he sacked by the PM? Because she had thought that was the right measure to take.

    Why was the minister’s car without the flag and his body guard left behind intentionally, while returning from the Gana Bhaban? Did he know of his political demise?

    No other democracy would behave the way we did! After all the PM realised the damage and had asked Suranjit to resign ‘gracefully’. And if any other quarter, it is the media who had pursued and pressure was mounting on him. It was not a voluntary decision. And the reinstatement is also a conjecture, and not without some pressure.
    The supposed investigation on the amassed wealth should go on to find the truth. This applies to ALL wrong-doers, past, present and future.

    However, I think the media has done their job well.

  5. russel on April 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Alas! Government popularity is decreasing day by day. I personally feel worried. Why are they ruining the image of AL?
    Good piece indeed.

    • Nazrul Islam on April 21, 2012 at 12:56 am

      This is the conventional scenario of Bangladesh. As we know, the main enemy of a pretty girl is her ‘beauty’, the principal enemy of the image of a political party is the ‘power’ itself. Political parties simply forget as soon as they are in power, as if this is their permanent position!
      This is why, a particular political party is ‘elected’ not because they are superior than the other, because the earlier government so oppressive that people wanted to get rid of them!

  6. SShoeb on April 20, 2012 at 5:32 am

    You know nothing!

    Where did you get the idea that the trio were not heading towards Suranjit’s house? Who told you that all the three had been lying about their destination to BGB sensing trouble? Why do you think “tour to Minister’s residence” is trifle as is evident from your write-up, if only I can say it a write-up? It’s nothing but your stupid assumption and maybe you did witness the whole episode deep into your dream.

    And before commenting on adding “fragrance” of “reporters’ views” in reports, please follow some international newspapers for at least a week. You’ll hardly find a special news report without reporter’s views mentioned in it. I think it’ll help you slapping some sense into your brain cells.

    • Nazrul Islam on April 21, 2012 at 1:16 am

      Thanks for your reply and reminder that I “know nothing”.

      Now, first of all, I did not say that the trio was NOT heading towards the minister’s residence. I wanted to analyse the possible alternative explanations! And I concluded that, this does not exempt the minister from his connection. Let me quote, “The next argument arises out of this is, is it under the assumption that the Minister is not involved with this? The unambiguous answer is, ‘No.’” [Para 3, Line 1]

      I have never said, the ‘tour to Minister’s residence’ is “trifle”…Mr SShoeb, I rather emphasized that the whole BGB incidence must be excavated to explore the real story by mentioning it “pivotal”! Read, “Knowing whether, and if yes to what extent, the Minister was involved with the event would be pivotal in exploring the scenario.” [Para 3]

      Thanks for your advice of following some international newspapers…your wish is my command…may I also request you to go through the “Code of Ethics for Professional Journalists” where it says not to add views with the news to retain objectivity. Link: http://ethicnet.uta.fi/greece/code_of_ethics_for_professional_journalists

      There are indications for the journalists to “Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting” in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Link: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

      The rest is your manner and way of criticism. This is so much expected. I am afraid I expected anything better than this in Bangladesh. My apologies to you for any such inconvenience.

    • Kazi Saifuddin Hossain on April 21, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Why do you have to react so harshly towards the writer? You can express your views politely and disagree with him. That would be the nicest way to make a comment.

    • akhtersito on April 22, 2012 at 12:58 am

      Thank you Shoeb for pinpointing that the writer is quite baseless and uninformative and has serious AL bias who, while complaining about journalists’ being adding extra “fragrance” to the news stories, actually he himself endeavors to discover what kind of psychological process was going on in the minds of those guys with the money in the car.

  7. kgazi on April 20, 2012 at 2:39 am

    The Minister must have been involved, otherwise the PM would not remove him.

    Then why was he re-instated? That is for comedians to answer, and for TIB to ponder on! Meanwhile, the nation remains fooled.

    • Nazrul Islam on April 21, 2012 at 1:26 am

      Thanks for you reply. I just want to add some more words with your first comment. It is clearly indicative that the “Minister must have been involved….remove him”…but many other ministers were even more suspected to be involved before, but they were not removed! So the situation is not easy for us to conclude. AND, I also add that for such an assumption, political parties possibly are not interested in removing their colleagues. If we change our mindset (as we know, we should show the politicians the path) that removing someone from the post is only to ensure objectivity and not because he is ‘involved’, possibly parties will be more comfortable in taking such decisions later as well.

      Again, please do not misinterpret, I am NOT trying to say that Mr Suranjit is ‘innocent’, rather I want to say, let us not behave like corrupted and spoiled politicians, and let us show respect to the laws and legislation…making premature comments is easy, but absolutely unethical.

      I am also surprised to see him re-instated, as you are! So here we go together! This is a solid comedy!

  8. Saj on April 20, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Well written article.
    But I would like the readers to emphasize on the unprofessional conduct of the minister. Allowing such a person to rise and take such a respected place in our society, was a bad decision made by our government.
    I hope such decisions will not take place in the future, otherwise, it may even lead to a breakdown of the government.

  9. Ezajur Rahman on April 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    We cannot just assume that a traditional politician resigned on a principle of some sort. He resigned because he had no choice given the public outcry. Simple. Rather than thanking Suranjit Sengupta for the example of a voluntary resignation, I would thank the media for forcing a resignation.

    • Nazrul Islam on April 21, 2012 at 1:33 am

      Well, possibly you are absolutely right. However, there are so much, ever more, outbursts against other politicians/ministers, etc. from the media, civil society and so on but they are shielded by the government. So, this is not that straight forward. If I am wrong, I would love to find media influential enough to bring about the same result for few other ministers (read monsters) as well.

  10. Dr.Kishaloy Sur on April 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Who becomes journalist in Bangladesh? I must ask this question. Poorly trained, inadequately educated, at least in journalism, except few exceptions. Believer in ‘conspiracy theory’ & lack of intellectual capabilities in ‘investigative journalism’!
    That is why print media has lack of substantial evidence, simply trash!

    • Nazrul Islam on April 21, 2012 at 1:39 am

      I tried to be humble and cautious in making such a gross comment! Unfortunately, the ‘exceptions’ will never come and comment here leaving only the ‘trash’ roaring! The ‘trash’ people have to roar as they find this the only way to exhibit their existence! So, I better not make any comment on this!

    • Ali on April 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      This is completely unexpected from a person holding the title of Dr.! Your language is so caustic at journalists? You are quite aware of our socio-economic limitations and lack of training, yet you have used such ‘attacking’ words that I have not read anything like it before.
      Bottom line: It is the Journalists who have ‘dug’ out much of it and let the black cat out! We must learn to call a spade a spade. Politics have NEVER been clean and transparent in any part of the world.
      Pls allow our journalists space to maneuver, time to fine-tune.

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