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D27DE63CB63C3983AF49CD21772Mohammad Ashraful is one of our more swashbuckling cricket stars who like most things Bangladeshi is inconsistent, full of swagger but ultimately fails to live up to its promise. He has had a long lean patch from which he was seemingly stepping out when the match fixing scandal got to him according to the latest reports. He has been asked to stay ‘off’ cricket which in common language means temporarily retired till the final report from the ICC is delivered. Several other players have been named but the shadow of suspicion is less on them. It seems that Ashraful may also have become a “patriot’ a la Sheikh Hasina’s well known description of the Padma Bridge chief corruption suspect.

Anything can be a source of corruption particularly where it’s such an unstructured activity like sports. Just about anyone can get involved in match fixing and betting and because people can bet on just about anything, control over the game is very little. Cricket as a source of money making has now become as important as the game itself and it’s no longer sports only but mainly an income generating activity. The 20-20 version has made betting more possible with so many variations available to punters. With a much higher number of players in an IPL or BPL, the scope for guarding is also less. The end result is a gullible audience, advantage taking betters, money hungry players and a general slide in the management where the fate of a game depends on the size of the bet rather than the quality of the game. So be it if that’s how the wind blows.

But why should it shock us in Bangladesh where corruption is a way of life and is integrated into the system. We have had so many corruption scandals that we don’t even remember when the last one took place. And which one is a corruption case anyway? Is it the Hallmark Scandal? The Destiny one? The Padma bridge global scam? Which one ? Compared to these big fishes, poor Ashraful is not even a minnow. He is in fact not even a fish. But Ashraful is not a member of a political party, he can’t share the loot with others in power and he can’t even play too well anymore. When that happens, things can go bad. Especially if you are doing something which doesn’t involve any political cost so there is no need to save him at all.

Bangladesh has no system to reduce or punish corruption because there is no political need to do so. Corruption has no stigma in Bangladesh so it really doesn’t matter. We know our leaders are corrupt and so are their friends and families. In fact we believe they are entitled to it. We know that the ways of the rich and powerful are beyond our capacity to understand and they feel they have a right to it. However, some social forces think that the politicians and the powerful are accountable so although corruption is universal, everyone makes a song and dance about it. Thus we have something called the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) which is known to investigate accusations but rarely if ever convicts. In fact the only high profile man to be punished for corruption is President Ershad. This was possible because both Hasina and Khaleda hated him. Barring such co-incidences, it doesn’t do anything to prevent to end corruption. Members recently visited Canada to obtain copies of the Ramesh Shah – SNC Lavlin- diaries relating to the Padma bridge but failed though the ACC officials have claimed success.

But the ACC should not be seen as a failed organization because it has managed to make people believe that the government really wants to do something about corruption. So if anyone asks any unpleasant question, the matter can be sent to them and after the usual media display, people can forget about it. Few can live clean when corruption rules in any society and when it becomes socially acceptable. Most politicians are believed to be corrupt but no Bangladeshi will ever refrain from voting that same person just because he/she is corrupt. Tarique Zia is a good example of this. How many will fall on his feet when he returns in whatever capacity even if he is convicted of corruption? Our leaders are beyond corruption.

Ashraful’s case has more to do with globalization than corruption. Our corrupt politicians are safe because our national politics is a local matter not an international one. The rules of the world don’t touch us and we can behave as we want but Ashraful got involved in a space which also has international connections and scrutiny. Corruption in cricket concerns the entire cricket playing world which is why there was an investigation and actions possibly. Look closely to see that nothing happened when the share markets were crashed for personal gains, when humongous bank loans were stolen, when the Padma bridge theft conspiracy took place, etc. But when garments factories behaved badly there was repercussions and when some players did a touch of fixing, detectives arrived on the scene. So it’s not corruption that was the issue but the space in which it takes place and its international links.

We have no problem with corruption, it’s part of us. It’s a patriotic thing to do. But one should know that it’s the kind of patriotism we accept and adore and not the rest of the world.

If it’s Ashraful, maybe he should learn about building bridges or playing the stock market should he be keen to make more money.

Afsan Chowdhury is a journalist, activist and writer.

Afsan Chowdhuryis a bdnews24.com columnist.

37 Responses to “Is Ashraful a ‘patriot’ too?”

  1. Tanjibul Hasan

    He is just trying to save is back nothing else. Patriot individual never think of doing such thing in their nightmare

  2. Golam Arshad

    Why only Zero Tolerance in the case of Ashraful? Why NOT on others? BIGGIES get away and smaller FRIES foots the “TERRIBLE PENALTY”!Good job Afsan!

  3. Zahed Rashid

    I think the authors point was missed by most of the commenter here.

    I do find it funny all of a sudden how the media is playing on the ‘mercy & compassion ‘ factor and every one is calling his ‘Ash’ .

    To me he is the bangla meaning of ‘ Ash ‘ . Never was good enough consistently to perform on the cricket ground . Got selected most of the time because of inside politics and the weird side of BCB selection committee. A let always and still now.

    Was a thick headed simpleton who never understood when he became a center of own real life comic tragedy.

    At least this might help clean up Bangladesh cricket and move it along. We can look back 2 years from now and say we did have a lot a garbage to clean up but that is behind us now.

    I wish this time the real people behind the fixing and overall corruption in cricket do not ‘ walk between the raindrops ‘ like they usually do.

    • Rashid

      Too harsh!!! Reminds me of one of our very common tendencies….’lifting over head today and throwing down the very next day’. Anyway, I mentioned Ashraful as ‘Ash’ only to save time………haha. But some people call him ‘Ash’ affectionately. I don’t see any problem in that. Very few people would show that much affection for him now, I guess.

      And, you’re right. Most people here missed the valuable points made by the author. Ironically you did too, as you concentrated only on Ashraful. Poor ‘Ash'(according to you)!!!

  4. Rashid

    Ashraful shouldn’t be regarded as an individual here, look at the whole nation. What Ash has done is definitely condemnable but what we are doing collectively as a nation should be the arena to look into. Otherwise, today Ash did it, tomorrow someone else will do the same and we will end up talking about the same thing. Corruption has become endemic in this country. And most alarming fact is many corrupt people are getting politically rewarded somehow. How much we protest for that? We voted them to power, you’re voting and if situation is unchanged we will vote again for them as the writer of this article correctly said. Our politicians are like the Piper of Hamelin and we are playing the part of the rats of that story. We should wake up. It can’t go on. A nation of 160 million deserves a lot better. We are living in the most fertile land in the world. We have manpower. We have natural resource. But we don’t realize anything. All we hear is that we are poor, we don’t have anything, we are incapable, this this and that. All these are lie.

    • Golam Arshad

      Bravo! We have talents and potentials that could make our Nation PROUD and PROSPEROUS! Well said!!

  5. Rezaul Karim

    What is ‘match fixing’ and ‘spot fixing’. The bookies pay the Bangladesh players to intentionally lose an international match. Bangladesh team usually loses all the international matches, I dont get it. Maybe the bookies pay the Pakistan team to intentionally lose and the Bangladesh team to intentionally win. Ashraful did not report it to the ICC and that is his a crime!!!!!. Any ways ODI and T20 is lots of funnnn on TV. ICC is also involved in the racket, otherwise they can make amends.

  6. Shajjad

    he’s honest and confessed.in bpl he was forced.he can get temporary suspension. if he was involved in int’l then big trouble.he can be suspended from in’l for few yrs but he should be allowed to play in domestic.he has done alot for bd don’t forget 1st win against aus was his contribution,he’s youngest centurion in test.he should get discount as he was honest

  7. Akhtar Shah

    It’s a great pity that, the main point/s Afsan had made are missed by some of the readers!

    Typical I suppose!

    • Rashid

      You’re right. We talk about positive changes in our national life. But how would that come if people keep missing important points? Very sad!

  8. Noyon Pondit

    this is the problem of our media. they judge people so quickly. even ten days ago, you danced taking him in your shoulder. now you are throwing him into dustbin. hero is always hero. we cannot underestimate his legacy in bd cricket.

  9. Samia

    It is not the matter he is patriot or not but currently corruption became customary in Bangladesh from top to bottom. Ashraful won’t be any exception and no wonder he did as well.

  10. Dukkho Bilash

    ashraful jodi patriot hoy tobe “MIR ZAFOR” ki?

  11. Ashiqur Rahman

    Let’s forgive Ash please. Amra manush, fereshta noi, sujoger ovabe sot thaki. Mashrafi er moto sujog peyeo sototar porichoy deya manob jatir jonno kothin bapar. Manush sovabgotovabei onnay er pothe lov er pothe pa dite chay, duniar chakchikko manush ke aro provabito kore ei jogote probesh korte. Ash ja korechhe ta oboshhoi nindonio tobe amar mone hoy se ghotonar impact bujhte pare nai jehetu eta national team er match chhilo na.

  12. Mahbub Razib

    আবুল যদি দেশপ্রেমিক হয় তাহলে আশরাফুল হাজার কোটি গুণ বেশী দেশপ্রমিক

  13. Roshan Zameer Tanvir

    Ok, manlam ashraful doshi and se tar dosh shikar kore sobar kase maff cheyese. But jara tar pichone roye gese tara polao biriyani khabe eta ami mante parlam na. Ek hathe kokhonoi tali bajena. Tar pichoner nayok der o samne niye aste hobe and tader biruddhe babostha nite hobe. Dhaka gladiators er shiropa kere neya uchit and tader franchise o batil kora uchit.

    Oneke bolbe je ashraful bangladesh er cricket k dhakka dise, but ashraful k dhakka ta k dise? Tar bangladeshi agent kon player ra? Sobar name asha uchit.

    Ashraful ke 10 lac na, 10 hajar tk dileo ei kaj ta korte baddho thakto. Se emonvabei joriye gesilo.

    Ashraful dosh shikar kore valo kaj korese. Bangladesh e hajar hajar koti tk churi koreo manus nijer dosh shikar korena. Bohal tobiyote thake. Ulta despremik upadhi o peye jay prime minister theke. Oneke to bank er chairman o hoye jay. Somaje buk fuliye dami dami gari hakiye chola fera kore. Tader kisui hoyna.

  14. Rhidy Ruby

    If anyone really realizes his mistake, everybody should forgive him.

  15. Mohammed Imran

    Ashraful was involved in match fixing for many years, he betrayed the whole nation not just you or me. Think about a tense match between Bangladesh and Pakistan where u n me n whole nation waited to see our team won through but who knew that we were going to lose, as the math result had already been sold. he played with our emotions, our time our prayer for the team. What a joke? Will u watch a match if known to be fixed? he came up with the truth after being suspended n quizzed by ICC anti corruption authority. He would have never come up with the truth unless one of his big brothers disclosed the story which he shared with him. even though it is not a matter now whether or not confessed. I killed some one n said sorry i killed him. dose it make any sense or does it prove that i am innocent or i am loyal to law n order?

  16. Md Asadujjaman Wajib

    He is the future and present of cricket for Bangladesh after Shakib.

  17. Bangali

    Amr money hoie na tar dosh eta….ta k khoma kora hok…

  18. Md. Ariful Islam

    কয়েকদিন ধরে কানাঘুষার পর আশরাফুলকে বহিস্কার করলো বিসিবি। চারদিকে ছিঃ ছিঃ পড়েছে।
    সু-শীলরা (সু=ভাল, শীল=নাপিত) কিভাবে ক্রিকেটর সর্বনাশ হয়েছে, তা বিশ্লেষণে ব্যস্ত।
    অনেকেই দেখলাম গালাগাল শুরু করেছেন। আঙুল তুলেছেন আমাদের প্রিয় ক্রিকেট টিমের দিকে।

    নিজের বিবেককেই প্রশ্ন করলাম, আচ্ছা……………
    ওপরে যাদের কথা বললাম, এরা কি কেউ ভুল স্বীকার করেছে? কৃতকর্মের জন্য ক্ষমা চেয়েছে কেউ?
    বিশ্বের বুকে বাংলাদেশের মর্যাদা বাড়িয়েছে? কিছুই করেনি। কিচ্ছু না।
    তারপরও ওদের যখন ক্ষমা করতে পেরেছি আশরাফুলকে নয় কেন?

    ঠিক আছে, মানছি। এই ভুল ক্ষমার অযোগ্য। তারপরও ভুল বুঝতে পেরে অনুশোচনার জন্য আশরাফুলকে নিঃশত ক্ষমা করলাম।
    কথা দিলাম কেউ তার পক্ষে না থাকুক, আমি থাকবো। যদিও আমার থাকা না-থাকায় কিছুই যাবে আসবে না, তবু থাকেবো।
    আশরাফুলসহ বাংলাদেশ ক্রিকেট দলের ১১ জন সদস্য আমাদের গর্বের ধন।
    ১৬ কোটি মানুষের স্নেহ মমতার উৎস্য, ভালবাসার ধারা। বাংলাদেশকে
    ১০০ বছর এগিয়ে নিয়ে গেছে এই ক্রিকেট টিম। আসুন দুঃসময়ে লাল-সবুজের
    পতাকা নিয়ে ওদের পাশে দাড়াই। ভুল শোধরানোর সময় দেই।

  19. Bichhu

    I don’t get it. what Ashraful has to do with Padma Bridge or Abul Hossain. Very confusing.

  20. Akram Ali

    Would Ashfraful have had apologized to the nation if his match fixing info didn’t leak? I have serious doubts. To me Ashraful is as big a patriot as Abul Hossain is.

  21. Palash

    Ashraful has brought shame for this nation. This is such a disgrace!

  22. Akhtar Shah

    Your usual standard Afsan, makes a decent reading. If I am allowed to indulge, ACC’s job is to ensure that, those who carry out corruption with connections and part of the ‘chumocracy’ club must be kept pure and elite.Others who dare attempt to join this “club” without (ACC)prescribed connections and donations, must be severely punished and kept out.
    This “blue blood of corruption” must be kept absolutely unadulterated. ACC has standards to maintain.

    It beggars belief!

  23. M.Mozammel Haque

    To err is human. Even one puts on fire on the octane depot it is an err.Even the security went for toilet it is an ering .
    So it is with this Ashraful.If his village friend earns a huge amount foreign currency from Itali,South Africa,Greece who is there fool to stop earning in fixing?
    So it is a need of mental get up to be in any dignified position.Who will judge for it?

  24. Prokash M

    Thanks Mr. Afsan. You said it. However, I appreciate the honesty of Ashraful who has admitted his role doing the spot fixing. Also he apologized to the nation. I wish the rest of the corrupted players do the same for the well being of future BD and International cricket. Bangladeshi politicians are like shameless reckons. No matter what public says, they keep dipping by their dirty and smelly hands..

  25. mahbub razib

    If Abul can be a patriot than Ashraful more than thousands times better patriot than Abul.

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