Political culture of bangladesh

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Political culture of bangladesh

  1. 1. Political Culture in Bangladesh
  2. 2. Prepared By Md. Saeed Anwar and Abdur Razzak Sociology Discipline Khulna University Khulna, Bangladesh
  3. 3. Introduction Political culture is a distinctive and patterned form of political philosophy that consists of beliefs on how governmental, political, and economic life should be carried out. It creates a framework for political change and are unique to nations, states, and other groups. Political culture refers to what people believe and feel about government, and how they think people should act towards it. (Ahmed, 1989).  Politics Politics is omnipresent… Rules are made and enforced in all human communities within the country.  Robert Dahl is of the opinion that “Politics is any persistent pattern in human relationships that involves, to a significant extent, control, influence, power or authority.”
  4. 4. Political Culture “Political culture”, it has been observed, “is one of the most popular and seductive in political science; it is also one of the most controversial and confused” Elkins and Simeon (1979:127).  The term was first employed by Lenin and White in 1979. They used the term refer to the role of political education and mass media in the Soviet Union.  Political culture can be defined as "The orientation of the citizens of a nation toward politics, and their perceptions of political legitimacy and the traditions of political practice," and the feelings expressed by individuals in the position of the elected offices that allow for the nurture of a political society. (Rahman, 2010)
  5. 5.  Wyn Grant, Professor of Politics, University of Warwick, UK, defines political culture as “The attitudes, beliefs, and values which underpin the operation of a particular political system. These were seen as including knowledge and skills about the operation of the political system, positive and negative emotional feelings towards it, and evaluative judgments about the system. Particular regional, ethnic, or other groups within a political system with their own distinctive sets of values, attitudes, and beliefs were referred to as subcultures.”  "The political culture of a nation is the particular distribution of patterns of orientation towards political objects among the members of the nation." (Almond and Verba, 1963)
  6. 6.  Characteristics of Political Culture Political scientist Sidney Verba, describes the characteristics of political culture as  System of empirical beliefs, expressive symbols, and values, which defines the situation in which political action takes place.  Political culture is a distinctive and patterned form of political philosophy that consists of beliefs on how governmental, political, and economic life should be carried out.  It creates a framework for political change and are unique to nations, states, and other groups.  A political culture differs from political ideology in that people can disagree on an ideology (what government should do) but still share a common political culture.
  7. 7.  Some ideologies, however, are so critical of the status that they require a fundamental change in the way government is operated, and therefore embody different political culture as well.  The political system as internalized in the cognition, feelings and evolutions of its population.  The political culture of a nation is the particular distribution toward political objects among members of the nation” ( Gabriel and Verba,1965, p. 13)
  8. 8. Types of Political Culture Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba outlined three pure types of political culture:  Parochial - Where citizens are only remotely aware of the presence of central government, and live their lives near enough regardless of the decisions taken by the state.  Subject - Where citizens are aware of central government, and are heavily subjected to its decisions with little scope for dissent.  Participant - Citizens are able to influence the government in various ways and they are affected by it.
  9. 9.  Other Types of Political Culture There are also some types of political culture, these are  Moral Political Culture In this culture type society is held to be more important than the individual. Individualism is not submerged in any way, but the group recognizes the need of individuals to assign value to the group. Government tends to be seen as a positive force. Politics is considered one of the great activities of man in the search for the "good society. (BBC News, 2010). Individual Political Culture In areas with this type of political culture, government is seen as having a very practical orientation. Government is instituted for largely utilitarian reasons. It need not have any direct concern with questions of the "good society.” Government should be largely restricted to those areas which encourage private initiative. (BBC News, 2010).
  10. 10.  Traditional Political Culture Social and family ties are prominent where this type of political culture is found. This often means that some families run the government and others have little to say about it. This reflects an older attitude that embraces a hierarchical society as part of the natural order of things. (BBC News, 2010).  The Historical Roots of Political Culture The political culture of Bangladesh is an area which has hardly been explored. The cultural basis of Bangladesh has been formed by several religious traditions .There is very little information about the prehistory of Bengal. (BBC News, 2010).
  11. 11. Thus the political ideologies in Bangladesh have mainly assumed populist forms. Populism refers to any utopia espoused by some oppressed groups to transform a given condition of society through collective action on the assumption that the indigenous society is a natural and homogeneous community. It is generally opposed to big business. The Muslim league became a mass political party headed by charismatic leaders like M.A Jinnah and A.K Fazlul Haque. (Choudhury, 1972).  Political Parties and their Culture  Awami League formerly Awami Muslim League was established on June 23 in 1949. In 1955 the word Muslim was dropped from the nomenclature.  The BNP was formed on September 1 in 1978.
  12. 12.  Jatiyo Party and Jamat-E Islam are the another political parties. Both the parties have become quite old and matured, but the two parties have not been seen making any effort to practice democracy.  Rather dictatorship in running party affairs seems getting stronger day by day than democracy.  There is none in the two parties dare speak against any decision of the party chairman or president even it goes wrong.  Democracy has remained in the paper; while a few have been enjoying an economic boom, most of the citizens still live far below the poverty line; economic injustice coupled with lawlessness and corruption have put the country on the brink of a total chaos. (Rahman, 2010).
  13. 13.  Political Culture of Bangladesh History of Political Culture of Bangladesh Provisional Government  Bangladesh's first government took oath of office in Meherpur, Kushtia on April 10, 1971, after Major Ziaur Rahman initiated the first revolt with his battalion against a brutal five division army crackdown on the local people of Bangladesh, and declared independence on March 26th 1971 in Chittagong.The Bangladesh Forces was set up and organized under 11 Sectors to conduct all operations pertaining towards independence from Pakistan under the leadership of the Sector and Brigade commanders.(Moazzem, 2013).
  14. 14. 1971-75: The Mujib era 1977-81: The Zia regime 1982-91:The Ershad regime 1991-96: The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) regime 1996-2000: The second Awami League regime 2001-06: Coalition government headed by the BNP 2006-09: Caretaker government 2009 to present: The third Awami League regime
  15. 15.  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, (1972-75)  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came to administrative center with immense personal popularity but had difficulty transforming this popular support into the political strength needed to function as head of government. (Background Note, 2008)  The new constitution, which came into force in 16 December 1972, created a strong executive prime minister, a largely ceremonial presidency, an independent judiciary, and a unicameral legislature. (Background Note, 2008)  The 1972 constitution adopted as state policy the Awami League's (AL) four basic principles of nationalism, secularism, socialism, and democracy. (Background Note, 2008)
  16. 16.  The first parliamentary elections held under the 1972 constitution were in 7 March 1973, with the Awami League winning a massive majority. (Background Note, 2008).  After proclaiming a state of emergency, Mujib used his parliamentary majority to win a constitutional amendment limiting the powers of the legislative and judicial branches, establishing an executive presidency, and instituting a one-party system, the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL), which all members of Parliament (and senior civil and military officials) were obliged to join. (Background Note, 2008).
  17. 17. Ziaur Rahman, (1975-81)  Successive military coups resulted in the emergence of Army Chief of Staff General Ziaur Rahman ("Zia") as strongman. He pledged the army's support to the civilian government headed by President Chief Justice Sayem. (Background Note, 2008).  Acting at Zia's behest, Sayem dissolved Parliament, promising fresh elections in 1977, and instituted martial law. (Background Note, 2008).  Lifting the ban on political parties from Mujib's one party BAKSAL rule, he sought to revitalize the demoralized bureaucracy, to begin new economic development programs, infrastructure buildup, a free press and to emphasize family planning. (Background Note, 2008).
  18. 18.  Zia invigorated a strong foreign policy based on sovereignty and economic independence. (Background Note, 2008).  He initiated many social programs to uplift the poor through honest hard work and education. His greatest legacy on the people of Bangladesh was unity and self dependence. (Background Note, 2008).  Hussain Mohammed Ershad (1982-1990)  Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hussain Mohammed Ershad assumed power in the second, but, bloodless coup in March 24th 1982. To strenghthen his hold on government Ershad suspended the constitution and citing pervasive corruption, ineffectual government, and economic mismanagement declared martial law. (Background Note, 2008).
  19. 19.  At the same time, the Jatiya (People's) Party, designed as Ershad's political vehicle for the transition from martial law, was established. (Background Note, 2008).  The Jatiya Party won a modest majority of the 300 elected seats in the national assembly. The participation of the Awami League- led by the late Prime Minister Mujib's daughter, Sheikh Hasina Wazed-lent the elections some credibility, despite widespread charges of voting irregularities.(Background Note, 2008).  Ershad easily outdistanced the remaining candidates, taking 84% of the vote. Although Ershad's government claimed a turnout of more than 50%, opposition leaders, and much of the foreign press, estimated a far lower percentage and alleged voting irregularities. (Background Note, 2008).
  20. 20. Khaleda Zia, (1991-96)  The center-right BNP won a plurality of seats and formed a government with support from the Islamic party Jamaat-I-Islami, with Khaleda Zia, widow of Ziaur Rahman, obtaining the post of prime minister. (Background Note, 2008).  In March 1994, controversy over a parliamentary by-election, which the opposition claimed the government had rigged, led to an indefinite boycott of Parliament by the entire opposition. (Background Note, 2008).  The opposition also began a program of repeated general strikes to press its demand that Khaleda Zia's government resign and a caretaker government supervise a general election. (Background Note, 2008).
  21. 21.  The opposition then continued a campaign of Marches, demonstrations, and strikes in an effort to force the government to resign. The opposition, including the Awami League's Sheikh Hasina, pledged to boycott national elections scheduled for February 15, 1996. (Background Note, 2008).  In February, Khaleda Zia was re-elected by a landslide in voting boycotted and denounced as unfair by the three main opposition parties. In March 1996, following escalating political turmoil, the sitting Parliament enacted a constitutional amendment to allow a neutral caretaker government to assume power and conduct new parliamentary elections; former Chief Justice Mohammed Habibur Rahman was named Chief Adviser (a position equivalent to prime minister) in the interim government. (Background Note, 2008).
  22. 22.  Sheikh Hasina, (1996-2001)  Sheikh Hasina formed what she called a "Government of National Consensus" in June 1996, which included one minister from the Jatiya Party and another from the Jatiyo Samajtantric Dal, a very small leftist party. (Background Note, 2008).  The Jatiya Party never entered into a formal coalition arrangement, and party president H.M. Ershad withdrew his support from the government in September 1997. (Background Note, 2008).  International and domestic election observers found the June 1996 election free and fair, and ultimately, the BNP party decided to join the new Parliament.
  23. 23.  At the end of 1996, the BNP staged a parliamentary walkout over this and other grievances but returned in January 1997 under a four-point agreement with the ruling party. (Background Note, 2008). Khaleda Zia, (2001-2006)  The four-party alliance led by the BNP won over a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Begum Khaleda Zia was sworn in on October 10, 2001, as Prime Minister for the third time (first in 1991, second after the February 15, 1996 elections). Background Note, 2008).  Despite her August 2001 pledge and all election monitoring groups declaring the election free and fair, Sheikh Hasina condemned the election, rejected the results, and boycotted Parliament. Background Note, 2008).
  24. 24.  On August 17, 2005, near-synchronized blasts of improvised explosive devices in 63 out of 64 administrative districts targeted mainly government buildings and killed two persons. (Background Note, 2008).  An extremist Islamist group named Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) claimed responsibility for the blasts and subsequent attacks on the courts in several districts killed 28 people, including judges, lawyers, and police personnel guarding the courts. (Background Note, 2008).  A government campaign against the Islamic extremists led to the arrest of hundreds of senior and mid-level JMB leaders. Six top JMB leaders were tried and sentenced to death for their role in the murder of two judges. (Background Note, 2008).
  25. 25. Caretaker Government (2006-2008)  An Caretaker Government election was scheduled for the end of 2006, however it did not take place. The caretaker government was accused of BNP bias by Hasina and her coalition, who fomented nationwide protests and shutdowns. In January 2007, the head of the caretaker government stepped down, many believe under pressure from the military. (Background Note, 2008). Fakhruddin Ahmed, former World Bank economist, was selected to replace Yazuidin Ahmed and has committed himself to rooting out corruption and preparing a better voter list. Emergency law was declared and a massive campaign to crack down on corruption is underway. By July 2007 some 200,000 people had been arrested. The government says it will hold elections before the end of 2008. (Background Note, 2008).
  26. 26.  Sheikh Hasina 2009-Present:  The Awami league won national election on December 29, 2008 as part of a larger electoral alliance that also included the Jatiya Party led by former military ruler General Ershad as well as some leftist parties. According to the Official Results, Bangladesh Awami League won 230 out of 299 constituencies, and together with its allies, had a total of 262 parliamentary seats. (Background Note, 2008).  The Awami League and its allies received 57% of the total votes cast. The AL alone got 48%, compared to 36% of the other major alliance led by the BNP which by itself got 33% of the votes. Sheikh Hasina, as party head, is the new Prime Minister. Her term of office began in January, 2009. (Background Note, 2008).
  27. 27. • The current cabinet has several new faces, including three women in prominent positions: Dr Dipu Moni (Foreign Minister), Matia Chowdhury (Agriculture Minister) and Dr. Serin Sarmin Choudhory speaker of Bangladesh Parliament. Younger MPs with a link to assassinated members of the 1972-1975 AL government are Syed Ashraful Islam, son of Syed Nazrul Islam, Sheikh Taposh, son of Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni, and Sohel Taj (but he is not at present his position), son of Tajuddin Ahmad. (Dahl, 1994). • Since 2009, the Awami League government faced several major political challenges, including BDR (border security force) mutiny, power crisis, unrest in garments industry and stock market fluctuations, Destiny, Halmark and Padma bridge corruption. Judicial achievements for the party included restoring 1972 constitution (set by the first Awami League government), beginning of war crimes trials, and guilty verdicts in 1975 assassination or murder trial. (Background Note, 2008)
  28. 28.  According to the Nielsen 2 year survey, 50% felt the country was moving in the right direction, and 36% gave the government a favorable rating.(Background Note, 2008). Critical Aspect of Political Culture in Bangladesh  The basic rights like freedom of speech, right to jobs available locally and rights to justice are now subject to political connection in Bangladesh because all government and autonomous bodies are heavily politicized.  Political power primarily originates from the control over land, labor and capital.  Bangladesh has had a very poor tradition of growing leadership through democratic practices in the parties.  In our country politicians do not practice democracy within their parties
  29. 29.  Since immoral anti-social elements in the society in most cases are linked to some political sections, law is easily violated and justice system broken.  If there is any offensive activities in the society, the political identity of the offenders becomes the major factor for judgment. Judgment goes in favor of who are politically more powerful in the society.  Though there are provisions in the constitution of the parties for selecting and electing party leaders in each tier, these provisions are hardly followed.  Patron-client relation between the powerful moneyed people and the political parties is evident in the Bangladesh political culture.  Being the President or the Chairperson, the party chiefs enjoy supreme authority, and unchallenged dictating power, which they don’t want to lose in any case.  Party and family in the context of Bangladesh politic have been synonymous to most of the common people, even to the party activists. For example : Mujjib and Zia families. (Choudhury, 1972).
  30. 30. Conclusion  The fate of Bangladeshis depends on two political parties, the Awami League and the BNP. Before the general election they present various agenda related to people's welfare, but after election they forget everything and seek only self-interest. They consider everything politically. People of ruling party always get privilege. The recent political violence in the country has claimed 60 lives including six policemen. In addition, central party office of the opposition BNP was raided by police. A major problem of politics is that the government leaders do not mean what they say. We know that every action has a reaction. So, bad political culture may bring adverse consequences. We better keep it in mind that darkness cannot remove darkness. Similarly, hate can not remove hatred. Finally, the real democracy and acute disparity of economy were the main spirits of the liberation war of Bangladesh. It is 42 years since Bangladesh became independent. We could not go where we wanted to go. Our all achievements are being diminished due to hostile, negative and damaging political cultures. We have to come out from this culture if we want to start nation building politics.
  31. 31. References  Almond, Gabriel A., Verba, Sidney, 1965. The Civic Culture.  Ahmed, Emajuddin, 1989. Society and Politics in Bangladesh.  Bangladesh hangs killers of independence leader Mujib – BBC “BBC News. 27 January 2010.  "Background Note: Bangladesh". 2008. Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (March 2008). Accessed June 11, 2008.  Dahl, Robert, 1996. The Future of Democratic Theory .  Moazzem Hossain, 2013. International Publications Limited from Tropicana Tower (4th floor), 45, Topkhana Road, GPO Box : 2526 Dhaka- 1000  Rahman, S, 2010; Institutionalization of Democracy in the Political Parties in Bangladesh Does culture matter?, Department of General and Continuing Education. North South University, Bangladesh  Robert Dahl (Yale University), Modern Political Analysis 5th edition (Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1991): 4  Choudhury, G. W. (April 1972). "Bangladesh: Why It Happened". International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs)  Rahman Md. Saidur, 2010. Institutionalization of Democracy in the Political Parties in Bangladesh Does culture matter? North South University, Bangladesh.  www. Wikipedia.com. 2013
  32. 32. Thanks to all

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