The number of comments in Jyoti’s India related blog post is astounding. This says how contentious the issue of our relationship with India. This post does will not focus on the relationship itself, rather the intention of this post is how our nation is doing and should do in the domestic front in India related matter.

Looking at the op-eds, TV talk shows, blog posts, sadly one thing becomes clear that the nation again is divided in two groups, one group sees all good in what India does and the other group can’t believe India can do anything but harming Bangladesh. And more sadly this division grossly matches, with some rare exceptions, the fault line that divides nation into Awami league and BNP supporters. What has become very predictable is that a BNP supporter will see nothing but conspiracy to occupy and ruin Bangladesh in any dealing with India. This mindset is so prevalent and strong that even the chairperson of BNP can’t resist deviating from written speech and make stupid comments like “The country has been sold to India…etc.” . It will be almost impossible to find a BNP supporter who is willing to take a positive attitude about Awami League’s dealings with India. However, in BNP perspective, the mistrust is more on an unholy alliance of India-Awami League to harm BNP than India herself harming Bangladesh. Hence while BNP leadership are comfortable in dealing with India, but not at all with an India- Awami League government treaty.

On the other hand, in Awami League supporter circle, very very shockingly, there is a tendency to stand behind India when India-Bangladesh conflicts become subjects of discussion. Let me put some concrete examples so that I can explain this sweeping statement a bit clearly. Few days ago in a TV talk show, veteran journalist ABM Musa (who does not hide his AL bias) was justifying India’s support of CHT armed rebel force Shantibahini. He was rather blaming Bangladesh for shantibahini problem as if Ziaur Rahman did a grave mistake by sending army to combat separatist rebels! In another talk show, a retired air force general who is currently the registrar of a very reputed NGO run university, was justifying BSF killing of Bangladeshis. His explanation was like that, ‘ This BSF soldiers are transferred from tense borders like Kashmir and are trained to be fast responders and they develop a self defense instinct. So When they are transferred to Bangladesh side, they just act on their habitual self defense instinct.’ . When Professor Anu Muhamamd, who was sitting beside him, meekly asked to know the cross border killing statistics in Pakistan, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan border of India– the Air force general, showing clear annoyance at Anu Muhammad, retorted, ‘ Oh Yeah, they are much more killings on those borders than in Bangladesh border‘.

The two name I just mentioned are not Awami League leaders, they are journalists and civil society leader, merely supporting Awami League. These people will support India’s claim any day over any claim by the political party they oppose, BNP. When it comes to Awami League leadership, the situation does not change. (In)famous example include government water resource minister’s, or AL leader Abdur Razzaque’s claim that Tipaimukh dam will rather help Bangladesh ( While even Indian states are protesting it).
And again, like BNP mindset, the problem here is that, there is more of distrust on BNP than love for India. It is very likely that deep inside them, any ABM Musa, any Abdur Razzaque carries the same resentment about India’s broken promises on over water sharing/ trade gap etc. But again, the hatred of BNP is so overwhelming that India becomes an ally when BNP is concerned.

This is a slippery slope of divisiveness. What is the way out of it, how do we solve this deep rooted antagonism?

My strong feeling is that the initiative has to come from the ruling party, i.e. the party empowered to make treaties with India. We can say what need to be done in this matter. But for the sake of time and space, I’ll rather focus on the more important issue of what should NOT be done.

Lets see what our PM did prior to her departure to India. She responded to a rather constructive advice (Bargain to Protect the interests of Bangladesh, we will be behind you with full force) from the opposition leader by ridiculing her ( “Uni tip tip kore khali tipaimukh pitaimukh koren) and completely shutting her off. Every pro-government establishment, media, blogs, think-tank did their best to totally discredit, ridicule, villainize the right wing politicians, editors, persons as if anyone taking any hawkish role about India are enemy of the people.

Every Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, every Mahmudur Rahman, every statement of Khondokar Delwar Hossain are assets to PM Sheikh Hasina in her dealings with Indian government. She should not have discredited them, rather use them for bargaining with India for Bangladesh’s share. She could clearly tell her counterpart, Mr PM, if I don’t return to Bangladesh without a Teesta treaty; these vultures will tear me apart. Every inaction from your side will strengthen their side and weaken my government… .

At the end of the day, it is our country; we have to unite to keep it prospering. When we will have poor rice production due to dried up rivers, no one will give us rice without fulfilling their domestic needs. When global warming will submerge south central 1/3rd of Bangladesh, no one will open up barbed wire fences to let us in.

It is our country. We have to save it. We mean you and me. BNP and Awami League and ultra left and ultra right and all others.