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Four Years AFTER the Revolution

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He "should be as cold-blooded as a fish and as selfish as a pig to have a really good ‎chance of being one of his country's worthies." – Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure ‎


Summer, 1994. ‎

Our democracy was only four years old. The myth at the core of this religion was that ‎brave students had overthrown the General: in fact, the donors had given him the push, ‎after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. ‎

Still, I dreaded what lay in future for us, for I reasoned that young students, armed by the ‎parties, who believed that they could topple the government, would never again have any ‎respect for law and order, or for anybody for that matter. And during the summer of ‎‎1994, I learned the truth of my prognostication first-hand. ‎

My wife and I were living in a rented flat at Farm Gate, and my parents were in their one-‎storey house at New Eskaton. All was well, until the day my father sold the property. ‎

That very morning a student politician called Nanno rang the bell; Shahid, the servant, ‎opened the gate, and recoiled from a sharp slap on the face administered by Nanno's ‎hand. He came back into the house, weeping, terrified.‎

My father came out, and stood at the door of the house. Nanno, a young man, probably ‎eighteen years old, started calling him filthy names. When he had finished with his ‎soliloquy, he threatened my father. ‎

‎"Do you know that the boys would have killed you by throwing cocktails if it hadn't been ‎for me?"‎

My father asked him what he wanted. ‎

He wanted 200,000 Takas (back then, around $5,000). ‎

‎"I can't give you that much money".‎

‎"Then they will kill you."‎

‎"Kill me, then." Long years of negotiations with militant and violent labour leaders had ‎trained my father how to act in such situations. ‎

‎"No, no, we don't want to kill you!" He could feel the money slipping out of his grasp. ‎‎"Why should we kill you?"‎


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Iftekhar Sayeed teaches English and economics. He was born and lives in Dhaka, ├ éČ┼ŻBangladesh. He has contributed to AXIS OF LOGIC, ENTER TEXT, POSTCOLONIAL ├ éČ┼ŻTEXT, LEFT CURVE, MOBIUS, ERBACCE, THE JOURNAL, and other publications. ├ éČ┼ŻHe (more...)
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