Editor ’s note

Nurul Kabir

001Bangladesh is undergoing severe crises — political, economic and otherwise. The process of democracy has stalled and the pace of economic development slowed down. Worse still, the political incumbents refuse to accept the fact that they have been holding power without people’s consent that comes through genuinely inclusive elections and that the pace of economic development has practically decreased, which would have been significantly increased in a truly democratic dispensation.
Meanwhile, the government leaders have been publicly propagating for quite some time now that development is more important than democracy, which is, in fact, an indirect confession of their failure to deliver democracy. The undemocratic practices of the incumbents are visibly manifest in the application of coercive force of the state to keep political opponents away from the public sphere, in the use of legal and extralegal intimidation to keep the dissenting voices, individual and institutional, to be heard by the people at large, and, of course, in the crude partisan approach in running the affairs of the state.
They have also been propagating that a lot of economic development is taking place under their leadership, which is, again, a travesty of truth, for it is now an established fact across the world that development is directly proportional to democracy. Besides, the empirical economic data such as falling rate of national and foreign investments and the obvious increase in unemployment rate, capital flights, et cetera, let alone increasingly discriminatory distribution of public wealth between the rich and the poor, clearly indicate the reduced rate of development.
In such a circumstance, it is a bounden duty for any democratically oriented newspaper to make intellectual attempt at exposing the emptiness of the government rhetoric that development is possible without democracy, in the first place. Besides, the achievement of multi-dimensional democratic rights of the citizens is a promise of the country’s war of liberation that Bangladesh cannot compromise with. Hence, it is our humble effort, on the occasion of releasing our anniversary issue in two instalments this year, to put together some views of those who do not buy into the government’s self-seeking propaganda about democracy and development, for New Age believes in both political democracy of the people and economic development of the country.

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