Democracy and the Challenge of Development A Study of Politics and Military Interventions in Bangladesh Moudud Ahmed ISBN 984 06 1282 X 1995 408pp 215x136mm HB Tk.360.00 US$23.00
There are as many similarities as there are differences between the two military regimes which governed Bangladesh for nearly fifteen out of the first twenty years of its existence. Bangladesh would find it difficult to recover from the effects of the long periods of martial rule or of rule with an unrepresentative government which virtually destroyed the growth of democratic institutions.
Both Zia and Ershad involved the military in politics, disrupted constitutional rule, stifled civil administration and courts of judicature and established themselves as rulers by decree rather than consent, facilitated the consolidation of the civil-military bureaucracy and relied on the bureaucrats than politicians to administer the country. The power of governing the state moved from the hands of the politicians to the combined class of officers and technocrats - which changed the character and complexion of the administration as a whole.
This is a unique book written by a former Vice-President and Prime Minister of Bangladesh who served under two military rulers of the country. The writer belonged to political parties created by the two military rulers whose interventions in democratic rule created a leadership crisis in Bangladesh.
The book reveals how the military rulers in third world countries tend to distort the social, economic and democratic fabric of the society through military interventions. The book provides an excellent perspective on the recent political history of Bangladesh. Fortunately, Bangladesh has again adopted a democratic order. Although this new journey is not covered in this book, the events recorded and issues raised in this book will continue to remain relevant for a better understanding of the future course of democracy in Bangladesh and the third world countries.
The challenge to the existing and future leaders of Bangladesh will however remain the same: to be able to sustain a democratic order and at the same time achieve a desired economic growth despite all the constraints.
Moudud Ahmed is a practising Barrister and had been former Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister and Vice-President of Bangladesh with the reputation of being one of the finest parliamentarians of the country. While in prison, he was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1991. He played an active role in Bangladesh war of liberation and following independence participated in the protests and was jailed when the founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman legislated for one party rule in Bangladesh.
He has extensively written on economic and political issues and had been a visiting fellow at the Universities of Heidelberg, Harvard and Oxford.
His publications include: Bangladesh: Era of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangladesh: Constitutional Quest for Autonomy, (UPL).