Civil Society, State & Democratic Futures in Bangladesh



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For any change, we require imagination and critical thinking. This is where this book is particularly fascinating because it flags the point, that the concepts such as democracy, civil society and state have various versions and so have their respective futures.

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Nothing changes without imagination and critical thinking. Democratic futures become critical in this context. This is because neither there is one kind of future nor there is one kind of democracy. Similar is the case with state and civil society. Our 'past' includes the experience of three civilizational quests – classical Indian, Islamic and Western, with civil society shrinking and expanding in the light of the nature of the state, whether Asokan, Mughal, British or post-colonial. This is precisely the reason why civil society in Bangladesh still carries with it the power of orality, the Baulian rejection of orthopraxies and orthodoxies, or, for that matter, the sanyasi (ascetic) zeal of some of the tablighis. In the context of Bangladesh, 'samaj,' 'jamaa i madani,' and 'civil society' are all bereft of coercive power.

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