The movement for the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh, 1982-1990 : a study of political sociology
The late twentieth century saw a major wave of democratisation against the unjust military seizure of state power in many countries around the world. In Bangladesh, General Hussain Muhammad Ershad seized power in March 1982 ousting the then democratic government through a military coup and continued up to December 1990 until he was forced, by a mass revolution, to relinquish power to the interim Caretaker Government of the country. The dominance of the military intrigue over the state and political elites has resulted in sharp inter-group conflict in the society that deflected the normal democratic values: liberty, impunity, equality and freedom. A military committed to a professional rather than a political role is critical to the success of democracy. The military dictatorship of General Ershad in Bangladesh, is therefore, regarded as the aggression by the state on her own people. The movement for restoration of democracy was thus the attempt to change the military dictatorship. The movement included sporadic protests, strikes, riots, rebellions, violence and more continuous activities of organised political parties and interest groups of the society. The mainstream opposition political parties and their alliances, along with different socio-cultural forces i. e. students, laborers, intellectuals and professionals of Bangladesh society organised the movement. The middle class took the lead while the involvement of the lower class of the society ensured huge participation. A number of protesters were killed; many others injured and jailed in the course of various repressive measures taken by the military administration. This gave birth to counter violence in the opposition democratic forces. This research, with both qualitative and quantitative approaches, investigates the social origins of the movement for democracy in Bangladesh that brought about a significant social change in the social structure for the development of capitalist democracy. This research confirms that the military dictatorship of General Ershad had negative consequences in every respect-spreading corruption, plundering the economy, damage to constitutional rule and political institutions, and a complete ruin of the electoral process of the country. Finally, the research substantiates the power and strength of the people in making the revolution, which is always invincible-the most worthy spirit needful for the success of democracy, and this was exactly what happened in the final stage of the movement for the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh in the overthrow of the military dictatorship of General Ershad.