Bangladeshi man runs across a makeshift bridge, as it starts to rain in Cooch Bihar district in the Indian State of West Bengal. © Manpreet Romana/NYT
In November 2012, The New York Times ran two paired pieces written from both sides of the Bengal border.
Jyoti Rahman analyzes both articles: “Naeem is a few years older than me, and Mr Ray is likely to be slightly younger. That means, all of us were born decades after partition. Ours is the generation that has not known Pakistan in Bengal. Ours is the generation that has no lived experience of 1971. Both writers describe what the ‘other’ Bengal has meant to them over the years. Obviously I can relate to Naeem’s story, but I don’t share his conclusion. And while I find Ray’s story interesting for its misconception, I do relate to the way his story ends.”
Ask for a piece on Pakistan and Bangladesh during December and you’re likely to get something about the 1971 wars — note the plural, because the eastern part of the subcontinent simultaneously experienced an inter-ethnic civil war and ethno-communal cleansing, genocide, inter-state conventional war and a war of national liberation, all climaxing in the crisp Bengali winter of 1971. Naeem Mohaiemen’s seven part series is an example, covering many aspects of that fateful year. Let me skip 1971 in this post. Instead, I’ll begin by marking the other December anniversary, one that will have a particular relevance for Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2013. And I’ll note the parallels between the post-1971 developments in the two wings of former United Pakistan.
So this is one side of the story. Facebook was used to incite emotion among naive Muslims of Bangladesh. A photo of Kaaba Gilaaf exchange ceremony was broadcast as a rally to vouch for Sayedee as a scholar. The Daily Star’s Zulfikar Ali Manik published a front page story with full “gotcha” vigor.
Here is the image of the forgery. Unknown cyber criminals initiated it, a few rightist newspapers published it
A train set on fire by activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh
Delwar Hossain Sayedee, an Islamic preacher and a senior leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, the country’s largest Islam-pasand party, was sentenced to death on 28 February for war crimes committed during the 1971 Liberation War. Within hours, Jamaat cadres and activists clashed violently with police and law enforcement agencies. Scores have been killed in some of the worst political violence the country has experienced in recent years.
“How do we characterize or categorize the people of Shahbag? Who are the people of Shahbag? … What is the class character of this group, what excites or drives this group? Who they were during different periods of our history- how they were represented during different historical milestone of Bangladesh.”
© Arif Hafiz
On that day, no soul shall be wronged; and you shall not be rewarded aught but that which you did. (The Quran, 36: 54).
Surah Yasin is usually recited in Muslim households when someone passes away. The above-quoted ayaat from the surah has been in my mind lately. I want to believe those words, not just in the promised day of reckoning, but here and now, in this People’s Republic of ours.
While describing Shahbag Square movement, frequent references are being made to Tahrir Square, the site of recent anti -autocratic movement in Egypt. However, although there are more similarities, Shahbag has not yet been discussed in reference to the famous Tiananmen Square movement of 1989 in China. The reason of missing Tiananmen reference may be two pronged. One, in ultra-short memory span of the minds of the analysts of Shahbag Square movement, an event of 1989 is not much distinct now. Continue reading