On the Eaton thesis

In depicting time and places historians often argue pivotal roles of religion. Regions across the planet had been defined through advent and subsequent religious conquests. Religious (and ethnic) tensions remain omnipresent as religious unrest reverberates many parts of the world. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760 — by Richard M. Eaton

by Awrup Sanyal

[Please note that the review might reveal more than you want to know before reading the book. I would say skip it and read the book.]
Anyone interested in Bengal’s premodern to modern history – through the Delhi and Bengal Sultanates, and the Mughal rule in India, and consequently in Bengal – and more importantly the rise and spread of Islam in Bengal will have to go through this thoroughly illuminating seminal work from Eaton.

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Midnight’s Evangelists

"Bangladeshi migrants waiting for a flight home." by stablisation unit/DFID, licensed under CC by 2.0

“Bangladeshi migrants waiting for a flight home.” (photo: stablisation unit/DFID, licensed under CC by 2.0)

Each day, all year round, as Bangladesh goes to sleep – a group of fortunetellers, mystics, and magicians wake up to start casting their spell. You probably have never seen or heard them. Yet they are neither invisible nor quiet. In fact, they actually advertise their messages and locations loud and clear. Continue reading

ভয়ের দিনে ভয়ের ব্যবস্থাপনা

“আলী রিয়াজসহ অনেকে বলে থাকেন ভয় হলো একটা সংস্কৃতি। কার্যত, ভয় হলো সংস্কৃতির অবশ–নিস্তেজ ​অবস্থা। ভয়ের আবহে স্বাভাবিক সংস্কৃতির সক্রিয় থাকা আর সম্ভব হয় না। সাধারণত মানুষ তখন হয়ে পড়ে নিষ্ক্রিয় ও প্রতিরোধহীন। সংস্কৃতির মধ্যেই মানুষ সহাবস্থান ও সহযোগিতার অবকাশ পায়।” Continue reading

The Journey from Shyamapuja to Diwali

Copyright: Manisha Dasgupta

Copyright: Manisha Dasgupta

For India, it took the shape of Hindu right-wing and their counter-imposition of a false construct of Hindu and Indian identity. The irrelevant political force of Hindutva took the centre-stage, asserting its claim on the identity of ‘Indian-ness’ and ‘Hindu-ness’. And like any two compatible hegemony, down the lane, there were a political pact between the two. Once it was realised that the gullible globalised middle-class can be bought and bribed and made to want almost anything with enough packaging and with enough lucre, the only question remained how long it would take.

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AOD Interviews Kabir Suman — Kobigan, the lost musical heritage of Bengal and more

Photo: Awrup Sanyal

Photo: Awrup Sanyal

Kabir Suman, a songwriter, a singer, a musician, a journalist, an author, an activist, and an ex-parliamentarian (Lok Sabha, Parliament of India, 2009-2014), probably needs little introduction. About a quarter century back when Suman burst into the musical firmament of Bengal it was a never-before-seen phenomenon in the contemporary cultural world of Bengal — he had an instant cult following. In this exclusive interview with AlalODulal Suman talks about music, religion, and Bengal. Continue reading