image: Telegraph India

Open Letter to Narendra Modi

By Nadine Murshid for


Dear Mr. Modi,

It has come to our attention that you are about to head the next government in India. Many congratulations. It has also come to our attention that you have been saying un-neighborly things about us, Bangladesh and Bangladeshis. We are deeply hurt by your comments, but we are open to forgiveness. We are not the forgiving type, really, but we do make exceptions. And we will for you if you carefully consider the following:


Intervene in “regional politics” in West Bengal, as you promised, but not to deport who you claim to be illegal Bangladeshis but to restore the Teesta deal. Just have a chat with Didi, or oppose Didi’s no-Teesta plan in parliament. Do something. The thing is this: we need water. If we don’t have water we might want to move to India for water. We don’t really want to [move to India]. And you don’t really want us. What will you do with a disgruntled group of Bangladeshi illegal immigrants straining your resources? No, you don’t want us. No hard feelings. It’s mutual. Just give us that water. And all will be well. Well, almost.


Stop pitting Hindus and Muslims against each other. Why? Because we don’t want illegal immigrants from India in Bangladesh either. Listen, you are a world player now. You will be shamed by the international community if there is a rise in communal violence because of you. You want a permanent seat at the UN? It won’t happen. They don’t give up those seats for communal leaders. No, no. They’re not saints. No one said that. But there is such a thing as lip service. That’s the least they have to do. And you also don’t want international organizations or western governments to come “save” your Muslims, do you? Look at Afghanistan and all the saving that happened there. No, thank you. We don’t want that either. Let’s all behave so that they don’t come for us. Deal?


You should agree to free up the borders a bit. Don’t worry. We don’t want to live in India. But we like going there. It’s all around us, we are primed to like going to India. But you have made it increasingly difficult for us to do so. Let down your guard. We are a tiny country. We won’t bother you. We just want to be tourists. You see, more people have money now. We want to be able to go away for the weekend to a nice place somewhere. Why not India? Serves us all. And it makes us good neighbors.


This may sound trivial but it is not (to us at least) – we want a thank you note. For negotiating a transit deal with you that allows you to connect to the Northeast. Speaking of the Northeast, you could tone down the anti-Bangladesh rhetoric there, you know? Just friendly advice on behalf of fellow Bengalis in that region who are tired of being called Bangladeshis. They must not like being used as pawns. Becharas.  And, you know, it would have the added benefit of mitigating border tensions. As we already said, that is a must. Would make everyone so happy. But I digress. Thank you note. We also want one for taking care of your businessmen; from what we see they are getting rich (though, not very famous), and they’re making you rich with the for-ex you get from them (Bangladesh is now the fifth largest remittance earning source for India. World Bank data shows that expatriate Indians working in Bangladesh have successfully drained away US$ 4,082 million alone last year as half a million Indians are now working in Bangladesh).  We let it happen because we really do like you. You have culture. You know, Bharatnatyam and all that. Maybe we are impressed easily.


And lastly, please don’t feel the need to intervene in our politics. We are no longer a part of India. You are happy about that, yes. So are we. No need for big brother’s attention.  We have grown up, even if we don’t always act it. So, no need to watch what we’re doing. No need to scare us with your army personnel. No need to kill people at the border to send us a message. Let us co-exist in peace. It’s good for the soul. You probably know that; sorry to state the obvious.

Well, that’s all for now. If we think of anything else, we will surely let you know. Till then, enjoy the attention and love that will only be surpassed by the amount of money that some of your closest big business allies will be making in the near future. Oh one more thing: think of criticism as love because you will learn more from that than you will from those who claim to love you for who you are. But you probably know that too.



your friendly Bangladeshi neighbor (in Bangladesh)


10 thoughts on “Open Letter to Narendra Modi

  1. Kicking bigot butt with class. Nailed pretty much everything that’s messed up about India’s often insufferably condescending if not outrightly menacing attitude and deeply insensitive public discourse vis-a-vis all its immediate neighbours, not just Bangladesh. Char-chhokka hoi hoi!!

  2. Not only Bangladeshi,all illegal immigrants should or must return home,INDIA is over-populated,Even Genuine Indian faces lack of Neccessity.

  3. Clearly you have no idea about what Modi is all about and what he means by Hinduism. One must watch his rallies/interviews, but of course that’s not all. Correct interpretation is quite necessary too.
    Just saying.

  4. WOW! First of all, very witty and strong letter; congratulations to the writer. But the comments really got me. I am not sure what to make of it. The deep hatred and mistrust some of the comments (presumably by Indians) display towards Bangladeshis is really astonishing. Really people, you are so blinded by your love affair with Modi and by your jingoistic nationalism! On the plus side these hate-comments show that AOD has wide readership. Congratulations to AOD on that account.

  5. However in the drive to kick out Muslims from India in the sham of “kicking out illegal immigrants”, the world must keep a close eye that India does not harass their own 150 million genuine INDIAN citizens who are muslims, in Modi’s excitement to “push them out” to Bangladesh.

    And the same must be mirrored in Bangladesh, to parallel Modi’s immigration rules, that all ILLEGAL INDIANS, Indian businesses and illegal Indian products must also be returned to India from Bnagladesh. This is not to retaliate against Modi, but to be practical about limited resources, services and businesses available in BD.

    Not let’s see if our politicians understand simple logic !!

  6. Brilliant piece; the wit which the author uses to address our bilateral issues is a welcome break from some of the doom/gloom, righteous indignation and cynical anti-India chest – thumping which seem to be crowding out all other opinions from our media opeds/blog sites.

  7. Thank you, Nadine Murshid, for giving very good friendly advice to Modi. But will he listen to it? Even if he does, he might deny that in future, as he is in the habit of denying things. He denied his involvement in the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat and his denial really worked – he became the PM of India! But he must remember the adage: you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

  8. From: Narendrabhai Modi

    Dear Ms Murshed,
    I have read your letter with rapt attention despite my extreme preoccupation with new cabinet formation and other political activities that normally follow a landslide victory, which I call a triple century in a house of over 500 members of parliament!
    I’m very much alive to your concerns. But I can see you are a researcher and not a politician like me! I started my life as a ‘chayewla’ selling tea to the customers and now I will be heading the government of the largest democracy of the world!
    You will appreciate that my stake is much higher than what you perceive! I can no longer tarnish my image by taking some Muslim lives here and there. I don’t deny that they have been my eyesore for all my adult life, but now I have to take it as fait accompli. After all, I’m the leader of over a billion people now!
    But I’m sorry to say, I may not be able to help you with water. You have a saying in Bangla, “Chacha, apon pran bacha”. Yes I have to save my people first with water, after that if there is any left over, which is unlikely, may be spared for you.
    By the way, you have a lot of rain fall during monsoon and most of it goes waste and flows to Bay of Bengal. Why don’t you harvest and store those waters for your dry season?
    There is a simple technology to do that. Just dig deep tube wells up to depth of dry sand bed underground. Keep the well heads at the flood level of water logged areas. As the well heads get submerged in stagnant rain water, the suction by dry sand bed underneath and gravity will pull down and store all the water in the sand bed. No extra energy needed! Yes, I’m most willing to sell you the deep tube wells, as many as you want!
    During dry seasons the same tube wells can pump water and do the irrigation in the villages and supply drinking water in the urban areas. You should be innovative rather than be dependent on your neighbour’s mercy!
    About your travel restriction, I don’t think it is a good idea to remove them, because bad people take undue advantage of it and create troubles. I want no troubles. In fact, I will construct more fences around India-Bangladesh borders, so that most people have to travel to India through legal routes only!
    About Indians working in Bangladesh, the only solution is to develop your own manpower with technical and managerial skills. You can then gradually repatriate the Indians back to India.
    To assure you further on the safety and security of your fellow Muslims, let me confess something. I have ridden the crest of ‘Vikaas’ (Proliferation of Progress) to capture heart and soul of the Indians. Now I have to deliver. And to do that I have to carry all Indians with me and I can ill afford to discriminate race, religion and creed. I won’t be stupid to do that!
    Last but not the least; I have a bad news for you. If I fail to deliver as promised, I shall have no option but to get after the Muslims as a diversionary tactic, before the Indians get after me. So, it is in your own interest, please pray for my success.

    Disclaimer: It is an imaginary letter and may please be read accordingly.

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