A Place to Call Home

A Place to Call Home

by Hana Shams Ahmed

A young girl writes a poem where she asks a simple question — one which no one can answer. She asks, “Who am I?” Her forefathers were born in India, they immigrated to Pakistan, she was born in Bangladesh. India has given up on them a long time back, Bangladesh will not accept them as the children of the land and Pakistan will not take them back. She says that she has many names ‘Bihari’, ‘Maura’, ‘Muhajir’, ‘Non-Bangalee’, ‘Marwari’, ‘Urdu-speaker’, ‘Refugee’, and ‘Stranded Pakistani’. But she only wants one: human. This is the state of being of the 1.6 lakh camp-based Urdu-speaking community in Bangladesh. Continue reading “A Place to Call Home”

Eternal Othering and Presentation of Communalism on the World Stage

by Nasrin Khandoker, translated by Hana Shams Ahmed for Alal O Dulal

“We need to get a grasp of which edge of the crater in the global imperialist politico-economic map we are situated, how and in what name we exist there. Who is constructed and presented in what role in the world theatre of Islamophobia. Continue reading “Eternal Othering and Presentation of Communalism on the World Stage”

The Step-children of Bangladesh

The Step-children of Bangladesh
by Hana Shams Ahmed for AlalODulal.org

Taindong union in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh has recently come under attack by ruthless land-grabbers, the Government-cum-military sponsored settlers in this hilly region of the country. With this attack it has become clear for the nth time that the ‘Peace’ Accord in 1997 signed between the government and the Shanti Bahini (peace force) rebels has failed to bring peace for the Jumma people of the three hill districts. Continue reading “The Step-children of Bangladesh”

Ramu violence: A fanoosh is not a balloon

Translator’s noteYoung Bangladeshi Buddhist monk Pragyananda Bhikkhu, of Ramu Shima Bihar, wrote “Ramu Shohingshota: Fanoosh kono balloon noy”, which was published in Dainik Cox’s Bazar, November 4, 2012 in light of the controversy created over setting afloatfanooshes as part of the celebration of Prabarana Purnima, the second largest Buddhist religious festival; to be noted, this year’s date coincided with the monthly anniversary of the communal attacks  of September 29, 2012, which destroyed innumerable Buddhist monasteries, temples and homes, allegedly caused by an offensive photograph discovered in the facebook account of Uttam Kumar Barua, a Bengali Buddhist youth, several hours before the attacks occurred. According to press reports, the attacks were visibly incited by local leaders and members of the ruling Awami League (AL), the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamaat-e-Islami; the attackers included those belonging to these political parties, and also, other Muslims, both local inhabitants and outsiders. News reports have highlighted the “inaction” of police officials and the local-level administration. Both ruling AL and the opposition BNP agree that these attacks were “planned” and pre-meditated.

The fanoosh controversy, as Pragyananda clearly explains, was the result of administrative interference in religious ceremonies and rituals; the Buddhists of Ramu had decided not to  observe their rites of virtue this year as they were “heartbroken” and grieving over their losses. Continue reading “Ramu violence: A fanoosh is not a balloon”