The intellectual and political circles of Bangladesh have, for a long time, based their ideas and actions on or around a monolithic image of Bangladesh. Most discussions and debates have considered our ‘Bangalee’ identity as a constant, and the history of ‘Bangalees’ as linear; the other side of the story, as seen by much of the right-wing intelligentsia, seems to focus solely on our identity and history as ‘Muslims’. Both sides have a point, but we are all missing a greater part of the picture, that is, a country cannot progress in peace if it chooses to reduce all its citizens into a singular identity. Continue reading “Multiculturalism in Bangladesh: where our political and intellectual debates end”
“For several decades, the indigenous populations of North East India have claimed that their lands were coming under threat from Bangladeshi migrants, though many of them actually had identification papers from the border districts of Assam.” Continue reading “Nagaland Lynching: More Than a Protest”
The Killings at Bangladesh’s Bihari Camp – Murder Mystery or Murder with Impunity?
By Nadine Shaanta Murshid
There are multiple stories. We are either to believe one of them or cast aside the whole incident as an accident. The stories are important to note, however, given that each story has a different set of perpetrators and actors, as well as a different motive behind the killings. What remains unchanged in all these stories is this: 10 Urdu-speaking non-Bengali Bangladeshi citizens who live in ‘Kalshi’ were killed, 8 of the deceased are from the same family.Continue reading “The Killings at Bangladesh’s ‘Bihari Camp’ – Murder Mystery or Murder with Impunity?”
The politics involving various minority groups have become a veritable concern. Well-meaning views, dialogues, and inceptions of new laws are very important. Yet, unless and until the complacent ‘majority’ makes a conscious effort, even causes an outcry to promote and protect their ‘minority’ siblings’ rights, real change is very hard to imagine. For their society to be ‘vaguely equal’, the ‘majority’ has to come out defending the rights of ‘minority’ protesting, condemning, and help in prosecuting the perpetrators of all forms of discrimination. The country’s proposed Anti-Discrimination law, hopefully would provide impetus for such collective actions.
“But given recent violent incidents – in Ramu, in Sathiya, in Thakurgaon, in Gaibundah, in Dinajpur, in Rangpur, in Bogra, in Lalmonirhat, in Rajshahi, in Jessore, in Chittagong and in the Chittagong Hill Tracts – the AL government and state law enforcement agencies cannot palm-off responsibilities to the opposition for failing to protect minority citizens (just as they cannot merely shift responsibilities, for the ongoing violence and loss of lives, to opposition activities alone, specially when that is exactly how they reacted during their term in opposition).” Continue reading “Bleeding Badly”
In 2051, the Hindu population could fall to the level of 1974.
One thing that every Bangladeshi possibly knows is that the Hindu population as a percentage of the total is shrinking monotonically. This is the legacy of the partition of India in 1947 and then the failure of the state apparatus to safeguard the rights of the religious minorities. Continue reading “The Statistical Future of Bangladeshi Hindus”
[Tears] by Irfanur Rahman, translated by Khujeci Tomai for AlalODulal.org Dedicated to Falguni Sutradhar Friend, I won’t beg forgiveness That right, too, we have lost The election has been victorious, victorious, victorious Movement has happened Blockade has happened Bengal has … Continue reading Tears: a poem for “malauner baccha”
Timothy Khyang: What about my right to celebrate Christmas?
Translated by Trimita Chakma for AlalODual.org
Three years ago from today in 2010, the 47th batch of MBA was sitting for the final exams at UITS’s (University of Information Technology and Sciences) campus in Chittagong. Out of the 45 students two of us were Christians, Alex Leo Kraolie and I. The exam schedule was published one week before the exams and I noticed that there was an exam on 25th December, on Christmas Day. Continue reading “Timothy Khyang: What about my right to celebrate Christmas?”
Acceptance of Lesbian Love: Too Much to Expect? By Syeda Samara Mortada for AlalODulal.org
Seema is a twenty something year old girl who is not sexually attracted to the opposite sex. When she finally understood this “problem” patent in her, she decided to keep it to herself. Since then, Seema has found many like-minded people around her, but whatever happens between them remains behind shut doors. ‘Living in Bangladesh as a lesbian is like living in hell’, says Seema.
Her husband, Shomlal Das quietly preparing for her cremation. They forgot to bring sindhoor. She is a married dead. She must wear sindhoor, someone from the small crowd whispered. They opened the bodybag. Part of her face was smashed, there was barely any hairline. Shomlal sprinkled sindhoor on her face... He pauses and sighs, “the government officer just treat every dead as muslim.” Continue reading “Pramila Das: Even when they mourn, they mourn from the margin”
“Journalist brother. You are a Hindu, I am a Hindu. Please don’t do any more harm to me. You know, how Hindus have to live in this country. Rana Plaza collapsed on top of my house and office. Four of my staff and three of my house help died. After the accident, goods were looted from my house. I can’t even go into my own house.” Continue reading “Rana Plaza built on land grabbed from Rabindranath Sarkar”
If you come to kill, I will say, I too am Hindu, I too am Minority, the land that is burning is my country
by Faruk Wasif, translated from Bengali by AlalODulal.org
When the Tamil massacres were happening, we came to shahbag with slogans “we are all Tamil.” When the Rohingya massacres happened, we protested that too. We protested killings in Iraq, we said we were Kashmiri when youth were being killed in Kashmir. Bu what about today? Continue reading “If you come to kill, I will say, I too am Hindu”
With all its flaws, Taslima Nasreen’s Lajja (1993) diagnosed the crisis at the heart of Bangladeshi identity. On the last page, after a week of violent communal riots, the Bengali Hindu family is finally defeated…“Shudhamoy was walking while leaning on Kiranmayee’s shoulder. Gradually the strength was coming back to his body. Kiranmayee held on to Shudhamoy with both hands.
London Review of Books had an extremely interesting article about the original sins of Indian democracy by UC Berkeley Professor Perry Anderson. It especially discussed the treatment of Muslims and other minorities at the hand of the secular Indian state. This got me wondering about how Bangladesh stacks up against India in this regard.
Translator’s note: Young 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”
Cowards come in two forms, those who move under the cover of the night, and those who take refuge in the brute might of the mob. And when the two combine, cowards can become hyenas. Since that dreadful night, when for six shameful hours, the state remained invisible, protectors stood by quietly, neighbors became fiends, and only few were brave to face the hyenas, I can no longer be myself. Continue reading “I am a Buddhist today”
Questions that need to be answered by Muktasree Sathi Chakma (Sep 24, 2012)
While my 68 years old father and my 65 years old mother remained awake for the last two days in fear that some of the Bengali settlers (who can kill people only for the reason that you are indigenous) would attack our house, I am attending a Human Rights training and learning how to be a human rights activist. What an irony, isn’t it? Continue reading “Sathi Chakma: After Rangamati, Questions that need to be answered”