Sunday, November 27, 2005

Calcutta Conspiracy: No Sovereignty for Bangladesh?

The above titled article by Mohammad Zainal Abedin is simply awesome. Every word of it felt so true. I was told by several Indians that Bangladesh don't need to be an Independent country. A guy from IIT who visited my department last summer told me "Bangladesh is such a small coutry..it could have been with India and that would have been better for it". The reality is if you call Bangladesh a 'shit-hole' most Indians will ofcourse not disagree but it's the Bangladeshis themselves who wouldn't object as well ! They will probably nod with Indians and say " Yeah baby you are right !"

Read parts of the article here.

It is astonishing and pitiful that a foreign national dared to speak against the sovereignty, separate identity and existence of Bangladesh in the very presence of a Bangladeshi, who claims himself a vanguard of the spirit of independence. One Indian national Sriti Kumar Sarkar addressing a discussion meeting in Calcutta of India on October 1, made an insane comment saying that Bangladesh does not need to have separate existence or sovereignty.

According to his prescription, the prosperity that will take place in this region, (probably he referred to India), will automatically develop this part of the world, which is now known as Bangladesh. What a strange and audacious argument it is! The Bangladeshi national, Shahriar Kabir, who was present at the discussion meeting held at the Calcutta Academy of Fine Arts did not protest the utterance of Sriti Kumar Sarkar, a teacher of Kolaynee University of West Bengal.

Silence of Shahriar Kabir proved that he clandestinely supported and welcomed the prescription of Sritir Kumar. When this report was published in a section of Bangladeshi dailies, the vanguards of the spirit of independence Awami League and its associates did not react or protest. This silence also indicates to the acceptance of the comment of Sarkar.

...Sriti Kumar Sarkar in his speech said, Bangladesh does not need sovereignty and separate existence for the overall development of South Asia. He prescribed that the prosperity that will take place in this region, (probably he referred to India), will automatically develop this part of the world, which is now known as Bangladesh. This means, Sriti Kumar prefers to wither away Bangladesh. He did not directly suggest that Bangladesh should merge with India.

....To keep the Muslims under their feet, Hindus revolted against the partition of Bengal in 1905, because the partition went, according to then Hindu elites and intellectuals, in favour of Muslim interest. In 1947, when the Muslims wanted to have undivided independent Bengal, out of India and Pakistan, with its capital in Calcutta, the Hindus strongly opposed it, as such arrangement, according to them would have gone in favour of the Muslims. So they opted to divide Bengal into two, so that the portion that would go to Pakistan could return to the fold of India soon.

India's assistance in the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971, did not originate from their sense of humanity for the warring people of Bangladesh, but to dismember Pakistan to weaken the Muslim power in the subcontinent and finally merge them to 'greater Bharat, what Nehru termed it 'Awakhand Bharat.' Indian leaders thought that dismemberment of Pakistan would lead to the accession of Bangladesh to India.

Despite relentless conspiracy that did not happen yet, Bangladesh rather gradually emerges as a strong state and poses to get out of Indian influence. Indians feel envious at the prosperity of the Muslims whether they are Bangladeshis or Pakistanis. It is beyond their blueprint. They never dreamt that the Bengalee Muslims should have an independent and sovereign country of their own.

The high-rise building in Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh, its flag that flies in Calcutta and elsewhere in the world, the long queues of cars and vehicles in our cities, high living standard, growing per-capita income, above all educated and trained patriotic manpower, etc. pain the Hindus. The Hindus suffer from mental agony seeing the prosperity of the Muslims of British East Bengal, who were supposed to remain as their tenants, slaves and agricultural labourers. They design to pull us to that dark era.

....Hindu leaders belonging to the Jatiya Puja Udjapan Committee in a meeting held at Dhakeshari Mandir on August 20, 2004, publicly said that it was a pity for them that no Muslim is available to work in the houses of the Hindus. Muslims do not want to work in the houses of the Hindus. According to them it is a very unfortunate change and it started since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

....It is to be mentioned that Sheikh Hasina, the former Prime Minister, was busy in holding meetings with the Indian ministers in New Delhi while Sriti Kumar made this anti-Bangladesh utterance. It is strange that she also did not protest the most objectionable utterance of the Indian national. She reached Calcutta from New Delhi on the following day, October 2, when the Indian dailies carried this report.

....To justify their arguments they refer to another occasion when an Indian announcer on the occasion of opening book fair also in Calcutta addressed Sheikh Hasina in her presence as the 'Chief Minister' of Bangladesh, though at that time she was the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The announcer even did not seek pardon for his wrong announcement. It means he did not mistakenly term Sheikh Hasina as 'Chief Minister,' rather it was an intentional and pre-planned announcement.

Sheikh Hasina strangely even did not react, when the announcer termed her thrice as the Chief Minister of Bangladesh. She even did not feel to protest it during her deliberation as the 'Special Guest' of the book fair, which was inaugurated by Poet Shamsur Rahaman. Even her party Awami League that frequently goes to the street to vilify the government to the fourteenth generation remained mum.

Sheikh Hasina did not miss to take the DG of BDR Maj. Gen. Jahangir Alam Chowdhury to task when he accused that Indian citizens might have been involved on August 17 series bomb blasts in Bangladesh. She felt disgusted for accusing India.But she remained undisturbed when she was addressed 'Chief Minister of Bangladesh,' or when an Indian national attacked the very foundation of her country and found its separate existence and sovereignty useless. What a contradiction it is!

This time Shariar Kabir, another so-called vanguard of the spirit of independence was personally present at the Calcutta discussion. He should have protested it instantly, if he had minimum sense of patriotism. He also remained mum to please his Indian mentors. Instead of condemning Sriti Kumar, he rather took a hand against the Muslims saying the Muslims are more or less nomads. He said, the Muslims migrate from one place to another for preaching their religion and earning wealth.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

razib, not all indans think this way. and please don't refer to Indians as Hindus! we are a secular country and are proud of that. the comments made about Bangladesh have been unfortnate and I apologise on behalf of our whoever said all that. i think of india, bangladesh and pakistan to all be brother-sister countires and this is just sibling rivalry among us. i think you live in the Uk, right...well, don't you feel proud when out there you hear about the schievement of some south asian? I know I do...we've got to look at the big picture here, razid.

don't be so bitter.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Razib Rashedin said...

Hello anon, thanks for your reply. I am not the author of this article and therefore can't help if the author keeps on calling Indians as Hindus. It's nice to see that you actually apologised for the comments but I think the problem lies greatly with the foreign policy of India and the general perception about Bangladesh among Indians. I think ignorance about your neighbours plays a key role here.

I don't believe India to be a secular country - it has never been a secular country. I have heard that before from many Indians. Infact no country in the world is secular-a term loosely applied to prove a religiously non-biased society. After all the incidents in India based on religion, you still dare to call India a secular country ? India has been marginalising Muslims, Christians, etc. You do not see them except in Bombay movie industry and occasionally as an Indian President. India was ruled by a fundamentalist Hindu Party (BJP) and caused sufferings to thousands of Muslims in Gujrat and other places. Yet, they claim they are secular. How funny. Even within their own religion, ie, Hinduism, they have brought misery for crores of lower caste Hindus. Can you think of any other country where upper caste people commit suicide just because lower caste people are given some legitimate rights? It happened in New Delhi where Brahmins committed street suicides by pouring petrol over themselves. Why? Because the Indian government had tried to give some education and employment quotas to Dalits (untouchables)!

Ignorace about Islam among Indians is also prominent from your post. A muslim considers himself as a part of the Islamic Ummah - Nationalism is not an option for Muslims. A muslim should be patriotic but not nationalist which on the other hand doesn't co-incide with the menatality of Indians in general. Indians, as I have seen, are very nationalist people and ofcourse nationalism is the fashion of the day as prescribed by the West. Therefore Muslims and Hindus do have some basic differences no matter how much you try to ignore these facts. The solution for our peaceful co-existence is to learn deeply about our similarities and differences both historically and religiously. Knowledge is the key here. We should all practice the art of tolerence, respect and gathering knowledge. Only then we will be able to look at the big picture.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Razib,
It’s me again. Listen, if you wanna hate Indian politicians, be my guest. But you can’t hate the people! Religion, nationality really mean nothing to power hungry politicians, I know that. Incidents such as godhra are unforgivable. It’s not hindus who die, or muslims who die, it’s my brothers and sisters…your brothers and sisters…

Razib, I love my country, and you love yours. Great! But why does our love have to stop at the border? Why do we only have religion enough in us to hate other people, and not love them?

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Pallash said...

razib, u write with a concoted vision of history. Hindus in Bangladesh formed the upper layers and lived in relative prosperity only because whereas muslims had 4 wives we had only 1. Our Hindu men who were creme da of the society made life hell for the British RAj. Remeber Chittagong Raid 1930, it was all an Hindu affair.No muslims in that raid which caught the imagination of India and shook the Empire. Hindus donot have words like Jihad and Kafir. And none of their Holy Books advocate killings of nonbelievers as in Quran. And what u did, chase all HIndus but a fraction.If u have the guts visit the following;
www.faithfreedom.org
www.bellicosebengali.blogspot.com
(It contains graphic images of violence)
Do write to me.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Razib Rashedin said...

To Palash , If you don't understand the Muslim religion please don't comment on it. Let me tell you where you went terribly wrong. Most Muslim men never had four wives. Even today, based on recent today, Muslim men are found to be the monogamous compared to the others. Polygamy tends to be among tribal people and that remains so till today. You don't even understand what Jihad and Kafir means. For a quick lesson - Jihad is a struggle against all the odds of one's life. When you study to pass an exam that's also a Jihad. Kafir is the one who doesn't believe in God. So if you are Hindu and believe in God you are not a kafir. So Kafirs are non-believers and not non-muslims -got it ?

It's well-known who use to lick the british establishment so I don't think I need to elaborate on that. My only advise is to learn the history.

I have visited faith freedom a long time ago and it seems alright for me. It's their personal choice to leave Islam and believe it or not - I have been an atheist myself for over 10 years. I know how to respect other religion and I don't and I won't comment on Hindu religion since I don't know much about the religion itself.

If you want to make it a Religious War then I am sorry I cannot be a part of it.

I have no wish to visit your blog - responding to your comment was disgusting enough for me !

10:56 AM  
Blogger Diganta said...

I think you have some misunderstanding about secularism. Secularism doesn't ensure that the minorities will not be discriminated - it'll ensure if they are executed, the concerned person/organization will be punished. Now, this secularism is theoritical and almost equally present in India as well. The implementation of laws always depends on people. Due to lack of literacy in people of India/Bangladesh, secularism is still at bay. Hence, the ideal secularism is un-achievable, but the secularism in laws is there in India.
The second point is relating to Indian Bengallis jealous at Bangladesh/Bengali Muslims. Well, whatever people has told about Bangladesh, is out of their ignorance about Bangladesh. Indian Bengalis are simply not aware of situation in Bangladesh. The newspapers in India does not publish regular reports on Bangladesh, that they does on Pakistan or Srilanka.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Diganta said...

Let me quote some statistics to defy your logic :
1) West Bengal per capita income is close to that of Indian average (for last 20years). Indian per capita income($622) is almost double to that of Bangladesh($391). In West Bengal, the Hindu(75%)-Muslim(25%) per capita income ratio is almost 3:2. Calculate the Indian Hindu Bengali per capita income - it'll be double that of Bangladesh.
2) West Bengal literacy rate is 66%, ahread of Bangladesh(below 50%). If you go by Hindu literacy rate - it'll come at 72% in West Bengal, again 1.5 times of that of Bangladesh.
Hmm, is there a reason to be jealous? If you want, I can provide you the sources(mostly wikipedia) of my statistics.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Razib Rashedin said...

Diganta

First of all I don't have much faith in Wiki casue it's written by individuals without any authorisation from anywhere. I can show you stuff in Wiki that are false or fabricated. So can't really trust those statistics (who believes statistics anyway ?)

If you really wanna compare come to Bangladesh or atlease visit Dhaka. From the moment of stepping in Bangladesh soil you will see there are plenty of reasons to be jealous.

now lets go back to statistics. A good starting point is the infant mortality rate: 51 per 1,000 live births in Bangladesh compared with 67 per 1,000 in India, according to the latest Human Development Report ( not your wiki ) . In other words, infant mortality is much lower in Bangladesh.

Other indicators relating to child health point in the same direction. According to the same Report, 95 per cent of infants in Bangladesh are vaccinated against tuberculosis, and 77 per cent are vaccinated against measles. The corresponding figures in India are only 81 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively.

Similarly, 97 per cent of the population in Bangladesh have access to an "improved water source," compared with 84 per cent in India; and 48 per cent of Bangladeshis have access to "improved sanitation," compared with 28 per cent of Indians.

Bangladesh appears to be closer to universal primary education than India: it has achieved a "net primary enrolment ratio" of 87 per cent, higher than India's 83 per cent. What is more, Bangladesh has eliminated the gender bias in primary education, in sharp contrast with India where school participation rates continue to be much higher for boys than for girls. Other gender-related indicators also put Bangladesh in a relatively favourable light, compared with India: Bangladesh, for instance, has a higher female-male ratio and much higher rates of female labour force participation.

Still not jealous ? Think again !

6:03 PM  
Blogger Diganta said...

You've given very good statistics but unfortunately, all of them are against India. I think, I am not comparing India and Bangladesh. I was comparing West Bengal with Bangladesh - along the lines of your article. Now, the Indian statistics gets bad because of North India, where most of Indian people live, the rest are far better. West Bengal or South/West India are faring much better than the rest of India.

Wiki has a lot of erroneous reports, I accept. You can make research on GDP/per capita stats from any site to check whether I produced almost correct figures or not.

I accept Bangladesh progressed in these three sectors - child mortality, water access and primary enrolment ratio (also microlending). I wish to see the corresponding West Bengal statistics to see where West Bengal is currently. Among these, access to water resource should have been better in Bangladesh always, because of the geography. Regarding elimination of gender bias, well, hats off to Bangladesh, we need to learn from that(my wife is a Bangladesi citizen - I know the efforts been taken).

Overall, Bangladesh still has a long way to go to attract significant investments and creation of service based industries. Only then Bengali Babus might get jealous, otherwise not.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Diganta said...

You've asked me to visit Dhaka to really know how Bangladesh is advancing. Well, I know Bangladesh is faring very well, but I am not the West Bengal. West Bengal still looks at Bangladesh through lots of economic migrants who come to India - sad but true. And, they don't go to Bangladesh - another sad but true fact. So, being jealous is still not a possibility.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Diganta said...

http://hdr.undp.org/statistics/data/indicators.cfm
can be a good source of Data. You can compare all of them, and conclude yourself.

And last but not the least, the author of the article is tagged to write anti-Indian articles. I mailed him previously on some of his writings but never got any reply. He wrote a series on RAW activities in Bangladesh which are nothing but fabricated. He quotes statistics without references everywhere. I won't believe that the incident he refers to in Kolkata book fair, is nothing but a slip-of-tongue.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Diganta said...

Some reports on West Bengal Heman Development.
http://www.undp.org.in/Programme/undpini/factsheet/westbengal.pdf

5:59 AM  
Blogger Razib Rashedin said...

Well first of all, as I said before, I am not the author of this article. So stop calling me the author !:-)

I have from you now and I have heard it before from my Indian friend and Indian newpaper that there are loads of Bangladeshi migrants in India. Well the fact of the matter is, in my twenty or so years back home in Bangladesh I haven't met a single people ( be it super poor, poor, middle or rich) who wished to go to India for a better life ( seriously , r u joking !!!?) And if you say 'this migrant thing' to any Bangladeshi in Bangaldesh( I bet !), the person will certainly laugh at you. This is hillariously well fabricated lie !

The only people I have seen who have migrated to India are Hindus. There was a girl who went to India to study and never returned. I had a teacher called Debu and he was a lecturer at a college in Dhaka. Few months ago I heard that he also gone to Calcutta for good. There are quite a lot of examples like these. I don't think these people are economic migrants.
You said there are no 'economic migrants' from India to Bangaldesh. Really !? Few yards from my house in Dhaka there is cyber cafe that is run by an illegal Indian. There are thousands of them and they are all illegal.

Hmmm.......

9:15 PM  
Blogger Diganta said...

"And, they don't go to Bangladesh - another sad but true fact." - I think you misread that there are no economic migrants from India to Bangladesh. I told that average Indians do not go to Bangladesh. Bangladesh(or whole South Asia) supplies economic migrants to World's biggest cities, likewise you can get them in Mumbai and Delhi in large number. Well, Hindu factor is definitely true, but I do not differentiate between Hindu/Muslims as Bangladeshis, all of them are equally Bangladesis, and poor Hindus are ofcourse economic migrants. Please don't say only rich Hindus migrate to India and poors doesn't.

Anyway, the point that West Bengal Bengalees are jealous of Bangladeshis, is still far from proved. That was the point I objected and still do object very strongly.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Razib,

I am in Mumbai and there are a lot of migrants from Bangladesh here and most of them are Muslims. In terms of numbers its around 12 lacs.

I have spent a few years in Calcutta too, and there too there are migrants but most of them there are Hindus, who migrated during 47' and 71'. Hindus migrants come here for various reasons, more importantly for political reasons.

Its not the case with Bangladeshi Muslims, they come here for economic reasons.

You example of Mr Debu in Bangladesh is acceptable, so is that of other Bangladeshis whos wish to stay back in Bangladesh, but do you really know if the people from the poorer classes in remote villages of Bangladesh, really think that Bangladesh has better oppurtunities than India. Well the answer is that many dont feel so and many migrate to India.

And, I feel, though Bangladesh has abundance of water, it has the highest rate of Arsenic deaths.

Bangladesh, is not able to attract the kind of investments, West bengal is able to.

And, I have heard of any Indian, going to Bangladesh for higher education, where as I have friends from Bangladesh, who have come here for higher studies.

I think you point that the Bengalis of India are jelous of Bangladeshis is absurd.

It is true that Bangladesh has a lot of positive things, that we can learn from, but there is nothing in it to feel jelous about. It is still a young country and has a long road ahead.

We have more developed countries to feel jelous about.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why Bangladeshis are so embarrased to accept that there are millions of illegal Bangladeshis (Hindus and Muslims) in India. I don't see similar embarrassment when illegal Bangladeshis and outher south Asian migrants are regularly caught in Greece or Italy or other European nations.

Go to any metro or big city in India (even in Cochin, Kerala!), and you will find many of the labourers, rickshawallhas, ice cream wallahs and ayahs are from Bangladesh. They contribute to the lower end of the Indian economy and are hard working and honest people. Yes, a majority are illegal but you cannot do much about it because to these people the borders are just imaginary lines. There is no shame in accepting the truth.

Instead of being in a denial mode, Bangaldesh and India should work out a work permit agreement to legalize the people of Bangladeshi origin and give everyone i-cards so that they can legally do what they are already doing.

And there is no need to demonize India or West Bengal based on the words of some fundoos. Bangladesh has its own share of fundoos who are always baying for the blood of Indians and Hindus. So should we judge all Bangladeshis based on the acts of a few?

It is obvious that the person who wrote the article is deeply anti Indian and is blinded by anti Indianness.

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Razib, you are so myopic and uninformed that it's a waste of time to argue with you!

My ancestors are from Bangladesh (Hindus) and I've had an opportunity to visit the country as well as West Bengal, India. There's simply no comparison! What has Bangladesh achieved since Independence? Nothing. It's teeming with uneducated and poor people who cross over to India at their first opportunity for a better life.

Stop your BS, especially the Islamic nonsense.

9:52 PM  
Blogger rashmi said...

What about all the muslims from Bangladesh who have crossed borders illegally and settled in Assam?? Any one who visits Assam will know.

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2:43 AM  

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