Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bangladesh, Communalism

Dr. Richard L. Benkin, a social scientist, in his article, "No outrage over ethnic cleansing of Hindus" remarked that there had been several attemprs at genocide since the middle of the last century. European Nazis murdered six million Jews in 1940s. In the 1960s and laer in that decade, Fulani-led Nigerians slaughtered around a million ethnic Ibos who formed the republic of Biafra.Three decades later, majority Hutus murdered almost a million Tutsis in Rwanda; and Serbs did the same to about 10,000 ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Ethnic Arabs were still killing non-arab Sudanese, so far over half a million. These crimes grabbed the the world's attention - albeit too late and only after the bodies were piledtoo high to ignore. The UN issued proclamations and sent aid through its human rights and refugee organisations...When Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan in 1971, Hindus made up almost one in five of its citizens. Today, are less than one in ten.Demographers and others estimate that approximately 20 million bangladeshi Hindus have disappeared.

This was not the first time the world had ignored mass murder in South-Asia. Towards the end of the Bangladeshi war of Independence, Pakistani troops and their Islamist allies slaughtered between two and three million mostly Hindu bangladeshis ,non-combatants women, children, and the elderly.

Today, an economic and military powerhouse, India has yet to advocate for the thousands of victims steaming across its borders. Probably it has protested meekly to Bangladesh Govt. Sri Bibhuti Narain Rai in his article "handling communal riots" informed that while working on the project with the awarded fellowship of The National Police Academy Hyderabad, he noticed two incidents from pre-partion days, the riots in East Bengal during the 20s and 30s were abated by Muslim Policemen spreading rumours among the muslim peasants that attacks on Hindus would be considered as acts of loyalty to the Raj. Further, there was an agreement between the Nawab of Dhaka and the emperor of Britain that attacks on Hindus would not attract any punishment. Mr. Rai also came across a petition submitted in the 30s by one Pandit Raghubir Dayal of Kanpur that Hindu citizens of the town felt insecure because of a lower representation in the Kanpur police. These two instances exemplified the dominant trend in Indian society of the time.

The scholars, journalists and politicians are of opinion that the religiosity of the people or the alleged hateful teachings of the religious texts had been largely responsible for communalism.The pre-British Mughal period would have witnessed thousands of rioting and embittered Hindu-Muslim relationship. Interestingly, history might have recorded a few sporadic Hindu-Muslim clashes during the holy festival in the early 18th century under the Mughals.