Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bangladesh, Exploitation of East by the West

Since Independence from British rule, East Bengal was neglected by the central Government based in the western wing, which was at times under Military or Martial law. A major cause of resentment among the Bengalis was economic and cultural exploitation.
Salahuddin Ahmed in his book of 367 pages, "Bangladesh,past and present" explained in details the exploitation of the East Bengal by the west.
East Bengal the land of 'golden fibre' i.e. jute and tea were the main source of foreign exchange which was used for the development of West Pakistan. From the very beginning West Pakistan looked upon the East as their colony. West Pakistan possessed the Federal Capital, Military base, Sureme Court and all the instruments for exploitation. In Nov. 1950, Nur Ahmed complained in the Constituent Assembly bluntly that, in due course, the East Pakistan would gradually be converted to a Colony of the West which would lead to fatal result.
Between 1948 to 1960, East Pakistan's Export earnings had been 70 % of national totalwhile it only received 25 % of the earnings. Between 1950 and 1970, only 34 % of the development expenditure was spent in East Bengal despite having more than half the population. Growing Tensions led to the One-Unit policy implemented in 1955, which abolished the Provinces. Under this policy , all the four provinces of West Pakistan were merged into West Pakistan and East Bengal became East Pakistan.
Language was one of the important criteria of Jinnah's Two Nation theory and abolition of Urdu from the Court language to be replaced by English, Hindustani or local language was one of the main cause of their resentment. It is to be noted that Persian was the main court language prior to the invasion Bitish India.But gradually using Persia became expensive and by the Bengal Regulation Act IV and IX of 1793 and Rule VI of 1797, court language was replaced by English, Hindustani or Local one. From the mid-19th century, Urdu language had been promoted as the lingua franca of Indian Muslims by political and religious leaders such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk and Maulavi Abdul Huq.
After the Partition of India in 1947, Bengali speaking people of East Pakistan with 44 million people of the newly formed Pakistan with a total population of 69 million people. But Pakistan Government's allotment of civil services, military and other important posts were more to the West than to the east. In 1947, a key resolution at a National Education Summit in Karachi advocated Urdu as the sole State Language and its exclusive use in the media and in schools. Opposition and protest immediately arose from the students of the Dhaka University.Under the Leadership of Abul Kashem and Tamaddun Majlish, leaders of Dhaka University, a Bengali Islamic Cultural Organistion was formed. This was the beginning of the first war of independence of East Pakistan against the west.