Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Poor Hindu Monk Brings Life Back to the Pogrom-Destroyed Minority Families in Bangladesh



Bighearted Poor Hindu Monk Brings Life Back to the Pogrom-Destroyed Minority Hindu Families in Muslim-Majority Bangladesh –

Homes, Shops, Pet Animals Torched, Livelihood Demolished –

Beginning at the Millennia-Old Festival of the Holy Mother Durga who Destroyed Evil to Bring Peace on Earth

Sachi G. Dastidar

             In the midst of festive and joyous Durga Puja Festival in Bangladesh an anti-Hindu pogrom began in the middle of October of 2021, also in the middle of Covid pandemic. This was beyond our beliefs, and beyond our expectation. Hundreds of neighborhood/village collective celebrations were destroyed, several hundred mandirs (temples) were damaged and destroyed and thousands of murtis (deities) destroyed, hundreds and hundreds of minority Hindu homes were set ablaze, women abused including a mother, daughter and grandma, and minority Hindus brutally murdered, apparently in order to preserve belief in holy scriptures.

            There have been hundreds of demonstrations in Bangladesh, America, India and around the world organized by Hindu minority with secular Muslims, Americans and non-Americans, and more.

            Fortunately, many Bangladeshi papers wrote about atrocities, but Western media generally censored anti-Hindu atrocities, and many media in Bengali-speaking India in Kolkata and in rest of West Bengal State of India, many run by Bangladeshi-Indian-Hindu-refugees who fled to India yet censored the news of atrocities against their families and neighbors.

        I received a call from a terrified lady seeking help from her extermination.

Below is what I posted in Facebook in October of 2021    .

Dear Activist:

I got a desperate call from a Bangladesh's indigenous Hindu minority for help in protecting their lives as an anti-Hindu pogrom and destruction of #Mandirs (temples) and #Pratima (deity) of Ma #Durga during the most famous Bengali festival of Durga Puja continue with the torching of Hindu homes and businesses. Hundreds and hundreds of these people, buildings, and "anything around during festivities" were demolished, desecrated, and torched-precipitated by pure hatred. Men and women have been murdered and abused, according to published reports.

As I was driving when I received that call, I couldn't talk to her for long, but her appeal said, "We've been warned that another Hindu minority mass killing will be committed by Jamaat-Shibir group," -- the racist anti-Hindu Islamist groups continuing from Pakistani genocide era. She added, "Dada, Older Brother, please help us. They said that they will continue their violence & exterminate us!"

Not one Muslim-majority nation has condemned these atrocities, abuse, destruction, desecration, and intolerance.

As some of the families whose homes were torched, pet animals taken away or slaughtered, livelihood destroyed, they were on the brink of starvation, when one young courageous Hindu swamiji (monk) from coastal Bangladesh headed north to Rongpur area where an entire village was torched. It took over 10 hours by a private car to get to the victims. It is also costly too for a poor monk swamiji to get there with some volunteers. As the swamiji was asked to inform local authorities beforehand, especially for security reasons, the local administration was kind enough to provide a space for distribution of cash, clothing and food – more importantly courage – to the victims and not to flee to India. (Since partition of India’s Bengal Province in 1947 its minority Hindu population of East Bengal/East Pakistan/Bangladesh has come down from a third [about 30%] to barely 8% in world’s one of the most populous nations. She has over 50 million Hindus missing from the Census from 1947 till 2001 Census. Also missing are minority Buddhists and Christians.)

It is worth mentioning that starting with 1946 Noakhali anti-Hindu Pogrom/Genocide under British rule to numerous pogroms and genocides during Pakistani era, including 1971 Pakistani genocide, and then 1990, 1992 and 2001 pogroms, not one Hindu killer or oppressor has been prosecuted. Sadly, not one Muslim-majority nation criticized any anti-Hindu pogrom in Hindu’s ancestral land; many secular, marginalized Muslim activists have criticized, protested that. We hope some criminals will be prosecuted this time around.

Here are some pictures of monk swamiji’s courageous, thoughtful, grateful journey. Later there are a few sample pictures from elsewhere, but not the pictures of killings and brutalities that are available in social media. 

 A Crowd At a Meeting

Some pictures of the torched village, including a mandir (temple) and murties (deities):


Sample pictures from thousands printed by Bangladeshi media and posted by victims:

Protest in Bangalore, India

Protest in Kolkata, India

Protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project’s 2021 Annual Forum & Journal Release at The Partition Center on Saturday, October 16, 2021


ISPaD: The Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project’s 2021 Annual Forum & Journal Release at The Partition Center on Saturday, October 16, 2021

Shuvo G Dastidar & Sachi G. Dastidar 

Partition Center

              In the post-Covid pandemic, Partition Center organized a hybrid annual meeting with limited in person presence and on-line participation. We were able to bring American, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladesh and peoples of other nations, religions, regions, and languages together.

              This year out theme was “Connecting Indian Subcontinent on Women’s Social & Cultural Progress,” and with requests from India and Bangladesh commemorating the centenary of a young girl Nihar Kana Ghosh standing first in Dacca Circle, today’s Bangladesh, standing first in school exam from Madaripur city’s Donovan Girls’ School in 1919 winning a H.E. Ronald Shay Gold Medal from B.C. Chattabji, Bar-At-Law and accolade from the British Governor General’s Office. She could have been the first girl to achieve that height. 


              Shuvo G. Dastidar

     The forum opened with Board Member Dr. Shefali S. Dastidar welcoming guests and speakers, with a brief introduction of ISPaD. This was followed by Project Coordinator Shuvo presenting the annual report with an update of work done and difficulties faced during Covid pandemic, followed by an in-person panel on Women’s Narrative: Progress and Struggle with two pioneering individuals: Mrs. Swapna Mukherji, of Long Island, and one of the first Electrical Engineering graduates of India graduating in 1960s from the Bengal Engineering College of Calcutta University, West Bengal State of India. She highlighted how her family was in full support of the new path while there were other skeptics. Mrs. Mukherjee mentioned that when she went to B. E. College, there were barely a dozen girls and 4,000+ boys attending the residential engineering college. After briefly working in India she moved to New York in early 1970s with her husband Prabal, a graduate of the same college. 


              The next speaker Hon. Victoria Gumbs Moore, a pioneering lawyer and an elected African-American judge on Long Island told her story of moving up the ladder rising from a family with modest background to the current high profile position. She explained how her hard working parents encouraged her to overcome obstacles, as they struggled with their own lives, but sent their kids to higher education. She mentioned that it is not surprising that even in tolerant and diverse New York State that there could be a single minority judge among a dozen judges in some local areas. That surprised her and her colleagues. 



             After their presentation there were brief question and answer session.

              Next was on-line session, Connecting Indian Subcontinent on Women’s, Social & Cultural Progress, with in-person moderation by Dr. Alireza Ebrahimi, a professor at the State University of New York. In this session speakers came from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Technology allowed ISPaD to bring people in one place. The first speaker was Mrs. Pratima RoyChowdhury of Kolkata, India, with her daughter Anindita Ghosh Dastidar of Toronto, Canada presented the story of her grandma Nihar Kana Ghosh standing first in 1919 in the huge Dhaka Circle of today’s Bangladesh from Donovan Girls’ School of Madaripur City of east Bengal Province of British India. Anindita mentioned that her family is trying to establish Nihar Kana Ghosh Centenary Scholarships at Donovan Girls’ , with celebration in Madaripur City. Ms. Ghosh was possibly the first girl to stand first receiving accolade from the British Governor General and a H.E. Ronald Shay Gold Medal from B. C. Chattabji, Bar-At-Law of east Bengal, now Bangladesh.


               Dr. Alireza Ebrahimi

 Ms. Anindita Ghosh Dastidar of Canada representing Pratima RoyChowdhury of India

 Ms, Nihar Kaha Ghosh's Gold Medal for Standing First in 1919

    Mr. Debabrata Mazumdar of Kolkata, India spoke next. Mr. Mazumdar, a Bangladeshi-Indian-Hindu refugee explained his struggle to survive in East Pakistan, later called Bangladesh, as a minority Hindu in a Muslim-majority post-partition era. He mentioned that ke lost family members during post-partition pogrom against minorities. Struggle for a highly educated family was not easy. At times his son Debotosh joined from Virginia for translation.


             Mr. Debrata Mazumdar of India

    Next speaker was Prof. Dr. Pervaiz Hoodbhoy of Pakistan and a noted scholar, and a secularist Muslim. Dr. Hoodbhoy explained how he sees failure of a two-nations Muslim-Non-Muslim partition of India, especially after the breakup of majority East Pakistan, and struggle to bring a diverse Muslim population of Pakistan together. (Earlier at ISPaD interview of him me mentioned how his Muslim cousin moved to “Hindu” India from Islamic Pakistan after partition of India.) Dr. Hoodbhoy mentioned that secularist struggle in Pakistan is not easy.