Monday, July 4, 2016

Partition Center Journal 2014 -- Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Inc.

ISPaD Partition  Center
Journal 2014

Editor: Sachi G. Dastidar, Ph.D.
Published by
Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project (ISPaD)
New York
Jamaica, Queens, New York City

The Table of Contents

Third (2013) Conference Report by    Shuvo G Dastidar                           Page 1
Bangladesh towards complete eviction of Hindus 
      Bimal Pramanik                                                                                            2
Why do Compliance Failures Start in Central Asia?
    Nurlan Sarsenov                                                                                              6
Products of Indian Subcontinent’s Irrational Partitions – Wars, Intolerance, Terrorism, Militancy and Religious Radicalism!
    Amalendu Chatterjee                                                                                      9
Bengal’s Partition and Assam’s Environmental and Cultural Catastrophe
  Richard Benkin                                                                                               15
Migrant Settlers in India’s Assam
  Amanda Tersigni                                                                                             21
A  Trial for Bangladesh War Crimes
Khaledur Rahman Shakil                                                                                    27
India Election 2014: The Pundits, Media, the Left in Partitioned Bengal,  Contradictions and Misinformation
Sachi G. Dastidar                                                                                              36
Raj Pal’s Act of Blasphemy : Parting of the Ways Between Hindus and Muslims of Northwest Frontier Province (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the Adjoining Khyber Agency
Naushad Khan                                                                                                   48

Sponsors:                                                                                                           49—68
Cover Picture: Historic 17th Century terracotta Kantajee Mandir (Temple) of Dinajpur, Bangladesh constructed by Raja Prananath and Raja Ramanath  (Picture by Sachi G. Dastidar)

© Ispad Project Inc. NY

Date: October 2014
Editor:  Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar
ISPaD Office, 85-60 Parsons Blvd, Ist Floor, Jamaica, NY 11432
Phone: 917-524-0035

Editorial Board: Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar, New York,; Dr. Tom Lilly, Long Island;  Dr. Anil Kumar Saha, New York; Dr. Ratna Karmakar, New Jersey; Dr. Caroline Sawyer, New York

Price: $5 Dollars; $7.50 by mail
Third ISPaD (2013) Partition:
Conference: A Report

Shuvo Dastidar
Ispad Project Coordinator

  The 4th Partition Center Conference was organized by ISPaD: The Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project and was held on October 19, 2013 at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, Long Island, New York. The Conference was opened by its chair, Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar. The Keynote Speech was given by New York social activist Pabitra Chowdhury and delegates were welcomed by SUNY Old Westbury Vice President Dr. M.L. Langlie and by Arts & Science Dean Dr. Barbara Hillery. Certainly noteworthy is the awarding of ISPaD Inspiration Awards to Professor Dr. Becke Kalmans and Vice President Len Davis for their unwavering support of The ISPaD Project since its inception. Thereafter four sessions were held, the topics of these four panels were:

1. Morals and Rights Issues— (Mahmoud Reza Ebrahimi, Iran & Prof. Ali Reza Ebrahimi, NY, “Life in the Border”; Alexandra Mercurio “Muslims in France”; Amamda Tersigni “Migrants in Assam”; Prof. Sachi G. Dastidar and Shuvo Dastidar on “Ideas for a Documentation Center”); 2. Human Rights and Other Issues around the World—(Prof. Caroline Sawyer and Prof. Sandeep Singh “Punjabi Language and Culture since Partition”; Prof. Chitta Ranjan Mondol “The Tale of Woes”; Ramen Nandi on “Quandaries in Implementation of Bangladesh Vested Property Act”; Nivea Jackson on “Women of Kashmir”); 3. Displacement/Memories of Refugees, Survivors & Protectors—First Person Narrative (Ashok Karmaker, Esq, “Atrocities on Hindus during 2001-2006: A Crime Against Humanity under the ICC Statute”; Priyotosh Dey on “My Village Moghadia and my Childhood in Mrisarai, I Miss It”; Pratip Dasgupta “Effects of Indian Partition on my Family”); and a panel on (4) Music that Unites & D. L Roy 150th Anniversary Commemoration. Mrs. Aparna Sarkar explained with Songs of Independence how music brought people of all faiths in Bangladesh together during her struggle for freedom against the Pakistan Army and its intolerant Islamist allies.  Ms. Sweta Goswami's – a US-born business executive – classical Indian dance performance, as well as the beautiful voice of her mother, Mrs. Shubhra Goswami, a NYC school teacher, enchanted the attendees with their artistic presentations. The session was dedicated to the 150th birth anniversary celebration of Indian nationalist song writer, composer and singer Dwijendra Lal (D.L.) Roy.

  The sessions were chaired by Prof. Tom Lilly, Prof. Larry Krause, Prof. Caroline Sawyer and Dr. Shefali S. Dastidar respectively. After the conference ended, over thirty conference attendees joined campus’s Panther Pride Homecoming activities throughout the SUNY Old Westbury Campus. Essentially, an academic carnival was followed by a festival.

Mr. Pabitra Chaudhuri is giving his Keynote Speech asking participants to be vigilant in protecting rights of all peoples — majority and minority.

    The second ISPaD Partition Center Journal 2013 was released at the occasion of the Conference. The Journal contained articles from the U.S., India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Some of the articles included 2012 Ispad Conference Report (Shuvo Dastidar of Ispad); Kashmiri Hindus: Living in Exile (Reshmi Koul of Massachusetts); (Pakistan’s) Coexistence with India (Mobarak Haidar  of Pakistan); Raja Ram Mohon Roy and Arnos Vale Cemetery of Bristol (Sachi G. Dastidar of New York): Impact of Partition on Culture and Faith in Punjab (Caroline Sawyer of New York); Liberation War and Identity Crisis of Bangladeshi Muslims (Bimal Pramanik of Bangladesh and India); Education of Muslim Women in Colonial Bangla Literature (Swarochish Sarkar of Bangladesh); Silence of the Dead: Policy of the Government of India for the Persecuted Hindus (Ramen Nandi of New Jersey); From Partition to Bangladesh: On the Trajectory of a Troubled Quest (Mohsin Siddique of Maryland); and NY State Turns to Mediation (Tom Lilly of Long Island).

Bangladesh Towards Complete Eviction of Hindus

Bimal Pramanik

Director, Centre for Research in Indo-Bangladesh Relations, Kolkata; and Former Deputy Commander of Bangladesh Liberation Force Southwest Sector

    Persecution, torture, rape, loot and arson on the Hindu community are a common phenomenon in the history of Bangladesh since its independence.  It is a religio-political phenomenon, but, most of the time, political leadership and their cohorts irrespective of  color often use this weapon on the Hindu community both on internal political issues and issues of international incidents, particularly, in the neighboring country India.
   India as well as Bengal partitioned on religious ground and created a clear division among the Hindu-Muslim population. Since then Muslim leadership both in East Pakistan and present Bangladesh think alike on Hindu community. Actually, they do not want that Hindu community live in Bangladesh with dignity and rights, because, they were not willing to build a democratic attitude towards Hindu community and far away from amity. Apart from that they have been inheriting Muslim League (Islamic) legacy i.e. Pakistani thought. Majority population of Bangladesh still not accepts Bengali nationalism. Bangladeshi nationalism i,e, Muslim first then Bengali which was introduced by General Ziaur Rahman, later President, is more acceptable to Bangladeshi Muslim. So, liberation war could not change Islamic concept in the majority population. Even a part of AL leadership thinks alike with BNP-BJI (Bangladesh Nationalist Party – Bangladesh Jamat-e-Islami) on this issue. For that reason, involvement of AL (pro-secularist Awami League Party) supporters with BNP-BJI were seen everywhere during atrocities on minorities.
    As a result, Hindu population declined steadily in East Pakistan and Bangladesh since partition in 1947. A trend is given below:
Table 1:
Steady declination of Hindu population in Bangladesh 1951-2011 (1)

1951 (%)
1974 (%)
1981 (%)
1991 (%)
2001 (%)
2011 (%)

Source: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, published in Prathom Alo, a Bangla daily from Dhaka, 22.09.2012

    It is a hard reality that, no government was ever interested to protect the minority community in the state and society both in Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Even in recent times a lot of communal incidents happened all over Bangladesh at the last phase of AL’s rule and the role of the government was disappointing.
    ‘Only one thing is discernible, and that was the fate of hapless and hopeless Hindus, who sacrificed in the 1971 freedom struggle, but appeared to be neglected after the assassination of President and Founding Father Mujibur Rahman, and started moving as an endless flock of people from Bangladesh to multiple directions into the land of India. Both the Central and neighboring state governments of Bangladesh were generally aware of this development, yet no concern was visible.

    This sordid impact of Bangladeshi immigration upon India is but a logical consequence of the stark failure of Bangladesh to evolve as a secular multicultural polity. The ruling circle of present day Bangladesh is determined not only to broaden and deepen the Islamization of Bangladesh. It is an open secret that in Bangladesh many international radical Islamic outfits with aggressive fundamentalist agendas are making all efforts to envelop Bangladesh socio-cultural fabrics with new Islamic prints and designs at the cost of the liberal tenets of Islam.’ (2)
  In Bangladesh era, oppression against minorities, particularly, against the Hindus is nothing new. At the time of every election, whoever won or lost, incidents of atrocities happened on Hindus. Not only in election time, entire period of so called democratic or dictatorial rule since its independence, oppressions on minorities seen more or less everywhere in Bangladesh irrespective of party in power or in opposition. It is a legacy of Muslim politics in Indian subcontinent.
    Though it is obligatory for any government to execute a) proper investigation of the communal incidents, b) infliction of punishment, c) identification of  the causes behind atrocities and its remedies and d) assurance of security to the minorities, but alas! No governments were active to take any initiative to bring the perpetrators to book.
    During the period of last election (5 January, 2014), a lot of communal incidents were seen in the districts of Satkhira, Jessore, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat, Bogra, Pabna, Bhola, Feni, Moulvibazar, Sirazgonj and others.  Well before election, leadership of minority communities and several NGOs appeal to the government and Election Commission to take precautionary measures regarding security of minority not only on Election Day but also for pre and post election period. Government and Election Commission assured them of full security deploying army and Para-militia all over the country. But they failed to protect minority villages from aggression of looters, land grabbers, rapists and political goons of different colors. Advocate Subrata Choudhury, presidium member, Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council told to press on 17th January, ‘we did not see any role of joint forces or police forces at the time of atrocities on minorities, particularly, Hindus at Abhoynagar and Monirampur under Jessore district during last election. Can we say that, there is no instigation of the government behind these incidents directly or indirectly? Shall we get justice from the government? If it is not possible to free the bias of the Constitution, this type of atrocities will be continuing in future. It is unthinkable that this type of serious attack on minorities never happened without government or administrative support overtly or covertly’. (3) Leaders of sixty eight leading women and human rights organizations in Bangladesh opined that, ‘communal terrorism on minorities in Bangladesh resistless due to stark failure of the State and Judiciary. 27 cases filed on 2001 communal pogroms, but not a single judgment out till today’. (4)
‘Ekattarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul (Eradication of Killers and Collaborators of 1971) Committee led by eminent Human Rights worker Shahriar Kabir has documented 1500 days incidents all over Bangladesh by three volumes before and after 2001 general election owned by (pro-Islamist) BNP led alliance. 4179 selected reports have published during malicious, looting of houses, grabbing of land and eviction from residences, destroyed temples and deities, extortion of money and ransom, rape of womenfolk etc.’ (5)
 Dr. Anisuzzaman, Emeritus Professor of Dhaka University and leader of Rukhe Daraon Bangladesh (Affronting Bangladesh) opined that ‘we shall not keep communal harmony by police forces or through constitutional arrangement; it is related with our mentality’, that is important. (6)
    Now question is, were the governments or administrations willing to protect peaceful living of minorities in Bangladesh? If answer is yes, then, how the Hindu population declined from 13.5% in 1974 to 8.5% in 2011 during 36 years? It is amply clear that all assurances were given by the successive governments and intelligentsia of Bangladesh since its inception was nothing but lip service. Now, Hindu community is appealing to the government of Bangladesh ‘omits our names from voter list or arrange separate electorate for us. It can save Hindu community from the target during election time’. (7)
    It is observed that, main reasons of attack on Hindu communities are land grabbing and so-called vote bank of AL. Radical Islamic ideology is justifying attack on non-Islamic religious places like temples, pagodas, churches etc., by saying that perpetrators are from different cross-section of society irrespective of political belief.
    Religion based political organizations or radical Islamic forces have no moral or ethical character. When the Koran was burnt into ashes by their cadres at Baitulmukarram, Dhaka, all these religio-political Mullahs (Moulanas)  and preachers of Islam were silent. These defenders of Islam are nothing but aggressors of non-Muslims, and teaching their cadres how to oppress non-Muslims through madrassas and religious subjects taught in schools. So protection of Hindus in Bangladesh is impossible. It is as like as other Islamic countries in the world. If AL government wants to protect non-Muslims, particularly, Hindus in Bangladesh, four steps should be taken immediately; ‘i) rehabilitation and compensation to  the victims, ii) implementation of uniform education policy for all the people of Bangladesh and ban non-government private madrassas,  iii) ban on religion based politics, and iv) implement rule of law for all citizens.’ (8)
    Bangladesh High Court ordered the government to form a judicial commission on 6 May, 2009 against an appeal of a NGO ‘Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh’; to investigate communal pogrom and atrocities after 2001 general election won by BNP led alliance. Government formed three member commission headed by a retired district judge. The Commission produced its report to the Home minister on 24 April, 2011. There were 5571 complaints in the report of which 355 are murder charges, 3270 raping and arson charges and other charges of heinous crimes. After receiving the report, the then Home minister Ms. Sahara Khatun told to the press people, ‘perpetrators shall be brought to book’. (9) But nothing happened during the last tenure of AL led government. People have forgotten the commitment of the government as well as role of Begum Khaleda Zia government and their cohorts who were the main culprits.
    This is Bangladesh! How can one expect justice from the government? The minority community participated in the war of liberation with the expectation that in the newly liberated country they would enjoy equal status and rights along with the majority community. But in practice, persecution of the minority continued even after independence. The forms of oppression of the religious minorities in Bangladesh are many fold. Constitutionally, they have been downgraded; economically, they have been crippled through different discriminatory laws and practices; politically, they have been segregated and alienated from the main stream; and nationally they are used as subjects tortured through communal riots organized by the government for counteracting political unrest against the ruling party. As a consequence of the discriminatory policies, combined with land grabbing, looting, arson, rape, murder and attack on religious institutions of the religious minorities with the collusion, if not instigation, of the government or semi-government agencies, there has been a continuous exodus of the minorities from Bangladesh.
    Anti-Hindu as well as anti-India sentiment is growing faster in Bangladesh because of socio-cultural transformation since its inception. To raise the issue of India’s so called highhandedness and guardianship most of the Bangladeshis have been trying to retaliate against India through the Hindu community. It is a deep rooted perception that ‘Hindus are friend of India, don’t trust them. Hindus are idol worshiper, they will go to hell directly; Christians are disciples of one prophet, so you may believe Christian or Jews, but never believe Hindus.’ (10)   Post partition propaganda by Muslim clerics Mullahs (Maolanas), this perception is now deep-seated in the society of Bangladesh.
    In this socio-cultural backdrop and fear of so-called ‘India friendly party’ identity, AL is not eager to protect Hindu community most of the time. Then who will protect them? Which are the remaining forces in Bangladesh? Has India any thought regarding Bangladeshi Hindus?
1. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, published in Prothom Alo, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 22.09.2012.
2. Endangered Demography, Bimal Pramanik, G.C. Modak, Kolkata, 2005
3. Amader Samay, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 18.01.2014.
4. Janakantha, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 22.01.2014
5. Janakantha, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 05.02.2014
6. Amader Samay, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 22.01.2014.
7. Prothom Alo, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 16.01.2014
8. Nasiruddin Yusuf, president, Sammilita Sanskritik Jote (United Cultural Forum), Janakantha, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 13.01.2014
9. Bhorer Kagoj, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 14.01.2014.
10. Bhorer Kagoj, a Bengali daily from Dhaka, 14.01.2014

Why do Compliance Failures Start in Central Asia?

Dr. Nurlan Sarsenov,  MBA, CCEP

Dr. Sarsenov ( is a Founding Partner, CEO, and Principal Consultant of Sarsenov’s Corporate Governance Advisory in New York.
(Since the breakup of the Soviet Union and division of nationalities, linguistic and cultural groups several problems of governance and identity have emerged. This research focuses on one such area.)
· Compliance challenges are very high in the Post-Soviet countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
· EBRD and World Bank rank corruption among the top obstacles for the businesses of representative firms in most Central Asian countries.
· The number of cases is increasing in Central Asia as SEC and the Ministry of Justice take a very hard stand on foreign corruption.
· Outright workplace harassment, stealing of office supplies, reimbursing of inflated personal expenses, and personal use of corporate properties are among the most common violations.
    Unless global compliance and ethics programs pay attention to local business customs and cultural specifics, the pendulum of severe reputational damage and heavy penalties will always be swinging.

    Do Central Asia and compliance have something in common? Ethics and compliance policies have always been viewed among the most undesired things to deal with, even at headquarter offices of many multinationals. The 2013 BDO’s Board Survey (1) revealed that compliance is the area corporate directors prefer to spend less time on. If it is so, someone can imagine how much employees and managers at local offices, with their totally different cultural backgrounds, would view compliance and ethics as “burdensome.”
    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank rank corruption among the top obstacles for the business of representative firms in most of Central Asian countries. (2) (3) The 2013 Global Corruption Barometer says that from 34% to 50% of the population is paying bribes in Post-Soviet Central Asian countries.(4) Central Asia stands out from other regions, showing the highest third-party risk also. KPMG’s 2013 analysis shows 53% of red reports on third parties in Central Asia – the highest of all geographical regions.(5)
    This all means very high exposure to foreign corruption and other compliance risks for multinationals with businesses in Central Asia. And, by the way, at least six high-profile FCPA cases have emerged, up from zero for the last several years in this region.(6)
    Our experience of working in the region proves that if no due adaptation work is done to global corporate ethics policies and procedures, they are not going to be appropriately understood by local managers and employees in Central Asia. Rather, they are always neglected by both local managers and many expats. The business culture of this region is particularly different. Non-compliance is a way of life, which has already brought some multinationals to very bad worldwide “fame” here in the region.
    To be honest, non-customized corporate ethics standards, coupled with standardized regular trainings, often have very low effect. Normally, around 15% to 20% of local managers take such “imported standards” seriously.
    Outright workplace harassment, stealing of office supplies, reimbursement of inflated out-of-pocket expenses, and personal use of corporate properties are normal occurrences across the region, in violation of all ethics policies. You will only be able to detect something wrong is happening when a violation inevitably transforms into something bigger, with huge reputational and financial consequences. We all know well that if small misdeeds go undetected and unpunished, they never stop there.
    The point is: the culture is not simply different in Central Asia, but it is a big factor that strongly undermines otherwise very good compliance and ethics programs. What is good in the U.S. may be considered inappropriate in Kyrgyzstan or in Kazakhstan, and this really factors into a different perception of ethics and compliance.
    Why Central Asia is so special?
We all remember when the discovery of horse DNA in hamburger meat for sale at supermarkets caused an uproar in Europe in early 2013. Of course, many in the U.S. also felt horrible about that. On the contrary, horse meat has always been considered the most delicious and most expensive in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, usually eaten only for special occasions.
    You probably would be scared at restaurants in Central Asia when served with a black, whole, boiled head of sheep on your plate, with its teeth and eyes staring and with its tongue hanging out of its mouth. It even sounds horrible, does it not? But it is how they treat the most honorable guests in some countries of Central Asia.
    If someone ahead of you in traffic in Kazakhstan blinks the turn signals on his car, you probably would not understand that he is saying “Thank you” to you. Why would he do that? Well, probably for you yielding way for him. Astonished? Of course. There are thousands of other things that would surprise you.
    But differences are not all about food or traffic. Informal, unwritten, and unknown differences are everywhere, including the business field. This requires that compliance officers either customize and adapt business conduct policies for Central Asian local offices, or increase dumb enforcement of existing global standards by setting stronger penalties (which is the least effective way, I think).
Based on thousands of interviews and more than a decade of research on over 40 countries, culture scholar Geert Hofstede identified five dimensions that distinguish all cultures across the countries. (7)    Those dimensions are:
    Power distance: the degree of inequality that exists and that is accepted among people with and without power.
    Individualism: the strength or weakness of the ties people tend to have with others in their community.
    Masculinity: how much a society values and exhibits traditional male and female roles and expects them to be different.
    Uncertainty avoidance: the degree of anxiety people feel in an uncertain or unfamiliar situation.
    Long-term orientation: a focus on long-term planning, delivering on social obligations, and avoiding loosing face.
    These five dimensions distinguish all cultures across the countries.
    The problem for Central Asia is that the cultural dimensions that have been put into the base of most U.S. and European compliance and ethics programs differ radically from those cultural dimensions of the people who live in Central Asia.
    Employees in Central Asian offices might not let you know they disagree with you on some important points. This is inherent in most of Central Asian cultures. Your compliance manager and other staff may not be raising an issue when they should be. The compliance manager lives in a different ethics dimension, a different reality. That being said, he has to live with double standards, where one is the corporate standard and the other is local ethics.
    There are so many conflicts between these standards. When the local manager agrees with you, it does not necessarily mean he understands or shares your view. It might look very impolite from your local subordinate’s view if he/she disagrees with you or criticizes your point. So, if you are not attentive to cultural barriers in Central Asia, you may end up totally unaware of the real picture of compliance control effectiveness on the ground.

    Is it really hard to prevent failures in Central Asia?
    Cultural differences are a vital issue if you want to effectively implement global compliance and ethics standards in Central Asia. A huge cultural gap exists, and there is a lot of work that should be done to fill the gap, before your corporate ethics policies start working in these countries.
    Corruption is a way of doing business in many of these countries. That is why Central Asia stands out in many corruption, fraud, and money laundering rankings. 
    Since the last cases happened here, unfortunately, nothing positively changed in terms of corruption in Kazakhstan, or Uzbekistan, or Kyrgyzstan. The same people today at local governments are still doing the same businesses, applying the same “tactics” which might impact your local businesses the same way. However, the number of corruption cases is going to increase in the region. This is the only change we are observing so far.
    The good news is that preventing such big crashes here is much easier than dealing with devastating consequences. Just making global policies local means making them really work, which in turn means protecting your company from very serious foreign corruption and fraud exposure. With no such adaptation, even the best ethics standards would, unfortunately, miss the point and get misunderstood.

(1) See 2013 BDO Board Survey. Available at
(2) “European Bank for Reconstruction and Development: Recovery and Reform,” EBRD 2010 Transition Report. Available at; and EBRD
(3) World Bank's 2009 Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS). Available at 
(4) Transparency International: 2013 Global Corruption Barometer. July 19, 2013.  Available at
(5) KPMG: Astrus Insights KPMG’s Analysis of Third-Party Integrity Risks, Edition 1. 2013. Available at
(6) For FCPA cases in Central Asian countries, please, see Securities and Exchange Commissions website page at
(7) Geert Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Beliefs, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations. 2010, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
 Products of Indian Subcontinent’s Irrational Partitions – Wars, Intolerance, Terrorism, Militancy and Religious Radicalism!

Dr. Amalendu Chatterjee

 A. Chatterjee was born before Indian partition in an Island of Bay of Bengal which happens to be in Bangladesh now. He did his Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 1967. He was posted in Kaptai Project during the liberation movement. He fled Kaptai for fear of his life and was actively involved at Mujibnagar, the First Capital of Bangladesh during 1971 Liberation War. He has a Ph.D. from Canada,. He cofounded a software company in 1999.  He lives with family in the South.

    Introduction - There is no shortage of books on the division of India into India and Pakistan [1], [2], [3]. There is also no shortage of books on the Bangladesh liberation movement [4], [5]. There are also many writings on India-Pakistan wars [10]. India was first divided into two parts by architects of two parties – Congress Party and Muslim League Party on the basis of religion when Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement was gaining support locally as well as by the British Empire. The Bangladesh liberation was achieved through the arms struggle against the powerful Pakistani army. Of course, powerful nation like USA supported Pakistan – a conspiracy of Nixon-Kissinger duo to make a deal with communist China. There are many other differences between these two struggles. Secular, liberal Muslims and Hindus of Bangladesh fought against the Pakistani army together. Casualties and sufferings of people and damage of properties were worse in the Bangladesh liberation. Fortunately, religions did not play a direct role but Hindus and intellectuals were targeted by the army at the beginning to create a scary situation for the general citizens. It backfired on the general mass and timely participation of Indian army with the Bangladesh liberation forces had advanced the liberation of Bangladesh so quickly that adverse countries could not change the inevitable course. Smart international political maneuvering by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister, was unprecedented.  Independent Bangladesh is still fighting its religious radicals to form its proper identity –‘ a may be exemplary Muslim country’ with true democracy and secular constitution. Hope is slim but still possible. Sufferings of Hindus under two military Bangladeshi Generals, Major Zia and General Ershad and Prime Minister Khaleda Zia since 1975 know no bounds –a worst result of partition or liberation. India-Bangladesh relationship deteriorated due to meddling by ISI of Pakistan on the basis of religious grounds. In spite of all those adverse elements, Bangladesh-India trade balance and remittances of Bangladeshi immigrant workers show a promising result (6% of Bangladesh’s GDP and 50% of world’s remittances from India) – more of it will help a potential dynamic relationship. This is a great news and if one can rise above religious differences, the potential of Bangladesh-India relation can go a long way for improving the economic condition of the people.
    Unfortunately, over 93,000 Pakistani soldiers went unpunished for killing 3 million people and making 10 million homeless including uncounted numbers of raped victims [9], [10]. These soldiers and their generals took upon themselves to initiate terrorism against India vigorously. They worked hand in hand with Kashmiri militants. Some of these militants are called Talibans as we know after 9/11. They got full support from Pakistan Military Government’s so called Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). They even helped Khalistan movement against India. Different statements made in the national and International media (CNN, MSNBC, India Abroad, etc.) by these Generals and Presidents such as Ameer Abdullah Khan Niazi, Hamid Gul, Pervez Musharraf, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and many others prove deep hatred for India and non-Muslim citizens. Pervez Musharraf, the then President of Pakistan, even made bold statement in the western media saying that terrorism against India is not the same as terrorism against America in the face of such heinous crime in front of the Delhi parliament. This hatred spread over generation’s blood stream since 1947 so much so that there were suicide bomb attacks in Indian big cities by Muslim radicals. The last one is in Mumbai. Masterminds of the Mumbai attack were two Pakistani Americans and it was carried out in collaboration with Pakistani ISI forces. One of them is David Headley and the other one is Tahawwur Hussain Rana. Had there been no partition, such crimes could have been prevented or contained much easily. Pakistan’s objective to acquire nuclear power was to destroy India – the message articulated by its leaders many times in the world’s stage. With no strong civilian government and irrational internal terrorism in Pakistan for a strong religious country by Talibans that fear is growing stronger and stronger - a time bomb of the next century and the worst dream of the partition. There is hardly any book or article on the movement of these 93,000 soldiers, their role in forming terror cells, their conspiracy with various militants, influence on the Pakistani military government, and lastly the impact of 9/11 to the subcontinent’s geopolitical future. This article is an attempt to highlight some concerns.
    Based on the background given above, this paper identifies many relevant issues for the political pundits and the world’s leaders especially Indian leaders to ponder upon. One should ask – should this world be a place for rationale human beings or a place of religious zealots? Partitions of countries on religious, social or cultural differences have polarized the world and may not bring the best solution. Religious hatred, terrorism and militancy are products of such polarizations. Priorities should be economy, job, improvement of living condition of poor people and equal opportunities for all. Days of big brother countries dictating the fate of people based on dictatorial regimes are over. Examples are Arab springs. The newly elected prime minster of India, Mr. Modi’s gesture and willingness to improve the situation may be a welcome sign if reciprocated by affected countries.
    India Abroad Article and Issues Identified: There was an article published in the India Abroad on December 29, 2013 with the caption, ‘America Sacrificed Mumbai’. There are some denialists for events like this including Pakistani torture and rapes during the 1971 liberation war [11]. These articles failed to articulate the present and future landscape of terrorism after Indian partitions into three pieces – first Pakistan and India in 1947 and then Pakistan, Bangladesh and India in 1971. It neither narrated the impact of the close cooperation between extreme radical groups residing in both Pakistan and Bangladesh. The root of terrorism started when Pakistan democratic parliament succumbed to the military power and the Pakistani military invaded Kashmir [11], [12]. Pakistani military formed a special branch called Intelligent Services Intelligent (ISI) and through the organization started training militants and insurgents in Indian controlled territory. The influence of those insurgents and militants were not felt strongly in East Pakistan before 1971. It changed after Bangladesh lost its democracy under the rulers of Major Ziaur Rahman, general Ershad and then Bangladesh National Party (BNP) with a coalition with Jamaite-Islam, a radical Islamic Party of Pakistan. The fear of terrorism and the Hindu hating escalated in Bangladesh. The India Abroad article raised many questions than answers to curb terrorism especially state sponsored terrorism. I am trying to add some more perspectives on the subject. The USA became aware of the state sponsored terrorism after 9/11 and has been trying to draw world’s attention since then. We, Bangladeshi minorities and Indians, had been aware of it since the division of India by the British Empire. Two generations of population grew up under the Pakistani military with an attitude of hate towards India and minorities. That was the mean and still is the mean Pakistan military dictators chose to rule the country. That was also the reason for the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. The India Abroad article raised only three unanswered questions related to 26/11 massacre: Missing Paper of David Headley, Who is Honey Bee and Is all the Siege Information Authentic?
    Additional Issues – More potential issues need to be raised to stop possible future 9/11, 11/26s or like in India, Bangladesh or even in Pakistan and elsewhere.
  Bangladesh Situation – The country is torn apart by many radical and aggressive Islamic elements promoting Shariat law. The power of Islamic alliance increased manifolds after the present Hasina government started trials of all perpetrators of 1971 genocide. Even after the 1971 genocide, many minorities were either killed or forced out to India during Bangladesh election of 2001 when President Bush declared the war against Al-Quaida. The killing of those minorities was committed by some leaders of the current opposition party (BNP) in collaboration with many other Islamic radical parties. The crime of those minorities was that they did not vote for BNP party candidates. In that year, BNP also introduced many Islamic regulations to the then secular Bangladesh constitution. BNP was a dangerous coalition with no respect for other religions. Mr. Prabitra Chaudhury’s letter, ‘Don’t ignore Bangladesh’ published on December 6, 2013, India Abroad highlighted some of those. Bangladesh’s BNP has a strong liaison with Jamat-e-Islami, radical Islam. Lashkar-e-Tayiba through the central Jamai-e-Islami party is supporting Bangladeshi radicals against India. Those opposition parties are also getting support from Saudi Wahabi group to establish Madrasahs and other radical Islamic teachings. In addition, millions of illegal Muslim workers (mostly women) are migrating to India especially to Assam and West Bengal for household work creating the possible home grown terror cell. They are also getting Indian residency with the help local corrupt political administration to increase supporting vote banks. Simply put, the USA does not realize the Bangladesh situation correctly as they underestimated Al-Quaida power in Afghanistan and Pakistan before 9/11. There may be many congressional hearings in the USA arguing favorably on behalf of democratically elected government of Bangladesh. The situation in the field is felt differently by all minorities because of Islamization of the constitution with biased judicial system. The similar situation prevails for minorities in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and other Middle East Countries.
· Radical Muslim Imams in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – They are enemies of the society as they spread unpatriotic messages. Many Imams are exploiting Indian secular constitution. Many examples of their Fatwa can be explained as serving imam’s own interests detrimental to the interest of the general Muslims in India. Taslima Nasreen, a Bangladeshi writer who took shelter in India is facing abuse by these imams. Her fault is writing about facts of Islam. In addition, they are abusing Indian secular constitutional power in the name of Muslim family law such as raping minors and then marrying her, stopping family planning, and above all women’s rights.
· Nawaz Sharif, the current Pakistani Prime Minister – His track record with India does not speak very well. He was prime minister of Pakistan during the period when Mr. Pervez Musharraf was the military chief. It was during that period Kargil war was initiated by Mr. Musharraf and Mr. Sharif did not court martial Mr. Musharraf though recommended by ISI and other military commissions [10]. Instead, he was promoted to the military chief position superseding others. It will be an exemplary action by the current Pakistani judicial system if Mr. Musharraf is prosecuted. That may stop the rest of military generals to coup against democratically elected government. Otherwise, the same old story will continue with no end of the state supported terrorism directly or indirectly. Another puzzle is that Mr. Sharif is from Kashmir and he selected General Sharif as the next Pakistani commander-in-chief who is also from Kashmir. I hope there is no conspiracy to get sympathy from Kashmiri hide outs of radicals. It may simply be a strange coincidence but I doubt.

Nuclear Weapons in Pakistan – Pakistan became a rogue country against India by empowering itself with nuclear weapons. Of course, the USA aid and continuous support since 1947 has created a balance of war power not economic power. The USA has taken a good policy against Iran on nuclear policy though Israel is objecting. The USA-India relationship must also curb Pakistan’s future use of such weapons as a threat in case terrorism between two countries goes out of control - very likely due to home grown radicalism with close to 200 millions Indian Muslims. Most of them, I am sure, are peace loving citizens but it takes only a few to create the havoc. The · USA is spending billions, if not trillions, to stop home grown terrorism with only 3 million Muslims, most of them, of course, are regular people like any other citizen. With Indian corrupt political and economic system and cry for minority votes, Indian internal terror cells will be hard to beat. 
· Pervez Musharraf, ex President of Pakistan – Mr. Musharraf, a charismatic military officer, always differentiated terrorism in India by Pakistani militants and terrorism against the USA by radical Muslims. During his Presidency he not only polluted the USA air media with this kind of duality but also deceived the US government for 8 long years. India needs media promotion to neutralize its impact – terrorism is terrorism (killing of innocent people) irrespective of its place of occurrence.
· General Niazi and 93,000 Defeated Soldiers, 1971 – Neither General Niazi nor any of his soldiers could take this humiliating defeat in the hand of Indian soldiers. Many of them in his own word, ‘We should never trust India’, wanted to take revenge. ISI took this opportunity to radicalize many of them as Talibans to fight against India similar to Mujahideens becoming Al-Qaida after USSR’s defeat. Surviving soldiers of those 93K and their next generation could be a time bomb for India. They have been poisoned by retired ISI generals. The proof of it is seen in General Hamid Gul and other general’s interviews with western journalists. In-fights of Talibans will increase in Pakistan creating a problem for full functioning democracy. One day, not very far from now, those terrorizing radicals who do not respect any other religions will get hold of Pakistani nuclear weapons to create a nightmare for India and the world.
    Unilateral Strategic Plan By India – The Prime Minister Modi fought the election not to please any block votes or any specific group. He ran the election platform on the basis of equal opportunity for all. Both the congress party and the communist party (especially in West Bengal) always played this game of block votes. Many Muslims crossed the border from Bangladesh and took that advantage of Indian benevolent laws to influence the election. These Bangladeshis also created additional problems in West Bengal as well as in Assam. They crossed the border to take economic advantage of India. If economic conditions improve Bangladeshis will not have crossed the border. Bilateral cooperation is more important than creating a partition on the false ground of separate identity. Partition or no partition, Mr. Modi can take many unilateral decision to improve bilateral relationship between many neighboring countries. This will be an exemplary role of Muslim and non-Muslim countries working together for the world.
    USA was not optimistic or confident that Mr. Modi can win the election. After his win, USA made a unilateral goodwill gesture to give him a visa with a special unprecedented date for a bilateral meeting during United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and also outlined an American Wish-List, India Abroad, dated June 13, 2014. This American Wish-List was developed by senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia), co-chair of the bipartisan Senate India Caucus. America’s wish-list and America’s priority may not match with that of India. Mr. Modi’s goodwill gesture was to invite all his adverse neighbors in his inauguration ceremony. That was an excellent move and sets the priority of his government. Bitter relationship with Pakistan and Bangladesh must end – a curse of partition. Improved relation will benefit all citizens. Yes, USA relationship is important but may not be that critical at this moment of bilateral cooperation other than fighting the terrorism within India. Domestic action plan of 100 days or 1000 days  is required – fighting corruptions, infrastructures of land, sea and air transportation as China has done to attract foreign investment not only USA, robust IT/Telecom infrastructure, trade improvement to reduce trade balance with critical partners, quality of basic education, rural development (his election promise), equality of men and women in modern social fabric, and work ethics for all not only civil servants (corporations as well) to name a few. Rebuilding Afghanistan in collaboration with USA and Pakistan may be one of the priorities Mr. Modi may pursue in his own terms not due to nuclear threat from Pakistani military. In addition, Mr. Modi can  take the leadership to improve the relationship and both Pakistan and Bangladesh can take the advantage of the opportunity to remove the curse of partitions. Peace among them can lead to a healthier economic growth in the region even without the USA cooperation.
    Future Thought - Partitions of both Pakistan and Bangladesh made many millionaires and also created an environment for increasing religious hatred and intolerance including creation of a few self-dignified army generals and religious clerics. They do not realize that India has the largest population of Muslims under the secular constitution and democratic foundation since independence. Preservations of Muslim family laws in India may not be a good idea now for their own good [12], [13]. Religious practice should depend on individual choice not the national mandate. The progress of the country and also to build a relationship of neighboring countries will depend a close cooperation -  a coalition of global economy including free movement and independent thought of people coming together irrespective of their religious and social background. Lack of that understanding by leaders and citizens together will be harmful. Given the current state of affairs one question to be asked and answered as follows: Was partition of 1947 necessary?
     1. For India, it does not matter now. There are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. The democratic foundation has been rooted well and Muslims are all well represented politically, socially and culturally.
    2. For Pakistan, it is not a different answer but, in contrary, it is an opposite answer. It was not necessary. A country which could not get democratic process working even after 67 years does not have any right to speak of democracy of Kashmiri citizens. In the militarization process, Pakistan eliminated minorities to less than 1% and lost an ally, Bangladesh, and may also be on the verge of losing Baluchistan or North West Frontier Province.
    3. For Bangladesh, the answer is not clear. The intention was good and also it started well but could not keep up the pace. The future looks bleak though there is well intended thought prevailing in some secular corners- may need some reinforcement from outside and with positive and constructive outlook from inside. Time will tell, of course.

    (1) Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence – 10 Edition by Jaswant Singh
    (2) A History of Modern India 1480-1950 (South Asian Studies Series) by Claude Markovits, Meggy Hendry (Translator) and Nishi George (Translator)
   (3) The Great Partion The Making of India and Pakistan by Yasmin Khan
   (4) Zainul Abedin Great Master of Bangladesh by Rosa Maria (EDT)/Monsur Falvo
   (5)The Indian Air Force in the 1971 Liberation War – Eagles Over Bangladesh by P.V.S Jagan Mohan and Samir Chopra
    (6) YouTube’s Ispad1947 channel, Indian Subcontinent Partition Documents Project Interviews – Study conducted by Prof. Sachi Dastidar and ISPaD
    (7) Post-Doctoral Studies at Emory University by Shirin Keen, Spring 1998, Last edited: July 2012
    (8) Centre for Imperial and Post Colonial Studies at Southampton University by Profs. David Brown, Ilyas Chattha, Claire Eldridge, Stephanie Jones, John McAleer, Jane McDermid, Pritipuspa Mishra, and others
    (9) Different Documentaries and Books by Bangladesh Journalist Shariyar Kabir
   (10) Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia (Internet)
    (11) Woodrow Wilson Center’s Hosting of Dr. Sharmila Bose, Bangla Genocide Denialist
    (11) India Abroad, December 29, 2013 Issue and many other Issues before and After this December Issue
    (12) India Abroad, June 13 Issue, 2014 (Taking Charge By Prime Minister N. Modi)


Bengal’s Partition and Assam’s Environmental and Cultural Catastrophe

Dr. Richard L. Benkin

Dr. Benkin is a human rights activist, living in the Midwest. He holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: the Murder of Bangladesh’s Hindus. His current research interests include the environmental and cultural catastrophes in Assam.

    In 1905, the British partitioned Bengal into a western, Hindu sector and an eastern, Muslim sector.  They annulled the partition in 1911 due to Bengali unrest over their penchant to redraw Asian and African maps to suit their colonial purposes, leaving Bengalis divided.  Hindus largely opposed the partition as a British attempt to subdue the Indian population with a “divide and rule” policy.  Muslims largely favored it as a step toward autonomy.  These lingering divisions laid the groundwork for Bengal’s 1947 re-partitioning that made East Bengal part of Pakistan.  In 1971, East Pakistan (nee East Bengal) won its independence with India’s help in a bloody revolution.  Its immediate cause was the refusal by West Pakistan’s leaders to let Sheikh Mujibar Rahman form a government though his Bengali party won a majority of seats in the Pakistani parliament.  That capped an ongoing list of grievances by Pakistan’s Bengalis, who represented a majority of Pakistan’s population but occupied a second-class status in the country. (1)
    The new nation of Bangladesh was small, poor, devoid of significant resources, and incapable of sustaining its large and growing population.  Even the partitioners knew that such a polity could not survive on its own:  Britain paired it with Assam in 1905 and with West Pakistan (2) Thus the odds against the rump state of Bangladesh’s survival were long from the start, and the nation has done little in its 43 year history to suggest otherwise.  It is perennially poor, surviving on international donations; without a consistent rule of law; daily persecution of Hindus and other minorities goes unpunished; and an endemic culture of corruption. (3)

    Bangladesh’s history is one long tale of political instability with rotating periods of dictatorship or military rule interspersed with a “zero-sum” political war between two political parties (4) whose leaders would rather see the country fail than their rivals succeed.(5) Both have made deals with Islamists in an effort to win elections; and Bangladesh’s former dictator, General H. M. Ershad and his Jatiya (National) Party, who has been a part of the country’s ruling coalition till 2013, led by the Awami League which ironically postures itself as the liberal party. (6) Jatiya Party is the Official Opposition in BNP-boycotted Bangladesh Parliament.(7)  Compounding the problems, Bangladesh is the only country that ranks among the world’s ten most populous and the world’s ten most densely populated, which is akin to cramming every other American into an area around the size of New York State.  Bangladesh’s survival has therefore required continual out-migration of Bangladeshis to the contiguous Indian states of West Bengal and Assam.(8)
    Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed admitted as much on March 4, 2014, at the BIMSTEC (9) summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.  She told the assembled audience that Bangladesh was unable to sustain its population and blamed it on “climate change.”  As a result, she said, neighboring countries can expect more “climate refugees” from her country.(10)  It is doubtful she believed Myanmar and its ruling junta would accept them with open arms; neither could she expect a warm welcome from China/Tibet.  Nepal is too small and poor.  Bhutan, also too small, is already expelling its “foreigner” Hindus with Nepali roots.(11)  The only neighboring country that has been getting these Bangladeshi “infiltrators” and can expect more is India. (12)
    Climate change activists handed Hasina that excuse by contending that rising seas and reduced land mass are why Bangladesh cannot support its population.  They also provide ideological cover for illegal migration as Hasina’s BIMSTEC speech showed.  On the contrary, large scale East Bengali immigration to Assam predates the climate change issue by more than a century.  Assam’s 1931 census report noted that “probably the most important event in the province during the last 25 years, likely to alter permanently the whole structure of the Assamese culture and civilisation, has been the invasion of a vast hoard of land hungry Bengali immigrants… from the districts of Eastern Bengal.” (13)
    Its author, C. S. Mullan, also predicted that “in another 30 years [i.e. 1961], it was not improbable that Sibsagar (sic) district will be the only part of Assam in which an Assamese will find himself at home.”  Assam’s 2001 census appears to buttress Mullan’s warning:  Only Sivasagar and other eastern Assam districts not bordering Bangladesh or West Bengal continue to show tribal population dominance. (14)
    In 2012, Bhupen Kumar Nath, Dilip C. Nath and Biswanath Bhattacharya published what many consider the definitive study of illegal Bangladeshi immigration:
“The migration from Bangladesh to the Northeast region of India has been continuous throughout the twentieth century due to the reason of historical links, geographical and physical proximity.” (15)
    They note “better employment opportunities and availability of fertile agricultural land in Assam” as pull factors and “poverty, subsistence living, ravages caused by floods and other natural calamities in Bangladesh” as push factors existing throughout the twentieth century.  Recognizing the disparity between average annual population growth rates in Assam and India (an average yearly increase almost 50 percent higher for the entire 20th century); the authors applied the Leslie matrix for population (16) projection to extensive census data that include religion, language, mortality, fecundity, and migration (legal and illegal) for the 1971-1991 and 1991-2001 periods. (17)
    They concluded that migration made the difference in Assam’s higher population growth; and that the “unusual[ly] high growth of Muslim and Bengali population in Assam may be due to cross border illegal Muslim migrants from Bangladesh to Assam,” which they project at 830,755 from 1971-1991 and 534,819 in half that time from 1991-2001; both periods pre-dating attempts to blame Bangladesh’s inability to sustain its people on climate change. (18)

The Consequences
    In March 2014 at the behest of the All Assamese Students Association and others, this author visited the Assamese capital of Guwahati, the Bodo capital of Kokrajhar, tribal villages, and the Assam/Meghalaya border with Bangladesh.(19) Informants include tribal victims of the 2012 sectarian violence, tribal leaders and activists, Indian border guards, and researchers.  This article analyzes the result of those investigations, viz. that the massive influx of illegal Bangladeshi migrants has caused both environmental and cultural catastrophes for Assam’s indigenous tribes and will lead to increased violence if not corrected. (This is true for plains as well, but the main focus of this paper is on tribes.)
    Members of indigenous Assam tribes believe that unchecked illegal migration poses an existential threat.   The increased population pressure from Bangladeshi infiltrators is destroying the forests and its wildlife that are critical to their culture and way of life.  Moreover, there is a growing sense of desperation among the tribal populations because they have not seen the Indian or Assamese governments make any serious attempts to stop the illegal migration.  Rather, they claim, illegal Bangladeshi migrants are given a favored status for political reasons and soon find themselves embedded with the rest of the population.(20) Moreover, local tribes urged this author to observe conditions on the border and directed me to an area straddling both informants told a consistent but not identical story that comported with other verified facts and indicated a high degree of reliability.  No one of any age with whom I spoke believed that the violence and consequent insecurity will end soon.(29)
    An end to Assam’s Tribal Cultures?  Before coming to Assam, I met with several Assamese students at Delhi University and elsewhere in the city.  While some are determined to return to Assam after their studies, others admit that the lack of opportunity there likely will cause them to remain in Delhi.  Inside Assam, there was a pattern of parents sending their children out of the area for schooling knowing some will not return.  Away from the social and cultural supports for their tribal culture, they lose touch with their heritage and soon their families.  When I asked one parent if he thought his son would return, he told me that if he were in his son’s shoes he would not, adding that so long as the future remains uncertain, he does not really want him to return.
Tribal leaders point to their close ties with the forest and its inhabitants and claim that by destroying the forests and killing its creatures, they are destroying the basis of their way of life.  “This is our land,” one Bodo leader told me.  “If the [illegal Bangladeshi] migrant population continues to increase day by day, where will we live?”(30)

(1) Hussain, Hamid, “Demons of December — Road from East Pakistan to Bangladesh,” Defence Journal, December 2002.  Available at
(2) Pakistan was originally composed of two, non-contiguous parts.  East Pakistan is now Bangladesh.  West Pakistan is the current nation of Pakistan.
(3) In 2013, the World Bank ranked Bangladesh 164 out of 189 nations in per capita GDP, second lowest in South Asia (beating out 176th Nepal), and only 7.9 percent of per capita GDP for the planet.  The World Bank,  On Bangladesh and corruption, see Transparency International ranks Bangladesh the 136 out of 177 countries on its corruption scale, which is an improvement after spending some years at dead last. For information on the persecution of Hindus and the rule of law, see Benkin, Richard, A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: the Murder of Bangladesh’s Hindus, Akshaya Prakashan, Delhi, 2012.
(4) The Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)
(5) Christine Fair and Kerem Levitas, “Bangladesh: Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Crisis?”  United States Institute of Peace, May 2005.
(6) General Hussain Muhammed Ershad was Bangladesh’s virtual dictator and President from 1983 to 1990
(7) "Ershad ‘thanks’ Hasina,", January 14, 2014;
(8) Op. cit., Benkin, 160-168
(9) Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, which includes the nations of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
(10) Kalyan Barooah, “Climate change to trigger Bangla exodus: Hasina.”  Assam Tribune, March 4, 2014.
(11) Op. cit., Benkin, pp.123-125.  Also I. P. Adhikari and Raju Thapa, “Human Rights & Justice in Bhutan: Shadow Report on First Universal Periodic Review of Bhutan,” Human Rights without Frontiers, Nepal & Association of Press Freedom Activists, Bhutan, December 2009.
(12) The vast majority of Assamese with whom I spoke refer to these illegal Bangladeshi immigrants as “infiltrators.”  Doing so emphasizes their illegal and unwanted status among native Assamese, and suggests a measure of intentionality behind their influx; specifically to change Assam’s dominant cultural and demographic landscape
(13) Census Superintendent C. S. Mullan, Census Report of 1931, quoted by D. N. Bezboruah, Editor, The Sentinel, at a seminar and public meeting, November 13, 2004, Guwahati, Assam.  Also cited in “The Truth of Illegal Migration in Assam & the Northeast,” Confederation of North Eastern People, Guwahati, 2012.
(14) Op. cit., Mullan.  I was told by members of the All Assam Students Association in a direct interview, March 5, 2014, Delhi, India.  The material also appears in former ILO and UNICEF consultant Hilary Pais’s web site, Population figures from the 2001 Indian census are reported in The Truth about Illegal Migration in Assam & the Northeast, Confederation of North Eastern People, Guwahati 2012.
(15) Bhupen Kumar Nath, Dilip C. Nath and Late Biswanath Bhattacharya, 2012. Undocumented Migration in the State of Assam in Northeast India Estimates Since 1971 to 2001. Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, 5: 164-173.
(16) For more detail on the Leslie matrix, see Montshiwa, Mosimanegape Irvin, “Leslie Matrix Model in Population Dynamics,” University of Witwatersrand, June 7, 2007.
(17) Space here does not allow for a detailed statistical and demographic analysis, to interested readers are referred to the original article and calculations by Nath et. al. cited here.
(18) Op. cit.  Nath et. al. p. 173.
(19) First hand material gathered during that time in Assam will be cited as “Benkin, Assam.”
(20) Benkin, Assam.  Also see “Deforestation to blame for rising temperatures,” Assam Tribune, Guwahati, June 18, 2013.
(21) Contrary to what some interested parties have claimed, tribal attacks are not directed against Muslims but migrant Bangladeshis.  They have not been directed at native Muslims who have been living in Assam for years and even at times have made common cause with Hindu Assamese to challenge the government. See Tehhelka
(22) Benkin, Assam.  Some people close to the situation have suggested that the smaller 2014 disturbances were more a warning to the new Indian government than to the Bangladeshi infiltrators.
(23) “Rice Production in Assam Declining,” I Assam, June 14, 2009.  Also on effects of reduced rainfall and other environmental changes resulting from increased migration, see Samudra Gupta Kashyap, “Floods, Urbanization eat into Assam’s Rice Fields,” Sinlung, January 29, 2010.
(24) Benkin, Assam.
(25) “Hazards,” ENVIS Centre: Assam Status of Environment and Related Issues.  Hosted by Assam Science, Technology and Environment Council; Sponsored by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India;
(26) “Deforestation to blame for rising temperatures,” Assam Tribune, Guwahati, June 18, 2013
(27) Benkin, Assam; also see "Assam: 39 rhinos killed in 10 months in Kaziranga," Press trust of India, IBN Live, October 5, 2013.; "Bangladeshi Infiltrators increasing in Assam; Vanishing One-horned rhinos," News Bharati, September 27, 2012.; "Wildlife management hits a low in Assam in 2012," The Shillong Times, December 30, 2012. 
(28) Op. cit., ENVIS
(29) Benkin, Assam
(30) Benkin, Assam.  Interview in Kokrajhar, Assam.
    Adhikari, I. P. and Raju Thapa, “Human Rights & Justice in Bhutan: Shadow Report on First Universal Periodic Review of Bhutan,” Human Rights without Frontiers, Nepal & Association of Press Freedom Activists, Bhutan, December 2009.
    Barooah, Kalyan, “Climate change to trigger Bangla exodus: Hasina.”  Assam Tribune, March 4, 2014.
    Benkin, Richard, A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: the Murder of Bangladesh’s Hindus, Akshaya Prakashan, Delhi, 2012.
    Census Superintendent C. S. Mullan, Census Report of 1931, quoted by D. N. Bezboruah, Editor, The Sentinel, at a seminar and public meeting, November 13, 2004, Guwahati, Assam.
    Confederation of North Eastern People, “The Truth of Illegal Migration in Assam & the Northeast,” Guwahati, 2012.
    Fair, Christine and Kerem Levitas, “Bangladesh: Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Crisis?”  United States Institute of Peace, May 2005.
    “Hazards,” ENVIS Centre: Assam Status of Environment and Related Issues.  Hosted by Assam Science, Technology and Environment Council; Sponsored by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India;
    Hussain, Hamid, “Demons of December — Road from East Pakistan to Bangladesh,” Defence Journal, December 2002.  Available at
    Kashyap, Samudra Gupta, “Floods, Urbanization eat into Assam’s Rice Fields,” Sinlung, January 29, 2010.
    Montshiwa, Mosimanegape Irvin, “Leslie Matrix Model in Population Dynamics,” University of Witwatersrand, June 7, 2007.
    Nath, Bhupen Kumar, Dilip C. Nath and Late Biswanath Bhattacharya, 2012. “Undocumented Migration in the State of Assam in Northeast India Estimates Since 1971 to 2001.” Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, 5
      “Rice Production in Assam Declining,” I Assam, June 14, 2009.
    Transparency International,
    The World Bank,

Migrant Settlers in India’s Assam

Amanda Tersigni
Senior, Politics, Economics & Law Department  State University of New York
Old Westbury

    For decades now, the people of Assam have been threatened by the incoming amounts of illegal immigrants into their region. The migration most heavily comes from Bangladesh. The large-scale illegal migration is posing such an issue to the Assamese that they are currently becoming the minorities within their own region; the demographic complexion of Assam has been altered. (1) Illegal immigration is, in fact, a political key issue in the nation itself. In Assam, “Governments are made and unmade on the issue of illegal settlers from Bangladesh.” (2) As the governor of Assam has stated, this “poses a grave threat to both the identity of the Assamese people and to our national security.” (3) The Assamese are beginning to not feel secure within their own region; it is as if they are now the “unwanted immigrants.”
    Bangladesh is the world’s most densely populated country having a population density of 969 per square kilometers. (4) The growth rate of population in Bangladesh is 2.2%, approximately 2.8 million people per year. (5) Living conditions are also extremely subpar in Bangladesh. They frequently have flooding, 60% of their population is below the poverty line and the per capita income is only 170 dollars per year. (6) Due to these factors (along with many others), and a “very porous” border, the migration from Bangladesh into Assam is practically inevitable. (7)    
Community-wise growth rate for Assam vs. All of India:
All India

     Large-scale movement from Bengal, East Pakistan and more recently, Bangladesh, has been an ongoing issue for well over a century now. (8) The primary reason for this large-scale movement, initially, was for economic reasons and largely began occurring after the British annexed Assam. (9) The British had developed a tea industry in Assam; however, the Assamese people showed no interest towards this industry and had no desire to have any type of involvement. (10) Therefore, the British encouraged peasants from, present-day Bangladesh, to move into Assam to work on the land for their tea production. (11) This was the first major instance of the illegal movement into Assam.
    Another reason for the movement into Assam dealt with some political and religious reasons. During Sir Mohammad Sadulla’s Muslim League Ministry, an encouraging effort was made in attempt to push for migration of Bengali Muslims into Assam. (12) Lord Wavell wrote in the Viceroy’s Journal, “The chief political problem is the desire of the Muslim Ministers to increase this immigration into the uncultivated government lands under the slogan of Grow More Food, but what they are really after is Grow More Muslims.” (13) Ergo, there was a great promotion for migration into Assam. They sought to expand the Muslim religion and culture into other areas.
    The Muslim League came up with the idea for a Partition in 1947, in order to continue the increase of the Muslim religion. This partition brought about significant amounts of change and an international border separated Assam and East Pakistan. (14) This partition would also eventually lead to much violence, wars and chaos between the Hindus and Muslims in Assam. Much of the population movement consisted of Hindu refugees fleeing persecution from East Pakistan and seeking refuge in Assam. (15) Assam has a 262-kilometer border with Bangladesh out of which 92-kilometers is riverine and with the emergence of the two dominions on the Sub-Continent, this became an international border. (16) There was much movement of Hindus and Muslims between regions, but most specifically into Assam. This caused much resentment amongst the Assamese.
    Attempts to reverse this movement have been made, but not many were too successful. Especially considering the fact that the migration has yet to subside. At the initial start of this large-scale migration, State Police patrolled the borders, however they could not conquer the trans-border movement. (17) In 1964, the government of India created the Prevention of Infiltration from Pakistan scheme, which had various types of posts set up to keep guard against the massive illegal movement. (18) There were many officers who were involved in this organization and involved in depleting the illegal immigrants out of Assam, however, it is extremely difficult to deport these people. In 1987, the organization was enlarged from 1914 officers, to 1280 officers, as well as hundreds of personnel provided by the government of India and Assam, which totaled to approximately 4000 personnel. (19) Even with the large amount of officers and personnel on duty, deportation is extremely difficult and it is not easy to overcome and it is hard to overcome this illegal migration.
    Although there have been many procedures taken towards expelling the illegal immigrants out of Assam, it has no fully been accomplished and there has been much chaos along the process. There is much violence and conflict between people in Assam. The violence within Assam peaked in the early 1980’s. (20) In 1979, a group called the All Assam Students’ Union was organized and began to campaign under the idea that the “Bangla-deshi immigrants in Assam were changing their state’s demographics and gaining political influence.” (21) Which absolutely appeared to be factual. In 1983, the All Assam Students’ Union demanded that all illegal immigrants associated with this election be removed from the electorate and immediately deported. (22) Approximately 7,000 people died in total around that election and more than 1,600 bridges were burned with hopes to prevent election officials from arriving. (23) Than in February of 1983, fights broke out between the Nellie villagers and the illegals. An estimated 2,000 people lost their lives. (24) Many people have died in the process of the Assamese struggling to gain back dominancy over their land, and to feel secure and as the majority again.
    Ultimately, the Assam Accord was signed in 1985, which was a step towards another attempt to deport the illegal immigrants out of Assam. The Assam Accord was signed on August 15, 1985 and says “Foreigners, who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be  detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law. Immediate and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.” (25) This accord also laid out the provisions that immigrants who arrived before January 1, 1966 were to be recognized as citizens; immigrants that arrived between 1966 and 1971 would be categorized under the Foreigners Act and will have to wait 10 years to vote; and immigrants who arrived after 1971 will be identified, removed from the voting roles and ultimately will be deported. (26) Since this Accord has been signed, 42,449 foreign nationals have been identified, yet only 2,221 have been deported so far. (27) This illustrates how difficult, and frustrating, of an issue the illegal migration has become. It is nearly impossible for the government to deport a large majority of the illegals because they are not easy to locate, especially due to the lack of documentation.
    Today, there is still an ongoing conflict and struggle in Assam. People are still fighting and dying. There is currently a serious conflict between the Bodos and the Muslims. In 2012, Bengali-speaking Muslims were forced out of their villages after being attacked by a Hindu Bodo tribe and the Muslims were relocated to meager condition “camps.” (28) There is a major conflict and are consistent acts of aggression between the Muslims and the Bodos. One male, Ronen Brahma, states that he was attacked one night with swords and knives; luckily he was able to get away with his mother but had to suffer and watch his father get stabbed and tossed into the burning home. (29) On July 6, 2012, five Muslim males were shot at and than two weeks later Mohibul Islam and Abdul Siddique Sheikh (both affiliated with Muslim organizations) were killed, followed by the killings of four young Bodo’s. (30) Many rumors of attacks and violence were also being circulated via text message and various social media websites. Due to all this chaos, the Indian central government blocked 250 web sites and social media sites, as well as the banning of text messages sent to more than five people for two weeks. (31) These actions were needed to be taken to try and reduce the hostility constantly arises between the Bodos and Muslims.
    Recently, the Chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, has been advocating potential refugee status for the Bangladeshis. He has raised the issue of “humanitarian consideration.” (32) Tension within Assam needs to simmer. Gogoi does not feel the need for persecution and harsh treatment towards the illegals. Gogoi says, “that these people should not be prosecuted when they enter our state or another in the country. These people should be given humanitarian treatment and refugee status.” (33) He feels that the prior treatment of these people has been potentially too harsh and that they do deserve humane treatment. He does not want the constant fighting and disruption within Assam. Similarly, the president of the All Indian United Democratic Front has made a statement demanding that citizenship be granted to Hindu refugees. (43) He states that these people have been residing for the last 40 years, so why not ultimately grant them citizenship? (35)
    In even more recent times, within the year 2014, there is still a seemingly endless struggle for the Assamese to deal with. It seems as if the battle to reclaim Assam as their own again, and reinstating Assamese as the majority group, is inevitably over. There are still killings occurring on a daily basis and a lingering tension amongst the Bodo tribes and the Muslims. In May of 2014, it was reported that a group of approximately twenty National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit militants began to rapidly kill civilians. (36) There were two nights in a row in which killings were enacted. The militants had bombarded homes within the Balapara-I village in the Kokrajhar district and massacred seven persons instantly. (37) At least thirty persons have been killed and approximately twenty were injured during the two consecutive attacks. (38) The most horrifying aspect is the little regard that these invaders have for whom they are harming. They feel no remorse for the individuals in danger and will not limit their victims. Victims can come from any age group, whether they be young or old, there are no restrictions for who could be next. In this recent killing in May, of the seven persons murdered, two were children and four were woman, as well as a three-year-old-child. (39) All Assamese are in danger of their lives, as well as in danger of completely losing ties to their own land.
    It is difficult to even precisely identify  a number that could constitute for the number of illegal immigrants within Assam. As of 2001, according to the India census, there were 3,084,826 people in India who had migrated from Bangladesh. (40) The illegal immigration within Assam has been occurring for too long. It is also an underrated issue that is often overlooked and truly needs to be fixed. Although it is difficult to suppress this immigration, and to reverse any of it as well, this is a topic that needs to be brought to the light and devise more solutions. Many of the illegals blend in with the natives and it is hard to distinguish between the two. The illegal immigration does pose a serious threat to the natives of Assam for they are slowly becoming the minority within their own state. “The minority community in Assam now comprises nearly 30% of the population and with their tendency to vote as a bloc, they can hardly be considered a minority.” (41) So the “minorities” in Assam are ultimately becoming the “majority.”  The Assamese have struggled for decades to expel the illegals out of their territory, however it has been occurring for too long that they may not be able to restore themselves as the majority of their state any time soon.
    On the other hand, there may be a positive uprising blossoming throughout all the horrors the Assamese have endured. In India’s most recent 2014 elections, prime-minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Narendra Modi, claims that “illegal immigrants from Bangladesh would have to leave the country if his party is voted into power.” (42) It is said that Modi dislikes the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. (43) This may potentially be a prominent reason for which Modi desires a “cooling in relations.” This seems to be a potential light at the end of the tunnel for the Assamese, especially since Modi’s party did win the election. But how will this promise be carried out? It is not as if no one has ever desired this solution in the past, so what makes his promise different than the rest? Why will his party allow for success? In 1983, when the Illegal Migrant Determination Tribunal was established, it was proposed to recognize the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and expel of them. (44) However, this proposition was not adequately conducted and did not fulfill the expectations. So it has been the case that not many have attempted to reinforce this ideology and fully carry out with any acts towards recognizing the Bangladeshi. It is also not as easy as one would expect to differentiate between the Assamese and the Bangladesh. As stated earlier, the two groups have a strong commonality of language and their cultural values overlap, so how exactly can one establish a predominant difference between the two? This is a major issue that is virtually impossible to overcome. There is also an issue raised that one may sympathize for why some Bangladesh leave their nation, and that is due to a poor economy and an unsuitable living environment. Is deportation the most beneficial answer? (45) Modi and his party must take into consideration a plethora of factors and reasons as to how to distinguish the Bangladeshi from the Assamese and configure a reasonable solution as to how the handle the illegal immigrants. It is always important to keep friendly relations with as many nations as possible, therefore, maybe it is time to focus on how to create harmony and establish balance between the Assamese and the Bangladesh.
(1) Guwahati, Raj Bhavan. "Illegal Migration into Assam." SATP. N.p., 08 11 1998. Web. 10 Oct 2013. <> .
(2) Khan, Shahab, and Parvez Abbassi. "Modi-fying Bangladesh-India relations." . Dhaka
Tribune, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 7 July 2014. <>.
(3) Guwahati, Raj Bhavan. "Illegal Migration into Assam." SATP. N.p., 08 11 1998. Web. 10 Oct 2013.
(4) ibid
(5) Ibid
(6) ibid
(7) Ibid
(8) ibid   
(9) Ibid
(10) ibid
(11) Ibid
(12) ibid 
(13)  Ibid
(14)  Ibid
(15)  Ibid
(16)  Ibid
(17)  Ibid
(18) Ibid
(19)  Ibid
(20)  Bhattacharyya, Arpita. "Understanding The Historical Conflicts Behind Violence In Assam, And How Climate Change Could Make It Worse." (2012): n.pag. Climate Progress. Web. 10 Oct 2013. <>.
(21)  Ibid 
(22)  Ibid 
(23)  Ibid
(24)  Ibid    
(25) Guwahati, . "Infiltration Still An Issue After 22 Years of Assam Accord." Times of India 14 08 2007, n. pag. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. <>.
(26)  Op cit, Bhattacharyya, Arpita.
(27)  Op cit, Guwahati
(28)  Unknown, . "How the Assam conflict creates a threat to all India." BBC 20 08 2012, n. pag. Web. <>.
(29)  Ibid 
(30)  Op cit,, Bhattacharyya, Arpita
(31)  Op cit, Bhattacharyya, Arpita
(32)  Guwahati, . "Gogoi wants Refugee Status for Bangladeshis." Times of India 24 04 2012, n. pag. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. < 2012-04-24/guwahati/31392063_1_refugee-status-chief-minister-tarun-gogoi-hindu-bengalis>.
(33)  Ibid 
(34)  Guha, Susenjit. "Give Citizenship to Hindu Refugees: Assam Leader."  N.p., 06 10 2012. Web. 10 Oct 2013. <>
(35)  Ibid
(36)   Guwahati. "11 Killed in Militant Attacks in Assam." . The Times of India, 2 May 2014. Web. 7 July 2014. <>
(37)  Ibid 
(38)  "Bloodbath in the Bodo belt." . The Telegraph, 2 May 2014. Web. 6 July 2014. <>
(39) Op cit, Guwahati.  The Times of India, 2 May 2014.
(40) Op cit, Khan, Shahab, and Parvez Abbassi.
(41) Op cit, Guwahati, Raj Bhavan
(42)  Bhattacharjee, Joyeeta. "India: Resolving the Bangladesh Immigration Issue." . The Diplomat, 27 May 2014. Web. 6 July 2014. <>
(43)  Op cit, Khan, Shahab, and Parvez Abbassi
(44)  Op cit, Bhattacharjee, Joyeeta
(45)  Op cit, Bhattacharjee, Joyeeta. "India: Resolving the Bangladesh Immigration Issue."
    Bhattacharjee, Joyeeta. "India: Resolving the Bangladesh Immigration Issue." The Diplomat, 27 May 2014. Web. 6 July 2014. <>
    Bhattacharyya, Arpita. "Understanding The Historical Conflicts Behind Violence In Assam, And How Climate Change Could Make  It Worse." (2012): n.pag. Climate Progress. Web. 10 Oct 2013. <>
    "Bloodbath in the Bodo belt." The Telegraph, 2 May 2014. Web. 6 July 2014.
    Guha, Susenjit. "Give Citizenship to Hindu Refugees: Assam Leader." .N.p., 06 10 2012. Web. 10 Oct 2013. <>
    Guwahati. "11 Killed in Militant Attacks in Assam." The Times of India, 2 May 2014. Web. 7 July 2014. <http://timesofindia.i>
    Guwahati. "Dispur no to visa proposal." . The Telegraph, 19 June 2014. Web. 6
July 2014. < 1140620/jsp/northeast/story_18531463.jsp#.U7THD9xfcZY>
    Guwahati,  "Gogoi wants Refugee Status for Bangladeshis." Times of
India 24 04 2012, n. pag. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. < 2012-04-24/guwahati/31392063_1_refugee-status-chief-minister-tarun-gogoi-hindu-bengalis>
    Guwahati, Raj Bhavan. "Illegal Migration into Assam." SATP. N.p., 08 11 1998. Web. 10 Oct 2013. <>
    Guwahati, "Infiltration Still An Issue After 22 Years of Assam Accord." Times of India 14 08 2007, n. pag. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. <http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes. com/2007-08-14/india/27991566_1_foreign-nationals-assam-accord-infiltration>
    Khan, Shahab, and Parvez Abbassi. "Modi-fying Bangladesh-India relations." . Dhaka Tribune, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 7 July 2014. <>
Unknown, "How the Assam conflict creates a threat to all India." BBC 20 08 2012, n. pag. Web. <>

A  Trial for Bangladesh War Crimes

Khaledur Rahman Shakil

Founder & President of Juddhaporadh  Bicharmonho (War Crimes Trial Stage;; International Member of The Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project; Editor, Voice Bangladesh; International member of World Peace & Friendship Mission;  Activist and Writer.

    Crime against humanity and genocide, the gravest crime never get old and that the perpetrators who are treated as the enemies of mankind will face justice. We should not forget it that the millions of victims who deserve that their tormenters are held accountable; the passage of time does not diminish the guilt.
    War Crime is not a new term; still the Nazi War Criminals of the Second World War are being prosecuted. Trials of Genocide committed during the 1973 Chilean revolution and Pol Pot regime of Cambodia in the 1970s are now ongoing.  It is a fact of common knowledge that in 1981, Maurice Papon, who has died aged 96, was the Minister for the budget in the administration of Prime Minister Raymond Barre, when his role in the deportation of French Jews during the Second World War was uncovered. Papon had been charged in 1997 on the basis of his activities from 1942 to 1944. Eventually brought to trial, he was convicted in 1998 of complicity in crimes against humanity and sentenced to a 10-year prison sentence for ordering the arrest and deportation of 1690 Jews, including 223 children, from the Bordeaux region to the Nazi death camp in Germany [i].
     From the beginning we have to start, In August 14, 1947, Indian Subcontinent was partitioned. The Sovereign Dominion State of (Hindu) India and (Muslim) Pakistan came into being. Pakistan comprised two Muslim majority regions in the north-west and north-east of India. The north-eastern region comprised East Bengal (Which is now Bangladesh) while the north-western part consisted of Sind, Baluchistan, the North-West Frontier Province and part of the Punjab. Hindus, who as the majority community in undivided India, aspired to be the sole inheritors of power after the departure of the British, did not like the creation of Pakistan. A prominent Hindu leader, Gandhi, termed the partition ‘a vivisection of the sacred cow’; while the Hindu Mahasabha Party said, ‘India is one and indivisible and there will never be peace until and unless the separated areas are brought back into the Indian Union and made integrated parts thereof.’ In 21st March 1948, Quaid-e-Azam (Leader of the Nation), Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and its first Governor-General, while on a visit to East Bengal, declared in Dacca (Dhaka) that Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan. The remark evoked an angry protest from the Bengali youth who took it as an affront; their language Bangla (Bengali) was, after all, spoken by fifty-four percent of the population of Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, then a university student, was among those who raised the protest slogan and was placed under detention. The Dacca (Dhaka) University campus became the focal point for student meetings in support of Bangla language. [ii] 
    The history goes on to portray that in the general election of 1970, the Awami League Party under the leadership of Bangabandhu (Friend of the Nation) Sheikh Mujibur Rahman became the majority party of Pakistan. But defying the democratic norms Pakistan Government did not care to respect this overwhelming majority. As a result, independence movement started in the territory of this part of Pakistan and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his historic speech of 7th March, 1971, called on the Bangalee nation to struggle for independence if people’s verdict is not respected. In the early hour of 26th March, following the onslaught of “Operation Search Light” by the Pakistani Military on 25th March, Bangabandhu declared Bangladesh independent immediately before he was arrested by the Pakistani.
    On 25th March 1971 the massacres start with program called “Operation Searchlight,” which was designed to deactivate and liquidate Bengali policemen, soldiers and military officers, to arrest and kill nationalist and round-up professionals, intellectuals, and students. 
    It’s important to know in brief – Operation Searchlight [iii] - was
  1) Basis for Planning-
·   Awami League [AL] action and reactions to be treated as rebellion and those who support or defy Martial Law [ML] action be dealt with as hostile elements.
· As A.L. has widespread support even amongst the East Pakistani [EP] elements in the Army the operation has to be launched with great cunningness, surprise, deception and speed combined with shock action.
   2) Basic Requirement for Success
· The operation to be launched all over the province simultaneously.
· Maximum number of political and student leaders and extremist amongst teaching staffs, cultural organizations to be arrested.
· Operation must achieve a hundred per cent success in Dhaka. For that Dhaka University will have to be occupied and searched.
· Security of cantonments must be ensured. Greater and freer use of fire against those who dare attack the cantonment.
· All means internal and international communications to be cut off. Telephone exchanges, Radio, TV, Teleprinter services, transmitters with foreign consulates to be closed down.
· EP troops [tps] to be neutralized by controlling and guarding kits and ammunition by [West Pakistani [WP] tps. Same for Provincial Armed Forces [PAF] and East Pakistan Rifles [EPR.]
  3) Surprise and Deception
· At higher plane, it is requested that the President may consider the desirability of continuing the dialogue-even of deceiving Mujib that even though Mr. Bhutto may not agree he will make an announcement on 25 March conceding to the demand of AL etc.
  4) At Tactical Level
· As secrecy is of paramount importance, preliminary operations given below should be carried out by tps already located in the city :
  (a) Breaking into Mujib’s House and arresting all present. The house is well- guarded and well defended.
  (b) Surrounding the important halls of the Universities –Iqbal Hall Dacca University [DU], Liaqat Hall Engineering University.
  (c) Switching off telephone exchange
  (d) Isolating known houses where weapons etc. have been collected
· No activity by tps in the cantonment area till telephone exchange has been switched off.
· Nobody should be allowed to go out the cantonment after 2200 hrs on the night of operation.
· On one excuse or the other tps in the city should be reinforced in area of the President’s House, Governor’s House, Member of National Assembly [MNA] Hostel, Radio, TV and Telephone exchange premises.
· Civilian cars may have to be used for operation against Mujib’s House.
  5) Sequence of Action
· H Hr-0100 hrs.
· Timings for Move out
  (a) Commando [one Platoon]- Mujib’s house - 0100 hrs
  (b) Telephone exchange switched off - 2455 hrs
  (c) Tps. earmarked for cordon University – 0105 hrs
   (d) Tps. from the city to Rajarbagh Police HQ and other PS [Police station] nearby – 0105 hrs
  (e) Following surrounded – 0105 hrs: Mrs Anwara Begum’s House, Rd No. 29 & House No.148
  (f) Curfew imposed – 0110 hrs by Siren (arrange) by loudspeakers. Duration 30 hrs initially. No passes for the initial phase. Due consideration to be given only to case of delivery and serious heart attack etc. Evac by Army on request. Also announce that there will be no newspapers brought out till further orders.
  (g) Tps. move out to respective sectors with specific missions -0110 hrs. (For tp alert a drill to be evolved). Halls occupied and searched.
  (h) Tps move to University area -0500 hrs
  (i) Road blocks and riverine blocks were established – 0200 hrs.
· Operation during the day time
  (a) House to house search of Dhanmondi suspected homes, also Hindu houses in old city (in order to collect data).
  (b) All printing presses to be closed down. All cyclostyling machines in the University, Colleges (T&T) and Physical Training Institute and Technical Institute to be confiscated.
  (c) Curfew imposed with severity
  (d) Other leaders arrested.
· Allotment of Tps to Tasks details to be worked out by B[riga]de Com[man]d[er] but the following must be done :
  (a) Kotes of EP units taken over, including Sig[nal]s and other administrative units. Arms to be given only to WP personal. Explanation: We did not wish to embarrass the EP tps and did not want them to be used in task which may not be pleasant to them.
  (b) Police stations to be disarmed
  ( c) DG [Director General] EPR to ensure security of his kotes.
  (d) All Ansar Rifles to be got hold of.
· Info Required
  (a) Whereabouts of the following: (1) Mujib,(2) Nazrul Islam, (3) Tajuddin, (4) Osmani, (5) Sirajul Alam, (6) Mannan, (7) Ataur Rahman, (8) Professor Muzaffar, (9) Oli Ahmed, (10) Mrs Motia Chaudhry, (11) Barrister Maudud, (12) Faizul Haq, (13) Tofail, (14) N.A.Siddiqi, (15) Rauf, (16) Makhan and other student leaders.
· Location of all police station and of Rifles
· Location of strong points and arsenal houses in the city.
· Location of tr[ainin]g camps and areas etc.
· Location of Cultural Centers which are being used for imparting military training.
· Names of ex-service officers who are actively helping insurrectional movement.
· Command and Control- Two Commands be established:
  (a) Dacca (Dhaka) Area
  Comd - Major General Farman
            Staff – Eastern Comd Staff/or HQ ML
  Tps – Loc[ated] in Dacca (Dhaka)
  (b) The Rest of the Province
  Comd – Major General K H Raja                   Staff – HQ 14 Div
                  Tps – Less those in Dacca (Dhaka).
· Security of the Cantonment: Phase I De-escalate. All arms including PAF deposited.
· Communication:
                  (a) Security
                  (b) Layout.
    A pathetic view of in the tragedy is given to us by the fact that in a single night in the city of Dacca (Dhaka) were killed 50,000 persons by the invading army. Between 26th March and 16th December the dead reached more than three million, and every day 30,000 persons leave East Pakistan and take refuge in Indian as amount of approximately one core.  [iv]
    Truth flash out, Genocide in East Pakistan:  “The most fundamental of all rights the right of a man to come to the aid of a fellow human being is now being denied with a degree of official arrogance seldom displayed in recent history. It was inevitable that the disaffection should reach an eruptive stage. There is no point here in detailing the facts attending the emergence of political movements seeking self-rule for East Pakistan. The result of the general election was an overwhelming vote in favor of self-rule. The central government at Islamabad not only failed to respect this popular decision, but ordered in armed troops to forestall implementation. The official slaughter began on March 26th.
    A report published in Saturday review, May 22 1971; where, 1) Tanks and soldiers with submachine guns and grenades seized Dacca University early in the morning on March 26. All students residing in Iqbal Hall, the dormitory center, were put to death. The building was gutted by shells from tanks. 2) One hundred and three Hindu students residing in Jagannath Hall of Dacca University were shot to death. Six Hindu students were forced at gunpoint to dig graves for the others and then were shot themselves. 3) Professor C. C. Dev, widely respected head of the Department of Philosophy, was marched out of his home to an adjacent field and shot. 4) The last names of other faculty members who were killed or seriously wounded: Muniru Zaman, Guhathakurta, Munim, Naqui, Huda, Innasali, Ali. 5) Central government troops forced their way into Flat D of Building 34 at the university, seized Professor Muniru Zaman, his son, his brother (employed by the East Pakistan High Court), and his nephew, and marched the group to the first-floor foyer, where they were machine-gunned. 6) A machine gun was installed on the roof of the terminal building at Sadarghat river port, the dock area of Old Dacca. On March 26, all civilians within range were fired upon. After the massacre, the bodies were dragged into buses. Some were burned. Some were dumped into the Buriganga River, adjacent to the terminal. 7) On the morning of March 28, machine guns were placed at opposite ends of Shandari Bazar, a Hindu artisan center in old Dacca (Dhaka). Central government forces suddenly opened fire on civilians trapped in the bazaar. The corpses were strewn on the street. 8) On the evening of March 28, soldiers invaded Ramna Kalibari, an ancient Hindu settlement, killing all the occupants (estimated at 200). On March 29, about one hundred corpses were put on display in the village. 9) The flight of civilians from Dacca was blocked at gunpoint. 10) On the morning of April 2, forty soldiers entered a village named Barda, rounded up the male population (approximately 600) and marched them at gunpoint to Gulshan Park; where they were interrogated. Ten members of the group were then taken off; their fate is unknown. ” [v]
    Women were tortured, raped and killed. With the help of its local collaborators, the Pakistan military kept numerous Bengali women as sex slaves inside their camps and cantonments. Susan Brownmiller, who conducted a detailed study, has estimated the number of raped women at over 400,000 [vi].
    Repression on women by occupation forces is no exception in world history. There are many books and films on women repression by Nazis of Germany, fascists of Italy and soldiers of Japan during the Second World War. But there is no second example of brutal ways of repressing women by Pakistanis in 1971. As the women couldn’t bear the pain of repression many of them committed suicide. The sadist Pakistanis also killed many  women meeting their instinct of rape. It is most unfortunate that the incidents of repression on women were not recorded properly although there were many witnesses. A victim of rape in this society doesn’t want to disclose her tragedy due to social taboos and family barriers. The post-liberation AL Government had taken steps to rehabilitate the women who were repressed during war of independence. Bangabandhu Rahman was very sympathetic towards them and called them as ‘Beerangana’ (heroic women). A social worker, Maleka Khan assigned to rehabilitate the repressed women at that time, said that no list of the women was prepared as they didn’t want these women to be identified to ensure their quick return to normal life. Maleka Khan has herself read the deposition of more than 5000 war-repressed women. These papers were destroyed after the assassination of Bangabandhu Rahman. Maleka Khan said abortion was done on women who were in an early stage of pregnancy. She introduced us to Dr. Geoffrey Davis, who came from Australia and travelled across Bangladesh to provide medical help to these women. According to Dr. Davis the number of women raped was more than 400,000.  The Banglar Bani newspaper published an article on Dr. Davis in 1972. Excerpts follows: A large number of women raped by Pakistanis are suffering from infertility or sexually transmitted disease. Sydney’s Dr. Geoffrey Davis recently said in London that these women were mainly suffering from syphilis or gonorrhea or both and most had abortion which could lead to infertility or can suffer from the diseases for the rest life. Dr. Davis, who arrived in Dhaka when the victims were at least 18 weeks pregnant, said 170,000 women took the help of quacks or village doctors with no education background for abortion before international help arrived either because they were forced to do so or were victims of social conditions. Some girls suffered immensely because they were too young to have sex and even if they could afford to a doctor “it will be difficult to find a man to marry them,” he said. Doctors working at government clinic to help the tortured women estimated their number at about 200,000. But Dr. Davis rejecting the figure said it was over 400,000 and of them 170,000 had been abortion. Many of the 30,000 out of the 200,000 government estimate committed suicide and some kept their babies. Dr Davis reasoned to clarify his stand on the figure by saying on an average two women were reported missing daily which put the number at 200,000 as the Pakistani troops controlled 480 police stations for 270 days. No count of women raped in village as the occupation forces moved from one village to another and they kept many of them in their camps to meet their sexual demands. Many of these women were thrown out of the camps or killed when they got pregnant or were infected with disease. In some areas girls as young as 12 or 13 were repeatedly raped and kept naked always so that they did not flee. Some of them hanged themselves when they got the chance to wear a sari, the traditional Bengali dress, while others jumped into rivers tying themselves with heavy stones. Dr. Davis said those who were rejected by other families as untouched “unclean” as they were raped and pregnant, which was indeed very sad.
Information about war-babies born in 1972 is also very rare. Most of them were adopted by Europeans or Americans.  [vii]
    Jamat-E-Islami (JEM) and some other pro-Pakistan political organizations substantially contributed in creating these para-militias forces (auxiliary force) for combating the unarmed Bangalee civilians, in the name of protecting East Pakistan. Actions in concert with its local collaborator militias, Razakar, Al-Badar, and Jamat-E-Islami and other elements of pro-Pakistani political parties were intended to stamp out Bangalee national liberation movement and to mash the national feelings and aspirations of the Bangalee Nation.
    The Pakistan Government and the military setup number of auxiliary forces as the Razakars, the Al-Badars, the Al-Shams, the Peace Committee, essentially to act a team with the Pakistani occupation army in identifying and eliminating all those who were perceived to be pro-liberation, individuals belonging to minority religious groups especially the Hindus, political groups belonging to Awami League and Bangalee intellectuals and unarmed civilian population of Bangladesh.
    In East Pakistan General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan and his top generals] also planned to murder its Bengali intellectual, cultural, and political elite. They also planned  to indiscriminately murder hundreds of thousands of its Hindus and drive the rest into India. And they planned to destroy its economic base to insure that it would be subordinate to West Pakistan for at least a generation to come [viii]. 
    In the War of Liberation that ensued, all people of East Pakistan wholeheartedly supported and participate in the call to free Bangladesh but a small number of Bangalees, Biharis, other pro-Pakistanis, as well as member if a number of different religion-based political parties, particularly JEM and it’s student wing Islami Chatra Sangha (ICS), Muslim League, Pakistan Democratic Party (PDP) Council  Muslim League, Nejam-E-Islam joined and/or collaborated with the Pakistan occupation army to aggressively resist the conception of independent Bangladesh and most of them committed and facilitated the commission of atrocities in violation of customary international law in the territory of Bangladesh. “The Workers belonging to purely Islami Chatra Sangha were called Al-Badar, The General patriotic public belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim League, Nizam-e-Islami etc were called Al-Shams and the Urdu-speaking generally known as Bihari were called Al-Mujahid.”  [ix]
    A report said that “To help control of Bengali population, the army has been setting up a network of peace committees superimposed upon the normal civil administration, which the army cannot fully rely upon. Peace committee members are drawn from Beharis and from the Muslim Leagues and Jamat-e-Islami. The peace committees serve as the agent of army, informing on civil administration as well as on general populace. They are also in charge of confiscating and redistribution of shops and lands from Hindu and pro-independence Bengalis. The peace committee also recruited anti-independence Razakars. Many of them are common criminals who have thrown their lots with the (Pakistan) army.” [x]
    A famous writer Fox Butterfield wrote in the New York Times at January 3, 1972;  “Al-Badar is believed to have been the action section of Jamat-E-Islami, carefully organized after the Pakistani crackdown last March”
    Atrocious and dreadful Crimes were committed during the nine month long war of liberation in 1971, which resulted in the Birth of Bangladesh, an independent state. Some three million people were killed, nearly quarter million women were raped and over 10 million people were forced to take refuge in India to escape brutal persecution at home, during the nine months battle and struggle of Bangalee nation. The perpetrators of the crimes could not be brought to book and this left an unfathomable abrasion on the country’s political awareness and the whole nation. The impunity they enjoyed held back political stability and saw the ascendency of militancy and destroyed the nation’s Constitution.
    Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention defines war crimes as: “Willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including … willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile power, or willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial, .. taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”
    Some 92,000 Pakistani troops surrendered to Bangladesh-India Joint Command on December 16, 1971. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was released from Pakistan jail and returned home on January 10, 1972. He pledged to try the war criminals. There were two categories of war criminals- 1) Members of occupation Pakistan forces and 2) Local collaborators of Pakistani junta, who were mainly involved with Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim League and Nejam-e-Islami and other fundamentalist party. Bangladesh government prepared a list of main war criminals with name of 500 Pakistani forces. Later the number was decreased to 200. The tough stand taken by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the then president of Pakistan, was the main problem in holding the trial of the Pakistani war criminals. He had said no Bengali stranded in Pakistan will be freed if a single Pakistani soldier is tried. At that time some 500,000 Bangalees were in Pakistan either as detainees or stranded. The policymakers of India have said that India before signing the Simla agreement wanted that Bangladesh put some Pakistani war criminals on trial. But Bangabandhu did not agree. PN Haskar, the adviser of the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, said he (Bangabandhu) didn’t agree with the proposal. Bangabandhu’s argument was that complexities will arise over return of Bangalees if the war criminals are tried. It will also create problem over developing relations with Pakistan and Islamic world.  [xi]
    According to political observers India alone could have held the trial of Pakistani war criminals as the victorious country. In this regard India’s stand was that the crime was committed in Bangladesh, which was recognized by Indian as an independent country long before the Simla agreement; it was not possible by New Delhi to put the Pakistanis on trial under international laws. Under the Simla agreement, the Pakistani soldiers were allowed to return home by New Delhi killed both defense and civil Indian personal too. Indians, who were captured by the Pakistanis during the war, were brutally killed. After 1971, India obviously witnessed how brutally Pakistanis killed Indian soldiers after they were arrested during the Kargil war.
    In January, 1972, Bangabandhu had formulated the Collaborators Act to try the local killers, collaborators. This Act covers those individuals or organizations who collaborated the Pakistani army in mass killings, conducted crimes against humanity, unleashed torture on men, women and children, destroyed property, or helped in destructive activities or fought against the People’s Republic of Bangladesh siding with the occupation forces or supported them. The Act also explained in details how a tribunal to punish them could be set up and the trial process itself. [xii]
    The 1972 Act gave no scope to put the Pakistani criminals on trial. He then enacted the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973’ in July, 1973, basically to bring them under that process and to expand the scope of their trial. 
    Other people say demanding trial of war criminals is irrelevant as Awami League government had a general amnesty to them. This was said time and again that none pardoned Pakistani war criminals. Their main associate Ghulam Azam has also not been forgiven; in 2013 Bangladesh war crimes court has found his guilty of five charges relating to Bangladesh’s 1971 war independence with Pakistan and was sentenced to 90 years in jail for his involvement in mass killing and rape during the war. The section two of the press note issued on November 30, 1973 categorically said ‘those who were punished for or accused of rape, murder, attempt to murder or arson will not come under general amnesty under the section one.’ Some 26,000 people, out of 37,000 sent to jail on charge of collaboration, were freed after announcement of the general amnesty. But 11,000 were still in the prison. The government of Justice Sayem and General Zia scrapped the Collaboration Act on December 31, 1975. As a result, the 11,000 war criminals appealed and were released.        
    In our constitution Article 47 (3) says; “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution, no law nor any provision thereof providing for detention, prosecution or punishment of any person who is a member of any armed or defense or auxiliary forces [xiii] (or any individual, group of individuals or organizations) [xiv] or who is a prisoner of war, for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes and other crimes under international law shall be deemed void or unlawful, or ever to have become void or unlawful, on the ground that such law or provisions of any such law is inconsistent with, or repugnant to, any of the provisions of this Constitution.”      
    Bangladesh Government is a signatory to and has ratified the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), along with its Optional Protocol.  It is necessary to state that the provisions of the ICTA 1973 [International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973] and the Rules framed there under offer adequate compatibility with the rights of the accused enshrined under Article 14 of the ICCPR. The 1973 Act of Bangladesh has the merit and mechanism of ensuring the standard of safeguards recognized universally to be provided to the person accused of crime against humanity.
    An Act to provide for the detention, prosecution and punishment of person for genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under international law. This Act called the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973.
The Act of 1973 is meant to prosecute, try and punish not only the armed forces but also the perpetrators who belonged to ‘auxiliary forces’, or who committed the offence as an ‘individual’ or a ‘group of individuals’ and nowhere the Act says that without prosecuting  the ‘armed forces’ (Pakistani) the person or persons having any other capacity specified in section 3(1) of the Act of 1973 cannot be prosecuted. Rather, it is manifested from section 3(1) of the Act of 1973 that even any person (individual or group of individuals), if he is prima facie found individually criminally responsible for the offence(s), can be brought to justice under the Act of 1973. Thus, the Tribunal set up under the Act of 1973 are absolutely domestic Tribunal but meant to try internationally recognized crimes committed in violation of customary international law during the war of liberation in 1971 in the territory of Bangladesh. Merely for the reason that the Tribunal is preceded by the word “international” and possessed jurisdiction over crimes such as Crimes against Humanity, Crimes against Peace, Genocide, and War Crimes, it will be wrong to assume that the Tribunal must be treated as an ‘‘International Tribunal”.
    In order to bring to justice the perpetrator of the crimes committed in 1971, the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 was promulgated. However, Some significant changes have been brought in the Act, by way of amendment, in 2009 and thereafter, to come out from the culture of impunity the government , for the purpose of section 3 of the Act, by notification in official gazette has set up the ‘Tribunal’ on 25 March 2010. The tribunal consists of three Judges of whom one is Chairman and two are members.
    On 22/3/2012 government by official gazette notification established another tribunal namely international crimes tribunal-2. Thus, presently, two tribunal established under the ICTA (1973) are in operation with the same jurisdiction mentioned in section 3 of the ICTA (1973). The ICT-1 and the ICT-2 has separate rules of procedures of its own.
    he Tribunal is a domestic judicial mechanism set up under national legislation and it is meant to try internationally recognized crimes and that is why it is known as ‘International Crimes Tribunal’. Despite the fact that ours is a domestic Tribunal set up under International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, a domestic legislation, the Tribunal shall never be precluded to seek guidance from the universally recognized norms and principles laid down in international law and International Criminal Law with a blend of national law, in trying the persons responsible for perpetration of crimes enumerated in the Act of 1973.All possible provisions ensuring adequate rights of defense have been enshrined in the ICTA and the Rules as well.
    Pakistan didn’t try the war criminals of 1971 and also did not allow Bangladesh to hold the trial. In present, we got judgment of ten war criminals (local collaborators) from tribunal-01 & tribunal-02 and others trials are going on. People of this country always demand the trial of the war criminals (Members of occupation Pakistan forces and Local collaborators of Pakistani junta). In fact Bangladesh’s existence will be threatened if the war criminals are not tried and punished for their evil activities during our Liberation War in 1971.


    (i) Douglas Johnson: The Guardian, Monday 19 February 2007
    (ii) Witness to Surrender by Siddiq Salik-Page 215-216
    (iii) Witness to Surrender by Siddiq Salik-Page 228-231
    (iv) Bangladesh Documents-Volume II, Page 76
    (v) Report in Saturday Review May 22, 1971; p. 20-21
    (vi) http://bangladeshwatchdog1.wordpress. com/razakars
    (vii) Tormenting Seventy One- Edited By Shahriar Kabir, Page 12-14
    (viii) Statistics of Denocide By  R.J.Rummel. Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900 states
    (ix) `Sunset at Midday’ (Exhibit-2 written by Mohi Uddin Chowdhury
    (x) Report in The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 1971
    (xi) Interview with the Editor, New Delhi, January 20, 1996
    (xii) Bangladesh Gazette, titled: President Order No. 8 of 1972: Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunal) Order 1972
    (xiii) Added by the Bangladesh Constitution {First Amendment} Act, 1973 {Act XV of 1973}, Section 2]
    (xiv) Inserted by the Bangladesh Constitution {Fifteenth Amendment} Act, 2011 {Act XIV of 2011} Section 19-ii] 

 India Election 2014:
The Pundits, Media, the Left in Partitioned Bengal,
Contradictions and Misinformation

Dr. Sachi G. Dastidar
Distinguished Professor,
State University of New York , &
Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project
4th July 2014

    Stretching over six weeks during the extremely hot months of April and May of 2014 India held its 16th Lok Sabha (Lower House) national parliamentary election. Before the election, there were murmurs that the ruling Indian Congress Party (INC or Congress) coalition – United Progressive Alliance (UPA) – may lose seats but no one could foresee that opposition Bharatiya (Indian) Janata (People’s) Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would not only win a majority, but BJP alone would win a majority in the 543-member Lok Sabha. To every pundit’s surprise BJP-NDA coalition won 334 seats, with BJP alone winning 282 seats, a laudable feat in the faction-ridden, state-, caste-, family-, and language-based regional party-dominated politics of India. A single party hadn’t won a majority since 1984 when the Congress Party won a majority with sympathy vote after brutal assassination of Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her own Sikh bodyguards. 
    Following are the distribution of seats and percentage of votes in 2014 election:
Following is the distribution of percentage of votes various parties won in that election:
    In India Election Commission uses certain formula to identify “All India” parties on the basis of receiving at least 4% of votes from at least 4 of India’s 29 states. Through that measure, besides INC and BJP, two more parties were declared “All India” – the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM). After the 2014 election both CPI and CPM will lose that status. Moreover, according to Indian Constitution, to be declared an official Opposition Party in Indian Parliament, that opposition party must receive at least 10% of the seats in Parliament; that is 55 seats. This time no party will have such status as Congress Party has secured only 44 seats, 11 short of required 55 seats.
 334 (BJP 282)
 60 (INC 44)

    In this election although BJP won 282 seats; their share of vote was 31% of votes cast. This is a remarkable feat as it contested only 428 seats leaving the rest to her coalition partners. Congress contested 464 seats – leaving the rest for her partners – receiving 19.31% of the vote. The leader of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Communist Party of India-Marxist contested 93 seats winning 9 seats and receiving 3.25% of all votes. LDF’s second important partner Communist Party of India contested 67 seats winning only one and receiving 0.65% of all votes cast.  (i) What is worth noting is that after the All-India parties of BJP and INC, the next few large blocks in the Parliament are all state based and/or personality- or caste-based parties. They are: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham party with 37 seats (a Tamil Nadu State-based oppressed-caste party of Ms. Jayalalitha, although she is from a privileged caste), All India TrinaMool Congress party with 34 seats a West Bengal-based anti-Communist party of Ms. Mamata Banerjee) (ii), Biju Janata Dal with 20 seats (a Odhisa-based party of the son of the late politician Biju Patnaik of the Odhisa-speaking state), Shiv Sena with 18 seats (of Marathi-speaking Maharashtra; a member of NDA-BJP coalition), Telugu Desam Party with 16 seats (of Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh; a member of NDA), Telengana Rashtra Samithi with 11 seats (of newly created Telugu-speaking Telengana state of partitioned Andhra Pradesh), and so on. For the past several decades as Congress party has increasingly become a property of Nehru family (iii), a large number of politicians from all over India seeing no future in Congress have deserted Congress and formed their own party. Many of the former Congress activists run several of the states and parties now. As the largest and oldest political party of India has corrupted itself through family control, so has it allowed – willingly or unwillingly – corruption in every sphere of life. All parties share the blame. Possibly the most blatant corruption and outright murder of opponents began in Communist-run West Bengal where even admission to colleges (thus later the wrath of the youth!), state civil service and police were based on Party recommendation and bribe, disregarding test scores. Murders of opponents were never investigated. (Law and order is a state matter in India.) Thus “fighting corruption” has become a slogan for every political party and important personalities, including the most corrupt ones. Corruption hits harder the poorer section of the society. The middle class and rich are either able to bribe corrupt businesses and government officials, or are able to maneuver around corrupt road blocks through personal networks. As Congress Party has weakened it has used many divide-and-rule and racist policies Colonial Britain used to manipulate Indian society against which Congress fought so valiantly during Colonial era. Playing the same divisive card, right before the May 2014 election, UPA-Congress coalition divided Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh in February of 2014 to Telengana and Andhra (or Seemandhra) states, thus opening up new demands for future partition of other states of India. Since independence and partition of India in 1947, privileged caste-oppressed caste, plains-hill, tribe-non-tribe, language-region, elite-anti-elite, Hindu-anti-Hindu, fundamentalist-liberal, pro- and anti-conversion, pro- and anti-Islamic, Muslim-Hindu conflicts have become mainstay of politics. Added to that to many anti-Hindu and anti-India bigots Mr. Narendra Modi, a successful Chief Minister of Gujarat State has become a moving target. He became a code word for both anti-India and anti-Hindu (anti-indigenous faiths) acts, more so because he has risen from non-elite poor chai (tea) seller with roots in oppressed-caste. Sometimes anti-India and anti-Hindu are two sides of the same coin depending on which place one happens to be or whom one is addressing to. Undoubtedly there are many Hindu bigots who are anti-Muslim and support BJP. There are many Hindu bigots who support other parties as well but a polarization is taking place in India and among Hindus (Sikh, Jain, Buddhists and Parsees) as they learn the plight of Hindus in other Hindu homelands, now non-Hindu.

38.34% (BJP 31%)
23.5% (19%)


 Breadth of the Mandate:
    Something quite remarkable has happened in this election. First is the extent of the mandate: BJP-NDA won from the northern-most Tibetan Buddhist-majority constituency of Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir State to the southern-most Tamil-majority Kanyakumari a hop from Sri Lanka; from the Christian-majority Nagaland in the east bordering Burma to the western-most district of Kutch in Gujarat State bordering Sindh Province of Pakistan. This is a fundamental shift. Second is the linguistic regionalism that had raised its divisive head for the past 60 years practically vanished this time around. That Mr. Modi was from a minority Gujarati-speaking community, leading a major party, BJP, was never an issue in the dominant Hindi heartland or in other non-Hindi states. Third, although the privilege-class-based elites including the communal Left tend to deride oppressed castes, Modi was able to bring together not only the electorates from oppressed castes, but also the privileged castes. (Modi belongs to an oppressed caste.) On July 4, 2014 this was highlighted by a Bangladeshi (Muslim) columnist Mustafa Jaman Abbasi in the Opinion column of daily Prothom Alo of Dhaka, Bangladesh, “narendra modir deshey (In the land of Narendra Modi.) In the symbolically-important Varanasi constituency of Hindi-speaking Uttar Pradesh State with the holy Shiva Temple (iv), and a large concentration of privileged caste managing other temples, from which he contested received unprecedented support from all sections of the electorate. Mr. Modi received over 581,000 votes compared to his nearest rival getting 209,000 votes (v). Fourth, that India was run by a Pakistan-born refugee Prime Minister from the minority Punjabi-speaking Sikh community, governed by a party run by a naturalized Caucasian woman of minority Christian faith, and for a time in the past 10 years of Congress governance a President who came from the minority Muslim community, never became a political issue. (vi)
    Pundit’s Classification: Right, Left, Hindu, Secular, Nationalist, Fundamentalist, Liberal, and Reactionary:
    Pundits and press, distant scholars and neo-colonial writers have a proclivity of identifying political parties and personalities with sound bites and labels. India is a vast, modernizing yet traditional, complex and diverse country, thus simplistic labeling is often misleading. But it is done nonetheless. It is a nation of nations with substantial decentralization. Thus one group could feel oppressed in one area, but in the very next district feel empowered enough to oppress their imagined oppressor in the neighboring jurisdiction. In India governance decentralization takes place from federal to state to district to Tribal Autonomous District to village panchayat levels.
    Let us now take up the labels of “Hindu Right,” “Hindu Nationalist,” “Secular Congress,” or “Progressive Left” (vii) that media uses frequently. How do they fit those labels? In this discourse it is worth noting that since independence of India in 1947 a peculiar communalism has crept in which many majority-Hindus claim that they are being maligned by neo-colonial elites and by communal Left if they identify themselves as Hindu. Then they are labeled as “communal” or “Right,” but not for identifying one as a Sikh, atheist, Jain, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or Parsee (Zoroastrian.) One rarely sees in Western or Indian neo-colonial press “Hindu Left,” “Hindu Socialists,” or “Hindu Democrats,” just as they often identify as “Christian Left,” “Christian Democrat,” or “Muslim Socialist.” Can’t Hindus be socialist, democrat or Marxist? This is even more true in West Bengal State of India and among Indian elites, many of whom also profess to be atheists and/or Marxists. (From 1977 through 2011 West Bengal was governed by CPM. Bengali-majority Tripura is still run CPM-Left. This writer has written on the issues of socio-politics of Bengal for over 40 years.) (viii) Does “Hindu Right” or “Hindu Nationalist” include only Hindus or it represents a larger indigenous, non-elite, non-Western coalition? Nowhere in the press one would find that the “Hindu Right” or “Hindu Nationalist” include the entire Jain community, large number of Sikhs, Parsees, Buddhists, indigenous Christians  (ix) as in Nagaland and Mizoram, and many nationalist Muslims (x). Hindu Right came to protect Sikhs when they were attacked by “secular” Congress Party goons after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards. Sikh religious political party, Akali Dal, has been steadfast BJP coalition partner for many decades, as was in 2014 election. Years ago while visiting a Buddhist ashram in eastern India a prominent Buddhist monk boldly conferred, “I am not Hindu but a big supporter of BJP. All the Buddhists are activists of BJP?” During this writer’s 2013 trip to the Christian-majority Mizoram it was a surprise to learn how many residents of that remote state were clamoring for BJP. In Assam and all of Northeast India, the spectacular rise of BJP is because the locals see the party is the last resort  to preserve their linguistic-tribal-religious identity from colonization by illegal Bangladeshi migration. (Most of Assam went to BJP-NDA, as did the lone seat from Christian-majority Nagaland.) To appease Assamese and Northeasterners’ demand for protection from illegal Bangladeshi colonization, Congress Party, and the first BJP Government of Prime Minister Vajpayee, amended Indian Constitution disallowing citizenship to Bangladeshis settled after Bangladesh’s independence in 1971 (xi), and promising deportation of illegal settlers, as Assamese have become minority in Assam, like many other groups in the Northeast. To this day no one has been deported. Result has been recurring violence – Assamese-Bengali, Bodo-Muslim, plains-tribal, Muslim-tribe – on a routine basis. Latest is the gruesome atrocities in Bodo Territorial Area (xii). Congress couldn’t deport because of “Muslim vote bank” politics. It didn’t hurt Congress as long as they were able to divide Hindu vote on the basis of caste-tribe-language. Left’s position on persecuted Bangladeshi Hindu refugees and Muslim settlers are even more bizarre, yet dependent on the same Hindu divide-and-rule, and Muslim-vote-bank politics. Although most Bengali Left are Hindu refugees from Bangladesh yet in order not to offend Muslims, they could neither admit publicly that they fled Islamic persecution and chose not to live with majority Muslims in Bangladesh, nor could they admit that Hindus are fleeing persecution while Muslims are migrating for economic reasons. Left Front even had virulently anti-Hindu Muslim League Party as their coalition partner in 1977. Marxists fled en mass atrocities of Muslim League in their homeland, leaving the poor behind. Muslim League Party championed Partition of India as “Muslims and non-Muslims are separate races.” But Left would have no part with groups identifying as Hindu and who sheltered them in India. Incidentally in the outgoing Congress alliance that ruled India it too had Indian Union Muslim League as a coalition partner. Ruling party of Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir also ruled India as a partner of Congress Party alliance.

Book Banning by Vilified Hindu Right and Left – Reality or Fiction:
    The recent non-reprinting of Wendy Doniger’s book received huge coverage though it happened during Congress’ rule but was blamed on BJP. But why other book bans by Congress and the Communists as demanded by Muslims and Christians are not held up to the same standard? “Koran and the Kefir” of Arvind Ghosh was banned by the “secular” Congress Party Government in Delhi as well as by the “progressive” Left Front Government of the Communist Party-Marxist-run West Bengal way back in the 1980s. Was this to appease Muslim voters? Banning of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses to appease intolerant Islamists by “secular” Federal and “progressive” State governments is well known. “Last Temptations of Christ” was banned to please Christian communities. Bangladeshi (Muslim) writer Dr. Taslima Nasrin’s Lajja (Shame) was first banned by the Left Front Government in West Bengal, followed by the anti-communist TrinaMool Congress (TMC) Government, also of West Bengal, who ousted the Left Front, but hardly any mention is made in the press. Dr. Nasrin who fled Bengali-Muslim Bangladesh after an Islamic fatwa (decree) to Bengali-Hindu West Bengal was quickly banished by the Left Government to appease communal anti-Hindu Islamists. TMC banned her too. She was exiled to Hindi-speaking territory of the “right.” In 2002 Sujan Publishers of Calcutta (Kolkata) published Jagadis Chandra Mandal’s Marichjhapi: Naishabder Antaraley (Marichjhapi: beyond silence) documenting Left Front atrocities against oppressed-caste peasants in MarichJhapi Island in the Sundarban Forest area of deltaic West Bengal (xiii). Left Front government and communist cadres killed, drowned, “fed to crocodiles” (as the peasants and their families tried to swim to other islands in crocodile-infested river), shot in police firing 380 men, women and children. The book contained a complete list of names of the victims, and how they died. There was a review of the book on the 2003 Calcutta Book Fair Souvenir. Yet within minutes of the opening of the Book Fair, all the Mandal books were confiscated by police as were the entire stock – thousands of copies – of souvenirs. Later a censored souvenir was made available without the review, replaced by a review of a Bengali children’s book (ironically by a teacher who taught this writer in grade school.) (xiv) Why was/is there a silence? Is this the hypocrisy of the communal  left, neo-colonialists and sectarian liberal press? Left not only did not appoint any inquiry commission, but also confiscated the report made by a non-party Citizen’s Committee. (Ms. Banerjee’s new administration has appointed a one-judge inquiry commission.) Rest of India and the international community ignored the mass killing of poor peasants by the “progressive” Left. There was no visa ban by the West and America of Chief Minister Basu. Why? Is that because victims were poor oppressed-caste Hindus? During the Communist rule of West Bengal, 1977 through 2011, there were 55,000 political murders (see Tehelka, January 22, 2011) (xv). Yet the head of that state government Mr. Jyoti Basu was welcomed as liberator in Europe and America.
    In the Left ruled states, especially in two Bengali-majority Left states of India – West Bengal (now called Paschim Banga) and Tripura – one hears of “communal left” a lot. This is oxymoron, or sonar pathar bati (gold-made stone bowl) in Bengali. The Left – the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, and more – the ruling elites, all privileged caste, of West Bengal and Tripura – have championed Hindu-Muslim cohabitation. Great! In Indian politics those who proclaim neighborly habitation from the rooftop or from podiums at mass rallies identify themselves as “secular” and “progressive” yet not the people who live next door to each other, who are often called “communal” or “racist” in American jargon. And they profess to be atheist, and are engaged in conversion as monotheistic evangelists are engaged in conversion. Monotheists are honest in their approach. (Congress workers do not profess to be atheist, and indicate that they fled Islamic Pakistan/East Pakistan/Bangladesh/Pakistani Kashmir, because of religious persecution.) But there is a problem; very, very big problem. The Bengal Left leadership and activists are from Muslim-majority Bangladesh. While they preach Hindu-Muslim cohabitation and profess to have no religion they chose neither to live with the majority-Muslims in their Muslim-majority homeland, nor with the oppressed-caste Hindus who still form the vast majority of Hindus in Bangladesh. Moreover, the Left routinely organizes mass rallies against real or imaginary oppression in Palestine, the U.S., South Africa, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, but never ever against Islamic oppression (from which they fled) in their own homeland, against their own divided family, sometimes a few minutes away from their new home in West Bengal or Tripura. Many Bengalis say that the communal left’s slogan has been: hindu-muslim bhai bhai (Hindus and Muslims are brother together) at the public forum while living in Muslim-majority homeland of Bangladesh, then they would run home and tell their wives or parents, kintu tader songey bash naai (don’t live with them as your neighbor), then dash for the Indian border and proclaim their “secularism” and brand all the opposition parties as “communal” or reactionary for being anti-Muslim. In Bengali areas of India – east and northeast – Left came to power on the backs of hapless Bangladeshi Hindu refugees. (Hindu cleansing continues to this day.) In the 1950s and 1960s the refugee areas were turning left – then called Red Belt – as leftists were able to convince refugees that their homelessness was the fault of the Congress Party. They never mentioned for fear of offending Muslim voters that Congress never wanted partition but it was the Muslim League Party who proposed Muslim-Non-Muslim partition of India; and to prove that point organized two pogroms in 1946 in Muslim League-ruled British Indian Province of Bengal. (They also organized anti-Sikh killings in British India’s Punjab Province.) And in case of Bengal partition, all the Muslim legislators of the British Province of Bengal voted for partition, as did the Hindu legislators, including two communists – Mr. Jyoti Basu, a native of Dhaka, East Bengal/Bangladesh, and Mr. Ratanlal Brahman of Darjeeling in the hills of north West Bengal, yet Left reasoned any Hindu who voted for partition of the state was “communal,” but not Muslims – who all voted for that partition, and communists. This author argued in 1989 in weekly Desh, the largest-circulation Bengali weekly, then again in 1991 in the book of same name, Ai Bangla Oi Bangla (This Bengal that Bengal), that this misinformation may not stick forever. (xvi) Indeed this is unethical, dishonest, communal and suicidal politics in a state where 33% (now 30 million of 90 million) people are Bangal (East Bengali) or of Bangladeshi Hindu-refugee-origin. In mid-1990s it was Miss Mamata Banerjee, now Chief Minister, who first got elected from a refugee-majority constituency in South Calcutta of West Bengal challenging Left’s hypocrisy. Soon other refugee Left areas turned to her party, finally making left movement to the point of irrelevance (xvii). Later, Miss Banerjee too attracted Muslim vote by making even more appeasement to Muslims than the Left. Communists censored traditional materials from texts, banned books, (xviii) personalities, and never uttered a word about Islamic oppression in the neighboring Bangladesh though they were themselves from Bangladesh. These are serious anti-secular acts. To those Ms. Banerjee added paying salary to Islamic mosque workers but not to workers of Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh temples, refused to carry out Court Orders to ban loudspeaker noise from mosques but enforce on Hindu and other religious groups (xix), and protecting Muslim thugs. Yet the 2014 election may prove to be a watershed event for her as well. Although her TrinaMool Congress Party (TMC) won 34 of 42 seats from West Bengal, yet the same South Calcutta state assembly constituency – 1/7th of a parliamentary constituency – that ushered her into politics BJP secured the largest number of votes followed by TMC, Congress and Left Front. Moreover, the geographical area that comprise the Kalighat Municipal Ward of Kolkata Corporation that TMC controls for long, and where Banerjee lives, the majority voted for BJP, not TMC, although that area constitutes a small part of the larger parliamentary constituency (xx). In West Bengal Left won only 2 sets, with all their stalwarts losing election. In many areas their share of votes has shrunk from the first to even fourth. In Left areas now it is the turn for communists and anti-communists workers to join BJP. A recent newspaper headline reads “40,000 activists from TMC, Congress & CPM in Bengal join BJP,” in remote poverty-stricken tribal forested area.
    In Tripura – the most backward state of India – both the parliamentary seats were retained by CPM. Yet to remain in power CPM-Left changed one person, one vote principle of Indian Constitution. Congress Party helped CPM by restricting the majority Bengalis to a smaller share of assembly representation compared to minority tribes. No one can guarantee that the majority will not rebel some day and would not attempt to change the Constitution again.
 The Trend:
    As one travels through India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar) or even Sri Lanka one hears from a section of population that their existence is threatened by “others,” which often means their neighbors. Partition of India in 1947 and independence of India and Pakistan, and Partition of Pakistan in 1971 and emergence of Bangladesh has a lot to do with that. More importantly ethnic cleansing, demographic changes, impunity of mass killers, and condoning by the international community have added a measure of insecurity in the Subcontinent. Indians, especially Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Brahmos – the indigenous faiths of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan – and Zoroastrians and Christians look to India’s neighbors and see vanishing population of their faiths and institutionalized discrimination. Pakistan was over a quarter non-Muslim – Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Buddhist and Parsee, is barely 2% now. Where have sons of the soil gone? Pakistani Kashmir was 20% non-Muslim, now practically devoid of any. Bangladesh was over 30% non-Muslim (Hindu), now less than 10%. Number of Hindus missing from 1947 India/Bengal partition through 2001 Bangladesh Census is staggering 49 million! (And the number of Hindu casualty varies from 1.4 million to 3.1 million (xxiii). These numbers are not made up!) Afghanistan had substantial Hindu-Sikh minority before Taliban takeover. Only a handful is left now. Even in India’s Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley of Jammu & Kashmir State 20% of the population was Hindu minority where a handful exists now. Minority Muslim population in the Hindu-majority Jammu Region and Buddhist-majority Ladakh Region of the Muslim-majority Jammu & Kashmir has been stable nonetheless. Thus the majority in India, the Hindus, feel they are under existential threat from all around. In case of India all the minority religious populations have increased. In spite of influx of millions of non-Muslims from Pakistan, Pakistani Kashmir, Afghanistan and Bangladesh the minority Muslim population has increased from 13% in 1947 to more than 14% now; and in West Bengal in spite of the presence of  30 million Bangladeshi Hindu refugees and their descendants, Indian Muslim population has risen from 17% in 1947 to 31% in 2011. Added to this demographic shift, many Hindus complain that when they are terrorized whether in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka or in India no one cares. Large-scale anti-Hindu pogroms took place in Bangladesh in 1990, 1992, 2001, 2013 and 2014, to name a few. Then there are killers of 1971 anti-Hindu, anti-secular Muslim, and anti-Bengali genocide of Pakistan who all live happily ever after. No one in the world censored them. In Pakistan and Bangladesh attack and forced conversion of Hindus and Christians are routine. How has the world reacted? Sri Lanka’s anti-Tamil-Hindu genocide has come under scrutiny from the UN; but did anyone pay any price? After an unprecedented 1992 anti-Hindu pogrom in Bangladesh pro-Islamist Mrs. Khaleda Zia came to power. On October 17, 1993 Ms. Barbara Crosette of New York Times wrote a glowing report of Zia “A Woman Leader for a Land That Defies Islamic Stereotypes” (xxiv). Yet no mention of the anti-Hindu pogrom. Again after another anti-Hindu pogrom in 2001, Mrs. Zia won election. This time secular Bangladeshi Muslims and minority Hindus, Buddhists and Christians of New York begged The Times to send a reporter. The Times sent their Delhi Bureau Chief, a Bengali-American Somini Sengupta. In the midst of Hindus living under open sky in their torched homes Sengupta reported, “Child Traffickers Prey on Bangladesh,” a very important issue, but not a word on the pogrom and atrocities. (xxv)
    Since her bloody birth Pakistan sees India as a threat, and has reached out to anti-democracy, intolerant Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East, delinking her Indian heritage (xxvi). It sees India and Hindus as its existential threat; not the heritage of their ancestors. Thus even the ancient sites of Indus Civilization and millennium-old Hindu shrines are not projected as their heritage. (During this writer and his wife’s trip to 3,500-year old Harappa ruins in 2007 they were the only two visitors. The small road sign was only in Urdu.) (xxvii) Three and a half war with India can certainly cause such a psyche. Though there is lot of warmth with “Indians” and “Hindus” among a section of population (xxviii), the military dictators who governed the nation for most of her existence have used militarism, Islamism, anti-Indianism, and anti-Hinduism as their tool for survival. Thus when Pakistan’s Bengali majority won the election in 1971 the military-bureaucracy couldn’t compromise and hand over the power to the majority which they saw as inferior Muslim as they follow traditional Bengali script, not an Arabic one. (In1960’s Pakistan President General Ayub Khan tried to replace Arabic for the traditional Bengali script.)
Bangladesh came into being in 1971 after an anti-Bengali, anti-secular and anti-Hindu genocide by the Army of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and her Islamist Bengali allies. U.S., China, Arab- and Muslim-majority nations opposed the emergence of the first secular Muslim-majority nation since WWII. After the assassination of the Founding Father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 26 members of his family, intolerant military Islamists raised their anti-India and anti-Hindu slogan, although Bangladesh was liberated by India, and the vast majority killed for Bangladesh independence were the Hindu minority. Again, like Pakistan, fear of the “larger neighbor” was brought back to rally the faithful. Simultaneously cleansing of Hindus was intensified. Even the pro-independence and pro-secular party hasn’t extended any protection to victimized Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, or rebuild their torched homes and businesses, and punish the rapists and forcible converters.
    It is the same anti-Hindu psyche that has not allowed the learned Sri Lankan Buddhist-Sinhala majority to share power with their indigenous Tamil-Hindu minority connected to India through India’s Tamil Nadu State. And now with the opening up of Myanmar we are witnessing a fear of migration and colonization by Muslim Bangladeshis convulse the nation.
    I would also argue that neo-colonialist, anti-India and anti-Hindu groups of India, distant scholars assume that Indians in general and Hindus in particular, would forever continue to be fatalist and suffer from amnesia. They assume that the enormous displacement, pain, killing, and cleansing of Hindus from their ancestral lands of Islamized Pakistan, Pakistani Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh would have no effect on Indian and Hindu psyche. As Hindus urbanize, become less fatalistic, caste-creed-language differences  recede, and as technology allows information to move faster, a religion-based composite Hindu (plus Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsee, even indigenous Christian and Muslim) identity may emerges, bringing a communal solidarity, like other religious groups. The 2014 election may have ushered a sea change in that psyche.
Gujarat Syndrome:
    In India anti-BJP and anti-Hindu communalists of the left and right, and anti-India, anti-Hindu pro-proselytizing interests have used the State of Gujarat, its Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a target to energize its base. This is supposedly to hold him responsible for 2002 Hindu-Muslim carnage in that state. No question people responsible for carnage must be held accountable. (Some ministers are serving long sentences.) Mr. Modi had just come to power before the carnage, and subsequently he was elected three times to that position. No matter several courts, including Supreme Court, after considerable investigation declared Modi innocent of accusation (xxix) vested groups, including people in the U.S. Congress (xxx), were only interested in maligning not only Modi, but also Gujarat, and anyone claiming to be Hindu. There is no contradiction for being judge and jury for Modi accusers. Modi is being held responsible when Hindus retaliated against Muslims after a train coach full of 59 Hindu pilgrims – mostly children and women – were burned to death when Muslims at Godhra station set it on fire. Why was Modi not held responsible for failing to protect Hindu pilgrims in the first place? Western press reported that “More than 1,000 people died, most of them Muslims. Blamed by many for (Modi – author) failing to take steps to stop the violence,” (xxxi) yet the same report censors that of the 1,000 at least 300 killed were Hindus, many of whom were killed when Modi’s police tried to protect Muslims. Even activists defending gun ownership in America as a self-defense accuse Modi and Hindus for defending themselves. Why such defense does not exist – individually or collectively – for sufferers? Or, is Modi blamed because for the first time in modern history Hindus acted communally when they were attacked communally? Moreover, holding a Chief Minister in a civil war-like situation would be like blaming the California Governor for racial conflict that erupted for days after Rodney King verdict. Still question remains, is he being maligned to curry favor with Muslim-majority nations, or for receiving funding from money-rich anti-democratic intolerant Middle East nations? Otherwise why Congress Party leaders are not being blamed for large killings of Bengali Hindus in Assam in 1960s, 1970s, and in 1990s? And killing of tribes and Bengalis in Assam? Why the world provided red carpet to Communist Chief Minister Jyoti Basu for killing 20 Hindu monks and nuns in the heart of Calcutta in Ballygunj neighborhood, within 700 meters from Gariahat Police Station and 1.5 kilometer from Kasba Police Station? (xxxii) No anti-Hindu leader or gang member was arrested in spite of having videos and pictures. (The present TMC Government has appointed a one-man inquiry commission.) Or, why Basu was not censored for killing 380 Hindu oppressed-caste peasants, as mentioned earlier? Why Congress or Left Front was not rebuked for allowing killing of 280 Hindus (or 355 according a second report) in Tripura’s Mandai massacre led by Bijoy Rankhel, a Christian, and for not convicting a single person for the killings? (xxxiii) Or why Congress, Kashmir and Mizoram leaders were not censored for cleansing all Hindus from India’s Kashmir Valley, and for cleansing all non-converted Hindus – the Reangs/Brus – from Christian Mizoram to Tripura’s refugee camps (who are now living there for over a decade)? (xxxiv) There are many other examples of such hypocrisy.
    In the end this election may prove to have made a shift in paradigm; from Westernized elites to indigenous non-elites; from atheists to worshippers; from whisky drinkers to bidi smokers; from the West to the East; from English-speaking babus to Hindi-speaking chai-walas; from brown sahibs to native desis; from eating breakfast served in bed to one who has breakfast only after a dip in Ganga, followed by thanksgiving to Sun God Surya and offering (breakfast) of water and grains to plants and animals!
   (i) of_the_Indian_general_election,_2014

    (ii) Banerjee came to power after decimating Left Front of CPM and CPI in West Bengal at the 2011 election to the State Assembly. At least three times Left Front tried to assassinate her during their 1977 through 2011 rule. No one was arrested for the crimes.
   (iii) First Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, her son Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, his widow born Italian-Catholic now President of Congress Party Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, her son Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
   (iv) The original ancient temple was demolished by a Muslim king. A Muslim mosque was built on top of that temple. In the 1700s when the Islamic rule weakened a Hindu Shiva Temple was built overnight on an outer wall of the mosque. Now one is searched and re-searched, with all belongings left behind, before one is allowed to visit the shrine. The author visited the shrine in 2012. Even picture taking is banned.
   (vi) Even during my election campaign to the New York City School Board in 1996 in the enlightened, open New York City my ethnicity became an issue in public debates in a land of immigrants. I was elected to the board becoming the first with my background.
   (vii) See Ellen Barry, “In Indian Candidate, Hindu Right Sees a Reawakening,” NY Times, May 10, 2014; Wendy Doniger, Op-Ed, “Banned in Bangalore,” NY Times, March 5, 2014; for example.
   (viii) See Regional Disparities and Regional Development Planning of West Bengal, with Dr. Shefali S. Dastidar, Firma KLM Publishers, Calcutta, 1990; Ai Bangla, Oi Bangla (This Bengal that Bengal), Tulat Publisher,  Calcutta, 1991; Bengal Studies 1994: Essays on Economics, Society and Culture, Editor, Old Westbury Foundation, Long Island, 1996; Calcutta 300 Kolkata: Memoirs of a Diverse City, Overseas  Tribute to  Calcutta on Her Tercentenary, (Editor), South Asia Forum of North America, 1993; Empire’s Last Casualty: Indian Subcontinent’s Vanishing Hindu and Other Minorities, Firma KLM Publishers, Kolkata, 2008
   (ix) Tamil-Christian author R. N. Joe D’Cruz support didn’t go well with his publisher. “Tamil novelist R.N. Joe D’Cruz on Sunday claimed that he was facing ‘intellectual threats’ after he expressed his support for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on a social networking site.” April 14, Daily Bhaskar, April 14, 2014
   (x) Historian, editor and Nehru biographer (Muslim) M.J Akbar support of BJP didn’t please many of the fundamentalists of the communal Left. “Journalist and ex-Congress MP M J Akbar on why he chose to join BJP,” The Economic Times, March 24, 2014
   (xii) Bodo-Muslim Conflict and Bodos, a plains tribe of Assam, are complaining that even after creating a special Bodo Autonomous Area in Assam they have become a minority in their homeland and settlers are the majority. In India with no birth or citizenship record, one’s face is one’s record of citizenship.
   (xiii) http://empireslastcasualty.
   (xiv) I had the book plus the old and new Souvenirs as I was asked to review the book for another publication.
   (xvi) op cit, Ai Bangla….
   (xvii) Amulya Ganguly, “Indian Marxists at a Dead End,” News India Times, July 11, 2014; 3
   (xviii) Communist Government was the first to bring politics in Indian text books. They banned Sanskrit – the mother language of almost all major languages of India and the language of all ancient Hindu and Indian literature. India is the only nation that follows traditional religion not converted by monotheism. Thus all the literature before 19th Century Indian Renaissance had to do with gods,  goddesses, Mother Nature, rivers, mountains, sacred forests, holy men and women, sages, saints and deities. Monotheists call this Hindu literature. Thus to appease monotheist lobbies, including Marxists, if one bans these literature one loses the entire Indian literature covering the past 4,000 to 5,000 years of Indian history. It would be like if America was run by Native Americans in a Native-majority America following indigenous religion, but banned those indigenous literatures to appease Hindu or Muslim settlers, and
converts. Thus in West Bengal no Bengali learns about their heritage literature of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Veda, Upanishads, Buddhist Jataks down to15th  Century Vaishnava literature from which the modern Bengali attained its developed status.
   (xix) After witnessing firsthand such discrimination when a Hindu Sagar Mela (fair) festivity was being stopped for “noise pollution” on the beaches of Bay of Bengal, this author wrote a protest note on February 27, 2013 to West Bengal Minister of Urban Development Mr. Firhad Hakim (a Muslim) and the Chief Minister Banerjee (a Hindu.) Sagar Mela is an annual festival going on for many centuries, perhaps millennium, where Ganga (Ganges) River meets the ocean. The Mela comes alive on the beach at a remote corner of India, at the end of the month of Poush (mid-January), pilgrims camp on the beach, away from any human habitation. Scripture tells that Lord Bhagirath connected Ganga River to the Ocean. Thus Ganga is known as Bhaghirathi. In that process Bhagirath brought back 60,000 lives from the dead through the touch of Ganga water.
   (xx) See daily Bartaman of May 17, 2014; and May 18, 2014
   (xxi) The Economic Times, June 10, 2014; On May 17, 2014 a Kolkata daily Bartaman writes “of the 12% vote loss by the Left has mostly gone to BJP as their share of state vote has risen by 11%.”
   (xxii) This is the only place in India where airport security asked to see the author’s passport as “you are carrying a handcart.”
   (xxiii) op cit Empires Last Casualty….
   (xxiv) “Conversations: Khaleda Zia; A Woman Leader for a Land That Defies Islamic Stereotypes,” by Barbara Crosette, NY Times
   (xxv) NY Times, April 29, 2002
   (xxvi) Haroon Khalid, “How archaeology in Pakistan is forced to deny the nation's Hindu past,” HTTP://SCROLL.IN/ARTICLE/ 670462/HOW-ARCHAEOLOGY-IN-PAKISTAN-IS-FORCED-TO-DENY-THE-NATION'S-HINDU-PAST
   (xxvii) http://empireslastcasualty.blogspot. com/2008/12/indus-valley-civilization harappa.html
   (xxviii) During our trip to Peshawar, Khybar-Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan we were requested by a secular Muslim to help them save a pre-Islamic Hindu Gorkhatree Shiva Temple. After my letter writing campaign with the guidance from the locals, the temple was given back to the small surviving Hindu community. After 1947 first time they celebrated the Diwali Festival of Lights was in 2011 October. See http://empireslast ; and this author’s "An Indian’s Journey through Pakistan-III: The Similarities and Contradictions," The Pakistan Times: Magazine Section, April 27, 1990 1 & 6; "An Indian’s Journey through Pakistan-II: Traveling through the Punjabi Heartland," The Pakistan Times: Magazine Section (Id holiday month special), April 20, 1990, 1 and 4; "An Indian’s Journey through Pakistan- I: Crossing the Border, First Time," The Pakistan Times: Magazine Section, April 13, 1990, 1 & 5
    (xxx) On March 21, 2012 Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress held a hearing where this writer was present. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and some individuals asked the U.S. Congress to uphold a ban on Chief Minister Modi to travel to the U.S. for prejudicial reasons. No explanation was given for the bias.
   (xxxi) Ellen Barry, “Local Policies Help an Indian Candidate Trying to Go National,” N Y Times, May 7, 2014. Several individuals, including some State administrators were convicted, and are serving sentences.
 xxxii) Incidentally this area is barely 100 meters from this writer’s home in Calcutta where my parents lived. http://empireslast 
   (xxxii   i) See Mandai Massacre in Wikipedia, and "Indian tribe massacres 350 'outsiders,'" The Miami News. June 16, 1980
   (xxxiv) Ethnic Mizo activists demanded that the cleansed Hindu Reangs not be allowed return back home and not allowed absentee ballot for Mizoram election. They called a general strike on the day of Parliamentary election in 2014 to prevent Reangs from exercising their rights. As a result Indian Election Commission changed the polling date. “Mizoram strike called off after poll deferred,” Daily Star, Dhaka, April 8, 2014
    Anandabazar Patrika daily, Kolkata, May 16, 2014; May 17, 2014; May 18, 2014
    Barry, Ellen, “In Indian Candidate, Hindu Right Sees a Reawakening,” NY Times, May 10, 2014
    Bartaman daily, Kolkata, May 16, 2014; May 17, 2014; May 18, 2014
    Dastidar, Sachi G. Empire’s Last Casualty: Indian Subcontinent’s Vanishing Hindu and Other Minorities, Firma KLM, Kolkata, 2008
    ________, Ai Bangla Oi Bangla (This Bengal that Bengal), Tulat Publishers, Calcutta (Kolkata), 1991
    Daily Star, Dhaka, April 8, 2014
    Doniger, Wendy, Op-Ed, “Banned in Bangalore,” NY Times, March 5, 2014
    The Economic Times, June 10, 2014
    N Y Times, May 7, 2014
    Telegraph daily, Calcutta, May 4, 2014
    The Times of India daily,  May 2, 2014

Raj Pal’s Act of Blasphemy : Parting of the Ways Between Hindus and Muslims of Northwest Frontier Province (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and the Adjoining Khyber Agency

Dr. Naushad Khan
Dean, Faculty of Social & Behavioral Sciences,
Islamia College University Peshawar,
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

    Unlike the first two decades of the Twentieth Century, in the third decade, a series of events took place in the North-West Frontier Province as well as in other parts of the British India, which not only severely strained the relations between the Hindus and Muslims but also caused communalization of politics and ultimately Hindu-Muslims riots in the Muslim-majority province of N.W.F.P. and the adjoining tribal areas. Some of the most important events and their consequences are explained as under:
    Just after twenty years of the creation of N.W.F.P. as a separate province in 1901, the Hindus, who constituted only 8 per cent of the population of the province, while dubbing the province as Sarzamin-e be Aain (the land without law), demanded re-amalgamation of the North-West Frontier Province with Punjab. Rai Bahadur Diwan Chand Obhrai in his book, The Evolution of North-West Frontier Province, while explaining the divided opinions, writes:
    In the debates of the Punjab Legislative Council, it was curious to observe
that while the Sikhs votes were divided, the Hindus of the Punjab voted as a body, against their own class-interests, for re-amalgamation of North-West Frontier Province with the Punjab.(1)
    To look into the demand of the Hindus for re-amalgamation of the North-West Frontier Province with Punjab, Government of India appointed an enquiry committee under Sir Denys Bray, Foreign Secretary to the Government of India. (2) The Committee in its report favoured the scheme for a separate North-West Frontier Province upon the doctrine of inseparability of the districts and tracts and upon the theory of self-determination for the Pathan population. (3) 
   .Another issue, which severely damaged the Hindu-Muslim relations in the North-West Frontier Province, were the communal riots, which broke out in 1924 in Kohat (N.W.F.P) on account of distribution of a poem by Jiwandas, Secretary of the Sanatan Dharm Sabha, Kohat, which injured the religious sentiments of the Muslims.
    The Government of India investigated the communal riots, which broke out in Kohat in 924 and issued the following resolution:
      The publication of such a poem, which to blasphemous, would be mischievous and provocative anywhere. Its publication in the N. W. P. Province, where the Hindus are in a small minority, among a Moslem people, intensely religious in feeling and observances, and in a town already troubled by communal feeling, and hardly three miles from fanatical tribal territory was, if deliberate, an act of wicked folly. (4)
    After the Khilafat Movement, the publication of a pamphlet, titled, Rangila Rasool by Raj Pal, a Hindu publisher of Lahore, once again extremely injured the religious sentiments of the Indian Muslims and badly exposed the idealism of the proponents of the Hindu-Muslim Unity in India. The Indian Muslims, particularly the pan-Islamists and the Khilafatists were convinced that the  Pal’s act was a plain act of blasphemy and a libelous attack on Islam by  some extremist Hindus, therefore they  ultimately started a movement against the publisher and the writers of the pamphlet in 1927. Many Muslim leaders like Abdul Rehman Ghazi and Syed Attaullah Shah were sent to jail during the anti-Raj Pal Movement, which further augmented the resentment of the Muslims. It was during this spell of high tension in the Hindu-Muslim relations, when a zealous Muslim and a great hero of Islam,  Ilmud Din, commonly known as, Ghazi Ilmud Din Shaheed,  stabbed Raj Pal to death on April 6, 1929. Ghazi was arrested, sent behind the bars and awarded death penalty. The Muslims lodged an appeal against the court decision. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, then a distinguished Barrister was asked by Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal and other prominent Muslims of Punjab to plead the case of Ghazi Ilmud Din, which he did without charging even a single penny but the appeal was rejected.  Consequently, the Ghazi was hanged to death on October 31, 1929, under the Indian Penal Code, which again gave birth to Hindu-Muslim riots in India at a very larger scale.
    It is worth-mentioning here that the Peshawar-based local Khilafat Committee played a pivotal role in taking the anti-Raj Pal movement to its logical consequences and consequently the history recorded and the people of N.W.F.P. and Khyber Agency witnessed parting of the ways between the Hindus and the Muslims in 1927. 
    It is on the record that before the Raj Pal’s act of wicked folly, the people of the Khyber Agency in accordance with their code of conduct, Pakhtunwali used to treat the Hindus with immense consideration and generosity and there existed healthy social and commercial relations between them but all these amicable relations were strained by one iniquitous act of Champawati and Mahasha Krishna, the writers of the pamphlet titled, Rangila Rasool and of course, of its publisher, Raj Pal.
    The following is an extract from the newspaper, Siyaast Lahore, which in its issue of July, 16, 1927, under the caption, Exemplary regard of the Pathans (Pakhtuns) for the Hindus and the Sikhs; At last the cup of patience has overflowed, throws light on the Pakhtun-Hindu relationship prior to the publication of Rangila Rasool by Raj Pal.  
    “The behaviour of the Pathans towards the Hindus and the Sikhs has always been very good. These people participate cheerfully in the marriage and death ceremonies of the Pathans, and the latter treat them like respectable guests among them. If a Pathan of any tribe looks upon a Hindu or Sikh with a contempt, or causes him a little trouble, the Pathans of a number of villages champion the cause of the Hindus or the Sikhs and either kill that Muslim or plunder him, because they hold the Hindus and Sikhs in high esteem for being in minority, or as aliens belonging to a different religion. So that the Hindus may not think that they are Hindus and the Pathans are Muslims, and as such they are aliens in the Pathans’ land. At the time of harvest every Zamindar (land owner) gives them bhoosa (crushed corn plants) and corn as free gifts according to his means. If a goat is slaughtered, the Hindus are given a share of the meat. On the occasion of Eid (Muslims’ religious festival), the Khans (wealthy Pakhtuns) give the Hindus and Sikhs goats as a bakhshish (charity). Hindu-Muslim riots have often been occurring in Peshawar, the Punjab and in the other parts of India, but the Pathans have never looked down upon any Hindu or Sikh living in the independent territory (tribal territory) with contempt. But the ‘Rangila Rasool’ pamphlet made the Pathans so antagonistic to the Hindus that they were compelled to hold a meeting at the direction of Haji Chaknawar, Maulana Sahib, Khan Sahib Malik Abdul Jabbar Khan Zakhakhel,  Subedar Major Sher Jan Khan and Subedar Major Malik Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Malik Abdul Jabbar Khan told the inhabitants of the Khyber with regrets, but in strong words, that the slanderous attempt of the Aryan Hindus at insulting their prophet had shocked them and the inhabitants of the tribal territories and that all other Hindus were also with them. “They could no longer tolerate this malicious deed, and hence they order the Hindus and Sikhs of the Khyber that, after 11 July (1927), no Hindu or Sikh would have a shop or a house in the Khyber”. All the Pathans said Ameen (yes) to this decision. “Now the Hindus are making arrangements to carry their belongings from the Khyber. Consequently, the Hindus with tears in their eyes are cursing the founders of their religion (Hinduism)”. No Hindu shall be found living in the Khyber after 20th July (1927)” (5)
    The heinous act of Raj Pal not only cut the economic and commercial ties between the Hindus and Muslims but also caused communal riots between the two major communities   across the country. Consequently, the Muslims of N.W.F.P. and of the trans-border areas launched a boycott movement, popularly known as Buy from Muslims Movement, with the sole aim and objective to reform and develop their own local economy. It is quite evident that the Muslims did this with the sole resolve of ending their exploitation at the hands of Hindus. But the Hindus took it ill and viewed it as an act of open hostility of the Muslims against them. Consequently, they (Hindus) launched a counter propaganda campaign against the Muslim, as they knew that their (Hindus’) developed and sustained economy would suffer a fatal blow. The Hindus during the course of their anti-Muslim propaganda condemned the “Buy from Muslims” Movement as an unwarranted agitation.
    To condemn the false propaganda of the Hindus, a meeting of the local Khilafat Committee was held in Mahabat khan Mosque (Peshawar) on the evening of 16th August 1927, in which the following resolution was passed:
       The Government should contradict the false propaganda, unleashed by the Hindus through the press in the length and breadth of the country against the people of the Frontier Province and the trans-border areas. This meeting of the Muslims of Peshawar strongly condemns and expresses its resentment against the Hindus’ propaganda. (6)
    Before the adoption of the above mentioned resolution, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar of Peshawar, who was very active in the Khilafat Movement, delivered a vehement speech during the course of which he blamed the Hindus for provoking the Muslims to commit breach of peace. He said that the Hindus, instead of condemning Raj Pal and others were carrying out a false propaganda against the Muslims, whose religious sentiments had been outraged so flagrantly. He also went on to say that it was the right of the Muslims to exhort their co-religionists to improve their economic and commercial conditions and purchase things from the Muslim shopkeepers. This was, he remarked, his open advice to his co-religionists and it does not mean boycott at all. The Hindus, he added, were holding secret meetings daily to malign the Muslims. There was no legal or moral justification for preventing the Muslims from improving their lot. They had every right to do so and they were not committing any crime. When in the villages, he said, the Muslims gave up buying things from the Hindu shopkeepers; the Hindu came to the city (Peshawar) and raised a hue and cry in the press that they had been expelled and looted by the Muslims. Touching on the mode of action taken by the Muslims as part of the “Buy from Muslims” Movement, he advised the Muslims to carry out their movement
steadily and peacefully if they were intended to make it a success. The Hindus and Sikhs in the tribal territories had been called upon to condemn the action of Raj Pal etc. Those who did so were still living peacefully in the tribal territories and those who refused were told that the tribesmen would no longer be responsible for their safety and consequently, the tribal administration sent them to the political Sarai (inn) in Landi- Kotal (headquarter of Khyber Agency) with all safety of their lives and belongings.  About the charges of the Hindus against the Afridis of the tribal territories he said, that the news of humiliating treatment with the tribal Hindus and Sikhs by the  Afridis, as published in the Hindu and Sikh press was entirely baseless. The Afridis had never imposed those conditions, and no human being would ever do it .This was merely a malicious propaganda started to malign the Afridis. Referring to the pamphlets, published by Kali Charan and Raj pal etc. he remarked that the Hindus claimed on the one hand, that it was an individual, who, was responsible for injuring the Muslims’ religious sentiments but on the other hand they were virtually supporting the actions of Kali Charan and Dalip Singh by collecting subscriptions for the one and praising the judgment of the others.(7)
     When rivalry between the two rival communities, the Hindus and the Muslims, reached to its climax and the former realized the resolve of the latter, who were determined to promote their own trade, they reacted with a counter-move of vilification against the Muslims, in order to sabotage their movement.  For example, a poster was issued in Urdu as well as in Pashto with the following warning:                                 

    Hindus circulated this poster on the 24th August 1927 in Peshawar city for the information of the Muslims. In this poster the author had remarked that the boycott movement against the Hindus was an empty threat as it could never affect the Hindu community. It was further asserted that the Muslims were weakening their own cause and that they might have to quit India in consequence of this movement.
    The contents of the poster exposed the primordial state of mentality of the Hindus towards the Indian Muslims. With this development, in Peshawar, the provincial capital of the North-West Frontier Province, the Hindu-Muslim stand-off rose to an alarming point. Consequently, some representatives of the Hindus and Muslims felt the urgent need of effecting reconciliation between the innocent citizens of various communities. Accordingly, they convened a Unity Conference in the Government Mehmankhana (guest house) on the 4th of September 1927, under the Chairmanship of Nawab Arbab Dost Mohammad khan, O.B.E. of Tehkal (Peshawar). The aim of the meeting was to ease the Hindu-Muslim tension in Peshawar and reconcile between the innocent members of both of the Hindus and Muslim communities. In the meeting the following three resolutions were adopted:
Resolution # 1
     This meeting of the Hindus, the Muslims and the Sikhs unanimously
condemns scurrilous writings against the founders of all religions, especially
Raj Pal, the publisher of ‘Rangila Rasool’ and realizing that the punishment under section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is inadequate for such offences, recommends to Government that such insults should be made punishable with a heavier sentence.

Resolution # 2
    This meeting recommends that a Conciliation Board should be established whose members in the first instance investigate without communal prejudice the causes which have led to the present Hindu-Muslim tension, and promote Hindu-Muslim Unity in Peshawar and the adjoining areas.

Resolution # 3
    This meeting condemns the activities of those persons who have caused a breach of peace in Peshawar city and those who lately assaulted certain persons and requests the Government to at once release all persons who have been arrested  on account of fanning the Hindu-Muslim tension. (9)
    Similarly, in a meeting, convened by the local Khilafat Committee in the Mahabat khan’s Mosque, on the 6th September 1927, under the Chairmanship of Maulvi Abdul Hakim, the speakers, while explaining the grievances of the Muslims, said that their patience had been put to an extreme test by the Hindus who had attacked the honour of the Prophet of Islam for which every Muslim was ready to shed the last drop of his blood. Elaborating their views on the attack of the Hindus on Islam, they attributed the cause to the poverty and disunity in the ranks of the Muslim community. They exhorted their audience to develop their trade and deal only with the Muslims so as to strengthen their economic condition. They added that if they wished to exist on the face of the earth with dignity they should become traders and should take a  vow to buy from the Muslims. During the course of their speeches, they also pleaded for unity among the various sects of Islam. They asked the Muslims not to buy any food item, prepared by a person who did not eat anything prepared by them. This, they added, was quite consistent with their Shariat (Islamic way of life). They also appealed to their audience not to be so provoked as to cause the breach of peace, as that would be detrimental to their trade campaign. (10)
    To pursue, its agenda, a meeting of the Conciliation Board, was held on September, 7, 1927 under the Chairmanship of Arbab Dost Mohammad khan of Tehkal, in which secretaries of the Anjuman-e-Ittihad-o-Aman (Association of Unity and Peace) were elected. Needless to say, Arbab Dost Mohammad Khan was also elected one of the secretaries of the newly established Anjuman. (11)
    Similarly in another meeting of the Muslims of Peshawar city (NWFP), held in the Islamia Club Hall, on the 21st September 1927, under the auspices of the Anjuman-e-Ahmadia, the following resolution was passed:
          This meeting requests the Muslims to develop Islamic trade and also to abstain from eating at the hands of persons who did not eat at the hands of the Muslims. (12)
    This resolution was supported by Syed Zaffar Shah of Education Department and Agha Mahmud Shah and was finally passed. The pages of history reveal the fact that in the post-Khilafat Movement era, the publication of the ‘Rangila Rasool pamphlet by Raj Pal, first led to communalization of politics and then Hindu-Muslim riots in different parts of the British India but in the North-West Frontier Province and the adjoin tribal areas, it paved the way for parting of the ways between the Hindu-Muslims.
It is also worth-mentioning here that the Hindus of the North-West Frontier Province always opposed the introduction of reforms in N.W.F.P. on communal basis as well as on population strength basis. Their plea was that the separation of five districts from the Punjab for creation N. W. F. P. as a separate province in 1901 had reduced the Hindu minority from about 40% in the Punjab to 7% in the North-West Frontier Province. (13)  
    It is worth-mentioning here that unlike the preceding decade, in 1930s the moderates and constitutionalists among the South-Asian Muslims dominated the political scene in Muslim India. It was in this new era of political awakening, when Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who at the outset of his political career was a follower of Haji Sahib of Turangzai and a social reformer, was able to lead a pro-secular and anti-separatist movement among the Pakhtuns, particularly in the rural areas of the North-West Frontier Province. He and his Khudai Khidmatgar Movement rose to prominence in the thirties. On account of his personal attachment with M.K. Gandhi and his Gandhian approach for independence of India, the non-violent Pakhtun leader was dubbed as Frontier Gandhi. It was during this period, he attracted many Hindu leaders, including Dadabhai Naoroji’s grand-daughter; Khurshid Naoroji, who worked with the Khudai Khidmatgars in the North-West Frontier Province and was very close to Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. (14) But it is worthy to note here that the Unionist Party, which also was a secular party and which included Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs and which no, doubt was the most popular and the leading political party of Punjab, from 1923 to 1937, as is confirmed by the results of the elections (15) for Punjab Legislative Council in 1923, 1926 & 1930 and for the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1937 but there was no significant impact of the Unionists on the politics of the Frontier due to the reasons, that the Sikhs of the Punjab were always found divided in the legislative debates on the minorities’ issues in N.W.F.P. and likewise the Hindus of the Punjab too did not support them in their quest for re-amalgamation of the North-West Frontier with Punjab for the obvious reason that they did not want to become perpetual hopeless minority that confronted their brethren in the Frontier Province. (16)
    To conclude, like the two edges of a stream or like the two lines of a railway track, the Hindus and Muslims were not destined to become one Indian nation. After the Second World War, the only solution of the Indian problem was the partition of India.  Through the Elections of 1946, the Indian Muslims proved that their survival as a separate nation in South-Asia lies in the creation of Pakistan.
   (1) Rai Bahadur Diwan Chand Obhrai, The Evolution of North-West Frontier Province,  Peshawar: The London Book Company 1938), 111
   (2) E.B. Howell, Story of the North-West Frontier Province, (Peshawar: Government Stationery and Printing Office, North-West Frontier Province 1930), 61
   (3) Rai Bahadur, op.cit.,110. Also see, T. Rangachariar & N.M. Samarth, Report of the North-West Frontier Enquiry Committee and Minutes of Dissent, (Delhi: Government Central Press 1924), 15
   (4) op cit., Rai Bahadur, 208
   (5) Unpublished Confidential Political Diaries, NWFP (Khyber Pakhtunkhawa) Archives, Peshawar, Bundle No. 17, Serial No. 420, 27-29. (Hence after cited as Unpublished Confidential Political Diaries)
   (6) op. cit., Unpublished Confidential Diaries, Part, IX, 3,4
   (7) ibid
   (8) Ibid; Part: II, 38
   (9) Unpublished Confidential Special Diaries, NWFP. (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Archives Peshawar, Bundle No. 17, Serial No. 422, Part: 1, 149-151. (Hereinafter cited as, Confidential Special Diaries)
   (10) op. cit., Confidential Special Diaries      
   (11) op. cit., Unpublished Confidential Political Diaries, Part: IX, 16
   (12) op. cit., Unpublished Confidential Political Diaries, Part: XIII, 25
   (13) op. cit., Rai Bahadur, 128
   (14) Engineer, Asghar Ali, (Ed.), 1986, The Role of the Minorities in Freedom Struggle. Jawahar Nagar, Delhi: Ajanta Publications (India), 156.
   (15) Azra Asghar Ali & Sajid Mahmood Awan, “Political Development and Political Parties in Punjab: 1849-1947,”Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences, 29, no1(June 2009): 74
   (16) op. cit., Rai Bahadur, 111
    Ali, Azra Asghar & Awan, Sajid Mehmood. “Political Development and Political Parties in Punjab: 1849-1947,” Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences, 29, no.1 (June 2009): 74
    C.I.D. Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, Confidential Political Diaries of  1920s, (declassified documents), N.W.F.P. (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Archives, Peshawar, Higher Education Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
    Engineer, Asghar Ali, (Ed.), 1986, The Role of the Minorities in Freedom Struggle. Jawahar Nagar, Delhi: Ajanta Publications (India)
    Howell, E. B., 1930, Story of the North-West Frontier Province. Peshawar: Government Printing and Stationery Office, North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar
    Obhrai, Rai Bahadur Diwan Chand, 1938, The Evolution of North-West Frontier Province. Peshawar: The London Book Company (India).
    Police Department Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, Confidential Special Diaries of 1920s,(declassified documents) N.W.F.P. (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) Archives, Peshawar, Higher Education Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. 
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Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Inc.
ISPaD      Needs     Help    from    Y O U
  Several Bengali-Americans in New York, individuals whose families were victims of partition of the Indian Subcontinent – especially of former British-Indian Bengal – formed a partition documentation project called ISPaD or Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Inc. to save the history and experiences of lost and displaced individuals and families, their villages, their life, and of survivors and that of protectors.

The Project has received not-for-profit status from the Departments of Education and State of New York State and a 503-C tax-exempt status from the I.R.S. (of the U.S. Government). ISPaD is open to all.

The purposes of the project are:  

  a) Document information from the people affected by the partition;
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Ispad is looking for individual and family stories, documents, pictures, narratives, deeds, artifacts, books, family history, stories of refugees, survivors, protectors and that of the lost ones, tapes, films, videos of Bengal and Indian partitions – from 1947 through the present.
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