16.12.09

The Bangladesh India Forgot

Of Nations and Notions
The Bangladesh India Forgot
by Farzana Versey
Countercurrents, December 16, 2009



On December 16, a nation was cut off from a nation which was formed out of a larger nation. The second, Pakistan, was essentially a notion that took off from the larger idea that was India.

Today, as Indian states decide to lead microcosmic lives and even the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, believes it will make things more manageable if her state is divided, the need for Bangladesh stands nullified as an ideology. It was protesting the language issue, the cultural dissonance with an Islamic Republic. Neither of these aspects has given it a distinct identity other than a name. In fact, Bangladesh has its own terror networks and the Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen is being examined by the Intelligence Agencies for its role in bomb blasts and its ties with local groups in India. There is a suspicion that it may also have been involved in the Mumbai attacks in November, 2008. Its avowed aim is to replace the current state of Bangladesh with an Islamic state based on Shariah. Things do come full circle.

Those who rue the partition of India do not appear to have the same reservations about the splitting up of Pakistan. It is no secret that India was an active participant in the civil war between East and West Pakistan. It took almost two good decades after the creation of Pakistan for its Bengali population to realise that they were indeed different. Interestingly, those on the Indian side of what is still West Bengal looked down upon their Eastern connections, quite unlike the memories people in Punjab and the northern states of India have for Lahore or other parts of the Punjab belt of Pakistan.

On the face of it, it did appear to be a people’s movement. As writer-activist-politician, Dr. Enver Sajjad, told me, “If I were Mujibur Rehman, I would have said that the country was created with 51 % of our votes, so we have the legitimate right to call ourselves Pakistan.”

M
ujibur Rehman, leader of the Awami League, had a different subtext in his mind and went through the Jinnah-Nehru sort of parallel ego trip with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He wanted to be Prime Minister. Bhutto, who was the democrat with ostensibly no interest in parochial politics, was the architect of the Language Bill and the confirmation of the nation as an Islamic Republic. While he managed to sneak in Sindh into the national Pathan-Punjabi psyche and made use of the Mohajirs from the Urdu belt of India, the Bengalis did not fit into any scheme.

The simmering discontent got shape and form when a quasi government was formed with a war force of freedom fighters – Mukti Bahini. The Bangladesh Liberation War was an Indian war. Indira Gandhi was moving out of her father’s shadow. There was the background of the 1965 war with Pakistan. This time it had an added halo of concern for the underdog. In a battle that lasted a fortnight, 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered. Indian prisoners of war were forgotten by their own prime minister. Indira was hailed as Goddess Durga.

K.F.Rustamji who founded the Border security Force has been quoted as saying, “The BSF boys started assisting the Mukti Fauj (later Bahini) in causing subversion and sabotage deep inside East Pakistan and even in district headquarter towns, where cash and weapons were looted and made over to the government of Bangladesh.”

The only instructions Indira Gandhi gave was: “Do what you like, but don’t get caught.”

The espionage had begun much before the actual skirmish on the ground. Could a war have been averted? The American and Russians entered the fray as more than observers. It became a big event primarily because India came into the picture. The call for war was given by Indira Gandhi. In 'The British, The Bandits and The Bordermen' there are detailed references to how the BSF played a role in not only the formation of the Bangladesh provisional government, but also in framing its constitution and selecting its national flag and national anthem.

What happened to the Bangladesh dream of language, region, democracy and, most important of all, independence? Was freedom merely a territorial dream?

What did Bangladesh get out of this? Thousands dead. Hundreds raped. An exodus of ten million people who sought refuge in the North Eastern Indian states and West Bengal.

Over three decades later, they are still seen as refugees. Many moved out from these border areas. You will find quite a few in Delhi.

Zuleikhabi works as a domestic help in four houses at Chittranjan Park. She does not dwell on home and sees no difference. She has not heard about Taslima Nasreen, although she does remember Tagore.

The Bard of Bengal brooks no territorial boundaries, his golden boat is laden for all who clutch at the stray straws of a life untrammelled, yet pregnant with possibility.

Zuleikha knows she is not wanted by the political parties, she hears about it at street corners where the menfolk congregate in groups, their common destinies binding them together for a few minutes of respite. She displays a rare pragmatism when she says, “Political parties everywhere do not want the poor. We were not wanted back home, too. But the people here do not seem to mind our presence. My memsaabs like my work and since they are Bengalis there is a common culture.”

Isn’t there resentment against them in the already overpopulated slums? “Here also people understand. We share our poverty. And many of them are refugees too – they have come from Bihar, UP…everyone is seeking shelter.”

The middle-class residents of the area support them on humanitarian grounds. As one of them said, “Many of them are staying here for years, and if we start shunting people out, then there are the Tibetans too. We fought the Bangladesh War for political reasons but now these people have come to look upon us as saviours. If the government is so concerned then they must try and stop the influx instead of letting Opposition parties make political capital out of it.”

Apparently, when the BJP was campaigning against them, the local Bengalis came out to protect the outsiders. As one academician put it, “With us, secularism and parochialism are one and the same thing. We will support each other in any part the globe.”

A project called ‘Citizenship, Identity and Residence of Immigrants in Delhi Slums’ by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties had revealed that workers of the BJP and Shiv Sena had been active in identifying Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants in selected slums. “The police conducted frequent late night raids in some bastis (slum localities) where many people suspected of being Bangladeshi nationals were taken to the police station…The active role of selected political parties in the identification and deportation of Bangladeshi immigrants, recognised for their bias against religious minorities, is very disturbing.”

Jaffer is oblivious to these wheels within wheels. He only knows that occasionally an inexplicable fear overtakes him. “Though there is nothing to be afraid of. What do we have that we must fear losing? Clothes? Vessels? Belongings? Nothing. But there is something...that feeling of not having anything to call our own. I came here in 1975 as a child and even today after 30 years I know that we can be thrown out.”

According to Reena Bhadhuri, an expert on Islam, “These are starving people trying to make a meagre living. How can they be connected to Al Qaeda and the Pakistani intelligence agencies?” On the other hand, there is acceptance of Hindu infiltrators in the North East. The deputy minister for national security during the BJP regime had agreed to give them special treatment. “If they have come here illegally, it may be justified because of the hostility they face in Bangladesh. Some distinction will have to be kept in mind.”

It is such doublespeak and double standards on the part of both India and Pakistan that have left Bangladesh as a fractured nation. It has no identity. Societies that are left with too many histories don’t think about the future. The future subjugates them before they can get there.

19 comments:

  1. Bengla Desh, I believe, has a chance to become a promising country, because they are not yet "wahabized" by the Saudi Arabians like they did in Pakistan. Army has not crept in all walks ogf life like teh army in Pakistan.
    At the end of the day, it is upto people to make the right system -- they can leave everything to Allah (as seems to eb the prevailing practice in most of the Islamic countries) or leave to men.

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  2. dear ms versey

    India never had any plans for Bangladesh - the only objective India ever had was to put a serious dent into the Pakistani military pscyhe - which it did, one more point in the one-up-manship game. The bomb would come next, but that turned out to be the great equalizer, since mutually assured destruction seldom wins any points. Like the Americans who never had any plans for Afghanistan after the Russians left. But unattended wounds fester and pigs don't fly - for India, the cows might be coming home, and this time around, they might even be mad.

    One of your finest - thank you.

    moonbat

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  3. Farzana ,
    West Pakistan soldiers and allies (Dawn news) killed millions of Bengalis and you blame India for forgetting Bangladesh.India may be a midwife of Bangladesh she is neither mother or father in its birth and separation from west Pakistan.
    Where is the Justice for the Victims of West Pakistan attrocities in Bangladesh.Pakistan has not accepted any responsibility and so no reconcilation.
    You feel sorry for the loss of east Pakistan and even criticise who did not want partition of India for wanting it.
    No kind words for even Mujibur Rehman last elected leader of united Pakistan. Where are your loyalties.Equity requires that Hindus,Shia,Ahmadi's and Christians be protected in Pakistan.It is more important that muslim writers write about their problems and do not give them a cover for being declared Islamic states.
    This declared Islamic state is the reason for lot of tension in the region and in particular in Pakistan.(Please do not blame India for all what is wrong with Pakistan also).Muslims can not hide their racism,sexism under some devine rule and expect equal rights among the world community.
    Your silence in these issues is deafenig .

    You come across as sympathiser of enemies of moderation.Even as your admirer i look at you as an ultimate synic.

    I remember the old Russian joke where when told by American that he could say that Reagan was a crook,Russian replied that he was free enough to call Reagan a crook also.

    kul bhushan
    rxri.blogspot.com

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  4. Ms Versey
    Your quote - “It is such doublespeak and double standards on the part of both India and Pakistan that have left Bangladesh as a fractured nation.”
    Regarding Pakistan , I can agree. It refuses till date to accept the mohajirs of Bangladesh. Mohajirs while rotting in slums and ghettos of Bangladesh continue to swear by Pakistan. But what is India’s fault? It helped them to gain independence at huge cost and drain to our economy.
    Your quote-“What did Bangladesh get out of this? Thousands dead. Hundreds raped.”
    What further do you want India to do? Offer all Bangladeshis ration cards in India, allow them free access to everything at cost of sacrificing the interests of our own people? What is India’s responsibility and commitment that it is shirking from now? Who killed whom and who raped whom? The Pakistanis themselves accept the behaviour of Pakistani officers and soldiers towards Bengali women. Would East Pakistan be better off now, had it not gained independence with help of India?
    With poverty lurking, it is sooner or later a sizable proportion of Bangladesh is going to come into the influence of Wahabi-ism. Then they too are going to blast the dargahs and start tracing their roots to Arabs, like Pakistanis do today. The Bengali pride of language , history and culture will be slowly buried and all that will be left is Arab, Arab and Arab.


    Your quote -“As one academician put it, “With us, secularism and parochialism are one and the same thing. We will support each other in any part the globe.””
    Hats off, secular liberal academician for your broad mindedness. Please engrave it in golden letters, frame it and pass it on to your children and grand children. Do not forget to add your name at the bottom.Let them know that their grandparents are responsible for the social economical problems which is definitely going to emerge in times to come.

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  5. FV
    You should also think in terms of 'The India Bengladesh forgot'. Today's bengladesh is far better economically now . Did over 10 million refugees not enter India for safety? Was Hamoodur Rahman Commission report not genuine in laying down the real blame on breakup of Pakistan? And finally , Bangladesh is begging the World to take 20 million of its citizen destined to be displace because of impending rise in sea level. Where will they go; if not to India?
    I thing you are dead wrong in suggesting 'India forgot Bangladesh- it is the other way around.

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  6. Farzana,
    Bangladesh has been a rather tragic story all along.
    A somewhat *classic case bastard* freed from its opressors by the liberators. Several forces converged during the *liberation* of Bangaladesh. Pakistani opression, Indian (Read Indira and convergant Indian identity that was reeling/recovering from a chinese war defeat ) aspirations, and of course the native Bengali aspirations. Somewhere in the fulcrum of these forces Mujibur Rehman aligned with the decisive and resultant one to head the state of a independant - though hopelessly bastarded and impoverished - nation. Much of what followed has been a tragedy with Bangladesh populace ocassionally finding allies as diverse as corrupt Indian bureaucracy that allows a section of it to find its way inside India competing with its lowestly paid workforce, the other un-related ally being U.N. workforce that set up radio stations operating on HAM channels (Amateur Radio) to warn local population about coastal floods. Here, I tend to agree with Moonbat's point about Bangladesh being a mere pawn in the oveall Indo=Pak game. The lessons , however, for us progressives are far deeper. We must learn and understand that any popular / populist demand is always going to be prone to manipulation by vested powers. Bangladesh has just been a case in point. A more glaring example has been none other than Obama whose liberal constituency has been echoing the WTF (What The Fuck - for those uninitiated in terminology) sentiment, subtly echoed by the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman and more directly so echoed by NYT columnist Frank Rich who couple of months back wondered if Obama's Katrina moment has arrived.
    BTW, did we notice - the African leadership's revolt at Climate summit in Copenhagen may end up bringing more benefits to Bangladesh (incidentally, biggest loser in the warming climate) than any of its *well meaning* neighbours.
    May we all live in interesting times - to re-word the ancient chinese peasentry curse.
    Cheers,
    Mahesh.

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  7. Thousands dead. Hundreds raped.


    Funny how Farzana forgets to mention that it was the army of the land of the pure that did all that.

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  8. I see a pattern in responses where the moment anything can get connected to Islam, it is. Personal attacks come from weak minds.

    Ashish:

    Even if Allah, Bhagwan, God are invoked, it is men who decide how to ride the holy horse. Bangladesh is no exception.

    For the rest…

    I have already asked what has happened to the BD identity it fought for. So the spiel about Wahabism is redundant.

    The academician I quoted is a Bengali Hindu. He made an exceedingly important point for it means that a parochial Bangla identity anywhere in the world was secularism. Religion had no place in it. And if we have issues with this, then we ought not to have Telengana and we should not have helped Bangladesh because one of the primary issues was to have a distinct identity.

    I do not feel sorry for the loss of East Pakistan, I feel sorry for BD as it is today after all it went through. I have clearly said it, Bhutto’s role has been mentioned, the Pathan-Punjabi pandering has been mentioned, the role of terror groups has been mentioned. Their possible role in India has been mentioned. Their attempt at trying to introduce Shariah has been mentioned.

    It would take an idiot to imagine that the Indian Armed forces were behind “Thousands dead. Hundreds raped”, especially when there is background information provided about the East and West Pakistan problem. I did not mention that Dr. Enver Sajjad is a Pakistani and he is the one who says Mujib could have asked for his country to be called Pakistan. Oh, I forgot…the one-liner specialist is here.

    Onward…

    India’s role has been extensively reported by people who are not Muslims, and I mention it here because this is such a HUGE thing. We are being told about justice for the people of BD, which is damned right. It might help if we looked in our own backyard occasionally. Of course, if you aren’t living in the backyard it becomes difficult.

    And, those who refer to someone who is opining on an issue as a ‘Muslim writer’ clearly show their own prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I stand vindicated in my opposition to fake moderation.

    My next response will clarify some issues.

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  9. Moonbat:

    If by no plans you mean no effort at helping the country, then yes. It also had to make sure there was no further immediate threat.

    I have mentioned at length the terror groups within Bangladesh, those suspected of assisting local Indian groups….it does amount to coming full circle.

    It is important to note that while Mrs Gandhi was in a hurry, the Army Chief Sam Maneckshaw wanted to make sure they were completely prepared before their carried out the strikes. And K.F.Rustamji’s remarks further make clear the intentions of the Indian political class at the time.

    Thank you for reading the article with an open mind.
    - - -
    Mahesh:

    I can trust you to bring an added angle. Much appreciate the reference to the Climate Summit. Incidentally, the other issue is of flooding, where many many more people are killed than in attacks every year.

    Re. the main subject of the piece, as I have stated IG had to prove herself. Pakistani oppression came in the overt form of Yayha Khan and the covert operation of Z.A.Bhutto.

    We must learn and understand that any popular / populist demand is always going to be prone to manipulation by vested powers. Bangladesh has just been a case in point.

    That is not a lesson anyone is interested in learning. We believe that once there is a halo of a movement, it will be as a matter of course sanctified. It never is. If religions can be bought off the counter, so can any demands.

    Incidentally, after the birth of the country, Pakistan suffered a lot culturally. Suharwardy, who was behind many cultural initiatives, had left.

    The end result: what is Bangladesh’s identity today?

    Anonymous:

    By today’s BD being better off economically, what yardstick are you using? Pre-1971? That is not valid. Have I contested the HR Commission report? That does not mean other factors did not assist in it. Do read up on the subject. It is enlightening. Did I not mention that people were killed and women raped? Did I not mention the refugees who came to India?

    You should also think in terms of 'The India Bengladesh forgot'.

    The fact that we still have them trooping in should tell us that we are not quite forgotten! I am sure they have some memorial or the other.

    - - -

    And for those who are bleeding for BD, perhaps they might like to know that the families of our POWs are STILL fighting for their return or some information. Here…

    http://farzana-versey.blogspot.com/2007/04/54-indian-pows-versus-sarabjit-singh.html

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  10. hi all
    lets turn the question upside down..and go with the flow of time(in any case talking with hindsight is unfair)...
    1. its 1971...Pakistan is preparing for war...
    2. Internal politics shows Bhutto is trying to usurp power and rule east as well as west Pakistan , by political jugglery (please read Pakistan's political situation as it prevailed in 1971)
    3. Their are millions who have run away from Bangladesh to Indian lands( please read chapter on missing Bangladesh population in strangers from the mists).
    4. India decides to help Bangladesh based on its popular leaders request/demand (India had to take a decision since Bangladesh had no elected government at that time and Mujib-ur -rehman was the most popular leader of that time).
    5. After the war.. Pakistan's 90,000 prisoners were returned by the victorious country(later termed as an act of stupidity by one and all..since India was in a position to get any terms agreed to). moreover blaming Mrs Gandhi
    6.India treated Bangladesh as an Independent country without overtly meddling in its affairs.
    7.there are reports that Hindus left in that country are not treated humanly.
    8. Bangladeshis migrated to India are not only maids(as most popularly mentioned by certain media)..there are millions of Bangladeshis who have occupied Indian lands along international border and living better lives then their Bangladeshi counterparts and who have usurped lands from illiterate tribal assamese using of course our corrupt babus.
    Let me not comment just ask all interlocutors to think again who got what?
    Bangladesh's identity is that it is Bangladesh..and so is the case with all other countries

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  11. Talking in hindsight is also called history.

    Most points are already there in the piece, esp. 1, 2, 3, 5 (also provided link to other piece on POWs).

    4. On 27th march Major Zia read the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, "I, Major Zia-ur-Rahman, who hereby declare the independence of Bangladesh, on behalf of our great national leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman".

    K.F. Rustamji reveals that the Indian Army chief issued orders March 29, 1971, providing limited assistance to Bengali guerrillas pitted against Pakistani troops.

    This is within two days. Pretty quick work, and the actual war took place on December 3.

    6. India treated Bangladesh as an Independent country without overtly meddling in its affairs.

    True.

    7. There are reports that Hindus left in that country are not treated humanly.

    True. Neither are Muslims.

    8. According to certain sections of the media that take the trouble to talk to people, be they maids or anyone else, the millions have been also mentioned. If they have usurped lands of illiterate Assamese at that time, then what is the government doing? If they have come in later in the past few years, how did they get in? (Incidentally, it is not our problem, but Pakistan too has Bangladeshi refugees.)

    Bangladesh's identity is that it is Bangladesh..and so is the case with all other countries

    If a name gives one an identity, then yes. The fact that the identity it fought for has been debased speaks for itself.

    Regards,
    Not All

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  12. What a fiction of an article FV. I mean is there any strong research premise to it, or was it just your intuition, that if an Islamic nation is not Jihadi enough, it ain’t got any identity at all.

    Bangladesh is amongst the most ethnically uniform nations of the earth. In fact, as per the Westphalian definition, Bangladesh is a nation to be. I am yet to come across a single instance of identity crisis within Bangladesh that questions their sense of nationhood.

    BD’s only serious political dispute is about “are we Islamic enough”? And that too in a minute segment of a populace, which is a miracle.

    Point is, no Bangladeshi has ever doubted that he is a Bengali, a muslim and has a Hindu-Buddhist ancestry. This clarity of politica- self gives them a level of integration unimaginable by sub-continental standards. None of your imagined fractured nation notion.

    And you were comparing Bangla guys with packees. A set of people who appropriated turko-persian invasion of their own land as their own proud history. Set of people who deny their hindu-buddhist heritage. People who go to extraordinary lengths to invent their ethnic origins as central Asians or west asians. Set of people who have to indulge in elaborate myth-making, conspiracy theorisation, constant mob hysterics and gobbelisan propaganda to deny the identity crisis they face. Even their national heroes, from Bin Kasim to Abdalli are appropriated figures, usurped from their west Asian neighbours.

    And you know better then me that Nazaria-e-Pakistan, their ideology, is entirely based on negationism of India. With hatred and fear of mushrikin hindu as the only reason for those area’s to remain together. Which itself does not seem to be working well now.

    And you compare that artificial paranoid nation of Pakistan with Bangladesh. If Bangladeshi identity is fractured for you, then Pakistani identity must seem like dragon dust. Illusive, in-cohesive, fictional and ironic.

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  13. hi
    Talking in Hindsight is called trying to be smart after the event is over and the context has changed...History is supposed to be recording of facts as they happened and not how r they perceived forty years later..

    Having a name and then making it stand for something by ones deeds...yes thats what is identity..

    The only instructions Indira Gandhi gave was: “Do what you like, but don’t get caught.”....
    If she said it on national tv..it was very careless of her..but i don't remember ever reading about any such broadcast...
    could this statement be planted??

    There is another small question ..what did India get out of this...
    own soldiers dead and burden of millions of refugees...
    And the people of the country which was liberated are ungrateful..

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  14. mash,
    You said in #8 :
    "Bangladeshis migrated to India are not only maids(as most popularly mentioned by certain media)..there are millions of Bangladeshis who have occupied Indian lands along international border and living better lives then their Bangladeshi counterparts and who have usurped lands from illiterate tribal assamese using of course our corrupt babus."
    You may be little off the base in arguing *millions of Bangladeshis who have usurped lands from illiterate tribal assamese....*. Here is the UNDP report on Bangladesh Human development (link : http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_BGD.html). The percentage of emigrant population estimated by the report is about 4.5 percent of it's total population of 140.5 millions (census 2008) of which 92.4 pecent is to Asian countries. Let us a bit of math here .... 4.5 % of 140.5 millions comes to about 6.3 millions. Something just doesn't add up here. Land grabbing or not - those emigrating do normally end up with more material gains. When you compare the emigrant population with their counterparts the key question should be which counterparts ? urban ? rural ? middle class ? which ? Or perhaps more accurately, are they doing better than they did earlier ?
    This is not to say there never was any tension due immigrants. Assam witnessed it. AASU did target Bangladeshi immigrants. But again, the Nellie Massacre of 1983 makes a counterpoint here. After such a terrible massacre do you seriously think any of the immigrants would ever muster enough courage to beg for jobs - leave alone commit a large scale land grab.
    Maybe , just maybe, your anecdotal evidence is indeed correct but then that needs to be backed with strong arguments if you really interested in debating this honestly (which , I believe, you are).

    Cheers,
    Mahesh.

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  15. Mahesh,
    No..i donot have any wish to debate the issue..
    Reading on the subject a little more widely may clarify the issue...
    source of my Anecdotal evidence...
    i happened to know that tweleve out of 27 district have their demographies revered..
    Original tribals are now in minority.
    I also have driven along Indo -Bangladesh international border and happened to see and interact with inhabitants(of course my assamese interpreter couldn't understand Bangla)
    Reading the following link will make an interesting reading...http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/publication/faultlines/volume7/Fault7-WasbirF.htm
    In the same report you will ..Demographic Yearbook published by the Registrar-General’s Office, which supervises census operations in India, said in its 1981 Report that as many as four million persons, residents in India that year, had reported their birthplace as Bangladesh. This excluded figures for Assam where the census was not held in 1981 because of the anti-foreign nationals-agitation...
    Also remember that illegal migration has continued even after and till today...
    So keeping in mind population growth of illegal migrants who have already come in and settled ...adding up illegal migrants between 1981 and 2009...the figure may come close to Anecdotal evidence given earlier..
    As far as mathematics of adding up is concerned i would leave it to statisticians...
    Also read strangers of the mists by Hazarika for further sound arguments ..
    regards
    PS: why i avoided the debate is because i do not want my lack of knowledge and statistics to give an impression that illegal migration is not taking place..

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  16. Mahesh,
    your argument that.Land grabbing or not - those emigrating do normally end up with more material gains....may not and should not hold good for illegal migrants..but of course we live a in a corrupt country ..hence cant blame any one.
    I am not a big fan of reports generated by mainly desk bound statisticians of UN ...facts on ground are so starkly visible that they are scary...

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  17. Mahesh,
    Hazarika (1993) estimated that recent immigrants and their children constituted seven out of total population of 22 million of Assam..the figures are of 1991 vintage..
    regards

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  18. Amit:

    That is a load of poppycock. I have emphasised its identity based on other factors and in fact stated that certain groups were trying to introduce the Shariat.

    Phew. Anyhow, the rest of what you say is so contrary to the opinions expressed. It is like a Bangladesh Shining slogan!

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  19. Mash,

    Couple of points....

    1:
    Here is Sanjoy Hazarika's short and recent article on Bangladeshis in North East at c-nes (http://www.c-nes.org/nycu/435.html) that sort of sums up his understanding of the problem. I am afraid, but the figure of seven million bangladeshis were nowhere to be found in several of his writings appearing on web. Would be glad if the link to such an article is available.

    2:
    You said :
    "your argument that.Land grabbing or not - those emigrating do normally end up with more material gains....may not and should not hold good for illegal migrants..but of course we live a in a corrupt country ..hence cant blame any one."
    My point is illegal immigrants do normally emigrate to survive / escape extreme hardships in the host country. If this were not true they would just go back to where they came from. Whether one likes it or not is a different question altogether. From my perspective it is sheer human tragedy. And yes, working class emigrants - note the emphasis on working class - (illegal or otherwise) do end up putting pressure on natural resources (land, water) and causing un-desired economic effects (lowering of median wages with increase in labour supply, burdening of infrastructure etc) for native population that makes it much easy for rhetoric to breed and spread. On a related note, Hazarika's book Illegal migration from Bangladesh explores the causes and effects quite well.

    3.
    I am still at loss in finding any substantial evidence of illegal Bangladeshis doing particulalrly well (by Indian standards) on a large scale.

    I guess, we are looking at things differently - much differently - here.

    Cheers,
    Mahesh.

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