September 19, 2017

Pakistani and Bangladeshi Perspectives on 1971 War

Bengal's Awami League swept Assembly elections in 1970. But General Yahya and the establishment could never digest that. —Illustration by Tahir Mehdi
Bengal's Awami League swept Assembly elections in 1970. But General Yahya and the establishment could never digest that. (Illustration by Tahir Mehdi, courtesy Dawn, Pakistan)

December 16 is celebrated as victory day in Bangladesh and mourned as Dhaka debacle in Pakistan. The two nations have remained trapped in narratives of their common history. These differing, and largely hostile narratives remain the main hurdle in mending the uneasy relations between the two countries. Here are glimpses from the histories preserved and propagated by the two sides. Read More »

A View from Bangladesh: A Moderate Message

(Photo by Shumona Sharna, Creative Commons License)

From Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to Bangladesh and Indonesia in the east, a network of Arab charities is funding militancy and mayhem to coerce Muslims of diverse traditions to conform to the Salafi and Wahabi traditions. Bangladesh needs to be steered away from becoming a Pakistan or an Afghanistan, says one Bangladeshi analyst. Read More »

Shrinking Rivers Reshape Rituals in Bangladesh

(Photo by Rakib Hasan Sumon, Creative Commons License)

An entire way of life in riverine Bangladesh is changing with communities adapting their lives and religious rituals due to irregular water flow and drying rivers, Read More »

Bangladesh’s Rohingya Camps — Promise or Peril?

Unregistered Rohingya refugees discuss the various rumors of their relocation that they have heard. (Photo by Mushfique Wadud/IRIN)

Bangladesh's decision to move two camps housing some 30,000 Rohingya refugees has heightened anxieties among the Muslim minority, who fled persecution in neighboring Myanmar. Details of Dhaka’s plans remain murky and distrust high as resident Rohingyas have faced decades of ill-treatment in Bangladesh. Read More »

South Asia’s States of Denial

An Indian policeman looks at an anti-India slogan on shop shutter in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir. (Photo by Kashmir Global, Creative Commons License)

Increasing militarization of South Asia’s conflict zones has led to severe human-rights violations. From the extraordinary denial of the universal right to life, to citizen security and justice, the empirical realities of South Asia point to a systemic crisis, in which a situation akin to martial law exists within these conflict zones, without the government-in-question needing to declare it as such. Read More »

Bangladesh: Part-time Peacekeepers

The vulnerability of the indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts is stark: an Asian Development Bank study in 2010 found that average income in the region was 40% less than the national average in a country that is already one of the poorest in the world. (Photo by EU - photo by EC/ECHO/Pierre Prakash, Creative Commons License)

The Bangladesh Army’s record in the Chittagong Hill Tracts belies its prominence in UN peacekeeping missions. Read More »

Pakistan: Beyond Irking Bangladesh

Passersby in Dhaka’s Shahabag Square walk over a caricature of Abdul Qadir Mulla, a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh who was hanged in June for alleged ‘war crimes’. (Photo by Faisal Akram, Creative Commons License)

Outsiders are perplexed over the rhetorical commitment of Pakistani leaders to ‘fight terrorism of all shades’ and lofty claims on strategies to deal with them. The country needs friends and supporters on world stage. But its interior minister is wasting no opportunity to offend others, the latest being Bangladesh. Read More »

South Asia’s March Towards Ultra-populism

(L to R) National monuments of Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. (Image by ViewsWeek via Creative Commons photos)

In each South Asian country, the no-go areas of discourse are proliferating rather than decreasing as the state establishments deploy ultra-populism. In response, the intelligentsia cowers, the “opinion-makers” are dehumanized as they take to weighing what to say and what to leave unsaid. Read More »

Shrinking Population of South Asia’s Bengal Tigers

(Photo via Dhaka Tribune)

The present Bengal tiger population in the world is around 9,000. Only at the turn of the 20th century was their number about 100,000. Of them, 40,000 probably used to live in the South Asian subcontinent. The condition of the other subspecies of tigers, from the viewpoint of their numbers, is much more miserable. Read More »

A View from Bangladesh: Crossing the Line

Agartala Akhaura border check post between Bangladesh and India. (Photo by sarit, Creative Commons License)

Some Bangladeshi analysts are criticizing Dhaka’s decision to let India transship essential goods to Indian state of Tripura, including food grains, via Bangladesh without duties under the river protocol between the two countries, but is getting nothing in return. Read More »