Contents: Muslim Life in West Bengal (Issue 37)
Posts tagged ‘Muslims in West Bengal’
By Mosarrap H. Khan & Mursed Alam
More importantly, we are witnessing the emergence of a nascent body of scholars and public intellectuals in the community, who are eager to critique bhadrolok hegemony and the absolute dominance of clerics within the community. This issue has been able to bring together some of these writers, scholars, and intellectuals, who would be, we hope, shaping the discourse of the community in the coming years. After Gramsci, we could term them ‘organic intellectuals’, who have risen from the ranks of the community itself. And interestingly, many of them are from the hinterlands of Bengal, without any significant cultural capital.
By Mosarrap H. Khan
The Muslim-Bengali identity was constructed as a result of the antagonistic relation between the ashraf and the atrap Muslims in the beginning of 19th century; as a contest between the rural traditionalist mullahs and jihadi reformist preachers (Wahabis and Faraizis) throughout the 19th century; and also on the basis of a new alignment in interest among the urban educated and rural educated, semi-educated, illiterate Muslims on the basis of a religious solidarity.
By Sipra Mukherjee
The outbreak of the First World War placed under strain the conscience of Indian Muslims, a fact that was revealed by the Khilafat movement which found enthusiastic support immediately after the War. The debates over the issues of loyalty and duty frequently turned to the intricate and thorny issue of Muslim identity in a colonized country. A clearly articulated pro-Khalif stance and the beginnings of an anti-British stance soon began to be seen in the papers.
By Mursed Alam
In his excellent introduction to Tahader Kotha (Their Story), Milan Dutta criticizes the fact that Bengali Muslims are totally absent from Bengali literature – canonical or otherwise. He seems to suggest that the onus is left on the Bengali Muslims to write their stories. However, instead of regretting it, the Bengali Muslims should take upon themselves the task of writing their own story, thereby inscribing their own self in the official cultural narrative of Bengal.
By Abdul Qaiyum
The lack of riots or religion based violence does not take us away from the fact that there emerged, in the 34 year old rule of the CPIM, an institutionalized system of inequality. The land redistribution which was supposed to usher in a more equal society only managed to make a small dent in the existing system. Rather, what followed was a social structure, which inherited the inequalities of the past with a different veneer to it.
By Abdul Matin
The representation of Muslims, Dalits and Tribals in Rajya Sabha demonstrate a different political imagination and further tells us how these institutions are highly dominated by the upper caste Bengali Hindu bhadroloks irrespective of political ideologies. In her detailed study of the profiles of West Bengal MLAs from 1952 to 2001, Stephanie Tawa Lama-Rewal brought out the composition of the caste and community of the MLAs. After analyzing thirteen West Bengal Legislative Assemblies (1952-2001), she showed that the upper caste bhadrolok (particularly Brahmins and Kayasthas), over the years, have dominaned in West Bengal assemblies cutting across all political parties.
By M Reyaz
The BJP has thus succeeded in changing political debates in the state that famously gave refuge to a victim of the 2002 Gujarat riots who had become the face of the anti-Muslim pogrom. Incidents like recent Basirhat riots, Dhulagarh riots, Canning riots (2013), or the violence at Kaliachak in Malda are used by the Sangh Parivar in their propaganda.
By Seema Ahmed
Muslim girls from rural Malda are mostly first and second generation learners. Education of their parents has a direct correlation with their own educational achievements. While the community is still trapped in orthodoxy with modernity making fleeting presence, the girls from the community show higher aspirations for education and jobs. Most of the girl students are also aware of the importance of economic independence.
By Nadira Khatun
If we look at the representation of Muslims in recent times, Muslim identity has been reduced to the stereotypes of religious fanatics, murderers, savages, underworld dons, and prostitutes. Much like Hindi cinema, Muslim women are ascribed exotic attributes. Apart from walking on the tested formula of Hindi cinema of representing Muslims as courtesans, underworld dons, etc., Muslims are also represented as the lead protagonist’s best friends.