Previous Post: Part 1
We Must Not Forget
In putting the security and defence need ahead of every other need, it is important to keep in mind two other salient facts. While without amity and accord among the citizenry a strong state cannot be built, by denying or papering over a nation-state’s nation’s self-identity a strong and stable state cannot even be contemplated.
Hearing the fact that Bangladesh is the true legatee of East Pakistan in terms of its nation’s territorial denotata and connotative meaning, no one should think that this identity is a construct of Muhammed Ali Jinnah or the Muslim League. From the territorial perspective East Pakistan-cum-Bangladesh is similar to the Muslim majority East Bengal of the British Indian province of East Bengal and Assam created a year before the creation of Muslim League. This area’s association with the Muslim nation goes back to at least the beginning of the 13th century CE, if not before. Although during the Muslim rule from Bango the Bengalee dominion had its name and territorial extension up to the borders of Bihar and Odisha, the distinctive ethnic and linguistic characteristics as well as historical memories of the people of ancient Bango were not entirely erased. At least from the time Bengal’s extended part covering most of the present-day Indian province of West Bengal or former Radha or Rhar became a stronghold of Brahmanism under the Imperial Gupta dynasty (4th-6thcenturies CE) Bango’s sense of distinctiveness became more pronounced.
Later the establishment of Muslim dominion at the behest and backing of the oppressed Buddhists and its unexampled economic success, acceptance of Islam by numerous Buddhists and the transformation of ancient Bango or East Bengal into a Muslim stronghold on the one hand and on the other the adherents of Brahmanism’s tacit disapproval of Muslim rule, the rise of the Baishnab movement with its epicentre in West Bengal, its Brahman leaders’ creation of an anti-Muslim rule nationalist coalition of all pro-Brahmanic sampradyas or sects under the rubric of Hinddu-Dharma in the 16th century and in the mid-18th century the `Hindu’ leadership’s success in supplanting Muslim rule in the then Subha Bangla through the preditor-entrepreneurs of East India Company further sharpened the age old distinctiveness of East and West Bengal. Throughout most of the 19th century the Muslims of the subcontinent fought for independence under the banner of Tariqa-i-Muhammadia. In this armed struggle the East Bengalee Muslims were most preponderant. It was their legatees who in the early 20th century formed the Muslim League at Dhaka. Thus, not only through the present day Bangladesh the age-old `two-nationhood’ of the `Hindus’ and Muslims of Bengal has remained in force, the pre-Muslim distinctiveness between the old Bango’s `Bangals’ and the extended Bengal’s `Ghotis’, as attested by J.N. Dixit, has also stayed pulsating.
Although the contrasting `other’ of the Hinduism’s `we’ is none other than the Muslims, the `Hindu’ nationalists of the subcontinent including those of Bengal adopted a policy stance to deny the separate Muslim nationhood. Their argument is that the Indian Muslims are the progenies of the `forced Hindu converts’ to Islam; hence their national identity continues to be `Hindu’. According to Pandit Nehru’s concoction 98% of Bengalee Muslims belong to this type of Hindu nationals. However, unlike his pure Aryan pedigree their’s is of lowly Namasudra untouchable bloodline. Even if one disregards this strange argument, borrowed from the German racists, which insists that even if one forsakes one’s religion and samaj, they cannot forsake their primordial ties of ‘soil and blood’, the lack of its historicity can hardly be ignored. It is true that before the establishment of Muslim suzereignty the entire area of later-day Bengal including Bongo or later-day East Bengal was under Brahmanic rule. But it is also a fact that the subjects were overwhelmingly Buddhists. The Buddhists were certainly not a `rebel’ sect of Brahmanism as the later-day `Hindu’ nationalists want us to believe. It is the Buddhists who were the local props of Muslim dominion and the main source of the inflation of both Muslim and `Hindu’ numbers. By turning to the writings of English sociological historian James Wise and Bengalee `Hindu’ historian Romeshchandra Majumdar anyone can realise the extent of the Indian hegemons’ `theft of history’ in this respect.
To get out of all such traps, first and foremost we need to come to grips with the essence and significance as well as the challenge of being a Muslim nation within the context of our geopolitical environment. A nation is a solidarity brought about and sustained by its members’ sensitivity about their distinctiveness from other peoples with whom they have transactional relationships. Objective factors such as language and domicile are not the essential component of nationhood, though in certain cases they serve as its adjunct features. In other words, the sense of `our’ collective distinctiveness from ‘others’ involved in transactional relationships with ‘us’, `our’ conflict of interest with `them’ engendered by this sense of collective distinctiveness and the memories of such conflicts are the foundational bedrock of a nation. This subjective definition of nation handed down to us by, among others, John Stuart Mill, Ernest Rennan and Max Weber has remained unsurpassable.
This human solidarity manifested in a nation is a sub `we’ of the larger `we’ of a civilization, the biggest form of human solidarity known to history. This larger `we’ can, as history of many civilizations including West European, Islamic and Brahmanic civilizations have underscored, either subsume all national `we’s within an `universal state’ of its own or over arch the national `we’s forming their own nation-states. Movement between these two poles is not unidirectional; that is, reversible. The European Union is an example of this reversibility.
Two cognate civilizations can also converge. Civilizations with proselytizing creed can draw peoples from other civilizations through conversion. India’s Brahmanic civilization is unique in the sense that it does not admit the prospect of either convergence or conversion. Its only tool for acquiring numerical strength is absorption of the enslaved as untouchables under its caste pyramid, with small Brahman elite calling the shot from its top.
That such a social pyramid can never be solid has not gone remiss with the intellectually adroit Brahman supervisors of the edifice and out of this sense of vulnerability they have always remained alert and united in their hegemonic intent. Because of this for past three to two and half millenniums they have mandated `world conquest’ as the `highest duty’ of their rulers. It is no surprise that while Delhi’s hegemons want to enslave the Muslims of Bangladesh and turn them in to untouchables, likewise they also like to repress the Indian Muslims, indigenous tribals and untouchables to the abject level of the Dalits.
This is why Rabindranath Tagore wrote Bharat-Tirtha and his ideological adept and anointed Mahathma (great-soul, leader of shadu-warriors), Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi divined that Indian independence would be meaningless unless `Hinduism’ is able to play the role of an ocean and Islam, Christianity etc. are made to perform the function of self-dissolving rivers in augmenting the Brahmanic Ocean. The leaders of independent India have not forgotten that sovereign purpose of theirs. Unlike ours, one cannot find faults with their perseverance. Seemingly they have succeeded making a substantive section of Bangladeshi Muslims, including Mujib’s daughter keen to drawn their Muslim nation into the India’s Brahmanic Ocean. Without denying the fact that there are sociological reasons behind their suicidal madeness, it has also to be said that if the suckers are denied their gluttony, they will die out in their vines. If their roots are also dugged out there will be no `hunting hounds’ left. Talking about suckers and hounds it is worth recollecting that it is gluttony which made dog the first domesticated animal out of a species of ferocious hunting animal, the wolf.
Remember Mujib’s Six-Points. It wanted two currencies in one Pakistan for overcoming inter-wing disparity. Now his daughter, according to her finance minister, has asked Delhi to have one single currency for both India and Bangladesh! Not to speak of public consultation, there has not been a single report of its discussion in and approval by either the parliament or the cabinet. Few can call it anything other than a gross affront to the principles and practices of democracy. But its intent and implications go beyond the infidelity to democracy. Consider this fact. The EU is an ambodiment of the West European civilization’s deep seated urge to recreate its universal state. Yet EU members states have spent many years in public discussions, parliamentary debates, referrenda and inter-governmental negotiations before most of them, not all, were able to reach an agreement to have convertible common currency, not to speak of a single currency. Now mark the fact that the prime minister of Bangladesh is seeking a single currency between two nation- states belonging to two antithetical nations and civilizations, and that too, secretly in violation of not only of democratic norms but even her much adorned made-in-Delhi constitution. Unless stark mad, which she is not, her infidelity to both her national and civilisational `we’s is unique.
Her brazen misuse of a corrupt section of the judiciary, civil service, and security agencies and use of torture, forced disappearance and killing as tools of coercion are signs to make an unyielding majority to follow her in meeting the requirement of the non-`Hindu’ national self-drowning scheme of Tagore and Gandhi. Her destination is the same like that of the Lendup Dorji of Sikkim. But unlike Lendup Dorji, she is walking up-stream in the direction of Ganga-Sagar! And here lies her and her Indian patrons’ problem. A great majority of this Muslim nation will die in resisting rather than allowing this national suicide. Whatever one may think at this moment in time, with times this will become increasingly obvious and the hegemons will realise that their celebration for having `the revenge of thousand years’ was misplaced and has boomeryang into another thousand years `oppressive time’ in `komotbratha’ (survival in the manner of the tortoise).
Have they and their canine wagtails read the fundamental process of Islamic history encapsulated in Ernest Gellner’s `Pendulum Theory of Islamic History’ which brilliantly predicts the response of a Muslim nation faced with existential threat, they would have desisted from their pipe-dream. In case some readers are not familiar with it, let me give its gist. When existential threat starts staring at their face, almost instinctively the faithful start correcting their errors and lapses in the light of the Quran and Sunnah on the one hand and set out to repulse the enemy on the other! Make no mistake, the hitherto sloth Muslim nation of Bangladesh have awaken and InshAllah they will prevail.
To stop future recurrence of similar treason against our Muslim nation we shall have to stop the traitors, deal with the causes and ways and means of their treachery. For this urgent task we shall require a `Truth Commission’. In addition to implementing its findings, they should also be instiled in our nation’s historical memory, the rock bed of nationhood. All nations strive to keep the memories of their historical experience alive and we should also be pro-active in this regard. For this, there must be a national effort to recover out `stolen’ history and make them part of our public education.
The Muslim nation-state of ours cannot be built and expected to last and flourish by papering over its nation’s identity, falsifying its history, delegitimatizing its tradition, values and norms, and denying it its inalienable right to pursue its enlightened self-interest through its state. Our leaders can ill afford to ignore the saliency of this fundamental truth.
Delhi made us to have secular linguistic nationalism as well as secularism itself as our mandatory state ideologies in order to de-Islamize us. Has Hasina and her cohorts’ jingo for linguistic Bengali nationalism been genuine, they would have called upon Indian Bengali speakers of Assam, Bihar, Tripura, and West Bengal to join Bangladesh. In the past Maulana Bhasani publicly and Mujib privately gave such call with no avail. That there is no prospect of their changing their mind, to paraphrase West Bengal’ longest service chief minister Joyti Basu, `in 500 years’ is known to our leading lights of Bengali nationalism. They are mis-selling their make-belief ware to people who have been accustomed to using their domicilary identity since before Muslim suzernity. Our patriotic people need to be made aware of this fraud.
Now secularism and its mordernism! It is a unique by-product of the crisis that the West European civilisation faced in the wake of the disarray of its Holy Roman Empire and has no intrinsic connection with modernization. A comparison between `religious’ USA with `secular Europe’, especially the latter’s archetype France, should be an eye opener for our `Doubting Toms’. Secularism became a ‘modern superstition’, in the words of Latin American diplomat and political thinker Octovia Paz, thanks to West European imperial ascendancy and it intellectual apologetics, the `Social Darwinism’ and `Theory of Progress’. A section of Western educated colonial elite took to it in imitation of their colonial masters to show that they too, could be like them. And in time a section of aspiring intellectuals also allowed their head to be `colonised’, as noted by the Palestinian scholar Edward Said.
Our faith is theocentric and unlike Western Europe our polity has never been theocratic. Nor any Muslim ruler in history has ever demanded that his subjects should join him in his faith, as the rulers of West European states have, for example, commanded their respective subjects under the Treaty of Westphalia. Moreover, a cursory look at all the Muslim nation-states will underscore the futility of attempt at implanting such `modern superstition’, whether crafted from within or without. Add to this the huge value of Islam as a `social capital’ of which a renewed appreciation is growing even the secular West. Besides, a forthright Muslim nation cannot wear the secularist mask and take recourse to the sly, morally and politically corrupt and corrupting device of democratic majoritarianism either. More importantly, being an isolated `Muslim Island’ outpost in a treacherous Brahmanic Sea, for Bangladesh it is no less than a psychedelic drug to induce our nation to commit economic, linguistic, cultural, and political suicide.
We Bangals may blissfully be unaware of the fact that Rabindranath changed the Bengali rendition of culture from krishti (meaning cultivation of higher values and taste) to sanskriti (meaning a way of life based on Brahmanic sanskar or rites and rituals) and got his Pandit, Haricharan Bandhapadhya to compile another prescriptive Bengali dictionary to bolster the same Brahmanic conceptual clout on us as well as the untouchables of India. It was meant to help further what Indian sociologists call `sanskritization’, that is, the process of reinvigorating the `great tradition’ of Brahmanism enshrined in their Sanskrit texts. The Brahmanic ruling elite of India have made it a constitution obligation to `enrich’ all languages of the country with the help of Sanskrit in their ‘Gurudev’s footsteps. No wonder the Indian sociologists have identified sanskritization as being the most dominant social process of their polity. That it is so, can be seen from the very fact that the `Hindu suprimatist’ BJP is replacing the make-belief secularist Congress as the governing front of the Brahmanic India.
(to be continued) Next Post: Part 3
He held academic appointments at the Agricultural University, Mymenshing, University of Dhaka and University College London. He was teaching Sociology at the Dhaka University between 1969 and 1973.He was house tutor of Iqbal Hall during 1971.
His PhDwas on Anthropology and research topic covered "Household, Kin and Community in Bangladesh Village". His other works include 'Behind the Myth of Three Million', 'Operation Bangladesh' 'The Rise and Fall of Buddhism in South Asia-a study in History'. His article published in National and International media outlet. He is currently working on History of Bangladesh.
DrChowdhury currently lives in UK.
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