In January 2011, Felani Khatun was shot dead while attempting to cross the border from India to Bangladesh. Her body remained hung on the fence as a warning to those who illegally crossed an international border. Migration to India from the current geographical and political entity called Bangladesh is more than a century old and had begun long before the nation states were created in South Asia. Often termed as 'foreigners' and 'infiltrators', Bangladeshi migrants such as Felani find their way into India for the promise of a better future. Post 1971, there has been a steady movement of people from Bangladesh into India, both as refugees and for economic need, making this migration a complex area of inquiry. This book focuses on the contemporary issue of undocumented Bangladeshi migration to the three Indian states of Assam, West Bengal, and Delhi, and how the migrants are perceived in light of the ongoing discourses on the various nationalisms in India. Each state has a unique history and has taken different measures to respond to Bangladeshi migrants present in the state. Based on extensive fieldwork and insightful interviews with influential members from key political parties, civil society organizations, and Hindu and ethnic nationalist bodies in these states, the book explores the place and role of Bangladeshi migrants in relation to the inherent tension of Indian nationalism. About the Author Rizwana Shamshad is a researcher at Victorian State Government department, Australia. She is also a research affiliate at the School of Culture, History and Language, the Australian National University.
The book is a study of the current state of nationalist imagination in three states in India: Assam, West Bengal, and Delhi. It analyses the perceptions of the key political parties and civil society members about the presence of Bangladeshi migrants in these three states. India since Independence has gone through a number of competing nationalist thoughts: secular, Hindutva, and ethnic. The existence of these nationalisms denotes that although India is a modern nation state, its project of attaining a singular nationalism is still ongoing and incomplete.
The presence of Bangladeshi migrants in Assam, West Bengal, and Delhi has been a persistent election platform of sectarian Hindu nationalists and ethnic Assamese nationalists. How these various nationalisms position the Bangladeshi migrants, and therefore what these perceptions and ongoing discourses indicate about the current nationalism, is the primary enquiry of this book.
This study is an ethnographic record and a personal account that uses in-depth interviews with influential members from key political parties, civil society organizations, and Hindu and ethnic nationalist bodies in Assam, West Bengal, and Delhi. Civil society members are representatives from media, academia, think tanks, and human rights organizations. While Assam and West Bengal give a regional perspective on nationalist discourses, Delhi gives both a regional and a national perspective. The perceptions derived from interviews were analysed against the backdrop of relevant theories of nationalism. This book argues that the perception of Bangladeshi migrants in Assam, West Bengal, and Delhi varies greatly due to the historical, ethnic, and religious affinities of the people in each of the three states
|Number Of Pages||320|