Turning Bangladesh in to Banglastan
“In the subcontinent if we (Bangladesh) and Pakistan unite, we wont have to care about ‘Malauns’ (a derogatory term for Hindus) and Nasaras (Christians)” says a Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) run Facebook page Basher Kella. “We will name this country Islamic Republic of Banglastan or join with Pakistan where only Muslims live”, it added.

The main inspiration to turn Bangladesh into another Pakistan came from the JEI guru and former Amir of the organization Ghulam Azam whose role in perpetrating inhuman brutalities on countless freedom fighters of Bangladesh is well documented in various studies. Ghulam Azam who is now facing trial on war crimes charges had continued with his efforts to revive East Pakistan for several years even after emergence of Bangladesh and he formed East Pakistan Retrieval Committee in London from where he launched an international movement to re-establish Bangladesh as a part of Pakistan. He also campaigned extensively to mobilize international opinion against Bangladesh and its recognition.


Assassination of Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 paved the way for resurgence of the pro-Pak forces including JEI which were banned after emergence of Bangladesh in 1971. During the liberation war, they had collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces and perpetrated inhuman crimes including killing, arson and rape against the Bengali civil population. All the pro-Pak entities, particularly JEI, were eager to take revenge for their ignominious defeat in 1971. They lost no time in organizing conspiracy and the killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was an outcome of this conspiracy.


After the murder of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman the dispensation that captured power embarked upon a systematic plan to reorganize Bangladesh on the pattern of Pakistan virtually transforming the country in to another Pakistan. Policy of Islamization and Pakistanization of Bangladesh continued for more than two decades at a stretch after the killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Pak High Commission in Dhaka became the nerve center of ISI activities. During this long period ISI built up an intricate pro-Pak network across Bangladesh with the help of local Islamist forces.


JEI and other Pro-Pak entities that had opposed the independence of Bangladesh were rehabilitated in Bangladesh and they continued to nourish strong pro-Pak feelings. These pro-Pak radical groups have always been wary of Sheikh Hasina who is viewed as an anathema. Even though the Pak ISI has now shown willingness to do business with Sheikh Hasina to protect its elaborate support structures in the country, AL and Sheikh Hasina are viewed as an enemy of the Two Nation theory propounded by Pakistan. All efforts are being made by these forces to change the secular character of Bangladesh and turn it in to another Pakistan as they are well aware that dismantling the state of Bangladesh to make it a confederate of Pakistan will not be feasible at this stage, nor will it be acceptable to the people.


After the partition of India in 1947 the people of erstwhile East Pakistan did not accept Urdu as their language. They were not ready to discard Bengali language, culture and heritage which, the Pakistani leaders believed, were inhibiting the growth if Islamic fervour and zeal among the Bengali speaking Muslims. Thousands of people came out on the streets and sacrificed their lives for Bengali language and to oppose forceful imposition of Urdu on them. Language Movement of February 21, 1952 revived the cause of Bengali nationalism as against Islamic nationalism. It also proved that the much


vaunted Two Nation theory was virtually a myth and linguistic bond was much stronger than religious bond. This language movement was further intensified when the Pak government imposed ban on the poems and songs composed by Rabindra Nath Tagore. It was the people’s love for Bengali language and culture that unified them to fight for an independent Bangladesh.


Unable to reconcile with their defeat, JEI and other pro-Pak entities have embarked upon a mission to Islamize Bengali language and culture in pursuit of their attempts to Pakistanize the country. They have a strange logic. Bengali language originated from Sanskrit. As Latin is to Christianity, Sanskrit defines Hinduism and is the language of Hindu scriptures and clerics. So efforts are being orchestrated to de-Sanskritize, and in the process, de-Hinduize, Bengali language by extensively incorporating Urdu, Arabic and Persian words.


Bengali language is facing an onslaught from the Islamist votaries who in their zeal for Islamicizing the language are de-Sanskritizing Bengali words at random to eradicate ‘infidel Hindu culture’. For example the Bengali word for ‘deity’ has been replaced by a word meaning ‘Allah’, and the word for ‘water’ has been replaced by an Urdu word. ‘Krishnachura’, a flower worn in the headdress of a Hindu deity has been replaced by ‘Mohammadchura’. There are thousands of such examples. Bengali language now in vogue in Bangladesh is far removed from its Sanskrit root. For Bengali Hindus the battle to preserve their language and culture appears to have become a pyrrhic victory. With constant attacks on their businesses, homes and temples their

numbers have dwindled to a large extent. Their language has now become less representative of their culture and religious beliefs.


Another disquieting development in the country is proliferation of Islamic music industry aimed at upstaging the secular Bengali music and culture. Radical Islamist forces have been targeting the tolerant strand of Bengali culture by attacking traditional folk culture and music including Rabindra Sangeet and other performing arts. Recently there were several incidents of bomb attacks on cinema hall and ‘Jatra’ (folk theatre) branding these ‘anti-Islamic’. The ultimate object is to wean the youth away from traditional Bengali music, culture and lifestyle as these are perceived to be inhibiting growth of Islamic fundamentalism.


It is again JEI, the fountain head of Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh, that is at the forefront of spreading this genre of Islamic music that emphasizes the need for jehad and eulogizes radical Islamic personalities like al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, justify madrassa education and preach hatred against ‘kafirs’ (non-Muslims). The lyrics invariably castigate India, Israel and the US.


JEI’s cultural wing Saimun Artiste’s Association has been popularizing this genre of jehadi music and regularly bringing out albums with jehadi overtones. Cultural associations like Dabanol Shilpi Gosthi, Bikiron and Kafela, all having pro-JEI leanings are playing crucial role in promoting Jehadi music among the youth to create pro-Islam sentiments and generate pro-Pak mind-set. Muhib Khan, a program executive in Islami TV, a channel owned by Maj (retd) Syed Iskander, former MP and brother of BNP leader Khaleda Zia, is a well known artist of jehadi music. He has recorded a number of jehadi albums including one “inchi inchi mati” (every inch of soil). At a recent public meeting in Dhaka some senior JEI leaders went to the extent of demanding Muhib Khan’s ‘inchi inchi mati’ be declared national anthem in place of ‘Sonar Bangla’ composed by

Rabindra Nath Tagore – a non-Muslim.

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