Why is Silence Golden?

It invites no enemy and eases the ladder of wealth, position, power and rank without much calibration. It also helps control our blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol. Innate in it is the anti ageing formula of the much hyped and mass market products being manufactured by babas and pirs of our time to uplift the Indians to the global level. It increases life expectancy and durability of the minion SOUL with the thickest layers of dirt, dust, and rust and soot.

Sudhir Kakar in his memoir ‘a book of memory’ loves to confess that we Indians from prince to peon love to be surrounded by a human shield of liars, flatters and chamchas. The great Indian Self hates Truth. It demands subordination, and acquiescence of the self. And the elites of Indian bustling cities of grace and squalor love to paddle in the murky and darkened realms of inequality, illiteracy, superstition, injustice, usury, ethnic cleansing, malaise and inhumanity, child labour and poverty. Prophet loves the poor and millions of Indians are poor and thereby they have unknowingly been the true votary of the Prophet. Rare is the leader like Gandhi who loves to face the Truth with all its ugliness and crudeness. No humbug, no hypocrisy, no chhitary and snobbery are allowed for his immaculate leadership that India witnessed.

  • I am silent:When I see my classroom empty because of students’ extreme lure for private tuition.
  • When I take a cup of tea from a seven year boy’s feeble hand.
  • When I listen to the boring lectures in seminars which have no relevance to our reality.
  •  When I visit the rural hospitals and health centers without registered doctors and medicines and the patients queue crosses eyes’ horizon.
  • When I see petty bosses of all sectors pilfering money and other resources in some way or other from the poorest of the poor.
  • When I visit primary schools running with twenty or thirty students (class I-IV) taking all, sitting on sacks.
  • When I hear petty netas miking flood of promises to the poor.
  • When I read a paper with the front jacket of a beautiful hur.
  • When I see in a crowded bus a woman with a child strive to stand to balance the jerks of the bus, while a proud educated Indian youth busy in facebooking sitting by that lady nonchalant.
  • When I see school masters busy in tuition and trade of the products of multinational companies.
  • When I see a woman at sealdah sell her body for Rs. 60.
  • When I read ‘Everybody loves a Good Drought’.
  • When I visit village haats where old and worn out garments are being sold and tribal mothers with childs on their backs and a big tumbler of haria (a local alcohol made from rice) on her head walking toward haat for the impoverished labour drunkers.
  • When I see the tribal women and unmarried girls packed in savaris like sardins to go to their days’ work by Birpara road.

Continue reading “Why is Silence Golden?”

Kunjnagar Eco Park & the Haat

Situated at a distance of 12 Kilometres from Falakata and 20 Kilometres away from Madarihut, Kungnagar Eco Park by the outer fringe of internationally recognised Jaldapara National Reserve Forest once boasted its exotic and lush green beauty with tigers, elephants, deers, chitahas, ghorials, and myriad birds like parrots, mynahas, peacocks, doves, herons, wood-peckers, sparrows, cuckoos, of exotic hues and cacophonies. One can see in the brilliant radiance of blazing sun set the crowd of parrots and sparrows flung over one’s head. Your hair will be flicked with a bird’s sudden swift flight almost touching your head. Somewhere in the upper sky among the tinged cloudlets a lone eagle lazily supervises his vast empire. His eyes glisten, and far flung heavy wings mellow with the reddish white rays of the setting sun. Below down the river men are catching fish still in the languid lapping slimy water. A mist begins to overlap the tree tops of the Jaldapara forest on the opposite side of the park. Dew drops begin to fall on the grass of the park. And our feet are bathed at the embrace of recalcitrant tendrils of long grass decked with dew drops.

The half naked mahout with a wet napkin somehow fastened around his loin bathes and brings his elephant back home standing on the back of the giant elephant with a small knife in her hands. It is a regular scene of evening. One day I with my wife and daughter was walking around the park. We are in the in the middle of the path looking at the parrots sitting and flitting among the tall lean trees. Just then my daughter noticed the huge a tamed elephant with the mahout standing on it with a small knife and a huut huut sound approaching us. My daughter and wife screamed and we made our way quickly to the bush, leaving the path of the elephant’s pass vacate. And the mahout while passing, however, assures us, ‘no fear, he will do no harm.’ Now the evening descended. It’s a closing bell. Most visitors already left the park. All birds took shelter on the branches. Only a lone small pitch black bird, we call it fingi raja, still perched on the crest of a sleek lean bamboo. We left the park.

The park Before colonial period the area was a deep forest and rare tribes lived on its honey and timber. Then the British came and planted tree gardens clearing and cutting the forest with the help of the coolies collected from Jharkhand. These coolies later become the tea tribals of Dooars. Rural economy was destroyed, and the forest depleted day by day.

You have to pass first Kunjnagar haat to visit Kunjnagar Eco-Park. This haat was a legacy of the British . The haat, otherwise sleepy with a few tin huts and sheds, wore a festive look especially on Sunday. The tea labourers, farmers, rickshaw paddlers, lottery sellers, milk men, vegetable and fruit sellers, meat and fish sellers, quack doctors begin to crowd the haat one by one from noon onward. More time passes, more people come. By the sunset it is abuzz with shouts and cries of the village sellers and buyers. From a mile or two in the evening the tiny bulbs with their dim flickering make its existence known. During rain or power cut the shop keepers light the lanterns and candles. The haat looks eerie with dim lights, and dark buyers. People come from nearby neighborhoods to buy domestic needs and to erase the stains of days’ drudgery. They buy vegetables, groceries, medicines, meat and fish, take a cup of tea or drink a pot of haria, chew vaaga and gossip with friends and acquaintances. The visitors range from the children of seven to the wrinkled eighty. Everybody is in his or her own pursuits. Children along with teenage crowd televaja shops of chowmin, samosas, pakoras. The middle aged and the elderly gather in tea shops. They sip tea with sipping sounds and tell the story of local politics and domestic problems—finding a suitable match for his MA (distance mode) pass daughter, the winners of lottery of the day or week, amassing wealth by village netas by pilfering Govt. fund, marriage of a school master and his elahi arrangement of foreign liquors for the guests, deaths by snake-biting and drinking excessive alcohol, flood of 12th August, 2017 when people caught fish in the yard and swam in the street, adultery of a youthful widow or elopement and arrest. Light of last rays of the sun disappear, the stars begin to bloom, and the two days moon smiles in one corner of the sky. Now the buzz of the bazaar has waned. The people thin, but still they are buying for tomorrow. The elderly with torchs and lathis make their way homes a while ago. Some sellers are packing after the day’s brisk buck. By 9 pm the shops are all closed. The haat is deserted, and stray dogs take the verandas and the sheds of the haat as sleeping bed rolls. They occasionally bark at the movement of a jackal and chase it. The rats scamper and feast on the leftovers.

By one side of the haat there is a vast uneven playing field where the boys play football in rainy season. In summer the field becomes a sort of breathing resort for the elderly males and females, boys and girls for gossips and rumours of rustic life and scandal. The lungi and dhoti clad men sitting on their haunches smoke biris and chew vaagas (beetle leaves) and pass by chattering days’ monotonous events. The women with cheap cotton sarees and worn out kameezes sit idly on the grass fanning with hand fans made of palm leaves and whispering scandalous rumours of elopement and family quarrels. There is a huge pakur tree at the northern entrance of the haat under which some men are selling singharas, chops, chowmins, egg rolls, papads, boiled eggs, ghughni, etc. and the teenage boys and girls make a beeline before them. The tree has spread its branches in all directions. And the root of the tree is fenced with tiles with images of gods and goddesses. Idle men sit under the tree, some on haunches, some cross legged. It’s a seat of shadow in scorching summer days, and people pass the day’s toil with easy laughter and churlish banter.
There are four or five saloons specialized in Nepali hair cutting and the adivasi young boys are their regular customers. They wear patched jeans and new shoes brought from local footpaths. The haat boasts of three medicine shops where only some first aids and bottles of yellow, red, pink syrup are available. The quack doctors with dubious degrees diagnose the adivasis and the rural folks and give the patients the same tablets for different ailments of dysentery, fever, headache, pain in stomach etc. Among these doctors I like one most, Mr. Kalipada who has got his degree from Dhaka, as his board reads. At first sight you must take him as a shoe-shiner. A man of over sixty with dirty Panjabi and stitched dhuti, wrinkled face and white thin uncombed hair sits on his only old wooden chair with two legs pressed to his chest like a dog in a wintry night. No patient comes. Now he squirms, and now he etches his head and a week’s white beard and mumbles himself. He does not possess basic diagnostic apparatuses like stethoscope, scale for measuring fever, weight machine etc. His only possession is some bottles of syrup and tablets already expired or on the verge of expiry. He looks pale and fatalistic. And his four by six tin roofed hut is smelly and dark with one china bulb and a lantern for emergency during strong wind and rain. The other two quacks—one is a young man of thirty. His room is pucca and has essential medicines and the basic apparatuses. The room is furnished with cheap curtains and a bench for the patients. This doctor’s arrival is also a cause of worry for Mr Kalipada. The third doctor, a man of fifty, well-built, fife feet ten, with a rustic look is chewing paan and talking with a man of his age, both sitting on newly bought red plastic chairs with legs pressed to their chests. He has no concern for patients and is only interested in selling third rated syrups with labels or no labels to the poor peasants and labourers at maximum retail price.
There are two grocery shops, five tea shops, two clothes stores, one fruit shop in this haat. Between the rows of tin shops the vegetable sellers sit on polythene sheets with the produce. On the eastern side there are sheds for meat and dry fish sellers. Milk men with plastic bottles of milk crowd at one extreme corner, and are sitting on their haunches barefoot and smoking biris. At the opposite corner adivasi women are selling haria (local liquor made from rice and herbs). One can see the women with tumblers of haria on their heads queuing to the haat prior to sun set. Men throng there to drink and to be refreshed. One pot of haria weighing 500 ml costs Rs. 20 maximum. The poor tribals with worn out and patched clothes and plastic slippers, and often barefooted, sit and drink till it is dark. Here also beauty conquers. The woman with robust body get more customers than her emaciated and pale counterpart. And one Rukhmini Subbah is a queen for her beauty among haria drinkers. They not only drink from her, also love to surround her, her body odour and broad smile of ease, and her joy of living attract men more to her. She is a tall woman with huge breasts and bust. She wears saree in a fashion so that her mid riff with deep navel remains half-hidden. Men eye her with lust and their eyes glow with desire. Other women haria sellers are poor pallor and attract less customers.
Pigs are slaughtered at a fallow land by the side of the haat. People are watching the skinning of the pig with fixed gazes. The pot bellied butcher with snub nose and gruff voice is cutting the beast to pieces. The offal is thrown into a nearby doba (a small pond) where water is shallow and pitched yellow. He has a hectic day and the customers groan for waiting to be delivered.
In another fringe of the haat some hawkers with fatalistic expressions and unshaven faces and bald and thin-hair heads sit on cross-legged on polythene sacks with worn out, faded sarees, pants, coats, shirts, t-shirts, petticoats, panties, bras, barmudas, blouses, bought once cheap from the relatively rich houses from the Bengali babus of Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Alipurduar. Some clothes are hung from the rusted hangers stuck to bamboo poles and fences, and some are spread on the sack with immaculate horizontal and vertical rows, as if shy to be touched. And when the sudden gust of wind from nowhere blows, the clothes flutter in the fashion of proud flags of important days. The customers are generally poor tribal men and women of adjacent neighborhood. Their eyes are black and hair thick. The bodies are pitch-dark. The mothers with their seven months or a year childs fastened with a napkin to their backs, throng before old clothes sellers and diagnose the beauty of their desired articles. The child has a snoring nose and the flies feast on it, and when the child flings out his small juicy tongue out of his mouth to taste the puss the flies make a temporary flight with a buzz. They choose their favourites with wistful eyes, but leave the articles often where they were, hearing the exorbitant cost with an expression of emotional turpitude and sadness, as if they have just encroached into an illegal territory. A sudden spasm comes to nerves and they restore again to their lot of poverty, and pain of daily living. Some buy, however, with a month’s earning all an elegant and costly saree now faded, that once was wrapped to an elite lady’s all fat body and attracted flood of accolades from her known and unknown friends, ‘wow, how beautiful you look, awesome, woo’ and the lady seemed to have been exasperated with their queries for its wherewithal. The desired saree is bought at its one-third cost after much hair-splitting and unbearable bargain that makes the seller mad and he succumbs to the buyer’s insistent pestering at last. That rich faded saree now is draped to a poor and slack, dry tiny breasted tribal mother with sunken eyes and emaciated limbs. She wears it and it hangs like a heap of clothes stuck to her. And when she wears it in the evening after day’s labour, and parries her relatives’ huts with a gait of glow and now she with her new look becomes a topic of hush-hush gossip of the evening among the haria drinker males who eye her with a lust in their black darkening eyes and a twitch on their moustaches , as if they have never come across her before and beat their heads for fail to praise her beauty before.
The haat boasts of its dried fishes and live chickens. It also harbours fresh fishes from nearby many streams and rivulets. It sells dried tobacco leaves and vagga paans and rotten beetle nuts. The farmers sit on their haunches with their field’s produce—potatoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, onions, garlics, brinjals , parbols , skoash, pumpkins, bananas, spinach. Here and there you can see an elderly poor woman sit with fern leaves and tender juicy tendrils of pumpkins. In some corners a lottery seller sizing his tickets. He has a tarpaulin hut with broken plastic chair and a wooden rotten table. He is short and bald, and has a 3 days beard with sunken cheeks and his eyelids are constantly flipping up and down. People gossip of Amrul’s winning a lottery of Rs. 2 lakh yesterday, and with that hope the van pullers and paan sellers check the serials of the tickets with a big dream in their eyes. Zameer plans to buy a ticket and he thinks if he wins a lottery his poverty will go forever. He will reamake his home and live with her wife Abida happy for life. But Kallo intervens, ‘ O, Bhai. Don’t waste hard earned money. Bhavi at home will berate you.’ Zameer after the days labour at a refugee house at Falakata as a mason has not gone home. He will take a cup of tea, a vaaga paan, and buy some vegetables and a syrup for his 3 year child Lebu’s ill health. Zameer leaves the tickets and becomes furious at Kallo, and silent he goes home and thrashes his wife and shouts at her at the top of his voice bringing entire neighbourhood to his home, ‘Kallo, tor vatar ache na ki’, Mui ke na koiya tui Kallo re kos ghorer kotha, magi. Tore ami talak devar naage’.
The haat is heavily crowdwd. You cannot walk without touching somebody. The tribal and peasant school girls with their Sunday dress parry for puchka, chowmin, pakoras and rolls. The young boys working at Jaiga, Phuntschilling (Bhutan) grill or cloth factories, gathered a little far from the girls, smoke cigarettes and chew shekhar and gutkha, and eye the girls for picking a talk with them. A boy and a girl come out of their respective circle and make a deal to pass the coming Sunday at Kunjnagar Park together, sitting by the side of the meandering river running between Jaldapara Forest and Kunjnagr Park and shutting their ears to the songs of the birds and murmurings of the rivulet but drinking beverages and alcohol and munching chips mechanically.

Morning Walk

I, in general, get up at 5.30 a. m and by 6.00 unlock the door with a screech sound and go for a morning walk. I take three miles, from Subhaspalley, Falakata to Chuakhola Choupathi as my usual stroll. The street is a straight smoothed and pitched dark with no pot holes at all with one railway level crossing lies on it; the rail line connects North-East India with the rest of India. You have to cross it to visit Seven Sisters or darlings of North-East, the beauty pageants of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura. The street turns four times and many mores to reach sleepy villages of Kungnagar, Lachmandabri, Gala Kata, Variob Haat and ended at Noi Mile Choupathi. Nature varied in summer, winter and rainy season. And the group of morning walkers took different look at different phases of the year. Sometimes one or two members were added to the eternal walkers. It gave a new enthusiasm and exuberance to the team spirit. Then the group talked a lot and walked with measured paces with pomp. And when a group lost its one important member, who went Chennai, Bangalore or Delhi for whole body check-up, team lost its exhilaration and the talk became mundane with paraphrase of daily living chores.

My feet merely touched the street, my walking bay you may call it, a middle aged primary tribal school mistress, hair-thinned and already half-bald, in a faded nighty, bra-less, dangling her sagging breasts, made her daily dose of morning, with a lost look and timid posture. I made my way through the bay, two sides of which run long deep gutters of nauseating, pungent smell, as educated people used them as dustbins to throw condoms, plastic bags containing domestic scrubs, and bottles of liquor or syrup. First batch of elderly and middle aged morning walkers, all school masters, some retired, some performing hard duty of running village schools in the capacity of a headmaster or Assistant master still. All wore dirty shoes of cheap linen and faded t-shirts. And the topic of their talk ranged from Govt. Dearness Allowance, pension schemes, health, adulterated food, elopement and marriage of a rich lottery distributor, clothes merchant or fake gold sellers, and who bought a posh place by donating how much to local club dadas, durga pujo, GST etc. Next past me an elderly man of medium height, aged fifty eight, in plain pants and checked half-shirts. He wore a two days white beard on his slacked cheeks, his eye brows spread wide, and eyes with no fixed expression. He walked with no purpose. He walked, as everybody walked. You could not guess from his queer look whether he was walking for health or for the sake of walking itself. A small samsung mobile hid in his chest pocket, and tunes of sacred songs, ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Ramo; Ramo Ramo Hare Hare’, or ‘Joy Radhe Radhe, Krishna Krishna, Gobindo Gobindo bolo re, etc. ’ crooned while he past me. I now came to a landmark. A dwarf retired clerk in his white cotton pajamas wrapped in a napkin often stood erect from the verandah of his two storied white house. His belly was bulging out, his face squared and thick and shaven with little eyes with a look of bereavement. He was glum, and sullen with an air of very important person. When I passed by the side of his house he stared at me, as if I made an encroachment to his possessed terrain. The street was deserted. An elderly barefooted woman with a thin wrinkled face strived hard to pluck flowers from a stout china rose from a neighbouring fence for worship. By the side of level crossing a group five, toto walas, rickshaw walas, ordered tea. The shop had just opened and the bare bodied, lungi clad tea seller yawned with eyes half closed and began the days’ drudgery. Beside the side of the shop, a man barefoot, lungi hitched to waist, a few grey strands of hair uncombed, and aged face unshaven, sat on haunches, smoking a biri. The specialty of the man—he never failed me in rain or sun with his cheerless, sober presence. A dog slept by him, and smoke from a heap of garbage of plastic bags, dried leaves smouldered, and meandered upward to the blue streaked heaven. Now I passed railway crossing. Some mornings I was hindered to do so, as a goods train or an express was passing. I stopped and looked at the sky then, clear blue and cloudlets of myriad shapes sailing climbing and chasing with each other, sometime overcast, and a soft drizzle began falling. The crossing controlled with two thick iron rods on both side of the line by two railway workers from his tin shaped gumti, was now withdrawn. I crossed it and landed on a separate land. In other mornings the poles were lowered but the train had yet to come. I and other walkers and vegetable sellers bent our backs and made a quick underpass. And when there was no sign of train and the crossing was not barred, I looked standing on its slippers from left to right and saw in the early morning the deserted line decked with leafy trees and patched paddy fields. And two over bridges hung over the line, one on Falakata-Jaigaon route and the second Falakata-Alipurduar road were distant visible and specks of people were often seen to pass to attend day’s beginning. The first scene after crossing the line was a group of middle aged and elderly, some half naked with bare body and bare foot, a napkin on the loin, and some dressed with dirty dhoti and a napkin strapped round his neck, some in pants and shirts sitting on broken rusted plastic chairs or haunches on the side of the street. The shop just opened, and the men drank hot sipping tea from squat shaped plastic cups and the entire place was a dustbin littered with used cups. Men drank and threw cups in any direction, had not the occasion to have a second look at the disposal. Some sat idly for a long time and talked a lot, some after gulping the tea anyhow, went to their work. A toto driver waited for passenger smoking biri with a vacant look, the look I could not describe. A lottery man arranged the tickets, and the smoke from the burning incense, stuck to the one corner of his half-rotten table, gave his worn-out hut a funeral presence. Just opposite to the lottery shop, a fat woman of thirty or so, a mother of one or two sat on the gate of her pucca house. Whenever I passed it I saw her sitting on the gate, her huge breasts unfastened, two mounds. She wore a faded cheap nighty, and sat some time cross legged, and other, legs wide spread apart, and mouth full of brushing foam, and grassy entry side of the gate was all white, as if bubbles of hot milk just fell on it. Now I made a straight walk to my favourite place of jogging and morning dancing. But before reaching there I described a retired couple of master and mistress whom I met daily. They were my neighbours. The gate of his house remained always shut. The master rose early and went bed early. After seven o’clock in the evening, they closeted themselves to their two storied house. His daughter and son lived in Kolkata, the desired destination of all Falakatans. The master had a past, it was rumoured, of adulteration with one of his girl students at his younger days, and had to be freed him from all sins and all by sacrificing a huge money. The master was tall, half bald and the mistress was of medium height, and coloured black shiny straight hair falling back to the edge of her flattened buttocks. Both were spectacled. They had an ambassador, checked once in a month by giving it a sudden jerk, so that the engine might not be dysfunctional. The car made monotonous ghrrar ghrrar sound for thirty minutes and black smoke covered the entire neighbourhood. His neighbours in secret then became impatient with his nuisance and cursed him with saala, banchot, motherchot, etc. But the couple took no offence. They lived all year with a distant air of Kolkata and, I heard from whom and where I could not remember now, most of the Falakatans thought of themselves as living Kolkatans. Master talked with me only when his rooms are to be rented, and made an inquiry of the recruitment of my college, so that if any of new arrivals asked for a house I could refer him/ her to his house. Mistress did not speak with me, but once asked for whereabouts of a deceased senior colleague who died heart attack, and his wife and lone nubile daughter bereaved. I never knew when they went to walk. I met them only on their homeward walk. Mistress was always ahead. Master followed her. They never walked side by side as husband and wife, perhaps to respect the age old Indian practice of nuptial shyness. They never spoke with anybody on the street acquaintances. They took a distinctive demeanour as salaried. And the mistress walked always keeping her nose wrapped with the end of her saree or a handkerchief. She could not inhale unfiltered air. She walked with a posture and gesture that she hated all around herself—the people, children, blooms, birds. Though retired, she was still chubby with huge white bulging belly and a deep navel button, always exposed. She thought herself the symbol of ageless beauty queen. They spoke always with air of urbanity. They were Rajbanshis elites. And they forgot all their grass root cultural affiliations, living a life of outward pomp and show but inner bankruptcy of spirit in a citadel of refugee. Now I almost came to my favourite part of the street. A student’s father, grocer by profession, in folded lungi, bare bodied, bare foot, thread with beads on his neck, brushed his dark maroon teeth with a danta manjan powder. And soon he saw me, stopped the movement of his finger and pulled them out quick from his watery mouth, asked about my well being. Then appeared the two white house I liked most. Built on a high land, the walled houses have an open yard with beautiful flowers. The gate was a few vertical iron rods bolted with another fat horizontal iron rod with an ambience of frank and free geniality and hospitality. I never saw the inhabitants. Sometime a tall lanky man smoked cigarette before the gate of one house. I envied the man for possessing such a beautiful plot of land surrounded with tall nut trees. The wind blew and the leaves rustled, and the birds chirped, and music resonated the house. Walking ahead a few paces, the street has a bumper and by it slept dogs, goats, lambs, unmindful of the people. And here a vegetable shop with dry vegetables, and rows of yellow bananas were on sale and before it there was an old bench and three aged men all in lungi and bare bodied, sunken eyes, bearded, slackened cheeks, and wrinkled necks talked and talked and talked, as if they were sharing with animation their golden past days and their lost dreams. In winter the street was strewn with white and red unknown wild flowers and dry yellow leaves and I felt extreme proud at Nature’s bounty and bliss. It seemed she was always ready to welcome her morning guest with a broad smile on her lips and a warmth embrace of her long beautiful hands. Now I stood at the most important turning of the street, a corner of exercise and exuberance. You could be amazed with the beauty of open field, tree tops shrouded with a lazy misty pallor, vast sky, marshy bogs and pools, birds sitting on the electric poles, flock of white herons pecking warms and insects from fields and made a sudden flight and whirled upward the sky, harmless snakes slithered in the wet grass lands, and charms of the uneven hills of Bhutan, visible on the distant horizon. In late September when the sun shined brilliant, one could eye the beauty of Kanchenjunga too, the crests are all milky white, and a pinkish whitish glow oozed and mellowed below. At these days I often went to Falakata station and sat on the over bridge hour after hour. And birds flapped their glistening wings in the clear blue sky. The streaks of white clouds sailed languidly against the sky. I forgot food and bath, and everything. The beauty of Kanchenjunga was too irresistible and I thought of suicide. By the side of my favourite corner of jogging and dancing, there was a tin roofed house cum stationary shop. An elderly woman, lean, pale, white, wrinkled, cleared the yard with a broom. Her body and breasts lost shape and colour, and the ravages of cruel age had turned her breasts into two small dried nuts. From another house on the opposite side sometimes a dull housewife with an expression of amazement and timidity eyed my morning dance. The other elderly women, dangling from their hands polythene black, pink, yellow, red, bags with flowers for morning prayer, some bare feet, some with plastic slippers, passed me. They all had left the life of sexuality behind and put a reluctant veil to it, some widowed, some lost attraction, and they devoted the rest of the days to the worship of gods and goddesses hence. The common rural proverb, ‘Hari din to gelo, sondhya holo paar koro amare’ (hey god, my days have gone, please call me to your heavenly abode) suited them most. But that was not all. Some rich old beauty tried hard to defeat the onslaughts of age somehow. They still strived best to keep their charm intact. They took morning walk, maintained strict diet, drank only green tea, took ayurvedic multinational health supplements, and messaged them from head to feet with exotic creams, gels, foams, all famous for their anti-ageing formula and prevention of skin cancer. After jogging I went ahead and met a couple always. They had a small tin hut. But of late they built a pucca house, incomplete, hiding the ghastly shabby look of the old hut. The new house was all brick, window panes of gamari wood, and front side of the house, divided square half, iron shuttered, perhaps one would be a grocery or stationary, and the other a beauty parlour of exotic name like, anjali, pushpa, manjil, jolly etc. Such beauty parlours with a tin hut and a wooden chair and a broken mirror with some third rated beauty lotions and potions abounded every mile or two in and around Dooars villages. I saw the man of the house, in white vest and checked lungi, and the colour combination of white vest and tar skin exuded the sheer magnanimity of a bizarre beautified persona. His wife dwarf, fat, clothes soiled and smelly, pulled goats and calves from home shed to the street side. She took the cattle assisted by her twelve year son, black but stout and tall. The electric poles on both side of the street were twirled with long juicy tendrils and green leaves. Two aged men, retired, dwarf and fat, bulging bellied, in half shirts and loose pyjamas, umbrella in hand, walked past me. They walked side by side, and chattered. They were happy-go-lucky fellows. They had no regret in life and took life as it was. They were very jovial , and to them life was extremely beautiful. Meanwhile I now reached the turn from which I would walk back home. Here old women with wrinkled faces sat on haunches and naked grandchildren, sucking fingers, sat on their laps, . Two or three dogs also sat by them. School children hurried past me to take tuition at Falakata and the enlightened masters began the day readying their private tolls with incense and all, like a shop keeper. Here a grocer, black, dwarf, pot bellied with dark thick hair, just opened his shop. I had never seen him in any clothes. Like Gandhi he favoured a loin cloth, a printed soiled napkin and on rare occasion another napkin he wrapped around his neck. He worked hard and his wife suited him most. It was a manic jour, made for each other in physic and work competence of grocery management, rice, daal, atta, oil, soap, surf, shampoo, sugar, salt, potato etc. Of late they had added a tin roof to the roof. They hardly could write, and their school going daughter sang ragas, and Rabindra sangeet with nasal sound. Every morning I heard it and became chastened at the extremity of the trajectories of poor life. On the way back I saw more walkers on the street. More shops opened, and people drank tea and bought lottery tickets. Mothers with their sons and daughters all CBSE Board, from relatively richer homes of school masters and businessmen of dubious repute, mafias and pilferers of famed Dooars tea and timber, fake gold coins and notes, waited with water bottles and heavy bags for the school bus or pool car. The children were all fat and in school uniform, talked in English and Hindi, and half educated youthful mothers in sleeveless twisted nighty with bangal dialect hard tried to talk with them, but snubbed often by children who made a mockery of their mother’s illiteracy and lack of information. Mothers, however, took no notice. Rather they felt pride and made a fuss among friends and relatives at the skill and knowledge of their children. And they also dreamt to send their children to America for higher education. I either made a quick pass, or run back home. People here and there sat on rusted benches or broken plastic chairs in tea shops and verandahs and read a popular Bengali daily Uttar Banga. And they made a lesson plan for the day, and gyrated the same news of poverty, puja bonus, women trafficking, netas and mantris, liquor deaths, temples, mosques, babas etc. until they went bed. Women queued before taps to collect drinking water in plastic bottles and buckets, of different shapes and hues . They looked all desolate. And just before reaching home I always met a former L I C man who talked tall and lived in a rented corrugated tin hut in a garage, smoke and squalor all. Straight I reached home, changed dress, took bazaar bag and my pillion and went to village haats to collect fresh vegetables, and deshi chicken, and eggs from the poor. I also took tea in each and every haat and studied the people and be merrier. And when I contented myself with the beauty and pain of the people and the land of Dooars, I came back home, usually, by 8.50 am. My cook then came and cooked food. And I began prepare for the Day.

“Kunjnagar, ” a Poetical Endeavour

at Kunjanagar beside the potholed street stood I at blazing sunset lone. The orange

cloudlets scattered the western horizon. Slowly evening descended, and tiny dew

droplets began falling. The birds went home and stopped their songs and fell soon

asleep. But a wayward parrot flicked in the air still. Later a full moon bathed the

harvested field, and crickets sang incessant, and eyes feasted on fireflies’ dance round

the bogs. Frogs croaked, and the clusters of stars hung heavy over me. The silence

broken by the occasional barking of the dogs and motorcycles’ whiz. The air was heavy

with scent of the woods and herbs. Looking at the patterns of the stars and the fireflies I

glimpse a heaven.

a young boy collects for cooking,  twigs, and dried leaves from a shredded tea bagan

 long planted. The garden once boasted of its charm and magic, with lush green foliage,

and the beautiful rain trees spotted the long stretches of the horizon.  Now it lost its

charisma; poverty, and illiteracy, and lack of a square meal run its nourishers. The

‘coolies’, once they were so, and they all came from ‘Goomla’, Chhotanagpur, now

Jharkhand. A paltry payment after in weekend, and all they gather to haats, for haria,

and the vegetables, and groceries. Hardworking lot, from sun to moon they labour, now

not in tea gardens, but in some in the houses of Falakata babus.


Visit a haat, and see the charisma of GOD!

labouerers, unfed, half-fed, barefoot, children’s noses running, And the Adivasi women

selling ‘haria’ for a bare living, or somewhere, they even sell their emaciated bodies,

breasts lost the sense

of erection, all dull flesh, and the nipples dried, black.

Body twisted, and scarred, through the years shine, and shower, and male turpitudes,

I see on haats, or in pavements dry, or in bus stops, children sucking pale, pale mothers,

and they try  hard to cover  breasts with one end of their sullied torn sarees,

Sometimes, mothers don’t care at all men’s lustful gazes.  I see it at Gayerkata haat too.













































Layered Marginality of Bengali Muslims in West Bengal: An Introspective Study

Na kisee kee aankh ka noor hoon

Na kisee key dil ka quaraar hoon

Jo kisee key kaam na aa sakey

Main v eek musht-e-ghubaar hoon

———— Bahadur Shah Zafar (1775-1862)


picture courtesy ‘Two Circles’



Of every four persons in West Bengal, roughly speak

ing one is a Bengali Muslim. Despite their numerical density and participation in different socio-economic activities their identity is basically singular, based only on their religious affiliation. They are solely “Muslims”. All other identities (Bengali, professional, educational, economic, residential etc.) are never acknowledged and often suppressed by popular lazy media, and concocted, unscrupulous power-hungry religious and political leaders and even by the Muslims themselves, leading to their marginality and voicelessness in the societal-cultural milieu and years of dehumanization and denigration in their own land and

outer world as well. Since the Independence Bengali Muslims have invariably been treated like “football”, only to be kicked off by the parties of all colours to gain political mileage. They are the “son of the soil”, and not imported stock like that of the Central Asian Aryans of whose ancestry the Brahmins are very proud. But unfortunately the bhodrolok Brahmins are at the helm of all state affairs, and the shudra-converted Bengali muslims are terribly sidelined,and made voiceless. Only at the time of elections some promises of “madrashas”, “Imam Bhatas” and “Urdu Academies”, and “Haj Houses” are doled out to them leading to the marginalization of the Bengali Muslims further. This cruel play is being played and replayed ad infinitum.


In reference to the the Max Muller’s contribution to origin and development of the ancient culture of India learned historian Romila Thapar has argued:

For Max Muller the Rgveda was the earliest stratum of Indo-European and therefore the most ancient literature in the world and key to the earliest language and religion of India. He maintained that there was an original Aryan homeland in central Asia from where there was a dispersal of Aryan speakers branching in two directions. One went to Europe and the other migrated to Iran eventually splitting again with one segment invading north-western India. The references in the Rgveda to the aryas and to their hostility towards the dasas, were read as the Aryans invading and enslaving the indigenes—the dasas, and eventually settling in India. (9)

And in reference to Jyotiba Phule she also remarked:

Writing in the latter half of the nineteenth century in Marathi, Phule argued that the original inhabitants of India were the adivasis, among whom he included the sudras, atisudras, and Dalits, all of whom were descendents of the heroic peoples ed by the daitya king Bali. The adivasis fought the arrival of the brahmanas who represented the Aryans, but were conquered and subordinated.(14)[1]

যাইহোক ম্যাক্সমুলার সাহেবের কথায় আর্যরা মধ্য-এশিয়া থেকে এসে উত্তর-পশ্চিম ভারত আক্রমন করেন। সেখানকার মূলনিবাসীদের, যাদেরকে আর্যরা ‘দাস’ মনে করত,পরাজিত করেন। তারপর তারা ধীরে ধীরে মধ্য ও পূর্ব ভারত দখল করে্ন। আজকে যারা ব্রাহ্মণ বলে গর্ব করেন, তাঁরা আসলে ভারতের বাইরে থেকে আসা যাযাবর আর্যদের উত্তরসূরি।সুতরাং ভারতবর্ষ আর্যদের ‘পিত্রভূমি’ বা ‘পুণ্যভূমি’ নয়। দাস বা শূদ্র্ররাই ভারতের প্রাচীন বাসিন্দা। আর্য আক্রমণের পূর্বে শূদ্র্রদের নিজস্ব জমি-জায়গা, চাষবাস, সংস্কৃতি সবই ছিল। তাঁরা আর্যদের হাতে পরাজিত হয়ে তথাকথিত ‘নিকৃষ্ট’ জীবের আসম্মানকর খ্যাতি লাভ করেন। এবং আর্যদের দ্বারা উদ্ভাবিত ‘বর্ণব্যবস্হা’-র কবলে পড়তে বাধ্য হন। ম্যাক্সমুলার সাহেবের কথা এজন্য টানলাম কারন তিনি ‘Scholar Extraordinary’। আর এই ‘Scholar Extraordinary’-এর লেখক নীরদ চৌধুরী কি অন্য ইতিহাস বলবেন? তাঁর মতে,

বিজয়ী ও ঔপনিবেশিক আর্যেরা বাংলাদেশে ইহাদেরই [আদিবাসীদের] উপর আধিপত্য করিত। তাহাদের উচ্চতর জীবন এই অনার্য জনসমষ্টির শ্রমের উপর প্রতিষ্ঠিত ছিল।এই সামাজিক ও বৈষয়িক ধারা বিংশ শতাব্দীর প্রথম ভাগ পর্যন্ত পরিবর্তিত হয় নাই। বাংলার জনসমষ্টিকে এই জন্য দুই স্তরে বিভক্ত করা যাইত—এক, ঔপনিবেশ স্থাপনকারী ভদ্রসম্প্রদায়; আর এক পুরাতন অধিবাসীর দাস সম্প্রদায়।[2]

এই ইতিহাস আমাদের আজ সকলের জানা। সুতরাং আর্যেরা প্রথমে মেরে কেটে ভারতের আদী অধীবাসীদেরকে পরাজিত করে। এবং পরে ভারতকে ধীরে ধীরে ‘পুণ্যভূমি’-তে রূপান্তরিত করে। পরে আবার সেটা ‘পিতৃভূমি’ কি করে হল, এই ইতিহাস M. S. Golwalkar –এর জানা থাকলেও, আমার জানা নেই। ভারতের বাইরে থেকে শক, হুন, মুঘল, পর্তুগীজ, ইংরেজ ইত্যাদির ন্যায় আর্যেরাও তো ক্ষমতা দখল করেছে পেশীর বলে। শুধু এইটুকু বুঝতে পারিনা যেখানে অন্যরা যখন সব পরম ও চরম শত্রু বলে পরিচিত, সেখানে আর একটি বিশেষ যাযাবর শ্রেনী ভারতের বাইরে থেকে এসে পুণ্যভূমি, পিতৃভূমির গল্প শোনায় কি করে? আর তার থেকেও অবাক হয় যখন দেখি এই গল্পটি কিছু লোকের কাছে মাত্রাতিরক্ত সমাদ্রিত, এবং এদের অহঙ্কার ও ক্ষমতা প্রশ্নাতীত। এতো বিজেতাদের ইতিহাস। পরাজিতরা গেল কোথাই? কার্ল মার্ক্সের ভাষায়, যেটি নীরদবাবু আগেই স্বীকার করেছেন, আর্যেরা তো ‘superstructure’ আর দাসেরা ‘structure,’ যদি আমি ভুল না বুঝে থাকি। কারন আর্যদের ‘উচ্চতর জীবন এই অনার্য জনসমষ্টির শ্রমের উপর প্রতিষ্ঠিত ছিল।’ যাদের শ্রম সমাজের মূল চালিকা শক্তি, আজ তাদের পৃথক ইতিহাস কোথাই? আছে, এদিক ওদিক ছড়িয়ে ছিটিয়ে। দরকার সেগুলিকে একসাথে সঙ্কলিত করে গতানুগতিক একঘেয়ে ইতিহাসকে চ্যালেঞ্জ করা এবং সত্য ইতিহাসের অনুসন্ধান করা।

Clarification of the term “Bengali Muslim”

First of all, I ask a simple question: who are ‘Bengali Muslims’? Does it mean all the Muslims living in West Bengal? It is not so. It refers only to all the Bengali speaking Muslims in West Bengal. Are they foreigner, or descendents of Emperor Babur, etc. as often alleged? Is there any deeper relation, barring religious tokenism, among Bengali speaking Muslims and Urdu, Tamil, Nepali, Syrian , Arabian, Pakistani, Afghanistani, Palestian, Indonesian, Egyptian Muslims, etc. There is absolutely nothing in common among these variants. It is interesting to note that variants among the Muslims even in India are inter-state, intra-state, inter-district, intra-district, and so on and forth, depending on the economic and social structure of the region. Neither the Indian Muslims nor the Bengali Muslims are a homogenous lot. They are Bengali at the core as that of the Bengali babus. They are the son of the soil, born here and will die here. They are shudra converted (because of Brahmanic tyranny) as many texts and history itself is a witness to this often willingly forgotten fact[3]. The Bengali Sheikhs have nothing in common with Arabian Sheikhs’s wealth, status and luxury. Many Bengali Sheikhs do the job of a scavenger to Arabian Sheikhs for a few rials. They are ill clad, ill fed, illiterate, poor, landless, ignorant, simple, mud housed rural backwood mass with hearts made of pure gold. And none of them can speak, Arabic, or Urdu, generally thought to be the sacred Islamic cultural medium. They speak in households Bengali dialects, not the standard Kolkata, or ‘Santipuri’ Bengali. They are culturally, socially, financially excluded from the so called mainstream ‘bhadralok’ Hindu babus.’ They are ‘pichieye para’ underprivileged ‘base’ stock of rural folk. They are the cheap labour of West Bengal. Thus the identity crisis of Bengali Muslims emerges mainly from two fronts—one from the caste Hindus who are in the habit of treating them as solely Muslims, and form the Urdu speaking Muslims the Bengali Muslims are treated as impure and base Muslims culturally alienated from the pure Islam. From this unfortunate discourse emanates the linguistic and cultural marginality in the broader domain of their public life. “…some members of the urban ‘mainstream’ Bengali elites construct an idea about the Muslims which takes their religious affinity as their singular identity, completely missing all other identities the strongest among which is their being “Bangali”’[4]. Another important finding is that more than 90 percent of the rural Muslims [in West Bengal] are Bangla-speaking, and only a tiny section reported Urdu to be their mother tongue. This sharply contrasts with a notion prevalent even among the literati of the urban areas that Muslims are mostly Urdu speaking.[5]

Stereotypical Clichés.

  1. Bengali Muslims cannot speak Urdu. They speak only local Bengali dialects and the prounnunciation of which makes the Bengali elites often utter “gaiya”.
  1. Bengali Muslims are not giving births like street dogs, as often alleged in public life. “Unlike the socially constructed belief that there is ‘Muslim population explosion,’ the recent Census data [2011] show a decreasing trend in growth among the Muslim population across the state.[6]
  1. The students of Bengali Muslim households are not madrasha-centric. Their enrolment in public school and colleges are increasing day by day. Govornment’s apathy to the educational infrastructural development in highly Muslim concentrated districts, blocks is as clear as daylight. “That the rate of enrolment in schools was very high in the areas with Muslim preponderence clearly showed that not only they were not averse to moden education but also that there was a clear lack of educational infrastructure in those areas”.[7] The differnce between blocks with a 15 per cent or less concentration of Muslims, and those with a 50 per cent or more concentration stands at 4.0 for both all management and government combined Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools. Such a wide gap does not only deter large numbers of Muslim youth from seeking higher levels of education, but also deters those taht live in these areas side by side. (SNAP Report, p. 38)[Muslim]students who are intellectualy capable of higher education but cannot afford to travel to the cities or to the districts with better universities are thus systematically excluded. (SNAP Report, p. 47)
  1. “Khariji” madrashas with a tin or thatch roof, few broken chairs, tables and benches, no toilets and supply of water, a few half-naked, emaciated Muslim students who call their master not as sir but “chhaarr” in West Bengal can never be the sponsors of terrorism, as alleged by self-defeating Hindu bhadrlok. If one is human, I am quite sure, that seeing such sorry and pathetic conditions of remote Khariji madrashas in west Bengal tears will roll down from her/his eyes.
  1. Bengali Muslims are not responsible for the destruction of Hindu temples, and they cannot marry a Hindu girl by force judjing from their economic and societal status. আমরা দেখেছি যে বাংলার নবজাগরণ শুরু হয় হিন্দু সমাজকে কেন্দ্র করে যা কিছুদিন পরেই হিন্দু পুনর্জাগরণের রুপ নেয়। তখন প্রাচীন ভারতের ধর্ম, ইতিহাস ও ঐতিহ্যের উপর জোর পড়ল। সাথে সাথে হিন্দু মানসে তার অতীত গৌরব এবং বর্তমানের উন্নতির নিরিখে মধ্যযুগের ইতিহাসকে লজ্জাজনক মনে হল। আর এ জন্য তাঁরা স্বভাবতই দায়ী করলেন মুসলমানদেরকে—যারা আক্রমণকারীরুপে ভারতে প্রবেশ করেছিলেন। তাঁরা [বেমালুম] ভুলে গেলেন, যে সেই আক্রমণকারী মুসলমান আর সমকালীন পরাধীন মুসলমান সব দিক দিয়ে আলাদা।[8]
  2. বাঙালি মুসলমান সবায় গোহত্যা করেনা। বরং এরা ‘গোধনে’ বিশ্বাস করে। গরু লালন পালন করেই গ্রামের অনেক গরিব মুসলমান চাষি জীবিকা নির্বাহ করে। এ প্রসঙ্গে মীর মশাররফ হোসেনের “গো-জীবন” (১৮৮৯) একটি অমুল্য দলিল। এখানে আজকের গো-রক্ষক সভা ও সমিতির নেতা নেত্রীদের আমি অনুরোধ করব Vandana Shiva-আর ‘Sacred Cow: A Miliking Machine’[9] লেখাটি পড়তে, যেখানে তিনি লিখেছেন, ‘breeding genetic diversity of livestock with multiple uses has been ignored by the industrial animal ‘factories’, which have reduced cows to milk and meat machines.’ সুতরাং শুধু মুসলমানদের গো-ভক্ষক বলে তুলোধোনা করা মেজরিটি কালচারের ‘tyranny’ ছাড়া বিশেষ কিছু নয়।ইস্যুটি অত সহজ নয়। নিরপেক্ষ ভাবে দেখলে ঝোলা থেকে বিড়াল বেরিয়ে পড়বে।
  3. Bengali Muslims are not responsible for the division of Bengal. “১৯৪৭ সনে মুসলমান বাঙালীর বিরুদ্ধতা সত্ত্বেও হিন্দু বাঙালীর ভোটে বাংলাদেশ বিভক্ত হইল”।[10]
  4. বাঙালি মুসলমান আরব, তুরস্ক, আফগানিস্থান থেকে কেউ ভারতে আসেনি। এরা শূদ্র থেকে ধর্মান্তরিত। বাঙালি মুসলমান ভারতের আদি বাসিন্দা। এরা মূলনিবাসী বা ভূমিপুত্র।

তাই বাঙালি মুসলমানদের নিয়ে আমাদের গর্বিত হওয়া উচিৎ। কিন্তু ঘটে ঠিক বিপরীত। রাস্তা ঘাট, ট্রেন বাস, পাড়ার ক্লাব, হাসপাতাল, থানা, আদালত, আপিস, সব জায়গার একটি সুস্বাদু মুখরোচক বিষয় মুসলমান তুলোধোনা। তুরস্কে, ইরাকে বোমা ফাটলে বা পাকিস্থানে আত্মঘাতী হামলা হলে, দূরদর্শন, খবরের কাগজের পোয়া বারো। একই পচা খবর সারাদিন লাইভ চলবে। পাড়ার এঁদো গলি থেকে শুরু করে শহরের রাজপথ মুসলমান বিদ্বেষী ক্ষীস্তি খেঁউড়ে সরগরম। অথচ বাঙালি মুসলমানের কিছু করার থাকে না। এক সহ্য ছাড়া। বাঙালি মুসলমান দু বেলা খাবার যোগাড় করতে হিমসিম খায়। সে কি করে বিশ্ব মুসলমানের ঠ্যাকা নেবে? তাই আজও বাঙালি মুসলমানকে সহিষ্ণুতার সাথে সামনের দিকে এগুতে হবে, আধুনিক বিঞ্জান ও প্রযুক্তি নির্ভর শিক্ষাকে কেন্দ্র করে। এছাড়া আর কোন বিকল্প রাস্তা নেই। আর এটা হলে, ক্ষীস্তি খেঁউড়ের দল শুঁড় শুঁড় করে সরে পড়বে।

Representation of Muslims in Media

Print as well as elctronic and social media are playing a disparaging role leading to the marginalization of Bengali Muslims further. They are so lazy that they fail to investigate the every day hard reality faced by Bengali Muslims. Their stereotypical representation of Muslims includes such obnoxious and derogatory terms as terrorists, beef-eaters, invaders, oppressors, barbaric, uncivilized, anti-national, illiterate, ignorant, poor, unhygenic, drug-traffickers, burglers, etc. It is a sheer and vulgar misrepresentation of the true identity of Bengali Muslims. Bengali Muslims may be poor and uneducated, but most of the other terms are forcibly applied to them to dehumanize and denegrate their holistic status. The true identity of Bengali Muslims is never reflected in Bengali art, literature, journalistic writing, media, and the educated public discourse of everyday Bengali life. Bengali Muslims earn their livelihood by the sweat of their brow. They are farmers, rickshaw-pullers, tailors, vegetable-sellers, masons, labours, biri-workers, village-vendors, poor, meek mass. Why Bengali Muslims are being misrepresented? The reason behind is the indulgence in the politics of writing/ representing by so called intellectuals, journalists, media anchors for some vested interests. The moot point is that as they are unable to represent themselves, they must be represented and of course with a tinge of malice, hatred and vituperation in order to make them Saidian “Other”.

Bengali Muslims and Politics

অন্য দিকে ভোটপ্রার্থীরা ভাল করিয়াই জানেন যে, শুধু বড়লোকের ভোট যোগাড় করিয়া জেতা যাইবে না, “ছোটলোকেরা” বেশীসংখ্যক, সুতরাং তাহাদের ভোটের মূল্য বেশী। তাই দৈত্যপক্ষের ক্যান্ডিডেট গজোদরবাবু মুসলমানপাড়ায় গিয়া নেমকহারাম গাজী মিঞাকে হাত করবার চেষ্টা করলেন, সঙ্গে তাঁহার দালালরাও আছে। গজোদর বলিলেন,

“আচ্ছা, গাজীসাহেব! তুমি যত টাকা নেও দেবো, আমাদের পক্ষে ভোট দিতে হবেই; নয়ত তোমার এই খানকার দ্বারদেশে পড়ে রইলুম। বুকে পা তুলে মেরে দে না; জয় জগদীশ্বর! যা কর বাবা গাজী সাহেব। আজ তোমার পায়ে মাথা খুঁড়ে মরব।”

গাজী—“আরে শালার ভাই শালারা বড় ভগরে [ফককরে] ভেননেক [ফেললেক]যে! সুমুন্দির ভাই নড়ে না যে! যেন পাষাণ হোই দেখ, আত্তির দুপুরের বেলায় যেন একটা অগড় [রগড়] পেয়েচে। ডাকবো নাকি লোকগর, ছেড়ে দেনা।”

ব্যাপার দেখিয়া গজোদর বাবুর দালাল অকালকুষ্মাণ্ড ক্যানভাস করিবার ভার নিল—

“বাবা গাজী! তোর পায়ে পৈতে ছিঁড়বো।” (“পৈতা জড়াইয়া গাজীর পদতলে পতন”)

গাজী—“আরে শালা বমোন কল্লাক্ কি! হুঁ হুঁ আমার ছাবাল পোলাগারে মোল্লি হোবাক যে, খেন্তো দে, খেন্তো দে।”

অকালকুষ্মাণ্ড—“বল্ বাবা, কালপেঁচাবাবুর দুটো ভোট? তুই যত টাকা চাস তা দেবো।”

গাজী (ক্ষণেক চিন্তার পর)—“আচ্ছা বল শালা বামোন, ২৫ টাকা দিবি? হ্যাঁ, ঝানলুম যে এক ঘা দায় অক্যে গেলা! দে ২৫ টাকা, দেবো তোমায় দুটো ভোঁট!”[11]

Jeremy Seabrook and Imran Ahmed Siddiqui comment: Muslims are not a matter of concern for the State unless they disturb or disrupt the existing order. It is only when they try to turn their eyes on wealth and power their activities become the interest of the State. If Muslims destruct one another it is of nobody’s concern. The word ‘Muslim’ has become synonymous with poverty and crime. They are antisocial elements. They will find a redressal mechanism for their cause.[12]

The State Government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the development of Muslims is quite evident. Muslims are not a matter of serious introspection, and the maintenance of their status quo of marginality in all public walks of life seems to be desirable. The problem arises when the Muslims try to assert their valid position, and they are invariably harassed hereafter in the guise of criminal activities or other.

সাবির আহমেদ লিখেছেন, “ধর্মীয় পরিচিতি বাদ দিয়ে মুসলমানদের যদি আর্থ-সামাজিক ভাবে পিছিয়ে পড়া জনগোষ্ঠী হিসেবে গুরুত্ব দিয়ে, তাঁদের উন্নতির কথা ভাবা হত, তা হলে আজও এই সমাজকে এমন দুর্দশার মধ্যে থাকতে হত না ।” তিনি আরও বলেছেন যে রাজনৈতিক প্রতিনিধিত্ব একটি জনগোষ্ঠীর আশার প্রতিক।রাজনৈতিক প্রতিনিধিত্বে মুসলমানদের অংশ গ্রহণ বাড়লে উচ্চবর্ণের অহং-এ আঘাত লাগবে, আঘাত লাগবে তাদের স্বার্থেও, ক্ষমতার বৃত্ত কমে আসবে। মুসলমান জনপ্রতিনিধির সংখ্যা ইদানীং কিছু বাড়লেও, সমস্যা রয়েই গেছে। কারন “নীতি নির্ধারণে মুসলমানদের যোগদান অতি সামান্য।”[13] “…the pre-dominantly rural and socio-economically backward status of the Muslims has resulted in their poor representation in the social platforms—academic, political, cultural and so on, and this has created sort of social ignorance about the Muslims.”[14]

Gleamses of socio-econmoic condition of Muslims in West Bengal

Let us have a cursory look at Sabir Ahmed’s report on Muslims of West Bengal published in The Anando Bazaar Patrika. The report may be called a tip of an iceberg, and most important aspect of it that it does not delineate the status of the Bengali speaking Muslims separately. Be that as it may, the report is an eye-opener to the Muslims of West Bengal in many respects.

These statistical records reflect only the poor sordid condition of West Bengal Muslims in the arena of Government employment. Now let us survey some other areas to prove the marginality of Bengali Muslims in all other conceivable fronts.

  1. Muslims’ participation in higher education is 3 to 4 per cent only. Their enrolment in Primary and Secondary school is good. And in areas with high Muslim concentration educational infrastructure is very poor. For example in villages with 1000 Muslim populuation or more 3 per cent of such villages do not have a school at all.
  1. In schools of Muslim-concentrated areas the ratio among students and teachers is 37:1, wheras in West Bengal average student-teacher ratio is 27:1.
  2. In Muslim-concentrated areas infrastucture of health is almost nil. To have access to primary healthcare facility 35 per cent village people have to walk 4 kilometers at least, and 12 per cent of people from such “remote” villages have to walk 8 kilometers. Moreover, 45 per cent are entirely depended on quacks.
  3. The role of road or street is very vital to access to any services offered by Government. In areas with Muslim concentration 18 per cent of the road is made of mud, where plying even a cycle becomes a nightmare.[15]

আমরা মানসকুমার রায়চৌধুরী লিখিত আনন্দবাজার পত্রিকার সম্পাদক সমীপেষু চিঠিতে নোবেলজয়ী অর্থনীতিবিদ অমর্ত্যসেন কে উল্লেখ করে লেখা থেকে জানতে পারি যে বাঙালি মুসলমানরা পশ্চিমবঙ্গের সবচাইতে “গরীব, অবহেলিত ও পিছিয়েপড়া। বেঁচে থাকার নিরিখেও এরা সামঞ্জস্যহীন ভাবে চূড়ান্ত দরিদ্র ও বঞ্চিত। পয়সাওয়ালা বা ধর্মীয় ক্ষেত্রে ক্ষমতাবান মুসলমানরাই কেবল সুবিধাভোগী। বাদবাকি দরিদ্রতর মুসলিমদের সিংহভাগই ভূমিহীন, শিক্ষাগত যোগ্যতায় দৃষ্টিকটু ভাবে পিছিয়ে।”[16]

শুভনীল চৌধুরী ও শাশ্বত ঘোষ ২০১১ সালের সেনসাস, কর্মসংস্থান সংক্রান্ত ভারতের জাতীয় নমুনা সমীক্ষা রিপোর্ট ২০১১-১২ , ও উপরে আলোচিত স্ন্যাপ রিপোর্ট ২০১৪ এর সহযোগে আনন্দবাজার পত্রিকায় পশ্চিমবঙ্গের মুসলমানদের একই বেহাল ও নিদারুন চিত্র তুলে ধরেছেন।বিশেষ করে শিক্ষা ও কর্মসংস্থানে এদের করুন অবস্থার চিত্র আমরা পায়। উনাদের তথ্যে উঠে আসা বিষয়ের কিছু কিছু অংশ তুলে ধরার চেষ্টা করছি।

  1. ২০০১ সালে রাজ্যে মুসলমান ছিল ২৫.২ শতাংশ। আর ২০১১ সালে তা বেড়ে হয়েছে ২৭.০১ শতাংশ। পশ্চিমবঙ্গে মুসলমানদের জন্মের হার হিন্দুদের তুলনায় বেশি। কিন্তু এখানেই শেষ নয়। এটা লেখকদ্বয়ের মতে “অর্ধসত্য।” বাকি সত্য হল মুসলমান সমাজে জন্মহার “দ্রুত গতিতে কমেছে।” অর্থাৎ প্রচলিত ধারনাকে মিথ্যা প্রমান করে গড়ে প্রতি মুসলমান নারীর সন্তান প্রসব কমেছে।
  2. জনসংখ্যার অনুপাতে রাজ্যে মুসলমান সম্প্রদায়ের ৩৪.৫ শতাংশ কর্মরত, যেখানে হিন্দুদের ক্ষেত্রে এই অনুপাত ৩৯.৩ শতাংশ।
  3. রাজ্যে মুসলমানদের সাক্ষরতার হার ৬৮.৮ শতাংশ, হিন্দুদের ক্ষেত্রে সেই হার ৭৯.১ শতাংশ।আর স্নাতক পাশ মুসলমান ছেলেমেয়ের অনুপাত ২.৭ শতাংশ।
  4. সর্বভারতীয় ক্ষেত্রে মুসলমানরা শহরে বাস করেণ ৩৯.৯১ শতাংশ, আর গ্রামে বাস করেন ৬০.০৯ শতাংশ। কিন্ত আমাদের রাজ্যে ২২.৩৪ শতাংশ মুসলমান শহরে বাস করেন, আর গ্রামে বাস করেন ৭৭.৬৬ শতাংশ। সুতরাং বাংলার মুসলমান বেশি গ্রামীন।
  5. রাজ্যে মুসলমান খেতমজুরেরে অনুপাত ৩১.৩ শতাংশ, হিন্দুদের ক্ষেত্রে তা ২৮.২ শতাংশ।
  6. নির্মাণকাজে মুসলমানদের অনুপাত ১২.৬ শতাংশ, হিন্দুদের ক্ষেত্রে এই অনুপাত ৬.৫ শতাংশ।
  7. গ্রামের ৮০ শতাংশ মুসলমান গৃহস্থের পারিবারিক মাসিক আয় ৫০০০ টাকার কম।শহরে এই অনুপাত ৬৫ শতাংশ। অর্থাৎ রাজ্যের মুসলমানদের দুই-তৃ্তীয়াংশ মানুষ দারিদ্র সীমার নিচে বসবাস করেন।

এত তথ্যের পর লেখকদ্বয়ের বলিষ্ঠ মন্তব্য “তাই মুসলমান সমাজের উন্নয়নের কথা বললে যাঁরা সাম্প্রদায়িক রাজনীতির জিগির তোলেন, তাঁরা পশ্চিমবঙ্গের সার্বিক উন্নয়নের বিরোধিতা করছেন।”[17] আরে খেতে পরতে পান না তো কি হয়েছে। বেঁচে তো আছেন। গুজরাটের দাঙ্গা তো আর কলকাতায় হয়নি। এর থেকে বেশি পশ্চিমবঙ্গের মুসলমান কি আশা করতে পারে? সব রাজনৈতিক দলের বুলি একই। এরা সব ঠেকা নিয়ে বসে আছে বাঙালি মুসলমানদের দাঙ্গার হাত থকে রক্ষা করার জন্য। ভাবটা এমন যে মুসলমানদের জন্য কিছু না করলেও হবে। শুধু মাঝে মধ্যে মুসলমানদের জানান দিতে হবে যে আমরা তোদের রক্ষাকর্তা। ব্যাস, কেল্লা ফতে।কিন্তু এখানেও দাঙ্গা থেকে রক্ষা করার বেলুন চুপসে যাই। সেই সন্দেহের একটি মূল্যবান দলিল Jeremy Seabrook and Imran Ahmed Siddiqui-এর “people without history: india’s muslim ghettos.” হলদে রঙের কালিতে এই বইয়ের ব্যাক কভারে জ্বল জ্বল করছে কথাগুলি,

Kolkata’s Muslims live in a city that for 33 years was governed by the Communist Party of India [Marxist]. It has been the proudest boast of the Communists that they have been

guided by a secular ideology, and that as a result, Muslims in West Bengal have been spared the excesses of communalists in Gujrat, Maharastra, Orissa and elsewhere.[18]

পশ্চিমবঙ্গের মুসলমানদের ‘দাঙ্গার জুজু’ দেখান সব রাজনৈতিক দলগুলির একটি নিয়মিত মোক্ষম অস্ত্র।অতীন বন্ধ্যোপাধ্যায় ভাল বলেছেন,

এই দেশে হিন্দু-মুসলমানের বিদ্বেষ জাগিয়ে দাও। অর্থনৈতিক সংগ্রামের কথা এখন বলা যাবেনা। শ্রেণীসংগ্রামের কথা বলে যেত, কিন্তু কিছু উপর তলার মানুষ রয়ে গেছি আমরা, আমাদের তবে কি হবে। তার চেয়ে ভাল ধর্ম জাগরণ। ধর্মের নামে ঢোল বাজিয়ে আখের গুছিয়ে নাও।[19]

বাঙালি মুসলমানদের সমস্যা বহুবিধ। কিন্তু সেগুলিকে বিশ্লেষণ করে নিম্নের সিন্ধান্তগুলিতে আসা খুব কঠিন নয়।

১। টুপি দাড়ি ছাড়া, মানে ধর্মকে বাদ দিয়ে মুসলমানদের আলাদা ভাবে একটি পিছিয়ে পড়া জনগোষ্ঠী হিসেবে দেখা হয় না।

২। মুসলমানদের রাজনৈতিক জনপ্রতিনিধি বাড়লে সখ্যাগুরুর মহা বিপদ, মানে তাঁদের ক্ষমতা ও সুযোগ সুবিধার পরিমণ্ডল কমে যাবে। এই ভয় সখ্যাগুরুর চেতন বা অবচেতন মনে কাজ করে। এটা খুবই স্বাভাবিক।

৩। মুসলমান রাজনৈতিক জনপ্রতিনিধিদের নিতি নির্ধারণের কোনও ক্ষমতা নেই। তাই আমি এদের ‘জি হুজুর’ গোছের বলি। এদের মধ্যে কেউ কেউ ঘোলা জলে মাছ ধরে নিজেরটা কামিয়ে নেন।

৪। মুসলমানরা শিক্ষা, কর্মসংস্থান, রুজিরোজগার সব দিক থেকে পিছিয়ে। জীবন ধারনের নূনতম মান এদের নেই।

৫। সুবিধাবাদি, ধান্দাবাজ, স্বার্থপরায়ন দলগুলি মুসলমানদের চাপে রাখার জন্য সময় সময় দাঙ্গার জুজু দেখায়।এক্ষেত্রে সব দলের নীতি এক।

The Uniqueness Of Bengali Muslims

The Bengali Muslims are merely “footballs”, as earlier stated. They exist for the benefit of everyone barring themselves. I quote my favourite Kahlil Gibran,

I have cried over your humiliation

And submission; and my tears streamed

Like crystalline, but could not sear

Away your stagnant weakness…


I hate you, My Countrymen, because

You hate glory and greatness. I

Despise you because you despise yourselves.

——– “My Countrymen”[20]

বাঙালি মুসলমান গোবেচারা জীব বলে সুনাম ও দুর্নাম দুইই আছে। সুনাম/ দুর্নাম শুনতে পায় বন্ধুদের কাছে, “ তোরা বিহারী মুসলমানদের মত ‘এগ্রেসিভ’ না”। বাঙালির রক্ত কিনা।তাই বাঙালি মুসলমান কিছুটা হলেও সংযত আচার, আচারনে, কথাবার্তায়। এখন একদিনকার মজার ঘ্টনা বলি। আমি তিস্তায় ফালাকাটা থেকে বহরমপুরে সপ্তাহের শেষে বাড়ী ফিরছিলাম। পাশে বসেছিল একজন বয়স্ক জনৈক হিন্দু ভদ্রলোক। ট্রেন কিষানগঞ্জ থামলে টুপি ও লুঙ্গি পরা ছোটো খাটো সাদা মাটা চেহারার এক দল তবলীগ জামাত, সংখ্যায় জনা ত্রিশ হবে, আমাদের কামরাটায় উঠল। এদের দেখা মাত্র বয়স্ক ভদ্রলোকের তার পাশে বসা লোকটির মনোযোগ আকর্ষণ করে তাচ্ছিল্যকর মন্তব্য, “ না, না, এরা বাঙালি মুসলমান। আজমগড়ের মুসলিম হুউ”। ঐ ভদ্রলোকের কাছে বাঙালি মুসলমান ভীষণ গরীব হওয়াতে, ও হিন্দি বা উর্দু না বলতে পারাতে, এবং চেহারাতে খর্বকার হওয়াতে, এরা একরকম ভেড়া গোত্রিয় জীবের মত মনে হয়। আজমগড়ের মুসলিমরা হল সাচ্চা মুসলমান। ভেতো বাঙালি মুসলমান খাঁটি মুসলমান নামের কলঙ্ক। আ্মার William Blake – এর “The Lamb” কবিতাটি মনে পড়ে, যেখানে “He [God/ Christ] is called by thy name, for he calls himself a lamb.” বাঙালি মুসলমান তাই ভেড়া বা lamb হতে পারলে তার গর্বিত হওয়া উচিৎ। কবিতাটির কয়েক লাইন এরুপ,

Little lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

Little lamb, I’ll tell thee,

Little lamb, I’ll tell thee:

He is called by thy name, for he calls himself a lamb.

He is meek, and He is mild;

He became a little child.

বাঙালি মুসলমানের ভীরুতা কাপুরুষতা নয়। বরং এটা তাঁর মৌলিক গুন।তাঁর “meeknees,” “tenderness,” and “gentleness” তাঁকে মহানুভবতা দান করে। এতে তার লজ্জার কিছু নেই, গর্ব করার আনেক কিছু আছে। বাঙালি মুসলমানের দুর্বলতা হল তার সবলতার পরিচায়ক।বাঙালি মুসলমানের সরল সাধারন সাদা মাটা জীবন, তাদের নিরীহ স্বভাব, অকৃত্রিম আথিতেয়তা, তাদের দুর্বলতা, ভীরুতা—এসবই তার একান্ত মৌলিক গুণ। হতে পারে চাষা, লেখাপড়া জানে না, গরীব। কিন্তু হৃদয় সোনা দিয়ে মোড়ান, কুসংস্কার মুক্ত। চাষি, চাঁড়াল, বাবু, ভদ্রলোক, গরীব, বড়লোক, যে কেউ বাঙালি মুসলমানের বাড়ীতে গেলে, তারা অতিথিদের ঘরের ভিতর নূতন পাটি, কাঁথা, বা চেয়ারে বসতে দেবে। বাড়ীর সব থেকে ভাল কাপে চা দেবে। নূতন গ্লাসে জল দেবে। কারন এরা সূচিবাইগ্রস্থ নয়। এই অকৃত্রিম আথিতেয়তা খুব কম বাবু ভদ্রলোকের বাড়ীতে প্রত্যাশা করা যাই।বরং বেশিরভাগ ভদ্রলোক মুসলমান ও অন্যান্য ‘ছোট/নিচু’ জাতের জন্য আলদা এক সেট কাপ প্লেট রেখে দেন ভাড়ার ঘরের এক নির্দিষ্ট কোনে। নিচু জাতের কামলা, মুনিশ, মিস্ত্রী এলে সেগুলিতে চা দেওয়া হয়। পরে ‘কাজের মেয়ে’ কাপ প্লেটগুলি ভাল করে মেজে, বসা জায়গাটি গঙ্গা জল ছিটিয়ে, পারলে ভাল করে নিকিয়ে দেয়। বাঙালি মুসলমানের এই কপটতা নেয়।বেশিরভাগ বাঙালি মুসলমান চালচুলোহীন, মানে ‘wretched of the earth’ বলা যেতে পারে। বাঙালি মুসলমান নিরীহ, দুর্বল, সরল।আর এই গুণগুলি তাদের স্বকীয়তার স্বরূপ।


In contrast to the national trend, where more than one third of the Muslims live in urban areas, in West Bengal Muslims share less than one fifth of the urban population. Given the urban-centric power structure dominated by upper caste Hindu elites, the rural root of the Muslims of West Bengal has led to their being almost invisible in urban public domain—educational institutions, public services, media, cultural platforms, and other podiums of importance. Nevertheless, notwithstanding a general silence on the issue, some initiatives, however limited, were seen to be taken by part of the intelligentsia. This had contributed, in its limited way, to the strengthening of a Muslim agency, the seeds of which could be seen in the social efforts at organising schools, healthcare facilities, and so on taken up by sections of the Muslims.[21] They are merely triumph cards at the hand of dishonest and unscrupulous political leaders who use, misuse and abuse them for their political mileage. Second, the upper caste Bengali Hindus irrespective of party colours who are at the helm of affairs never want their co-habitant muslims at par with them in multi sectoral perspectives. Third, the local ignorant maulvis and their madrasas is a severe hindrance to the educational and social competence of the Bengali muslims. Fourth, they must assert their Bengali identity and refuse the path of Urdu speaking urban muslims. Fifth, an economic and educational revamp and a change of stolid mindset of hackneyed muslims, and a cleansed heart of their haughty and egoistic co-brethren can allay their pain of being marginalized. Otherwise, as Said said in another context, Bengali muslims can never represent themselves; they must always be represented, and in derision of course.[22]

As earlier stated the market of Dalit literature is good enough to produce numberless Ph. Ds in this field. But I doubt that any serious contribution to the enrichment of the Dalits being made by such Ph. Ds. But a slow change is taking place in the case of Dalits. And that change matters. But any discussion on Bengali Muslims has been almost a taboo. While, thanks to certain constitutional guarantees and other public measures, unfair treatment against the Adivasis and the Dalits is at least acknowledged, discussion on the socio-economiuc handicaps of the Muslims remains almost a taboo. And even after the publication of the Sachar Report that has clearly brought out the depressed status of the Muslims as regards capability-enhancing opportunities, debates and deliberations on the issue in West Bengal are far from adequate. The inadequacy of informed engagement has not only had its effect on the continually depressed socio-economic status of the Muslims of West Bengal, but also on the imagination of the Muslim identity that is being [invariably] framed solely on religious line, ignoring multiple other facets of their lives. [23] For the true development of Muslims the first and foremost condition is to separate them from what I call their ‘Burquha- topi-dari’ line. Muslims should have to be thought as a democratic citizen with all the constitutional rights and duties of the nation. And in no way their religious tag is to be tantalized.Veteran journalist of repute, M. J. Akbar comments with due justification,

The need of the hour was to change the attitude and mindset. “Changing attitude and mindset is not easy but when the time demands a change, a change should be ushered in, for power flows not from a sword but power flows from education.” Muslims should start regaining their self-confidence and shed the “politics of begging.” “Indian Muslims should consider themselves fortunate since India is a democratic country and communities here are empowered.” Muslims should not just cast their votes but sell them. “Sell it to the bidder who promises education and especially to that bidder who promises education to the girls,”[24]

I quote my favourite Kahlil Gibran to conclude,

I have cried over your humiliation

And submission; and my tears streamed

Like crystalline, but could not sear

Away your stagnant weakness…


I hate you, My Countrymen, because

You hate glory and greatness. I

Despise you because you despise yourselves.

——– “My Countrymen”[25]

প্রসঙ্গ ভিন্ন হলেও কবিগুরুর ভাষায় তাই বাংলার বাঙালি মুসলমানদের বলতে চায়,

“মুহূর্ত তুলিয়া শির একত্র দাঁড়াও দেখি সবে,

যার ভয়ে তুমি ভীত সে অন্যায় ভীরু তোমা চেয়ে,

যখনি জাগিবে তুমি তখনি সে পলাইবে ধেয়ে;

যখনি দাঁড়াবে তুমি সম্মুকে তাহার, তখনি সে

পথকুক্কুরের মতো সংকোচে সত্রাসে যাবে মিশে;

দেবতা বিমুখ তারে, কেহ নাহি সহায় তাহার,

মুখে করে আস্ফালন, জানে সে হীনতা আপনার

মনে মনে।”


[1] Romila Thapar. “The Historiography of the Concept of ‘Aryan’. ” India: Historical Beginnings and the Concept of the Aryan. Romila Thapar et all. New Delhi: National Book Trust, 2013. pp. 9,14, 19

[2] নীরদচন্দ্র চৌধুরী, নির্বাচিত প্রবন্ধ, সম্পদনা, ধ্রুব নারায়ণ চৌধুরী, কলকাতাঃ আনান্দ, ২০১৩, পৃঃ৭৩

[3] Mojumdar, Atindra. Arabic, Persian and Turkish Words in Bengali Literature. Kolkata: Ekwsh Shatak, 2012. pp.10-12

[4] “Introduction”. Living Reality of Muslims in west Bengal: A Report. Association SNAP and Guidance Guild in association with Pratichi Institute, Kolkata.2016. p. 6

[5] Ibid, p. 6

[6] Ibid, p. 7

[7] Ibid. p. 7

[8] আনিসুজ্জামান, মুসলিম-মানস ও বাংলা সাহিত্য (১৭৫৭-১৯১৮), ঢাকাঃ চারুলিপি প্রকাশন, ২০১২, পৃঃ ৩৪০

[9] Vandana Shiva, ‘Sacred Cow: A Miliking Machine.’ The Deccan Chronicle. Nov. 3. 2016 <>. Web. Accessed on, Nov 5, 2016.

[10] নীরদচন্দ্র চৌধুরী, আত্মঘাতী বাঙালী, প্রথম খণ্ড, কলকাতাঃ মিত্র ও ঘোষ,১৪১৮ বঙ্গাব্দ, পৃ.১৯৮

[11] নীরদচন্দ্র চৌধুরী, “ভোটমঙ্গলঃ সেকালের বাঙালীর চোখে ইলেকশন”, দেশঃ সুবর্ণজয়ন্তী প্রবন্ধ সংকলন (১৯৩৩-১৯৮৩), সম্পাদক, সাগরময় ঘোষ, কলকাতাঃ আনন্দ পাবলিশার্স,২০০০,পৃঃ ২২৭-২৩২

[12] Jeremy Seabrook and Imran Ahmed Siddiqui. “people without history: india’s muslim ghettos.” New Delhi: Navayana, 2011. P. 19. Print.

[13] সাবির আহমেদ, সংখ্যাগুরু সংখ্যালঘুর কথা বলবে না, আনন্দবাজার পত্রিকা, ০৩.০৫.২০১৬, পৃঃ ৪

[14] “Introduction”. Living Reality of Muslims in west Bengal: A Report. Association SNAP and Guidance Guild in association with Pratichi Institute, Kolkata.2016. p. 6

[15] সাবির আহমেদ, সাচার কমিটি রিপোর্টের দশ বছর পরে, আনন্দবাজার পত্রিকা, ২৪.০১.২০১৬, পৃঃ৪

[16] মানসকুমার রায়চৌধুরী, পাঁচ বছরে কতটুকু করেছেন, আনন্দবাজার পত্রিকা, ২১.০৩.২০১৬, পৃঃ ৪

[17] শুভনীল চৌধুরী ও শাশ্বত ঘোষ, মুসলমানদের বাদ দিয়ে উন্নয়ন হবে না, আনন্দবাজার পত্রিকা, ২৪.০১.২০১৬, পৃঃ ৪

[18] Jeremy Seabrook and Imran Ahmed Siddiqui. “people without history: india’s muslim ghettos.” New Delhi: Navayana, 2011. Print.

[19] অতীন বন্ধ্যোপাধ্যায়, নীলকণ্ঠ পাখির খোঁজে, কলকাতাঃ করুণা প্রকাশনী, ২০১০,পৃঃ৩০৭

[20] Kahlil Gibran. “My Countrymen” in Secrets of the Heart. New Delhi: UBSPD, 2006. Print

[21] “Introduction”. Living Reality of Muslims in west Bengal: A Report. Association SNAP and Guidance Guild in association with Pratichi Institute, Kolkata.2016. p. 4

[22] Abu Siddik, “Bengali Muslims as Marginals: An Overview” in Representation of the Marginalized in Indian writings in English. Ed. Abu Siddik. Falakata, Alipurduar: Falakata College, Publication Cell, 2015. p. 183-184. Print.

[23] “Introduction”. Living Reality of Muslims in west Bengal: A Report. Association SNAP and Guidance Guild in association with Pratichi Institute, Kolkata.2016. p. 3

24 M.J. Akbar, “Muslims should shed attitude of minorityism”. The Hindu, 19 Feb. 2013

[25] Kahlil Gibran. “My Countrymen” in Secrets of the Heart. New Delhi: UBSPD, 2006. Print

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