Saturday, April 5, 2014

More on Migration Debate – Bangladesh

In Shodalap, a discussion group of Bengali speaking people, a reader raised a question on my article posted there - All those fuss about ‘Endangered Demography’. He asked, "What is your comment on this article
"Some Indian scholars have also expressed their outrage over unrestricted immigration from Bangladesh. Indian historian Amalendu De noted: “There is a virtual East Bengal in West Bengal. Immigrants, both Hindus and Muslims, have come from across the border and settled in districts which share borders with Bangladesh and have slowly penetrated into other districts.”
"Immigration from Bangladesh has reportedly increased the Muslim population in West Bengal, although Hindus remain the majority at about 75 percent of the total population. The influx of illegal immigrants has prompted opposition from certain West Bengali groups. The opposition to illegal immigration has taken on a distinctly anti-Muslim tinge – and their words mirror Modi’s almost perfectly. The West Bengal-based radical political organization Amra Bangali (meaning "We Are Bengalis") said it calls for the “reorganization of the territory of Bengal with all like-minded people having respect for Bengali language and culture, and name this new geographical area as Bangalistan.” Part of Amra Bangali's premise is that non-Bengalis (as well as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh) are exploiting West Bengal economically at the expense of the native population."-Palash Ghosh,

On the article, they said Muslim and Hindus of Bangladesh both migrated to India, But Muslim Population increased. On the other hand in Bangladesh, overall population and percentage of Muslim increased too. My Question, where are all the extra Muslim came from? Form Mars or Jupiter!!!!!"

Here below is my response:
I have already written an article "Modi Shows his Hindutva Coloar" which appeared in some Internet sites, and newspaper. One can also read in my blog by clicking here, where I analyzed the demography in Assam.
In recent days, I have written a series of articles on demography on the Eastern side of what used to be British India, esp. surrounding states of today's Bangladesh and Myanmar. In a forthcoming book most of the answers on this complex matter of demography are answered.

My article on so-called endangered Hindu was written in response to Hindutvadi claims that Bangladeshi Muslims are infiltrating in large chunks. They forget to tell their audience that according to World Bank half a million Indian illegals are working inside Bangladesh today who are remitting billions of dollars back to India.

Border crossing and settling into India is not an easy thing for Bangladeshis even if they were to try given the fact that many areas are barb-wired and have heavy BSF presence. Even a mere walking on the no-man's land can be suicidal for most Bangladeshis because of the criminal attitude of trigger happy Hindu BSF that are stationed there. One has to just read how many such innocent Bangladeshis got killed in recent years as a result of BSF killing inside Bangladeshi territory whose dead body was thrown into the wire.

Why would a Muslim go to India when the standard of living inside Bangladesh for those hard working folks is better than those offered in Assam, Tripura, Meghalay and West Bengal? Is there any shortage of jobs for those people that do day labor jobs? Absolutely not. If you have a friend and relative and owns a home, and need some repair job, or need a servant, you know how difficult it is to find supporting hand there. Many well to do families now don’t have any servant, and end up doing their own cooking, washing. These poor labor class people are much better paid inside Bangladesh. If they want to go anywhere, they like to go to the Middle East first, then Malaysia, Singapore, and none to India.

So, the question remains why such accusations from Hindutvadi fascists? Several factors come to mind: many of these die-hard Hindutvadis have not come to terms about Partition of India, they like to see Bangladesh annexed, or at least create a scenario in which Indian hegemony is intact. The government of India since the days of Nehru is okay with the second option, irrespective of whether Congress ruled or not. Such kind of false accusations, as I noted, play into hands of Hindutvadi agenda to popularize their worth in India for speaking on behalf of the so-called dying Hindus whose numbers are shrinking. All those create the fertile grounds for not only hegemony but longer term ruining the economy and politics of the targeted region – i.e., Bangladesh, resulting in creating a Sikkim like scenario, which can lead to eventual accession into India. There are paid Indian agents working inside Bangladesh to inflate also the suffering of the Hindus to create that mental bondage. They won’t speak about Muslim minorities in Burma and India! Let them explain why Bangladesh has millions of Bihari Muslims, why there are half a million illegal Indians today inside Bangladesh.

Partition of India saw millions of people moving from one part to another. In the eastern front, as I have shown elsewhere, at the most 3 million people did cross-border migration from 1947-51, which include people of all faiths. Many Hindus have left East Pakistan, and many Muslims have come in from West Bengal and other parts of India, including Assam and Tripura. This process continued ever since, although not in large numbers. For example, another 1 million Hindus could have left East Pakistan in the next decade, as was the case with many Muslims from India entering Bangladesh (East Pakistan).

It is difficult to estimate the total number of refugees because of several factors, not the least of which is about the reliability of government information. The census data have never been perfect in India and South Asia, in general. A well-to-do person with multiple homes in various parts, rural and urban, can be counted at least twice, while some poor migrant living in a slum could be totally ignored.

BTW: many Muslims have historically been living in either side of the border since time immemorial. Yet their mere presence now draws skepticism from Hindu activists and Hindutvadi fascists like Modi, Ghosh and Pramanik. Years of riots where Muslims are killed by Hindus have also forced many to live close to one other, and that way they can protect each other. Gujarat experience and Nelli massacre in Assam has taught them that life-saving measure pretty well.

And then there has been higher fertility rate amongst Muslims since the dawn of the last century. Hindus not only marry late, they often abort female fetuses, and are careful about limiting children size. Many adult Hindus can't find spouses because of horrendous dowry system also. Many economically driven Bengali Hindus have moved away to other states, and overseas, further declining Hindu percentage in their place of birth.

It is not difficult to understand why in the last 67 years (1947-2014) the Muslim population which used to be around 20% in West Bengal shot up to 25% in 2001 census. Unfortunately, the Hindutvadis don't want to look at what they are making of the Hindu society, which is seeing very high conversion rate to Christianity since at least the days of mother Theresa, but blame it all on growing percentage of Muslims that they see or claim to see.

Let them bring reliable data on demography, I can show them [which I have shown elsewhere based on Indian published census data] that just based on historical annual growth rate figures why the Muslim population is where it is today in India, and not just in West Bengal (WB), where as one may notice from my other article in the Shodalap, the growth rate in entire West Bengal in 2001-2011 was below national average. If Muslims have been coming to WB, this could not be true.

Based on my objective study of the subject, what I found out is that it is simply improbable that many Bangladeshi Muslims have moved to surrounding states of India. (If they were to go out for livelihood, which is a prime driver in human history, they would rather go to Delhi or Bombay and not the poor states surrounding Bangladesh). As I hinted, there are tens of thousands of Indians now working in any big city of Bangladesh; many of the INGOs are totally run by these Indians. They came to Bangladesh because of job offers and better opportunities. I met personally many Indian Bengali engineers working for some top named real estate companies. The world has become too global. While the educated Hindus are going overseas to better their financial situation leaving behind less educated, terribly discriminated Muslims who have no other business than to work in the fields, we get the picture – loud and clear – Muslim percentage has gone up. Is it any miracle? Nope!


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