By: Dr. Ratan Sharda
Bengal Bleeding Amidst “Secular” Silence is not an easy book to read. It is not about the current genocide of Hindus after 2021 state assembly. It is another reminder that those who forget history are bound to repeat it.
The book is small; it has avoided gory details of violence against Hindus as far as possible. It could have been bigger with more graphic details to shake up the conscience of the Hindu society, if not the intellectuals and the secular politicians and governments. Here I mean politicians of every hue from Green, to White, to Blue, to Red and also Saffron with a few honourable exceptions. The question that comes upper most after reading this cruel history is, does being secular mean keeping silent, sounding helpless on wanton killings of Hindus, and in the case of Bengal history mostly Scheduled Castes and Tribes?
The book begins from the 1940 attack on Hindus, 1946 Direct Action, Noakhali violence, primarily against Hindus, to bleeding slowly from 1951 to 1963, now in East Bengal that became East Pakistan. Next round of genocide perpetrated in 1964 before worst ever violence, rapes, loot, arson and killings of Hindus in 1971 during Bangladesh freedom struggle. It didn’t stop with rise of Bangladesh, it just paused a bit because Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was also not averse to the language of Jihad. Next worse round came after he was killed in violent take over by Gen Zia Ur Rehman and Islam became the state religion of Bangladesh in 1988. Major violent events apart from routine persecution were seen in 1990 and 1992. A few incidents that author quotes are enough to shake up any civilised society. The only crime of these Hindus was that they were Hindus.
While, on one side, Hindus from East Pakistan, later Bangladesh, were being pushed out violently into Bharat; another outflow of illegal immigrants was being managed by the Bangladeshi Muslims, ably supported by the Left in the name of “lebensraum’ – “Muslim” spaces as the author of the book calls it for easy understanding. There were clearly two streams of immigrants – those who escaped persecution and violence and the other that was supported by Muslim rulers of Bangladesh for better economic opportunities or simply increase numbers to ultimately use democracy to destroy democracy.
While the number of illegal Muslims swelled with connivance of politicians of Communist parties and Congress groups, poor Hindus who were pushed out were given a raw deal. Marichjhapi is the worst cruellest example of killing and eviction of poorest of poor schedule caste Hindus.
As the Muslim numbers increased, they became more assertive and began dictating politics of West Bengal too. Author cites many examples of goon behaviour of these groups. 2013 Canning carnge, 2015 football fatwa against women playing football with the blessings of top ruling party leaders, Nadia petro riots, riots and looting in Dulagarh-Diwangarh, riots of Kaliachak in 2016 and so on. 2021 post-poll naked dance of violence is a logical extension of the incidents that kept on occurring at regular intervals, not covered by the ‘secular’ media, nor raised by ‘secular’ polity.