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No Country for ‘Cursed Demon’

January 11, 2014

It was a May evening. I was waiting at the newly built New Jalpaigudi Station for my train, which was about to set off for Kolkata. Following a sojourn in the breathtaking hill city of Darjeeling, I was on my way back to Kolkata. Suddenly, an old lady, thin but strong and in her early sixties, came to me with another relatively younger lady. She was clad in clothes usually wear by devotee Hindus and looked like a local. She asked, “Do you know which train will go to Assam?” I was taken aback by her accent. It was Dhaka patois. I said, “I don’t know. Ask the Police.” Few minutes later, they came back to me and insisted me to find the train. Why did they pick me up amid thousands of passengers? Later I figured out perhaps it was my attire that convinced them that this yokel, who is from the same native land as they hailed from, might better understand the problem they were going through.

 After 5 January election, violence erupted across Bangladesh. And it is the Hindu community who is bearing the brunt of this violence. The lower segments of the Hindus, who are in the lower steps of social status ladder, have fallen prey to recent attacks.

Bengali Hindus are derogatorily called  Malu or Malaun, an Arabic word means cursed demon. Are the ‘cursed demons’ really good in Hindustan? No, they are equally unwanted there. Look at what is going on in Assam. Hundreds of thousands ‘cursed demons’ who fled Bangladesh in the face of persecution 30 or 40 years ago have yet to be nationalized. To a great extent, they share the fate of a migrant Bangladeshi worker, treated like a slave, in Middle East, where he thinks his fellow Muslim brethren will lift him up of dire poverty; or that of a Mohajer in Karachi, where he migrated in search of a prosperous and peaceful land but now lives in a state of unending violence.

 Communal politics adopted by BNP-Jamaat have taken its ugliest form. What is alarming is the increasing number of attacks against the minority community. Worrying matter is all these are happening when a secular govt. is in power. It was not unpredictable that BNP-Jamaat would play the communal politics ahead of the one-sided election. BNPs virulent campaign on the role of India over Banladesh’s general election deteriorated the situation.  BNP’s exile leader Tareq Zia’s video message echoed this India-hating stand.Moreover, A facebook page of the student wing of BNP is spreading hate posts on social networking sites. Two such status posted on this page read “We are certain that no Muslim brother went to the vote centers. Most of the votes were cast by Hindustani Malu. So, all the Malus of AL have to be sent to India.”

Unconsciously, communalism, floated and spread by reactionary politics, is also being played out by ruling party. In one of her recent speeches, PM criticized the opposition leader for having little commitment to Bangladesh as she was born in ‘another country’. In the end, all this is contributing to make the society less tolerant.

 In recent years we have seen many communal attacks took place across Bangladesh. But govt. did not succeed in stopping a single incident. Nor did it file any case against the perpetrators.

Take for example the district of Sathkhira, a Jamaat-shibir stronghold, which had witnessed two big communal attacks. In fact, first major attack took place here in March 2012, before the Ramu incident. Yet we have not seen any punishment meted out to the criminals. After each incident govt. came up with tougher statements. In reality, its deeds belied its words.

I don’t know what happened to those ‘cursed demons’ in New Jalpaigudi station. Did they really find their train? Did they reach their desired destination? May be, they are still trapped in that station, walking to and fro in search of the desired destination. Is there really any desired destination for ‘cursed demons’? God knows!

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