Bengali Muslims: The Road Ahead

Here is a speech in the “Two Day International Conference on Bengali Muslims at the Crossroads: Possibilities and Challenges” held on 16 & 17 November 2019 in Aliah University Park Circus Campus.

It is a rough guideline for the students, scholars, academics, and the Bengali Muslim people to navigate the specific existential issues that concern Bengali Muslims of West Bengal.

As citizens of India, they have constitutional rights not to live as second-class citizens in India. Unfortunately, they are passing their days for decades as second, third or fourth-class citizens. Attempts have been made by the political parties to snatch their citizenship.

Bengali Muslims are used, abused, exploited, insulted, and humiliated in every walk of life in Bengal and outside of Bengal. They are treated like “football” by the political players. They have no voice. They live almost in servitude.

To challenge this humiliation, they should strengthen and raise their voice. Parties will come and go, but their socioeconomic-political realities are not changing. It is worsening. Why?

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I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, said George Orwell. As a writer, I never kowtow to the whims and dictates of the sacred godmen or godwomen, the political bigots and hypocrites, dealers of laymen, the dishonest and self-serving intellectuals, traders of religions, the betrayers of ‘other’ Indians who eke out a living by their sweat, who are living in fear for being lynched for this and that.

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