RAW-1: India's Attack on Bangladeshi Culture, Ideology and ExistenceBy Igor Siljanoski The Ananda Bazar Patrika of Calcutta recently published a long feature on the so-called crippled economy and political instability of Bangladesh and shamelessly advised Bangladeshis in the following way: Realizing the cruel truth Bangladeshis should rather raise the demand to merge with India'. Getting similar message from her masters in RAW Taslima Nasreen, a derailed writer, wrote in a poem:
'A thorn has been pricked
In my throat in 1947
I do not want to swallow it
Rather I desire to extort it
To reclaim the undivided soil of my ancestors'(1. Quoted in the Weekly Muslim Jahan, January 3, 1995.)
Taslima Nasreen has been rewarded by conferring many awards by India for her so-called literary works.Going back to history we find that our forefathers never willingly accepted being part of undivided India. The people of this region never whole heartedly accepted the authority of Delhi-the capital of undivided India. They raised flag of independence and even fought against the exploiters and administrators of Delhi again and again. However, RAW seems to have learnt nothing from history and continues to strive for realization of its dream of an undivided India. Propounding the same thoughts in a seminar about regional cooperation of South Asia held at Dhaka on February 28, 1992, Mr. Mayaram Surgeon, a leader of Indian National Congress and the editor of the 'Daily Ajkal' said:"If Europe can be united, why can't we return to
pre-partition India of 1947 ?"
The irony is that nobody in the seminar objected to Mr. Myaram's malicious suggestion. Rather some of the RAW agents hailed him for his wisdom. In another seminar organised by the' Center for Developing the Spirit of Bengali Nationalism' to welcome the 15th century of the Bengali Calendar Mr. Hasan Imam, a self- styled champion of the spirit of liberation war supported the call of Mr. Mayaram. He said:'The vast sub-continent was fragmented to pieces, though we wanted to remain united. It cannot be believed that we cannot be united once again in future'( The Daily Inqilab : April 30, 1994)
Mr. Hasan Imam is a member of Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee (The committee for elimination of collaborators of 1971). The, above statement, evidently proves for whom Hasan Imam and his colleagues work.Why don't these so-called ardent advocates of Bengali spirit encourage the people of West Bengal to secede from India and reunite with Bangladesh? Why do they advise Bangladeshis to merge with India? We in Bangladesh fought and laid down lives for upholding Bengali language and to nurse and highlight distinct Bengali identity. Our merging with India will amount to undoing these achievements. On the contrary they do not advise that West Bengal should break away from India and merge with us, given their love for Bengali spirit and culture. Mr. Mayaram and host of others like him see only the reunification of Germany but they are blind enough not to see what has happened to the defunct Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
RAW certainly is aware of the fact that religion and religion-based culture are the prime obstacles in the way of reunification of so-called undivided India. A true Muslim can never relinquish his religion, culture and life-style. Every step of a Muslim is governed and guided by his religion because Islam is a complete code of life. For this reason Bengali speaking Muslims and Hindus though live in the same territory and eat rice-fish-dal, they can never become a. homogenous community. There fore, despite living in the same country they have separate and distinct identities. RAW's objective is to undermine Islam in the lives of Bangladeshi Muslims so that their blending with Hindus is facilitated. For the purpose RAW is trying to erode the Muslim culture and replace it by Hindu culture under the pretext of Bengali culture.
It may be noted that Muslims have preserved and protected their separate cultural identity despite living alongside their Hindu neighbours for centuries. Although language of both. Muslims and Hindus is the same yet a clear-cut distinction is visible in their way of using idioms. In many cases Hindus use words of Sanskrit origin, While Muslims use words of Arabic and Persian origin. For 'water' Hindus and Muslims use two separate words: 'Jol and 'pani' respectively. To refer to blessing, Hindus say 'Ashirbad ' while Muslims say 'Doa'.For the word 'Pardon', Hindus use 'Khama' (kshma) but the Muslims use the word 'Maaf. Thousands of examples of this kind of differences can be cited. Hindus sound 'UIu' (sound uttered by Hindu Women on festive or religious occasions) at birth, marriage,and 'Puja'(religion worship of the Hindus).
This custom is not in vogue among Muslims. Married Hindu women use vermilion in their hairparting. Muslim women do not use it. Hjndus are cremated after their ,death while Muslims are buried. The customs of the two religious communities are totally different and sometimes poles apart. Neither of them relinquished their own customs nor accepted and developed a common one to show their devotion to Bengalee culture or Bengalee spirit. Each of them is glued to its own faith and culture. When any Hindu child is born, Hindus utter b. sound 'Ulu', but when a child is born in a Muslim family, 'Azan' (Muezzin's call to the Muslims for prayer) is articulated in the new born's ears. Muslim boys are circumcised in their early boyhood, whereas Hindu boys are not. Hindus consider and venerate the water of the Ganges as the most sacred (even though it is highly polluted and impure) but Muslims do not think so. Hindus believe in 33 crores of deities and worship idols. Muslims believe in only one Allah. So Muslims and Hindus, though live in the same region, speak the same language and eat almost the same food; they have different customs and developed different cultures. Neither of the two faiths could get over the religious boundaries to create common life style and culture. Each of them belong to a distinct faith and culture and has different historical background.
RAW backed intellectuals take infinite pains to prove to the new generation that the liberation war of 1971 disproved the validity of the Two Nation Theory and generated the spirit of secularism. However, this is totally wrong. The war of liberation was directed agai.nst the then West Pakistani domination and exploitation and not against
Islam and our Muslim identity. None of the leaders of the liberation war ever relinquished Islam, Muslim identity and Muslim culture.
One of the main characteristics of Islam is that it wants the new converts to set aside all the tenets, rituals,customs and life-style of their previous religion and to
accept and practise what iS,enjoined and approved, by Islam. Our forefathers when they converted from Hinduism to Islam, not only relinqufshed Hindu :religion but also Hindu rites, customs, culture, norms and way of living. They committed themselves ,totally to Islam. Afterbecoming Muslims they did not continue following their previous (Hindu) practices, such as, uttering 'Ulu', lighting 'Mongol pradep' (an auspicious lamp used by the Hindus,specially, at a religious ceremony), positioning 'Mongal Ghot' (a consecrated pitcher placetd in a house to win divine favour). They gave up blowing the conch, sounding the bell-metal disc, cremation of a widow" on her dead husband's funeral pyre, use of vermilion in hair-parting etc.; and began to practise what is granted by Islam. For these reasons, Bengali, speal,ring Hindus and Muslims did
not and could not develop a conimon cultural heritage.
In recent years RAW hirelings have been assiduously trying to introduce Hindu practices, labelling them as integrai part of Bengalee culture. They kindle Mongal
pradepi sound bell-pletal" disc and utter. 'Ulu' in various furictions. Their aim is to promote Hindu culture; in the name of Bengalee culture.' 'But history testifies that the custom of kindling Mongal pradep or sounding bell-metal,or blowing conch shell was not very common, even among the Hindus in any part of Bengal, leave alone the Muslims.
Thus these are pot part of Beng-alee tradition or culture at all.
No reference to these practices (kindling Mongal pradip, ringing be~l-metal Or blowing conch shell) is found in,the ancient Bengali religious lYrics 'CHARJAPAD' which
were composed during the reign of the Paul Dynasty that ruled Bengal from the 8th to the 12th century. After the fall of the Paul Dynasty in the 12th century the Sens from Karnataka became the rulers or Bengal. The Sens were Hindus and they introduced-Karnataki Hindu practices in the temples of Bengal. The customs of kindling auspicious lflmp at time of worshipping the deities, blowing conch"shell and beating bell-metal were introduced by Sens. So, the culture the urban-based RAW hirelings try to introduce in Bangladesh in the name of Bengalee culture is not even the culture of the original Hindus of this region. However, the RAW-inspired intellectuals have been pleading for introduction of the said rituals in our important national functions. In this context the comments of the renowned national professor Syed Ali Ahsan are worth mentioning. He writes:
"A group of parasitic and invertebrate people who are totally devoid of historical facts, kindle Mongal pradeep and blow bell-metal in the cultural functions. In pursuance of historical evidence I want to say that auspicious lamp and bell-metal are totaIly,idolatrous and communal. Moreover they are by no means related to,the life-style of the people of this region"(The Weekly Bikram : April 19-25 : 1993).
"According to the dictionary published by Bangla Academy one of the meanings of the word 'Mongol' is poem or lyrics or song praising deities: viz Manasa Mongol (epic in honour of the Hindu snake goddess Manasa), Chandi Mongal (eulogistic literature about Hindu goddess Chandi). Mongal Gnatmeans earthen or any other kind of pot placed with festivities to win the favour of Hindu deities.So Mangol Ghat and Mongal pradep are part and parcel of Hin'du customs and culture"(The Weekly Jhanda: April 30, 1992).
These practices never entered into the religious, social or family life of the Bengali speaking Muslims. Yet since 1990 a familiar group of so-called intellectuals has shamelessly started to indulge in these idolatrous practices on our new year's day in the name of Bengalee culture. To display so called Bengali culture this group and their followers dance in the, streets wearing masks of deities,(ghosts, apparition, jackal, monkey and hanuman (the name of the monkey chief who was an ally of the Hindu
deity Ramchandra in his expedition to Lanka).
Even the Hindus, let alone the Muslims of our country,were never seen before in our streets with such beast-like appearances. If we look into the bistory of British India
when Hindus were dominant ip this region we do not get any evidence of celebrating Bengali New year's Day in such a way. Let us again see what professor: Ali Ashan says
about this exotic culture:
"The truth which history reveals is that these beastly masks and decorations are related to the festivals of Gajan held in connection with the worship of the Hindu deity 'Shiva' (Sri Krishna /Narayan, Vishnu, Shiva, all are Hindu deities)
of the untouchable Hindus. In the 'Gajan fair' untouchable Hindus like 'Dom' (a Hindu caste who are assigned duty of burning the dead and looking after the crematorium),
sweeper, chandal (one of the lowest caste of the Hindus usually entrusted with the execution of criminals) etc. used to dress up as clowns in multiforms to celebrate".
I expect my learned readers to realize how tactfully RAW has been instilling the culture of lower caste Hindus among the Muslims of Bangladesh in the name of
Bengalee cuUure. It should be noted here that Bengali-speaking Hindus never recognised Muslims as Bengalees. They considered 'Bengali-speaking Muslims lower even than the untouchables like cobblers,sweepers, fishermen barbers, washermen etc.
There is not even a single instance in the history of the Bengali speaking Muslims to prove that such practices were in vogue during the united Bengal days or even
thereafter. However, now the so-called progressive elements at the behest of RAW, have become votaries of alien culture. RAW wants to make inroads in the bastion of
the Bengali speaking Muslim's faith, with the ultimate object of making the Muslims of Bangladesh to repudiate Islam and its values and disdain their cultural heritage. Perhaps a day may come when RAW's stooges will emerge in our streets dressed as Kali, Lakshmi, Sarswati,Radha-Krishna, Aurjun or Shiva (all are hindu deities) or
parade the ,streets in procession as devotees of these Hindu deities. They may start wearing thread (worn by the upper class Hindus) round their necks or decorate their foreheads' or the bridges of noses with sandal wood paste (as painted by vaishnavas worshippers of Vishnu, a Hindu deity or followers of Sri Chaitanya reformer of modern Hinduism) or'carry a trident in their hands (used by Hindu deity Shiva and now-a-days by Hindu ascetics). Some of them have already started making an exhibition of their Bengaleeism by wearing 'Dhoti' (a lion cloth worn by Hindus).
The people of this region had not seen such efforts for revival of Hindu culture in the name of Bengalee culture before 1990. Sheikh Mujib, the founder of Bangladesh and
a Bengalee par excellence, celebrated 4 Martyr Days, 4 Independence Days, 4 New years's Days and 3 Victory' Days after the emergence of Bangladesh.But they never made any attempt to introduce auspicious lamp,bell-metal, conch shell or 'Ulu' in these celebrations in the name of Bengalee culture. Masked demon of Ram's devotee Hanuman was not seen in the streets on Bengali New year's day. Not a singl(U!entence is found in Sheikh Mujib's,thousands of speeches and statements which,could indicate that he encouraged the introduction of Hindu culture in the name of Bengali culture.
But since 1990 RAW hirelings have started a campaign to promote Hindu culture. After all what is their motive? Scrutiny of background of ardent supporters of Hindu culture reveals that these people are the new converts and hence are acting more holier than the Pope. Here are some details about a few of them. '
Sufia Kamal was an exponent of Islamic values;brotherhood and the territorial integrity of Pakistan till the sixties. She also composed a number of poems in praise of
the Quaid-e-Azam and Pakistan. In the later part of the sixties when disintegration of Pakistan seemed inevitable she allied herself with the pro-Moscow elements. During the n~ne months' of liberation war she stayed in Dhaka quite comfortably. Belfltedly she, emerged as a champion and symbol of independence and the apostle of the spirit of liberation war. She once headed the infamous' Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee.
Mr.' Sirajul Islam Chowdhury, another ostentatious exponent of the spirit of liberation war has become a supporter of Pakistan's ideology. During Ayub regime he wrote a book for school students named 'Pakistan: The country and her culture' in which he advocated Pakistani nationalism and cultural unity of the then Pakistan.Mr. Shamsur Rehman is yet another ardent preacher of the so-called Bengalee culture. However, till December 16, 1971 Mr, Shamsur Rehman had employed his efforts and talent to safeguard the unity and solidarity of the then Pakistan. His writings in erstwhile 'The Dainik Pakistan' are clear proof of his allegiance to the then Pakistan.
These people are turn-coats and opportunists. They now claim themselves to be the custodians of the spirit of liberation war to draw personal benefits. They shamelessly try to introduce alien culture i:l1 Bangladesh the culture which Sheikh Mujib, the architect of liberation struggle himself never prescribed. They think that the
more they glorify Hindu culture, the more will they be regarded as pure Bengalees and thus will be able to conceal their past record and gain material benefits.
However, the truth of the matter is that these people were neither sincere and loyal to Pakistan in the past, nor are they sincere and loyal to Bengalee spirit at present. They are mere mercenaries doing RAW's bidding' for their personal gains.
RAW has realized that the sovereign existence ofBangladesh can't be annulled so long Islam exists, as a living force among the bulk of her people and her cultural
boundary remains intact. Therefore, RAW has mounted a multi-pronged attack to distort cultural heritage of Bangladesh. It has engaged so called-Muslim pseudo intellectuals to spearhead attacks on Muslim values and traditions and to introduce Hindu culture in the name of Bengalee culture.RAW has recently adopted a novel way to contact and recruit important, religious and political leaders of Bangladesh. They send some of their Indian, Muslim stooges to Bangladesh to approach high religious and political personalities of Bangladesh. Moulana Asad Madni of Deoband, Alhaj Kashani Baba of Dargah Nizam Uddin Aulia and ulema from Ajmer Sharif have been visiting Bangladesh for the purpose. They invite top Bangladeshi leaders to their hotel or place of residence and try to pass RAW'scovert message to include:
a. Partitjon of India has not proved good for Muslims.Hence Muslims should try for re-unification of India.
b. Indian Muslims and their religious places are well protected and looked after by Indian Government (not withstanding the plight of Babri Masjid). , '
c. It is propagated that Pakistan and Bangladesh do not have Islamic laws i.e., Family Laws in Pakistan as well as Bang~adesh are unislamic, while in India Muslim personal laws are being followed. Example of Shah Bano case is often cited to propagate their point.
d. Bangladeshi leaders are urged to stop criticism of India.
e. Invitation is extended to Bangladeshi leaders.to visit India on their expenses. The offers for joint business ventures are also made to lure in the Bangladeshi leaders.
RAW's ultimate aim is to affect minds of people particularly of new generation in such a manner so that they forget Muslim traditions, values and culture and adopt Hindu culture similar to that of India. Thereafter it will become easier for RAW to launch the next phase of'Annex Bangladesh' operation.
Igor Siljanoski is a policy professional working and residing in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. His previous experience was in the public sector as an economist, economic development consultant and business and financial planner. Igor is lecturing macroeconomics at the St.Clair College of applied arts and science in Windsor, Ontario. Igor holds Masters Degree in Political Science and Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Windsor, Canada. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org