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Minority politics in Bangladesh Kabir, Muhammad Ghulam

Abstract

The partitioning of India in 1947 along religious lines left a large minority community in both India and, Pakistan. The purpose of this study is to examine politics of the Hindu minority in East Bengal from independence in 1947 to the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971. Two hypotheses have been examined in the course of this study. Firstly, it is hypothesized that when a previously dominant community is thrown into a minority position, its leaders' attempt to reconcile the community with the existing situation and attempt political readjustment involving compromises. The corollary hypothesis is that the achievement of the goals of the minority is dependent on the attitude and the internal cohesion of the dominant community. The evidences we find from this study show that the Hindu minority in East Bengal made compromises in its stand on issues such as (1) a secular-democratic constitution, (2) Islamic nomenclature of the republic, and (3) reservation of the office of the head of state for Muslims. However, they fought to establish a joint electorate system. They were successful in attaining this goal only with the division of the Muslim political parties in East Bengal, and later with the estrangement of the Muslims in East and West Pakistan.

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