ABSTRACT

Even after seventy-one years, the partition of India in 1947 influences the relationships between the South Asian nuclear neighbours – India and Pakistan – and greatly influences the social behaviour between majority and minority community members against each other’s respective countries. Bangladesh was also a part of British India in 1947. In 1947, East Bengal separated from West Bengal in the name of religion and became a part of Pakistan. Soon after the birth of Pakistan, Bengalis from the East Pakistan realised that religion is not the only force which can bind people together. An individual wears multiple identities and religion is one of them. As early as in 1948, the demand for recognising Bengali too as a national language of Pakistan started in East Pakistan. The Bengali speaking population of the country was furious over what it saw as imposing Urdu on them. In 1952 during one of the protest marches a few protestors were killed. Later, in 1955 Bengali was recognised as a national language of Pakistan. However, many other differences between the Bengali and non-Bengali population remained. All such eventually led to the liberation of East Pakistan in 1971. The immediate cause for the liberation of Bangladesh was the denial of an opportunity for the leader of Awami League (AL), Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to become the prime minister of Pakistan even though his party had won the majority number of seats in the parliamentary elections of 1970. Hence the myth of having a religion-based state shattered in 1971. However, religion remains a crucial factor. Even today, it is the basis of differences and discrimination, as well as cause for communal violence, in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.