Final response to Mr. Zakaria

Ethnic cleansing or not ?

By Rahul Gupta

 

From:  "Rahul Gupta"
Date:  Thu Nov 21, 2002  8:12 am
Subject:  "Ethnic cleansing or not" : final response to Mr. Zakaria

In response to:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mukto-mona/message/8685

 

Mr. Zakaria writes: 

>I would like specific answers from Rahul to my following questions:

 

>1. Does 3% decline in Hindus in independent Bangladesh (1974 to 1991), while absolute total has >increased by 1.5 million, stands as a proof of "Ethnic Cleansing in Bangladesh"? If the answer is NO, why

>then Rahul frequently comes up with the same set of arguments with the same data set? [Table 7.1]

 

Answer : The answer is not "NO" !

 

In Bangladesh, hindu population was 28% in 1941; 22% in 1951, 18.5% in 1961; 13.5% in 1974; 12.2% in 1981 and 10.5% in 1991. Hindu population decreased by 8% from 1961 to 1991 (Ref 1, 2). The vanishing minority population is understood from researching the census documents published the government. Fifty years ago in 1941, 28.3 per cent of the total population was minorities. The population of Hindu was 11.88 millions, while 588 thousand was other religious and ethnic minorities (Buddhist, Christian and animist).

Evaluation of government statistics of 50 years, from 1941 to 1991, indicates a large drop in the figure for minorities. A comparative picture shows that the number of the Muslim majority increased 219.5 per cent while the Hindu community increased by 4.5 per cent. (Ref 3).

 

If normal increase rate prevailed (key sentence), the number of the Hindu community  in this country would have been 32.5 million, but the Hindu population in Bangladesh stood at 12.5 million in 1991 Census (State of Human Rights, 1994). Therefore the missing population is 20 million. (Ref 3).

 

That "missing population of 20 million" is being ethnically cleansed in past 50 years, clear enough !

 

Bye the way, partition happened in 1947, Mr. Zakaria is trying to do linear interpolation  from 1941 to 1951 (between 28.3% and 22%) to show the % of hindu in BD (then east pakistan) can't be 30%. That would be incorrect as one can safely assume the % of hindus in Bangladesh (then east pakistan) was still 28.3% +/- 1% in 1947 and then it dropped steeply to 22% by 1951 post partition.

 

>2. Why should not 3% decline in Hindus in West Bengal also qualify as proof of  "Ethnic Cleansing in >West Bengal"? Why did Hindu proportion declined at the same rate as in Bangladesh? [4.1% declined >from 1961 to 1991, interpolating,  assuming a constant rate, for the period of 1974 to 1991 the number is >about 3%. Table 1].

 

Too simplistic. % of hindus in WB need not decline at all as "raw numbers" but as a % of the total population of the state. The reason is multiple, 1] muslim immigration in WB from all neighbouring states and country because of relative tolerant environment and 2] relatively higher muslim birth rate. Therefore both the hindu population and muslim population in WB has gone up, only  % wise muslim population has gone up at a “faster” rate compared to hindus in WB. Hindu population in WB in 1961 was 27.52 mil. , Muslim population was 6.98 mil, Hindu population in 1991 was 50.85 mil. (raw

increment of  23.33 mil), Muslim population was 16.06 mil. (raw increment of 9.08 mil).

 

>3. Does Mr. Gupta see any Ethnic Cleansing of Hindus in India? Why did Hindu proportion declined by >0.9% (1961-1991)? [Table 2]

 

See answer to Question 2.

 

>4. Why did Hindus declined by 5% [ East Bengal from 33.0% to 28.0%]? Does that qualify as a proof of >Ethnic Cleansing of Hindus in British ruled East Bengal too ?

 

Partly correct + those who could see the writing on the wall (whoever foresaw post partition inhuman brutality possibility) started migrating in advance.

 

>5. Why don’t we see him vocal against riots and inter-caste violence in his own country as frequently as >we see in the case of Bangladesh?

 

I am glad to see that Mr. Zakaria “toned down” and used "as frequently" :-)

 

Anybody on MM / drishtipat "should" remember my postings during “Gujarat ethnic cleansing" and I was the first person to enquire from and forward the NGO information (ASHA in Gujarat) who were helping the riot victims for the donation address, bank a/c information etc. You accused a “wrong” person as "hindu fanatic" though you later "retracted", indirect acceptance of "personal attack" and “retraction” later. You knew quite well that I am an atheist and  you yourself mentioned that later, but still couldn't resist the temptation to brand  me a "hindu fanatic" just for the heck of it, just for the sake of arguing !

 

While having concern for rest of the world I definitely have “slightly” more concern for Bangladesh as that’s where our 14 generations lived and had to leave in 1947. Believe it or not, Bangladesh going back to the secular roots of 1971 would be a happy moment for a lot of us.

 

>6. Why did he mixed the incidents of Pakistan period while discussing the case of so called Ethnic >Cleansing in Bangladesh?

 

If one goes over the history of the land called Bangladesh today and east pakistan from 1947-1961 one can't extricate "some" ppl of pre-partition Bengal, post partition east  pakistan and post 1971 Bangladesh who perpetrated the “crimes on humanity” during this long period. It's not as if "only" "west pakistanis" commited the crimes from 1947-1971 and left after 1971. Inhuman crimes on humanity were commited before 1947 (very few west pakistanis involved), from 1947-1971 (west pakistanis + east pakistani collaborators), 1971 - today (guess who ????). So one can not remove the incidents of  pakistan period as the "collaborators" and their "descendents" are as much active today as they have been since pre-post 1947.

 

>7. Why he avoided the main 3 most influential reasons for declined Hindus; Partition in 1947, Indo-Pak >War 1965, and Liberation War in 1971, which caused  sharp decline in Hindu proportion? [indicated by Table 7.1, 7.2].

 

These are definitely influential reasons, no doubt about that and they caused sudden drops in minority % from time to time, but the "low intensity violence" have been present all through past 50 years in post partition east pakistan and post freedom Bangladesh which have caused slow leakage in the hindu minority population. Based on Ref 3. the minority  population in BD should have been approx. 32.5 million in 1991 while it stands at  11 million or so. "That" missing number is the "cleansed" number, you can run various

equations, fit in different % on growth curves, but "can't" account for such a large raw number decline “any” other way in a “short” period of 50 years or so.

 

Table 7.1: Numerical Distribution and Percentage Variation of Bangladesh Population by Major Religious Communities (1901-1991).                                         

     

-------|------|--------------|--------------|--------------|--------------|---------------

|      |      |    Muslim    |    Hindu     |   Buddhist   |   Christian  |   Others     |

|      |------|------|-------|------|------- |------|-------|------|-------|------|-------|

|Census|Popul-|      |Percent |      |Percent|      |Percent|      |Percent|      |Percent|

|Year  |ation |Number|Varia- |Number|Varia- |Number|Varia- |Number|Varia- |Number|Varia- |

|      |(000) |(000) |tion   |(000)| tion  |(000) | tion  | (000)| tion  |(000) |tion   |

|------|------|------|-------|------|-------|------|-------|------|-------|------|-------|

| 1901 | 28927| 19113|  NA    | 9545 |    NA | ..   |  NA   | ..   |   NA  | 269  |    NA |

| 1911 | 31555| 21202| 10.9   | 9952 |    4.3| ..    |  NA   | ..   |   NA  | 401  |   49.1|

| 1921 | 33254| 22646|  6.8    |10166 |    2.2| ..    |  NA   | ..   |   NA  | 442  |   10.2|

| 1931 | 35604| 24731|  9.2    |10453 |    2.8| ..    |  NA   |  61  |   NA  | 359  |(-)18.8|

| 1941 | 41999| 29509| 19.3   |11747 |   12.4| ..    |  NA   |  53  |(-)13.1| 690  |   92.2|

| 1951 | 41933| 32227|  9.2    | 9239 |(-)21.3| 319 |  NA   | 107  |  101.9|  41  |(-)94.1|

| 1961 | 50840| 40890| 26.9   | 9380 |    1.5| 374  | 17.2  | 149  |   39.3|  47  |   14.6|

| 1974 | 71478| 61039| 49.3   | 9673 |    3.1| 439  | 17.4  | 216  |   45.0| 111  |  136.2|

| 1981 | 87120| 75487| 23.7   |10570 |    9.3| 538  | 22.6  | 275  |   27.3| 250  |  125.2|

| 1991 |106315| 93881| 24.4  |11179 |    5.8| 623  | 15.8  | 346  |   25.8| 286  |   14.4|

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Source: BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics) http://www.bbsgov.org/

 

Table 7.2: Percentage Distribution of Population by Religious  Communities (1901-1991).

        

-----------|------|-------|-----|--------|---------|-------

|CensusYear|Total |Muslim |Hindu|Buddhist|Christian|Others|

|----------|------|-------|-----|--------|---------|------|

|   1901   |100.0 | 66.1  |33.0 |   ..   |   ..    |  0.9 |

|   1911   |100.0 | 67.2  |31.5 |   ..   |   ..    |  1.3 |

|   1921   |100.0 | 68.1  |30.6 |   ..   |   ..    |  1.3 |

|   1931   |100.0 | 69.5  |29.4 |   ..   |   0.2   |  1.0 |

|   1941   |100.0 | 70.3  |28.0 |   ..   |   0.1   |  1.6 |

|   1951   |100.0 | 76.9  |22.0 |   0.7  |   0.3   |  0.1 |

|   1961   |100.0 | 80.4  |18.5 |   0.7  |   0.3   |  0.1 |

|   1974   |100.0 | 85.4  |13.5 |   0.6  |   0.3   |  0.2 |

|   1981   |100.0 | 86.7  |12.1 |   0.6  |   0.3   |  0.3 |

|   1991   |100.0 | 88.3  |10.5 |   0.6  |   0.3   |  0.3 |

-----------------------------------------------------------

 

Source: BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics) http://www.bbsgov.org/

 

Table 1: West Bengal (1991)

 

Hindus 50,866,624 74.7 % (1961 : 78.8%, decreased 4.1%)

Muslims 16,075,836 23.6 % (1961 : 20%, increased 3.6%)

Christians 383,477 0.6 % (1961 : 0.5%, increased 0.1%)

 

References : 

1] Bangladesh A Country Study, Ed. J.Heitzman R.L.Worden, 2nd Ed, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Publisher U.S. Army, 1989, pp.250,255  

2] Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 th Ed, Micropedia, Vol.1, p.789 Desh. 

3] State of Minorities in Bangladesh : From Secular to Islamic Hegemony : Saleem Samad 

http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex/ssamad_Bangaldesh.html   

Several other human rights related web sites.

Page: 1  2  3  4

[Mukto-mona] [Articles] [Recent Debate] [Special Event ] [Moderators] [Forum]