Project 3d The Stranded Bihari Linguistic
Minority in Bangladesh: Generational Perspectives
Summary About half a million Urdu speaking people currently live
in sixty-six camps spread all over Bangladesh. In the wake of the
communal riots and the subsequent partition of the subcontinent
in 1947 this group of people moved across the border of what then
became the eastern wing of Pakistan. The creation of Bangladesh
in 1971 put these people in a stateless situation. The community
was branded as collaborators of the occupying Pakistani regime and
thus were socially ostracized. A section of them integrated with
the mainstream Bangladesh community; another remained in camps,
claiming Pakistani citizenship and initially looked after by the
International Committee for the Red Cross. The camp dwellers demanded
repatriation to Pakistan, a demand that was not honoured by Pakistan.
This research will look into the perception of repatriation and
reintegration of the camps-based Bihari people of Bangladesh. It
will take into consideration the views of various age groups: the
elderly (who experienced the 1947 partition), the middle aged (born
during Pakistani period) and the young (born after Bangladesh was
Key Research Questions
How do Bihari groups belonging to various
age and sex groups meet the challenges of camp life?
What are their sources of support and problems?
Is the younger generation more favourably
disposed to rehabilitation and reintegration in Bangladesh than
the older generation who were keen to repatriate to Pakistan?
Do such options have a gender dimension as well?