Majoritarian State and the Marginalised Minorities: The Hindus in Bangladesh

Smruti S. Pattanaik is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • July 2013

    The problem confronting the Hindu minority in Bangladesh is analysed in this article within the framework of a majoritarian state, which embodies the socio-cultural ethos of the majority community in its effort to establish itself as a nation state with a unique history. Such a state by its very nature marginalises the minorities, who are considered unequal in the construction of the ‘nation state’ narrative even though constitutionally they enjoy equality as citizens. While the article looks at the role of the Hindus in politics in former East Pakistan and later in Bangladesh, it also explores whether the approach adopted by the Hindu minority in recent years has provided physical security, economic and political opportunities, and made them important stakeholders. The article also analyses the future of minorities in the context of the larger national identity debate in Bangladesh.