Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Sociopolitical Status of Minority Communities of Bangladesh: A Policy Analysis

Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Sociopolitical Status of Minority Communities of Bangladesh: A Policy Analysis

Article excerpt

Rights are the necessary conditions for all-round development of individuals. They are an integral part of human life. Almost all states in their fundamental law have given the guarantee of certain rights and they are legally binding on all institutions, authorities, persons, policy makers, adjudicating departments, etc. under its jurisdiction. Bangladesh is no exception to this. After it was liberated from the yoke of West Pakistan, it adopted its constitution in 1972 and incorporated certain rights to its citizens. Along with this, the constitution also made certain special provisions to protect the culture and rights of the religious minorities. Theoretically this legal document has great value, but in practice, whether it is government, official or private institution, people from minority communities remain subject to the dominance of majority. Constitutional amendments, particularly 8th constitutional amendment in 1988, which declared Bangladesh an Islamic state, made minority people more vulnerable to the religious freedom. In addition to this, marginalization of minorities in politics, government jobs, and decision-making process in each and every department led to the feeling of alienation. In order to have healthy and inclusive society, a state must be secular. No citizen of the state should feel that any religion or culture has given undue favor. The appropriate social, political and legal structure can help the state to function properly. There is reservation for women in Jatiya Sangsad of Bangladesh, but there is no single woman representative from minority communities. Does it mean that there is no worthy woman from religious minorities to be a member of Jatiya Sangsad? The political parties and politicians in Bangladesh have consolidated their power on the basis of religion. And religious minorities, because of they are less in number, cannot win in election (Appendix). Religion remains a dominant factor in the domestic politics of Bangladesh. When we talk about identity, especially a lost identity, it is not an easy task to get it back. Looking back to the history, it is a well-known fact that Bangladesh was part of secular India. The creed of the Muslim rulers to establish their religious identity reflects in the policies of some of the military rulers of independent Bangladesh as well as democratic government. Practices of such rulers, such as destroying temples and viharas of Buddhists, are sufficient examples to prove it. This is nothing but conquering a religion by all wrong means. This was the first step where the identity of non-muslims was trashed and thus this system took an ugly turn by killing and murdering the nonmuslims. No person in the universe bears to live without self-respect; even an imprisoned accused needs respect. And here the question is of mass where people are free but for name sake, they are in continuous threat of losing their life if they revolt to earn their snatched identity. Therefore, the mainstream political parties in Bangladesh should give proper representation to the religious communities, including women from minority communities so that they could address their problems confidently. It is the necessity of time that the government must think over mass migration of the minority people and must practice a culture of tolerance and respect for others. In the field of education, the Bangladesh Government has many boards of secondary and higher secondary education, e.g., Madarsa education board, Sanskrit and Pali education board, etc. At present, the Sanskrit and Pali board receives only one lakh rupees annually. The board was running its business from a house which was on rent for BDT1,500.1 Table 1 shows how the pessimistic approach of the government affected the education of the Buddhist tribal people which further affected their economic status. The table presents the highest class passed by household members above the age of five years among the Buddhist tribals.

The objective of any state is its national interest. …

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