ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Two Nations and a Dead Body

The discourse on nationalism has rarely examined the nation-making processes in post-colonial, post-nationalist spaces. Although nation-making in these new states followed the familiar method of "appropriation and application" as in the west, the construction and legitimisation of a separate identity needed an entirely different engagement. This article studies such an endeavour that took place in post-colonial south Asia in the context of the death of a poet. The corpse of the dead poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam, became the contested site by two sovereign nations. The conflict over appropriating Nazrul and his legacy also took place at a crucial political juncture for Bangladesh, as it made the unlikely transition from democracy towards totalitarianism, from secularism to fundamentalism.

Two Nations and a Dead Body

Mortuarial Rites and Post-Colonial Modes of Nation-Making in South Asia

The discourse on nationalism has rarely examined the nation-making processes in post-colonial, post-nationalist spaces. Although nation-making in these new states followed the familiar method of “appropriation and application” as in the west, the construction and legitimisation of a separate identity needed an entirely different engagement. This article studies such an endeavour that took place in post-colonial south Asia in the context of the death of a poet. The corpse of the dead poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam, became the contested site by two sovereign nations. The conflict over appropriating Nazrul and his legacy also took place at a crucial political juncture for Bangladesh, as it made the unlikely transition from democracy towards totalitarianism, from secularism to fundamentalism.


he contemporary debate on the theme of nationalism still revolves round the dominant discourse that developed from the European origin of nationhood and its appropriation and application in the colonies in a “globalisation” of the concept and to pose a post-colonial challenge to this thesis.1 Very rarely did the discourse examine the nation-making processes in post-colonial, post-nationalist spaces. The decolonisation process often communalised societies and created multiple identities and gave way to a number of new nation states, which emerged out of a single colonial state. Although nation-making in these new states followed the familiar “appropriation and application” method, the construction and legitimisation of a separate identity required an entirely different engagement. This new and nuanced practice is still an understudied area. This article attempts to study such a nation-making endeavour, which took place in post-colonial south Asia in the context of the death of a poet. It narrates how the corpse of a dead poet became the site of contest by two sovereign nations and how it was appropriated for the “invention of traditions”.

The decolonisation of south Asia witnessed the creation of three new nation states: India, Pakistan and subsequently Bangladesh. The basis of the creation of these states was their respective claim to a separate national identity although until 1947, they were part of a single national entity. The initial periods of the creation of new states therefore were devoted to “construct” and “consolidate” the identity on which their claim of secessionism was founded. In fact, it was one of the major tasks of their nation-building process. The task was arduous and entailed, firstly, to separate them from the earlier identity and construct a fresh identity on the basis of new cultural symbols, which were hitherto unused. Thus while an Indian identity focused on a composite, secular and multinational identity, in Pakistan, there was an emphasis on Islamic religion while Bangladesh focused on its language. In such construction, these discourses had to secede from their history which depicted a shared past. The act of secession was done in two ways: first, by demonstrating that even in the shared past, these collectivities always existed as a separate nation. Second, by depicting that their shared history was actually “oppressive” against the “other” and a parting of ways was the logical conclusion.

In Bangladesh the task began immediately after its emergence and was carried out through a diligent historical practice. The historiography depicted that even though the Bengali-speaking people of Bangladesh shared a common past with their counterparts in West Bengal in India, their separation on a national basis was historically determined. It argued that from as early as the sixth century AD, the people of the two areas, roughly corresponding to Bangladesh and West Bengal, maintained separate identities even when sharing common rulers and a common name. For nearly six centuries the two areas had different names – the present Bangladesh area was called ‘Vanga’ and the corresponding West Bengal region ‘Gauda’. Culturally, the two regions differed fundamentally even in ancient Bengal. The Gauda region came early under Aryan colonisation but the Aryan influence could hardly penetrate the Mongoloid, Buddhist inhabitants of the Vanga region. Politically, the inhabitants of Vanga were freedom-loving who resisted foreign invasion and demonstrated evidence of extreme individualism. The Gaudiyas on the other hand had easily succumbed to foreign invasion and provided least resistance to imperial powers; they lacked any markedly individualistic orientation.2 This historiography interestingly predates the cultural divide between the two parts of Bengal to antiquity. It preferred to address the Bengalees of East Bengal as Bangladeshi and the people of West Bengal as Bengalees even in the period when these were part of the same identity. It fixed the date of divergence of the two Bengals in 1204 AD and stated that during 500 years of Mughal rule their polarisation was complete. The East Bengalees (who were later to become Bangladeshis) were always fearful of being swamped by the “Aryans and half caste Aryan” which prompted them to mass conversion to Islam to “rediscover their identity”.3 This swift change of religion of the people of Vanga was to have helped them to perpetuate their difference with the Aryanised Bengalis.4 In accepting Islam however they retained their basic political character. The resistance of the ‘bara bhuyans’ (12 landlords) to the Mughal supremacy in medieval period was offered as one of the many examples of Bengali nationalism.5 A comparatively larger number of peasant resistance movements against the British during the 18th and 19th centuries were also seen as demonstrating the differentiated character of East Bengalees in contrast to the West Bengalees who “had for long accepted British rule without much demur”. The colonial partition of Bengal in 1905 by the British was retrospectively endorsed as recognition to the cultural divide that had historically existed between the two Bengals. This historiography also regretted the annulment of the partition (1911) at the insistence of the Hindu elite who agitated fearing loss of their political hegemony. This historiography commended the efforts of Muslim leaders like A K Fazlul Haque, H S Shurawardy and Khwaza Namimuudin of eastern Bengal, who through their political acumen protected the interests of the Muslim majority from oppressive hegemony of the Bengali caste Hindus.6 The eventual partition of Bengal in 1947 was shown as the result of the machinations of the Bengali caste Hindu elites who divided the province fearing domination from the Muslim majority.7 This division too was along the Vanga-Gauda line. The objective of self-rule of the Bengali nationality in East Bengal had however remained unfulfilled as they continued to be oppressed by the Punjabi Muslim elite of West Pakistan. The secessionist revolution and the eventual establishment of the republic of Bangladesh completed that historical process.8

The other task of the nation-building process was, to use the Hobsbawmian phrase, to ensure the “invention of tradition”.9 Hobsbawm has shown that in the history of nation and nationalism in modern times, claims to nationhood were often legitimised through a social engineering of inventing traditions. Such invention of traditions involved three major innovations. The first was the development of a secular equivalent of the church (as was done in France), i e, a system of primary education imbued with revolutionary spirit and the institutions through which there was institutionalisation of the “revolution”, which made the emergence of the “national” possible.

The second innovation was the invention of public ceremonies. It singled out particular dates to be observed as a “national day”. The observation was done both officially as well as privately. The days were marked by popular festivity and used as a symbol of nationhood. In France it was the Bastille Day (July 14) while in US, it was the Independence Day (July 4).

The third innovation was the production of national monuments. Once marked as national monuments, these would be used as symbols of the new nation around which public festivities were be organised. These monuments would also be the site of public visits and were images of national heritage. In doing so the state canonised civilian figures as icons, heroes or representatives of the national tradition.

These figures were chosen from the past as well as history according to it requirements and availability. The monuments symbolised national identity and were regarded as the visible link between the people and the state, as well as between the nation, past and the present. While some nation states in south Asia, like India were fortunate to have an abundant supply of such icons as well as monuments as most of the historical territory of the subcontinent remained within it, others like Bangladesh or Pakistan were not as fortunate. The extant historical monuments of the subcontinent from ancient to the Mughal period were mostly inherited by the India, which were marked as symbols of national heritage and historical legacy. In modern times Rajghat, Shantivan, i e, the cremation grounds of Gandhi and Nehru respectively, beside other monuments were also declared heritage sites and symbols of sacrifice for the nation. Similarly, other historical monuments and colonial structures, the ancestral place of Tagore at Jorasanko also emerged a site of national pride and cultural pilgrimage for the Bengalis of India. On the other hand, the archaeological site of Mohenjodaro or Larkana Sahib in Pakistan and the ancestral places of the Bengali notables in Bangladesh instead of boosting traditions actually went against it.

The ideologies of the new nations therefore had to either borrow icons from their common historical past or appropriate secular or common traditions or manufacture memorials to create symbols of new nationhood. The appropriation of poets and litterateurs in this politics of inventions of traditions in south Asia has been interesting and an area little explored. While India promptly declared ‘Vande Mataram’ composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay as its national song and anointed Tagore as its national poet whose ‘Jana-gana-mana’ was adopted as the national anthem, it did not at the same time fail to appropriate Iqbal’s ‘Sare jahan se achha Hindustan hamara’ (India is the best) to build up its secular credentials as well. This pre-1940 composition of Iqbal whom Pakistan regarded as its poet-originator, was an embarrassment for Pakistan. Bangladesh’s national identity was based on its language – ‘Bangla’, and hence it was just right that Tagore’s composition ‘Amar Sonar Bangla, Ami Tomai Bhalobhashi’ (my golden Bengal, I love you) was adopted as its national anthem. Tagore was recognised as its literary pride and cultural symbol. The rebel poet of Bengal, Kazi Nazrul Islam, was also accorded an equal place of pride. But when the secular polity of the new nation was sought to be transformed to conform to a sectarian ideology, the state tried to excavate a literary figure not only was associated with Bangla language but also with an Islamic identity. The requirement fitted the legendary living poet

– Kazi Nazrul Islam. But alas, Nazrul not only belonged to West Bengal – which was part of another nation – India, but the poet himself had been afflicted by a deadly disease – mental incapacitation. The disease paralysed him completely. It was a great tragedy that struck one of the country’s most firebrand poets. The new nation remembered the poet immediately and wanted to honour him in worlds only country whose language was the same in which the poet wrote. In seeking to honour the poet, the new nation also engaged in the invention of traditions. It was involved in the creation of a national icon and manufacture of a national monument through the appropriation of the poet – not so much his literary output, but the identity he was born with as well as his physical body when he was no longer alive.

Birth of a Nation

The creation of Pakistan was based on the assertion of a twonation theory, which stated that Muslims of India constituted a separate nation who claimed their right to self-determination. But religion failed as a binding force and language proved a stronger basis of identity in Pakistan. Within a few years of its birth the Bengalees of its eastern wing had turned restive. Even though the Bengalees constituted 54 per cent of the total population, the Urdu-speaking minority concentrated in West Pakistan had dominated them. Despite having played a decisive role in the creation of Pakistan, the Bengalees were marginalised in the polity.10 Power remained in the hands of Punjabis; they grabbed all higher civil and military bureaucratic positions. Such discrimination was compounded by cultural suppression, for example, the insistence that Urdu should be the state language even though less than 1 per cent of the Bengalees were familiar with it. Economic deprivation for East Pakistan and the West Pakistan ruling elite’s persistent refusal to accommodate the demand of majority rule and greater autonomy exacerbated tensions between the two wings of the country. It was felt that seeds of internal colonialism were inherent in the very structure of the polity. The huge foreign exchange earnings from East Pakistan’s prosperous jute industry was spent mostly to industrialise West Pakistan.

Consumer goods were imported from Karachi and sent to the East Pakistan where they were sold at an unwarranted higher price.11 The process was designed to serve the interests of the west wing industrialists who secured official favours in the form of industrial permits, import licences, etc, and at the same time convert East Pakistan into a market and raw material supplier.12 The Bengalees of East Pakistan were aware of this discrimination and there was growing resentment against such designs.13

The 42-point charter of demands submitted by the Awami League (1949) included demands for regional autonomy and the introduction of Bengali as one of the national languages of Pakistan. But the report of the draft constitution released in February 1950 failed to satisfy the aspirations of the people of East Pakistan. The persistent ignorance of the right of their mother tongue coupled with attempts to Islamise the Bengalee language prompted the launch of a language movement. The movement climaxed on February 21, 1952 when armed forces opened fire on unarmed students and civilians inside the Dhaka University campus resulting in casualties.14 This was another blow to the already strained relationship between the two wings of the state.

The ruling elite in West Pakistan persistently overlooked the demand for a representative democracy in East Pakistan as it would pave for Bengalee rule who were a majority in combined Pakistan. The civil and defence officials were in alliance with the landed business interests who resisted the idea of a Bengali dominance in the power structure.15 To prevent it, constitutionmaking was delayed and national elections were perpetually postponed. The undermining of representative political institutions and hindering the evolution of democratic polity facilitated the rise of the military-democratic nexus.16 The assassination of the first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951 who was followed by a succession of military-bureaucratic officers to capture power culminated in a coup d’état in October 1958 by which Ayub Khan assumed presidential office in Pakistan. Ayub Khan experimented with all kinds of political gimmicks – “controlled politics”, “populism”, “outright authoritarianism” to remain in power but eventually was compelled to handover power to general Yahya Khan in March 1969. The decade of his rule accentuated the unrest in East Pakistan. The demand for autonomy, restoration of democratic order and the counter-repression by the military regime only enhanced the distance between the two Pakistans. In a desperate move to retrieve lost ground the central government accused Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, leader of the Awami League of conspiring with India. Convicted in what was known as the Agartala Conspiracy Case, Mujib’s trial and imprisonment further enraged Bengali sentiments. The Awami League mobilised the hurt psyche of the Bengalees and submitted a six-point charter that included the demand provincial autonomy and the representation of Bengali in adequate measures in the service sector. Pressurised by the growing opposition, the first general election in 22 years was held in 1970, which saw the Awami League win by a thumping majority, obtaining 160 out of 162 seats in East Pakistan and 290 out of 300 in West Pakistan assembly. But the army regime was in no mood to hand over power to a Bengali civilian government and it evaded the formation of an elected government on one pretext or the other. The Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman launched a civil disobedience movement from March 8, 1971 to press for their constitutional rights.17 The students and even the government servants joined the movement. On March 9, the judges refused to swear lieutenant general Tikka Khan as the governor of East Pakistan province. It provided the army an opportunity to resort to military reinforcement to tackle the unrest. A brutal militancy campaign was launched wherein men, women and children were indiscriminately slaughtered. The genocide provoked East Pakistan to declare a war of liberation from the West Pakistani regime. On March 28, the Liberation Army chief Ziauddin Khan announced the formation of a new nation – Bangladesh. The Indian army sided with the Liberation Army against Pakistan. The defeat of Pakistan was followed by declaration of a sovereign, independent state of Bangladesh, which was provided official recognition by other nations. A new nation was thus born on March 25, 1971.

Death of a Poet

Kazi Nazrul Islam, known as the “rebel-poet” was not only one of the great poets but was also one of most popular of all time in Bengal. In terms of mass popularity Nazrul’s poetry surpassed that of Tagore during the latter’s own lifetime. His poem ‘Vidrohee’ (the rebel) had created a sensation in contemporary Bengali poetry in terms of its use of idioms and revolutionary spirit. It is still one of the most recited verses in Bengal. Unlike most of his illustrious contemporaries, Nazrul actually came from the grassroots – an obscure village in Bengal.18 His poetry never lost touch with that reality. He wrote about social tyranny, economic deprivation and injustices that the lower echelons of the Bengali society went through. He was truly a “peoples’ poet”.19

Nazrul followed up the sensational start which ‘Vidrohee’ provided with equal rebelliousness and enriched Bengali literature by his easy utilisation of Arabic-Persian words within Sanskritic Bengali.20 Being a Muslim he was familiar with the usage of such words but what was astonishing was its easy acceptability by his readers. Besides verses, Nazrul was also known for his musical compositions. He composed and set to tune innumerable songs which came to be known as ‘Nazrul Geeti’. In his music too Nazrul made a unique contribution by introducing the ‘Gazal’ and ‘Sufi’ form in the Bengali music. In fact, Nazrul’s songs are so-called because of the characteristic traits they had carried.21

Born on May 24, 1899 in Churulia village of Burdwan district in the present West Bengal, Nazrul lost his parents early. He left home to sing in a village theatre group (‘Letor Dal’) and for a time also served in the British army.22 Through his poetry he not only fought against social injustices but also against the colonial government. The government repeatedly banned his verses and at times he himself was imprisoned. His “Bisher Banshi” (the poison flute) was banned from circulation as the government found, “The publication is of most objectionable nature, the writer revealing in revolutionary sentiment and inciting young men to rebellion and law breaking”.23 In August 1930 his ‘Proloyshikha’ (flame of destruction) was also proscribed and in November the poet was jailed on charges of sedition. In fact his Sanchita was forfeited seven years after its publication (1928) for containing the poems entitled ‘Vidrohee’, ‘Kandari Hoosiyar’ and ‘Dhibarder Gan’ which were considered seditious. The cultural reason was of course these poems had become an inspiration and were even used as marching songs by the revolutionary terrorists of Bengal. As late as 1941, a secret file of the government of Bengal noted that the book Yugavani, “breathes bitter racial hatred directed mainly against the British, preaches revolt against the existing administration in the country and abuses in very strong language ‘The Slave-Minded’ Indians who uphold the administration. The three articles on ‘Memorial to Dyer’, ‘Who Was Responsible for the Massacre’ and ‘Shooting the Blackmen’ are especially objectionable. I don’t think it would be advisable to remove the ban on this book in the present crisis.

On the whole it is a dangerous book, forceful and vindictive”.24

The eventful life of this rebellious poet experienced untold tragedies in the latter phase. Insufficient income, growing expenses, illness and paralysis of his beloved wife, demise of his youngest son and the absence of helping hands – either physical or financial affected his creativity. Never used to a disciplined life, the poet showed signs of physical affliction. Initially he lost his mental balance, then his voice and eventually he succumbed to permanent amnesia. Absence of medical treatment at the initial stage rendered his disease incurable. His condition was later diagnosed as, “an advanced organic dementia with the loss of speech, agitation and uncontrolled personal habits”.25 What was more damaging was the conclusion of the medical report that “no form of medical or surgical treatment can restore Mr Islam’s intellectual power. This we regret to say is permanently lost. There is no likelihood that his creative power will return. Moreover there is no indication at present for further treatment with penicillin, drug medication or shock therapy”.26

The poet whose verses inspired freedom fighters, attracted the colonial state’s fury and fought injustice was virtually unattended and untreated from 1942 to 1953. For a time he was taken to be mentally disturbed and was confined for a period to a mental asylum too. Due to the lack of initial treatment and correct medication Nazrul’s illness had reached such an advanced stage that no treatment was possible. Needless to say Nazrul remained in that condition till his death. It was only the Left Front government in state of West Bengal, which tried to attend to him, but by then it was too late.27

After the partition of Bengal, Nazrul, though inactive had been the cultural bridge between the two Bengal. He was the cultural icon of the Bengali Muslims in Eastern Bengal and his poetry turned out to be the inspiration for Bangladesh’s liberation war against West Pakistan. Expectedly he was projected as the literary icon of the new nation. The newfound cultural freedom that marked the emergence of Bangladesh saw a renewed interest in Nazrul. In January 1972 Mujibur Rahman returned from Pakistan jail to lead the Awami League government in Bangladesh. The first flush of independence propelled Mujib to commanding heights of popularity. Utilising the sentiment, Mujib declared Bangladesh to be a secular state.28 The other principles on which the state’s constitution was based were nationalism, democracy and socialism.29 The setting was just perfect to honour the living symbol of Bengali nationalism in Bangladesh – Kazi Nazrul Islam. There was already a popular demand that the poet be invited to the new nation and accorded national honour. Accordingly Sheikh Mujib requested his Indian counterpart Indira Gandhi to be allowed to bring the poet to Bangladesh where his birthday could be officially celebrated.30 Since the poet himself was in no condition to respond, invitations were sent to his two sons and a state request was made. There was an assurance with the request that the poet would be returned to his own country before his next birthday.31 As the permission was granted the poet was taken to Bangladesh on May 24, 1972 where he was the state guest. Although the poet was unable to understand the adulation, thousands of Bangladeshis received him at the airport. The University of Dhaka honoured him with the degree of D Litt while the government granted him its highest honour with a stipend of one thousand taka per month. The president of the country Abu Sayeed Choudhury himself visited him at the Dhanmandi bungalow and described the poet’s visit of Bangladesh as a “historical event” which would be always cherished by Bangladeshi people.32 Even after the birthday celebrations were over, the poet was kept in a picturesque bungalow at Dhanmandi with attendants and a medical board to regularly check him. Since the poet seemed to like the new ambience, his family members did not insist on his immediate return. Surprisingly neither the Indian state asked for him nor was the Bangladeshi government inclined to return him to his native country despite its initial assurances. In his Dhanmandi house gradually there was a diminishing interest in Nazrul’s health and when military takeover happened soon after the assassination of Mujib and his family, there was a move to remove the poet from the bungalow.33 On July 22, 1975 the poet was removed to a civil hospital and kept in small cabin where he remained for a year. The poet seemed to miss the openness of his Dhanmandi house and resented the confinement in the small cabin34 where he breathed his last on August 29, 1976. It was ironical that this clinical death reminded people that the poet had been actually living for past three decades.35

Politics over a Corpse

As the news of poet’s death circulated, people began to pour in large numbers to pay their last respects. The Bangladeshi flag was flown at half-mast. The day was declared a national holiday followed by two days of national mourning. The Bangladeshi deputy high commissioner in India at Calcutta informed the two sons of the poet who lived in Calcutta, adding that his government had made arrangements for their travel to Dhaka.36 The sons requested the high commission to arrange the return of their father’s body to India by an aircraft so that it could be buried beside their mother’s grave which was their mother’s last wish.37 It was well known that the poet was deeply attached to his wife Promilla Nazrul – a Hindu, whom the poet married despite the threats from fanatics. The poet himself was too ill for the last three decades to express his last desire. As per their mother’s wish a space had been specified besides her grave in the poets native village Churulia in West Bengal.38 The high commissioner promised to forward the request to his government in Dhaka.39 The members of the West Bengal Nazrul Accademy – an institution set up by the West Bengal government also wanted to have the poet’s body buried in the specified site. A tomb in the form of a memorial monument was its agenda. It sent official representation to the Bangladeshi government through the deputy high commissioner’s office for the handing over of the body to India as the poet was an Indian citizen. The request was understood to have been transmitted to Dhaka through radiogram.40 The Nazrul Accademy located in the poet’s birthplace Churulia also made similar demands.41 The then chief minister of West Bengal Siddharta Sankar Ray as well as the cultural affairs minister Subrata Mukherjee was persuaded by these organisations to take the necessary steps.42 The chief minister who was away in Asansol, agreed to take up the matter with the prime minister.43 The cultural affairs minister however immediately issued a press statement through which he impressed upon the Dhaka regime to hand over the body to India.44 The broadcast of his statement brought hope not only to those institutions but also the Bengalis of this side of the border that they would be able to pay their last respects to the poet.

Meanwhile the two sons with their respective wives reached the airport where seats were arranged for them in a Bangladesh aircraft to be taken to Dhaka. But mysteriously, the flight, which was to depart immediately, was delayed inordinately. The bereaved family members were first made to wait in the lounge a long time and even after boarding the flight it did not take off immediately.45 When eventually they reached Dhaka, to their utter disbelief, they found the funeral rites had been already conducted and the poet had been buried in the Dhaka University premises, adjacent to a mosque.46 The shocked sons broke down inconsolably over the graveyard as they were not only denied the right to perform the last rites of their late father but were also not allowed to see their father one last time.

Kazi Nazrul Islam was a bona fide citizen of India by birth. The citizenship right requires that his last rites be performed in his native land according to the desire of his own or his dear ones. It is also an international convention that the body of a person, dying outside, be sent to his own native country. For such transportation various airlines make special provisions and often they do not charge any freight. In this case Nazrul was not an ordinary citizen. He was an internationally acclaimed poet. He was a freedom fighter whose works were not only outlawed by the colonial government, he was a political prisoner charged with sedition. In a country where persons having spent even a few days in British jails, were regularly honoured the silence over Nazrul was intriguing. Nazrul also came from a community whose other illustrious son, Subhash Chandra Bose’s reported death has not been accepted by most people even after 60 years of his putative death in Taiwan in 1945. The people of West Bengal have pressurised the central government to institute one enquiry commission after another to look into Bose’s alleged death. Moreover, Nazrul was taken to Bangladesh on the state’s request at the highest level. There was an assurance too that the ailing poet would be returned to his native land before his next birth anniversary. Initially his family members did visit him in Bangladesh regularly but when it was found that the poet had apparently begun to like the stay, they too were complacent. Things began to alter with the change in government in 1975 when there was an army coup following which there was a military takeover of power. First, the poet was removed from the Dhanmandi house, almost forcibly, and shifted to a hospital on the pretext that his health had deteriorated. But if his condition was so bad how did he spend more than a year in the hospital subsequently? Suspicions arose from the fact that even though he was quite well, the poet was never brought back to the bungalow in Dhanmandi. Reportedly, an army officer liked the bungalow where the poet had been and he used the pretext of Nazrul’s “deteriorating condition” to remove the poet to a small cabin in the hospital where the speechless poet reportedly indicated his unhappiness through gestures.

Although in West Bengal there was a popular demand for the poet to be brought back to India for burial, in Dhaka there was no discussion at all on the subject. Without even considering that the poet was in fact citizen of another sovereign country, the president of Bangladesh in consultation with other dignitaries of the state, decided that the poet be buried in the Dhaka University premises. Nazrul scholar Rafique Haque suggested that the poet be buried near the adjacent mosque as per his own reported wish, which had allegedly been expressed in one of his early poems. It appears that the burial of Nazrul in Bangladesh had already been decided at the highest level. The military regime did not want to forego the opportunity of having a national memorial in Bangladesh. But they had perhaps foreseen the diplomatic difficulties in the completion of the burial. Although the documents relating to the issue are not accessible, it is apparent that the request from the poet’s sons as well as other public institutions from West Bengal had reached the Dhaka government. A state objection could have been issued by the government of India. Thus Dhaka it carefully maintained a studied silence over the issue. They had also perhaps anticipated the objections that would be raised by his sons when they arrived.47 Therefore tacit instructions issued were followed by the governmental machinery and those in charge of arranging the travel of the late poet’s family members. This explains the delay in the departure and arrival of the flight bringing the family members, even though there was an emergency.48 The completion of the funeral rites before the arrival of the family members was deliberate as was the delay in the flight. This was arranged to forestall any objections that could be raised.49 The intransigence of the military junta over a poet’s dead body became meaningful when he was officially declared the “national poet” of Bangladesh immediately after the burial and a huge memorial was built over his grave. It was meant to be national monument. While in this part of the subcontinent, the empty space besides Promilla Nazrul had to be content with a fistful of earth brought by the poet’s sons from his graveyard in Dhaka. The building of a national monument in one country was at the cost of another, which was deprived of its legitimate rights to a national memorial.

Invention of Tradition and Politics of Monument Building

The politics centring around the burial of the dead poet died down gradually though there was hushed jubilation in having acquired a memorial in Bangladesh. Acquisition of a national monument was no doubt the purpose of the entire act of intransigence but a monument itself has no meaning unless it serves a political purpose. In the present case, the Nazrul Memorial in Dhaka was an invented tradition designed to manufacture “nationalism” in Bangladesh. This nationalism was different from the one that inspired the liberation struggle in 1971. In 1976, nationalism meant consent to the perpetuation of army rule, consent to transition from a secular republican and socialistic state to an Islamic state run by a illegitimate, undemocratic military junta. A secular and cosmopolitan poet’s body was appropriated by a regime who had no legitimacy to be in power.

The Bengalis of Bangladesh have always been struggling with the dichotomy between two conflicting identities, that based on religion and language, from the colonial period itself. The systematic marginalisation and deprivation under Pakistan regime had helped resolve the conflict to some extent. The incompatibility of a Bengali identity and a Pakistani nationality paved the emergence of the former as the stronger of the two. But nationhood requires cultural legitimisation, and more so for a people who had seceded twice in a period of 30 years. In other words, as Sudipta Kaviraj formulated, a “fuzzy” community had to be transformed into an “enumerable community.”50 To do so it had to “give itself a history which is the most fundamental act of self identification of a community.”51 By citing the case of India, Kaviraj had shown that such an attempt is generally marked by an “impropriety” as it tends to provide an ambiguity to the particular nation in an absurd manner. Indian national history, most certainly, could not begin from the Harappan period onwards because an internally defined India, India of a national community, did not exist before 19th century.52 Similarly a Bangladeshi nationality could not be predated to March 25, 1971.

Such attempts had already been experimented in the new state of Pakistan too after 1947, when it confronted a similar problem of reconstruction of its history in order to legitimise its creation. It confronted two major problems in accomplishing this task: the treatment of the colonial period and legitimisation of the Partition.53 It resolved the crisis by treating the colonial period as a past that was solely “Indian” since Pakistan did not exist at that time. Therefore the colonial period was left entirely to the Indian historians to deal with. It then went on to justify the Partition by considering it as a logical inevitability and a historically determined eventuality as Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations who were in perpetual conflict with each other throughout the medieval period.54 However, the more serious problem for the Pakistani historians remained to be tackled. It was the ancient period of the past, which was common to all three nations, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Since Islam came to the subcontinent only in the 13th century, the two nations theory thereby could not be applied there. Therefore there were subtle attempts to prove that Pakistan was a part of the civilisation of central Asia in its north-west rather than India. A reputed Pakistani historian and archaeologist A K Dani sought to prove that Pakistan had closer links with central Asia than India.55 Another radical suggestion was to do away with the evidence of that past altogether by permanently destroying Mohenjodaro and other such sites denoting the ancient past.56

Faced with similar problems, Bangladesh tried to show that the political polarisation between the Indian National Congress and Muslim League meant an inevitable parting of ways.57 The support of the Bengali Muslims to the Muslim homeland demand of the League was attributed as the reaction to Hindu hegemony in Bengal and the failure of the Congress to accommodate Bengali Muslim aspirations. The Sarat Bose-Fazlul Haque scheme of an independent Bengal outside India was seen to foreshadow the formation of Bangladesh.58

As far as construction of national icons was concerned, Pakistan experienced problems with the appropriation of Iqbal. Iqbal was one of the greatest poet-philosophers of the subcontinent. On account of his Allahabad address as president of the Muslim League (December 29, 1930) he was considered the originator of the idea of Pakistan, though he did not live to see the Lahore resolution (1940) which actually presented the demand of a Muslim homeland in India or the emergence of Pakistan (1947) as a sovereign nation state. But after the state was created, the poet was granted official recognition as the national poet and his death anniversary (April 21) was observed as a public ceremony in Pakistan. It was declared a national holiday, special editions were brought out by newspapers and magazines as Iqbal editions, public meeting, and symposia continue to be organised attended by heads of state, provincial governors and ministers.59 Academic research on Iqbal has been a virtual industry and the northern wall side of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, his burial site, is the place around which festivities are organised. Yet it was conveniently ignored that Iqbal was a poet for humanity having a burning passion for Indian nationalism and its heterogeneous culture.60 His early poems expressed his religious eclecticism, immense reverence for Hindu icons and Sikh religious leaders. To Iqbal ‘Ram’ was ‘Imam-e-Hind’ (the spiritual leader of India) and Guru Nanak “the perfect man”. He had pride in his brahmin ancestry, who had summarised the message of the Bhagwat Gita and had rendered the Gayatri Mantra. He also frequently extolled the glories of his homeland, i e, Hindustan. Iqbal was truly a symbol of India’s composite culture and secular values.61 Such an Iqbal obviously did not fit the requirement of defining Islamic Pakistan nationhood. Hence for such construction of Pakistani nationhood Iqbal was fractured and partially appropriated – only the part which saw his association with the ideas and movements of the Muslim League was utilised. K K Aziz had shown that even the League had differences with Iqbal as far as Muslim destiny in India was concerned and his Allahabad address could not really be seen as the origination of the concept of Pakistan.62

The state of Bangladesh had a parallel crisis. Although nationhood was claimed on the basis of language, it preferred Kazi Nazrul Islam as its national symbol though Tagore was equally popular in the country. But unlike Iqbal in Pakistan, Nazrul could not be identified with either Pakistan or any separatist movement.

Nazrul had very strong opinions against communalism. In his prose, poetry and public addresses, he regularly came down heavily on all forms of inhuman practices – casteism, communalism, religious bigotry and intolerance. He attacked the priestly hegemony on social life frequently. He married a Hindu, and his sons were given Hindu names; he composed ‘vaishnavite’ songs and ‘shyama sangeet’ (songs in praise of Krishna and Kali). The Muslim clergy were furious with him and the Muslim fanatics attacked him frequently. Even when he was ill, certain Muslim fanatics refused to help him decrying him as ‘kafir’ (infidel). Unlike Iqbal, Nazrul lived to see the advent of independence and the Partition of India. But unfortunately he was not in a state to understand the event of Partition and the following developments that took place in the subcontinent.

The growing interest in Nazrul was coeval with the rising consciousness of a Bengali identity in East Pakistan, separate and distinct from West Pakistan. But Rabindranath Tagore, the only Nobel laureate in literature in the subcontinent, too was equally cultivated in this period that experienced a secularisation of the Bengal Muslim mind.63 In fact, Tagore’s birth celebration was a massive cultural event in East Pakistan, which was a cause of concern to the ruling classes in West Pakistan. It worked to dilute the growing secularisation, as it could bring the two Bengals close to each other threatening the integration of Pakistan. A careful cultural policy was evolved by the state to perpetuate the divide between the two Bengals by the Ayub Khan regime by (i) Islamisation of Bengali language; (ii) promoting the use of Arabic alphabets instead of Devnagari; (iii) institute language committee to reform the Bengali language; and

(iv) banning Tagore and the promotion of Nazrul Islam as poet of the Muslim nation.64 Declaring him anti-Islam and a Hindu poet, the state prohibited the celebration of Tagore’s birth anniversary. It also officially established a Nazrul Academy. The objective of the academy was to present Nazrul as a “Muslim nationalist” and thereby to “promote the culture and integrity of Pakistan on the basis of Islamic traditions and heritage”.65

But the Bengali intelligentsia saw through the conspiracy. It opposed the move and upheld secular and democratic values through various conferences. To begin with, the premier political party Awami Muslim League dropped the word “Muslim” from its name. They criticised the other state sponsored organisers of the Nazrul birth anniversary function in 1970 which invited Yahya Khan as chief guest. In this function Yahya Khan described Tagore as a Hindu poet and Nazrul as one who worked for the regeneration of subcontinental Muslims. This group was severely criticised as “collaborators of the West Pakistan colonialists”.66 The state sponsored Nazrul Academy however sustained its efforts to project Nazrul as the father of the “Muslim renaissance” and “Pakistani nationalism”, whose true objective was to establish a true Islamic society in East Pakistan.67

The Bengali intelligentsia led by Marxists like Badruddin Umar reacted sharply to such maligning attempts. In a counter-move his group upheld Nazrul as the “people’s poet” who was equally acceptable to both Hindus and Muslims.68 They asserted that the poet’s revolt was against all kinds of oppression and bigotry. They regretted that the poet who had fought against all kinds of obscurantism was being used as a political weapon to foster what he opposed all along. They also deplored the banning of Tagore’s songs on Radio Pakistan. The opposition grew into a huge cultural movement and graduated to a political resistance. Although Tagore was officially banned following the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965, private cultural bodies continued to organise public recitals of the poet’s compositions. Teachers in colleges and universities also raised their voices against the government’s action. Except for the pro-government National Students Front and the Islamic Students Groups, all the anti-establishment student forces organised protests against the interference of the authorities with the cultural life of East Pakistan. The Bengali masses considered such an attack as attempts at Islamisation and Pakistanisation and a weapon in West Pakistan’s colonial domination over East Pakistan.69 As the protest against the government’s policy grew stronger, the student forces in the country became more aggressive in their cultural and linguistic demands. Students as well as non-governmental organisations enthusiastically observed Tagore’s birthday in Dhaka and other towns. Another significant day, which was earmarked for celebration was the Bengali new year (‘Poila Boishakh’). The government disapproved such activities, and governor Abdul Menem Khan publicly denigrated them as un-Islamic practices. To commemorate the language movement of February 21, 1952, the day began to be celebrated more vigorously from 1962 as Martyrs Day. The activists also demanded that the Bengali language be used in all commercial displays and signboards. The government proved relatively weak against these outbursts of linguistic patriotism. It was this resistance movement that developed into Bangladesh’s liberation struggle where a secular Nazrul and Tagore were the twin inspirations. The declaration of Bangladesh as a secular, socialist and democratic country was a perpetuation of this ideology. It was this “free” environment that displayed tremendous enthusiasm in inviting and honouring the poet who was the inspiration to the birth of the new nation.

But by 1975, the scene had changed. The promised democratic and socialist agenda were slow to be implemented by the beleaguered Mujibur Rahman government. On the one hand, there were counter-revolutionary forces active throughout the countryside and on the other an inexperienced ruling elite failed to deliver on the promises of the revolutionary movement. This was compounded by an unprecedented famine in the country in 1974. There was substantial increase in international oil prices that the new nation failed to cope with. The population increased by 3 per cent whereas the gross domestic product rose only by 2 per cent. The national economy was plagued by low productivity and growing inflation.70 The inexperienced Mujib regime failed in governance. Surviving on international aid, it could not tackle the economic crisis nor cope with political emergencies. A last ditch attempt was made by Mujib to retain his power by declaring Bangladesh a one party state. The discernible movement towards authoritarianism activated the counterrevolutionary forces. Taking the cue from the parent nation – Pakistan, a nexus of former and serving junior army officers seized the opportunity. In August 1975, Mujib and his entire family were assassinated in a coup d’état. Khondkar Mustaq Ahmed was made the civilian president while the country was placed under martial law. Eventually the president was overthrown and the army formally took over.

The entire burial episode over Nazrul’s dead body took place in this transitional period of Bangladeshi politics. This was a transition from democracy to totalitarianism, from secularism to fundamentalism. To capture the crisis-ridden, fractured society and to effect the above-mentioned change in an effective manner, the military regime required a legitimacy of its rule. Such a legitimacy could ensure their total control over the Bangladeshi polity and at the same time curb the forces that could threaten its existence. Therefore the new regime relied on the instrument of nationalism71 to earn their legitimacy. This was not a secular nationalism. The closeness and support of the Saudi funded and Islamic political groups to the new regime signalled the growing Islamisation of Bangladesh. It was harped on that the independence, sovereignty and unity of the new nation was under siege. Therefore, these had to be protected and the only sentiment that could ensure its protection was nationalism. Hence the official policy was to whip up nationalism in every sphere of Bangladesh. Nationalism required invention of traditions, creation of a national movement, and careful choice of national icons around whom public ceremonies were to be organised. It was this endeavour that appropriated Nazrul – a civilian figure who was then living in Bangladesh. His dead body was appropriated to create a national monument disregarding international law and wishes of bereaved family members. The formal declaration of Nazrul as the national poet of Bangladesh immediately after the burial was to create a symbol of Bangladeshi nationalism72 as opposed to Bengali nationalism. The disinterest of the Indian government in bringing back the poet’s body to his birth place for the last rites was also due to the shrinking of democratic space in Indian politics. Indira Gandhi had declared internal emergency in India in 1975 and the country was moving towards fascist authoritarianism. Democratic expressions were curbed and people’s wishes were disregarded. It brushed aside its international obligations and responsibilities towards its constituency. A dead poet’s last rites were sacrificed at the altar of competing authoritarianisms. A national memorial was thus constructed in a nascent nation, to use Kaviraj’s word, through an “impropriety”.73




1 The dominant debate was between Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London, Verso, 1991 and Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse, Zed Books, London, 1993 and The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Post-Colonial Histories, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1993. Other relevant works are E Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1983; Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1990; I Hofmeyr, ‘Building a Nation from Words: Afrikaans Language, Literature and Ethnic Identity 1902-24’ in S Marks and S Trapido (eds), The Politics of Race, Class and Nationalism in the Twentieth Century South Africa, London, Longman, pp 95-123; Ashish Nandy, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism, Oxford, New Delhi, 1983. Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, Harvard University Press, Harvard, 1992; John Hutchinson, Modern Nationalism, Fontana, Harper Collins, 1994: Nigel Harris, National Liberation, Penguin, 1990; Paul James, Nation Formation: Towards a Theory of Abstract Community, Sage, 1996; the other works by Sudipta Kaviraj and Eric Hobsbawm have been listed elsewhere in the paper.

2 Talukdar Maniruzzaman, ‘The Future of Bangladesh’ in A Jeyaratnam Wilson and Dennis Dalton (eds), The States of South Asia: Problem of National Integration – Essays in Honour of W H Morris Jones, University of Hawai Press, Honolulu, 1982, pp 265-294; M Anisuzzaman, Bangladesh: Public Administration and Society, see chapter on Bangladesh Nationalism (II), Bangaldesh Books International, Dhaka, 1979, pp 18-19 and 31-32. Kamruddin Ahmad, A Socio-Political History of Bengal and the Birth of Bangladesh, Inside Library Pub, Dhaka, 1975, pp xv-xvi.

3 Kamruddin Ahmed, op cit, pp xxi-xxiv. 4 M A Rahim, Social and Cultural History of Bengal, Vol II, 1597-1757,

Pakistan Publishing House, Karachi, 1967, pp 40-41. 5 Taludar Maniruzzaman, op cit. 6 Ibid citing J H Broomfield, ‘Elite Conflict in a Plural Society: Twentieth

Century Bengal’, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1968, pp 25-27. 7 Ibid. 8 Talukdar Maniruzzaman, The Bangladesh Revolution and Its Aftermath,

Bangladesh Books International, Dhaka, 1980.

9 Eric Hobsbawm, ‘Inventing Traditions’ and ‘Mass Producing Traditions: Europe’ in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds), The Invention of Tradition, CUP, Cambridge, 1983 (reprint 1995), pp 13-14, 264-265 and 271-278. The subsequent reference to the concept of Invention of Tradition is also based on this source.

10 For a discussion on the political economy of the emergence of Bangladesh see Feroze Ahmed, ‘The Structural Matrix of the Struggle in Bangladesh’ in Kathleen Gough and H P Sharma (eds), Imperialism and Revolution in South Asia, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1973, pp 419-448. Azizur Rehman Mallik and Sayeed Anwar Hussain, ‘The Political Foundation of Bengali Nationalism’ in Sirajul Islam (ed), History of Bangladesh, 1704-1971, Vol I (in Bengali), Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1993, pp 539-560. M Rashiduzzaman, ‘East-West Conflicts in Pakistan: Bengali Regionalism 1947-70’ in A Jeyaratnam Wilson and Dennis Dalton (eds), The States of South Asia: Problem of National Integration – Essays in Honour of W H Morris Jones, University of Hawai Press, Honolulu, 1982, pp 265-294.

11 Azizur Rehman Mallik and Sayeed Anwar Hussain, ‘The Political Foundation of Bengali Nationalism’ in Sirajul Islam (ed), History of Bangladesh, 1704-1971, Vol I (in Bengali), Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1993, pp 539-560.

12 M Rashiduzzaman, ‘East-West Conflicts in Pakistan: Bengali Regionalism 1947-70’ in A Jeyaratnam Wilson and Dennis Dalton (eds), The States of South Asia: Problem of National Integration – Essays in Honour of W H Morris Jones, University of Hawai Press, Honolulu, 1982, pp 111-130.

13 Ibid.

14 The day was observed a Martyrs Day in East Pakistan and Bangladesh. Subsequently UNO recognised the day to be observed as International Mother Tongue Day throughout the world. For the details of the movement in East Pakistan, see Badruddin Umar, ‘Language Movement’ (in Bengali), in Sirajul Islam (ed), op cit.

15 Ayesha Jalal, Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective, CUP, Cambridge, 1996, p 51.

16 Ibid, p 56.

17 The resistance movement in East Bangladesh has been detailed in M Mamoon and Jayanta Kumar Ray, Civil Society in Bangladesh: Resilience and Retreat, Firma KLM, Calcutta, 1996, pp 38-81.

18 Sanat Kumar Chattopadhyay, Forword to Arun Kumar Basu, Nazrul Jeevani (in Bengali), West Bengal Bangla Accademy, Calcutta, 2000.

19 Ibid.

20 Said Ali Ashraf, ‘Arbo-Persian Words in Nazrul’s Poetry’ in Bishnu Basu and Abdur Rauf (eds), Nazrul: A Centenary Retrospective (in Bengali), Punascha, Calcutta, 1999, pp 143-149.

21 Karunasmoy Goswami, ‘Nazrul Islam as a Composer of Bengali Songs’ in ibid, pp 166-178.

22 A number of biographies of Kazi Nazrul Islam are available both in West Bengal and Bangladesh. Of these Muzzaffar Ahmad, Kazi Nazrul Islam: Smriti Katha (a personal memoir), National Book Agency, Calcutta, 1965, Rafique Islam, Kazi Nazrul Islam: Jeevan O Sahitya, KP Bagchi, Calcutta, 1991, Arun Kumar Basu, Nazrul Jeevani, West Bengal Bangla Accademy, Calcutta, 2000,Nazrul Jeevaniby West Bengal Nazrul Accademy, Calcutta, 2002 and Kalptaru Sengupta, Janagoner Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam, West Bengal State Book Board, Calcutta, 1999, are most reliable.

23 Sisir Kar, Nishiddha Nazrul, Ananda Publishers, Calcutta, 1992, p 14.

24 Home (Political) 58-31/40 cited in Arun Kumar Basu, op cit, p 437.

25 Medical Report reproduced in Arun Kumar Basu, op cit, pp 522-523.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid.

27 Details in ibid.

28 Ayesha Jalal, op cit, pp 85-88.

29 Ibid.

30 Arun Kumar Basu, op cit, p 528.

31 Ibid.

32 Rafiqul Islam, Kazi Nazrul Islam: Jeevan O Srishti, in Bengali, KP Bagchi, Calcutta, 1991, p 216.

33 The papers regarding this move are obviously not accessible. It was alleged that the poet was removed as a high ranking military official had desired the bungalow. After the military takeover the ailing poet was removed from the residence on the pretext of his sickness, see Arun Kumar Basu, op cit, p 531.

34 Ibid. Although the Bangladeshi biographers of the poet are silent on the issue, that the poet was resented the removal and the subsequent confinement

in a hospital cabin was admitted to. See Rafiqul Islam as in note 32.

35 Arun Kumar Basu’s comment in his op cit, p 532.

36 Ibid, p 531. Also Kalptaru Sengupta, op cit, p 200.

37 Ibid.

38 Kalptaru Sengupta, ibid, p 202.

39 Ibid.

40 Ibid.

41 Ibid.

42 Ibid.

43 Ibid.

44 Ibid.

45 Ibid, p 203.

46 Ibid, the Bangladeshi biography of Nazrul who was present at the site of the event, detailed the episode of burial but carefully avoided the issue of the return of the poet’s dead body or why the participants did not wait for the arrival of the poet’s children for the performance of the last rites. Nor does he refute the allegation of intransigence of the Bangladesh government over the dead body made by the Indian biographers of the poet. See Rafiqul Islam, op cit, Arun Kumar Basu, op cit, Kalptaru Sengupta, ibid.

47 Kalptaru Sengupta, ibid. Arun Kumar Basu, op cit.

48 Ibid.

49 Ibid.

50 Sudipta Kaviraj, ‘The Imaginary Institution of India’ in Partha Chatterjee and Gyanendra Pandey (eds), Subaltern Studies: Essays in History and Society in South Asia, Vol VII, OUP, New Delhi, 1992, pp 16-17.

51 Ibid.

52 Ibid.

53 Mubarak Ali, ‘History, Ideology and Curriculum’ in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 37, Nos 44-45, November 2-8 and 9-15, 2002, pp 4530-4531. Also K K Aziz, The Murder of History: A Critique of History Text Books in Pakistan, Renaissance Pub, Delhi, 1998.

54 K K Aziz, The Making of Pakistan: A Study in Nationalism, London, 1967; I H Qureshi, The Muslim Community of Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent, The Hague, 1962; Aziz Ahmed, Islamic Culture in Indian Environment, OUP, Oxford, 1964.

55 Mubarak Ali, op cit.

56 Ibid.

57 Sirajul Islam (ed), as in note 10.

58 Haroun-or-Rashid, The Foreshadowing of Bangladesh, ASB, Dhaka, 1987; Talukdar Maniruzzaman, ‘The Future of Bangladesh’ in A Jeyaratnam Wilson and Dennis Dalton (eds), The States of South Asia: Problem of National Integration – Essays in Honour of W H Morris Jones, University of Hawai Press, Honolulu, 1982, pp 265-294; M Anisuzzaman, Bangladesh: Public Administration and Society, see Chapter on Bangladesh Nationalism (II), Bangaldesh Books International, Dhaka, 1979, pp 1819 and 31-32; Kamruddin Ahmad, A Socio-Political History of Bengal and the Birth of Bangladesh, Inside Library Publishers, Dhaka, 1975, pp xv-xvi.

59 K K Aziz, A History of the Idea of Pakistan, Vol I, Vanguard Publishers, Lahore, 1987, p 184.

60 For a discussion on the issue, Kushwant Singh, Muhammad Iqbal: Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa, OUP, Paperback, New Delhi, 1982 (Introduction) and V N Datta, ‘Iqbal, Jinnah and Partition: An Intimate Relationship’ in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 37, No 50, December 14-20, 2000, pp 5037-5047.

61 V N Datta, ibid.

62 K K Aziz, as in note 59.

63 Hassan Uzzaman, Secularism and Bangladesh: In Search of History of Consensus (in Bengali), Pallav, Dhaka, 1992, p 101.

64 Ibid, pp 34 and 22-66.

65 Ibid, pp 127-138.

66 Ibid.

67 Ibid.

68 Ibid.

69 Ibid.

70 Ayesha Jalal, op cit.

71 Ibid.

72 Rafiqul Islam, as in note 23.

73 Sudipta Kaviraj, op cit.

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