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

Bengali MuslimsSubscribe to Bengali Muslims

Miya Poetry

Miya poetry is a genre of poems written by Bengal-origin Muslims that highlight the angst of a community that has struggled hard to integrate and assimilate with the larger Axamiya society. In this paper I argue that an analysis of Miya poetry must be placed within the larger context of identity contestation of Bengal-origin Muslims. Accordingly, Miya poetry seeks to stabilise the contested identity of this community by reappropriating the stigmatised social identity of Miya.

From Balmikis to Bengalis

The reorganisation of informal household garbage collection work in Delhi is analysed, as migrants from eastern states like West Bengal have begun doing manual waste work, even as their Balmikis deal only with monthly cash payments. Drawing on fieldwork, the effect on the Balmiki jamadars is noted, and the Bengali Muslims, who newly contend with the practices of untouchability in their neighbourhoods of work, are focused on. These newer migrants come to justify the shame they experience by focusing on the equivalence of scrap with money, which has redemptive potential. This reveals a dynamic process through which caste differences are being remade—”casteification”—in relation to economic life.
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