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Title: Nationalism in Bangladesh
Author: Khan, Ataur R.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1979
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The break-up of Pakistan and the transformation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh in 1971 was seen by many, particularly those in India, as destroying the nationalist basis of the 1947 partition of the south Asian subcontinent. The emergence of Bangladesh as a secularist state was widely thought to have invalidated the Two-Nation theory which claimed that the Muslims were a different nation from the Hindus, the basis on which the original state of Pakistan had been created. The present study is an attempt to examine how far this assumption is correct. It sets out to identify the roots of the people of Bangladesh and the factors which in the first place led them to join in the formation of the Pakistan state. It then examines the nature of conflict between the two parts of Pakistan - East and West - particular emphasis being placed on the issues in dispute in the civil war of 1971 which led to the creation of Bangladesh. "The response of the people of Bangladesh and their leaders to this new situation is also considered. The study has been organised in six chapters with an introduction and a conclusion, summing up the major findings. It has been found that the nationalist basis of the 1947 partition has not been challenged by the break-up of Pakistan and the emergence of Bangladesh. The origin of Bangladesh is to be found, not in the civil war of 1971, but in the historic Hindu-Muslim conflict in the region called Bengal. As a consequence of this conflict the Bengali Muslims formulated a nationalist doctrine based on their religious affiliation and religion- based culture. Although local in origin, this religious-based nationalism was shared with the Muslims in other parts of the subcontinent, and at the time of partition led to the creation of the original state of Pakistan. Pakistan, geographically divided into East and West, was by no means the ideal state as far as the Bengali Muslims were concerned. However, the alternative, a separate Muslim state in the East was ruled omit because of Congress opposition. The drafting of a Constitution for the new state presented difficulties from the outset but these were eventually resolved in 1956 These arrangements ware however unacceptable to the military "bureaucracy which had acquired power in 1951 and was determined to retain it. The civil war of 1971 was the culmination, not of a nationalist, "but a constitutional struggle between an entrenched military elite and the advocates of popular government. Its outcome depended on many variables none of which were intrinsically inevitable. The transformation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh did not involve the abandonment by its Muslim population of their Muslim nationalism. The adoption of a secularist ideology for Bangladesh was temporary, a tactical device which was dropped at the first opportunity. The Two-Nation theory has not been invalidated by the break-up of the original Pakistan. The existence of Bangladesh, on the contrary, has reinforced it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available