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‘Ideologies of 60s have a pivotal role in the making of Bangladesh’

  • Published at 07:54 pm July 22nd, 2020
Intimation of Revolution: Global Sixti es and the making of Bangladesh-ulab
This screenshot taken fron Fcaebook shows Prof Salimullah Khan speaks during a webiner titled 'Intimation of Revolution: Global Sixties and the making of Bangladesh' on Wednesday, July 22, 2020

During the 60s movement, socialism was a key concept ever since the jute mill workers joined hands with other front liners. Prof Salimullah Khan says

Speakers at a webinar said that some leading ideologies of the 60s, like socialism and secularism, had played a pivotal role in the making of Bangladesh in 1971. 

Dr Subho Basu, professor of history at McGill University, Canada presented his paper titled “Intimation of Revolution: Global Sixties and the making of Bangladesh” at the webinar on Wednesday.

He said: “The 1960s produced an international language of dissent within a transnational circulation ...Both the Bengalis [in India and then East Pakistan] were having a counter-hegemonic cultural movements.”

On the contrary, they were intertwined with those conversations of the struggle of class-based exploitation, state-sponsored religious nationalism, patriarchy, and individual pursuit, Prof Basu added.  

The webinar was jointly organized by the General Education Department (GED) and the Center for Advanced Theory (CAT) of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB).

Prof Salimullah Khan, director of CAT, ULAB, said in 1966, working class people joined hands with the student bodies in the major movements.

During the 60s movement, socialism was a key concept ever since the jute mill workers joined hands with the other front liners, he said. 

He also mentioned that secularism was one of the key ideologies during the 60s. 

“The Pakistani government tried to divide the Hindus and the Muslims and that is the reason the slogans during that movement had become slogans of secularism,” said Prof Salimullah.

The reason Bengali movements during the Pakistani regime were called a nationalist movement was only because Bengalis within the then Pakistan were called to get united, said Prof Salimullah, adding, not Bengalis across the globe or Bengalis in India were asked to join the movements. 

He also said the creation of Bangladesh was often seen as a by-product of the conflict between India and Pakistan.

He said although that is an important dimension but the creation of Bangladesh was the culmination of various movements during that era.

Dr Basu also said movements led by Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani in rural parts of then East Pakistan had a pivotal role in building up the national movements. 

He also shed light on how political Islam did not have enough room to intervene in the 60s. 

Islam was not an important feature between 1950 and 1971 except in the cultures of Muslim individuals, he said, adding political Islam was not an important issue during those decades.     

The webinar was moderated by Prof Shahnaj Husne Jahan, department of General Education Program, ULAB.