People’s Aspirations of Self-determination – Shaikhul Islam Imran
Sense of independence can thrive anywhere, the Catalonia of Spain to Scotland of the UK to remotest parts of Indian Kashmir to Mindanao of the Philippines to Pattani of Thailand to other parts of the world so long as there’s a mounting sense of deprivation discrimination. From Arakan to Seven Sisters, to Chechnya to Baluchistan there is ringing call of self-determination.
The people of Bangladesh celebrate the 16th December as their independence day. The day is considered among the biggest ceremony of the country. We gained independence from the Pakistani forces in that day.
People’s inherent right to self-determination leads to the path of independence, but it costs much. In the contemporary world, many independence movements are going on for decades but the establishment still continues oppression in those territories.
As we gained independence by shading our blood, we cannot forget those struggle in different parts of the world who are shading blood for their independence. The Constitution of Bangladesh inspires the struggle against the oppression and tyranny and requires the full support for that struggle. Today, we will briefly have a look into independence and the contemporary movements in the world.
Emergence of independent Bangladesh
The history of independent Bangladesh dates back to the late 20th century. The British colonial power came in this Sub-Continent in the beginning of 17th century. They took over the Indian Sub-Continent ousting the Muslims from the throne and they brought fundamental changes into the administration. British came here with their colonial intention based on the monetary profit from the region.
The British inaugurated the administration system based on tyranny over the people, whereas the Muslim ruled this region for about six hundred years with the golden rules based on equity justice.
After passing of about two hundred years of repression and tyranny, the British colonial rulers did came to realize that they can control the country no more. But the problem arose as to the balance of power between the Hindu and Muslims in the administration of India.
The Indian National Congress, established in 1885, represented the all Indians at the early stages. Discussion and debate on national aspirations went on for decades among the communities. It was the Nawabs of Bengal particularly Nawab Sir Salimullah came to sense that Muslim national aspiration may not be fulfilled by the predominantly Hindus Congress. So Muslim League came into being in 30th December in 1906 in Dhaka. The party started to represent the mainly Muslims as the Hindu nationalist leaders didn’t even recognize the Muslim in the administration of India so the political polarization took place. Then the question of partition came before the table.
Then region of Bengal (now Bangladesh) greatly contributed to the movement of creating Pakistan when the Muslims were barely deprived by the majority Hindu nationalists. As the movement came into light, the partition happened in 1947, creating the independent Pakistan amalgamating the West Pakistan and East Pakistan, now Bangladesh).
Pakistan was created as a symbol of resistance against the oppression, deprivation and communal feelings but soon after its creation, it went into severe political turmoil. It had to respond the Indian occupation in Kashmir just after its birth which costs a lot and went into the military rule resulting a barrier of flourishing the democracy and development. Even Pakistan wasn’t able to draw its constitution till 1956. The fact that the inspiration and object for which Pakistan was created were untouched by the people and it seems to continue the British rule as it was in the earlier.
A general election was held in the last of 1970 and the Awami Lague presided by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibor Rahman unilaterally won the election but western authority didn’t want to hand over the government to the hands of the Awami League. Before that Bangabandhu was arrested several times in the
The people of East Pakistan came into protest against their arbitrary decision. Bangabandhu delivered his historic speech on 7th March calling the people to stand against the oppression and any arbitrary action. Then the people came to realize that protest remains the only solution. A severe crackdown in the night of 25th March when the Pakistani forces conducted operation on the selected people of the country to stop the voice for rights.After that people started protest as much as they can. Soon after a war dispersed through the country.
The war continued a period of nine month and the independence came to being by shading blood of millions of people and misery.
The British colonialist didn’t only commit theft the vast wealth of this region but it rooted the seed of hatred among the people. They left here so many issues that have given birth of severe misery to the people. Kashmir is one of them.
Before the partition in 1947, various rulers were given to choose which country they want to belong to. Kashmir was independent state in that time but the British left the territory without proper settlement. With the passage of time, the conflict over Kashmir arose.
After the emergence of Pakistan and India in the August, 1947, Kashmir remained independence for two months led by its Hindu ruler Maharaja. Maharaja did this by signing a standstill with Pakistan and sending the same to India which favored discussions. But which changes in October 1947 when the Maharaja confiscated the armaments of Muslims who were formerly conscripted into the British Army. The weapons were distributed to local Hindu village defence forces and this provoked an uprising supported by Pashtun tribesman from Pakistan. The tribesman were acting without the approval from Pakistan.
Then, the Maharaja sought military assistance from India but the Indian Governor General contended that it would be dangerous to send troops to a neutral state unless Kashmir first offered to accede into India.
To stop the uprising, the Hindu ruler’s army along with the RSS (the Hindu extremist organization) organized a program against the Muslims in Jammu. A disputed number from 20 thousand to 100 thousand Muslims were killed.
The Hindu ruler signed a temporary agreement acceding Kashmir in India on October, 26. Pakistan disputed the Maharaja’s accession claiming that he had no right to sing an agreement with India when a standstill agreement was still in force with Pakistan.
On October, 27 Indian forces landed in Kashmir to fight the rebel forces and the tribesman. This led to the first India Pakistan war. During the war, the Indian PM Nehru promised to a referendum saying that “the fate of the state of Jammu and Kashmir ultimately to be decided by the people”. Then India referred the matter to the United Nations. A resolution was passed on August 13, 1948 asking both the nations to withdraw its troops. But the troops never withdrawn and the referendum never happened. On January, 1949 a ceasefire was agreed upon and Kashmir became a disputed territory.
Over the last 70 years, India and Pakistan went into three wars over Kashmir making the most militarized zone in the world. In Indian administered Kashmir alone, India maintained 600,000 troops who have committed human rights violation like rape, torture and enforced disappearance which continues till today. The number of people killed in Kashmir are estimated to be 50,000 to 100,000 by the Indian forces. Nearly half of the people living Indian and Pakistani administered Kashmir want to be independent. Why should not we give our support for their independence?
The British author Arthur Koestler summed as “one nation solemnly promised to another nation, the country of a third”. This is what he said about the British promise to create the state of Israel.
During the World War I, the British made three promises, of which one to create a Jewish home in Palestinian land, another to France that the Palestine will be an international zone and lastly, to the Arabs that to give the complete and final liberation in return for rebellion against the Ottoman empire but none of them was kept except to the creation of Israel.
The British government issued the Balfour declaration in 1917 to create a “home” for the Jewish people. The declaration used “home” not using the word state and this was a deep conspiracy. Only 8% of the Palestinian population were Jewish and the rest 92% were Muslims and Christians but the majority never consulted.
Israel declared independence in 1948 in a land where most of them belonged to the native Palestinians and most of the Israel’s inhabitants were migrants from different parts of the world. Only in 1948, 700,000 Palestinians were kicked out of their ancestral land and it continues till today.
The Palestinian have been fighting for their independence since the conspiracy of the creation of Israel. The Arab states went into four wars with Israel. Two Intifada or uprisings have taken place with a view to ending the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian independence.
Two main political organizations are working for the independence of Palestine and they are Fatah created by Yasir Arafat and the other is Hamas created by Ahamad Yeasin. Hamas has the control on Gaza strip and Fatah on the West Bank. The former based on Islam and the latter on secular ideals. They had bittersweet relations and in recent days they have come negotiated to work together on national aspiration, strengthening the independence movement for the Palestine.
The Rohingya, a people of South Asian origin, dwelled in an independent kingdom in Arakan now known as the Rakhine state in modern day Myanmar. From 9th to 14th century they came in contact with Islam through the Arab traders and a close ties were formed between Bengal and Arakan.
In 1784, the Burmese king Bodawpaya conquered Arakan and hundreds of thousands of people fled to then Bengal. Then in 19th century, the British conquered Arakan and made a part of British India and lots of people from various part of British India migrated to Arakan with diverse purposes.
In the 20th century (1942), Japan invaded Arakan pushing out the British. As the British retreated from Arakan, Burmese nationalists attacked Muslims who were governed by the British regime. In 1945, British re-captured Arakn with the help of nationalists led by Aung San. Then the British betrayed with the Muslims as they didn’t fulfill the promise making an autonomous Arakan.
In 1948, Myanmar got independence and the tension increased between the predominantly Buddhist government and the Muslims. Many of the Muslim community wanted to join Pakistan. The government retaliated the Muslims ostracizing them including removing the civil service.
In 1962, a socialist government took the power led by General Ne Win committed more oppression over the Muslims. In 1972, the government started operation against the Muslims saying that to remove the foreigners. Hundreds of thousands of people fled into Bangladesh and after the UN intervention, most of them went into their country.
In 1982, the government passed a law under which the Muslims were not recognized even though they have been leaving there for hundreds of year. Under that law, the Rohingya people cannot be allowed to travel, married without permission, own land and having more than two children.
In 1991, around 250,000 people fled into Bangladesh as they were forced labor, raped and religious persecution by the military. In 1992 to 1997, around 230,000 people returned into their country under a repatriation agreement. Lastly, in 2016, about 600,000 the Rohingya people have fled into Bangladesh due a severe military crackdown with the Buddhists Monks and nationalists.
The international communities, including the UN, have failed to take any step to restore the rights of Rohingyas. The state of Arakan, now Rakhine, is full of vast natural resources including oil and gas. Two super powers China and Russia have the full support of persecuting the Muslims as they are major investors in that region. India is also among the silent bloc as it has long history of persecuting Muslims in Kashmir and Assam. n