Drik intern Nabil Rahman gains top spot in “Clip of the Week” at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism New York, with his beautifully produced video “The Refugee Perspective”
by Nabil Rahman
The Muslim minority in Bihar, India migrated to East and West Pakistan after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. During the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, a large number of the Urdu-speaking Biharis took sides with West Pakistan. After the Pakistani Army evacuated the new-born Bangladesh, the Biharis were left behind. Bangalis saw them as traitors, and refused to accept them as Bangladeshis. They were placed in dozens of refugee camps across the country. Meanwhile, Pakistan claimed that there weren’t much similarities culturally or historically with the Biharis other than a common language. They claimed to see no reason to accept such a large number of people. Even though, they are referred to as “stranded Pakistanis,” most of them have never been to Pakistan. The newer generations of Biharis in Bangladesh are slowly starting to lean more towards a Bangladeshi identity. But Urdu is spoken by most at the camp, and some of the newer generations are also trained to read it. There is no common consensus amongst the refugees. Some still want to go to Pakistan. But a growing number of people just want to become officially recognized as Bangladeshis and enjoy the same privileges as everyone else.