Monobina Gupta, Managing Editor of The Wire, has exclusively written a piece assessing the possibility of linguistic ‘Bangla nationalism’ in West Bengal, the key driver leading to the creation of Bangladesh, as a counter to what she calls ‘Hindi-Hindu nationalism’.
While reports of Hindus being persecuted in West Bengal have been aplenty, the idea of promoting Bengali nationalism sounds terribly divisive, particularly given the history of the sentiment.
Not only does Gupta explore the idea of Bengali identity (in opposition to an Indian nationalist identity) in her article, but she also pits Bengali Hindus against Biharis and Hindi speakers against Bengali speakers – in an attempt to divide Hindus along ethnic and linguistic lines.
While her admiration towards Mamata Banerjee’s ‘love’ for Bengal is clearly visible, Gupta is insistent on branding the BJP as a Hindi-belt party, going as far as calling them ‘outsiders’ in Bengal.
Adding to her ideas that reek of subtlely separatist terminology, she presents a self-defeating argument in the form of a falsely painted caricature of Bengal, claiming that Hindu organizations have been nurtured in the region since the 1930s and have been operating silently.
Perhaps, she can explain then, why the Hindu population of East Bengal (now Bangladesh) has gone down from 30% in 1930 to less than 9% in 2011 along with the Hindu population of so-called Hindu West Bengal going down from 78% in 1951 to 70% in 2011.