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Conceiving collectivity: The Urdu-speaking Bihari minority and the absence of home

Redclift, VM (2010) Conceiving collectivity: The Urdu-speaking Bihari minority and the absence of home In: Diasporas: Revisiting and Discovering. Critical Issues series 'Diasporas' . Inter-disciplinary Press. ISBN 978-1-84888-019-1

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Abstract

What makes a Diaspora Diasporic? Is it a shared sense of culture, of experience, of home? Ongoing research in Bangladesh into the ‘Urdu-speaking Bihari’ minority explores the role of space and settlement in the formation of Diasporic identity. Research finds a community that conceive of themselves as a unit of collective membership, but one with very little to unite around. A community divided along cultural, political, linguistic, generational and socio-economic lines. Of the estimated 1.3 million Urdu-speaking Muslims that migrated to Pakistan following the country’s creation in 1947 more than one million migrated to the region of East Bengal in present day Bangladesh.1 Only 300,000 are thought to remain, 160,000 of whom have been living in temporary ‘camps’ set up by the ICRC since the War of Liberation in 1971. The remaining 140,000 live outside the camps, integrated, to varying degrees, within majority Bengali society. As a linguistic community they do not speak a common language. As a cultural community they practice ‘culture’ in different ways. As a social community the divisions of class, money, opportunity and status are deeply felt. As a political community they are without a common political identity or equal access to political participation. As a Diaspora they do not share a sense of home. Through the experience of space, settlement and segregation this paper analyses the role of culture, politics, language, generation and class in dividing and uniting Diasporic groups, and questions the significance of a sense of ‘home’ in understandings of the term.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Redclift, VMUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 2010
Uncontrolled Keywords : Diaspora, Identity, Displacement, Home
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This book chapter originally appeared as Redclift VM (2010). Conceiving collectivity: The Urdu-speaking Bihari minority and the absence of home. In Diasporas: Revisiting and Discovering. Editors: DePretto L, Macri G, Wong C. Inter-disciplinary Press 2010. First published by the Inter-Disciplinary Press".
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 04 Mar 2014 13:15
Last Modified : 09 Jun 2014 13:52
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/804931

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