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Bengali Hindu diaspora Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengali_Hindu_diaspora

The Bengali Hindu diaspora is the worldwide population of the Bengali Hindus of Indian and Bangladeshi origin.

History[edit]

In the modern era, the migration of the Bengali Hindus began during the British colonial era. The Bengali Hindus migrants to Assam were mostly government officials, doctors, lawyers, and teachers by profession. They also settled in parts of present Bihar and Jharkhand, which were at the time included in the Presidency of Bengal. After the Partition of India and subsequent incidents of anti-Hindu violence in East Pakistan and Bangladesh (for example, during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide), waves of millions of Bengali Hindu refugees migrated to Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Over the years, professionals migrated from Kolkata to cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune, as well as overseas.

Indian diaspora[edit]

Assam[edit]

The Barak Valley comprising the present districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi is contiguous to Sylhet (Bengal plains), where the Bengali Hindus, according to historian J.B. Bhattacharjee, had settled well before the colonial period, influencing the culture of Dimasa Kacaharis.[1] Bhattacharjee describes that the Dimasa kings spoke Bengali and the inscriptions and coins written were in Bengali script.[1] Migrations to Cachar increased after the British annexation of the region.[1] The Bengali Hindus settled in Brahmaputra Valley largely during the colonial period as professionals. After the Partition and especially after the genocide of 1950, Bengali Hindus of Sylhet immigrated to the Barak Valley. Later on during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, thousands of Bengali Hindus took refuge in Assam. The Bengali Hindu organizations estimate that there are approximately 6.5 million Bengali Hindus in the state.[2] However different sources have varied estimation of Bengali Hindu population in Assam.

Number of Bengali Hindus residing in Assam (2010-2019)
Source/claimed by Population
Claimed by Assam marriage board.[3] 3,000,000
Confusion, hope run high among Assam's Hindu Bengalis.[4] 5,000,000
Claimed KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi.[5] 10,000,000
Claimed AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya.[5] 7,000,000-7,200,000
BJP government estimation.[6] 6,000,000
2016 Assam election assembly results.[7] 6,000,000
Claimed by NDTV[8] 5,620,000
Claimed by Assam Bengali Hindu organization (ABHO).[2][9] 6,500,000-7,200,000
Claimed by The All Assam Bengali Hindu Association (AABHA)[10] 7,802,000
Claimed by Times of India[11] 7,500,000
Claimed by Daily O News[12] 7,000,000
Claimed by The Wire[13] 5,900,000-7,500,000
Claimed by The News Web [8] 7,500,000
Claimed by The Hindu [14] 7,801,250

Tripura[edit]

The non-tribal population of Tripura, the mostly Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims, constitute more than two-thirds of the state's population. The resident and the migrant Bengali population benefitted from the culture and language of the royal house of Tripura thanks to embracement of Hinduism and adoption of Bengali as the state language by the Maharajahs of Tripura much before Indian independence.[15] After the Partition of India and Tripura's accession to the Dominion of India, thousands of Bengali Hindus from eastern Bengal took refuge in Tripura. The influx of the Bengali Hindus increased during the Bangladesh Liberation War, when of Bengali Hindus were massacred in Bangladesh by the Pakistani occupation army. At present there are around 2.2 million Bengali Hindus in Tripura, making them the largest ethnic group in the state, constituting over 60% of the total population.[16]

Worldwide diaspora[edit]

Europe[edit]

The Bengali Hindus started migrating into the United Kingdom from the colonial times. However, the majority of the immigrants settled in the UK in the latter half of the 20th century mostly with white collar jobs. The exact population of the Bengali Hindus are not maintained in the census records. Project Joshua estimates the Bengali Hindu population of Bangladeshi origin to be around 33,900.[17] It is estimated that in there are more than 30,000 Bengali Hindus in the Greater London area.[18]

In Italy, the Bengali Hindus celebrate Durga Puja in Bologna, Brescia, Rome and Milan. There are around 150 Bengali Hindu families in Paris.[19] The Bengali Hindus began to migrate to Germany in the 1950s and the 1960s.[20]

Notable Bengali Hindus in Europe include British Communist leader Rajani Palme Dutt, German politician Anita Bose Pfaff, German football manager Robin Dutt, and the richest hotelier of Sweden Bicky Chakraborty.

North America[edit]

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia the Bengali Hindus began to arrive in Canada as professionals in the 1960s.[21] However, other scholars have put the date in the 1970s.[22] In 1991, there were an estimated 2,000 Bengali Hindus living in Canada, mainly from India.[23] However, after the IT boom in the late 1990s, more and more professionals began to settle in Canada. According to the 2006 census, there are 12,130 Bengali Hindus in Canada.[24] The Bengali Hindus are mostly concentrated in the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Halifax.

The earliest Bengali Hindus in the United States were the revolutionaries fighting for Indian independence. They arrived in the first few decades of the twentieth century. Examples include Noni Gopal Bose,[25][26] the father of Bose Corp's Amar Bose. In 1913, the Bengali Hindu Akhoy Kumar Mozumdar became the second Indian-born person to get U.S. citizenship. Later the citizenship was stripped from him for not being White/Caucasian.[27] In the 1960s, professionals began to settle in the United States. The present Bengali Hindu population is around 47,600.[28] According to the 2006 census, there were around 33,400 Bengali Hindus of Indian origin in the United States.[29]

Asia[edit]

The Bengali Hindu diaspora in Asia is distributed in two major regions, South East Asia and the Middle East. India had developed religious and economic ties with South East Asia since the ancient times. This cultural cross exchange took place through the port of Tamralipta in Bengal. In the modern age, the emigration of Bengali Hindus to South East Asia has taken place since the colonial times. Famous Bengali Hindus from Myanmar include H. N. Goshal and Amar Nath, both of whom were foremost and important leaders of the Communist Party of Burma.

Bengali Hindus settled in present-day Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia since the beginning of the 20th century. A small community of Bengali Hindus numbering around 1,600 live in Thailand. The annual Durga Puja festival is celebrated in Bangkok.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Baruah, Professor of Political Studies Sanjib; Baruah, Sanjib (29 June 1999). India Against Itself: Assam and the Politics of Nationality. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-8122-3491-6.
  2. ^ a b "12 groups move President - Hindu Bengalis in Assam allege harassment". The Telegraph. 27 November 2010. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Assam board suggests cash incentive to Bengali Hindus marrying Assamese Hindus". Hindustan Times. 18 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Confusion, hope run high among Assam's Hindu Bengalis". Deccan Herald. 17 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Citizenship Amendment Act: BJP chasing ghosts in Assam; Census data shows number of Hindu immigrants may have been exaggerated". Firstpost. 18 December 2019.
  6. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: BJP Govt plans to evict 70 lakh Muslims, 60 lakh Bengali Hindus through its Land Policy (2019) in Assam". 5 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Assam Assembly Elections 2016: Assamese are minority, Muslims are largest electoral group in this poll battle!". 8 April 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Bengali speaking voters may prove crucial in the second phase of Assam poll - the News Web".
  9. ^ "Hindu Bengali youth body flays 'government neglect'". The Sentinel. Guwahati. 2 January 2011. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011.
  10. ^ "Hindu Bengalis want member in Clause 6 panel of Assam Accord".
  11. ^ "Over 1 crore Bengali refugees living outside Bengal | Kolkata News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  12. ^ "Citizenship Amendment Bill — What is it the Assamese fear the most".
  13. ^ "Assam on the Boil Again, this Time over Hindu Migrants from Bangladesh".
  14. ^ "Former officers' plea to respect diversity of Barak Valley". The Hindu. 28 August 2019.
  15. ^ Dikshit, K. R.; Dikshit, Jutta K. (21 October 2013). North-East India: Land, People and Economy. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 352. ISBN 978-94-007-7055-3.
  16. ^ "BJP eyes 2.2 m Bengali Hindus in Tripura quest". The Pioneer. 14 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Bengali, Bangla-Bhasa of United Kingdom". Joshua Project. U.S. Center for World Mission. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  18. ^ "What Are London Kalibari's Aims for the Future?". London Kalibari. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  19. ^ Nayar, Ranvir (23 October 2001). "Durga Puja festivities kicked off in Paris". Rediff.com. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  20. ^ Goel, Urmila (October 2007). "Indian Religions in Germany" (PDF). Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  21. ^ Goa, David J.; Coward, Harold G. "Hinduism". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  22. ^ Coward, Harold G.; Hinnells, John R.; Williams, Raymond Brady, eds. (1 February 2012). The South Asian Religious Diaspora in Britain, Canada, and the United States. SUNY series in religion. SUNY Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780791493021. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  23. ^ Buchignani, Norman. "South Asians". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  24. ^ "Ethnic Origin (247), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census – 20% Sample Data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  25. ^ "Rich & Famous in the US | Padma Rao Sundarji". Outlook India. 22 May 1996. Archived from the original on 17 August 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  26. ^ Lemley, Brad (1 October 2004). "Discover Dialogue: Amar G. Bose". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  27. ^ Indian American#Timeline
  28. ^ "Bengali of United States". Joshua Project. U.S. Center for World Mission. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  29. ^ Terrazas, Aaron (July 2008). "Indian Immigrants in the United States". Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved 9 June 2013.