Hinduism in Bangladesh

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Hinduism is the second largest religious affiliation in Bangladesh, covering about 7% of the population. Most Hindus in Bangladesh are Bengali Hindus. The Hindu population in Bangladesh is 12 million as per 2021.


  • Thus, we encounter a scenario of ‘missing Hindu population’ in the successive census periods. The extent of this missing population was about 1.22 million during the period of 1974-1981, and about 1.73 million during the last intercensual period 1981-91. As many as 475 Hindus are ‘disappearing’ every day from the soil of Bangladesh on an average since 1974. How this phenomenon would be interpreted in terms of demography? The relevant parameter is obviously ‘migration’ which provides a clue to the missing link.
    • Mohiuddin Ahmed, a renowned journalist of Bangladesh. “The Missing Population”, Holiday, Weekly, Dhaka, 7 January 1994. Quoted from (1997). Time for stock taking, whither Sangh Parivar? Edited by Goel, S. R.
  • The attack on Bangladeshi Hindus is a crime against humanity. In and of itself, it is severe enough to spur our moral outrage and cause us to take action to stop it. But to make matters worse, it has been spreading across that open border into West Bengal, India. One would think these Hindu victims of Islamist terror would find a safe haven in the largest Hindu nation on earth, but they have not.
    • Benkin, Richard L. (2012). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus. New Delhi: Akshaya Prakashan. p.142.
  • Hindus suffered such attempted extermination in East Bengal in 1971, when the Pakistani Army killed 1 to 3 million people, with Hindus as their most wanted target. This fact is strictly ignored in most writing about Hindu-Muslim relations, in spite (or rather because) of its serious implication that even the lowest estimate of the Hindu death toll in 1971 makes Hindus by far the most numerous victims of Hindu-Muslim violence in the post-colonial period. It is significant that no serious count or religion-wise breakdown of the death toll has been attempted: the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ruling classes all agree that this would feed Hindu grievances against Muslims.... Even apart from the 1971 genocide, "ordinary" pogroms in East Pakistan in 1950 alone killed more Hindus than the total number of riot victims in India since 1948.
    • Koenraad Elst, "Was There an Islamic "Genocide" of Hindus?" [1], and in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism".
  • The large-scale arson of December 1992 occurring in Islamic Bangladesh in the wake of the demolition of the Babri structure at Ayodhya was characterised by gangrapes of thousands of Hindu girls, assaults on Hindu temples, and widespread loot and violence. It had all the marks of a full-fledged jihad.
    • Majumadāra, S. (2001). Jihād: The Islamic doctrine of permanent war. ch. 10
  • What may cut short all denials of this continued pestering of Hindus in Muslim states, are the resulting migration figures: in 1948, Hindus formed 23% of the population of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), in 1971 the figure was down to 15%, and today it stands at about 8%. No journalist or human rights body goes in to ask the minority Hindus for their opinion about the treatment they get from the Muslim authorities and populations...
    • Elst, Koenraad Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam. 1992
  • In early 1964, there were bloody riots once more in East Pakistan between the majority and the minorities. The past six, seven years, the Muslims had been pestering the Adibasis .... a stream of refugees had ensued ... a mad anti-Hindu propaganda egged on the Muslims in East Pakistan, also against the Christians. It was the first time that Christians were systematically chase out from there.
    • Robert Houthaeve, in his biography of Father Herman Rasschaert: Recht, al Barstte de Wereld, p. 276, quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 373-4
  • There are members of the minority communities fleeing occasional waves of persecution or the more general sense of being second-class citizens under the Islamic dispensation. Since 1974, Hindus have been crossing the border to India at the rate of 475 per day, or nearly 3 million in 1974-91. (...) According to BJP spokeswoman Sushma Swaraj, there is a remarkable contrast with the policy vis-à-vis genuine refugees: "Religious persecution, abduction, rape and forcible occupation of their lands by the Muslims left the Chakmas with no choice but to leave Bangladesh", yet "while the Congress Government had welcomed Bangladeshi infiltrators for vote-bank politics, Chakmas were being pushed out even though they were victims of religious persecutions."
    • Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p 564-5
  • Using the Babari Masjid-Ramajanmabhumi controversy as a pretext, Muslim mobs went on a rampage all over Bangladesh. They attacked and burnt down Hindu houses and business establishments in many places, murdered some Hindus and inflicted injuries on many others. Hindu temples and monasteries invited their special attention everywhere. Starting on October 29, 1989, the mob fury reached its climax on November 9 and 10 after the Shilanyas ceremony at Ayodhya. Many temples were demolished or burnt down or damaged in various ways. Images of deities were broken and thrown out. Temple priests were beaten up.
    • Sita Ram Goel: Introduction to the report INCIDENTS OF COMMUNAL REPRESSION IN BANGLADESH Occurred on the Pretext of Babri-Masjid / Ram-Mandir Situation in India (Translated from original in Bengali published by the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Council, 53, Tejturi Bazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh) Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Volume I. [2]
  • Large-scale riots in East Pakistan have compelled over two lakh Hindus and other minorities to come over to India. Indians naturally feel incensed by the happenings in East Bengal. To bring the situation under control and to prescribe the right remedy for the situation it is essential that the malady be properly diagnosed. And even in this state of mental agony, the basic values of our national life must never be forgotten. It is our firm conviction that guaranteeing the protection of the life and property of Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan is the responsibility of the Government of India. To take a nice legalistic view about the matter that Hindus in Pakistan are Pakistani nationals would be dangerous and can only result in killings and reprisals in the two countries, in greater or lesser measure. When the Government of India fails to fulfill this obligation towards the minorities in Pakistan, the people understandably become indignant. Our appeal to the people is that this indignation should be directed against the Government and should in no case be given vent to against the Indian Muslims. If the latter thing happens, it only provides the Government with a cloak to cover its own inertia and failure, and an opportunity to malign the people and repress them. So far as the Indian Muslims are concerned, it is our definite view that, like all other citizens, their life and property must be protected in all circumstances. No incident and no logic can justify any compromise with truth in this regard. A state, which cannot guarantee the right of living to its citizens, and citizens who cannot assure safety of their neighbours, would belong to the barbaric age. Freedom and security to every citizen irrespective of his faith has indeed been India’s sacred tradition. We would like to reassure every Indian Muslim in this regard and would wish this message to reach every Hindu home that it is their civic and national duty to ensure the fulfillment of this assurance.
    • Joint statement for the Indo-Pak confederation that Deendayal Upadhyaya signed, on 12 April 1964, with Dr Lohia, quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)
  • Bangladesh is a majority Muslim country, with a significant, if shrinking Hindu minority—about 25-30% at the time of Partition in 1947, and less than 9% in 2003. The textbooks in Bangladesh are not based on an anti-Indian bias as are state sponsored textbooks in Pakistan. The social studies curriculum in Pakistan is premised on creating a national identity that is distinct from India, whereas Bangladeshi textbooks reflect a more pan-South Asian perspective, though Bengal-centric.
    • Rosser, Yvette Claire (2003). Curriculum as Destiny: Forging National Identity in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (Dissertation). University of Texas at Austin.
  • There is no state today, certainly not in India, to protect Hindu interest in the international arena, to raise voice for the Hindus .... In December 1992, no less than 600 Hindu temples were destroyed in Bangladesh, thousands of Hindu homes were burnt down, hundreds of Hindu women were paraded naked on the streets of Bhola town, a number of Hindus were killed, Hindu shops were looted, Hindu deities were desecrated, Hindu girls were dishonoured. But the Government of India remained silent. In Pakistan, 300 temples were destroyed. In Lahore a Minister of Pakistan personally supervised the pulling down of a temple with the help of bulldozers, and several Hindus were murdered. But the Government of India remained silent. No matter how much tyranny, how much injustice is heaped on Hindus anywhere in the world, the State of India is not bothered - this is the essence of Secularism in India.
    • A. Chatterjee: Hindu nation, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 518-519
  • Immigration from Bangladesh is of two types. Firstly there are members of the minority communities fleeing occasional waves of per­secution or the more general sense of being second-class citiz­ens under the Islamic dispensation. Few Hindus would disput­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­e their right to settle down in India. Secondly, there are Mus­lims seek­ing econom­­ic oppor­tunities or sheer living space, which dirt-poor and inten­sely overc­rowded Banglad­esh cannot offer to the ever-larger num­bers of newcomers on the hous­ing and labour market... The BJP argues that refugees from persecution and illegal economic migrants merit a different treat­ment, as is assumed in the arrangements for refugee relief of most countries. But sec­ularists see it differently, for "unlike the BJP, the Congre­ss (I) views both Hindus and Muslim from Bangladesh as in­filtrat­ors". Terminology is a part of the problem here, with secularists systematically describing Hindu refugees as "migrants" if not "infiltrators", and Muslim illegal immigrants as "refugees"... The Hindu population in East Bengal had declined from 33% in 1901 to 28% in 1941. It fell to 22% by 1951 due to the Partition and the post-Partition exodus, and to 18.5% in 1961. By 1971, it had fallen to 13.5%, partly due to the 1971 massacre by the Pakistani Army, partly due to intermittent waves of emigrati­on. The 1981 figure was 12.1%. In 1989 and 1990, due to "large-scale destru­ction, desecration and damage inflic­ted on Hindu temples and religious institutions", "clandestine migrat­ion­­­ by the Hindus to India went up".
    • Shourie: Secular Agenda, p.272,D.P. Roy, joint secreatry of the All-India Congress Committe. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad. (1997) The Demographic Siege, quoting A. Shourie.
  • “…in view of insecurity of life, property and honour of the minority communities in the eastern wing of Pakistan [present-day Bangladesh] and general denial of all human rights to them, the government of India should, in addition to relaxing restrictions in migration of people belonging to the minority communities from East Pakistan to the Indian Union, also consider steps for enlisting the world opinion.”
    • Lal Bahadur Shastri Former Prime Minister Shastri’s speech in Parliament on April 3, 1964
    • In speeches to Parliament, PM Modi quotes Nehru, Ambedkar, Shastri on welcoming Hindu refugees. February 7, 2020 [3]
  • “As far as East Pakistan is concerned, its decision seems to indicate that all non-Muslims will be driven out from there. It is an Islamic state….non-Muslims cannot live there…”
    • Lal Bahadur Shastri Shastri as having told Parliament in 1964, during a discussion on refugees from Pakistan,
    • In speeches to Parliament, PM Modi quotes Nehru, Ambedkar, Shastri on welcoming Hindu refugees. February 7, 2020 [4]

See also

External links

This page was moved from wikiquote:en:Hinduism in Bangladesh. Its edit history can be viewed at Hinduism in Bangladesh/edithistory