As many minds, from legal and judicial to political and intellectual, suggest, India is ripping off its small neighbor Bangladesh right and left, front and center under the careful or careless connivance of tyrant Sheikh Hasina. In exporting its five-fold, in fact, six-fold imperialism and expansionism—political, economic, cultural, military, RAW intelligence, and (Hindu) religious—India takes all and hardly gives anything in return to Bangladesh. (See Related: Manorial Master India Treating Bangladesh As One Of Its Feudal Serfdoms In North East – OpEd)
Taking the advantage of the fact that there are many clients in Hasina and her party, who work more in the interest of India than their own Bangladesh, just as Sikkim’s Kazi Lhendup Dorji Khangsarpa did in the 1970s, India is wholesaling its hoody mission and hegemonic vision in Bangladesh. It is in accord with Hasina giving all to India (as if she were the “yes sir yes sir” of the ba ba black sheep in the old nursery rhyme). To cling to power, she plays the role, as it were, of a loyal “chief minister”/মুখ্য মন্ত্রী of a shadow or de facto Indian state, into which she has treasonously turned Bangladesh, which in reality should have been a free, independent and sovereign country.
Sheikh Hasina behaves in a crooked and cowardly or tyrannical manner at home giving no room/space to the democratic political opposition BNP led by the country’s most popular leader Khaleda Zia, mother of democracy and humanity, as far as Bangladesh is concerned. The country has completely been turned from Khaleda’s People’s Republic into Hasina’s corrupt police and prison state that squarely lies in the curves, crevices and catacombs of the sucking Indian control. The exploitation of Bangladesh under the dictator Hasina by the un-neighborly neighbor India is as full and complete as its (mainly Hyderabad-based) American visa fraud. A “Hard Hindu State,” as described by Farhad Mazhar, a first-rate patriotic and nationalist intellectual, India intends to go and has indeed already gone all the way to exploit the smaller Muslim Bangladesh because of the presence of many Lhendup Dorjis in the Hasina regime, who are excessively docile and dovish in relation to the Hindu India.
The Hasina regime is dogmatically dovish and dwarfish to India resulting in its weird weakness as well as wickedness at home, oxymoronically speaking. There cannot be any “logical absurdity,” again, to use an oxymoron from Anton Chekov’s short story “A Doctor’s Visit,” of which he also would disapprove in the context of the ongoing morbid social and economic exploitation in 19th century Russian society. Referring to both the workers and the owners/industrialists/capitalists, both sides, losing, caught in a vicious circle with no peace and freedom for either, Chekov describes that one small devil is subject to a big devil, who is subject to yet another bigger devil, who remains as an outside and invisible force. In keeping with Chekov, the Hasina regime needs to get out of the devil-dominated mechanical cycle. It is dangerously divisive and dictatorial in its domestic policies—so much so that it cannot do anything on its own without the fatal Indian love potion of advice, protection, intrusion, and intervention all coming in one package. It needs to break open and be on its own, in harmony with the people and parties of Bangladesh, not with those of India.
The Indian love potion just referred to above is as destructive as Giovanni’s for his beloved in the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” The young girl has grown up all her life with poisonous plants in the enclosed garden in the backyard (a version of Adam and Eve’s Garden of Eden) of the home of her biological scientist father Dr Rappaccini. As such, she cannot survive without being poisonous herself. A curing potion from the lover can only prove destructive to her. Similarly, Hasina also cannot survive without being poisonous under the poisonous tutelage of her political backer and guardian India; anything fair, normal, popular and patriotic is to prove destructive to her. Politically, economically, and culturally, Hasina’s one-sided love for India (like her one-sided rule of Bangladesh) has left Bangladesh in a state of crippling paralysis and a fatally cursed Pandora’s box.
Veteran political thinker and freedom fighter Dr Zafrullah Chowdhurty holds India responsible for all the problems that Bangladesh faces today. Economist Dr Anu Mohammad gives a detail of India’s all-engulfing and all-consuming acquisition of Bangladesh’s total economy. Like her un-neighborly neighbor (that is, the fanatical Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi of India), Hasina is far from being a Bangladeshi Muslim nationalist. She is Bangladesh’s pro-Hindu divider-in-chief, far worse than the Hindutva-driven Muslim killer Modi. During her regime, cow-and-idol-worshipping (অ-মঙ্গল কু-মঙ্গল অ-শোভাযাত্রা কু-শোভাযাত্রা) Hindu New Year culture, Hindu religious extremism in the name of religious pluralism, and Hindu nudities and immodesties have been spreading everywhere in Bangladesh. To please India and the Hindus on the both sides of the border, the weak Hasina propagates the culturally corrupt, misleading and secularist ধর্ম যারযার উৎসব সবার (Religion belongs to individuals and individual communities, while religious festivals belong to all). Instead, she as a Muslim should promote and propagate উৎসব যারযার, গোমাংস সবার (religious festivals belong to individual religious communities, while beef belongs to all) and protest against the Indian killers of Muslim cowherds and of innocent Bangladeshis at the border.
Hasina’s so-called Indian “fast” friends would not even consider her father Sheikh Mujib to be one of the top fourteen Bungalees, just as they would not hesitate to steal all Bangladesh liberation war records to hide the fact of their misdeeds and the heroism of the freedom fighters of Bangladesh! Her Indian “master” friends would send her old and used rail engines as alms-cum-Eid gifts, which she would receive gladly and gleefully. They would also threaten to grab Bangladesh the way Hasina, with their active backing and blessings, has been grabbing the state power of Bangladesh again and again through a series of massive and malicious manipulations, including the “midnight” vote dacoity, that only matches her government’s mega lootings with the entire state apparatus, one-eyed, obliging and cooperating.
Indians are “a slippery, treacherous people,” said President Richard Nixon in mid-1971. “The Indians are bastards anyway. They are the most aggressive goddamn people around,” echoed his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. Sheikh Hasina also would let her treacherous Indian friends keep killing innocent Bangladeshis at the border, selling rot and useless stuff to Bangladesh, asking for Bangladeshi land for their businesses, and spreading Hindu aggression of Bangladesh’s Muslim culture and heritage. She would also let her “master” India make billions annually ($10b in 2017 alone) from Bangladesh and would allow nearly 10 lakh (10,00,000 = 1 million) Indians work illegally at the expense of a staggering number of Bangladesh’s own locals, who, left unemployed, are living in misery. Many in dire straits die or drown on their way to Malaysia, Singapore, and the West in search of a better life. Like her father Sheikh Mujib, Sheikh Hasina bungled everything precious and valuable Bangladesh possessed. Unlike the great leaders of the world such as Nelson Mandela, Lee Kuan Yew, Mahathir Mohammad, Angela Merkel, and Jacinda Ardern, among others, Hasina, obsessed with mean and myopic dictatorial self-glorification and self-deification, miserably failed to fulfil the patriotic and democratic aspirations of the people of Bangladesh.
An article from the Chatham House, London (a think tank aligned with the British intelligence, MI5) refers to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas by the un-neighborly Myanmar and several other issues created by the inimical and unfriendly India against Bangladesh—water sharing, non-tariff barriers, border killings, Chattogram and Mongla ports, NRC (National Register of Citizens) of Assam, terming of Bangladeshis as “termites” and “infiltrators.” It mentions: “Bangladesh is India’s eighth biggest export destination with US$8.8 billion exported in 2018, and the fourth largest remittance source — worth US$10 billion in 2017. Deteriorating relations also undermine India’s attempts to deepen security cooperation with Bangladesh to tackle cross-border insurgent groups in its north-eastern states.” The article issues stark warnings, “Bangladesh risks becoming subjected to its neighbors’ majoritarian impulses with no long-term solutions in sight. This would be an untenable situation in an already sensitive part of the world.”
As if she is more Indian than Bangladeshi (like her pro-Hindu Awami secularists being more in love with anti-Muslim and essentially Hindu Brahmin Rabindranath Tagore than the West Bengali Hindus themselves are), Sheikh Hasina would also make over a hundred agreements to the sole and sheer benefit of India alone in a sellout of Bangladesh’s interests. There was a time when she was full of praise for Pakistani soldiers stationed in Dhaka providing not only her safety but also her provisions, as her father Mujib was in favor of Pakistan remaining entire and united, not dismembered. That time was through the liberation war in 1971 and beyond (as documented in words and deeds and pictures, with reference to Matiur Rahman Rentu’s classic Amar Fashi Chai in particular and many other sources such as the BBC’s then Serajur Rahman, David Frost and Oriana Fallaci, among others, including the very last words of Mujib’s own 7 March speech wishing long life to Pakistan). However, by virtue of her one-way “giving-in” to India, she has turned and locked herself into a ridiculous and reprehensible pro-India role similar to that of Sikkim’s Lhendup Dorji. Re-made and re-tailored into someone to be more “of India by India for India” than of-and-by-and-for Bangladesh, Hasina is inclined to yielding more and more to India (so that it continues to cooperate with her as its north-eastern client in her clinging to power by all crooked means) than getting hardly anything back for Bangladesh from India. Journalist Andrew Korybko writes about Bangladesh’s neo-colonial bondage to India, which, already at the stage of being a completely servile vassal state under “Indian tutelage,” has reached the point of breaking asking for a regime change even at the cost of “lethal force,” if necessary, if not by “legal means.”
The “Modi model in Bangladesh,” as Korybko highlights Indian hegemonism in his article, “could turn this country of over 160 million people (that is, Bangladesh) into a failed state and trigger serious consequences for regional security, first and foremost within India itself.” The article concludes that the high resentment in the country against Indian domination may explode into a mass uprising or armed resistance ousting Hasina’s fascist regime, which has sold out national interest and has surrendered national sovereignty to India. It suggests that the people of Bangladesh want to establish a patriotic government, which, according to Zoglul Husain of the UK, will annul all anti-people treaties signed between India and Bangladesh and which will establish win-win relations between the two countries. In the process, if BAKSAL-India impose a war on the people, there will be one on the both sides of the border.
During the last twelve years of the Hasina regime, it has signed nearly 110 agreements with India, which has been playing an increasingly imposing and interfering role in Bangladesh since this Indian-backed regime came to power in early 2009. Most of those agreements are dastardly, disastrously and disproportionately in favor of India. India is incomparably reaping a lot more benefits from Bangladesh than otherwise with many Bangladesh sectors under Indian control, including the labor market. Not only that, India wants to annex Bangladesh territory, piece by piece, part by part, starting with Rangpur and Sylhet. It claims that it should have annexed Bangladesh right after the independence. All this unfortunately went without any challenge or retaliatory response from Sheikh Hasina, who, by her own admission, does not mind selling the interests of Bangladesh to India to one-sidedly please and favor and flatter the latter—her foreign and un-neighborly neighbor master savior and protector. In just one example (a few more are furnished below), when Bangladesh badly needs its own (already too busy—congested and crowded) ports of limited capacity for the movement of its own goods, she is giving them away—Chittagong and Mangla ports–, without any scruple of conscience or with no consideration of national interest, to India for the movement of Indian goods to the seven landlocked northeastern Indian states through Bangladesh. Prof Anu Mohammad, an economist, spells out Hasina’s policy of giving Bangladesh’s interest away to India in the selfish interest of her own survival.
When the Hindus are only a small minority (about 8.5%) in Bangladesh and when their contribution to the liberation war was almost nil, they are unduly privileged to hold 25% of government jobs—all high class jobs in key positions, such as SPs, OCs, DCs, DGs, Directors, Magistrates, Managers, Secretaries, VCs, and private company CEOs, including many other executive positions in the Central Bank of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Education. All this is at the cost of the interest of the Muslim majority, who have virtually become the second class “minority” in their own country. In the name of the so-called (actually partisan) secularism, what is going on is a promotion of the fanatical and fundamentalist Indian Hindutva, an idolatrous Hinduization of Islam and an aggressive Indianization of Muslim Bangladesh. What an unfair and unequal Hasina policy, to the deprivation of the majority of the population! This is all to please and favor her overlord India that helps her continue in her fascistic power, to the direct advantage of the corrupt Awami thugs and thieves and their criminal cronies and cohorts. As there is a saying, when slavery or servility becomes one’s habit, one becomes oblivious of one’s own integrity and self-respect.
*Q M Jalal Khan is author of Bangladesh: Political and Literary Reflections on a Divided Country (Peter Lang, 2018) and Bangladesh Divided: Political and Literary Reflections on a Corrupt Police and Prison State (Peter Lang, 2019), in addition to numerous other publications on literature and culture. After disengaging from many years of full-time teaching abroad, American-educated Dr Khan is currently on the adjunct faculty at an institution of higher learning in North America. His recent work, “Sheikh Hasina’s Brutal BNP-Phobia and Her Scandalous “Midnight” Power Grab Through Vampire Vote Dacoity and Villainous “S/Election” Rigging With an All-Time High Record of Humongous White-Collar Corruption” has appeared in Sabria Chowdhury Balland (ed), Bangladesh: A Suffering People Under State Terrorism (Peter Lang, 2020).