News No. 203/2010, December 31, 2010
Professor Willem van Schendel, chair of Modern Asian History, Amsterdam University, said that he does not see a future when the national minorities of Bangladesh will become Bengalis.
“I don’t see any future of Chakmas, Marmas, Garos, Tripuras, Khasis becoming Bengalis. Of course they will be fluent in Bengali, but that does not change their identities and self-awareness. The idea that the problem will resolve itself through assimilation is a myth.” he said.
Mr. Willem made this comment in an exclusive interview titled “Bangladesh is not just a Bengali nation” with New Age Xtra magazine published today.
In reply to another question he said: “I am very worried about the future [of the non-Bengali communities] because I think it is a time bomb ticking away under Bangladesh. The awareness among Bengalis generally has increased enormously since I first started writing about it. Now there is a broad understanding of the problems, but they are not being resolved.”
He also said that there has been a lot of injustice done to the minorities.
Mr. Willem, a researcher and author of a number of books on Bangladesh, gave the interview to Mubin S Khan during his recent visit to Bangladesh.
To read the full interview, please click the following link: