It is a great pleasure that newsnextbd.com got the permission from the author and the publisher to publish the book “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangladesh The quest for a state (1937-1971)” by Afsan Chowdhury
The author preserves the copyright of the book published by Robin Ahsan of Shrabon Prokashoni (Rose View Plaza Level # 5, Suite # 507, 185 Bir Uttam C.R. Road, Dhanmondi C/A, Dhaka-1205 ) in February 2020. The cover design was done also by Robin Ahsan while the page makeup by Bibekananda Joydhar. The book, also available for online sell at rokomari.com, is priced 800 takas (18 US dollars or 12 Euros).
ISBN: 978-984-93042-4-1. The book was dedicated to Prof. Sirajul Islam, teacher of the author and founder of Banglapedia. The book’s contents are arranged in the following order as per the hard binding. Acknowledgement ix, Introduction 1
The peasant and the quest for a state: 21, The first phase (1757- 1947)
Chapter 2 : Early encounters of the colony and the peasantry: 33, Resistances and Reforms
Chapter 3: History of socio-political Alliances in Bengal 57
Chapter 4: Bengal to Bangladesh: The politics of identity politics 81
Chapter 5: The politics of the Margin and the Centre 103
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the emergence of the state: 117, The first phase (1937-1947)
The quest for a state : Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangladesh 149; The second phase (1947- 1971)
Chapter 1 : Two “states” and one flag: 1947-1958 153
Chapter 2: Old Margin, new Centre and fresh uprisings: 1958-1971 175
References 191, Index 203
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND THANKS
The book was shaped by many forms of research and interactions over time. They include decades of field based and academic research on the birth of Bangladesh in 1971. A book length chapter on the topic was written and published in the book “ Bangladesh Ekattur” Vol 1 ( Bangladesh 1971) in 2007.
However, once I began teaching the topic at the BRAC University from 2012 onwards, the shapes and significances of the many ideas and forces that shaped Bangladesh history began to concretize in my mind more convincingly. Teaching 2000 years of history in a single semester has its advantages. Our vision is widened and the trends that are linked together emerge as logical chains of a bigger history which I have tried to present.
First thanks is to Prof. Firdous Azim , the Chair of the English and Humanities Department of BRAC University and long time friend. I was hired and this gave me access to classrooms. The classroom is a great teacher and I learnt hungrily. Thanks for a gift I can never repay but thanks
My interaction with the students was a key factor in developing the arguments in the book. Without this opportunity I may have remained loyal to the conventional paradigms of Bangladesh history. But teaching Bangladesh history became a critical exercise in the classroom and in reading the exam scripts helped me understand even better. I am happy to say that everything discussed in the book were discussed many time in the class before landing here. So thanks dear students for being such great teachers.
Thanks also to my colleagues in the English and Humanities (ENH) Department of BRAC University whose friendship and accommodation are a source of great pleasure and freedom for me.
I have tried my best to use Banglapedia as references as much as possible. Its entries are written by our most reliable scholars and researchers and provides close to universal access. Anyone wishing to learn more or check facts can use the links inserted in the Reference section easily on the net.
In case Banglapedia was not a source of a specific reference, other online sources were chosen first. When that option was missing, we used book references. Original documents are mostly sourced from the pages of the Bangladesh war of Independence Documents, Vol 1 and 2 edited by Hasan Hafizur Rahman.
Million thanks to Ummay Habiba my student, my teaching associate and fellow traveler in the quest for understanding the forces that led to Bangladesh. In the last four years, the topic has increasingly dominated the classroom which we shared and in our discussion with the students. I felt Habiba was the one who could best be my editor. Despite many family obligations she agreed to do this difficult and tedious task. It was wonderful having her in the journey all the way.
Thanks to Baizid Joarder who even while defending his thesis took the trouble to proof read the manuscript. Nazam Laila, despite her own academic obligations read through and corrected the summary/introduction. I am proud to have had them as my students.
Finally, thanks to Robin Ahsan, publisher of Srabon. I have kept him waiting for almost two years and even withdrew my manuscript in 2018 because I wasn’t happy. I am glad I did as this version is a much more comprehensive and organized product. Why he keeps wanting to publish me I am not sure as he surely makes no money from my books but he has been around for 20 years and my thanks will never be enough. I am glad I did the book.
1. The book explores the formation of Bangladesh as a state through its multi-layered historical journey. This journey to become a state is deeply rooted in the peasantry’s aspiration – the majority population- to be free of landlordism and other economic sufferings under colonialism. It began as resistance to colonial rule but matured over time to become a political project to form a state. This was done in alliance with other classes and social partners. This state making journey therefore began in the mid 18th century and was completed in 1971.
2. Historical evidence shows that social forces form alliances to defend themselves along class, community, territorial and similar lines. Little evidence is found that exclusive cultural markers (faith, language etc) based nationalist movements succeeded in forming sustainable states. Almost all the movements were multi-identity based. Cultural markers do play an important role but it appears that state making projects mainly become successful over time due to the force of unity created by a shared history than other factors.
3. Two examples help to understand this process better. In 1947, the Bengalis of Bengal primarily belonging to two contesting political alliances, failed to agree to form an independent state (United Independent Bengal Movement). Secondly , after 1947, Bengali Muslims dominantly but along with other groups dismantled Muslim identity bearing Pakistan. Cultural identity therefore appears as a necessary input but not a sufficient one to make states. People hold a mixed bag of identities clustered together by history and none hold any final or exclusive identity.
4. The majority of the Bengal peasantry was not just the majority population but also militant. Hence, they become the dominant force. But resistances were multi-class affairs in almost every case. Occasinally there were even inter-faith and language community constructed alliances. The peasantry were usually led by the middle or even the ousted upper class such as the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny example shows. All successful political movements were multiple coalitions as in 1971 but the main force was always the peasantry, the majority. Subsequently, when voting came in for them, in early 19th century ( 1909) peasant power increased more as middle class led parties had to depend on peasant vote to gain political power.
5. What appears to hold people together as one unit is a collective “Historical identity”. It is what is built on the basis of common or shared historical experience. Thus, the majority people of East Bengal and later East Pakistan had more or less the same historical experience and challenges. So, they could form an alliance. The Kolkata based elite, the North Indian elite or the Pakistani elite all excluded this people in one form or the other who are now Bangladeshis. They never shared a common historical life hence never formed a common historical identity necessary for state-making projects beyond shared cultural/faith/ language practices.
6. Internal social divisions such as between the landlord and the peasantry were the most intractable in history as they were about life and livelihood. Competition between the aspirant and the established elite was another. So, attempt to form a coalition of alliances also failed as the United Bengal Movement (1947) shows. The Bengali Kolkata elite failed to support an independent state of Bengal in 1947 under pressure from central Congress at Delhi, that is the all Indian nationalist line. This was not part of the majority peasantry of Bengal’s history. After 1947, in the absence of the Delhi/Kolkata Centre, all the identities came together in East Pakistan/Bangladesh in the successful state-making project in 1971 as they were part of the same history.
The Margin and the Centre
7. Of the two contending clusters, the ruling elite forms the Centre and the contesters of that become the Margin. This framework is based on socio-economic equations of history not cultural identity. Both Centres and Margins also change when political history does and new ones are constructed. The Margin is a cluster of many identities experiencing a common history of denial while the Centre, another similar cluster but which has a common history of oppressing the Margin.
8. The elite or Centre often focuses on cultural markers to interpret history and claim loyalty to the ruled on that ground of sometimes imposed common/shared culture. This was the case with Kolkata/Delhi elite till 1947 when everyone including the Bengal peasantry’s interest was minimized for the sake of the greater interest of India and Pakistan. After 1947 Karachi/Islamabad became the Centre against which the Margin’s struggle continued. Jinnah in 1948 reminded everyone that they were Musalmans, must give up “provincialism” and support Jinnah’s Muslim League in the interest of Pakistan. The symbols changed but it was essentially a continuation of pre-1947 politics of Centre-Margin equation.
Peasant as the state maker
9. Under colonialism, the Permanent Settlement of 1793 set up the zamindari system which created a collaborationist elite. But it also generated an oppressed peasantry that took to resistance. This peasant-landlord relationship was the most significant antagonism. Later, the middle peasantry, also joined the poor peasantry and together became a state making force over time, particularly after 1905.
10. Peasants began with armed resistance soon after British take over but in 1909 got votes and soon after began to control trends of elite politics as well. Meanwhile, the aspirant elite began to contest the established elite for jobs and opportunities as the Margin alliance matured.
11. After the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, the British began promoting Muslims to lessen dependence on one faith community or area. North India grew in importance and an all Indian Muslim alliance also began to take shape apart from the rise of Delhi as the Centre of India.
12. By the late 18th century, the peasantry had become the biggest social force in Bengal who couldn’t be ignored by anyone. Colonizers therefore introduced reforms which were naturally opposed by the Kolkata landlord elite. This resisting peasantry was dominantly Muslim and increasingly in what is eastern Bengal –now Bangladesh- created a situation contributing to the partition of Bengal in 1905.
13. The Kolkata elite-based Swadeshi movement ended Bengal Partition in 1911 but that hastened the journey to the region’s state-making move from the sub-state status. The vote was granted in 1909 making Muslim majority – peasantry- the primary force in politics. Politically mobilized villagers were now directly linked to the Bengal Centre politics and Bengal politics was now linked to all Indian/ Delhi politics.
Two contesting alliances
14. Two alliances, one in Kolkata Centre and the other non-Kolkata and located in the Margin rose and conflicted. 1905 gave the class and cultural markers a territorial dimension making the transition from sub-state to state aspiration simple and inevitable.
15. Attempts to bring the two contesting alliances failed every time showing the organic difference between the Margin and Centre. The Bengal Pact (1923) proposed by C.R. Das was rejected by the Congress and the Kolkata based elite who stood to lose privileges. After the 1937 election, an attempt to form a joint government by the Krishak Praja Party (KPP) and the Bengal Congress also failed. in 1947, Bengal ML and Bengal Congress’s effort to form a joint Bengali state also failed. There is little to back up the idea of any “one Bengal” project over time in history.
The formal state project: 1940 ; 1946; 1947
16. In 1940 the Lahore Resolution of All India Muslim League was passed which specifically stated that there would be two “states” of the Muslim majority parts of India. In Bengal there was no confusion about this project and several organizations publicly worked on developing governing frameworks for an independent state. Bengal ML’s leader Abul Hashim even proposed a formal framework for the independent state. All Indian ML including Jinnah never protested nor clarified the issue which obviously meant a two state situation. However, after the electoral victory of 1946, at the Delhi Legislators conference of AIML, the crucial independent “states” was replaced with a sole central “state” which had long term historical implications.
17. In 1947, as it became obvious that Nehru (India) and Jinnah (Pakistan) were negotiating for two new states, Bengal too made a move to set up an independent state, provisionally called United Independent Bengal, a move led by Bengal Muslim League. Initially Bengal Congress supported it but under pressure from Delhi Congress caved in and the two Bengal based alliances failed to agree to make a state. In effect the two failed attempts show that the de facto Bengal “state” had been formed with specific markers corresponding to the East Bengal of 1905. This “state” which was delayed or denied by Muslim league in 1946 and denied and truncated by the Congress in 1947 had to wait till 1971 to gain full status.
18. Soon after UBM collapsed, several young activists of Bengal Muslim League formed a secret group- The Inner Group- to fight for an independent state of Bengal. In effect, the Margin state had come into being but delayed from birthing by all Indian Centres of both the then major political parties.
State making in the second phase: 1947- 1971
1. Given the historical background of aborted state-making, it is debatable if Pakistan was born as a functional single state with two wings or two states, one forced by circumstances to share a flag. It was probably doomed from birth as it never fulfilled any single state criteria. Having a common cultural marker-faith- was not obviously enough to keep it intact when the Margin and the Centre were told were the same but came from two radically different histories.
2. The Centre based Pakistan/West Pakistan state faced immediate resistance from “East Pakistan” after birth. The anxiety and anger of the Pakistan ruling class to this resistance is openly expressed by Jinnah’s speech at Dhaka in February 1948, only 5 months after Pakistan’s birth.
3 Jinnah warned against “provincialism” which is key to understanding Pakistan’s relationship with its majority population that lay in the Margin/East Pakistan. While provincial autonomy/ federation became the key demand of East Pakistan, it was Jinnah/Centre’s main anxiety and accusation against “Bengal”. The language issue by 1948 was already a major mobilizer of the middle class “Bengalis” but Pakistan saw in Urdu as lingua franca a critical tool for central control of the province. The conflict was therefore a reflection of “two state” conflict perhaps beyond the governance capacity of Pakistan.
4. Jinnah also said Pakistan arch-enemy India was supporting “provincialism” and the language issue which made supporting them virtually an act of treason. He also threatened to use force to counter what he termed “gangsterism”. Thus, the basic terms of the conduct of “Pakistan” with the Margin were laid down at its birth by Jinnah.
5. But East Pakistanis not only rejected the Muslim League and formed their own parties but continued with “provincialism”. The language issue was intensely pushed and the firing in 1952 at DU students agitating for the language issue further consolidated their resolve. By discarding the separate state clause in 1946, Jinnah only delayed what was a historical reality. And the bloodshed in 1971 was partly because of tampering of the original Lahore Resolution.
How the hungry peasant ended Muslim League in East Pakistan
6. The peasantry meanwhile continued to suffer hunger pangs in post 1947 East Pakistan. It’s their situation which made Pakistan and Muslim League in East Pakistan not just unpopular but unelectable. The middle class with their employment and cultural angst combined with peasant dearth became the force of change which ended whatever political Pakistan was left in East Pakistan/Bengal/ Bangladesh in the 1954 elections.
7. The 1954 electoral alliance of United Front was the formalization of the Margin political identity. It swept Pakistan and Muslim League away. They could return only when under martial law or its civil continuation – 1958-1969- or in 1971 when Bangladesh was under Pakistan army occupation- and that too in a weak form.
8. After 1958, Gen. Ayub Khan came to power through Pakistan’s first martial law. In reaction, several independence groups sprang up beginning the phase of active sovereignty seeking politics. In 1962 Sheikh Mujib himself discussed the issue with others including the (pro-Soviet) Communist Party who were however reluctant to pursue “independence”. He himself crossed the border but was disappointed with India’s response. No record of being involved in conspiratorial politics after that has been noted.
9. The period between 1962-1966 saw rising militancy in East Pakistani politics. Suhrawardy, who led the Awami League and was loyal to the idea of a “democratic Pakistan” passed away in 1963 leaving Sheikh Mujib to lead the forces of the Margin, now more cohesive. This force was more formidable than that before 1947 because there was only one alliance-based coalition in the Margin involving the entire peasantry. This included the Hindu peasantry who were now free to join other peasants in a common cause.
10. In 1966 Sheikh Mujib proposed the 6 points, a federation based ruling scheme which drew its roots from the Manifesto linked to the Independent East Pakistan proposal of the East Pakistan Renaissance Society of 1943 and Manifesto of Abul Hashim of Bengal Muslim league of 1945. But its immediate ancestor was the 21 points of the United Front of 1954.
11. Historically sourced from the Lahore resolution of 1940, it became the biggest threat to the centralized militarily conceptualized state of Pakistan. In an attempt to destroy Sheikh Mujib and the “provincialism”, he was tried for treason– Agartala conspiracy case-but the trial was abandoned under enormous pressure from a massive street movement that also ended the then President General Ayub Khan’s regime. It was followed by martial law under General Yahya Khan who presided over the end of 1947/Jinnah’s Pakistan.
12. In the election of 1970, the first all Pakistan one, Awami League under Sheikh Mujib swept to majority as the Margin party leader. That created a crisis for Pakistan whose economic control, administrative supremacy and most importantly the status of the army, considered the guarantor of the Pakistan state were all put under threat.
13. Transferring power to Sheikh Mujib would mean accepting a person as the army supreme commander who had been tried for treason by the same army. He was also not trusted to consider India as the prime enemy nor gaining “Kashmir” as the prime national priority of Pakistan. These issues were not even part of the 6 points programme of the winning party’s manifesto.
14. A ruler less aggressive on India could threaten the livelihood of the Pakistan army which survived on being the defender against the national threat perception. Facing an unexpected situation of its own making and with no capacity to solve the same, the army resorted to what it thought would solve the crisis: genocide.
15. Pakistan’s military plan failed spectacularly literally ending the Pakistan of 1947. In the war of 1971, it had never considered the villages would become the bastions of the resistance who made a national war unwinnable by the Pakistan army.
16. The Pakistan army – Centre- which was trained to protect West Pakistan against India had no clue about how to fight Bangladesh – the Margin. Majority of the warriors of the Margin were villagers who made another partnership with other forces of the Margin making the defence of Pakistan project impossible. Millions of Hindus –proxy Indians to the Pakistanis – were forced out to India through planned ethnic cleansing. Indians, who gave shelter meanwhile gained the justification to attack occupied Bangladesh along with the Bangladesh forces and defeated Pakistan. The centralized state guaranteed by the army as a model of safety delivered its greatest defeat at the hands of the Margin.
Sheikh Mujib and Bangladesh
1. Long before he met Suhrawardy and Fazlul Haq in 1939 at Gopalganj, which kicked off a historic partnership that facilitated a state production, Sheikh Mujib was in conflict with the local establishment. He admired Subhash Bose, C.R. Das and a few others but not the Congress party. He thought they were pro-landlord.
2. His identity was framed by his residential address in the Margin and his encounter with the establishment. He also could speak both to the peasant and the elite which made his position strong. This layer of people was critical in Bengal’s state-making process that was boosted in the 1905 partition of Bengal. His entry into Kolkata politics was as a militant from the Margin, not loyal to any elite aspirations.
3. His rose rapidly through Bengal’s student political world. In Bengal Muslim League, he was not only a follower of Suhrawardy but also close to the young radicals, followers of Abul Hashim. He reached leadership status by 1946 providing critical field organizing support to Suhrawardy, Bengal’s PM.
4. When the Lahore Resolution of 1940 was amended in 1946 at Delhi by Jinnah by deleting “states’ to “state”, it created great resentment in Bengal. Bengal was actively preparing for an independent state. This was followed by the failure of the movement to establish United Bengal – a separate state of Bengal- in 1947 when Central Congress refused to support it though Bengal Congress initially did.
5. These events led several young activists of Bengal Muslim league to form a clandestine group in Kolkata to form an independent state. They saw in Sheikh Mujib the future leader of that “state”. In effect a “state” of Bengal had almost taken birth after 1940 and 1947 but was swallowed back by the North Indian leadership of both Congress and Muslim League.
6. None of these young radicals was ever Pakistanis as they felt the Centres dominated the Bengal Margin. Sheikh Mujib like others saw incoming East Pakistan a “colony of Pakistan”. So, politics after 1947 began as a resistance to central rule. Jinnah sensed that and his speech of 1948 in Dhaka was full of threats and anxieties, railing against “provincialism” which became the rallying cry of the Margin.
7. Awami Muslim League was birthed in 1949 with Maulana Bhashani as the leader, a man from the lower end of the Margin. Suhrawardy reached Dhaka in 1950. By then the character of politics rooted in the continuity of the pre-1947 struggle to set up an independent federal state as per the Lahore Resolution of 1940, was already set.
8. The elections of 1954 consolidated the new Margin which included the Hindu peasantry and the middle class making it more cohesive. But Pakistan sacked the Government on the ground that the United Front leaders were contemplating “independence”, a step forward from “provincialism”. Pakistan central was both aware of and anxious about the aspirations of the Margin from the first.
9. Within Awami League a crisis began with the pro-US group led by Suhrawardy and the pro-Left group led by Bhashani began to battle each other. The key conflict centred on the provincial autonomy demand which Suhrawardy as the PM of Pakistan opposed. Sheikh Mujib supported Suhrawardy at the party meet at Kagmari in 1957. However, he had no loyalty to Pakistan as past and future events show. He saw in the AL, the mainstream and he wanted to be there as politics belongs to the mainstream. History shows this decision was an appropriate one.
10. After Kagmari, neither leader ever got the main stage. Suhrawardy’s politics never really existed in East Pakistan and after 1958 martial law imposition, national Pakistan politics died. He was politically missing in his stomping ground.
11. Bhashani too was marginalized as his new Left-leaning party National Awami Party (NAP) never took off and nor did Left politics become the mainstream. It was Sheikh Mujib who emerged as the most significant leader, eclipsing both his mentors.
12. After 1958, many political groups began to get involved in pro-independence political activities secretly. Sheikh Mujib too went to India to discuss independence (1962) but it was abortive which turned him off from secret politics. He chose the street instead and by 1962 as agitations began in earnest, AL as the prime party of the Margin was dominant.
13. In 1966 came the 6 points programme which was an inheritor of the state making source of the Margin. It is rooted in 1940, solidified in 1954 -21 points- and in 1966 came the 6 points. Reading it with the Renaissance Society and Abul Hashim Manifesto of the mid-40s, the records show that the Bangladesh state lineage had a long history of conceptualization and birthing not to mention miscarriages too.
14. The Bangladesh state making demand didn’t arise because of Pakistan’s mistreatment or the desire to establish a Bengali state inspired by the language movement and so on. They were important factors but both were a result of a Centre-state policies dealing with a Margin. Some even would say that the relationship was semi-colonial. Both East and West Pakistan were basically two states in different points of history, one struggling to be born, the other struggling to suppress the birth and prevent its own demise. They had a separate history as roots. Hence mistreatment in every space by the Centre of the Margin was to be naturally expected as a historical reality.
15. The Margin state formation journey began long back, became a formal demand in 1940, was denied in 1946 and 1947 but continued afterwards to 1971 and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was part of this continuity, obviously its final leader.
16. The reaction to the Agartala case in 1968 filed against Sheikh Mujib led to mass mobilization which overthrew the case and Ayub Khan the ruler who had filed the case, in 1969. It also ushered in the final phase under Yahya Khan the military ruler. The 1970 election was the electoral triumph of the Margin as the population with its majority peasant voters in a coalition with the rest voted in Sheikh Mujib and his party.
17. Sheikh Mujib ’s victory created a crisis which was beyond the Pakistan state’s capacity to resolve. It was unable to hand over power to a person who was tried by the military for treason. The army was anxious about the army’s status under a leader uninterested in the Kashmir issue. Thus, they turned to violence which ultimately ended Jinnah’s Pakistan. The amendment of the Lahore Resolution at Delhi in 1946 took its toll on its patrons in 1971.
The politics of partnership in 1971
18. In Bangladesh history, every major political transition occurred because of a partnership between the peasantry and the middle class. Mono-class or community movements almost all failed. The speech of March 7 by Sheikh Mujib served as a call to the villages to be ready. Throughout 1971 the villages became the space in which Bangladesh was most free and rebellious.
19. Wars were fought in the villages and warriors came mostly from there. Sheikh Mujib had the longest call on history as he represented the mainstream and led the Margin. This mainstream finally delivered the state, kept in waiting for decades/centuries since when the peasants resisted colonial rule and began the road to Bangladesh.
20. In this state-making process, cultural identity such as faith, language etc played a major role. However, it was the composite and historic identity of the Margin in which all identities are included based on class, culture and territory, that dominated. The Margin is a historical identity belonging only to those who share the same socio-economic & political experience. Which is why, Sheikh Mujib is found more in the denied experience of the hinterland than the cultural nationalism markers of the elite before and after 1947.
From peasant resistance to the peasant state
21. It’s in this historical identity that was most strong in the villages where the 1971 liberation war process took place. It was a very long history of resistance that began under the British and finally ended in 1971.
22. To Sheikh Mujib and his kind, evidences suggest Pakistan was never an ideological space. Affinity with the Pakistan movement before 1947 was a tool of convenience to which they allied to gain freedom from Kolkata elite repression. The UBM manifesto of 1947 to which they expressed loyalty was not faith-based, something Pakistan movement couldn’t be without. So, Pakistan for its Bengal Muslim League politicians was an act of convenience which once over after 1947 was discarded.
23. The political ace was in peasant’s hands and not upholding their cause would have made politics futile in East Pakistan. Suhrawardy was a Pakistani democrat so he was in the end located in the wrong history. Even Bhashani, another militant from the Margin was briefly on friendly terms with Ayub Khan of Pakistan for a while due to Left pressure. But both Sheikh Mujib and Bhashani joined together in 1968-69 to overthrow Ayub Khan and usher in the final phase.
24. Sheikh Mujib never deviated from his objective because he was a carrier of the Margin state-making project that began from before 1947. This was the “peasant state” as promised in 1940 as a conclusion of its long struggle and support to the politicians of the Margin.
25. The Margin is an identity of its own which incorporates all other cultural markers. Hence, Sk. Mujib was following the peasant destiny, the most multiple identity bearing construct and by definition a marginalized. He was the leader of the alliance and not necessarily a party. The politics was derived from the historical process of the Margin’s march to statehood. To the peasantry its a resource accessing construct at its simplest with no ideological baggage except what were multiple markers. It wasn’t a cultural or ethnic identity assertion-based state.
26. The peasant resistance under colonialism ignited the political history process of the people of the Margin that ultimately led to state-making. In its most critical period that struggle which was in 1971, that movement was led by Sheikh Mujib who had been part of the project from before 1947. The nature of the Bangladesh state in formation in 1971 and its objectives are tied to this historical identity seeking by the people over a long time that began in the days of colonial rule.