Rise of Hindu population in Bangladesh: Some questions
Masud Kamal, Senior News Editor, Banglavision: We have been hearing for many years that the population of Hindus in Bangladesh is declining. We cannot claim that some Hindus are not migrating to India. I hail from Muktagachha of Mymensingh district, which is a Hindu majority area. Once there were Hindu zamindars. The educational institutes, roads, streets, and market places of this area still bear the memory of the past heritage.
I have seen many Hindu families migrating to India after 1971. Many of friends migrated to India too along with their families. I can say it from my personal experience that none of them, at least from our locality, migrated to India after being driven out of their homes.
Those who migrated- took the decision- lured, to some extent, by dreams of a better life. Nevertheless, Muktagachha municipality area is still inhabited by a great number of Hindus. Moreover, they are living here with influence.
A diametrically opposite scenario exists in some places too. Sometimes we hear that the Hindus have migrated to India due to persecution on them. Although I am alien to this phenomenon, I can hardly deny the fact. Because, some statistical information are here to substantiate the claim.
It is said that the Hindus constituted 22 percent of the total population after the 1947 separation of Pakistan from India. The figure dropped to 14 percent after 1971. After four decades in 2010, the figure plummeted to 8 percent. Against this backdrop, it is said that the Hindus migrated to India due to persecution by the Muslims. Countering the perception that the population of Hindus in Bangladesh is declining, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said that it has instead risen by two per cent in 2017.
She said there was 8.4 per cent Hindus in Bangladesh in 2010 but the figure rose to 10.7 per cent in 2017.
The calculation of the percentage here is not clear to me. How did the Hindu population growth surpass the Muslims in the last few years? Can we assume that a great number of Hindus migrated to Bangladesh from India over the last few years?
Sushma Swaraj provided the data taking help from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). Has the BBS provided the wrong statistics? Has the BBS manipulated the statistics to please India? Can a government agency like the BBS indulge in manipulating statistics?
Is it the same department of the government from where the wonderful statistics of development are supplied about which World Bank and other international organizations tend to be skeptical? Famous American writer and humorist Mark Twain once said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Is it true that the Hindu population has risen in Bangladesh? If not, then which of the three kinds of lies is it?
Translated by Hossen Sohel