Minorities and the State discusses the plight of two numerically significant religious minority groups: Hindus in Bangladesh and Muslims in West Bengal, India.
The political vicissitudes in India and Bangladesh have stirred up questions relating to citizenship, nationality, and identity. In this volume, academics from India, Bangladesh, and Japan examine the formation of minority identity at the time of partition of India in 1947 and in subsequent decades. The articles emphasize the crises and coping strategies, migration, and state- and local-level politics affecting minorities.
By utilizing data from varied sources like field work, archival research, and secondary sources, this volume explores deprivation and different dimensions of minority life from political, economic, civil society, gender, and literary perspectives.
Chapter 3: ‘Wrestling with My Shadow’: The State and the Immigrant Muslims in Contemporary West Bengal
‘Wrestling with My Shadow’: The State and the Immigrant Muslims in Contemporary West Bengal
It's not absurd, not absurd, but absolutely true—My body aches as I wrestle with my shadow.
—From Abol Tabol by Sukumar Ray
Absurd though it may sound, the above couplet taken from a celebrated Bengali limerick points to the stark and tragic truth of wrestling with one's own shadow. The shadow has the paradoxical quality of closely resembling what one is and therefore tormenting and vexing one by highlighting one's absurdities. The two in a sense are closely interconnected. A shadow is not an extension of the self, but her competitor in the sense of grotesquely caricaturing what she is ...