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May 12, 2004

Axes of identity

Listened to a radio segment that dealt with the fence that India is building around its border with Bangladesh. Indians complain that Bangladesh is allowing its excess population to inundate its neigbhor so that it can eventually make territorial claims. There are some interviews with Indians, and they are pretty forceful about their opposition to immigration from Bangladesh.

Now, the the curious thing (or not so curious), the people of West Bengal and Assam are racially and linguistically closer to Bangladeshis than they are to other regions of India, but they are some of the most vociferous opponents of Bangladeshization (there are also Hindi speaking migrants from other parts of India to the northeast and Calcutta). Of course, the difference is on the issue of religion, which in this case trumps ethnic affinities.

Posted by razib at 06:36 PM