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Content: Headings Introduction What is middle class & its Abstract History and evolution of the term History

of Bengali Middle Class & its Consequences Middle Class & Emergence of Bangladesh as an Independent State Bengali Middle Class; A Rational Thinking Conclusion References Page No. 2 3 4 7 10 16 19 20

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The Contribution Of Middle Class To Emerge Bangladesh As

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Introduction:
Middle class is a great concept of history as well as Sociology. And Bengali middle class is an important part of emerging Bangladesh stage by stage. The contribution of middle class is very recognizing behind the history of independent Bangladesh. The class of middle played a significant role to emerge Bangladesh as an independent country.

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What is middle class & its Abstract:


The middle class (or middle classes) comprises a social group once defined by exception as an intermediate social class between the nobility and the peasantry. In early industrial capitalism the middle class was defined by exclusion of all remaining semi-feudal nobles, all remaining semi-feudal peasants, and the emerging working class. Since the working classes constituted the vast majority of the population, the middle classes actually lay near the top of the social pyramid. Some of modern theories of political economy consider a large middle class to be a beneficial, stabilizing influence on society, because it has neither the posited explosive revolutionary tendencies of the lower class, nor the stultifying greedy tendencies of the upper class. Sociological debates concerning definition The middle class is colloquially used in English to refer to highly paid white collar workers and their families - and this often means those with a professional qualification. These workers usually have a tertiary education. They possess jobs which are perceived to be "secure". This colloquial middle class has historically low rates of union membership, high rates of house or long-term lease ownership, and is perceived to believe in bourgeois values. Most sociological definitions of middle class follow Max Weber. Here the middle class is defined by a similar income level as semi-professionals, or business owners; by a shared culture of domesticity and sub-urbanity; and, by a level of relative security against social crisis in the form of socially desired skill or wealth. The size of the middle class depends on how it is defined. By education, money or wealth, environment of upbringing, birth (genetic relationships), social network, etc. These are all related, though far from deterministically dependent. The middle class of the First World As the swollen middle class in the first world lost its distinctive usefulness as a label, observers invented sub-labels: we often detect in contemporary societies an "upper middle class" and a "lower middle class". However, some have argued that the "lower-middle" class merely represents a materially privileged (by global standards) but positionally disadvantaged working class. Sociologists have argued that such people are not a part of the middle class at all. On the other hand, one could regard the western countries as having outsourced the labour requirements previously fulfilled by the working classes to less affluent countries. Clearly industrialisation has reduced those requirements in some ways, but given that the richest countries buy goods from the poorest in quantities they could not produce themselves, it does not seem to have removed them.
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History and evolution of the term:


The middle class is any class in the middle of a social schema. In Weberian socio-economic terms they are the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socioeconomically between the working class and upper class. In Marxist terms, middle class commonly refers to either the bourgeoisie before or during capitalism, or some emergent new class within capitalism. In common parlance middle class refers to a set of culturally distinct contemporary Western cultures that emphasize sedentary consumerism and petty property ownership within capitalism. The term "middle class" has a long history and has had several, sometimes contradictory, meanings. It was once defined by exception as an intermediate social class between the nobility and the peasantry of Europe. While the nobility owned the countryside, and the peasantry worked the countryside, a new bourgeoisie (literally "town-dwellers") arose around mercantile functions in the city. In France, the middle classes helped drive the French Revolution. Within capitalism, middle class initially referred to the bourgeoisie and petit bourgeoisie. However, with the immiserisation and proletarianisation of much of the petit bourgeois world, and the growth of finance capitalism, middle class came to refer to the combination of labour aristocracy, professionals and white collar workers. The size of the middle class depends on how it is defined, whether by education, wealth, environment of upbringing, social network, manners or values, etc. These are all related, though far from deterministically dependent. The following factors are often ascribed in modern usage to a "middle class": Achievement of tertiary education. Holding professional qualifications, including academics, engineers, and doctors regardless of their leisure or wealth. Belief in bourgeois values, such as high rates of house ownership and jobs which are perceived to be "secure." Lifestyle. In the United Kingdom, social status has historically been linked less directly to wealth than in the United States, and has also been judged by pointers such as accent, manners, place of education, occupation and the class of a person's family, circle of friends and acquaintances. Cultural identification. Often in the United States, the middle class are the most eager participants in pop culture whereas the reverse is true in Britain. The second generation of new immigrants will often enthusiastically forsake their traditional folk culture as a sign of having arrived in the middle class. In the United States by the end of the twentieth century, more people identified themselves as middle class than as lower or "working" class (with insignificant numbers identifying themselves as upper
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class). In contrast, in the United Kingdom, in recent surveys up to two-thirds of Britons identify themselves as working class. The British Labour Party, which grew out of the organized labour movement and originally drew almost all of its support from the working class, reinvented itself under Tony Blair in the 1990s as "New Labour," a party competing with the Conservative Party for the votes of the middle class as well as the working class. Geographic terms Geographic terms such as "Heartland America", "Middle America" and "Middle England" are used to refer to a concept of the middle class of a country being located in the centre of that country. Middle America Middle America suggests a small town or suburb where people are predominantly middle class. The economy of Middle America is traditionally considered agricultural, though most Middle Americans now live in suburban locales, and a person may hold Middle American values while not living geographically in the Midwestern United States, and vice versa. The phrase Middle American values refer to more traditional or conservative politics like family values. Middle England Though Middle England more commonly denotes the middle class of non-urban England, it also has connotations of "Deep England". The BBC described the Kent town of Tunbridge Wells as the "spiritual home" of Middle England. The term is used by journalists to refer to the presumed views of mainstream English people as opposed to minorities of all types (the rich or the poor, ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, the politically active, the intelligentsia, etc.) In particular it is used more and more to denote the rather right-wing views of those who are not in such minorities; Daily Mail readers, for example, are often characterized as being from Middle England as are members of the Countryside Alliance. Residents of Middle England are also sometimes referred to as the "silent" or "moral majority" in the British media. Middle Australia The term Middle Australia, to describe suburban, middle class Australians, gained a place in the Australian political vernacular during the 2004 federal election. Opposition Leader Mark Latham used it to refer directly to families "on thirty, forty, fifty thousand dollars a year". Middle Australia became a target constituency to which policies of financial security were pitched. Latham's definition is normally at odds with the definition of middle class as professional or tertiary educated individuals on average or greater incomes, and his other term aspirationals reflects far more the class grouping he was targeting.

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Marxism and the middle class Marxism does not necessarily see the groups described above as the middle class. The middle class is not a fixed category within Marxism, and debate continues as to the content of this social group. Marxism defines social classes not according to the wealth or prestige of their members, but according to their relationship with the means of production: a noble owns land; a capitalist owns capital; a worker has the ability to work and must seek employment in order to make a living. However, between the rulers and the ruled there is most often a group of people, often called a middle class, which lacks a specific relationship. Historically, during feudalism, the bourgeoisie were that middle class. People often describe the contemporary bourgeoisie as the "middle class from a Marxist point of view", but this is incorrect. Marxism states that the bourgeoisie are the ruling class (or upper class) in a capitalist society. Marxists vigorously debate the exact composition of the middle class under capitalism. Some describe a "co-ordinating class" which implements capitalism on behalf of the capitalists, composed of the petit bourgeoisie, professionals and managers. Others dispute this, freely using the term "middle class" to refer to affluent white-collar workers as described above (even though, in Marxist terms, they are part of the proletariatthe working class). Still others (for example, Council communists and advocates of Participatory Economics) allege that there is a class comprising intellectuals, technocrats and managers which seeks power in its own right. This last group alleges that such technocratic middle classes seized power and government for themselves in Soviet-style societies (see co-ordinatorism). Recent growth of the global middle class In February 2009, the Economist magazine announced that over half the world's population now belongs to the middle class, as a result of rapid growth in emerging countries. It characterized the middle class as having a reasonable amount of discretionary income, so that they do not live from hand to mouth as the poor do, and defined it as beginning at the point where people have roughly a third of their income left for discretionary spending after paying for basic food and shelter. This allows people to buy consumer goods, improve their health care, and provide for their childrens education. Most of the emerging middle class consists of people who are middle-class by the standards of the developing world but not the rich one, since their money incomes do not match developed country levels, but the percentage of it which is discretionary does. By this definition, the number of middle class people in Asia exceeded that in the West sometime around 2007 or 2008.The Economist article pointed out that in many emerging countries the middle class has not grown incrementally, but explosively. The rapid growth results from the fact that the majority of the people fall into the middle of a right-skewed bellshaped curve, and when the peak of the population curve crosses the threshold into the middle class, the number of people in the middle class grows enormously. In addition, when the curve crosses the threshold, economic forces cause the bulge to become taller as incomes at that level grow faster than incomes in other ranges. The point at which the poor start entering the middle class by the millions is
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the time when poor countries get the maximum benefit from cheap labour through international trade, before they price themselves out of world markets for cheap goods. It is also a period of rapid urbanization, when subsistence farmers abandon marginal farms to work in factories, resulting in a several-fold increase in their economic productivity before their wages catch up to international levels. That stage was reached in China some time between 1990 and 2005, when the middle class grew from 15% to 62% of the population, and is just being reached in India now. The Economist predicted that surge across the poverty line should continue for a couple of decades and the global middle class will grow enormously between now and 2030. Professional-managerial class Barbara Ehrenreich and her husband John defined a distinct part of the middle class in 1977 as "salaried mental workers who do not own the means of production and whose major function in the social division of labor...(is)...the reproduction of capitalist culture and capitalist class relations"; and they named this group the "professional-managerial class". This group of middle class professionals are distinguished from the rest of the class by training and education (typically business qualifications and university degrees), with example occupations including academics and teachers, social workers, engineers, managers, nurses, and middle-level administrators. The Ehrenreichs developed their definition from studies by Andr Gorz, Serge Mallet, and others, of a "new working class", which, despite education and a perception of themselves as being middle class, were part of the working class because they did not own the means of production, and were wage earners paid to produce a piece of capital. The professional-managerial classes seek higher rank status and salary, and tend to have incomes above the average for their country.

History of Bengali Middle Class & its Consequences:


The state language movement began as a middle class protest. Students and teachers of Dhaka University were at the forefront. And it was only after students gave their life on that fateful day of 21 February 1952 that the movement took on the character of a mass uprising. That the middle class should have been the first to speak out against the imposition of Urdu as the only state language of the newly established state of Pakistan was only too natural. This class has always been both sensitive and responsive, and it saw in the threat of Urdu being the state language a very real danger to its hope of advancement, perhaps to its very existence. Through much pain and labour the Bengali Muslim middle class had acquired some skill in English, and would not, perhaps, have reacted violently if English were to continue as the language of the state for some time to come. But with Urdu attempting to come as a usurper the middle class was alarmed by ominous signs of the imposition of Urdu in different fields of governmental activities. On currency notes and coins as also on postal forms and envelopes Urdu had made its appearance. Non-Bengali
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immigrants from all over the subcontinent were busy occupying posts in government offices and manufacturing companies. They were setting up trading and business firms and making themselves owners of houses and property left vacant by migrating Hindus. Even the Bengali language was being intruded into by words and expressions of Urdu and Persian origin. That independence should turn into a new kind of subjugation and the Bengalees would be reduced to second class citizens only because they did not speak Urdu was totally unacceptable to the middle class. It came out on the streets to make its protests heard. But the middle class movement could not have been what it became later, namely, almost a revolutionary uprising against the state, without the participation of the people at large. That participation happened because there was a rising tide of frustration and resentment in East Bengal. Pakistan was made possible mainly because the Bengalese had voted for it and they constituted no less than 56 per cent of the population of the new state. They had supported the Pakistan demand not to see one set of foreign occupiers to be replaced by another but in the hope of achieving material advancement. But to their great disappointment, the public found out that the conditions of their life and livelihood were worsening instead of improving. Their resentment vented itself through the language movement. Language, of course, is dear to everyone's heart. So it was to the Bengalese. Their hope was that independence would not only bring them opportunities for material prosperity, but also create a way for cultural and educational enrichment through a promotion of their mother tongue. In the usurpation of Urdu they found a denial of all opportunities and promises. Quite reasonably, they felt betrayed. To the man in the street the educated were role models. They took pride in the students. And when the students were being fired upon and killed, the resultant indignation was as deep as it was widespread. The students had been at the forefront of the Pakistan movement and the public looked upon them as natural leaders. Seeing the students at the leadership of the new movement the common man took heart and lent his support as much as he could. Not to speak of the students only, there were leaders like Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani. Abul Hashim and the young Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whom people had seen fighting for a common cause and whom they now found thrown into prison because they were demanding that Bengali be made one of the state languages. People were dissatisfied and angry. Then there was the question of nationalism waiting to be resolved. The class conflict was, of course, very real and important. But for the middle class, and through them for the general public as well, the question of national identity was more immediate and visible. The state language movement proved beyond doubt that the Pakistanis were not a nation in any visible sense, and that language is a more effective and abiding force of unity than religion. The two-nation theory on which Pakistan was based had already been abandoned by, of all persons, Mohammad Ali Jinnah himself in his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly on 11 August 1947, three days before the new state came into existence.
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Pakistan, he famously declared, would be a secular state where, to quote his own words, 'Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.' He admitted that religion does not unite and noted that 'even as regards Muslims you have Pathans and Punjabis.' He could, and indeed should, have mentioned the Bengalees because they constituted the majority of the citizens of Pakistan and the majority of them were Muslims. However, he did not remember the Bengalees. In that same sentence, albeit a bit later, he said, 'Among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vaisnavas, Khatris, as also Bengalees, Madrasis and so on.' Does that 'as also' signify that to his mind the Bengalees and Madrasis were all Hindus? There is no way of getting a clarification. Nor do we need quarrel with his placement of Bengalees and Madrasis so close together, although Madras, to be sure, was not in Pakistan. But the words of the 'father of the nation' are now all part of history and cannot be altered. One can only note that Jinnah's attitude to the Bengalees was not untypical of the rulers against whom the language movement was the first mass outburst. But what could have brought the Punjabis and the Bengalees together within a single nationalism? Not surely geographical contiguity because East Bengal was separated from West Pakistan by more than a thousand miles of 'enemy' territory. Now that the founder of the state had dismissed religion, what remained to act as the unifying force? In hindsight, it seems that Jinnah was depending on language and perhaps that is the reason why he had come out with the fantastic and wholly undemocratic proposition that Urdu and Urdu alone should be the state language of his new nation. Maybe he had, mistakenly, been encouraged by the thought that it was Hindi which was likely to keep India, which he called Hindoostan, together as a nation. These are things of the past. Yet the fact remains that language cuts across class and religious divisions. Our language movement went beyond the middle class to become a people's revolt against the state, contained within it the spirit of nationalism based on language, gained in strength and ultimately led to the establishment of the sovereign state of Bangladesh. In a way, this has resolved the national question. But the class contradiction remains and has already proved more difficult to resolve than the problem of nationalism. That this is so is borne out by, among other things, the state of the Bengali language itself in the state of Bangladesh. To be sure, the state has a single state language; but Bengali is yet to become the language of the state. Its use has been denied in the highest courts of justice as also in the fields of higher education. The higher bureaucracy uses English more comfortably than it does Bengali. Even socially, the use of Bengali is less prestigious than that of English. This downgrading of Bengali is due largely to the attitude and role of the middle class, that very class which once spearheaded the language movement and carried it to its successful and legitimate conclusion. The middle class, however, is not what it was during the Pakistan days. After 1971 it has split itself into two, with one part rising higher and the other pushed downward. The prosperous upper
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middle class controls both the state and society and prefers, for local as well as global reasons, to cling to English in personal, social and educational spheres. The lower middle class remains under its superior's cultural and material sway. The persistent, indeed increasing, class division is responsible for much of our backwardness inasmuch as it helps the exploiters against the exploited and makes exploitation itself the ruling ideology. The use of Bengali can, in its own way, bring the classes together and make us aware of the urgent necessity of the resolution of the problem of class separation. That the right to the use of the mother tongue is natural and inalienable does not need to be demonstrated. It is the birthright of every individual and its denial signifies both unnaturalness and the hegemony of the powerful over the powerless. Therefore, the meaning of the movement we began in our country goes beyond territorial boundaries. It upholds the fact that in the last resort mother tongue is the space on which a people can stand in togetherness, locate itself, draw sustenance from inside as well as the world outside and, also, stand up against aggression from within and without. Patriotism and progress are promoted and brought together in a harmony by the use of the language one is born into. The world has been globalised. Globalization is not only contrary to but also works directly against internationalism. Globalization would be happy to see the erasure of cultural diversity. Internationalism, on the other hand, is based on recognition of the rights of nations to exist through retaining their identity. It is thus that the state language of Bangladesh has become part of both national and international heritage.

Middle Class & Emergence of Bangladesh as an Independent State:


The emergence of Bangladesh in 1971 is considered to be a unique event in contemporary South Asian history for several reasons. It was the first modern regional state in the post-colonial era and was built on a nationalism linked with one particular linguistic group. The new state was believed to be free from the colonial mindset and late-colonial politics of communalism. Therefore, it is no surprise why many people within and outside South Asia greeted the statehood of Bangladesh with engrossing interest. The birth of Bangladesh also meant that South Asia has got the potentiality to greet the postcommunalist era and to challenge the boundaries of antagonism regarding identity politics. However, very few persons could imagine at that revolutionary time that the politics of nationalism in Bangladesh itself will become highly contested and attain a paradoxical outlook within just a few years. The Bengali nationalism, energized by the language movement of the early 50s, was a social movement within the state of Pakistan. The movement was radicalized in the face of the stubbornness
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of the Pakistani state elite and violence in the war of 1971 by the nationalists was justified on the ground of self-defense. In the post-71 period, the new rulers of Bangladesh found the nationalist phraseology useful for legitimizing their position and to counter their critics. Bengali nationalism was thus equated with patriotism for the state of Bangladesh. But the critical task of defining or limiting the boundaries of Bengali nationalism was still undone. Although the people of the West Bengal supported the Bangladesh movement, the question of unified Bengal was never raised. In fact, Tajuddin Ahmed, the then Prime Minister of the interim government of Bangladesh, assured Indira Gandhi that the Awami League had no agenda for a unified Bengal. The conscious use of the notion 75 million Bengalis1 during the liberation war and after the emergence of Bangladesh also confirms the subjective decision of the Awami League leaders that only the Bengalis of East Pakistan constitute a nation in its own right. This separateness was also evident in the decision to include the geographical boundary of East Bengal in the national flag of Bangladesh during the war. The new constitution provided a chance for defining the salient features of Bengali nationalism which was declared to be one of four state principles. However, neither Sheikh Mujib nor his party leaders clearly spelled out their views on Bengali nationalism. Sheikh Mujib attempted to give simple, often vague, explanations of Bengali nationalism. In an important speech, he said, my civilization of Bengal, and my Bengal nation- these constitute Bengali nationalism. As most of the members of the parliament were all from the ruling AL, there was little debate regarding the definition of Bengali nationalism in the assembly and thus the concept remained ambiguous. But the constitution served other purposes well. In fact, it provided the much needed legitimacy for the Awami League government. Another critical factor that influenced the discourse of Bengali nationalism was the question regarding the role of Islam in the new state of Bangladesh. The Pakistan experience was a bitter one in terms of political Islam and it was quite understandable that secularism was going to be regarded as one of the cornerstones of Bengali nationalism in the new Bangladesh. The Bengali term of secularism, translated as dharmaniropekshata, literally means religious neutrality which is quite different in meaning from its use in the West. Due to widespread misperception of the term and fear of ordinary Muslims that the survival of their religion was at stake in the hands of the secularist leaders, Sheikh Mujib had to assure the public many a time that his secularism was not a threat to Islam6. In fact, his understanding of secularism was close to non-communalism. But a large section of the people remained confused about the nature of Muslim identity in a secular state. However, although the careful avoidance of religious symbols in the explication of Bengali nationalism was welcomed by the religious minorities, the Paharis of the Chittagong Hill Tracts were disturbed by the hegemonic concept of Bengaliness. Due to the decision of Chakma Raja Tri Dev Roy to side with the Pakistan Army during the war of liberation, the Hill people were regarded as the collaborators of the Pakistan Army. The leaders of the Hill felt the need for constitutional safeguards for their protection as a separate community and on 15 February 1972, a delegation led by Manobendra Narayan Larma (who was the lone elected MP from the CHT) called on Sheikh Mujib and placed the following demands: Autonomy for the CHT with its own legislature;
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Retention of the CHT Manual in the Constitution of Bangladesh; Continuation of tribal chiefs offices; Constitutional provisions restricting the amendment of the Manual and imposition of a ban on the influx of non-tribal people into the CHT The above demands were unacceptable to Sheikh Mujib and he insisted that there could be only one nation in Bangladesh. This was also unacceptable to Larma who by then had emerged as the champion of the Hill peoples cause. Therefore, the hegemonic formulation of Bengali nationalism within the constitutional framework denied the multicultural realities of Bangladesh which induced the creation of the PCJSS in 1972. The political changes in 1975 fostered the rise of Bangladeshi nationalism - which again marginalized the non-Bengali population with its emphasis on Islam. Concomitantly, Jumma nationalism was promoted by the PCJSS to counter this hegemonic construction. Ironically the creation of Jumma nationalism itself represents hegemonic dominance of the Chakmas over 13 different ethnic groups living in that region. By the mid 1970s full blown insurgency had started in the CHT and the region came under the total control of the military. Therefore, the political developments in the post-independent Bangladesh left no doubt in the minds of the people that there will not be any substantial change in their life-standard. The lofty slogans of Sonar Bangla were soon forgotten and political leaders were scrambling for power and money just like the Punjabi exploiters. Conspiracy theories10 regarding the expansionist Hindu India were getting popular among the masses. The failure of the government to improve the economic conditions made some observers to believe that the very survival of the new nation was in stake11. Sheikh Mujib, the person who fought for the parliamentary system of government all his life, suddenly turned dictatorial and established a one-party state through the launching of the so-called Second Revolution. The faade of democracy was lost and the growing resentment among the people was an opportunity for some disgruntled young army majors to kill Sheikh Mujib in August, 1975. Thus the project of Bengali nationalism was shut down, at least for some period, in a brutal fashion. The post-Mujib regime in Bangladesh immediately made some pro-Islamic and anti-Indian gestures which pleased the Islamic elements of the society and the Muslim world at large. General Ziaur Rahman, who came to power after a series of coup, tried to give his administration a civilian face. In June 1978, he became the President and soon after turned his attention toward the creation of his own political party. He and his party came out with the idea of Bangladeshi Nationalism which was in a sense based on anti-Indian feelings. It is interesting to note that on 21st of February, 1976, six months after the assassination of Sheikh Mujib, the Bangla Academy organized a seminar on Bengali nationalism on the occasion of the observance of Language Day where Khondokar Abdul Hamid, a journalist and a former cabinet minister known for his opposition of the liberation war, presented the key note paper which provided the theoretical basis of Bangladeshi Nationalism. The key points of his paper were as follows: Bengali nationalism would mean multi-state nationalism, for several million Bengalis live outside Bangladesh who cannot be included within the concept of Bengali nationalism; we cannot think in terms of pan-Bengalism or supra-nationalism.
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The people of Bangladesh, West Bengal and other Bengali-speaking areas may speak Bengali, may eat rice, may have commonalities in manners and customs, but they have not only different but also contradictory features in their cultures, national identity and national ideology. There is a perpetual difference between East and West Bengal it relates to blood, mind, intellect, emotions, sensitivity, religion, philosophy, tradition, inheritance, food, clothing, way of life, and so on. Bengali nationalism is not only a mistaken term but also historically unrealistic; it is without any substance as a political philosophy. Our nationalism should appropriately be termed Bangladeshi nationalism, for this nation has got a glorious identity, legacy, history, tradition, faith, language, art, literature, sculpture, music and so on and so forth. There are innumerable features in the Bangladeshi mind and life that distinguish this nation from the rest of the world and make them different from other speakers of Bengali as well as followers of Islam in other areas.16 Thus from the very beginning, the concept of Bangladeshi nationalism was clearly influenced by communal thinking. Zias Prime Minister, Shah Aziz even talked about the possibility of naming the Bengali language as Bangladeshi Language. Pressure was mounting on Zia from the right wing Islamists to declare Bangladesh an Islamic Republic. His pro-Islamic foreign policy also gave him respect and fame in the Middle East. However, the increasing use of Islam and its symbols created an uneasy atmosphere for the religious minorities living in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the Bangladeshi nationalism, which claimed to provide a comprehensive identity for the citizens of Bangladesh, failed to incorporate the ethnic minorities of the CHT region. Once again, the Constitution was manipulated to incorporate the basic ideals of Bangladeshi Nationalism. Bismillahir Rahmanur Rahim was added before the preamble of the constitution, the words liberation struggle was replaced by the words War of Independence, Secularism was replaced by total faith and belief in Almighty Allah; socialism was read as economic and social justice and Article , which elaborated the principle of secularism, was obliterated. All these changes paved the way for the return of the Islamic political parties into the arena of politics.Since then, the political understandings between the Islamic parties and the parties of Bangladeshi nationalism grew stronger19. As the number of Madrasas and Maktabs increased, the support base for the Islamic parties became larger. After Zias assassination, president Ershad followed the same ideology of Bangladeshi nationalism. He in fact institutionalized the concept by making Islam the state religion of Bangladesh. It would be wrong to suggest that there was no protest against these changes. But those protests were confined within the urban intelligentsia and religious minority groups. This far, we have just reviewed very briefly about the status of Bengali nationalism in the immediate post-independent Bangladesh and on the advent of Bangladeshi nationalism in the nationalist discourse. The quick shift in the pattern of identity politics is certainly bewildering. The debate over Bengali/Bangladeshi nationalism has been so contesting that the whole nation seems to be sharply divided into two fractions. Even the history of 1971 has been plagued by these two opposing
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viewpoints. The manipulative politics of words, names and dates21 has been so huge that there exists many versions (including Awami history and BNP history) of 1971. The past has been created in order to legitimize the present political order, while the difficult paths of creative interpretation of historical events have not been taken. Thus, the political history of Bangladesh, like all histories, is constructed by people who believes in the usable past and interprets the history in order to legitimize their political project. What Bangladesh needs now is independent professional historical work that can challenge historical myths and the territorialisation of memory. Only then, it would be possible to expose the alternative histories and to provide new insights into the paradoxical nature of nationalism. While analyzing the politics of nationalism in Bangladesh, Willem van Schendel identified three ideological positions. The first, which he called renewal nationalism, aims at redefining the Bengali nationalism in order to discredit authoritarianism and injustice. It is not a mere continuation of the old Bengali nationalism, but employs symbols of old nationalism to new ends. It argues that the post-75 era has been marked by the manipulative politics of the military rule which created a false dichotomy between Bengali and Bangladeshi nationalism. The second position or response was developed due to the ideological crisis of the mid-70s. It was a fusion between old communalism and new interpretations of Islam. Far from being archaic, this response which Schendel called political Islam, became more innovative and attracted the peasants and a squeezed urban middle class. It provided an ideological alternative to the disgruntled children of the state elite. Political Islam tends to be post-nationalist in nature, but it too provides communal identity and a sense of superiority. Schendel also thinks that these two positions do not have monolithic character and neither Bengaliness nor Islamism has been accepted as natural. In his own words: Few people in Bangladesh have been willing to sacrifice their allegiance to either their ethnic group or their religious community. Even though it seems inevitable that some form of Bangladeshiness should eventually develop, the compromise which is on offer now is far from universally accepted. The third interpretation, which Schendel calls cultural pluralism, gained its momentum in the early 80s. It refuses to accept the debate among the Bengalis regarding their ethnic identity and emphasizes the unequal power relation between cultural groups. It also rejects the binary opposition between Hindu and Muslim on which the nationalist debate hinges. Cultural pluralists strongly argue that citizenship in Bangladesh has been restricted to certain groups, excluding many others. Finally they believe that the elites have been busy in making Bangladesh a highly centralized and authoritarian state since the early days of her statehood. The debates of the nationalists have also infected the historiography of Bangladesh. 1971 has been written, interpreted, discussed or even distorted from the narrow viewpoints of nationalist politics. Myths have replaced facts; heroes as well as villains have been invented, created or discovered. Furthermore, the subjective nature of historical writings has been able to suppress alternative memories in order to give credentials to a common history. The retrospective vision of the past oversimplifies the complexities of major events like 1971.
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Ranabir Samaddar has criticized the processes through which the role of the leftist parties in Bangladesh politics has been ignored. The democratic elements of those movements and the rich traditions of our peasant movements are now little discussed in the discourse of 1971. Ironically, both the Bengali nationalists and the Bangladeshi nationalists locate their legitimacy in 1971. Therefore a critique of 71 has become quite impossible. The cultural and military aspects of 71 have been explored through nationalist viewpoints, whereas the political enquiry remained inadequate. So, certain aspects in the history of Bangladesh received more importance, while the disturbing elements have been silenced in order to frame a homogenous past. Samaddar also found contradictory features in the nationalist time. When Bengali nationalism was constructed as an ethical community in the 1950s and 60s, it attracted a large section of people who were willing to support the movement. But in the post-71 period, when the difficult task of state formation started and citizens were supposed to submit to the state, the ethical content of Bengali nationalism began to fade away. Thus, a need for alternative morality was felt and this explains, as Sammaddar believes, the re-emergence of Islam as one of the structural components of nationalism in Bangladesh. B.K. Jahangir, however, thinks that the lack of any substantive developmental ideology compelled the Muslims in Bangladesh to return to Islam and this was inevitable. He was indeed pointing to the failure of the civil society. But such interpretations overlook the fact that political Islam was imposed from above in Bangladesh. Neither the major political parties of the 70s nor the people demanded the return of Islam in the public sphere. Political Islam in fact provided the much needed legitimacy for the military regimes and their Islamist partners. As has been observed by many, political Islam could not and has not been able to fulfill the vacuity of ethics in the nationalist discourse. Another feature of contemporary nationalist debate in Bangladesh is the total absence of any serious discussion on the partition of 1947. The word partition is now being used to refer both 1947 and 1971 in international academia. But in Bangladesh, researchers or journalists have not used this term to refer 1971. Thus 1947 seem to be irrelevant in the discussion of 1971; better words (separation, discovery, cruel birth, revolution etc) are in use to capture the cruel moment of the birth of Bangladesh. A conscious attempt is therefore needed to rectify the historical discontinuities in our readings of 71 and to start the epistemological enquiry into the discourse of partition. So, we see that the nationalist debate (Bengali/Bangladeshi) in Bangladesh has been centered on the historiography of 1971 and on the interpretation of the past events. The debate has largely remained a concern of the elite and by keeping the tension alive, the more important questions regarding democracy and good-governance have been ignored. A critical look at the present discourse of nationalism will reveal that the whole debate between the Bengali nationalists and the Bangladeshi nationalists has created unnecessary tensions within the political arena. The hegemonic construction of Bengali nationalism left no space for other groups and identities and the history of the state of Bangladesh has been equated with the history of Bengalis. Similarly the over emphasis on the Bengali middle class movement has overlooked the contributions of other groups and agencies (peasants, leftist parties) in the creation of Bangladesh. Furthermore, the practice of reading history on the basis of religious categories (for example, the Muslim Bengalis) disregards the intricacies and complex shifts of modern history of Bengal. While some academic historian was acting as assistants to the noble project
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of nation-building, by producing one-dimensional history, they paid little attention to the cultural plurality of the society and thus the possibility of non-communal interpretation of history was deterred. In order to have a peaceful resolution to this nationalist tension in Bangladesh, one must and should probe into the very logic of having a debate that centers on Bengali/Bangladeshi dichotomy. These two narratives have drawn attention away from the crucial factors of cultural inequality, low economic growth and political instability of the society. Therefore, asking questions that start with what if can be a better strategy for critically reflect on the historical events or the interpretation of those events. A different kind of debate, which reflects the pluralist viewpoints, is thus necessary to find out a way to redefine nationalism in Bangladesh that can rekindle the liberating intentions of the Bangladesh movement.

Bengali Middle Class; A Rational Thinking:


Rarely does Kolkata or West Bengal make headlines in Delhi, Bombay or Bangalore. But 2007 has proved to be different. On March 14, the West Bengal Governments police, under orders from the Chief Minister of the State, marched on to a cluster of villages in and around the area of Nandigram, about 200 km from Calcutta, and in a bid to break the morale of protesting villagers, opened fire on peaceful demonstrators killing no less than 14 people. That created headlines all over India and till date the tension is simmering. The villagers were angry over the attempted takeover of their lands by the State Government. The government, nominally called Left Front Government (because it has several constituent parties), is essentially run by the largest partner, the CPI-M, a party that has ruled Calcutta and West Bengal for 30 uninterrupted years since 1977. For a very long time the party and the government were avowedly anti-capitalist. However, with changes in the global order of things and with a change of guard within the party, it has become extremely pro-capital these days. As a mark of its pro-capitalist ways, it has declared intentions of creating Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in different parts of the State, pockets of industrial growth where there will be no taxation, no customs, no environmental laws, no labour lawsvirtually foreign enclaves no Indian soil. The area around Nandigram was designated in late 2006 for the purpose of creation of a hub for chemical industries and the State Government had told that the Salem Group of Indonesia will build the SEZ. The irony is that even though the CPI-M has become pro-capitalist, it has little respect for democratic norms or rule of law. So, even before the State Government machinery, centred in Kolkata, actually made any formal requests to peasants for taking over of their lands, a local party bigwig and a Member of Parliament from adjoining Haldia (it is a port town and is apparently booming) deemed fit to send out a circular stating that lands of villagers in quite a few villages will be taken over for the purpose of creating an SEZ. That created a furore among the villagers and a resistance started; they vowed that they will not part with their land which they have tilled for generations. The State Police tried to break the peaceful resistance of the villagers on March 14, and the deaths of innocent peasants led to a plethora of protests from the Opposition political parties and groups and also from independent intellectuals of Kolkata and beyond. Even Gopal Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhis grandson and the present
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Governor of West Bengal, found the killings to be a horrific incident and himself tried to visit the place where the deaths happened but was stopped mid-way by the CPI-M cadres. For all through the 30 long years that the CPM (for most Bengalis resident in the State of West Bengal, thats how the party is called) has been in power in the State the Bengali middle class has been the pillar of support for the party. People belonging to the Bengali middle class are usually known in India to be lovers of literature and culture and Bengal in general is known to be a bit Leftist. Many Bengali intellectuals, be they poets, writers, theatre workers, little magazine organisers, college lecturers, they kept on the right side of the CPM, the party of the Left. In the late eighties and early seventies it was the in-thing to be Left. In the beginning of the new millennium that halo had almost gone but still the Bengali intelligentsia was broadly supportive of the Left. Many criticised the utter mediocrity that the CPM has unleashed everywhere in Bengal by keeping a stranglehold on jobs in bureaucracy and academia, thereby stunting excellence and growth. Yet large numbers of people in the intelligentsia were silent supporters of the party in power. The police operation in Nandigram changed that status quo. Poets and singers and writers and filmmakers, who would never come out openly against the party in power or its savvy poetry-spouting Chief Minister, for the first time united in opposition to a brutality that was as savage as any that occurs regularly in many of the non-Left States of India. All the year Kolkata was full of one rally and mass protest after another. The CPM, which is usually dreaded by people, who often say to their near and dear ones, Dont do that, the party bosses may not like that, for the first time in several years had to come to a discussion table with the Opposition parties about resolving the crisis in Nandigram. In many ways the Opposition partiesthough they are a divided housedid play a leading role in forcing the State Government to retract from its earlier plans. After the agitations that have rocked the State since the police firing and killing of innocent peasants, the State Government has declared that there wont be any SEZ in Nandigram. But even as Nandigram flared up and Opposition parties campaigned against the government policy and police brutality, what was unique for Kolkata was its intellectuals coming down to the streets. There was a time in the late 1960s in Kolkata when thousands of Bengalis marched for Vietnam and against US imperialism. That fervour is a thing of the past. After decades the Nandigram brought back memories of those times. What were the intellectualsfrom the 82-year-old writer, Mahasweta Devi, to renowned filmmaker Aparna Sen to painter Suvaprasanna to singer Kabir Sumanprotesting about? On the face of it, the protests were against the governments forcible takeover of agricultural land of poor peasants, without any concern for their alternate livelihood and, of course, against police brutality. But in my view, there was a more important message. The ruling party was anti-capitalist twenty years ago and had tried to stop the introduction of computers in West Bengal in the mid-1980s, and now they were pro-capitalist trying to bulldoze peasants and create new industries. The central point that has remained the same with the party is that it is out and out anti-democratic, somewhat Stalinist. For 30 long years Bengalis have lived under this nearly one-party rule. What Nandigram has succeeded in effecting is that it has opened up a pandoras box of protests. Many small violations of civilised norms and civil society values that were happening and were not being reported, started to come out into the open. The protests against the party and government were limited to a handful of democratic rights activists and members of the Opposition parties. With Nandigram that changed, may be for good. Protest against the antiPage | 17

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democratic machina-tions of the CPM has become more and more vociferous in the last few months. As I write, there is news about further violence between the CPM party members and Opposition party activists in Nandigram. Now after nearly a year of disquiet in the villages around Nandigram the Chief Minister is ready to call Central Police forces from New Delhi. Such a thing has never happened in 30 years of right Left rule in West Bengal. There is an irony in all of this. The CPM had come to power through a historic victory in the elections in 1977 when it had promised that land will be given to the tillers and it effectively did distribute land to the landless labourers and sharecroppers. That action had helped it to retain its hold over the Bengal countryside for decades. Now that the middle class party leaders have turned believers of neo-liberal capitalism and are ready to take away land from the tillers, it seems the impoverished Bengal peasants are getting ready for another historic change. I.E. This occurrence is not directly related with Bangladeshi middle class, but it is a great example of the activity of Bengali middle class.

Conclusion:
Middle class; In many ways this is the least satisfactory term which attempts in one phrase to define a class sharing common work and market situations. The middle stratum of industrial societies has expanded so much in the last hundred years that any category which embraces both company directors and their secretaries must be considered somewhat inadequate. In popular perception, all white-collar work is middle class, but sociologically it is necessary to subdivide this class into distinct groups sharing similar market, work, and status situations. For example, John H. Goldthorpe (Social Mobility and Class Structure in Modern Britain, 1980) distinguishes the service class of senior managers and professionals; the junior or subaltern service class of lower professionals such as teachers, junior managers, and administrators; routine non-manual workers such
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as clerks and secretaries; and owners of small businesses (the traditional petit-bourgeoisie). Conventionally, the service class is referred to as the upper-middle class; the junior service class as the middle class proper; and the others as the lower-middle class. Thus defined, in Britain the uppermiddle class comprises some 10 per cent of the population; the middle class accounts for around 20 per cent; and the lower-middle class takes in a further 20 per cent. Taken together, therefore, the middle class is the largest single class in the overall structure. However, some sociologists (especially those of a Marxist persuasion) would not accept that most routine white-collar workers were middle class, on the grounds that their employment situation is generally equivalent (or even inferior) to that of many working-class people. They prefer to call this group the new working class. This is not a view which most white-collar workers themselves share, nor one which is substantiated by sociological evidence. Equally, the term middle class is now often used by journalists and politicians to refer to what might better be called the middle mass of those earning somewhere close to average incomes. Evidence from Gordon Marshall et al.'s national study of Social Class in Modern Britain (1984) shows that ordinary people are somewhat more discriminating. For example, 35 per cent of the sample defined the middle-class as professionals; 11 per cent mentioned managers; only 7 per cent talked of the middle class as being all white-collar workers.

References:
Professor Serajul Islam Choudhury _journal of Notun Diganta.

GORDON MARSHALL. "middle class." A Dictionary of Sociology. 1998. Encyclopedia.com. 5 Dec. 2009 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>. BANGLADESH TOWARDS 21ST CENTURY , published by the Ministry of Information, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh http://www.globalfront.com/farooqm/writings/academic/consensus.html . Banglapedia 2006
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Explore the BBC


Middle Classes: Their Rise and Sprawl by Simon Gunn and Rachel Bell (Phoenix, 2003) The Public Culture of the Victorian Middle Class. Ritual and Authority in the English

Industrial City, 1840-1914 by Simon Gunn, (Manchester University Press, 2000)


Class edited by Patrick Joyce (Oxford University Press, 1995) The Making of the British Middle Class? Studies of Regional and Cultural Diversity eds.

Alan Kidd and David Nicholls, (Sutton, 1998) Census of India 1911, Volume VI, Calcutta I. Report on Native Newspapers, 1914-1916. McPherson, Muslim Microcosm, pp.29, 30, 41.
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Saogat, 1, 5, B 1325/1919. Anisuzzaman, Muslim Banglar Samayik Patrika, pp.203-204. Urdu Bhasha o Bangali Musalman, Al-Eslam, Sraban B 1324/1917. Chandiprasad Sarkar, The Bengali Muslims, A Study in their Politicization, pp.66-67.
Patrer Uttar (Reply to Sudhakanto Raychoudhury), Bangiya Musalman Sahitya Patrika, 2,

4, B1326/1919. Narir Mulya o Islamer Jer-alochona (The continuing discussion on the status of women and Islam), Bangiya Musalman Sahitya Patrika, 3, 1, B1327/1920.
Bangiya Musalman Sahitya Patrika, 1, 2, B 1325/ 1918. Bangiya Musalman Sahitya Patrika,

2, 4, B 1326/1919. Saogat, 1, 1, B 1325/1919.


Moslem Bharat, Asvin B 1327/1920.

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