Ghosh [Abstract]

An ‘infiltration’ of time? Hindu Chauvinism and Bangladeshi migration in/to Kolkata, India [Full text]

Gautam Ghosh [1]

Abstract:  In the context of the growth of Hindu chauvinism (Hindutva) in India, this article explores the ways Bengali middle-class caste-Hindus have become increasingly anti-Bangladeshi and, in particular, increasingly hostile to immigrants into India from Bangladesh. The aim is two-fold. First, to show that a main reason for the increasingly anti-Bangladeshi sentiment is these Bengali Hindus’ particular experience of or, more precisely, their particular interpretation of, their own location in Indian history. This group, at times referred to as the bhadralok, had once seen itself, not without reason, as India’s national elite and has sought to re-establish that status. Second, it is suggested that the Bangladeshi immigrants represent an “infiltration” or “interruption” of time as much as territory, providing the temporal backdrop for anti-Bangladeshi resentment. In this case the temporality at issue is the postcolonial imperative of progress. The paper suggests that attention to issues of temporality can shed light on key aspects of nationalism — postcolonial nationalism and perhaps more broadly liberal nationalism — in relation to, among other matters, the legitimation of leadership.

Keywords: Hindu, nationalism, Bengal, India, transnational, temporality

[1] University of Otago, New Zealand, &