Bangladeshi migrant takes his politics to ‘Probash’ 

Today, in the sweltering summer evening, as I frequent a favourite Turkish cafe, where three Bangladeshis from Pheni, Comilla and Brahmanbaria work as service staff. All three of them come from Bangladeshi districts adjoining Tripura and hence speak the dialect from the area. The time was in the heart of Iftar time, and my friend from Pheni was sipping away his black tea, while serving a constant stream of driving in costumers including a Filipino man, who was buying Shwarma dinner who was wondering, why is not beef available. 
In the fast few days, they were hesitant to speak with me, as they saw me as Indian speaking a Bangla unfamiliar to them in their daily lives. Language is reflective of socioeconomic privileges. The ice was broken when the man from Pheni was subtly overjoyed with India’s capitulation to Pakistan yesterday. He started today’s conversation with India’s defeat and emphasising how humiliating the 180 run was. He then moved to another south Asian passion, politics. A man who has spent the past two decades in Kuwait, Dubai and Muscat, certainly had a ferocious passion for politics of Begum Khaleda Zia’s kind. 
He was acerbic towards the League and was confident that the current administration had lost confidence of the masses. He was especially keen to stress that the BNP was not anti minority (assuming that I was of the same ilk) and that the Hindu community has been taken for a ride by the League, which the Hindus are realising. He also alleged that the players in the BD Cricket team were connected to the establishment politics, with a precise distaste for Saumya Sarkar. The BNP runs active cells all over the gulf through cultural clubs. 
Bangladeshi blue collar migrant diaspora is very involved in domestic politics unlike their Indian counterparts. As I have attended League meetings in Singapore, where these are not permitted and performed under the guise of ‘culture commemorations’. As the proverb goes, culture is politics and politics is culture’. 
Bengali culture has activism embedded in its DNA. The marginalisation of the migrant worker in ‘probash’ causes the migrant to find meaning in politics back home. BD allows for dual citizenship, unlike India although OCI card is a decent proxy although voting is not allowed under the scheme. Dual citizenship allows Bangladeshis to be invested in domestic politics. Indian Policy establishment must be keeping a tab on Bangladeshi politics as the tide seems to be turning with a Gaurdian editorial on it today.


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