Kawsar P.

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Kawsar P.


Bangladesh has seen its share of turmoil since Britain left the sub-continent in 1948, and this family has seen those events first hand.


Kawsar P.

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Kawsar *

I am American Muslim citizen who was born in Bangladesh, to couple from India and
Pakistan. The last three generations of my family before me have live through three wars. My
family has been a part of the Indian Independence War, Pakistani Independence War and the
Bangladeshi Independence War. It is always the survivors who gain or lose the most in the war,
same had happened to my family.
During 1915-1945 these three countries were all part of a British Colony. With the help
of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and many others India was led to its
freedom. But within India there were issues; the Indian citizens. India’s population was, and still
is, very diverse; there were Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Sikh, and many other. Diversity
in a nation is good, but it wasn’t the case here. Muslims in India didn’t want to be a part of India
they wanted their own nation. And when this war broke out my family lost a lot, they were
resided in Hindu dominated area in middle of India. Hindus and Muslims just jumped out on the
streets and robbed, abused, raped, and killed anyone they would. When it became absolutely
unsafe my grandparent, who lived with their parents, all had to relocated to find safer ground.
They left behind their home, land, farmland, and farm animals. Many people were killed in this
time, including few of my family members. My father’s aunt saw her own son being slaughter
and thrown in the well along with many other young males. To find refuge, my family members
were all over the Indian map. Some found safe ground in Karachi, West Pakistan and some in
Bihar, India and some in Calcutta, India and some in Dhaka, East Pakistan. The ones who
moved to Dhaka, which is now the capital of Bangladesh, little did they know, that violent will
follow them there too.

In 1971, another war broke out between East and West Pakistan, it was a fight for the
national language. Since my family was from India and we spoke Urdu, we are once again on
the minority. Once again killing began, this time it was worst. My father’s family was well
established at this point, but that didn’t matter because they could speak the Bengali language.
Once again everyone moved around trying to find safer place. Again they had to leave their land
and house, and everything. Some were able to sell their properties and manage to escape to India
or Pakistan; my father’s family was able to do that. But my mother side of the family couldn’t
afford to escape, they were forcefully kick out of their own home. They found shelter in a three
roomed house, they lived there with seven other family. There would be few days in a row when
no one ate anything. My mother’s youngest sister died out of hunger at the age of nine months
and her oldest brother was killed at the age of 20. It was a very tough time for them, no one
know when they were going to eat the next meal or if they would see the new dawn of the
morning. Thankfully the war ended in March 26, 1971, and East Pakistan wasn’t East Pakistan
anymore; it was Bangladesh.
There were some refugee camps in Bangladesh, for the Urdu speakers. Since my
mother’s family lost everything in the war, there we living in refugee camps for few years. Even
after the war, for many years Urdu speaks were discriminated against. In 1989, when my mother
took my brother to enroll in an elementary school, he was denied admission because we didn’t
speak proper Bengali. My parents went though the discrimination, and they didn’t want us to
face the same thing, and that is why we moved to American to get better education and get a fair
chance at life that they didn’t get.



Kawsar P., “Kawsar P.,” Historical Memory:, accessed March 8, 2021, https://memory.ctevans.net/items/show/8.

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