Working to help transform the intellectual landscape of the Bangladeshi community in the UK and discover and celebrate the shared common roots of Britain's diversity

Brick Lane Circle                                     

Welcome to website of Brick Lane Circle!

We hope you will find the website interesting, informative and stimulating. If you have any suggestions about how we can create opportunities for visitors to interact with materials posted and important debates and discussion we would like to hear from you.

Fourth annual conference on


Saturday 17 May 2014, 2.00-7.00pm
Brady Arts Centre, 192-196 Hanbury St, London E1 5HU

Rohingya and their problem


By Nurul Islam, Chairman, Arakan Rohingya National Organisation

Nurul Islam was born in 1948 in Arakan, Burma. Actively took part in Muslim student activities and Rohingya movement while studying in Rangoon University. Worked as the President of the Rangoon University Rohingya Student Association in 1971.

Tears In The Fabric

A Documentary Film

By The Rainbow Collective

The Rainbow Collective: Hannan Majid and Richard York have been working together as documentary filmmakers since graduating (,

In Savar, Bangladesh, Razia struggles to raise her 2 grandchildren after losing her daughters in the Rana Plaza factory collapse which claimed the lives of over 1000 garment workers. 1 year after the disaster, TEARS IN THE FABRIC follows Razia as she searches for resolution and answers through protest on the streets of Dhaka, in the education of her grandsons and amongst the rubble and torn fabrics of Rana Plaza.

Palace and Folk: Bengali Music's Past and Present

By Richard David Williams and  Priyanka Basu

When Wajid 'Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Lucknow, settled in Calcutta in 1856 he constructed a new musical court. Contemporary staging of “folk” performances post-Partition, performance genres such as Kobigaan have seen a constant debate between “authentic” and “curtailed performances” within the larger rubric of cultural politics in Bengal/Bangladesh.

Richard David Williams is a cultural historian of North India, and researches the interplay between religious traditions, music, and literature. He is currently finishing his PhD at King's College London. Priyanka Basu is a performer (in Odissi dance) and her research interests include Bengali theatre, music, and films, Marxist cultural movements, living ethnographies, and Dance Studies. She is in the process of finishing her PhD at SOAS, London.

The Road to Shapla Chottor: The State, The Academy, The Press and The Human rights Industry

By Puru Miah (The Brethren of Black Lotus)

Brick Lane Circle's events are is designed to
help improve our understanding of Bangladesh, the experiences of Bangladeshis around the world and the complexities and challenges faced by the country and its people.

All welcome! Free entry!

For more details or to book a place please contact M Ahmedullah, Secretary of Brick Lane Circle, on 07574224891 or email

Download programme


Battle of Plassey Day: 23 June every year

How should we remember 23 June 1757?  This day in June this year will be 254 years after the Battle of Plassey when the English East India Company conquered Bengal, under the leadership of Robert Clive.  The battle itself was quite an insignificant event, lasting only a day and fought on an unimportant field, about 100 miles north of Kolkata (Calcutta).  However, it was a highly momentous event, being the springboard for and the beginning of the British Indian Empire.  More ...

Walcot Hall, Shropshire
Robert Clive purchased Walcot  estate in 1764 for £90,000 from his Bengal loot

How should we remember the day?


Muhammad Ali Goes East
Bangladesh I love You - Film Show and Q&A with Reginald Massey

Reginald Massey directed the documentary film made in 1978, which records Muhammad Ali's tour of Bangladesh

Bengal History Week - October 2012
The Rich Mix Centre, East London, UK
By Brick Lane Circle

Brick Lane Circle's third annual conference on the


Saturday 27 April 2013, 11am-7.30pm

Rich Mix Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA

The conference is designed to help improve our understanding of Bangladesh, experiences of Bangladeshis around the world and the complexities and challenges faced by the country and its people. Next


We would like thank all the speakers / presenters who gave up their valuable time to come and share their research findings with our audience. They are: José Mapril (Who sings for Sonar Bangla? (Trans) national imaginaries and political memories among Bangladeshis in Lisbon), Munsur Ali (Shongram - The movie. Trailer and Q&A), Shahida Rahman and Dr Nazneen Ahmed (Reimagining the Victorian East End: Islam, Lascar Seafarers and Subaltern Histories), Dr Anindita Ghosh (Bengali Pundits, the British and the Artificial Construction of the Bengali Language in the Nineteenth Century), Dr Delwar Hussain (The Future that did not Happen: The Ruins of Progress on the Bangladesh-India Border) and Dr. Elora Shehabuddin (Developing the Modern Woman: Feminism, Nationalism, and Cold War Politics in East Bengal).

Bengali Pundits, the British and the Artificial Construction of the Bengali Language in the Nineteenth Century 

By Dr Anindita Ghosh


Reimagining the Victorian East End: Islam, Lascar Seafarers and Subaltern Histories

Shahida Rahman and Dr Nazneen Ahmed

Shahida Rahman. She is an author, writer and publisher, born and raised in Cambridge. Her first historical novel, Lascar was published in 2012. She is the co-founder and Director of a print-on-demand book publishing company, Perfect Publishers. Shahida has a number of published articles and is currently writing her second novel.

Dr Nazneen Ahmed. She is currently working as Research Assistant on the Oxford Diasporas Programme project “Religious faith, space and Diasporic Communities in East London, 1880-present.”  Her D. Phil. in English Literature from Wadham College, Oxford, examined the cultural development of Bangladeshi secular nationalism through literature and cultural production from 1947-1971.


Thinking about Peace: Oral History and Testimony after the 1971 War of Bangladesh

We were all very pleased with the seminar on Thinking about Peace: Oral History and Testimony after the 1971 War of Bangladesh by Yasmin Saikia at Davenant Centre on Sunday 25 March 2012, 3-5pm.

The presentation was very interesting, which generated heated interactions during the Q&A session. Many new areas were explored and fresh ideas presented as possible solutions to unresolved issues caused by the 1971 war.  However, we could not take all the questions as we ran out of time. Hope we can continue the debate and discussion in the days, weeks, months and years to come.


The Roots of Political Conflict in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh

By Shapan Adnan


Are we Bengalis, Bangladeshis, Muslims, British or something else? Role of history in identity formation: a panel discussion

Panelists: Dr Nazneen Ahmed, Dr Fuad Ali, Dr Georgie Wemyss and Ruhul Abidin


Failure of the Pakistan experiment in East Pakistan:
Economic Growth and Political Crisis 1947-71

Part 1

By Professor Mushtaq Khan

Failure of the Pakistan experiment in East Pakistan:
Economic Growth and Political Crisis 1947-71

Part 2

By Professor Mushtaq Khan

Channel S Awards 2011

On the evening of 7 April 2011 Channel S held its annual awards at their mega studio in Walthamstow, where guests, celebrities and presenters created an amazing must be at event. Brick Lane Circle was among 19 categories of winners. The award to Brick Lane Circle was for Achievement in Education Research / Teaching, which was in recognition for publishing the book called Plassey's Legacy, researched and written by eight young people aged 18-25.

This initiative was part of a project ran by Brick Lane Circle called the Battle of Plassey Young People's Project, developed to encourage more research and learning about the shared past of Britain and Bengal / Bangladesh - funded by Heritage Lottery Fund. Further details of the project can be obtained by visiting

Three of the eight young researchers attended the event to collect the award if successful. They are: Lothifa Chowdhury, Ruhana Ali and Atif Kazi,who were thrilled when they found out that we won.

You can get the full list of winners of the Channel S Awards 2011 by clicking below:

Channel S Awards 2011




This is Brick Lane Circle's exciting new project that seeks to engage members of London's diverse communities to discover and learn more about the places of origin of each other, through the use of social media and global internet communication 


Wednesday 25 June 2014, 6.30-8.30pm

Conference Room, Idea Store Whitechapel 

321 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1BU


6.30pm: Welcome and refreshment

6.45pm: Introduction and project information

7.00pm: Presentations on sub-regions of three countries around the world and East End Cockneys:

  • Eritrea by Senait Mebrahtu
  • Proud to be a Cockney by Ray Sparra Everingham (Cockney Heritage Trust)
  • People in East London from Vietnam by Quan Tran
  • Three thousand years of Tunisia by Hatem Kocht

7.40pm: Two group discussion on

1.  How British culture, values, institutions and opportunities are influencing changes in lifestyles of migrants

2.  How migrants' cultures, values and lifestyles are influencing changes in British society

8.10pm: Feedback from group discussion

8.20pm: Questions, comments and the next step

Do you want to explore new ways of bringing communities together?

Are you interested in learning more about London's diversity?

Do you want to help generate new knowledge to challenge prejudices / stereotypes that cause community misunderstanding / tension?

Do you want to learn new skills, gain fresh experiences and help find creative solutions to London’s diversity challenges? 

If the answers to the above are yes then please come to the open

evening and find out more about the project and how you can get involved

London is a very diverse multi-cultural city and the levels of diversity are deepening and widening every day.  Diversity brings positive benefits as well as unease and community tension arising from the myriads of cultures and faiths living side by side.  The project seeks to make a positive contribution towards improving community cohesion and promoting better understanding between London's diverse communities

For further details about the project or to attend the Second Open Evening  please email Muhammad Ahmedullah on or call 07914119282


Images from Naveed Mahbub Standup Comedy Show


6-13 October 2013                                                          

                                                             Bengal History Week 2013

Sunday 6 October 2012, 3-5pm
East India Company Dockside Walk
(Free but advance booking only. Please email for booking)
By Dr Georgie Wemyss. She is  the author of The Invisible Empire: White Discourse, Tolerance and Belonging (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009)

Monday, 7 October, 7.00-9.00pm
Idea Store Whitechapel, 321 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1BU
Rabindranath and Jibanananda Re-born
By Joe Winter.
He is a poet and school teacher. He taught in London comprehensive schools until the age of 50 when he went to live in Calcutta (Kolkata). There he taught part-time (Calcutta International School), wrote newspaper articles ('The Statesman' of Calcutta), and translated poems and some prose of Rabindranath Tagore, and poems of Jibanananda Das.

Tuesday 8 October, 7-9pm
Jagonari Centre, 183-185 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DN
Migration from the Bengal delta to Britain - recovering the less known as well as recording the well known
By John Eade. He is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology (University of Roehampton) and   Visiting Professor (University College London).  He completed a doctoral thesis on Bangladeshi   community representation in Tower Hamlets in 1986. Since then he has been researching identity politics, the Islamisation of space and global migration in London. He has published and edited / co edited many scholarly papers and books.

Wednesday 9 October, 7-9pm Jagonari Centre, 183-185 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DN
Rahimunnesa (1763-1800) and Dilwar Husayn Ahmad (1840-1913): two Great Bengali Scholars
By Muhammad Mojlum Khan.  He is an award-winning writer, literary critic and research scholar, and author of the bestselling The Muslim 100 (2008) and The Muslim Heritage of Bengal (2013). He has published many articles  his writings have been translated into many languages including Bengali, Indonesian and German. He is a Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Founding     Director of Bengal Muslim Research Institute UK.

Thursday 10 October, 7-9pm
Kobi Nazrul Centre, 30 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR
Introducing the Heritage Lottery Fund
By Norma Pearson.  She is a Development Officer  at the Heritage Lottery Fund. She will make a presentation on the Heritage Lottery Fund, followed by a Q&A session. There will be an opportunity to have a one to one with her if you have a project idea that you want to discuss. 
All welcome but spaces for one to one is very limited and strictly by advance booking (first come first serve).
Heritage Lottery Fund can help communities and groups discover and share their past, and make life more rooted and interesting.

Saturday 12 October 2013, 2.00-7.30pm
Brady Arts Centre, Hanbury Street, London E1 5HU 2.15pm
Desh bidesh revisited: An exploration of the British Bangladeshi social field
By Benjamin Zeitlyn. He is a lecturer in International Education and Development (University of Sussex). He convenes the Masters in International Education and Development.


The Centenary of Tagore’s Nobel Prize and his Relevance to Today
By Xiaoyu Zhang (Bristi). She gained her master degree at South Asian Area Studies (School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS in London), and her bachelor degree in Bengali Language and Culture from  Communication University of China and Dhaka University.

A fully staged reading performance of Tagore's The Post Office

Translated by William Radice
Directed by Valerie Doulton. She is the Artistic Director of The Live Theatre Company.

                                                           Full programme

Sunday 13 October 2013, 2.00-9.00pm
The Rich Mix Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA 

                                                           Full programme

2.30pm onwards:
Showcase of recreated British costumes made from muslin fabrics in the 18/19th centuries

Seminar / Panel Discussion on historical Bengal textiles trade and fashion
Speakers details TBC

Short performance on “Fabrics of slavery”
By Rez Kabir, Mustak Chowdhury and others

Please click above to watch the video of the seminar.


Bengal History Week - 6-14 October 2012



Story of Bangladesh and Bangladeshi People at Home and in the Diaspora

Annual Conference

Brick Lane Circle initiated an annual conference in 2011 with a major two day weekend conference during 23/24 April 2011 to celebrate the 40th Birthday of Bangladesh. Our aim was to bring people who have undertaken researches on Bangladesh and Bangladeshi people, together with the wider community, to facilitate exchange of knowledge and help promote networking.

The second conference was held on 28 April 2012.

All the videos of presentations and discussion will be posted in due time.

Conference videos