Helping to transform the intellectual landscape of the Bangladeshi community in the UK and celebrate the amazing British diversity

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Outlaw This is the extraordinary and true story of Phoolan Devi, India's famous 'Bandit Queen', and of a friendship that transcended borders, religion and language. Published by Rider 2010 Phoolan Devi and me, Holi festival of colour, 1994 "In 1992 I did a very strange thing. I wrote to the 'Bandit Queen,' Phoolan Devi, who was languishing in an Indian jail. She had surrendered under a deal that should have led to her release the previous year. Although illiterate, she dictated a reply and we corresponded regularly. I gave her some help and advice. Phoolan was finally released in 1994. I met with her in India that year and we became friends. On my many visits to India in the following years I stayed and travelled with her. To further her desire to help the poor, and to improve the lot of women, she became an MP. I was able to gain an unusual insight into Indian society and its politics. Above all, though, this is the story of a friendship." Roy Moxham. Phoolan Devi's life before her surrender was extraordinary. She was the second of six children born to poor low-caste peasants in the north central state of Uttar Pradesh. Unable to provide an attractive dowry, her parents married her off at the age of eleven to a much older man in a distant village. Although she had not reached puberty, he raped her. When she fled back to her own village she was forced to return to her husband. Meanwhile he had taken a new woman. The two of them kept Phoolan in slave-like conditions for several years. She escaped to her own village again. Although allowed to remain, she was the 'fallen woman.' Richer villagers propositioned her. When she refused, they arranged for her kidnap by bandits. The gang leader wanted Phoolan as his mistress. Another bandit, from the same caste as Phoolan, killed him and he became her lover. Eventually Phoolan joined in the Robin Hood-like gang activities. Operating from the wild ravines of the Chambal Valley, they took from the mostly upper-caste rich and used some of the proceeds to buy support from the mostly lower-caste poor. They became heroes of the poor. Then they encountered an upper-caste gang of bandits. Phoolan's lover was killed. She was confined in an upper-caste village and raped by many men. She escaped and then assembled her own gang. The gang became the scourge of the rich. They carried out many successful raids and evaded the police. Phoolan Devi became a legend. In 1981 some of her gang went back to the village where Phoolan had been held and raped. Twenty-two village men were killed. In the subsequent operation 2,500 policemen were deployed. Phoolan, with her knowledge of the ravines, and with herself and her gang in police uniform, avoided capture. Eventually, politicians offered her a surrender deal, under which she would spend no more than eight years in prison. She surrendered to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and, without trial, was incarcerated in Gwalior jail. This is the only book about Phoolan Devi 's life after her release from jail.
The Invisible Empire White Discourse, Tolerance and Belonging Georgie Wemyss, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK ‘Invisible Empire is a much needed antidote to the poverty of the mainstream political imagination concerning issues of racism in this country. Through a sensitivity to the political and cultural landscapes of East London, Georgina Wemyss dissects the intolerant tolerance of white liberals as well as the inability of British society to break from its imperial past and offer genuine belonging to its black and brown citizens.’ – Les Back, Goldsmiths University of London, UK ‘This book provides a wonderfully readable analysis of the politics of multiculturalism within the framework of a particular place. The author’s sustained critique of “the invisible empire” shaping the East End as a contrived tale of merchants and the spread of civilisation manages to bring to light layer upon layer of remarkable historical information along the way, right up to the present. Her methodical and innovative approach also shows those of us committed to breaking the default setting of white liberalism how to engage simultaneously with the local, the trans-local and the national. Here she demonstrates how, at each scale, public understanding of the “complex citizenship” of postcolonial settlers is diminished by careless ignorance and racism derived from decades of misinformation and hubris about Britain’s past.’ – Vron Ware, The Open University, UK How have dominant white and liberal discourses maintained their hegemony in a post-colonial world? Georgie Wemyss offers a significant and original contribution to critical race theory through this anthropological account of the cultural hegemony of the West. She demonstrates how concepts of tolerance have been substantially reproduced through time in order to accommodate the challenges of history. Contents: Introduction; Part I: Introduction to Chapters 1 and 2; Terra nullius to the shrouding of Milligan: White histories on the Isle of Dogs; Competing colonial anniversaries in ‘postcolonial’ Blackwall: White memories, White belonging. Part II: Introduction to Chapters 3 and 4; Subjects of the invisible empire: ‘outside extremists’, ‘White East Enders’, ‘passive Bengalis’; ‘The East End’ marketing strategy and the consolidation of the White East End. Part III: Introduction to Chapters 5 and 6; Tolerance, the invisible empire and the hierarchy of belonging; ‘Lascars’, colonial genealogies and exclusionary categories. Conclusion: exposing the invisible empire: towards commonality and metropolitan belonging; Bibliography; Index. Now available from Ashgate Publishing… Sample pages for published titles are available to view online at: www.ashgate.com www.ashgate.com.  All online orders receive a discount.  Alternatively, contact our distributor: To order, please visit: Bookpoint Ltd, Ashgate Publishing Direct Sales,130 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4SB, UK Tel:             +44 (0)1235 827730       Fax: +44 (0)1235 400454,Email: ashgate@bookpoint.co.uk December 2009, 214 pages,Hardback, 978-0-7546-7347-7, £55.00.  This title is also available as an eBook, 978-0-7546-9154-9
Articles / papers You are invited to use Brick Lane Circle website to publish good quality research papers that you have authored on any topics linked to Bangladesh and Bangladeshis abroad.  If you are interested in publishing your papers in www.bricklanecircle.org please send your work with short background information about yourself and your areas of interest by email to bricklanecircle@yahoo.co.uk.  You may also want to look at the free journal south Asian Cultural Studies www.edgehill.ac.uk/sacs Bengali Pundits, the British and the Artificial Construction Bengali Language in the Nineteenth Century THE BEGINNING OF SANSKRITISATION The nineteenth century witnessed the evolution of Bengali as a modern prose language in print literature, when dominant norms were laid down to standardise and control what had been a flexible and regionalised dialect. The rapid progress of standardisation and sanskritisation of the vernacular through the programmes of the Fort William College, early schoolbook societies, and missionaries, was carried through in the activities of the literary clubs and societies, and newspapers of the period set up by the Bengali intelligentsia. Bengali Pundits, the British and the Artificial Construction Bengali Language in the Nineteenth Century - paper Bengali Pundits, the British and the Artificial Construction Bengali Language in the Nineteenth Century - slides By Dr Anindita Ghosh, University of Manchester.  She teaches Modern History at the University of Manchester. She has published widely on the social history of Bengali print and reading in colonial Bengal. Her very influential monograph on Battala books was published by the Oxford University Press in 2006 called Power in Print: Popular Publishing and the Politics of Language and Culture in a Colonial Society, 1778-1905 (New Delhi : Oxford University Press, 2006). She has also edited a volume reconceptualising power networks and everyday resistance among South Asian women, Behind the Veil: Resistance, Women and the Everyday in Colonial South Asia (London/New Delhi: Palgrave/Permanent Black, 2007). The Pals and Their Role in the Sanskritisation of Bengal What I Aim to Do No other ruling dynasty of Bengal lasted as long as the Pal did. With fluctuating territorial hold they ruled Bengal from about 750 to 1162 CE, that is, for four centuries. They professed attachment to Buddhism as their regal title of param-saugat would indicate. Yet, they did little to stop Buddhism’s slide into Brahmanism. (R.C. Mitra 1954: 57-75) Instead, they helped bring Buddhism nearer to Brahmanism. (P. Niyogi 1980: 20) The result was a strong boost in what Niharranjan Roy has called Brahmanisation of the Bengali society (N.R. Roy 1993: passim) and what one might call Sanskritisation (i.e. innovation of the Great tradition of Hinduism as found in Sanskrit texts) following the anthropologist M.N. Srinivas (1956: 73-115). I prefer the latter since it has a wider analytical focus, and an on-going and subcontinent-wide applicability and academic currency.    The Pals and Their Role in the Sanskritisation of Bengal By Dr M. Abdul Mu'min Chowdhury. He was born in Sylhet and had his education at the universities of Dhaka and Exeter. He held academic appointments at Mymensingh Agricultural University, Dhaka University and the University College London. His published works includes The Rise and Fall of Buddhism in South Asia: A study in History. Emergence of Bangladesh "Thenomena. It is equally essential to any dialectical study of the world revolutionary process. The task is to comprehend this process as an integral phenomenon, having its history, its stages of development”.   History recounts itself, Bangladesh emerges. The words are true to their sense. The stage now being passed in Bangladesh is certainly the last phase of the beginning of a new history. A dimension in the outlook and look out of the great Bengalee population on the question language movement of 1952 is to begin with its lustrous design in view. Our great people are to get prepared right now to receive and respect the sun in the horizon of a new blue sky for good in the wake of democratic non-violence non-cooperation movements from 1952 to 1971. History, in the simplest meaning of the term implies the events and happenings of the past in recorded literature. The record of the events and happenings of the past may be obtained and written, concocted and biased, for a period of time. Men passing through that particular period, are likely to become almost immune against future discovery of facts so designed and displayed for the period without any protest whatsoever from the side of the people undergoing anaesthetisation with chloroform of the biased history. But ultimately the fire never remains hidden for long under coverage of ash and dirt. The covering, however thick, goes and the envelope is wiped off; the mystery of long time becomes unravelled even in the teeth of odds and oppositions by the ruling junta. The history has its own course. This is coiled and zigzag and never repeats. Emergence of Bangladesh By Dr Sheikh Zinat Ali M.Sc. (AH), LLB., Ph.D. Retired Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. What DFID can do better for Bangladesh This was written by a small group of volunteers in January 2003 as a formal response to a DFID consultation paper on Bangladesh.   As indicated in the executive summary to this 44 page report, the authors were just as interested in the broad question of ‘What overseas Bangladeshis can do better for Bangladesh’ and the report explores a wide range of themes including the role of remittances in development, the importance of good governance and mitigating the impact of climate change.  The last chapter includes a brief look at future scenarios for Bangladesh and it is hoped that its publication on the Brick Lane Circle website can help inspire others to work on future consultation papers and research on the issues covered in the paper.   NB: The report is enclosed in an unamended pdf format from 2003/4 and so the affiliiations of individuals named in the report may have changed. In addition the bb-idg.co.uk website is no longer active. There is however much more information available in the public domain on some of the key themes covered by the paper. For instance DFID and other development organisations publish a lot more research on the role and impact of remittances and on climate change mitigation in 2011 than 8 years ago.  BRAC UK's website indicates some of the valuable work in linking British Bangladeshi professionals to development projects in Bangladesh http://www.bracuk.net/reader.aspx?id=30&NgID=50   and Bangldeshi businesses themsleves recently organised a major Bangldesh Brand Forum exhibtion in Westminster in November 2010. http://www.bangladeshbrandforum.com/meetbangladesh/meet-bangladesh.html   DFID Bangladesh paper A report by the International Development Group (IDG) of the British-Bangladeshi Professionals Association (BBPA), 2 January 2003. What kind of language services should public authorities provide to minority ethnic groups: the case of Bangladeshis in London A key objective of this report is to understand what the main motivations for minority ethnic groups are (in this case Bangladeshis in London) for learning English. This study investigates the levels of English attained pre-migration and explores the learning pathways of Bangladeshis in acquiring English after arrival in the UK. It also helps to identify whether ESOL services adequately meet local need and whether the learning requirements of this group are addressed in relation to range and type of provision, and in terms of culturally competent services needed for participation. Ferhana Hashem and Peter Aspinall  What kind of language services   By Ferhana Hashem and Peter Aspinall, The Nuffield Foundation is a charitable trust with the aim of advancing social well-being. It funds research and innovation, predominantly in social policy and education. It has supported this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. Governance and Development The contemporary focus on good governance reforms in developing countries is based on developing market-enhancing governance capabilities of states. If successful, this type of governance should make markets more efficient. However, the evidence in support of these reforms is poor. Cross-sectional evidence can be used to extract some support for the importance of market-enhancing governance, but the data is weak and can support a number of different results. Some of this evidence is presented in this paper, and we argue that it actually supports the view that ‘good governance’ reforms are difficult to implement in any developing country. Rapidly growing countries in general did not enjoy better market-enhancing governance conditions compared to the others. If some developing countries nevertheless succeeded in achieving sustained convergence, they must have had other governance capabilities that allowed them to achieve this. Professor Mushtaq H Khan Governance and Development  By Professor Mushtaq Khan.  He is professor of economics at School of African and Oriental Studies. He was born in Dhaka in 1961, completed his undergraduate studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford and then won a scholarship for his PhD studies in Economics at Cambridge. Previously he taught at the universities of both Oxford and Cambridge . Information about his research interests and publications are available on his website: http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31246.php Loot: in search of the East India Company, the world’s first transnational corporation This article charts the growth of the world’s first transnational corporation, the East India Company, and the resonance this has for today’s globalization agenda. Starting as a speculative company to import spices, the East India grew to rule one-fifth of the world’s population. The paper also discusses the implications, for India and Britain, of its profit-driven development achieved through trade, taxes and conquest. It also describes how the Company’s wealth allowed it to manipulate and even bring down governments. Nick Robins   Loot - in serach of the East India Company - the worlds first transnational corporation   By Nick Robins, author of The Corporation that Changed the World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern World. White Memories, White Belonging: Competing Colonial Anniversaries in 'Postcolonial' East London This paper explores how processes of remembering past events contribute to the construction of highly racialised local and national politics of belonging in the UK. Ethnographic research and contextualised discourse analysis are used to examine two colonial anniversaries remembered in 2006: the 1606 departure of English 'settlers' who built the first permanent English colony in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and the 1806 opening of the East India Docks, half a century after the East India Company took control of Bengal following the battle of Polashi. Both events were associated with the Thames waterfront location of Blackwall in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, an area with the highest Bengali population in Britain and significant links with North America through banks and businesses based at the regenerated Canary Wharf office complex. It investigates how discourses and events associated with these two specific anniversaries and with the recent 'regeneration' of Blackwall, contribute to the consolidation of the dominant 'mercantile discourse' about the British Empire, Britishness and belonging. Challenges to the dominant discourse of the 'celebration' of colonial settlement in North America by competing discourses of North American Indian and African American groups are contrasted with the lack of contest to discourses that 'celebrate' Empire stories in contemporary Britain. The paper argues that the 'mercantile discourse' in Britain works to construct a sense of mutual white belonging that links white Englishness with white Americaness through emphasising links between Blackwall and Jamestown and associating the values of 'freedom and democracy' with colonialism. At the same time British Bengali belonging is marginalised as links between Blackwall and Bengal and the violence and oppression of British colonialism are silenced. The paper concludes with an analysis of the contemporary mobilisation of the 'mercantile discourse' in influential social policy and 'regeneration' discourse about 'The East End'. Georgie Wemyss, Goldsmiths, University of London   http://www.socresonline.org.uk/13/5/8.html By Dr. Georgie Wemyss, author of The Invisible Empire:White Discourse, Tolerance and Belonging Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Bangladesh-2008 This work assesses the economic impacts of climate change in Bangladesh. It is based on an appraisal of global and regional variations in climate and an analysis of findings and predictions derived from models, empirical studies and scientific publications.  Predictions about climate are combined with socio-economic and sectoral data to evaluate and rank economic impacts of climate change on Bangladesh, in particular on coastal zones and riverine settlements.  This study does not offer a complete overview of potential impacts on the economy of Bangladesh, yet rather a selection of significant highlights. Suggestions will be made on possible strategies for risk reduction. The study examines structures for the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change risks facing Bangladesh, as well as the varied approaches of civil society, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), international donor agencies, industry and commerce to these risks.  Further, the interaction among these institutions and the compatibility of their various projects is reviewed. Development priorities of the GoB are assessed to evaluate if they measure up to the identified risks. The study examines the problems of combining environmental action, sustainable economic growth and sound management of resources. Finally, alternative strategies are suggested that may help establish a more effective consensus among policy makers, the GoB, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and donor agencies. Saira Moinuddin   Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Bangladesh-2008  By Saira Moinuddin, in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree Bachelor of International Business Administration at the University of Applied Sciences Wiesbaden Salt Starvation in British India – Consequences of High Salt Taxation in the Bengal Presidency, 1765 to 1878 Although much attention has been focused on the Salt Tax in 20th century British India, it is in the earlier period of British rule, especially in the Bengal Presidency that the tax was far higher and the consequences far greater. This essay seeks to investigate the level of salt taxation between 1765 and 1878 and its effects on the retail price of salt relative to wages. It also explores the physiological necessity for salt and the peculiar nature of salt hunger, and the particular consequences of a high Salt Tax in times of famine. Roy Moxham  Salt Starvation in British India - Consequences of High Salt Taxation in the Bengal Presidency - 1765-1878 By Roy Moxham, who recently retired from the University of London. His most well-known book is The Great Hedge of India, part-travelogue, part-historical treatise on the author's quest to find a 1500-mile long customs hedge built by the British in India to prevent smuggling of salt and opium. His second book, Tea: Addiction, Exploitation and Empire focuses on the effect of British tea addiction on British policies in Asia and Africa, and includes the author's own experience as a tea plantation manager in Africa.