Genocide (both religious and non-religious) occurs regularly throughout human history, with some of the most prominent examples being the Kashmiri pandit genocide during the 1990s and mass deaths under Communist control in China and the Soviet Union.
Hindu genocide began on the Indian subcontinent even before the entrance of Islamic invaders and subsequently European preachers (Goa inquisition). Hindu tyranny and persecution (amounting to genocide) continue unabated in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh to this day.
According to the 2022 census report, two causes led to the decline of the Hindu population: the first is external migration of the Hindu population, which means they are leaving the nation, and the second is decreased fertility rate among Hindus. Higher usage of birth control contraception, a proclivity to not desire more than two children, and not marrying at a young age are some of the reasons behind Hindus’ lower reproductive rate. Researchers discovered a greater prevalence of infant death among the Hindu community.
Bangladesh and Hindus
The recent outbreak of religious hatred and violence directed towards Hindus in Bangladesh (during the 2021 Durga Puja), which resulted in massive damage and the loss of lives and property, is not an isolated, one-time occurrence. Since the 13th century, when foreign Islamic control gradually forced its way into the region with an entirely distinct set of customs and religious rivalries, Hindus in Bangladesh have faced intense hate and harsh persecution. What began in the 13th century has not only survived but has been adapted to fit the present political framework and other administrative systems.
The partition of Pakistan, of which Bangladesh was a part from 1947 to 1971, was the outcome of the Indian subcontinent’s Muslims’ demand for a separate nation. Later, based on language differences (Urdu imposition), a campaign for secession from Pakistan was launched in Bangladesh, and with the assistance of the Indian Army, this became a reality in 1971, when Bangladesh was born as an independent nation.
While secularism was first established as a national policy, Islam quickly reemerged as a major power, and Bangladesh was quick to abandon the façade of secularism and favor Islam.
The Pakistan movement, which began in the 1940s under the leadership of the Muslim League, unleashed a reign of terror in undivided Bengal soon before the 1947 partition. The heinous ‘Calcutta Killings,’ also known as the ‘Direct Action Day riots,’ killed hundreds of innocent citizens, predominantly Hindus. This was followed by the ‘Noakhali Riots,’ in which Hindus were subjected to unrestrained killings, horrific rapes, lootings, evictions, and forced conversions.
Following a similar violent scenario in Bihar, Bengal Partition was declared unavoidable on religious grounds. Once partitioned along communal lines in 1947, Hindus who opted to remain in Bangladesh had to live under the dominance of Pakistan’s Islamic nomenclature, which reserved the position of Head of State solely for Muslims, a condition that did not change even after Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.
The continual decline in the percentage of Bangladeshi Hindus, as shown by census numbers, is a strong indication of the persecution endured by Hindus in Bangladesh’s anti-Hindu hostile environment.
Following the partition, Hindu persecution and religious violence in Bangladesh continued unabated, with several Hindu villages being exterminated and women raped and maimed before being killed.
It is true that Hindus are still persecuted in Bangladesh owing to religious differences with the Muslim majority, but this is an oversimplification of decades of hatred and animosity within these groups.
Hindu persecution and internalized subjugation are more likely the outcomes of Western imperialism.
Hinduism is so far removed from the majority of western, monotheistic religions, people will continue to marginalize and gaslight Hindus for their unconventional methods of worship.
But this should not be the case. No members of religion should have to fear for their life, especially in the country they consider their home.
Imperialistic trauma continues to run deep within Hindu families that lack the resources to help their people. But their silence amid the chaos speaks volumes.
It is even louder when people have the resources and free will to help but choose not to. It is a free pass to allow the persecution to continue and remain in blissful ignorance as homes, lives, and temples are destroyed.