The Ethno-Class Formation and Contemporary National Identity in Bangladesh

  • A. I. Mahbub Uddin AhmedEmail author


In this chapter, we focus on the role of uneven economic development and internal colonialism during the formation of ethno-classes in Bengal and Bangladesh, which led to the projection of multiple ethnic identities, i.e. Bangal/Muslim, Bangali and Bangladeshi, in three distinct political periods of 1905–1947, 1947–1971, and 1971 onwards. For this purpose, we have used a historical and documentary method and found that ethnic consciousness has both a contextually lower-class and oppressed-class dimension that is mystified under the veil of ethno-races, i.e. religion, language and caste. Our method discursively incorporated the non-hegemonic, dichotomous, subaltern and oppressed polar opposites of social reality. Moreover, in the vertical mosaic of Bengal and Pakistan, class, religion and region coincided, which was possible because of the creation of ‘East Pakistan’ and Bangladesh, respectively. Thus, the ethnic identity of a Bangali-Muslim was not primordial; rather it was imagined, invented and instrumental and the product of an uneven economic development and internal colonialism.


Bangali Bangladeshi Ethnic identity Ethno-class Muslim 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh

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