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Old September 8, 2011, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Zunaid
Navo - you brought out an interesting point but one which may be beyond the scope of this thread or even forum. I wonder if Bangladesh was even ready for Westphalian sovereignty when and how the nation was grafted first out of India. The borders that divide the Bengal nation are ripe for irredentist demands. Until the nation (and the neighborhood) is at ease in its own skin (border), I do not see us escaping the narrow strictures of an Westphalian state into something more global or at the very least regional. I have always thought that the Balkanization of the sub-continent is a first-step towards a more equitable supra-national regional entity.
Yes, those are very good points. Firstly, regarding the creation of a Westphalian state, there is the question of creating a 'national narrative' replete with a specific history, tradition and founding myths. England has been able to do this very successfully, by creating a history that is a bit blurry around the edges and a religion, completely their own (Anglican Christianity). For us, creating our own distinct traditions and narrative has been very difficult, because the majority of the country has a Bengali heritage and an Islamic faith, neither of which are completely their own. They are shared across borders, with countries that they don't always see eye-to-eye with (understatement i know). To top it off, this etho-linguistic heritage and religious faith is sometimes seen to be at odds with each other, which causes even more confusion regarding national identity. Until we are able to reconcile these two aspects and engage with the oft-disregarded 'minority' issues, we will struggle to establish a confident narrative or, as you said, become comfortable in our 'skin'.

Secondly, our region is still too unstable for any really meaningful cooperation and most people are too vehemently against it. But as time passes, resources diminish further and we see the example of other countries, more people in our part of the world will come to realize the necessity of close regional cooperation and will not become as easily inflammed whenever such issues are broached on a bilateral or multilateral level. Necessity will drive them.

Also, I'm sorry if I introduced something that was beyond the scope of this thread/forum but it is hard to resist bringing up such issues sometimes, given that there are very few places on the internet where so many intelligent Bangladeshis (or other nationals interested in Bangladeshi affairs) gather so regularly!
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