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Forget Cricket Talk about anything [within Board Rules, of course :) ]

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  #1  
Old January 16, 2013, 05:03 PM
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Default The hidden history of Bengali Harlem

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The hidden history of Bengali Harlem
MIT professor’s new book details the overlooked waves of South Asian immigrants to the United States
Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office

South Asian immigrants were not legally allowed to enter the United States between 1917 and 1965. But many came anyway: working on British steamships, then deserting in American ports and carving out new lives for themselves. Consider Habib Ullah, a Muslim from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) who in the 1920s left a ship in Boston and found his way to New York. Ullah settled in East Harlem, and by the 1940s was running a popular restaurant, the Bengal Garden, in Manhattan’s Theatre District.

Like Ullah, other South Asian Muslims — from present-day Bangladesh, India and Pakistan — settled in the United States at the same time, often marrying into African-American and Puerto Rican families. Today, many African-Americans, and Americans of Puerto Rican descent, also have South Asian ancestors.

While it is commonly known that a wave of well-educated South Asians arrived in the United States after 1965, this earlier saga of immigration and assimilation has largely been overlooked. Until now, that is: A new book, “Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America,” by MIT assistant professor Vivek Bald, illuminates this thread of history in unprecedented detail.

“Without these stories, the history of South Asians in the U.S. is incomplete,” Bald says.

One reason the subject has particular resonance for the present day, Bald believes, is that many of the immigrants in question were Muslim. “I wanted to make clear the depth and the persistence of the South Asian presence in the U.S.,” he says, “and specifically the South Asian Muslim presence in the U.S., at a time when Muslims are being portrayed as newcomers, enemies and outsiders.”

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  #2  
Old January 16, 2013, 05:06 PM
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http://bengaliharlem.com/
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  #3  
Old January 16, 2013, 05:21 PM
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Good thred fahimz. I am impressed. How you have grown up from barbee dolls and cooking thread...s
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  #4  
Old January 16, 2013, 06:32 PM
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nice, i may look into the book. i spoke with a girl once with similar descent. looks and speaks spanish but has a bengali last name. she however identified herself mostly as someone of hispanic origin, was not that excited being a bengali it seems as i was inquisitive about her background. or it could be that i was her doctor and she was having diarrhea at that time might have had something to do with her mood.
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  #5  
Old January 16, 2013, 08:18 PM
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Thanks, this looks like a must read.
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  #6  
Old January 16, 2013, 08:48 PM
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I went through the entire article as well as the web site. Fascinating.
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  #7  
Old January 17, 2013, 12:42 AM
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I really think someone needs to take the initiative to start a "museum of Bengali migration" in Bangladesh. It would be so fascinating- it could perhaps chronicle the period starting from the days of the Chittagong laskars that Amitav Ghosh writes about in his Ibis trilogy till the modern day, with photographs, text and other exhibits collected from migrant and migrant families in Saudi Arabia and the GCC, Malaysia, Mauritius, Sudan, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc. and the more established communities in the UK and USA.

If curated well, it could be so dynamic with lectures and presentations from people like Vivek Bald, Amitav Ghosh, etc.
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  #8  
Old January 17, 2013, 01:42 AM
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Highly interesting. Perhaps one of the best finds in BC forget cricket section history! Many thanks.
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  #9  
Old January 17, 2013, 01:44 AM
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You guys should defo. hit the videos. Ekjon to dekte shunte Navor motoni....
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  #10  
Old January 17, 2013, 02:56 AM
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Very interesting stories. But at first time it was too difficult to survive these types of environment. There wasn't enough immigrants and probably neighbours weren't so helpful. Because then Muslims were treated as enemies, outsiders etc.
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  #11  
Old January 17, 2013, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FaHiMa
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Fantastic find Fahima.

Many thanks for sharing
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  #12  
Old January 18, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Very illuminating read. Thanks for this one, Fahima
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  #13  
Old January 20, 2013, 11:36 AM
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Very cool. Thanks for sharing.
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  #14  
Old January 20, 2013, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roey Haque
Very cool. Thanks for sharing.
'sup esse?
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  #15  
Old February 16, 2013, 01:44 AM
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http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2013/...ica/?hpt=hp_c3

Its up on CNN's website now as well!
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  #16  
Old February 16, 2013, 10:09 PM
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Thanks for sharing Fahima. I'm not too into reading but I will definitely pick up a copy of this. If anyone's interested, Kindle version is available for $20.
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  #17  
Old February 17, 2013, 09:35 PM
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Just told my mom about this and she asked me to order the book off amazon.
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  #18  
Old March 6, 2013, 07:11 PM
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Loved Naeem bhai's review of this.

http://aaww.org/the-skin-vivek-bald/

Most insightful:

Quote:
The book’s most valuable intervention is in how it expands ideas of race, especially the relationship between Asian migrants and “blackness.” These migrants “horizontally assimilated,” in a process that Vijay Prashad described in Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting as new alliances of “recognition, solidarity, and safety by embracing others also oppressed…”. By conducting archival mapping of these early lives, Bald shows how early Bengali migrants shape-shifted into blackness. They lived with, and became part of, African American communities. They married Creole of Color, Puerto Rican, and African American women. They raised children who themselves straddled a line between communities of color.
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