‘Akhand Bharat’ map provokes sharp reaction in Dhaka

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There has been sharp reaction and debate in Bangladesh’s political circles over the map of ‘Akhand Bharat’ (Undivided India) that is on display in the form of a mural at India’s new parliament building. Various political parties in Bangladesh have expressed their anger at Bangladesh being included in such a map. These parties have criticised the map and protested against it, as well as demanded that it be removed.

Ruling Awami League, however, has had no reaction on the issue. The party leaders have said they are trying to find out what is trying to be conveyed by means of this map.

Prothom Alo spoke to three senior leaders of Awami League and two ministers. They were unwilling to comment on the matter. They said they had no idea about the mural of the Akhand Bharat map in India’s parliament building. They will try to find out what India is trying to convey through such a map. Attempts were made to contact Bangladesh foreign ministry in this regard, but no immediate statement was provided.

Opposition BNP has criticised and protested the making of such a map. The party has said this is an insult to sovereign Bangladesh. BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, “Displaying Bangladesh as part of the undivided map of any other country is a threat to the country’s independence and sovereignty.” He feels this is an insult to Bangladesh.

The map of Akhand Bharat on display at India’s parliament includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. There has been reaction within Nepal against this too.

A number of left leaning parties in Dhaka, on Saturday, issued a statement criticising and protesting against such a map in India. President of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) Mohammad Shah Alam and general secretary Ruhin Hossain, in a statement said that the Indian government, out of petty political motives, had put up this mural of the objectionable and misleading map. The CPB leaders demanded immediate removal of the map. They feel that this mural will lead to a deterioration of India’s relations with its neighbours.

Rastra Sangskar Andolan, in a statement, protested against the drawing up of such a map. It said, “It is objectionable for Bangladesh to be included as part of Akhand Bharat in the imagined map of the Indian rulers.”

General Secretary of Biplobi Workers Party, Saiful Huq, in a statement on Saturday, said the map of Akhand Bharat depicts Bangladesh and other countries of the region as a part of India. This is a threat to the country’s independence and sovereignty as well as national security.

Several political analysts feel that the Bangladesh government should ask India for an explanation about the matter. Writer and researcher Mohiuddin Ahmed, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, “Many Indian politicians have not accepted the partition of India in 1947. They may still cherish the aspiration of undivided India.” However, he feels, the Bangladesh government should ask India for an explanation as to what they are trying to convey by drawing this map.