Accepted paper:

Linguistic Consequences of Migration of the Bengalies of East Pakistan to Bihar in India


Arun Ghosh (University of Burdwan)

Paper short abstract:

A band of the Bengalies from East Pakistan migrated to Bihar, India just after independence in 1947 and it continued till 1956-57. They were made to settle in and around Betia. The number of the migrated people is around 3.5 lakhs. The present paper will try to look into the linguistic consequences of this migration.

Paper long abstract:

A band of Bengalies from East Pakistan started migrating to India just after independence in 1947 and settled in Bihar, India. It continued till 1956-57. They settled in and around Betia as there was enough barren land in the district. Ever since they settled in the area they were discriminated in respect of livelihood, education and other human rights. Till 2005 they did not get the caste certificate. Till today they do not have opportunity to have mother tongue education, that is Bengali. They are denied of basic human rights in every respect. So far as basic education and language use is concerned they are deprived of having education through Bengali as there is no Bengali medium school. Bengali is not even taught as a subject. The state being Bihar the state language is Hindi and there is no special provision for the linguistic minorities. If they like to have education it is through Hindi. As for the language use they have little scope to speak Bengali outside the ingroup. While interacting with the outgroup they have to use the dominant form of eastern Hindi. As a result the younger generation is loosing interest in using Bengali as they believe if they have to survive they have to use local language. There is extensive code-mixing in sound, grammar and syntax. Under this backdrop the paper will attempt on the basis of participant observation and historical records to unearth the situation of the Bengali-speaking the migrated minority of Bihar.

panel MMM15
Migration and its linguistic consequences in South Asia and neighbouring regions