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The Militia Ideology in Bangladesh

35 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2010 Last revised: 28 Apr 2010

AMM Quamruzzaman

McGill University

Date Written: March 12, 2010


Bangladesh, a poor and small country in South Asia, was separated from Pakistan in 1971 following a nine-month long violent war. Replacing the religious basis of Pakistan state, Bangladesh movement was advanced by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his party Awami League on the basis of secularism, Bengali nationalism, democracy, and socialism. But soon Mujib's secularism was challenged by Islamist militias, Bengali nationalism by non-Bengali ethnic militias, and socialism by left-wing militias. Being puzzled and disturbed by many-sided attacks, Mujib declared a one-party dictatorship as a 'second revolution' to curb the biting forces and rebuild the nation, which ultimately culminated into his assassination in August 1975. The subsequent periods in Bangladesh history are marked with coups and counter coups, military dictatorships, political and civil assassinations as well as resistance movements. The Islamist militias again started fighting for establishing an Islamic rule in the country, ethnic militias for their rights of self-determination and preservation of identity, and left-wing militias for a revolutionary transformation of the society. Encountering these Islamist, ethnic and left-wing militias, Bangladesh's democracy is as if moving one step forward and two steps back. This paper traces various militia ideologies in Bangladesh to understand the issues concerning rebellion and resistance.

Keywords: Militia, Ideology, Bangladesh, Islamist, Leftist, Ethnic

Suggested Citation

Quamruzzaman, AMM, The Militia Ideology in Bangladesh (March 12, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

AMM Quamruzzaman (Contact Author)

McGill University ( email )

Montreal, Quebec

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