ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

The Remaking of Bengal Borders Continues: Physical versus Psychological, and Centre versus Periphery


Morsalin Sheikh Shams - Ghent University, Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent, Belgium


16 – Re-orienting Borderlands:Beyond spatial fixations in South Asia


 While there have been significant efforts to explain the 1947 Partition history of Bengal and its plausible impacts, lesser emphasis has been given to understand the evolving nature of the Bengal borders in post-independence era of Bangladesh (since 1971). This paper argues that Bangladesh-India border has been dynamic in the sense that it went through continuous remaking process, which may be realized from two aspects – physical and psychological. Taking two different borderlands of Jessore and Chapai Nawabganj districts into consideration, the paper attempts to tell the story of evolving Bangladesh-India borders and represents how the physical configurations and people’s perception of border have changed over time. In doing so, data has been collected from both primary and secondary sources. Interestingly, considerable differences have been found between the local history of border evolution and the history we used to know via secondary sources being far from the borderlands.