A child in Dhaka's Geneva refugee camp, where Urdu-speaking Biharis have lived since 1971. (Courtesy of OBAT Helpers)
August 17, 2017
More than 45 years after the birth of Bangladesh, the Biharis - an Urdu-speaking minority group - still live in refugee camps set up for them during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Today, about 300,000 Biharis, spanning multiple generations, live in these poor communities and continue to face discrimination for being perceived as Pakistani wartime collaborators.
Tension between the two nations runs deep. In 1947, the partition of India created Pakistan. It had one Urdu-speaking territory in the west and a second Bengali-speaking region 1,600 kilometres to the east - with the vastness of India lying in between. The two were united at first by a common religion, but disagreement over a national language and a crackdown on self-determination would eventually lead to all-out war and the transformation of East Pakistan into the breakaway nation of Bangladesh.
We'll look at how Pakistan is perceived in Bangladesh today and learn more about the plight of the Bihari people.