ABSTRACT

The case of the Urdu-speaking community in Bangladesh is little known outside the subcontinent. However, it is a case that forces us to tackle some of the most important issues of our time. It raises global political questions around the relationship between states, nations and their citizens in the context of local political geographies of language, ethnicity, memory and rights. It contributes to a virtually untold story of diasporas formed through South –South migration, but it also tells a story of internal displacement, forced dispossesion and confl ictinduced camp settlement. Consequently, the role of political community is considered alongside the signifi cance of cultural community, and recent interest in theories of diaspora is set alongside a very different literature on forced migration and the refugee. Increasing specialisation and academic segmentation too often precludes the distinctive analytic perspective this provides. In this chapter, my aim is to confront some of the disciplinary and geographical boundaries that impede our understanding of the way in which political exclusion is manifest in the social body – across age, ethnicity, gender and class – and marked in the physical contours of space.