Bangla Stories is based on a three year research project exploring the history and experience of migration from the Bengal delta region in the period after Indian Independence in 1947.
It is estimated that since this time over 20 million people, Muslims and Hindus, have left their homes and moved across national borders to live in a new country, with a small number moving long distance to Europe and the Middle East. Many moved because of war or communal conflict, or because of natural disasters, through marriage or for work – all were in search of a better life for themselves and their families.
We were interested in exploring when, how and why people moved and their experiences of migration and settlement in new places. We collected over 180 life history interviews with first generation migrants living in India, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. The project focused on Bengali Muslims, who were the largest group to settle in the UK. These Bangla stories paint a very intimate portrait of what it means to migrate, to start a new life and create a new home.
Our stories of migration came out of a three- year London School of Economics/University of Cambridge project. They’re told by people who left Bengal after Independence in 1947 when the state was divided into West Bengal and East Pakistan (later Bangladesh). These are stories of people who left behind home and family, people who crossed new borders and travelled overseas, people who made new lives.
Bangla Stories have chosen eight main interviewees to help you understand the history – and life histories – of migration. They will help explain how and why very ordinary people moved from country to country. They tell some extraordinary stories – real life stories that paint a vivid picture of the changing experiences of migration among Bengali Muslim communities in India, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom.
For full info on the project and how you can interact with it please visit the dedicated website HERE.