Enclaves: A thing of the past

photos and text by Sourav Lasker

022At last after 68 years of confinement, Najrul Islam and his wife Hamida Begum of the once largest Indian enclave inside Bangladesh-Dasiar Chhara, along with thousands of dwellers, celebrated ‘freedom from confined life’ in a festive mood by lighting 68 candles in each enclave and by hoisting the Bangladesh national flag at midnight on the 1st of August, 2015. The enclaves people celebrated the very moment when 162 such territories in Bangladesh and India ceased to exist.
The enclaves that remained outside government purview for decades took on a colourful look as the muddy roads were decorated with archways, while enthusiastic people carried aloft banners and festoons to celebrate the occasion.
023Around 39,500 new citizens of Bangladesh organized many cultural functions, religious activities and hoisted flags at 111former Indian enclaves including Dasiar Chhara for celebrating their new identity.
Amidst the festivities, there was some tension for Najrul’s family and relatives, as he decided to move to India with his wife and two sons, while 14 others from his grand family decided to stay in Bangladesh. His family was not alone in their decision as 1,000 other people who lived in the former Indian enclaves also decided to move to India.
The long-cherished dream of the people who lived in 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh and 51 Bangladesh enclaves inside India came to reality as the governments of the two countries decided to provide them with citizenships following the transfer of the territories between the two countries under the land boundary agreement signed back in 1974.

024

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

025

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

026

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

027