Professor Navine Murshid Launches New Book

The Asian Studies Department at Colgate University hosted a panel celebrating the discussion and launch of Associate Professor of Political Science Navine Murshid’s book, “India’s Bangladesh Problem.” The discussion panel was hosted in Lawrence Hall on Tuesday, April 25. The event was held by Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies Aniruddha Maitra, Associate Professor of English and Women’s Studies Nimanthi Rajasingham, and Third Century Chair in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and Professor of Political Science Tim Byrnes.

Murshid’s book, which was published recently, explores the stories and experiences of Bengali Muslims on the Indian side of the India-Bangladesh border. The subject matter is analyzed through the lens of citizenry relations, immigration policies, labor migration laws and exposes xenophobic government rhetoric. Murshid’s panel served as a platform to discuss these issues and create awareness among the Colgate community. The professor’s book and the discussion between herself and her fellow panelists emphasized the importance of education and dialogue in bringing about global change and awareness of pertinent issues.

“When I was reading Murshid’s book, I began to wonder how is it that in an era of free trade, we have increased hostility towards people from free trade constantly,” said Rajasingham. “How can goods travel freely but people cannot?”

Rajasingham’s quote rang true to not just the aims of the panel and Murshid’s work but to the audience as well. Throughout the panel, there was conversation surrounding the irony regarding how there is a facilitated free flow of goods and services across borders in our globalized world. Yet, people themselves, particularly the Bengali people in Murshid’s book, continue to face significant barriers surrounding not only immigration laws but labor laws as well.

While presenting her new book and its themes, Murshid discussed the discrimination that the Bengali people face.

“There is often negative stereotyping in India surrounding how the Bengali people are perceived, said Murshid. “Due to their ethnicity and how publicized and normalized these stereotypes are, there is a negative connotation regarding being Bengali, with the nationality and ethnicity being associated with poverty and danger in India,” Murshud discussed.

This was one of the main ideas that Mirshud wished to discuss in her book; she wrote about the negative stereotyping of the Bengali people and the poor relations between India and Bangladesh to emphasize the importance of the topic matter. Murshid wrote about the subject matter by conducting immense research over many years and from her own life experiences as well. Through her writing, book, and panel, the professor hopes to create further awareness to combat this issue among many communities.

The launch of “India’s Bangladesh Problem” received a positive response from the audience, with students sharing their thoughts about the event. Sophomore Andrew Bonanni remarked, “I am impressed with how Murshid highlighted the plight of Bengali Muslims in India, which is so often overlooked in mainstream discourse. I believe that it is essential to create awareness and bring such issues to the forefront of public discourse.”

Murshid’s book release was a significant event for the Colgate community, as it provided a necessary platform to discuss the legal and human rights issues surrounding relations between India and Bangladesh. Murshid’s book will likely continue this discussion as it is circulated through the public.