Review Assignment and Note for Module F 2007
On the basis of your reading of Meghna Guhathakurta’s article “Globalization, Class and Gender Relations: The Shrimp Industry in South-western Bangladesh,” Report on the Workshop on Engendering R & R (both available in CRG website) and the chapter entitled “Shefali” in Marginal Nations, analyse how lack of control over resources have led to large-scale displacement of women? (Module F)
With the onset of globalization, there have been persistent efforts of bureaucratic manipulation to cajole the policy makers of the developing countries to integrate with the world economy under the guise of “their own betterment”. But while efforts were made to accomplish this objective, globalization started demonstrating the wisdom of the world’s capitalist system with its in-built mechanism for exploitation of resources. It began to disarticulate the organic link and synergy between stakeholders and environment and left traces of serious repercussions on their lives and livelihoods, especially on that of women. While the capitalist world is busy pocketing lion’s share of the profit as their sole prerogative, and while the some ordinary stakeholders, reaped benefit from the system, the patriarchal culture of the region continued to perpetuate the ideology of house-wife and their domestication with absolute and deliberate ignorance of women’s labour in the market economy. So women had to face difficulties in the form of capitalist exploitation of resources and patriarchal hegemony. Although introduction of cash economy proved to be a blessing for those who could adapt their skills to the changing scenario, not everyone was benefited likewise. Environmental degradation, displacement of agricultural production and proletarianization of a class, exposed the poor women to high risks in terms of labour and security. With sudden but unanticipated change in the pattern of land use, women folk lost the right to opt for occupation of their choice. They are left with only alternative to adapt their skills to earn their living out of the opportunities thriving in a particular region.
Outsourced migrant labourers developed marital relations with local women only to desert them and their children to fend for themselves. Growing social conflicts and tensions over control of common pool resources, state-sponsored change in the pattern of land usage, pocketing of lion’s share of profit by businessmen from outside being politically supported by local authorities and their hired musclemen led to serious dispute over khas land, forced or false contractual agreement on leasing of land, non or partial payment of lease money, environmental degradation, various forms of violence like murder, attempted murder, abduction, setting ablaze of farms, lack of job opportunities and food insecurity. Lack of judicial promptness and under-table agreements between police and local leaders also exposed women to security threats, hostage-taking, false cases, trafficking, rape, dacoity, physical torture, verbal abuse, forced miscarriage etc. Loss of right to land, loss of grazing land, lack of fodder, dearth of other income-generation activities or employment opportunities, overarching patriarchal influence and being pushed by the compelling needs to manage their families forced women to cross border or migrate elsewhere looking for jobs.
In countries like India, absence of state policy for gender justice in displacement has adversely impacted women. Because of access to common property resources, rural women of indigenous communities have an independent livelihood source, which is not acknowledged and compensated by authorities in their R & R programme. Lack of provision for livelihood replacement for women, lack of sanitation, privacy and access, welfare facilities for women and children in R & R programme, and gender bias have left these programme grossly inadequate. Even draft “National Policy, Packages and Guidelines for Resettlement and Rehabilitation 1998” of the Ministry of Rural Development, have treated the people residing in land for less than 5 years before date of acquisition, for the purpose of R & R as “encroachers” of common land. The forest dwellers residing in the forest areas after 30th September 1980 suffered the same fate. Women’s rights, assets and sphere of control over resources often revolve around informal institutional arrangements which are rarely acknowledged by the policy makers in course of resettlement. All these led to wide scale displacement of women without being compensated for deprivation from natural resources.
The chapter “Shefali” in The Marginal Nation clearly depicts the story of a Bangladeshi Girl who was trafficked. After escaping from clutches of traffickers, she was subsequently apprehended by police, tried for illegal stay and sentenced to jail. The author in this essay expressed his concern over the “fate” of the girl, who would be “pushed back” few days later on the expiry of her jail term as an “illegal immigrant”. This story depicts the tip of iceberg, as majority of such cases go unreported. But such girls never consent to the sale of their persons while they are out on their quest for shelter, security, family and livelihood. Marginalization of a section of population in border districts, growing unemployment due to expansion of shrimp monoculture, lack of control over common property resources, rising domestic violence, polygamy, suppression of under classes have led women being pushed into streets in search of security and livelihood options. Low pay, sordid working conditions and long hours of back-breaking labour in and around the metropolis have prompted these women to cross the border in search of alternate options of living, only to be lured and trafficked into forced prostitution, organ trade and bonded labour. Such large-scale displacement of women by way of trafficking through borders become easier because the girls are unaware of their fates while they are in transit. Families facing high demands of dowry, fall easy prey to traffickers giving fake promises of marriage of their daughters. Even in families like that of Shefali, where male members have migrated and settled elsewhere in search of better opportunities and where shefali and her old mother are the only bread-winners, being deserted by her husband, she fell into the hands of traffickers. Such life of rejection and deprivation compelled her to look for other alternatives. Also, the element of “power” often pushed women to decide to migrate to resist torture, insult and enslaved life imposed upon them by patriarchal society. In fact, decision to resist takes the form of decision to migrate as a step towards self-empowerment, as “a definite survival strategy” and as “a strategy to gain autonomy”. All these provided a tacit acceptance of risks like low wages, new insecurities, initial uncertainties in settling, harassment and sexual exploitation of these displaced women. Lack of opportunity and control over resources often exposed these women to risks of being sold. Simultaneously, the burning desire to retain autonomy, being harried by the patriarchal dominance, often shared a twilight zone in the consciousness of these women.
On how lack of control over resources has led to large-scale displacement of women
by Barbara Keller
After the reading of the three literature sources, on which this review assignment is based, I am convinced that we have in the in the case of the growing shrimp industry in South-Western Bangladesh to talk about (forced) migration instead of using the word displacement. Even though there are severe causes that led to the decision to migrate, it is most often an action and not being done by someone else (Samaddar 1999: 196). It is a reaction and a direct consequence to the decline of their basic life resources, mostly the degradation or even loss of land.
the state and the big land owner it is presented as a way to development and
progress. To them it brings money and economical growth. As Guhathakurta writes,
“for some the cash economy being introduced has proved to be a blessing,
especially those who could adapt their skills to the changing scenario.” But
most of the people who are affected are poor farmers or landless people, women
and children. For them the damage or loss of the little land they cultivate, has
disastrous consequences. It means that the poor population of the region gets
even poorer and the rich people richer. As women and children are mostly
affected by poverty, the consequences hit them particularly.
growth of the shrimp industry is a land consuming project. Companies buy land
and force the owner to sell. While the shrimp industry is much less sustainable
than the small scale farming, processes of salinization and degradation take
place. Guhathakurta describes the landscapes of the shrimp farms as following:
”A bleak landscape of shrimp farms, without trees, without vegetation, in fact
without a single scrap of grass in the sight.” This in turn minimises also the
grazing land to breed cattle. The lack of fodder, which is one of the four
renewable resources besides water, land and animals, prevents even poor people
from rising goats or poultry.
cultivation is expanding so fast, that it is taking up not only agricultural
lands, but also much of the government land which is usually distributed to the
landless. The loss of common property resources (CPR) has according to Werner
Fernandez a large social impact on women, as they may not have formal land
titles (R&R Report). CPS can not only be seen as material assets, but they
also constitute the livelihood of people, particularly poor people.
devastation living conditions, a sum of lack of work as well as lack of good
land in order to live self-sustainable, force people to leave their home.
with the shrimp industry came also a troupe of violent men into the region. They
don’t hesitate to use violence as a means to reach their aims, to take land in
order to stretch out the shrimp industry. Poor women were, as Guhathakurta
points out, primarily concerned of their security. In many cases they were
hostage to the tyranny of the shrimp lords. Ranabir Samaddar (1999: 196) states
in the chapter ’Shefali that “women often decide to migrate in order to
resist insults, torture and an enslaved life.” And, not as usually supposed,
women do have an influence on the decision if migration is the solution to the
present problems. In 121 of the 521 cases surveyed by Samaddar, the women had a
say in selecting the new site. Another alternative for women than migration was
resistance. But it is a dangerous one.
men the main reasons that activate the decision to migrate are poverty, communal
discrimination and inadequate education possibilities for the children. As
Samaddar (1999; 187) found out in his research, women cited often directly some
ecological disaster as reason for migration and pointed to the insecurity for
their girl children, whom they wanted to marry off safely.
the lack of control over resources forced women in South-Western Bangladesh to
leave their home or even their country. And there are two main
explanation-complexes for this:
Through land loss or degradation they were deprived of their most important
basic resource on which their lives depend.
If the women got work at the shrimp farms, they suffered under the dangerous
working conditions and the violence of the shrimp bosses.
Class and Gender Relations: The Shrimp Industry In South-Western Bangladesh”
/ Meghna Guhathakurta, unpublished
Report of Workshop on Engendering Resettlement & Rehabilitation Policies and Programmes in India, Mohammed Asif, Lyla Mehta and Harsh Mander, November 2002
the basis of your reading of Meghna Guhathakurta's article "Globalization,
Class and Gender Relations: The Shrimp Industry in South-western
Report on the Workshop on Engendering Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R &
and the chapter entitled "Shefali" in Marginal Nations,
analyse how lack of control over resources have led to large-scale displacement
by Elizabeth Williams
review argues that on the basis of reading Globalization,
Class and Gender Relations, The Workshop Report and Shefali,
women’s large-scale displacement is better understood as a result of
women’s lack of rights rather than a lack of control over resources.
It must be observed that this review is solely interested in how lack of control over resources has led to women’s displacement, and not in how displacement itself might lead to lack of control over resources. Therefore, those issues raised in the articles relating to compensation for displacement, rehabilitation, and women’s negative situation post displacement will not be addressed.
review takes as its point of departure the fact that while women enjoy a number
of informal rights, they may not have formal land titles. Lack of land can be
understood as an example of lack of resources. Globalization,
Class and Gender Relations demonstrates that in the context of the growth of
the shrimp industry in south western Bangladesh, only persons that own and lease
their land were
able to benefit from the introduction of the cash economy. The article explains
that the landless have no alternative but to work in the industry collecting and
selling fries or by working in the farms. Reportedly, the shrimp industry
displaced women from working in agricultural production, and that for landless
women and women without male guardians, the only economic activity that was left
to them in the region was collecting shrimp fries. This exemplifies how
women’s lack of land as a resource has led to their displacement from the
farming sector, although the scale of the displacement is not indicated.
growth of the shrimp industry also succeeded in excluding landless women from
the possibility of being distributed government land under law; such was the
expansion of the shrimp industry that government lands were re-appropriated.
That women are deprived of their right to land should not only be understood as
women lacking a resource, but also as lacking the inability to access
entitlements. In the context of the shrimp industry, women were unable to
realise their rights due to the power balance lying with the political elite who
were themselves involved in shrimp farming. For example, landless
families were illegally evicted through the bribing of local officials. It is
important to recognise that women’s ability to realise their rights is also
cross-cut by issues of caste and class.
women lack sufficient power to prevent their displacement is reiterated in The
Workshop Report which explains that R&R consultations, negotiations and
transactions are often only undertaken with men. Smitu
notes that women are denied information on specific projects and are therefore
unable to make informed choices. Vasudha Dhagamwar
reports that male family members often failed to report on what had taken place
at land acquisition meetings. Dreze
identifies women’s inability to veto men’s decisions made on resettlement. This
demonstrates that silencing women’s voices is key to their displacement, which
this review argues should be understood
as indicative of women’s lack of
empowerment, not lack of resources.
that resettlement consultations view resources
solely in monetised terms is to overlook
those other assets that women might have control over, such as kinship networks,
socio-cultural links with common property, or informal
institutional arrangements. That such assets are ignored in resettlement
negotiations speaks not to women’s lack of resources, but to their subordinate
status in society.
Shefali exemplifies this point. Shefali
is the story of a young woman from Bangladesh who, in exchange for her
security, was ‘sold’ to men across the border in India. The article situates
this case of displacement in the context of unemployment due to the expansion of
the shrimp industry (as has been addressed above) rising domestic violence, and
polygamy. In Shefali’s case, her insecurity was exacerbated by her not being
married and her having no male family members to support her. It is contended
that Shefali’s insecurity due to domestic violence and polygamy is better
understood as the manifestation of women’s unequal status in a patriarchal
society, or a lack of protection not as a struggle over resources.
lack not only the power to make their voice heard, but the ‘space’ for their
concerns to be addressed. This can be seen in that women’s voices are
underrepresented in laws, polices, or institutions related to displacement.
reports that in Madhya Pradesh, a petition sent against the bulldozing of the
village school was met with police repression. Globalization,
Class and Gender Relations describes how poor women in shrimp areas were
held hostage to the tyranny of the shrimp farmers. Amita Baviskar
argues that in Dehli ‘illegal’ slum dwellers have been displaced several
times by ‘bourgeoisie environmentalism.’ She argues that slum dwellers lack
not only the right to housing, but the right to livelihood and the right to
question their displacement. Again, these examples reiterate the fact that
women’s lack of rights is central to women’s inability to resist their
and/ or unmarried women might also be exposed to another form of large scale
displacement: trafficking. Shefali estimates
that 50 women are trafficked out of Bangladesh every day. Some women are lured
by the promise of better jobs or marriage and go ‘voluntarily’ some are
forced my family members unable to pay a dowry, whilst others are kidnapped, and
sold for sex, or in some cases, their organs. This nature of displacement
further highlights women’s insecurity not
women’s lack of resources.
This review has demonstrated that women’s displacement follows from women’s silenced voices, women’s insecurity, the denial of women’s agency, and women’s inability to realise their rights. In this way women’s displacement should be understood not solely as a result of women’s lack of resources, but as a result of women’s unequal power relations with reference to the family, the community and state institutions.
Hereafter referred to as Globalization,
Class and Gender Relations
Hereafter referred to as The
Hereafter referred to as Shefali
Cited in The Workshop Report
Cited in The Workshop Report
Cited in The Workshop Report
Cited in The Workshop Report
 Cited in The Workshop Report
Essay on Pakistan
by Anuniru Felix Chidozie
in the real sense of the word should and be favoured by any civilized
society within the context of a rapidly industrializing world where any
society that chooses to ignore this trend does that at her own peril. On the
superficial level, this may sound quite attractive, but conversely,
development has also left in its wake serious socio-political, cultural,
economic and psychological consequences for a nation and a people.
light of the above, the developmental model that has been favoured by the
Pakistani state can be placed within perspective. In Pakistan, most of the
developmental projects, including small ones, have required large scale of
land for the construction of air-ports, sea-ports, military installations,
campuses, industrial units, housing schemes, canals, highways, roads and,
particularly, large dams; causing dislocation of human settlements and
disturbing the livelihoods of the dislocated people. The rural communities
are said to be major victims in a way, while the people from semi-rural and
urban areas are also suffering the negative impacts of development.
case has not ever been whether development will enhance the economic base of
the nation of Pakistan, but the case has always been the issue of adequate
compensation, re-settlement and rehabilitation of the dislocated families
and communities. Thousands of families and communities are said to be
forcefully evicted from their decades of ancestral root, and by implication,
means of survival, yet promises of re-settling them often made by the
government is ignored in the long run. For instance, in the case of the
construction of the Mangla dam, despite the promises of a good package given
by the government, some of the over 81,000 people displaced by the project,
even after three decades and a half are still without ownership rights of
their lands and they do not have electricity or drinking water in their
colonies. Also, in the case of Tarbela dam, about 2,100 families are still
waiting to get their claims settled even after the lapse of more than 35
years. Usually it is alleged that foreign donor funded projects entail a
good package of compensation and re-settlement plans, as World Bank-Asian
Development Bank guidelines and directives have to be followed, while in
nationally or privately funded projects, resettlement plans are largely
ignored or inadequate and untimely compensation is extended.
above situation becomes all the more critical in the absence of national
policy and adequate laws on resettlement and compensation issues. The key
issue in development-induced displacement is the absence of national
resettlement policy and a law that can address the problems of fair and
timely compensation, rehabilitation, restoration of livelihood and
participation of affected communities in the decision making at all the
stages of the project. Suffice it to say here that in Pakistan, displacement
owing to development presents a grim scenario that includes landlessness,
unemployment, homelessness, marginalization, lack of food, loss of common
resources and break down of social networks.
The Paradox of Development and Displacement in Pakistan
Pakistani case presents a picture of a nation in dilemma. A nation that is
in need of development yet has to contend with the negative consequences of
development manifested in displacement related traumas. It is a case between
sustainable development and social justice. The process of industrialization
and development in Pakistan is an on-going one, cutting across all sectors
in order to bring meaningful life to the citizens of Pakistan and set the
nation on the path of economic re-birth.
Pakistan has to pay a high social price by embarking on these projects
usually sponsored by World Bank-Asian Development Bank whose guidelines are
supposed to dictate the social implications varying from compensation,
resettlement and rehabilitation. But what is witnessed usually is sporadic,
inconsistent and ad-hoc measures at addressing these complications. This has
been described as ‘case to case approach’ to addressing social
injustice. The government usually goes into negotiation with local
authorities at every instance of developmental project that would affect the
communities, instead of having a strong mechanism or legislation in place
that will cut across all boards.
the indication above, the people of Pakistan would not naturally resist
development that will engender a new life for them, except for government
failure to remain faithful to previous promises made. The example of the
construction of the Tarbela Dam which met stiff opposition by the local
community leaders as a result of government failure in the past to meet
their expectation readily comes to mind. Coupled with this is that the
affected people who are relocated to other provinces had to face retaliation
from their ‘hosts’. For instance, in Punjab a majority of those who were
allotted land were either forced by the influential people of the area to
vacate the land, or were compelled to dispose of their allotted land, as it
was difficult to utilize or cultivate it.
above scenario presents not just dilemma on the part of government but also
on the part of local communities who are supposedly the direct beneficiaries
of the development. It appears that the government is left with no option
but to bring the much desired development to a nation in dare need of it,
which is a reasonable policy approach, but will have to contend with an
antagonistic population whose legitimate claims have not been adequately
addressed. A meeting point would have to be struck, in that an all
encompassing measure need to be put in place so as to promote this positive
policy direction of government ant guarantee comprehensive compensation
package for the sacrificing population.
developmental model approach of the Pakistani government toward national
growth leaves much to be desired on the gender issue. The vulnerable groups
especially the women folk face greater trauma from the above approach.
During the construction of the National Motorway Network Project for
instance, greater adverse impact was faced by women who equally participated
in the economic activities of the family, particularly in livestock care,
harvesting of crops, seedling, fetching drinking water and providing food to
male members in the field, and numerous other field tasks, apart from
household chores. Now that the land had been divided on either side of the
motorway and there were no direct approach ways, one had to travel long
distances to reach the land for cultivation. As a result the women became
marginalized and affected economically. The mobility of the women was
greatly reduced. Community ties and interaction were shattered owing to the
design of the project that did not address the adverse social impact on the
cash compensation also generally dis-empowers women, just because women do
not handle cash or for that matter have control over financial resource
within the family. Therefore, the decision to spend the money lies with the
men of the family. Being mostly in the informal sector and without much
skill, and mainly involved in menial jobs, women do not have many choices to
invest the compensation amount in some productive small business where they
can earn their livelihood. The women in agriculture have to face harsh
impact as, in the case of loss of land and other common resources of
livelihood, they have fewer choices at their disposal for future. The only
choice is to migrate to big or small cities for domestic work or other odd
jobs for survival. All of these severely impact on the health and nutrition
of women, as well as on their children, who remain without education during
this process of change.
civil societies have been in the vanguard of advocacy on behalf of this
group of persons shortchanged by gender considerations. Their activities are
not just limited to policy advocacy, but also awareness raising, research
and pressure group activities. They are said to be few in numbers and
include Sungi Development Foundation (SDF), Pakistan Network of Rivers, Dams
and People, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), and other community-
level organizations. These have not only succeeded in raising awareness
about the plight of the women, and by implication the internally displaced
persons, but have also to brought to the front burner the peculiar case of
women as special targets in the development- induces displacement.
apparent that the development model adopted by the Pakistan government,
while connoting a positive trend in their match towards national growth has
serious structural flaws and inadequacies. It not only paints a picture of a
nation without considerable legal provision
for the development-induced victims of their national policy program, but a
nation with no centralized mechanism for checking future disputations that
may arise from this procedural program which will spill into other future
option left to the government is to uphold all treaties which it is
signatory to relating to the plight of internally displaced persons and
particularly adhere strictly to the UN Guiding principles which it has only
succeeded in paying lip service to. Thus, the state has to come up with
up-to-date laws and integrated policies, incorporating sectoral and gender
needs, to assist and protect the citizens from adverse implications of
displacement and violations of human rights.
The media on the other hand must raise awareness about the need to reconcile this development dilemma by first clarifying their confusion about the conceptualization of IDPs as against refugees. This will place in its right perspective what category of persons need government attention at every point in time. All hands must therefore be on deck to not only preserve the development need of the state of Pakistan, but to uphold individual rights and liberties.
On reading "Development Induced Displacement in Pakistan," in Refugee Watch (available in CRG website) and "Pakistan: Development and Disaster" in Internal Displacement in South Asia, comment on how the developmental model that has been favoured by the Pakistani state has led to large-scale dispossession and displacement of people?
by Geetisha Dasgupta
displacement in Pakistan, Atta ur Rahman discusses two principal causes: 1)
development; 2) conflict. The author correctly points out, most of the
developmental projects undertaken by the Pakistani Government produce the
natural corollary of an internally displaced lot.
developmental model that Pakistan has picked up is one of rapid (if not
rabid) industrialization. The principal motto, following the birth of the
nation in 1947, was to set Pakistan on a fast track to development, through
astute financial planning. So, there came about the five year plans. Help of
international monetary institutions was sought, and timely available too. It
all translated into several mega projects like, dams, city and/or road
author, in his write up, has taken up the technique of direct exposition
followed by an analysis of the statistics pertaining to displacement
occurring in the project. He later delves deeper by indicating how, if at
all, the Government mitigated the problem.
very efficiently shows the picture. Many of the dam projects fail, as is the
general trend in the subcontinent, to rehabilitate the displaced and the
dispossessed. The people, who are forced to move from their place of
residence, migrate into other provinces, face the brickbat there and get
hostile towards the mainstream developmental thought focusing on industry.
Therefore, the concern that should have been a matter of forethought, but
was relegated to a minor status, finally takes up the role in vitiating the
entire project, simply because, the success of one project cannot be
forcibly announced over cries of disdain from a major chunk of the populace.
author has very carefully picked up the cases for study in relation to the
problem. He mentions at least two dams (Mangla Dam and Tarbela Dam), which
were rendered unsuccessful due to the lack of prior thinking on part of the
project planners to visualize the problem of rehabilitation in the right
magnitude. Mostly it so happened that, the commission responsible for the
project under-calculated the number of people that needed to be provided
with pacific arrangements, ranging from cash assistance to alternative
residential provisions. The Government has done everything from undervaluing
the assets of the people to encouraging the people to migrate to the UK so
that it had to do less and less of compensatory work. As usual, the official
statistics pertaining to displacement never matches and falls hugely below
the actual figures. Sometimes, a project continued for so long a time or had
been stopped in between due to political/social reasons to resume at a later
time, that in the mean time, the number of affected people had escalated
manifold, as has happened with the Mangla Dam. So, there arose crisis
whenever one particular affected family or person, included under the
beneficiary list from the beginning of the project was so provided and
someone opposed who was eventually affected, but did not have his name in
the government list. As always, nepotism and cronyism have been inalienable
parts of government dealings. Moreover, as was witnessed in the Tarbela
case, when the people affected with displacement, moved from one province to
another, there occurred feuds. It is not enough for the provincial
governments to stand guarantee to each other that one would provide for the
displaced from the other. They popular consent has to be taken and resources
are not aplenty. The Kalabagh Dam Project also suffers from the same ills,
where promises have been showered but no enactments. This project has been
subjected to utter politicization and therefore has been halted time and
again. While the government, through the Chairman of the Water and Power
Development Authority, assertively includes a completed Kalabagh Dam under
its Vision 2025, the three concerned provincial assemblies have passed
resolutions to stop the construction of this dam.
most classic problem, apart from lack of governmental farsightedness, is
that of internal corruption. The Ghazi Barotha Dam project was a perfect
project in terms of resettlement of the displaced, compensating the affected
etc. It was treated as a precedence, which was to be followed by all and
sundry. The project included development of three model resettlement
villages. The Ghazi-Barotha Project Organization (GBPO) was drafted to be
restructured and expanded under the aegis of Loan and Technical Assistance
Grant Agreement between Pakistan and Asian Development Bank, and include a
host of developmental measures like Environment and Social Division, a
Project Non Governmental Organization (PNGO). The PNGO was slated to assist
in monitoring the resettlement matters. At such a height of commendation, it
was suddenly discovered that the Ghazi-Barotha Project was suffering from
the greatest land acquisition scam in South Asia. In 2002, the National
Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Regional Accountability Bureau (NWFP)
unearthed that, "payment of compensation was made at highly inflated
rates for low category of land, non-existing facilities, infrastructure and
orchards." Actually, it was all done in an understanding between the
Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and the land owners. The Land
Valuation Assessment Committees have also been fraudulent. When the affected
held the World Bank responsible for their plight, the latter drifted back,
stating clearly that all problems are to be sorted out with the WAPDA and
the NAB and the WB has no finger in the pie.
from governmental mishandling, there occurred large scale depletion of
natural resources in all the projects. The results have been so much far
reaching that almost each and every cross-section of the community lost
their age-old livelihoods. A particular case can be stated about the women,
who, lost mobility and were more and more relegated to the confines of the
home, due to the projects. A little elaboration on this point might be
helpful. Roads were built right across the villages, or crop fields.
Earlier, the women, who moved in groups or alone, from one place to another
for the purpose of livestock care, crop harvesting, seedling, fetching
drinking water or providing meals to the male members working on field etc.
and therefore had equal participation in the economic activities of the
family. With the development of motorways, women became marginalized and
economically affected at the first instant. Along with the women, community
ties were deeply affected. Development has all the way treated people only
as mere elements that have to be relocated at the best, but never taken into
consideration the social and psychological dimensions of the process.
from the Dam projects, several other developmental projects have also been
taken up by Rahman for discussion. The Islamabad Capital City, the National
Motorway Network Project and the Lyari Expressway Project are the instances
where similar price is being incurred by the erstwhile residents to
facilitate the development versed by a few.
projects tend to see failure for the sheer incapable nature of developmental
laws. Pakistan shows a peculiar case, where one law, the Land Acquisition
Act 1894, enacted under British India, is treated as the principal general
statutory guideline for all land acquisition problems. It has later been
remoulded or reinterpreted according to the need of the hour, but the new
model pertained only to the particular project during which it was drawn up.
It's quite unimaginable, but the base law persists unaltered till date,
while different provinces follow their own versions of it. Therefore, the
rehabilitation requirement, the land allocation ceiling, etc are not
uniformly defined for the country as a whole. Neither can the old law tackle
modern problems, nor can the new policy decisions be regarded as laws, for
their very edifice is called into question by the very existence of the
former. The law is peculiar in the sense: it is one law, but certainly not a
single one. As many as 12 different laws have been drawn up under its
premises, but many of these variants have overgrown it.
is the case with every developing or underdeveloped country in South Asia,
Pakistan also witnesses a host of civil society organizations that try to
plug the various loops and gaps in the functioning of the development
authorities. The author mentions two umbrella organizations and a few local
organizations that function in Pakistan. The Sungi Development Foundation (SDF)
is the most important one, followed by the Human Rights Commission of
Pakistan (HRCP). The SDF has brought into being the Pakistan Network
of Rivers, Dams and People, which is the leading network involving issues of
displacement out of dam construction and all four provinces of Pakistan has
its members. Some of the small organizations include Anjuman-e-Mutaasireen
Tarbela Dam (for Tarbela Dam), DAAMAN (for Chashma Right Bank Canal
Project), Anjuman Mutasireen Islamabad (for the capital city) etc.
their pre-eminent presence, the author accuses, they lack the amount of
impact that they should have had. They have more accent over research on
ecological or environmental dimensions displacement/development than over
real resettlement issues. In fact, the author points out, the displacement
issues are quite secondary on their agenda. The infinitesimal amount of
study that is done by the consultants pertaining to the real resettlement or
displacement problems, fails squarely to take into consideration the gender
and child dimensions of displacement. They overlook the fact that the kind
of compensation package the Government offers to them, is inadequate for
women. Currency notes are not enough compensation for the women who lose
their agricultural occupation or occupational habitat due to displacement.
The choice to spend money still lies with the male members in this part of
the world. The women can be effective where they have a way of their own to
earn, perhaps in kind. With every strike of displacement, the women have to
move to the cities in herds in order to survive by doing odd jobs as
household maids. Thereby, they lose their communitarian ties and are made to
face the society in the capacity of a single individual, who is thoroughly
incapable of doing so.
The development model, therefore, marked by rather hasty move to develop at any cost, makes the people suffer a very harsh fate. The governments still do not realize that perhaps a different thought is required to develop each area. An umbrella development paradigm is certainly not suitable to this part of the world.
On the basis of your reading of Meghna Guhathakurta’s article Globalization, Class and Gender Relation: The Shrimp Industry in South-western Bangladesh,” Report on the Workshop on Engendering R & R (both available in CRG website) and the chapter entitled “Shefali” in Marginal Nations, analyse how lack of control over resources have led to large-scale displacement of women?
by Laxmi Shrestha
a predominantly male dominated society, women have always been discriminated
in terms of utilizing resources. Gender-biases
are deep rooted and are reflected in women’s lack of control over resource
such as land, housing and property in particular. Although lack of control
over resources contributes significantly to displacement in human lives,
women face special vulnerabilities.
a fast growing world economy, the pace and form of development has negative
impact on people’s lives, especially poor and marginalized. Many have been
forced to leave their home and land by the man-made disasters and the large
economic developmental project. The process of socio-economic development
which changes the pattern of use of resources causes displacement which is
particularly traumatic for women. This results in the breakdown of community
networks and social services, loss of livelihoods and resources and
disruption of social services. Indeed the very life of people, especially
women gets disrupted. Loss of resources for subsistence leads to hardship,
social tensions and impoverishment which forced women to migrate to other
places for earning their lives.
Guhathakurta’s article, although shrimp cultivation in South-Western
Bangladesh links the country with the world economy, the huge project
victimizes the local inhabitants. The monoculture shrimp industry occupies
the agricultural land as well as the Khas land, which by law is to
be distributed to the landless. As a result, the local inhabitants are being
forced out of their land, especially those who have little or no access to
resources. The structural
transformation from peasant economic to monoculture shrimp industry is
taking place as a consequence
of the shrimp industry. The
expansion of shrimp cultivation accelerates poverty for the poor and
who are depended upon the agricultural lands for their living loose their
socio-economic support when the agricultural lands are taken by the shrimp
of access to resources and social security, these women are subjected to
migration in search of alternatives.
large developmental project significantly contributes to displacement of
human lives, and its impact on women is pervasive. In countries where
patriarchy exists, women are generally secluded, and it is more intense
among the displaced women. The state and project policies fail to address
women’s needs that force them to be more marginalized and dependent. This
is largely a result of gender biased laws and policies. The resettlement and
rehabilitation programme designed to re-compensate displaced people support
the male members only, but ignores
During displacement, women have to live in deplorable conditions without
proper shelter and lack of privacy. The women are also deprived of adequate
water, health care facilities, sanitation and hygiene. As a result, they
become more susceptible to physical, psychological and sexual violence.
However, such issues are not taken into consideration by the state and the
project policies. Furthermore, lack of institutional support mechanisms and
gender-sensitive policies in project programs, the women become more
deprived of accessing to resources that make them dependable.
Ranabir Samaddar in his book `Marginal Nation’ presence how lack of
access to control over resources contributes significantly to women’s
increasing poverty which compels them to cross the border for seeking better
jobs to earn a better living and become victims of trafficking. In the
context of South Asia, at least hundreds of thousands of young women and
girls are employed in Indian the brothels, of which large percentage of
these victims are from Nepal and Bangladesh. In addition, many have become
victims of the increasingly widespread practice of trafficking in persons
across international borders. The factors governing trafficking are: low
wages paid to women, low economic status, gender discrimination, domestic
violence, lack of education, early marriage, cultural practices such as
dowry and conflict. Most of the young women and girls are trafficked for
flesh trade and end up in the slavery like situation. In addition, some are
also trafficked to work in circus, beer bars, forced beggary, domestic work
and for removal of organ. Most of them are trafficked by promise of better
jobs by their acquaintances, relatives, friends, trafficked women and their
so-called husbands and boyfriends. Some girls voluntarily cross the border
for seeking better alternatives due to miserable life in their own country.
The trafficking in person often breakdown the kinship and social network,
undermines public health, suffering wage discrimination and labor
of the resources by the developmental projects and lack of women’s control
over resources are the root causes of forced migration of women. Forced
migration also takes place when state fails to compensate the women
adequately. The women’s specific needs should be prioritized by the state,
project policies and resettlement and rehabilitation process.
Women's right to control over resources should be considered in terms
of their entitlements which can help to prevent women from being migrated or
cross the border to seek better jobs.
M ‘Globalization, Class and Gender Relation: The Shrimp Industry in
on the Workshop on Engendering Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policies and
Programmes in India held at the India International Centre on September 12
and 13, 2002, Institute of Development Studies and Action Aid, India with
support from DFID.
Samaddar R (1999) ‘Shefali’ in Marginal Nation (Sage: New Delhi)
How lack of control over resources have led to large-scale displacement of women in Bangladesh?
by Meren Longkumer
the expansion of shrimp cultivation at the expense of rice cultivation,
rising domestic violence, polygamy and lumpenization among certain classes,
more and more women are displaced in their own country and many-crossed
border in search of their livelihood and security. With the advent of shrimp
cultivation that is
expanding so fast that it is taking up not only agricultural lands in the
area, but also much of the government land by the roadsides which by law, is
to be distributed by the local government to the landless. Therefore, Many
women feel deprived of their rights to this land, and therefore feel the
need to put pressure on the government. But this is not easy, given the fact
that many of those who own the shrimp farms are not only members of the
local power structure but also involved in national politics at the highest
level. Another important
deprivation is the loss of grazing land. Traditionally, farmers send to send
their cattle to graze for the season down to the lowlands where poor
families often earned an income by looking after the livestock.
Women of this area particularly are victims of the socio-economic transformation. Women are also been deserted by their husbands, due to lack of agricultural land, could not find any work as labourers and hence not being able to cope with managing a family either crossed the border or migrated elsewhere looking for jobs!. The situation of women Bangladesh also remains particularly acute because they are taken out in the largest number to be sold into forced prostitutions, organ trade and for slave labour.
suggest that over 5,000 Bangladeshi women are becoming the victims of
trafficking-in-human beings with false promises of jobs, marriages and other
forms of security. The families having problems in marrying their daughters
due to high demands of dowry become an easy prey to such offers. Therefore,
girls are vulnerable at the hands of their parents because they are seen as
a burden after a certain age. The poor parents, being unable to put together
a dowry for their daughters voluntarily hand them over to the unknown groom,
even when he is proposing to her abroad. The offer of marriage is mostly
acceptable in case of a girl who could not be married due to lack of dowry,
or who had come back from her husband’s house immediately after marriage,
again because her father could not continuous dowry demands. Another factor,
which is quite disturbing in all the available news reports, is that the
uncles (maternal and paternal uncles) persuade the parents to give their
daughters away to these grooms. Infact, some of the uncles are paid by the
brokers to carry out the job of persuasion.
of the women have escaped the fate of Shefali and have successfully crossed
the broader and have taken up jobs of helping the coolies in road repairs,
have reached West Bengal working in big bazaars in Calcutta via Dhaka’s
garment industry, where the low pay and staggering work conditions goaded
them to proceed beyond Dhaka after a 2-3 year long stint of hard labour as
garment workers, paddy transplantation work in the paddy fields, as
housemaids and particularly work in brickfields and shrimp cleaning units
dotting the area around the metropolis.
often decide to migrate to resist insults, torture and an enslaved life.
Thus migration becomes a form of self-empowerment for countless women in
Bangladesh. Malavika suggests that Thadani-Todaro’s notion of autonomous
female migration’ should be substituted with the notion of survival
migration remains unclear as imperatives to survive may lead to desires for
autonomy, and “power”, therefore, retains considerable importance in any
appreciation of the dynamics of population flow.
often cited directly some ecological disaster and hence decided migrate to a
safer area. Ecological disasters like flood or famine appear as the
destroyers of ‘home’ and to the women, therefore, they act not only as
metaphors but as harsh reality. The decision to migrate made jointly with
based on the premise that women would fine it easier to find a job.- hence
the decision of the migrant women of Bangladesh are parts of both ‘a
definite survival strategy’ as well as ‘a strategy to gain autonomy’
constant flow of young women across the borders, now struggling for
survival, ensures that many of them would end their journey in the brothels
of the metropolis, also it ensures ‘a bottomless supply of cheap labour’
suffering wage discriminating, exploitation and sometimes the destruction of
culture, kin and social relations which late became a problem of identity
once the crucial ties were served, now recedes into marginality.
the writings of Samaddar , it is very clear that poor women are facing
a lot of hazards , and the effect of industrialized development
program ( such as shrimp cultivation) , causing occupational
transformation to the poor women and this enhancing displacement . But the
situation of women in the middle-income families whose livelihood were also
primarily based on land-based resources was out of his discussion or
argument and which of the article can create a misunderstanding that
polygamy is practiced only among poor families. The readers may raise a
demand for knowing the brief history of displacement of women
In his article, it was also difficult to identify the coping strategy
of poor women with the changing form of employment.
The Marginal Nation- Transborder Migration from Bangladesh to West
Globalization, Class and Gender Relations: The Shrimp Industry in South-western Bangladesh- Meghna Guha thakurta
Pakistan Development Induced Displacement in Pakistan
by Qaisar Jamali
present-day world, marked by globalization, economic integration and
technological advancement, migration has become an international phenomenon.
There is freer movement of goods, services, capital, labours and ideas then
ever before. Although barriers to international trade and financial
transaction have been dismantled significantly over the past two decades,
barriers to cross-border movement of people still remain high.
/forced migration were considered a problem in the past with negative
implication for development. It was adversely viewed in terms of brain
drain; labour force depletion and rural exodus. However, in the globalised
world of today, there is a growing recognition of the positive effects of
migration. Migration also entails benefits such as knowledge, skills and
technology transfer, reduction in unemployment, modernization,
democratization and empowerment of the disadvantage segments of society.
its benefits, however, displacement /forced migration remain a polemical
issue. The main reason for this is that migration like trade and capital
flows has distributional implication whereby net gains for society may
entail losses for some individuals and groups. It also creates ripples of
resistance because the movement of people has economic, psychological,
social and political consequences.
rapid and unplanned industrialization adversely affects people and they are
rendered home less. Even increasing population is a constant problem which
results in further population growth but less resource generation. At the
same time ill conceived development projects like high ways, big dams are a
born of contention when discussing about resettlement of displaced
population. Ambitious political leaders take decisions with out considering
pros and cons of affected communities.
forced migration development included diverse phenomenon, its economic
impact in one place or another is largely determined by the particular
circumstances involved. Moreover, in view of the paucity of basic data on
migration, assessing the impact of policy changes is fraught with
difficulties. This underscores the need for better data and more research.
Moreover, institutional arrangements need to be made to provide authentic
information on migration opportunities and risks to avert unfortunate
migration decision and to limit the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable
being a developing country is no exception to these phenomena she also faces
problems of displacement and forced migration. One of the biggest problems
of Pakistan is that she stills enforces land acquisition act for displaced
population which was formed in 1894.This obsolete act further complicates
resettlements issues of displaced population like cases of Mangal and
Tarbela dams are still pending.
On the other hand importance of large dams can’t be ignored in the
economic development of Pakistan as Pakistan is an aggregation society and
therefore large dams have been declared the bedrock of Pakistan’s
agricultural economy & industrial base. Like Mangla dam, Tarbela dam.
case of Pakistan an effective regulatory framework for recruitment is
required to protect intending migrants and to improve transparency.
Population is increasing at a faster rate then resources. People’s
needs & wants are unlimited, while resources are scarce & limited
and this leads to unplanned industrialization (eg, Motor way, or lyhari
express way project) which results in displacement, ignoring all factors
like environmental impact; pollution of smoke, water, noise and over all
threat to nature.
is a lack of national policy and absence of a law that can address the
problem of the fare and timely compensation, rehabilitation, restoration of
livelihood and participation of affected communities in decision making eg(
Tarbela and Mangla dam affecties are still waiting for payments.).
Inadequate funding is another problem in the resettlement policy. UN guiding
principles on internal displacement are totally ignored. One of the major
contours of this issue is lack of social organization process. Due to this
the role of civil society is almost non existent.
women are the worst sufferers as gender disaggregated data are seldom
available in any development project involving displacement. Even in getting
cash compensation women are disempowered because they hardly handle cash or
have control over financial resources. This further worsens the situation
and leads to a disintegration of the social network of displaced communities
and makes them more vulnerable. Even they can’t pursue their cases in
getting compensation from concerned departments.
does the solution lie?
government needs to have a final resettlement policy at all tiers,
districts, provinces & federal.
mechanism needs to be developed to deal with displaced people with clear
concept to differentiate between refugees and displaced.
role of civil society has to strengthen due to absence of comprehensive
policy and legislation in Pakistan. Enhanced dissemination and understanding
of UN norm and instruments relating to displaced communities is required
among all stake holders.
initiatives have to be taken by the government for research advocacy and
training / capacity building of the staff in displacement.
To conclude, as Gandhi said “Earth has natural resources to meet the need of the human race, but not its greed “. A cohesive, coherent and well planned policy is needed by the government to deal with these issues. By getting help from international organizations, by involving the community into decision making process, through awareness and advocacy campaign and after all this , a proper legislation has to be done for incorporating this through a permanent mechanism.
On reading Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury’s “Uprooted Twice: Refugees From the Chittagong Hill Tracts,” in Refugees and the State do you agree that conflict in CHT is in the last resort a conflict over land.
by Tarangini Sriraman
Basu Ray Chaudhury in his essay, “Uprooted Twice: Refugees From the
Chittagong Hill Tracts” gives us a comprehensive and detailed overview of
the multi-dimensional process of displacement of the people of Chittangong
Hill Tracts (CHT). She outlines two main projects and one trend that the CHT
people were victims of, namely, projects of (decolonisation and)
nation-building, development and the trend of xenophobia. She foregrounds
this essay with an encyclopaedic socio-political history and outline of the
different religious affiliations of the indigenous people of CHT, making
every effort to illustrate through this outline the distinctness as well as
the commonalties of these people. The point of this historical introduction
is to indicate that these were a people not amenable to easy amalgamation or
initiation into a nation’s majority culture.
Before I discuss Sabyasachi Chaudhury’s narrative of the alienation of CHT people from their own land, I would like to explore what land can mean to any native people. When a people are recognized as natives of a land, they enjoy rights of domicile, monopoly of trade, often prior choice in education, unchallenged opportunities of employment and citizenship rights. The right to one’s own land is the right to not depend on an alien country’s hospitality, the right to not be hounded out by other residents, the right to enjoy claims of citizenship. All these rights were denied progressively and systematically, as the narrative of Sabyasachi Chaudhury unfolds. In my understanding, Chaudhury’s article does depict the CHT people’s conflict over land in the last resort, but this conflict over land translates also into conflict over autonomy, ethnic-cultural recognition and citizenship.
they were victims of the policies of the Pakistani government, the
Bangladeshi government or the xenophobia of the Indian people, the people of
CHT were universally denied claims to land. Sabyasachi Chaudhury points out
that if the Pakistani government did little to recognize that they desired
to be given the status of natives in their own land, the CHT, the
Bangladeshi government did all that it could to encroach on their land. The
very act by Pakistan of annexing CHT was bound to translate into disrespect
for existing ethnic arrangements and traditional rights to land. Besides
removing CHT from the list of Tribal Areas whose residents’ claims to land
were protected, the Pakistani government started a hydro-electric power
project which resulted in the submerging of agricultural land and the mass
exodus of many CHT people in 1964. In Sabyasachi Chaudhury’s view, the
decisive blow to these people that turned them into refugees and alienated
them from their land, was the Bangladeshi government’s initiative to move
Bengali Muslims staying in the plains into the CHT. The experience of the
CHT people that eventually forced them to leave their homeland at the hands
of Pakistan and Bangladesh was first of religious nationalism, and in the
latter case of linguistic nationalism. Sabyasachi Chaudhury asks a veiled
question, if communal feeling and linguistic nationalism had stakes to land,
how come indigenous, ethnic tribes lack them?
tells us that from fighting an indigenous struggle for their own land, the
Chakmas, Hajongs and other residents of the CHT were forced now to fight the
refugees’ struggle for any land. This was true when they took the crucial
decision to cross the borders of Bangladesh into North-East India. When it
comes to these people’s struggle and their brutal treatment at the hands
of people in the North East and particularly in Arunachal Pradesh,
Sabyasachi Chaudhury shows sensitivity to a subtle point. If land was so
important to the Chakmas and the Hajongs, it was equally important to the
natives of Arunachal Pradesh. Hosting refugees invariably entails huge
responsibility and generosity. Even if it may be true that the xenophobic
tendencies of native residents in Arunachal Pradesh were fuelled largely by
political parties and student movements, this task of parting with living
space to so many refugees was certainly crucial and not easy for these
residents. This said, the virulent actions that residents and the regional
government there undertook to displace the refugees were inexcusable. These
refugees’ housing needs in Arunachal Pradesh were constantly compromised
to suit the fears of the Indian government vis-à-vis the regional
government, strategy-dictated decisions (of recruiting Chakmas and Hajongs
in the Indian Army), of the Arunachal Pradesh government’s determination
to follow a protectionist course of action and an insensitivity displayed by
all parties to refugee and human rights. When a window was opened for these
refugees to return to their own land, some of them reluctantly did, only to
live amidst strangers and accept unfriendly policies. In addition, their
minimum demands of land restoration, withdrawal of Bangladeshi
non-indigenous settlers from CHT and demilitarisation, much less job
guarantees and financial help to re-acquire homes were never properly
conceded by the Bangladesh government.
It has been the experience of the refugees of CHT that decolonisation and nation-building entail exclusions, statelessness entails landlessness and vice-versa. Driven away by Pakistan’s development projects, driven to India by Bangladesh’s massacres and settlement drives, driven once more away from India back to their one-time homeland, the CHT, these people have had perpetually to compromise on land, but contingently also on cultural recognition, autonomy and livelihood.
Lack of Control over resources have led to large scale displacement of women
by Radha Adhikari
woman's role and status in the society is largely defined by the terms
governing marriage, conjugal relations and property in the countries of
South Asia, most importantly the countries having stronger footings on the
philosophy of "Manusmriti" in the Hindu mythology. We are living
in a society wherein laws, social customs and traditions, some of which are
of superstitious nature are deeply rooted.
It cannot be negated here that the women's limited ability to own,
acquire and control the property is the product of historical, political,
legal and social aspects within the society.
A family is the basic organizational unit forming the infrastructure for virtually all activities of the human life whether it is of economic, social or personal in nature. The male family head has the legal obligation to provide food and clothing for his wife, his dependent parents, his children and their families. By law and custom the wife has the right to food, clothing, a place in the home and control of certain defined types of property, which is absolutely voluntary in nature either from her parents or her husband as a result of which most of the time women are left out without any resources of her own. So women in this region are mostly living on the mercy of male members of our society at all stages of their lives that is upon father prior to her marriage, upon husband after her marriage and during the most productive age of her life and then upon her son at the later stage of her life. Therefore in order to retain her place, the law and the societal norms requires her to remain faithful like a servant and bear children without being physically or mentally disabled. In case she is unable to fulfill such standards of her life come whatever be the circumstances, she becomes susceptible to torture, beatings and even expulsion from her family whether with direct means or indirect means results displacement of women, take the case of Shefali in the book named "The marginal Nation" authored by Mr. Ranabir Samaddar. Thus about 80% of the displaced population in the world comprises of women and children. In addition to this, women, being the vulnerable members of the society, most of the wars and disturbances are hovered with huge number of cases of rape victims.
men's control over the financial resources has been the vehicle of all forms
of violence against women including the domestic violence. Hence in most
cases women are forced to stay in abusive marriages because they would not
be able to support themselves if they left the guardianship of men. To
worsen the fact a women who lives outside the family i.e. a woman who is not
defined and supported by her relationship to her father, husband or son is
an alien concept in our society and even though if it exist in few cases,
the society looks down upon them and accuses of having poor character.
economy of the countries in this region lies in the agricultural products
and thus women being the 50% partners of production and being themselves
laborious in nature but coupled with minimal literacy rate are responsible
for 60 to 70% of agricultural outputs. Thus women work out in the fields
hand in hand with men and then return back home again to work there.
Therefore women work three hours longer than their male counterpart i.e.
approximately women work for eleven hours whilst men work for 8 hours a day.
Such burdensome workload combined with generally poor health and limited
access to resources brings about serious constraints in their health care,
educational opportunities, access to information and all other necessary
requirements to live a life with dignity.
order to balance the deep rooted patriarchal norms the states should be
paying attention to increase the women's literacy followed by supporting
women's economic participation with access to resources either by means of
state mechanisms like gender budgeting or availing them with the legal
rights education through advocacy trainings and campaigns.
But all this is possible if the literacy rate of women is improved. Therefore the initial step is education of girl child and then the economic participation is seconded as this is the anchor of women's empowerment, thus enabling her to earn and own money which in turn facilitates her to play significant role in the household decision making. Legal reform is another factor to be attended to, but if it is adopted in a vacuum in the form of Acts and laws in legal instruments, it will remain in words and not in deeds. Therefore, such legal reforms should be involved with wide ranged consultations and by mobilizing public opinion as a whole. This is necessary for making the women aware of the rights as well as to understand legal and administrative process well enough to be able to exercise the available rights in true sense.
On the basis of your reading of Meghna Guhathakurta's article "Globalization, Class and Gender Relations: The Shrimp Industry in South-western Bangladesh," Report on the Workshop on Engendering R & R (both available in CRG website) and the chapter entitled "Shefali" in Marginal Nations, analyse how lack of control over resources have led to large-scale displacement of women?
by Rashmi Shetty
the last one-decade the numbers of internally displaced persons (IDP) are on
the increase in South Asia just as in many other parts of the world.
Discrimination against minorities, violence, war, ethnic hatred, state
repression, demands for self-determination, natural and man made disasters
such as famines and floods, ill-conceived development projects such as
highways and dams – all have contributed massively to internal
phenomenon of globalisation has further aggravated the resource crisis by
creating new demands for the resources and introducing private corporations
with large financial resources. This has brought them in direct conflict
with the communities who were early enjoying these resources and are now
being handed over to private corporations by state for a price. One can see
it, among others, from the extent of land most states acquire for private
companies. As Meghna’s article on “Globalisation, Class and Gender
Relations: The Shrimp Industry in South Western Bangladesh demonstrates
shrimp industries are not only taking up agricultural lands in the area but
also of the Khas or government land by the roadsides, which by law, is to be
distributed by the local government to the landless and also the important
deprivation of grazing land. It goes on further to state that many women
feel deprived of their rights land and therefore feel the need to put
pressure on the Government.
the same time, it has been observed that most of the displaced people remain
women and children, and even when men are displaced, their displacement
negatively impacts on the womenfolk. These groups are largely dependent
on the common property resources (CPR) for their survival owned by the
state. The area under CPR has been decreasing across South Asia because
states has been using it for various developmental purposes at the cost of
marginalized communities leading to conflict between state and people.
Report of the Workshop on engendering resettlement and rehabilitation
policies in programmes in India, on the session of Dynamics of Displacement
explores the issues of deprivation and denial emanating from forced
displacement by focusing on the loss of CPR’s for women. The Session by Walter
Fernandes explains the impact of loss of people’s access to common
property resources (CPR) because of displacement. According to the author
CPRs should not be seen only as material assets. They constitute the
livelihood of people, particularly poor people. He states that most dalit
and tribal people are dependent on the CPRs and attempts to take away CPRs
often have severe adverse impacts. Displacement involves a change from
community ownership to individual ownership. He opines that such
transformations often results in changes in the socio-economic position of
women. The gender bias in R&R programmes is clearly evident in NALCO
resettlement. More than 80 percent of the displaced families were given a
job in the project. But then only 7 women got jobs. He concludes by stating
that caste, class and gender should not be looked in isolation but should
form a part of an integrated analysis.
crux of the problem, regarding double blind that entraps displaced women is
explained by Lyla Mehta. On one hand, male biases in society help perpetuate
gender inequality in terms of unequal resource allocation and distribution
and also legitimise silencing of women’s interests. On the other hand,
biases within state institutions, structures and policies dealing with
displacement and Resettlement and Rehabilitation help perpetuate these
the report on the session ‘Experiences of displaced Women and Men’
captures that with the regard to land, women have no legal rights over lands
or natural resources. Whenever tribal villages have been displaced or
affected, women have been forced out of their land based work and pushed
into menial and marginalised labour. In Jadugoda mines in Jharkhand the
worst affected people are tribal women and children.
Under the above mentioned circumstances the trafficking of girls and women and forced prostitution is accentuated. This is captured by the story on “Shefali” in Marginal Nations. Dr. Ranabir captures the process of marginalization of women. Shefali seen as an illegal migrant had to face oppression from her family members, villagers, State, etc. The story also captures the many depositions of immigrant workers decision to emigrate due to ecological disasters which leads them to low wages, new insecurities, initial uncertainties in settling, harassment and sexual exploitation.
On the basis of your reading of Meghna Guhathakurta’s article “Globalizatio\n, Class and Gender Relations: The Shrimp Industry in South-Western Bangladesh,” the Report on the Workshop on Engendering R&R and analyse how lack of control over resources have led to large-scale displacement of women?
by Salma Butt
said, “Earth has the natural resources to meet the needs of human race but
not its greed” and this too is a proven fact that today almost more than
1% of world population is displaced, out of which 80% constitutes women and
their dependant children. South Asia is fourth biggest region in the world
prone to displacement, due to rapidly growing population and limited natural
resources on earth. The growth rate of population is much greater than the
rate at which natural resources are stock up and allocated.
lack of control over resources have led to large-scale displacement of
question will be analysed in the following writing by pondering on the
chapter titled “Shefali”
in ‘The Marginal Nation’ a
book written by Prof. Ranabir Samaddar an expert in issues of justice and
human rights, article “Globalisation,
Class and Gender Relations: The Shrimp Industry in South-western
Bangladesh” by Prof. Meghna Guhathakurta an expert in gender,
development and South Asian politics and Report
on the Workshop on Engendering R&R involving the experts
Lyla Mehta and Ravi.
reveals that the lack of control over resources in women’s part is obvious
within and outside the domestic life. Generally, the factor lack of
resources leads to the displacement of men, women and children. Women,
though, experience such displacement in very specific ways. In the world
today, large international and transnational companies are gaining greater
control of the international market and global resources, the impact of
degradation of the agricultural land due to natural disasters and
abhorrently mishandled government projects, and thus the reduction in the
resources on the local villagers, has been appalling in the coastal areas.
The coastal communities, which had been living there since centuries, were
forced to migrate by circumstances, as their key livelihood resources were
his, book `Marginal Nation’
Dr. Ranabir Samaddar eloquently explained the
process of women marginalization in the chapter ‘Shefali’ by
highlighting the causes of displacement and migration of poor women in
Bangladesh based on data gathering from primary and secondary sources,
regarding lost of their control on land and other resources. The portrait of
`Shefali’ as a case presented in the book, obviously visualized a scenery
of poor women’s condition in Bangladesh.
further tells us about the process of taking control of the resources by
Multinationals has caused the displacement of a huge population. Women have
always the least or no access to resources, credit or opportunities. Thus,
such conditions lead to large displacement of women within and across the
border to meet their economic and social demands as bread-earners. It is
vital when he says:
immiserization among a section of population in the border districts,
unemployment due to expansion of shrimp cultivation at the expense of rice
cultivation, rising domestic violence, polygamy and lumpenization among the
under classes, more and more women are pushed out on the streets and if many
of them go to Dhaka in search for security, many cross the border in the
He kept on saying, the
system of dowry for the poor women also treated as causes of a large-scale
displacement of women. I also noticed from reading this chapter that the
women migrating to other places or cross borders with a view; to safe guard
their families shelter, food,
security and to give a better life to their girl children by getting them
married, ironically, they tend to face even more drastic results in form of
identity crises, forced labour, settling new social lives etc.
traffickers take the deprived women away from their homeland, to an entirely
new world by false promising of providing jobs, marriage and shelter, and
put them into bonded sweat-shop labour, slave labour and forced
prostitution. This is reflected in countless ways in the chapter. The
uncertain married life of Shefali especially when her husband brought second
wife at home from a comparatively privileged family, she was treated
miserably by beatings and torture. Sheer lack of resources to survive at her
end delivered her onto the doorstep of a trafficking cartel. As stated by
Samaddar, “it is difficult to
guess how many Shefalis are sold across the border!” penniless
women and girls from the down-trodden and rural areas are more subjected to
such victimization, when they lose control on land and other resources.
of large-scale shrimp farming on women in southwestern Bangladesh,
Meghna Guhathakurta’s article highlights transition. During the
time of transition from traditional survival on agriculture to an export
orientated agro-based shrimp industry how
the people living in South-western Bangladesh, were deprived of a relatively
fixed income as well as the gain of natural produce from subsistence farming
and therefore of the security to make a living. This change in land use had
serious impacts on the lives and livelihoods of all people, but turned out
to be particularly crucial for the lives of women, especially for those that
are poor and landless.
Multinational Corporations, coupled with the support of the World Bank and
Asian Development Bank occupied the land in those areas where subsistence
peasant economy was used to be source of life, they shifted the land into
shrimp cultivation. Gradual degradation of land cultivation through
expansion of shrimp farming has not only affected the employment of poor
people but has also pushed a number of poor, landless women to get involved
in shrimp collecting from the river, which physically was dangerous for them
due to reported presence of crocodile and sharks in the region. Being
seasonal as well as risky in terms of labour and security those jobs are not
easy to get as shrimp cultivators and the companies do not tend to use local
labour for their farms and bring in employees form other regions. Hence,
many men decided to migrate, leaving women behind, depriving them of male
protection. This has meant loss of food, health, and income, causing large
displacements of poor people.
consequence of the situation is that the poor women in this region fall prey
to unsettled marriages with the out-of-area labourers that are hired by
these companies seasonally. The fear of insecurity and lack of resources for
women, forces them to form such relationships.
role of a woman in household economy,
previously sent their cattle for grazing and poor family often earned income
by looking after the livestock, which they could do as a part of their
normal household works. Cattle rearing to poultry farming or kitchen
gardening, all land-based livelihoods provided them the opportunity to add
to household income. Now women feel deprived of their rights to the land
being used for shrimp cultivation of that area.
with neither capital nor land, as well as without a male guardian had to go
into wage labour and to start collecting shrimp fries in the rivers. As a
consequence, these landless women sometimes were subjected to trafficking
and sold to Pakistan, India, Middle East where they were forced to work as
sex worker and housemaids.
who faces inequalities in terms of resources and distribution, resettlement
and rehabilitation policies and programmes
the R&R report, it is revealed by presenters, Lyla Mehta and Ravi,
impact on women of the tie up between global capital and local economy, not
only in terms of personal displacement but also by the migration of the men
folk in search of employment because of the disruption of the traditional
economy and employment patterns in villages and semi-urban situations. How
women particularly are affected by developmental projects and resource
policies? How policies can be and need to be framed with the gendered
perception and with the participation of women in order to understand and
learn ways to redress the problems particularly faced by them.
One can see it, among
others, from the extent of land most states acquire for private companies. The
unmindful exploitation of resources and unregulated discharge of harmful
chemicals and waste materials are contributing to the environmental
degradation. All these factors are together contributing towards resource
and environmental crisis leading to forced migration of people. In this
unavoidable trap of migration and displacement by poor become marginalized;
let us take a glance of on the sufferings mainly faced by women according to
the R&R report.
The report reflects on
typical circumstances under which women’s rights, their assets and their
spheres of control are generally misunderstood by policy-makers, and there
is a great deal of risk involved in the course of their resettlement. The
report also establishes that resettlement and rehabilitation policies and
programmes shows in many cases women are still not given a voice in the
decision making process about possible displacement or resettlement schemes.
Women often lack information and political power to oppose forced
displacement induced by industrialisation, infrastructural or technological
projects and therefore resettlement and rehabilitation schemes are far from
being gender sensitive and denied by the authorities, thus their
compensation is visibly vacuumed for the resettlement and rehabilitation
process of taking control of the resources In a final analysis of these
three studies, as a detailed survey of Globalization policies, it can very
well be ascertained that the global forces and institutions generally seem
to be depriving us of our basic rights to human development and our rights
as women and as nations. Same as India and Bangladesh, similar
manifestations are in Pakistan, where government projects and intervention
of Multinational projects has caused lots of discomfort to the people.
authors of the three articles are clearly demonstrating how the lack of
resources leads to large scale displacement of women and simultaneously
provide us a detailed survey of Globalization policies how they are
depriving us of our basic rights to human development and our rights as
women and as nations. Women deprived of economical resources are forced into
insecure wage labour or to migrate how vulnerable women fall into the hands
of traffickers unknowingly or agreeably. Finally, it also highlights the
fact that women are lacking societal/cultural resources. Women are
frequently denied to take an active part in the decision making process and
are consequently drawn into the vicious circle of being marginalised.
R (1999) ‘Shefali’ in Marginal Nation (Sage: New Delhi)
M ‘Globalization, Class and Gender Relations: The Shrimp Industry in
Report on the Workshop on Engendering Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policies and Programmes in India held at the India International Centre on September 12 and 13, 2002, Institute of Development Studies and Action Aid, India with support from DFID
On reading Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury’s “Uprooted Twice: Refugees From the Chittagong Hill Tracts,” in Refugees and the State do you agree that conflict in CHT is in the last resort a conflict over land.
by Sharifa Siddiqui
people of the Chittagong Hills Tract has indeed suffered much trauma. As can
be seen the first blow to their human rights was the denial of
self-determination when the people of the Hills (CHT) wanted to accede to
is yet another instance of historical mistake that the newly formed Indian
government made. Perhaps it is very right that they were the sacrificial
goats because of political reasons – that they were being given away in
lieu of Sikh compacted lands nearer the Capital.
would say that being far away from the Capital of the country in times when
communications were not so efficient and infrastructures not so advanced too
had much role to play. And take into reckoning that Sikhs are a much more
vocal lot than the gentler Hills People.
were forced to throw in their lot with Pakistan which subsequently became
Bangladesh. Even then, till they were recognized as Tribal Area and their
lands came under the category Excluded Areas, they still had control over
their life conditions in spite of slow advances by mainland people into
this stage it can be said that not only the Pakistan government, but also
the ordinary people saw much to gain by taking over their lands. Subject to
much suspicion by mainstream Bangladesh people and government, they have
been a persecuted lot a people to be denied first of all by the Bangladesh
government a proper deal when their land was taken over for the Kaptai Hydro
electric Power Project over the Karnaphuli. How that could happen without
proper compensation or without alternate lands is the whole saga of
nowhere to go, the first influx of refugees (about 40,000) took place then
in 1962. Their intention was to settle in Tripura where there was a degree
of cultural affinity. Due to the Tripura government’s inability to
accommodate this number, its asking other states for help resulted in the
Indian government taking yet another significant decision with far reaching
repercussions. Due to various political exigencies, the idea was mooted that
they could be accommodated in what was then the NEFA territories. This was
also basically protected areas of about 80 tribes. These hilly areas were
sparsely populated and the government felt that it would be a good idea to
temporarily shelter the Chakmas there. In 1987, the entire area was granted
statehood and Arunachal Pradesh came into existence. Subsequently over the
years many more families of Chakmas were directed to these areas. Local
population of Arunachal Pradesh is now a total of 8.5 million and the Chakma
population has now increased to 65,000.
main grouse of the local people was that since AP was a protected area,
since pre-independence period, the Chakmas should not have been settled in
the area in the first place. The State also became party to it and forcible
evictions of the refugees was not unheard of.
Yes, I do feel that the Chakma conflict is in essence a conflict over land. However, one must also keep in mind the dimension of human emotion, the fact that they had for decades enjoyed a privileged status and here come outsiders to share their resources, which can breed at the mildest resentment and at the worst genocide and ethnic cleansing.
On reading Sabyasachi Basu Roy Chaudhury’s “ Uprooted Twice: Refugees From Chitagong Hill Tracts” in Refugees and the State do you agree that conflict in CHT is in the last resort a conflict over land?
by Suranjana Ganguly
conflict, according to the Marxist interpretation, is basically revolving
around economic issues. This explanation is also applicable for the conflict
of Chakma people with the state supported intruders of the plain of
Bangladesh in Chittagang Hill Tracts region (CHT).Though the distinct
socio-religious-cultural identity of the Chakma tribe was helped to sharpen
this conflict. In his article “Uprooted Twice: Refugees From Chitagong
Hill Tracts” in Refugees and the State, Sabyasachi Basu Roy
Chaudhury shows that how the economic needs of the majority forced to
displaced the Chakmas from their original homeland and made them refugee on
the other side of the border. In his valuable discussion, the author also
have discussed about the life and problems of these people in India and the
politics revolving around them.
consider the history of East Pakistan and then the independent Bangladesh,
we can see, unfortunately, that there has always been a trend of forced
displacement of its minority; often, in the name of religious and
‘racial’ differences by the majority of the people. We can take the
example of the millions of East Bengali refugees, mostly Hindu, sought
asylum in Indian in the following years (except the few years of the regime
of Mujib-ur-Rahaman) after the partition of 1947, who came without the
minimum resources in the midst of the trauma of communal violence. However,
the genuine reason behind that impatient attitude of the majority Bengali
Muslim towards the Hindu minority were hunger for lands (as argued by
Prafulla Chakraborty in his book ‘The Marginal Men’, pg no.7),
century-long suppression by cast Hindu zamindars
upon Muslim peasants and the pressure of rehabilitation problem of
Muslim migrants came from many parts of Indian subcontinent. The case of CHT
was another example of economic compulsions and needs of the majority which
is directly clash with the interest of the indigenous Chakma people.
author shows that though the representatives of Chakma people wanted to join
the Indian Union in the time of partition in 1947, but their appeal was
ignored by Radcliff mission since they want to provide a hinterland for the
economically important port Chittagang and the river Karnafuli of East
Pakistan. Another opinion said that the CHT was the compensation against
another Sikh compact region which had not included within West Pakistan. So,
we can see, that from the beginning, the fate of the tribes of CHT was
decided from the perspective of economic loss and profit of the newly
independent states and not by the self interest or consent of the indigenous
the first two constitution of Pakistan (in 1956 & 1962) accepted CHT as
an Excluded area and a tribal area, but in 1964 the National Assembly of
Pakistan ignored the special status of CHT. This enables the non-indigenous
people to enter and occupy the lands of the tribe. The first major forced
migration happened when the Kaptai dam was built without considering about
nearby arable lands of tribes. Around 40,000 of them, who were mainly Chakma,
sought asylum to the North-east India.
second important phase of forced migration was started in 1972, when the
constitution of the newly independent Bangladesh did not include any
provision of distinct identity and rights of the indigenous people of CHT.
Primarily, it happened mainly because of the growing mutual misunderstanding
and suspicion between Chakma people and the Bangladesh liberation army
during the period of liberation war. The Chakma leaders tried to get
cultural and political autonomy within the existing laws and constitution
for the hill people but failed. This failure followed by the formation of
Shanti Bahini (SB), which is basically the armed wing of Parbotto Chattogram
Jana Samhati Samity (PCJSS). The clash between the SB and Bangladesh army
were become regular when, in 1978, the Bangladesh government started a
policy of settling plains people in the CHT regions with the help of
military. Gradual militarization and Islamisation forced the hill people to
cross the borders of India for the second time. This process was still
continuing in 1990s. In 1992, through the pact between Indian Government and
Bangladeshi Premier Begum Khaleda Zia, it was decided that both Government
would support the repatriation procedure. But still now, the Bangladeshi
government is unable to provide proper rehabilitations for the maximum
numbers of hill people.
if we try to find out the reasons behind these conflicts which caused large
scale forced migration, we should consider the questions of strategic
geo-political importance of CHT. Since the CHT has the common boundary with
both India and Myanmar, it is a very crucial place for Bangladesh’s
security. So it should be under the direct control of government for the
sake of security. The other most important issue regarding this conflict is
the issue of religious and cultural differences between the Bengali speaking
Muslim majority of plains and the Buddhists tribes of CHT. Due to these
differences, the government of Bangladesh could implement the strategy of
‘Bengalizing’ (‘Bangladesh: Displaced and Dispossess’ by
Meghna Guhathakurta and Suraiya Begum in Internal Displaced In South Asia,
Edited by Paula Banerjee, Sabyasachi Basu Roy Chaudhury and Smir Kumar Das)
and ‘Islamisation’ on the hill people to suppress their demands for
autonomy, which put the hill people in a vulnerable condition.
apparently, the distinct socio-religious identity of Chakma people and the
process of ethnic cleansing by Bangladeshi Government represent that
conflict as a racial or religious one. But, the question of rights over land
intrinsically related with this matter. The Census (1961) of Pakistan shows
that the total area of East Pakistan was 55000 sq kilometer., the total
population was 41932329 (within which the total number of
Hindus were 9239603 and the Muslims were 32226639), the density of
population was 761 people/square kilometer. This population density was
certainly much more in the plain delta region of East Pakistan. Partha
Chatterjee shows in “The Present History Of West Bengal: Essays
In Political Criticism” (in Chapter 4, page number 46) that
in 1977-78, the half of the peasantry of this agriculture centric country
was landless or own only half an acre land, others held from 0.5 to 2 acre
of land. Nearly 50% of the agrarian family in around the year of 1977 owned
only 0.5 acres of land. Meghna Guhathakurta and Suraiya Begum show, that
because of dense population of the delta region of Bangladesh the land is
scarce there and for this, the government tried to resettle the poor
landless peasants of the delta region in the CHT area We
have to remember that the CHT region contain 10% of the total land area of
Bangladesh, and considerable portion (about 3.1% is suitable for
agricultural use and 18.7% for horticultural use) of it is suitable for
agriculture and a vast area of this region is forestry (72%). So form these
statistics, it is clear that there is scarcity of land in Bangladesh and
arable land is available in CHT area.
conflict of PCJSS and Bangladeshi government begun with the issue of
political autonomy of Chakma and other tribal people of CHT, but to suppress
these demands, Bangladeshi government tried to change the demographic
proportion forcefully and encourage the landless poor Muslim to move to this
area from plain. The proportion of the non-indigenous people in CHT area is
strikingly rising within 20-25 years. From 1970s to 1980s, around 70,000
Chakma refugee sought asylum in Tripura, India. When in 1980s, the
international pressure compelled the Bangladeshi government to resettle the
Chakma refugees in their original homeland it become a pertinent problem for
them to move again the Bengali Muslim settlers form the hill area and to
give rehabilitation to the Chakma people. Sabyasachi Basu Roy Chaudhury
shows that till now the majority of Chakma people who repatriate to their
original homeland have not got their lands back because the Government of
Bangladesh was heisted to tackle the question of land rights. For these,
still now the basic demands (eg. autonomy for the CHT, withdrawal of the
Bangladeshi settlers from CHT and de militarization of the area) of PCJSS
have not fulfilled by Government. Rather, there was a provision for the
electoral representation of the settlers from the plain which meant the
virtually recognition of their presence in CHT area.
even after the beginning of the repatriation process, the land question is
still the central issue which is the main barrier in the path of the success
of this process. As Meghna Guhathakurta and Suraiya Begum show that “The
land issue remains at the core of the problem…”.Though the Bengali
settlers have the legal paper certifying their ownership over the lands and
the rights of the Chakma and the other tribal peoples over lands were not
registered, but after the Peace accord the papers of the Bengali settlers
became invalid. So as it made many of them landless again (according to the
figures of the CHT task force some 38,000 Bengalis had become internally
displaced in 2000), they refuse to give up their land rights and it created
a static situation in this area.
Dr. Basu Roy Chaudhury concludes with the hope of building trust in between the conflicting opponents of CHT. If the matter in only related with the differences within two separate socio-cultural community it can be sorted out with long-term discussions and with spreading a strong sense of nationality. But here the reason is beyond the socio-cultural differences and related with the economic reasons, specifically with the question of livelihood, it seems more difficult to be solved. It seems that beside the process of trust building, the Government of Bangladesh should provide some alternative resource through which the matter of livelihood can be fulfilled.
Conflict in CHT is the last resort of a conflict over land
by Uttam Kumar Das
Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), which covers an area of 14,200 square
kilometers, is situated in the south-east part of Bangladesh. It is a
strategically important area for geo-political reason. It shares
international borders with the Indian states of Tripura to the north,
Mizoram to the east, and Chin and Rakhine states of Myanmar to the
south-east and south.
The hill people are the original inhabitants in the CHT. They differ from the majority Bengali population of the plains in terms of race, religion and language. They (CHT people) are of Mongoloid, Tibeto-Burman, and Mon-Khamer origin and have similarities with their neighbours in north-east India and Myanmar and Thailand.
CHT now has a population of about 900,000 that is almost evenly divided
between the Muslims settlers and the indigenous Buddhists. However, earlier
the indigenous people were the majority. Even in 1991, the hill people
the purpose of the question, I do agree with the proposition that the
conflict in the CHT is the last resort of a conflict over land. However,
there are other contributing factors to the conflict.
fact, the dispute over land is a significant reason for the rise of conflict
in the CHT, however it is not the only reason. There are other reasons as
well. These are existence of discriminatory state policy against the hill
people (starting from the 1960s), lack of recognition of the distinct
identity of the indigenous people living in the CHT in the Constitution of
Bangladesh, militarization and Islamization in the area, and gross
violations of human rights of the hill people.
regard to human rights violation, incidents of 1986, 1988,1989, 1992 and
1993 are mentionable.
CHT had a special administrative position during the British rule. In 1860,
the British virtually divided entire hill tracts into three sub-divisions
under the control of three tribes. In 1884, the CHT was divided into three
administrative circles- Chakma, Bohmong and Mong. These three rulers are
still recognized as autonomous entities. Local administrative matters are
left to the indigenous people.
Government of India Act 1935 also designated the CHT as a Totally Excluded
Area (also known as a Wholly Excluded Area).
political disaster to the hill people of the CHT emerged when their
territory was attached to the East Pakistan during the partition of Indian
subcontinent in 1947. Following years have experienced the implementation of
successive measures that fueled discontent among the hill people. It started
with the crackdown on anti-Pakistan demonstration in 1947.
hill people saw the incorporation of the CHT by the colonial master with the
then Pakistan in 1947 as an uneven partition of the Indian subcontinent. The
post-colonial initiatives of nation building and development turned the hill
people of the CHT into a community that would henceforth be forced to live
in the form of a diaspora.
is why at the turn of the 21st century, the area has been overrun
by Bengali Muslim majority settlers from the over populated Bangladeshi
mainland. On the other hand, the scattered group of the hill people had to
survive under trying circumstances as refugees in Tripura, Mizoram and
Aurunachal Pradesh in India.
first Constitution of Pakistan adopted in 1956 did recognize the CHT as an
Excluded Area. This status was upheld by the Constitution of 1962 as well.
Then, the CHT was designated as a Tribal Area whereby any amendment to the
administration of such areas required Presidential approval. But in 1964,
the then National Assembly of Pakistan amended the list of Tribal Areas.
Thus the CHT was removed from the list. So, the CHT no longer has the
official recognition of being designated as a separate homeland for the
indigenous people- as an Excluded Area and a Tribal Area as it previously
had been. Therefore, it became open to settlement by people from outside the
area. This enabled non-indigenous people to enter and acquire land in the
CHT. Nevertheless, the CHT Manual still existed, the people from the plains
did not indiscriminately populate the area.
Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh adopted in 1972 again
did not include any provision acknowledging distinct identity of the
indigenous people living in the CHT. The new state of Bangladesh was based
on the idea on Bengali nationalism. It did not leave any scope for cultural
or political autonomy for the hill people of the CHT. It was a great
frustration for the hill leaders. This made the CHT people unhappy and which
resulted in the war against the government for self-determination.
people of the CHT were uprooted twice from their traditional homeland.
Firstly, as a result of the construction of the Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli
river in the 1960s, and secondly, in the 1980s, for the policy of successive
military regimes of Bangladesh to encourage, directly and indirectly, people
from the plains to settle in the hills. This policy was adopted in the wake
of the movement for self-determination in the CHT.
1997 Peace Accord put the conflict between the hill people under the banner
of Shanti Bahini and military of Bangladesh in a halt.
Accord promised the hill people for restitution of their land, greater
participation in the government, and a reduction in the Bangladesh military
presence in the CHT. However, many believe that the Accord has failed to
reflect the genuine hopes and aspirations of the people of CHT and has
failed to fulfill the main demands of the hill people until now.
The land question, which is considered as the major cause for the repeated exodus of the people of CHT, continues to remain unresolved. The successive governments in power in Bangladesh seem reluctant to resolve the issues.
On reading “Development Induced displacement in Pakistan” in Refugee Watch and “Pakistan: Development and Disaster” in Internal Displacement in South Asia : comment on how the developmental model that has been favoured by the Pakistani state has led to large-scale dispossession and displacement of people.
by Walid Kenzari
all over the world are being forced to leave their home for many reasons.
The importance of this issue is increasing at the moment. There are
approximately 25 million conflicts induced internally displaced persons
(hereinafter IDPs) in the world today
and their number is increasing. The growing number of IDPs and the
international concern for preventing massive refugee flows has brought this
issue into debate. Disaster and development projects force millions of
people to resettle off their livelihood.
ur Rehman Sheikh has been associated with the Aurat Publication and
Information Service Foundation (one of the national non-governmental
organisations in Pakistan) as Regional Co-ordinator for the Political
Education Programme since 1995. He is a member of the editorial board of
Refugee Watch, a newsletter published jointly by the South Asian Forum for
Human Rights, Nepal, and the Calcutta Research Group, India. A regular
contributor to Refugee Watch, he is the author of “Internal Displacement
in South Asia ” and a booklet in Urdu title “ Internal Displacement in
Pakistan”. He has published various articles on refugees and displacement
in national dailies. And worked on a report on displacement in South
Waziristan, where the Pakistani army has launched a military operation
against suspected terrorists.” 
displaced persons are often defined as those displaced by conflict, human
rights violations and natural or man-made disasters. They also include those
displaced by development projects. Each year, millions of persons are
forcibly displaced by development projects, whether dams, expansion of
transportation networks, reservoirs or oil, gas and mining projects. While
such projects can bring enormous benefits to society, they also impose
costs, which are often born by its poorest and most marginalized members.
Backward communities and in particular people in tribal regions have been
most affected in this process of development since they live in
independence, development projects, particularly dams, which are considered
as signs of national progress and prosperity, have generated serious
controversy in south Asia. Large dams have had serious impact on the lives,
livelihoods, cultures and spiritual existence of indigenous and tribal
people. Due to the negligence and the lack of capacity to secure justice
because of structural inequities, cultural dissonance, discrimination and
economic and political marginalisation, indigenous and tribal people have
suffered disproportionately from the negative impacts of large dams, while
often being excluded from sharing in the benefits. These costs are not
balanced by any receipt of services from dams or by access to the benefits
of ancillary services or indirect economic multipliers in the formal
two articles are a summary of the development-induced displacement in
Pakistan due to the “Decade of Development”, after Pakistan’s
independence to reach the economic growth and its actual economic
development program “Vision 2025”. The author approaches also the lack
of Resettlement and Rehabilitation policies from the Pakistani government-
civil or military rule-, and from the different institution funds or foreign
donor agencies – national or private
(World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Daewoo corporation) as well as
from the civil society (NGO),
illustrate the negative impact on the population, the author quotes four
different examples on development project since the early 60s until now such
and canal projects (Mangla, Tarbela,Kaptai,Ghasy-Barotha ,Kalabagh and
Chashma Right Bank Canal) , the creation of the capital city and
transportation network (The Islamabad Capital Territory Case and the
National Motorway Network Project). During
these projects, land expropriations were applied under the 1894 Land
Acquisition Act. With those examples, the author also wants to underline the
inadequate situation between this colonial law, ”amended and updated
differently in all four provinces”, and the actual consequences on the
affected population like low cash and/or land compensations.
author fills a gap in lack of information on the subject of DID in Pakistan.
After reading the two articles we can clearly understand the situation of
DID. We know that Pakistan is host to a large number of IDPs not only
induced by armed conflicts or natural disaster, like the last earthquake or
by infighting (e.g.Waziristan). These events were given a lot of coverage
unlike the consequences of various large-scale development projects in order
to stand among the Newly Industrializing Countries.
The different examples are well informed with empirical data. He demonstrates each example through the locality, construction dates, total amount spent on the construction, all the consequences, the number of people displaced, the Government’s roles, the donors and civil society implication.