Bangladeshi: The New Gaali that Has Made Bengali Muslims Trespassers in their Own Land

Social Commentary

Bangladeshi: The New Gaali that Has Made Bengali Muslims Trespassers in their Own Land

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

I

n Netflix’s first Indian web series Sacred Games, a woman living in a poor Bengali Muslim “para” turns up outside Constable Katekar’s office every day, hoping to file a police complaint about her missing son Shamsul. Katekar is as resolute in ignoring as she is in having her complaint lodged. The woman wins this brief match of wits when the FIR is lodged – but loses eventually. Her son has already been brutally murdered.

Sacred Games, might be a work of fiction, but this exchange is important for the truths it uncovers. The subtext to the interaction between Katekar and the woman is that even in a place in Mumbai, the city of migrants, she and her family, are interlopers. They might be Indian, Bengali Muslims, but as far as the constable is concerned, they might as well be Bangladeshis.

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