Bangladesh, whilst being small, is the third largest Muslim-populated nation in the world. This month, the country celebrated its 46th anniversary of independence from Pakistan – with salutes, flags, wreaths and ‘Sonar Bangla’ (Golden Bengal) proudly echoed in different corners of the globe.
However, for Muslims of Bengali origin living in the diaspora, many are – aside from the painful memories of the war in 1971 – unaware of their history.
Why this has been the case can be attributed to a number of things, including a lack of knowledge from elders; recent political history fascination ora simple lack of interest. Knowing one’s past has always been key to one’s identity of the present and the future. A dozen or so years surely cannot define Bengalis for what they are, but a thousand years or more certainly can.
In the the documentary Muslim Heritage of Bangladesh, acclaimed author Muhammad Mojlum Khan speaks to journalist Afzal Ahmed of this incredible heritage – exploring the early seeds of Islam in Bengal, the Muslim rule, and the lessons that Bangladeshis can learn from their past.
Many would be surprised that this history goes beyond the famed feats of the great Sheikh of Sylhet, Hazrat Shah Jalal (rh) and his disciples, but in fact a great story made up of traders, Sufi preachers, conquest and an illustrious Sultanate period that transformed the whole region.
Watch the full documentary below: