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Who Are We: Religious Pluralism and Cultural Diversity of Bengal?

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) has organized a public lecture on 30 August 2023. Dr. Abdul Momin Chowdhury, a former Professor at the Department of History, University of Dhaka, and Former Vice-Chancellor of the National University, provided that lecture on "Who Are We: Religious Pluralism and Cultural Diversity of Bengal?". The lecture was conducted in the BIDS conference room, and it lasted from 2:30 pm until 5:30 pm, concluding with a closed-door conversation between the speaker and the audience. The respective audiences joining from the Zoom platform also actively participated in the open discussion. 

Professor Abdul Momin informed us that the lecture delivered today is an overview of the essay he has been currently working on. During the lecture, he mentioned that there was no evidence of conflict but a strong presence of religious pluralism and coexistence between various faiths throughout Bengal's history. He also mentioned that the Muslim rulers of Bengal maintained a rapprochement policy with the mass people to fulfill their own agenda. This method worked as a charm for the spread of Islam in this region, and the introduction of Muslim Sufis into Bengal's remote regions also aided the progress of Islamization in this area. 

Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, Adviser to the former caretaker Government; Dr. M. A. Sattar Mandal, former vice-chancellor of Mymensingh Agricultural University; Professor MM Akash, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka; Dr. Kazi Iqbal, Senior Research Fellow, BIDS, and others have shared their views on the given lecture.

At the end of the lecture, Professor Abdul Momin stated that there must be an explanation for how one religion replaced another as the predominant one. The values from Buddhism, Jainism, Brahmanism, and Islam have created a culturally diverse society in this part of the world. He asked the nation's young historians to work on this issue further. 

Meeting recording link here

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