People on the margins deserve attention
R M Faizur Rahman
Around 65% of Hindu widows are passing their days in the temples as devdasis (servants of the Gods). Hindu women in Bangladesh are deprived of inheritance rights and cannot divorce or remarry. The situation of the street children of Dhaka is also extremely vulnerable with very little scope for their human development. These were some of the research findings that were presented on the first day of a two-day symposium on Learning from the Marginalised, organised by Young Researchers' Forum of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit of the University of Dhaka under the auspices of the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty on 19-20 July 2006. The Forum is mainly consisted of the students of different departments of the University of Dhaka.
On the first day young researchers presented four papers which included The Socio-Economic Condition of Disinherited Hindu Widows by Ms. Ruma Halder (Mphil student in Political Science, University of Dhaka), Mohammad Hasan and S M Sabana presented paper on Struggle to Establish Rights of Camp Dwelling Urdu-speaking Young Generation, Niloy Ranjan Biswas, Md. Towheedul Islam and Md. Mahbub-E-Elahi, all MSS students from the Department of International Relations of the University, presented their field based paper on Socio-Economic Condition of People Living in Enclaves along Bangladesh-India Border: A comparative Study. Another three students from the same department Marufa Akter, Zohora Akhter and Sabia Sultana presented paper on the Condition of Street Children of Dhaka City.
On the second day of the symposium RMMRU-DRC fellows presented their research findings. At the outset of the session, In-Migration in a Metropolitan City of Bangladesh: The Case of Khulna City was presented by Rakib Hossain, Lecturer from Rural and Urban Planning, Khulna University. Partha Pratim Ghosh presented the second paper on Study on Migration and Adaptation in the West Bengal State, India. The paper focused on adaptation of Hindu migrants in district of West Bengal. A former RMMRU-DRC fellow Jessica Skinner presented paper on Internal Displacement of Indigenous Communities in the CHT and Rights-based Approaches to Rehabilitation. She pointed out that human rights and displacement are very related and as displacement is a rights issue, so in rehabilitating people rights based approach are very necessary consider. The last paper presented in the symposium was on Livelihood and Social Protection in International Labour Migration: A Case Study of Bangladesh by a PhD candidate of the University of Sussex, UK Syeda Rozana Rashid. She argued that migration has become an important livelihood option for certain group of people and they are using social network much more than the government agencies of immigration.
At the inaugural session of the symposium, Professor M Asaduzzaman, Chairman Bangladesh University Grants Commission was present as the chief guest. He lauded this effort of the young researchers and RMMRU in promoting researche on marginalised sections of the community. Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Harun-ar-Rashid was present as the special guest while Professor S M A Faiz, Vice-chancellor of Dhaka University presided over the session. He said the efforts of the young researchers are praiseworthy. Dr. C R Abrar also the coordinator of RMMRU elaborated activities, objectives and future plans of YRF. Mr. Md. Obaidul Huq, Ms. Bushra Chowdhury and Tanzimuddin Khan of Dhaka University and Jalal Uddin Sikder of RMMRU presided over the working sessions that was attended by Dr. Shahnaz Huda and Dr. Sumaiya Khair of Law, Dr. Nurul Islam Nazem and Prof. AQM Mahbub of Geography, Prof. Sadeka Halim and Prof. Imdadul Huq of Sociology and Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui of Political Science.
The programme was concluded with a cultural soiree that featured songs on migration in Bangladeshi popular and folk culture.
The author is working with RMMRU.