Contested memories: The Shahid Minar and the struggle for diasporic space

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Drawing on new empirical research on 'the Bengal diaspora', this paper explores the struggle over Bangladeshi identity in East London, as exemplified in the monument of the Shahid Minar and the related celebration of Ekushe, which marks the beginning of the Bangladesh national liberation struggle. Bringing together theories of diaspora consciousness and memorialization, the paper explores the ways in which rituals and memory work both as a form of continuity with the homeland and as a method of claims-staking for minority groups in multicultural spaces. Using original interviews with community and religious leaders, the paper explores the ways in which the establishment of the monument and the memorialization of the Liberation War represents the re-imagination of the Bangladeshi community in London and draws the lines for the contestation of this identity. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-610
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and racial studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Bangladeshi/Bengali
  • Britain
  • diaspora
  • memory
  • multiculturalism


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