Mohammed Shamsul Haq (Dinajpur, Bangladesh)
Where I came from
Even though Shamsul was born in Calcutta, his family is originally from Noakhali and Punjab.
But after Calcutta, I joined my parents in Assam when our house in Calcutta's Khidirpur area was taken over by the Indian government. Neighbours told us that the Indian government said, 'Hindustan is no place for Muslims, go to Arabia or Pakistan,' and then they started burning our houses. Jinnah [Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan] said on the radio, 'I’ll break India up and give a piece of it to Muslims.'
Shamsul's family decided to return to their ancestral home in Noakhali’s East Bengal. They were afraid of being targeted; there were rumours that Muslim girls were being raped and that Muslim men would lose their jobs. As there was no work in Noakhali they moved to Assam in north-east India and worked as land-clearers and labourers.
But in the 1960s, we were chased away from Assam by the Indian army and were forced to come and live in a refugee camp in Dinajpur.