Secular quests, national others: Revisiting Bangladesh’s constituent assembly debates

Dina M. Siddiqi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do we understand the 15th amendment of the Bangladeshi Constitution that restored the principle of secularism and simultaneously (re)inscribed certain populations as outside the cultural nation? I approach this question through a close reading of the Constituent Assembly debates of 1972. The precarious state of minorities, I contend, is not a symptom of an incomplete or failed secularism but a feature of the violence inherent to the nation-state form. The Bangladeshi example suggests not only that minority is a profoundly unstable category but that some minorities are visibly critical to national self-fashioning while others must be invisibilized as national others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-258
Number of pages21
JournalAsian Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


  • 15 amendment
  • Bangladesh
  • Constituent assembly
  • Constitution
  • Minorities
  • Secularism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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