An attack took place on November 6, 2016, over the Santal community in Gaibandha, Bangladesh. As the attack took place in the rural area, the popular media and notable news agencies did not focus as much as they should have done. I being a cultural anthropologist wanted to investigate why these attacks are inflicted towards the minorities by a part of the dominant majority within the scope of a secular state. As this unfortunate incident happened near my hometown Rangpur and I wanted to probe deeper into this matter.
Through my documentary, I want to argue that the formation of the nation-state of Bangladesh has allowed a consolidation of power in the hands of the ruling elite and part in power in a way that the nation state apparatus are severely undermining the secular aspirations of the nation. Placing the dispute and contestations over land in the center, I agree that the strengthening of the category ‘ethnic minority’ only perpetuates the appropriation of land (wealth). While there are NGO and humanitarian organization working to bring Santals their rights, the efforts of few can only make a difference if the state’s fear of small numbers can allow their anxiety to be overcome by granting them more power and self-representation. While this would be ideal, my thesis shows that the tactics of the hegemonic Pakistani state under whom Santals’ land first taken from them. Persist today through various state machinery and media. My documentary thus leaves with the question of whether such domination is inherent to the workings of the nation-state or if political will may lead the way for more secular, tolerant Bangladesh.