While undertaking ethnographic fieldwork in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (henceforth CHT) between 2005 and 2007, apart from gathering comprehensive data, I curiously noticed that the CHT-accord was at the center of all issues ranging from the crisis of identity, paradox of development, ethnic conflict, inter-ethnic relations between Pahari and Bengalis, triplicate political cleavages, problems of peace-building, settler issues, land disputes, military issues to various forms of discrimination in everyday life of Pahari people in the CHT. I have been working in/on the CHT and its associate issues since 1998 and have found that the CHT-accord has gradually become the backbone of CHT research. Without understanding the politics of peace, nothing on the CHT could be understood deeply, objectively, and comprehesnively. Out of such realisation, I have been working on the CHT-accord, popularly known as peace-accord, since 2008 and have come across mountains of literatures on the same. However, I found very few which could enable to read the pulse of CHT during post-peace accord situations. This book is an attempt to envelop those scholarly pieces that contain adequate substance to give birth to a comprehensive approach to understand the current state of peace in the CHT.
The main aim of this book is to compile selective scholarly papers on ‘CHT accord’ of three types; (a) published articles in different internationally acclaimed journals, (b) unpublished research monograph and (c) part of on-going research which the general readers and mass public have rare access to. I have tried to compile all—which deserve to have space in scholastic compilations of this kind for their analytical strength, thought-provoking substances and ability to address the facts sensibly— into a book and publish it in Bangladesh so that it can be a good source of scholarly understanding of the current CHT crises. Besides, it could be helpful for policymakers and stakeholders in peace-building process to find necessary information for situation-analysis, policy-supports, academic incentives and ethnographic data on the post-peace-accord situations of the CHT. In addition, one can find strategic outline that could come out of the chapters enlisted in this book.
This book reprints three journal-articles as book-chapters which previously published in elsewhere, accommodates three revised versions of journal-articles published beforehand but includes six completely new chapters based on original research works written particularly for this volume. Every chapter contains distinct aspect of the CHT-accord with its own argument and hence each reflects particular dimension of CHT in the one hand. All chapters, on the other hand, together contain a broad but single theme which can help readers understand the CHT situation after signing peace-accord. This book in fact tries to provide a comprehensive approach to comprehend the state of peace through the discourse of peace and conflict in the CHT. Now, readers will judge how far it serves its purpose.
Now I must explain some editorial freedom that I have enjoyed while preparing the manuscript of this book. Since six chapters of this book are written as journal articles and published in different internationally acclaimed journals, I have edited little to make them as book-chapters; for example I use ‘chapter’ instead of ‘paper’ or ‘article’ etc. Besides, since each journal follows its own reference style for using footnotes, endnotes and bibliography, I have slightly edited and rearranged reference-style to maintain a uniformity needed for a book; for example I used endnotes in all chapters and put one combined bibliography at the end of the book instead of giving at the end of every chapter. I have kept the style of endnote of each chapter as it was in its original form and hence readers can find differences in endnote-style. However, the logic behind keeping the endnote as it was to make the texts readers-friendly so that readers can find instant necessary source just at the end of each chapter. In fact, all these editorial tasks I have done in an attempt to make this book a complete book with necessary and relevant chapters on the CHT-accord.
I also need to make clear about few plausible confusion regarding some conceptual issues. For example, some authors use Pahari or tribal while others use ethnic minority, adivasi, indigenous people to indicate the non-Bengali people living in the CHT. Every author has his/her own justified positioning in using the terminology. I have just not imposed my own positioning upon individual authors’ freedom of thinking, and liberty of taking own scholastic positioning. In that sense, I would expect readers to judge individual author(s) for using particular terminology based on particular chapter rather than assuming as editorial positioning.
At this stage I would say that this book is an outcome of collective efforts provided by many scholars, friends, colleagues, printing-experts, well-wishers and students who have extended their hands of cooperations. However I just simply intend to refrain myself from mentioning their names to keep my way of expressing acknowledgement away from confining within simple “thanks” as they deserve beyond. However, I must acknowledge Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, Asian Profile, Nepalese Journal of Public Policy and Governance and The Journal of Social Studies for the permission of reprinting copyright materials. I wish to express my deep gratitude to Prof. Dr. M. Rashiduzzaman, Prof. Dr. Meghna Guhathakurta, Prof. Dr. Amena Mohsin, Prof. Dr. Mahfuzul H Chowdhury, Prof. Dr. Eva Gerharz, Raja Devasish Roy, Dr. Bhumitra Chakma, Dr. Ishtiaq Jamil, Dr. Pranab Panday, Dr. Mohammad Shahabuddin, Ms. Nusrat Chowdhury, Ms. Petra Novakova, and Mr. Mohammad Rahman for their valuable contributions and quickest response to any kind of editorial correspondence. It would have been impossible indeed to make this book-project a success without their professional supports and academic inputs. Besides, I am grateful to Prof. Dr. Faizul Azim (Institute of Fine Arts, Chittagong University or CU) for generating wonder idea of cover for this book. Along with, I am grateful to Mr. Mujibur Rahman for his support for cover-designing and necessary illustration.
Finally, I should thank Prof. Dr. Mokaddem Hossain (Department of Sociology, University of Dhaka and Chairperson of ICDR) and Ms Fatimaa Eesmin (Secretary General of ICDR) for extending all sorts of cooperation to publish this book.
University of Chittagong
Date: February 2012