Malaun (Bengali: মালাউন) is a derogatory term for a Bengali Hindu, most commonly used in Bangladesh. The word is derived from the Arabic "ملعون", meaning 'accursed' or 'deprived of God's Mercy', and in modern times, it is used as an ethnic slur by the Muslims in Bengal for Hindus. Political leaders from religious parties frequently abuse the Hindus as Malauns during the election rallies.
The Arabic word "ملعون" (mal'un), literally meaning 'cursed' is derived from the root "لعنة" (la'nat) meaning 'curse'. In Islamic parlance, it means 'deprived of Allah's mercy'. The word has been loaned into languages of non-Arabic Islamic countries like Malay and Indonesian. In Bangladesh, the word is more specifically used to refer to the Hindu religious minority. In colloquial usage, the word is sometimes shortened to Malu.
Nirmal Kumar Bose noted the usage of the term as early as 1946 in Noakhali. During the 1971 Bangladesh Genocide, the Pakistani officers addressed Dr. Govinda Chandra Dev as malaun before executing him. On 13 April 1971, after killing a Hindu, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury made a sarcastic comment to the mourning Muslims, "It's only a malaun that died." According to eyewitness, AKM Yusuf had addressed a gathering of Peace Committee at Rampal in Khulna district on 19 April. At the gathering he addressed the Hindus as malauns and the Hindu women as spoils of war and exhorted the audience to kill them and loot their women. Hussain Muhammad Ershad, while serving as the President, had referred to the Hindus as malaun at a rally in Chhatak. He apologized for his remark after protests from the Hindus.
In December 2013, Ganajagaran Mancha presented a deputation to the Home Ministry complaining about police torture. The deputation alleged that on 19 December 2013 the police abused a Hindu woman activist as malaun because she had put sindur. In the recent years the use of this slur " Malaun" has got a new hype when the convicted leader of one of the main national party ( BNP) Mr. Nasirudding Pintu screamed at a Hindu Police Officer calling him " Malaun" to refrain him from his duty. Mr. Pintu was brought from the jail to court where his lawyears and supporters were meeting him without proper authorization from the police. When the police officer Debabrata stopped them, Mr. Pintu verbally threatened him to loose his job and assaulted him verbally with this derogatory slur "Malaun". On 5 January 2015, Awami League workers Shahnawaz and Anwaruzzaman Chowdhury abused fellow Awami League worker Sushanta Dasgupta at a party function in London.
Impact on Hindu society
In schools and colleges in Bangladesh, the Hindu pupils are frequently abused by their fellow classmates by calling them malauns. Many of them get mentally devastated by consistent bullying and drop out of their studies.
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