Malaun (Bengali: মালাউন) is 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. The dictionary published by the Bangla Academy gives the meaning of the Bengali word "মালাউন" as someone cursed or deprived of Allah's mercy or forcefully evicted or a Kafir. It mentions that the word is used as a slur by the Muslims against the non-Muslims. 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 December 2014, Nasiruddin Pintu, a convicted BNP politician, abused a Bengali Hindu police officer by calling him a malaun when he attempted to stop his lawyers and supporters from meeting Pintu illegally. Pintu threatened the officer with loss of job and called him son of a pig. In 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 few schools and colleges in Bangladesh, the Hindu pupils are frequently abused by their classmates by calling them malauns. Many of them get mentally devastated by consistent bullying and drop out of their studies.
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