Swapnabhumi (Promised Land)

Synopsis of the film

Length: 90 minutes

Format: DV Cam

Photography: Anwar Hossain

Editing: Mahadeb Shi

Music: Syed Shabab Ali Arzoo

Sound: Nahid Masud

Research and co-producer: Shafiur Rahman

Year of production: 2007

Script & direction: Tanvir Mokammel


This is a story of six decades, three countries and statelessness.

A story about the Urdu-speaking community of Bangladesh.

The terms “Urdu-speakers”, “Non-Bengalees” and “Biharis” are used interchangeably to refer to Muslim people who originally emigrated from India to the newly created East Pakistan in 1947 and afterwards.

Many of them, but by no means all, originated from the state of Bihar and were fleeing large scale communal massacres.

Three decades later, during the struggle for independence in Bangladesh in 1971, this community became embroiled in conflict. Branded as collaborators against Bangladesh independence, this moment was a defining one for the Urdu-speakers and has had a devastating legacy.

This story is about the 160,000 people from this community who live isolated in 116 camps or settlements in Bangladesh.