Uprising’s Dialectic Pedagogy

Gramsci, Scott and Mandela against the 2013 Hefazat-e-Islam Movement in Bangladesh


  • Helal Mohammed Khan University of Leuven




Bangladesh, Hefazat-e-Islam, hegemony, mass activism, popular resistance


This essay revisits the 2013 Hefazat-e-Islam protests in Bangladesh, a religion-based social movement that infused activism in a people that were rather shying away from activist tendencies, and seeks lessons thereof. The first angle of inquiry looks into the Gramscian counter-elite that acts against the hegemony of the powerful as well as the powers-to-be in Bangladesh during that period and compares analytics with the autobiographical experiences of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The wider lens developed helps to explain why despite initial success—evident in the speedy formation and flare-up of the movement among various social strata in Bangladesh—the Hefazat gave way to the traditional, and the demands for alternative cultures petered out. The second string recognizes the movement as social activism, observing how protests from mundane, Scottian, ‘everyday resistance’, turn into mass revival.

Author Biography

Helal Mohammed Khan, University of Leuven

Helal Mohammed Khan, from Brahmanbaria (Bangladesh), shares wide-ranging interests in politics, anthropology and religion. Upon return to academia after stints of government service in Bangladesh, Helal graduated in Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh under Chevening scholarship and since then has been studying sociocultural anthropology at the University of Leuven. Previously he served in the Bangladesh Army (taught special warfare), attended Command & Staff College, and participated in peacekeeping duties with the United Nations in Congo. These experiences provoke Helal to explore the 'below politics' concerning contemporary people and societies; at the International Research Initiative Bangladesh (www.iribd.com), as a researcher and director, he also tries to bring some of them into perspectives.




How to Cite

Khan, H. M. (2018). Uprising’s Dialectic Pedagogy: Gramsci, Scott and Mandela against the 2013 Hefazat-e-Islam Movement in Bangladesh. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 36, 82–98. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.36.5