Bronx Bangladeshis to Float a Council Candidate
Translated by Moinuddin Naser
Bangladeshis from three Bronx neighborhoods where Bengali is so common that one street is known as “Bangla Bazaar” are planning ahead for the September 2013 city council primary, banding together to float one Bangladeshi candidate that the whole community can get behind.
But with three men competing to be that candidate, they still have to decide who would best represent their interests, Bangla Patrika reports. Each would-be candidate emphasized his job and volunteer experience, and his ability to work with the many communities that inhabit this diverse section of the Bronx. Here is a condensed, translated version of the story from the Bengali print newspaper:
Bangladeshi Americans in City Council District 18, comprising the Parkchester, Castle Hill and Sound View areas of the Bronx, have taken the initiative to float one single candidate from their community to vie in the next primary for city council, scheduled for September 2013. [The district is now represented by Councilwoman Annabel Palma.]
A large number of Bangladeshis live in this area, and for some time they have contemplated putting up a candidate for councilman. Three Bangladeshis have expressed their desire to contest the seat in the primary. On Feb. 6, a 15-member committee of Bangladeshis gathered to consider the candidates.
“The number of Bangladeshis is increasing in the USA,” said Talukder Hemayet Uddin in his opening remarks. “They are coming up by taking part in the mainstream politics in different states. Meanwhile, many Bangladeshis have been elected as councilmen in many other states outside New York.”
Mr Uddin called to the stage the three men who are interested in becoming the community’s candidate. John N. Uddin, N. Majumdar and Mirja Mamun each had 10 minutes to make their case.
The businessman Mirja Mamun, who said he has lived in the area for 20 years, spoke first.
“I am aware of the problems of the community,” he said. “Since I have worked in the real estate business for quite a long period, I have good relations with the members of different communities. In the past I worked as Vice President of the [community organization] Jalalabad Association for several terms. Now I want to serve the community in greater forum.”
The next speaker, John N. Uddin, told the group that he has worked in three different companies and a consulting farm.
“As such I have relations with the people of different cultural backgrounds,” he said. “I have to deal with the people of different backgrounds and I know about the values of different communities… There are Puerto Rican and Dominican people in District 18. I know their language and it is easy for me to communicate with them. As my wife is hailed from Pakistani, I speak Urdu in my home.”
Uddin said he speaks some Spanish, German, Russian and Italian, and said that he could finance his own campaign without needing to do much fundraising. He also said that he is the chief of the Jalalabad Association.
The last candidate, N. Mazumdar told the group that he worked with a program of Mayor’s office for six months.
“So I know how the city council functions,” he said. “I have spoken at the joint session of the City Council and I stood beside the community in its time of need.”
Since arriving in the United States, Mazumdar said, he has lived in the Bronx.
“In my native country, I have no house, but I made housing arrangements for many people,” he said. “Since I always spend my time with multicultural people, I have come to know their cultures and values.”