This book takes its readers on a voyage of discovery. Here is modern Bangladesh: the life of its villages, its farms and fields, its city slums and elites, its waterways, its cultural heritage and the diversity of Bengali tradition all threatened by the emergence of a less tolerant version of Islam.Day labourers and rickshaw drivers, maidservants and prostitutes, child labourers and garment workers, landlords and politicians, criminals and students, all engage us in their lives. We range through the watery landscapes of Barisal to the plains of North Bengal and the hills of Chittagong. We visit the strongholds of fundamentalism. And we also meet women fighting for education, as well as idealists and freedom fighters.The author shows how political struggle has now turned into a desperate battle for the spirit of Bengal, which has become a battleground between the liberal humanism of a rooted Bengali culture and the disciplined austerities of Islam. The tension between the contending forces gives this book a powerful resonance that goes far beyond the specifics of Bangladesh to wherever there is conflict between traditional cultures and the forces of globalism.