The Republic of Bangladesh was only established in 1971 but there has been a civilization in the region for over thousands of years. I will update this ASAP but for now I can only present with the hard facts that may not portray heritage but a outline of how this land and it’s people have lost and is still losing it’s legacy. We still have the time and resources to salvage and resources our tradition as it is very rich in its culture, custom and ethnicity.

The culture of Bangladesh has a unique history, dating back more than 2500 years ago. The land, the rivers and the lives of the common people formed a rich heritage with marked differences from neighbouring regions. It has evolved over the centuries, and encompasses the cultural diversity of several social groups of Bangladesh.

The People (Bangladeshi’s) are mostly a race of Bengali majority and tribal and ethnic minorities are also accounted for.

Bangla is spoken by almost all peoples across Bangladesh, which shares the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal with the Indian state of West Bengal. The language also composes of regional and urban dialects: As we are a mixed race that stretches from the Dravidian to the Aryan race and strangely there is also a blend of oriental influence of far eastern china and Mongolia

* Chittagonian language: spoken in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and neighbouring Myanmar by more than 14 million people, it shares numerous characteristics with the Burmese language and is considered a nonstandard dialect of Bengali.

* Sylheti language: spoken in the Sylhet region by more than 7 million people, it is closely related to the Assamese language of the neighbouring Indian state of Assam.

Regional and tribal languages

* Arakanese language: spoken by approximately 200,000 people, mainly residing in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region.

* Bishnupriya Manipuri: spoken by an estimated 40,000 people residing in the areas neighbouring the Indian state of Manipur.

* Chakma language: spoken by the 300,000 people of the Chakma tribe.

* Garo language: spoken by the 100,000 people of the Garo tribe.

* Ho language: spoken by an indeterminate number of people.

* Kokborok: spoken by approximately 100,000 people living in the region neighbouring the Indian state of Tripura.

* Kurukh: spoken by Oraon people living in Rajshahi.

Foreign languages

A variety of foreign languages are spoken and used in Bangladesh. Urdu is spoken by the small community of Bihari peoples, who migrated from the Indian state of Bihar with the partition of India in 1947. Bangladesh’s Muslims frequently use Arabic for religious purposes. English is widely spoken and understood, especially by edcuated peoples in urban areas. Languages such as Burmese and Assamese are also spoken by smaller communities. A further explicit diverse ethnological blend comes from the follwing sects and tribes that spoke in:

Arakanese, Assamese, Bengali now called Bangla, Bishnupriya, Burmese, Chak, Chakma, Chin, Asho

Chin, Bawm, Chin, Falam, Chin, Haka, Chin, Khumi, Chin, Mro, Chittagonian, Darlong, Garo, Gujarati, Hajong, Hindi, Ho, Indian Sign Language, Khasi, Koch, Kok Borok, Kurux, Lushai, Megam, Meitei, Mru, Mundari, Oriya, Panjabi, Eastern Pankhu, Rajbangsi, Riang, Sadri, Sadri, Oraon, Santali, Shendu, Sylhetti, Tangchangya, Tippera, Urdu, Usui was spoken by the follwing Ethnic tribes :

Bawrn (also spelt as Bum, Baurn, Barn) 13471

Buna (found only in the 1991 Census Report) 7421

Chakma 252858

Garo (people prefer the name Mandi) 64280

Hajong 11540

Harizon (found only in the 1991 Census Report) 1132

Kharni (also spelt as Khurni, Kami) 1241

Khasi (generally known as Khasia) 12280

Khyang (also spelt as Khyen) 2343

Koch (also spelt as Kots, Kuch, Coach) 16567

Lushai (also known as Kuki, Mizo) 662

Mahat (also known as Mahatu) 3534

Manipuri (also known as Meithei) 24882

Marma (also known as Mag, Mogh, Mug) 157301

Mro (also spelt as Mroo) 126

Mrong (also spelt as Murang, Mrung) 22178

Munda (also known as Mundari) 2132

Oraon (also spelt as Urang, Urao) 8216

Paharia (also known as Pahary) 1853

Pankho (also spelt as Pangkhu, Pangkhua) 3227

Rajbansi (also spelt as Rajbongshi) 7556

Rakhaine (a branch of Marma) 16932

Sak (also spelt as Chak, Tsak, Thak) 2127

Santal (also spelt as Saontal) 202162

Tanchangya (abranchofChakrna) 21639

Tipra (also known as Tripuri, Tripura) 81014

Urea (found only in the 1991 Census Report) 5561

Other (see text, for comments) 261743

Total – 1205978 make up a mixed race of Bangladeshi’s (this is not a complete list and needs to be cheked again as I know that there is at least 170 different races of people here in this small land of 56000 square miles.

he Bengali Language Movement (Bengali: ???? ???????; Bhasha Andolon), also known as the Language Movement, was a political effort in Bangladesh (then known as East Pakistan), advocating the recognition of the Bengali language as an official language of Pakistan. Such recognition would allow Bengali to be taught in schools and used in government affairs.

When the state of Pakistan was formed in 1947, its two regions, East Pakistan (also called East Bengal) and West Pakistan, were split over cultural, geographical, and linguistic lines. In 1948, the Government of Pakistan ordained Urdu as the sole national language, sparking extensive protests among the Bengali-speaking majority of East Pakistan. Facing rising sectarian tensions and mass discontent with the new law, the government outlawed public meetings and rallies. The students of the University of Dhaka and other political activists defied the law and organised a protest on 21 February 1952. The movement reached its climax when police killed student demonstrators on that day. The deaths provoked widespread civil unrest led by the Awami Muslim League, later renamed the Awami League. After years of conflict, the central government relented and granted official status to the Bengali language in 1956. In 1999, UNESCO declared 21 February International Mother Language Day, in tribute to the Language Movement and the ethno-linguistic rights of people around the world.

The Language Movement catalysed the assertion of Bengali national identity in Pakistan, and became a forerunner to Bengali nationalist movements, including the 6-point movement and subsequently the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. In Bangladesh, 21 February is observed as Language Movement Day, a national holiday. The Shaheed Minar monument was constructed near Dhaka Medical College in memory of the movement and its victims.

This little land was always influenced by many cultures and so is its music. As far as the Mughal period during the reign of Akbar the Great there was a prolific and enigmatic composer Ustad Tansen whose Ragas are still uncompareble and have set standards for Indian Classical music. But in Bangladesh we had mixed race and mixed cultures and that offered a divrse mix of various generes of melody uniquely significant to this part of the region. Bangladesh is traditionally very rich in its musical heritage. From the ancient times, music documented the lives of the people and was widely patronized by the rulers.

Bangla music in ancient times was mostly linked to prayer. Due to the immense influence of Hindu mythology, most folk songs are related to some sort of praise of the gods and their creation. Songs were associated with particular groups of people, such as fishermen, cart-drivers, hermits and so on. Most songs were based on classical themes.

Modernisation of Bangla music occurred at different times and most of these modernisation processes happened independently of western influence. Most notable of these changes were:

• Popularity of folk music of Sufi genres: introduction of non-Hindu notions and philosophy in music

• Works of Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Laureate poet: introduction of variations of classical music to music

• Works of Kazi Nazrul Islam: introduction of complicated musical composition and use of music as a revolutionary tool

• Modernisation of folk music: bringing folk music into mainstream

• Fusion work: fusion of traditional music with electronic instruments and Western work to revitalise and re-popularise Bangla music in a society increasingly overwhelmed by the West

Rabindranath Tagore wrote thousands of songs that are cherished even today. A famous writer of Bengal whose music is very popular in Bangladesh is Kazi Nazrul Islam. Lalon Fokir is a popular Bangladeshi mystic poet, famous for his spiritual tunes. Their tunes can be classified as Thumri, Vatiyali, ghazals, vajans, kawali, vawaiya. Then again Tagore blended mostly with the celtic sounds as he travelled far west in to Scotland and Ireland and Nazrul’s influence came all the way from Autumn Empire’s last phase known as Turkey. This distinctive blend had no similarity to Indian music as such even though it was the foundation of all compositions. By all basics they created Bangla literature and music thus greatly contributing in making the renaissance of bangle musical heritage.

Bengali Novels occupy a major part of Bengali literature. Though the first Bengali novel was Alaler Ghorer Dulal, the Bengali novel actually started its journey with Durgeshnondini written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1865. According to Ananda Sanker and Lila Ray, ‘when the novel was introduced in Bangla in the middle of the 19th century, the form itself was new, the prose in which it was written was new, the secular tone was new in a country hitherto wholly dominated by religion, and the society in which and for which it was written was new’ (Page 168). But some great novelists like Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore, Tara Shankar Bondopadhyay, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay developed the newly introduced genre in such a way that ‘new’ changed into ‘matured’ through their works. Almost all these literary activities went on in full swing in Kolkata. Dhaka, On the other hand, could not participate in the early stage but literature created by and of the people of Bangladesh area later on flourished with greater success.

[edit] Bangladeshi novels

Novels of Bangladesh fall almost fifty years behind the Bengali novels. (First Bengali novel Alaler Ghore Dulal was published in 1858 and Anowara was published in 1914.) In its history of about one hundred years, novels of Bangladesh got a good number of novels where creative emancipation of the writers has been established.

[edit] Themes of Bangladeshi novels

In the early stage, glorification of the religious beliefs and lives was the theme of most of the novels. Later on, picturization of real Bangali life became a common topic. By the end of the fifties, the novelists gradually turned to human mind and its analysis. A great change of the theme came after 1971. Novels about the Liberation War of Bangladesh began to come forth. Even till now it has not ceased to be an interesting topic.

The content and form of the novels saw various changes in the last fifty years. Starting from ordinary narration, now it has reached to magic realistic presentation through stream of consciousness, realism, surrealism etc.

[edit] History of Bangladeshi novels

To many, Anowara was the most significant one among the earlier novels written in Bangladesh. This novel was written by Mohammad Najibar Rahman in 1914. But the milestone in the modern novels of Bangladesh is Syed Waliullah’s Lalshalu (Published in 1948). The history of Bangladeshi novels can be categorized in 3 major parts.

• Pre-partition (1947) Era

• East-Pakistan Era

• Bangladesh Era

[edit] Pre-Partition Era

Before 1947, events like Separation of Bangla in 1905, Foundation of Muslim League in 1906 and Unification of Bangla in 1911 inspired the Muslim community of Dhaka to establish a new identity in the horizon of literature. Mohammad Najibar Rahman, Kazi Imdadul Huq, Kazi Abdul Wadud, Sheikh Idrish Ali, Akbaruddin, Abul Fazal, Humayun Kabir etc were among the novelists who tried to enrich the novels of the then East Pakistan, present Bangladesh.

Mohammad Najibar Rahman’s Anowara was the first notable novel and it moved the whole Bangla Muslim community after publication. According to Rafiqullah Khan(ref) ‘The novel could not create any novelty from artistic point of view, but it carried great importance for its picturization of socio-economic and political culture and ideals of the uprising populace’ (Page 25, Translation). Main theme of most of the novels in this era was Muslim society and belief and orthodoxy. Examples of novels incorporating these theme is Najibar Rahman’s Premer Somadhi (published in 1919) and Goriber Meye (1923), Sheikh Idris Ali’s Premer Pothe (1926). In this time, for the first time the life of the Bengali farmers took an artistic delineation through Kazi Abdul Wadud’s Nodibakshe (1919).

Then Kazi Imdadul Huq sprinkled a new wave. His famous novel Abdullah was published in periodicals in 1920 and it came into book form in 1933. According to Biswajit Ghosh(ref) this novel was ‘bourgeois and humanitarian revolt against devotion to Peers, religious dogmas, purdah-system and disparity between Ashraf and Atraf (Page: 134, Translation). Later, ‘Kazi Abdul Wadud and Humayun Kabir extended this attitude’ (ref:Syed Akram Hussain:page 97). Another novelist Abul Fazal exposed human psychological analyses in his novel Chouchir (1927). He afterwards continued with his own style and wrote Prodip O Patongo (1940) and Shahoshika (1946). It is well accepted that this type of psychological approach was a first attempt in novels of Bangladesh, though not for the first time in Bangla novels.

A progressive novelist Humayun Kabir wrote an English Novel Rivers and Women which was published in 1945. Later the Bengali form was published in 1952 by the name of Nodi O Nari.

[edit] East Pakistan Era

The incident of independence of India and Pakistan from British rule bore more importance for the people of then Bengal. Since then the Bangla speaking community were divided into two parts – the East and the West Bengal. It turns into the smashing of the millennium old culture and unity of Bangali nation. Moreover the existence of language became a great question just after the creation of Pakistan. The West-Pakistan ruling government tried to impose Urdu as the principal language on the Bangali people. But the whole society reacted strongly. This leaves a permanent impression on Bengali literature. In this tumultuous era, Syed Waliullah’s Lalshalu (1948) was published. It was the foremost successful novel, both from art and reality points of view. Later Syed Waliullah translated it in English by the name Tree without roots. Mahbub-ul Alam wrote Mofijon, also published in 1948.

In the first years of Pakistan regime the authors mostly took village life as their theme, but they gradually diversified their interests. Newly born urban society began to establish itself as worthy to be literary contents. Along with them political developments also took place in fiction. (ref: external link1). Among the first novelists of Pakistan period, Abul Fazal, Akbar Hossain, Shaukat Osman, Abu Rushd, Kazi Afsaruddin, Daulatunnessa Khatun, Syed Waliullah, Sarder Jayenuddin, Abu Ishaque, Shamsuddin Abul Kalam etc were most prominent ones.

Then came a whole generation of extra ordinary novelists. Chowdhury Shamsur Rahman, Satyen Sen, Abujafar Shamsuddin, Ahsan Habib, Nilima Ibrahim, Abdur Razzak, Khondkar Md. Eliash, Rashid Karim, Shahidulla Kaisar, Anwar Pasha, Abdar Rashid, Alauddin Al-Azad, Abdul Gaffar Choudhury, Zahir Raihan, Syed Shamsul Haq, Humayun Kadir, Shahid Akhand, Razia Khan, Shawkat Ali, Dilara Hashim, Indu Saha, Ahmad Sofa were notable names.

In this time diversity of contents of the novel was noticeable. Village life was the core theme of a huge number of novels. Sometimes it centered the superstitious village mind or the oppression by the influential groups on the common people, some other times depressed womanhood took this place. Love between men and women in pastoral context were also a subject of many novels. Lalshalu by Syed Waliullah, Kashboner Konna by Shamsuddin Abul Kalam, Surjo Dighol Bari by Abu Ishaque, Meghabaran Kesh by Ishaq Chakhari, Adiganta by Sardar Jayenunddin, Mohuar Desh by Tasadduk Hossain, Janani by Shaukat Osman, Jhar by Syed Sahadat Hossain, Karnafuly by Alauddin Al-Azad, Sareng Bou and Sangsaptak by Shahidulla Kaisar, Aranya Mithun by Badruddin Ahmad, Modhumoti by Rabeya Khatun, Hazar Bachhar Dhore by Zahir Raihan, Bobakahini by Jasimuddin, Pannamoti by Sardar Jayenuddin etc incorporated these themes.

Middle class society began to evolve in this time. Urban life, its problems and complexities, uprising middle class people, their social context and love in their life started to be portrayed in a good number of novels. Jibon Pother Jatri by Abul Fazal, Pother Porosh (1957) by Daulatunnessa Khatun, Bhorer Bihongi (1958) by Satyen Sen, Surjer Niche (1958) by Atahar Ahmad, Pathasranta (1959) by Nilima Ibrahim, Shesh Bikeler Meye (1960) by Zahir Raihan, Kanyakumari (1960) by Abdur Razzak, Uttam Purush (1961) by Rashid Karim, Ek Path Dui Bank (1962) by Nilima Ibrahim, Akash Jodi Nil Hoi (1962) and Ihai To Prem (1963) by Syed Sahadat Hossain, Prasanno Pashan (1963) by Rashid Karim, Pingal Aakash (1963) by Shawkat Ali, Akasher Rong (1964) by Zobeda Khanam, Panna Holo Sobuz (1964) by Shahid Akhand, Nirjan Megh (1965) by Humayun Kadir, Ghar Mon Janala (1965) by Dilara Hashim, Aronyo Nilima (1965) by Ahsan Habib, Antahshila (1967) by Kazi Md. Idris, Digonter Swapno (1967) by Razia Majid, Mon Ek Shet Kopoti (1967), Shaheb Bazar (1967) and Ananto Aneysha (1967) by Rabeya Khatun, Bipani Mon (1968) by Mir Abul Hossain, Sourav (1968) by Anis Chowdhury, Anishchita Ragini (1969) by Abu Rushd, Borof Gola Nodi (1969) by Zahir Raihan, Rajabagh Shahimar Bagh (1969) by Rabeya Khatun etc are significant novels of this stream.

But the background of another major event was being prepared in this time. The country began to experience turmoil. The political situation of the country became more and more prominent in the novels also. In novels like Nongor by Abu Rushd and Mon Na Moti by Anis Siddique, Jibon Khuda by Abul Monsoor Ahmed exposed the context of Pakistan Movement. Communal picture out of this movement and the restoration of Hindu-Muslim harmony also became core content in a number of novels including Ranga Probhat by Abul Fazal, Khuda O Asha by Alauddin Al-Azad, Neer Sandhani and Nishuti Rater Gatha by Anwar Pasha etc.

Then came the historic event of Language Movement. The keen eyes of the novelists were nowhere but on this tremendous incident. Jahir Raihan’s Aarek Falgoon was the most significant effort on language movement. Other political incidents like the class conflict, socialism, and movement in the cultivators was depicted in the novels like Dui Mohol (later on renamed as Alamnagorer Upokotha) by Shamsuddin Abul Kalam, Surjo Tumi Sathi by Ahmad Sofa etc. Shaukat Osman wrote wonderful symbolic political novels Kritodasher Hashi and Raja Upakhyan. Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury’s Chandradwiper Upakhyan and Nam Na Jana Bhore portrayed the uprising farmer society and its conflicts.

There were some historical novels also. Abujafar Shamsuddin’s Bhaowal Gorer Upakhayan about the Faraizi Movement, Sardar Jayenuddin’s Nil Rong Rokto about the Indigo revolt, Satyen Sen’s Kumarajiva about the spread of Buddhism, and Oporajeyo about the Sepoy Revolt etc. are a few examples among them. Some novelists favoured psychological complexities. With his unique presentation and language of his own, Syed Waliullah wrote Chander Amabashya and Kando Nodi Kando keeping psychological analysis in the centre.

Another trend of novels having emphasis on the sexual behaviours and deviations of the characters began to mark its own place during the sixties. Razia Khan’s Bot-tolar Uponyas, and Anukolpo was among the first novels of this trend. Alauddin Al-Azad’s Teish Nambor Toilochitro, Shiter Sheshrat Boshonter Prothomdin and and Syed Shamsul Haq’s Ek Mohilar Chhobi, Anupama Din, Simana Chhariye etc are mentionables in this regard.

Afterwards came the most memorable days of Bangali nation. After ten month long war Bangalis became independent nation. After the massacre of three million people and huge violation and harassment of womenfolk and loss of property Bangladesh emerged as a secular and democratic nation on December 16, 1971, and Bangladeshi novel enters into a new era.

Dress

Bangladeshi people have unique dress preferences. Bangladeshi men wear panjabi on religious and cultural occasions, lungi as casual wear and shirt-pant on formal occasions. Sari is the main dress of Bangladeshi women. Salwar kameez is also very popular especially among the younger ladies. Western dresses of women are becoming increasingly popular in the cities.

Fine Arts of Bangladesh

Several artists originated from Bangladesh have gained world-wide familiarity for their artistic contributions. The works of painters like Zainul Abedin, SM Sultan, Quamrul Hassan, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Ronobi and Hashem Khan symbolizes the culture of the country.

[edit] Handicrafts of Bangladesh

Nakshi Kantha (embroidered quilt) is said to be indigenous to Bangladesh

Nakshi Kantha (embroidered quilt) is said to be indigenous to Bangladesh

Handicrafts and cottage industries play a vital role in sustaining the cultural heritage of Bangladesh. The prominent handicrafts in the early and middle ages were textiles, metal works, jewelry, wood works, cane and bamboo works, and clay and pottery. Later, jute and leather became the major raw materials for handicrafts. The most predominant features of Bangladeshi handicrafts are the extensive use of individual skill and the interesting design motifs[1].

Nakshi Kantha (embroidered quilt), a very popular form of handicraft, is said to be indigenous to Bangladesh[2]. The rural women of the country put together pieces of old cloth with crafty stiches to prepare these quilts to be used in the winter. Although kanthas (quilts) are utilitarian objects, the vivid patterns, borders and motifs often turn them into attractive works of art. In recent years the interest in ethnic arts and crafts has encouraged a kantha revival in the country. Many people now use these quilts for decorative purposes only.

Several, Bangladeshi organizations like Aarong,Probortona export handicrafts from Bangladesh to all over the world. These organizations have played an important role in preserving the handicrafts of Bangladesh and increasing their popularity at home and abroad.

[edit] Festivals and celebrations

Festivals and celebrations are integral part of the culture of Bangladesh. Prominent and widely celebrated festivals are Pohela Baishakh, Independence day, National Mourning Day, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Muharram, Durga puja, and Language Movement Day.

[edit] Eid ul-Fitr

Main article: Eid ul-Fitr

As the most important religious festival for the majority Muslims, the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr has become a part of the culture of Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh declares holiday for three days on Eid-ul Fitar. People living in towns having their families or parents in villages go to their country homes to meet relatives and celebrate the festival together. All outgoing public transport from the major cities become highly crowded and in many cases the fares tend to rise in spite of government restrictions.

Adult Muslim males in Bangladesh assemble at the Eid Ghah for prayer in the morning of the Eid day

Adult Muslim males in Bangladesh assemble at the Eid Ghah for prayer in the morning of the Eid day

On Eid day, Eid prayers are held all over the country, in open areas like fields or else inside mosques. In Dhaka, the largest Eid prayer is held at the national Eidgah. All major mosques including the Baitul Mukarram also holds prayers. The biggest congregation of Bangladesh is held at Sholakia in Kishoreganj, where about half a million people join the Eid prayer.[3] After the Eid prayers people return home, visit each other’s home and eat sweet dishes called shirni. Throughout the day gentlemen embrace each other. It is also customary for junior members of the society to touch the feet of the seniors, and seniors returning blessings (sometimes with a small sum of money as a gift).

In the rural areas Eid festival is observed with great fanfare. In some areas Eid fares are arranged. Different types of games including boat race, kabbadi, other traditional Bangladeshi games as well as modern games like football and cricket are played on this occasion.

In urban areas people play music, visit each other’s houses and eat special food. Watching movies and television programs has also become an integral part of Eid celebration in urban areas. All local TV channels air special program for several days for this occasion.

[edit] Eid ul-Adha

Main article: Eid ul-Adha

The celebration of Eid ul-Adha is similar to Eid ul-Fitar in many ways. The only big difference is the Qurbani or sacrifice of domestic animals on Eid ul-Adha. Numerous temporary marketplaces of different sizes called Haat operate in the big cities for sale of Qurbani animals (usually cows and goats).

In the morning on the Eid day, immediately after the prayer, capable people arrange to slaughter their animal of choice. Less affluent people also take part in the festivity by visiting houses of the affluent who are taking part in qurbani. After the qurbani a large portion of the meat is given to the poor people.

Although the religious doctrine allows the sacrifice anytime over a period of three days starting from the Eid day, most people prefer to perform the ritual on the very Eid day. However, the public holiday spans over three to four days. Many people from the big cities go to their ancestral houses in the villages to share the joy of the festival with friends and relatives.

[edit] Pohela Baishakh

Main article: Pohela Baishakh

Pohela Baishakh celebration in Dhaka

Pohela Baishakh celebration in Dhaka

Pôhela Boishakh is the first day of the Bangla Calendar. Pohela Boishakh marked the start day of the crop season. Usually on Pôhela Boishakh, the home is thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned; people bathe early in the morning and dress in fine clothes. They spend much of the day visiting relatives, friends, and neighbours and going to fair. Fairs are arranged in many parts of the country. Various agricultural products, traditional handicrafts, toys, cosmetics, as well as various kinds of food and sweets are sold at these fairs. The fairs also provide entertainment, with singers, dancers and traditional plays and songs. Horseraces, bullraces, bullfights, cockfights, flying pigeons, boat racing were once popular.

The most colourful new year’s day festival takes place in Dhaka. Large numbers of people gather early in the morning under the banyan tree at Ramna Park where Chhayanat artists open the day with Rabindranath Tagore’s famous song, Esho, he Boishakh, Esho Esho (Come, Year, Come, Come). A similar ceremony welcoming the new year is also held at the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka. Students and teachers of the institute take out a colourful procession and parade round the campus. Social and cultural organisations celebrate the day with cultural programmes. Newspapers bring out special supplements. There are also special programmes on radio and television.

[edit] Language Movement Day

Main article: Language Movement Day

Shaheed Minar, or the Martyr’s monument, located near the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.

Shaheed Minar, or the Martyr’s monument, located near the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.

Language Movement Day is a unique part of the culture of Bangladesh. Every year on February 21 this day is observed to pay tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to establish Bengali as the official language of then East Pakistan in 1952. The mood of the day is sad and humble.

The celebration of Language movement day goes on the entire month of February. Ekushey Book Fair is a book fair arranged to mark this occasion every year. The fair has also become an integral part of the culture of Bangladesh. Authors and readers in Bangladesh eagerly await the fair each year.

To commemorate this movement, Shaheed Minar, a solemn and symbolic sculpture, was erected in the place of the massacre. Today the Shaheed Minar is the centre of cultural activities in Dhaka. On the morning of February 21 each year, people from all walks of life including the national leaders pay tribute to the martyrs by leaving flowers at Shaheed Minar. A very melodious and melancholy song, Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano, written by Abdul Gaffar Choudhury and composed by Altaf Mahmud, is played repeatedly in electronic media and cultural gatherings throughout the month, and especially on February 21. This song, too, has become a symbolic mark of culture of Bangladesh.

[edit] Weddings

Main article: Bengali marriage

A traditional wedding is arranged by Ghotok’s (matchmakers), who are typically friends or relatives of the couple. The matchmakers facilitate the introduction, and also help agree the amount of any settlement.

Bengali weddings are traditionally in four parts: the bride’s Gaye Holud, the groom’s Gaye Holud, the Beeya and the Bou Bhaat. These often take place on separate days. The first event in a wedding is an informal one: the groom presents the bride with a ring marking the “engagement” which is getting popularity.

Bride’s friends and family apply turmeric paste to her body as a part of Gaye Holud ceremony.

Bride’s friends and family apply turmeric paste to her body as a part of Gaye Holud ceremony.

For the bride’s Gaye Holud, the groom’s family – except the groom himself – go in procession to the bride’s home. The procession traditionally centers on the (younger) female relative and friends of bride, and they are traditionally all in matching clothes, mostly orange in colour. The bride is seated on a dais, and the henna is used to decorate the bride’s hands and feet with elaborate abstract designs. The sweets are then fed to the bride by all involved, piece by piece.

Bride and groom in a Bengali wedding ceremony

Bride and groom in a Bengali wedding ceremony

The actual wedding ceremony “Beeya” follows the Gaye Holud ceremonies. The wedding ceremony is arranged by the bride’s family. On the day, the younger members of the bride’s family barricade the entrance to the venue, and demands sort of admission charge from the groom in return for allowing him to enter. The bride and groom are seated separately, and a Kazi (authorized person by the govt. to perform the wedding), accompanied by the parents and a Wakil (witness) from each side formally asks the bride for her consent to the union, and then the groom for his. Bride side of the family tries to play some kind of practical joke on the groom such as stealing the groom’s shoe.

The reception, also known as Bou-Bhaat (reception), is a party given by the groom’s family in return for the wedding party. It is typically a much more relaxed affair, with only the second-best wedding outfit being worn.

[edit] Sports

Main article: Sport in Bangladesh

Most popular sports in Bangladesh are football (soccer), cricket and kabaddi. Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh. Cricket is a game which has a massive and passionate following in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has now joined the elite group of countries eligible to play Test cricket. The Bangladesh national cricket team goes by the nick-name of the Tigers—after the Royal Bengal Tiger.

The people of Bangladesh enjoy watching live sports. Whenever there is a cricket or football match between popular local teams or international teams in any local stadium significant number of spectators gather to watch the match live. The people also celebrate major vistories of the national team with a great enthusiasm for the live game. Victory processions are the most common element in such celebrations.

Ex Prime Minister even made an appearance after an international test cricket match in which Bangladesh beat Australia, she came to congratulate the victory.

Also in late 2006/early 2007, football legend Zinedine Zidane paid a visit to local teams and various events thanks to the invite of Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus.

Nakshi Kantha embroidered quilt said to be indigenous to Bangladesh. The term nakshi kantha, popularly used in Bangladesh, is found even in medieval literature. The name nakshi kantha became particularly popular among literate people after the publicaton of jasimuddin’s poem Naksi Kanthar Math (1929). In west bengal, all kanthas, both plain and embroidered, are referred to as kantha. In East Bengal dialects the kantha is also variously referred to as kheta or kentha. In Bihar and parts of West Bengal, the kantha is also known as sujni. Made from old cloth, discarded saris, dhotis, and lungis, kanthas range from utilitarian quilts to exquisitely embroidered heirlooms.

Depending on the thickness required, three to seven saris are layered and quilted with the simple running stitch, which typically produces a rippled effect. Traditionally, thread drawn from coloured sari borders would be used to embroider motifs or border patterns imitative of sari borders. At present, embroidery skeins are used for motifs and border patterns. Yarn used for weaving is also used for kantha embroidery, particularly in the Rajshahi-Chapai Nawabganj area where the quilting is heavy.

A typical nakshi kantha

Kanthas serve primarily as bed pallets and as light wraps. Small kanthas are used as swaddling clothes for babies. Depending on their size and use, kanthas range from lep kanthas (winter quilts) and sujni kanthas (spreads and coverlets) to one-foot square rumal (handkerchief) kanthas. Other kantha articles include the asan (a spread for sitting), the bastani or gatri (a wrapper for clothes and other valuables), the arshilata (a wrap for mirrors or toilet articles), the dastarkhan (a spread laid out on the floor for placing food items and plates for dining purposes), the gilaf (an envelope-shaped kantha to cover the quran), and the jainamaz (prayer rug).

Most kanthas are utilitarian, with the running stitch being used to hold the layers of cloth together. A large number of kanthas, however, show ingenious use of the running stitch for working motifs and border patterns. Some 19th-century kanthas, for example, have vivid scenes drawn from contemporary life or myths and legends, all worked with different forms of the running stitch. Manipulations of the simple running stitch create ripples, expanses of colour, pointillistic designs, and textures that appear woven rather than stitched. The running stitch also has two particular forms, called the chatai or pati (mat) stitch and the kaitya (bending) stitch, which are used either for motifs or for border patterns. Occasionally, by varying the length of the stitches taken, the running stitch can replicate woven sari border patterns.

Kanthas exemplify thrift, as pieces of old cloth are put together to make something new. However, old cloth also has a magical purpose, as it is believed to ward off the evil eye. The kantha made of old cloth is thus supposed to keep its user safe from harm. Kantha motifs, many of them common to the alpana, also have a magical purpose and reflect both the desire of the needlewoman for happiness, prosperity, marriage, and fertility as well as wish-fulfillment.

Despite their variety, most kanthas tend to follow a basic pattern, the focal point being a central lotus motif with concentric circles of undulating vines or sari border patterns. In the four corners of the kantha, or in the four corners of the central square, tree-of-life motifs or kalka are embroidered pointing towards the central lotus motif. The empty spaces between the central and corner motifs are filled with motifs drawn from nature and the homestead or with scenes from real life or legends. Apart from floral motifs, recurrent motifs are the curvilinear swastika, kitchen utensils, ornaments, elephants, tigers, horses, peacocks, boats, palanquins, and the rath, the chariot of jagannath. Scenes from Hindu mythology juxtapose secular scenes of dancing, hunting, and boating. The areas left without motifs or scenes are quilted with the rippling kantha stitch. Other types of kanthas include the pad tola kantha, which is embroidered entirely with sari border patterns, and the lohori or lohira kantha, in which thick yarn is used for close pattern darning. In the most intricate of pad tola kanthas, there is no space between the concentric border patterns so that the entire kantha seems a piece of woven cloth.

While most kanthas are the work of illiterate women, many contain proverbs, blessings, and even captions of motifs and scenes in Bangla lettering. Thus, in one kantha, the kantha maker blesses her son-in-law: Sukhe thako (Be happy). Some kanthas are autographed, either with the names of the women who made them or indicating the relationship the kantha maker bore to the person for whom the kantha was intended. A few kanthas are inscribed with the names of the persons for whom they were made. A kantha in the Gurusaday Museum, Thakurpukur, West Bengal, for example, notes that it was made by Manadasundari for her father with her own hands. Another faridpur kantha, which contains scenes of the krishna legend, has the caption Bastraharan (the garment theft) under a scene of nude women sitting on a tree.

While the utilitarian kantha never ceased to be made, political upheavals, the availability of manufactured articles, and changing tastes led to a decline in richly embroidered kanthas in the early decades of the twentieth century. In recent years the interest in ethnic arts and crafts has encouraged a kantha revival in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. [Niaz Zaman]

Bibliography Gurusaday Dutt, Folk Arts and Crafts of Bengal: The Collected Papers, Seagull, Calcutta, 1990; Whitechapel Art Gallery, Woven Air: The Muslin and Kantha Tradition of Bangladesh, Whitechapel, London, 1988; Niaz Zaman, The Art of Kantha Embroidery, 2nd rev. ed., University Press, Dhaka, 1993.

But I am sad to say that our heritage and legacy has been pooluted and

Lagacy Of Blood The Saga Continues

bdarticle There are many things that can be told about my place in fact given the opportunity I would love to fill out a huge page of web space that would give a view of Bangladesh. However, right now I just don’t have the time to research and neither do you have all the patience. I have gathered some major links to all the things that one might ask about my country. Click the links to sites that interest you. If you encounter any problems, please feel free to let me know.

This land once known as the Golden Bengal was truly a bay of paradise long ago. A mystic land filled with beauty and grandeur of luxury. I hear of from my parents and they heard from theirs that we had the world’s finest Muslin Silk and thee most exquisite tapestries. The extreme fertile lands gave food and wealth to the people and there was food for all so much, so that our barns would be loaded with crops and our ponds would overflow with fishes. Living in harmony and nature and being ruled by little Rajas back then was not so bad. I guess that is when the poets refer to as the golden days of Bengal.

We have a difference and that blended with tradition makes us a unique race Bengalis. Our history dates as back as a few 1000 years. We were a race and a nation filled with pride and happiness. However, I guess nothing lasts forever. The Rajas were tyrants and they got greedy and sold the land to the English and it was since then a new characteristic grew in the Bengali race which was too give in without a fight. English lords took away the gift of nation and crippled the land of her economy, wealth and natural resources for hundreds of years. Chopping off the thumbs of all handloom silk manufacturers they totally collapsed the silk industry. Growing indigo in this fertile land have left the soil totally ruined and forced all farmers to cultivate against their will. The famous Royal Bengal tigers were killed and pouched so they could have a nice rug in their living room. In the name of East India Company Brits have plundered this subcontinent not only by its wealth but before leaving, in 1947 they divided the land in such manner that political chaos and cultural disputes would strengthen further. Where ever the Brits had ruled before leaving they made sure that that land is never in peace.

I am not a great historian nor do I posses any political background of either academic or institutional. In future, I will provide statistical information. But from the way I see it I guess the ultimate sorrow came down from the time of the last Nowab Sheraj Ud Daula. Since then, the Bengali race has been oppressed tortured and looted of so many things including their rights. The English had ruled for 200 years and I guess that is where picked up the trend of sucking up to white skins. Nothing against any white nation or England now cause they are realizing how they have destroyed us and as a process destroyed the planet, changing the eco system and niche of natural habitat affecting the global scenario. During their empire they forced innocent and simple living Bengali race to be oppressed by them and as well as the Zamindars (Landlords) which was appointed by the English and molded them to have no morals and ethics and oppress their own kind. The British knew how to turn brother against brother for petty interest. Their strategy was to conquer the land in the name of trading. Instead they planted the seed of conspiracy and treachery. It was the Zamindars, Nowabs, and the nobles that have prostituted our motherland and such norms are even practiced on a different level in modern times. Even now when a white person walks in the Bangla land; poor, poverty stricken and the lower middle class just stare or beg money from them thinking they are super rich. If only those poor souls knew that it’s our land that feeds them; and that’s why they are here. Since its 3rd world developing country the foreigners and ambassadors that are sent posses a characteristic of refurbished ness and extremely manipulative. They do not come here for friendship and to care about our people. They come to help themselves either in project or in financial prospect. Even with all of nature dieing on us, we have plenty of natural resources for us to share. Bangladesh is filled with versatile disease, even that is a major a resource for the foreign researchers and doctors. They come, study, and get their information they require. Their statistical information on different field of surgery and medicine have given great insight on medical knowledge and have helped manufacturing live saving drugs for the foreign nations while our diseases are never eradicated. Nevertheless, no one really solves the problem from the deep. Still infant mortality is an issue and children are at great risk. So many are dieing cause of deprivation and it just a major segment of the society that is left in so much in darkness that it would take a few generations to come up with a sensible breed of Bengalis.

The intellectuals after the war of independence have turned out to like the Noble’s from the movie Brave Heart. Oh yeah we had great warriors like McWallace also just when the English ruled our country there was great rebel named Titumeer. His bravery literally drove the English and East India Company away. But he was deceived. The famous saying that we learn from history but do we? ****

Let us talk about more current situation. I don’t understand with what sensible mind people had voted for Awami League to come on to power. They hypocrite politicians who have no moral and ethics let alone proper blood. Their only intention is seek revenge and loot from others and worse part is they won’t even call it loot; it’s portrayed as something legal and laws are changed just because they felt like it. I remember it was just like this in 1975 when young girls didn’t feel safe to walk on the streets after 5 and the food prices are high and there is this certain minor segment of the society that are ultra rich and the rest 80% are even below the poverty line. The 3rd rule of BNP has ruined all its previous deeds. Their extortion and corruption made us the top corrupted nation in the world for the second year in a row as reported by the Transparency International. During the Election of October 2001 every one was silent and even though it was a fair election none ever thought that BNP would be worse than BAL. Kahleda Zia’s government totally failed to bring law and order to the country. Their torture, tyranny and plunder are vigorous and mounting every day. The leaders do not understand that those who are in involved in criminal and despicable activities are doing by the by the power of the ruling party and when done they are blaming it on baseless excuses or other parties. From rape to child murder BNP operates in grass root level to recoup and incubate crime. People have lost respect and faith in all political parties. With such gross errors BNP’s future looks very powerless. All corporate entities and private industries, broadcasters, entrepreneurs have to pay a large amount of money just to operate this excludes bribes to concerned ministry, and regular government taxes. More or less every other successful business owners are forced to give majority of their shares and stocks to Mr. Tarek Zia (Officially Tarek Rahman) son of the assassinated president Ziaur Rahman. It makes one think is presidential government coming back again in the name of democracy and will the new player Tarek get to have his way?

Majority of our country’s youth are into either some form of drug pusher or an absolute vagrant. It’s these people who take up laws in their hands in the name of justice. These unemployed youths are potential for BAL and BNP as well as the so called Taliban & AL Qaeidas of our land known as Tablik & Jamat. A group of people sworn to treachery and join hand with any political party that lets and allows them spread wrong preaching and derailed message of Allah and Islam by raping the Quran over and over for years to keep our innocent self refuge seeking Bengalis in more darkness. Sacrilegiously twisted minds sodomizing the Madrasa religious school) children and feeding off from followers and Allah’s money they have the social respect and religious dignity to molest all future generation. In Bangladesh the state penalty for being gay is punishable by death; one would wonder what should happen to these Mullahs for being queer. It is also proof that it was these Jamati Islami people that betrayed this nation over and over since the war of 1971 and have directly collaborated in all the war crimes. Their power is international as well as national and is funded by Taliban and their supporters. To gain majority in parliamentary elections they join hands with parties that will serve their interest most and to gain power both BNP and BAL uses this party thus we have war criminals and traitors running this nation also. Coming back to the youths the past and present governments have done nothing about them but pollute their minds to perform miscreant activities. Almost every youth I know are in the wrong drive of their life and it’s due to the life they lead and the way they are taught of life is with some basic wrong conception and fenatism simply adds them to the greater group of inbred. The youth are manipulated either for politics or by the organized group of criminals that are again backed up by the current political parties and some by the opposition and it’s a chain reaction. The number of unemployed youth in the city and other sub divisional towns has increased at a severe level that it’s hard to employ so many unskilled youth. No program is offered to them what so ever for job placement or help them out to do something better in life. The number of NGOs Oh it just sickens me with all the cover they mostly put up just to mint some foreign aided money. In my opinion, we should just terminate all NGO programs and solve the problem just like our neighboring great India deed. It took a great leader like Gandhi to get it going for India even though he is the main villain of this story because the problem started from 1947 and he was a very diplomatic man who knew how to gain India’s faith and yet cripple India Pakistan Bangladesh what was then know as the Indian Sub continent for ever. But I must agree he was a true leader and a reason for inspiration to many patriots. I wonder who will take such a heroes role in our land. Gandhi’s views and strong devotees with patriotism as the second religion they stand as one of the best nations in this Indo subcontinent. Sports, music, science and computer technology you name it all; they are far ahead of us. I think its time for an awakening and I believe the day has come where every Bangladeshi should stop thinking out for him self but also think for the nation. The youths of this, country has strong potential and they should not be misled. Providing more opportunity to expose them selves in their line of work to develop and specialize in services and career that would benefit the nation as cumulative.

In this place, wrong enforcement and preaching of religion in the so-called made up Islamic rule blended with current political scenario just climaxes the dictatorship.

The shadow government:- Every Nation in the world is ruled by shadow government. Who are this people?

This entire situation make me go Why a big WHY? Why does it keep on happening and why does it have to be us. 1971 when the war of independence took place the Bengali race had turned in to Bangladeshi (from Bangladesh) citizens. With at least 250 (not official record) military coos and 2 assassinated presidents for their extreme wrong deeds we Bangladeshis even after 31 years are still fighting the war. The way I see it making a living is simply a war — one simply has to fight to stay alive. It is not a competition of the fittest that survives but the wittiest who may keep himself alive.

Ethnic Food: (edit)

Bangladesh is famous for its distinctive culinary tradition, and delicious food, snacks and savories. Boiled rice constitutes the staple food, and is served with a variety of vegetables, fried as well as curries, thick lentil soups, and fish and meat preparations of beef, mutton and chicken.

Sweetmeats of Bangladesh are mostly milk based, and consist of several delights including Roshgulla, Sandesh, Rasamalai, Gulap Jamun, Kalo Jamun, Chom Chom. Several other sweet preparations are also available.

Bengali cuisine is rich and varied with the use of many specialized spices and flavours.

Fish is the dominant kind of meat, cultivated in ponds and fished with nets in the fresh-water rivers of the Ganges delta. More than forty types of mostly freshwater fish are common, including carp varieties like rui (rohu), katla, magur (catfish), ching?i (prawn or shrimp), as well as shu?ki (dried sea fish). Salt water fish (not sea fish though) Ilish (hilsa ilisha) is very popular among Bengalis, can be called an icon of Bengali cuisine.

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Donovan Crow
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