the rakhain community
YOU want to see the unknown,
explore the unexplored, this romantic notion of discovering and understanding
what's not part of you is strong in us. We are mystified about people
who come from different cultural backgrounds, we are awed with their
lifestyle and their norms.
Bangladesh we have quite a few indigenous ethnic cultures, the Rakhain
being one of them.
introduce the magnificent Rakhain culture in other parts of Bangladesh
a three-day function on indigenous cultural diversity exchange programme
was arranged by Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD)
Rakhain community, which is of the Buddhist faith, resides in the
southern districts of Cox's Bazar, Patuakhali, and in Borguna. This
community originated from a big ethnic group called "Magh".
The first of the Rakhains arrived in Bangladesh from the Arakan kingdom
of Myanmar (Burma) around 1784. Approximately two lakh Rakhains now
live in the country. Rich in culture the Rakhains are Mongoloid in
origin. The Rakhain society of Cox's Bazar consists mainly of fishermen.
Rakhains living in other areas are farmers. Some of them are involved
in small business and handicrafts. Most Bangalis know very little
about this community.
evening of 12 December, the final day of the programme started with
Rakhain girls clad in their traditional outfits' thabe, anji
and posubai staging Buddho Puja. It is a custom amongst the
Rakhain people to honour their parents, elders and the Buddha dev
at the beginning of any special occasion. Bearing lighted candles
the artists of Rakhain Development Foundation performed the age-old
rituals of Buddho Puja to the rhythms of traditional instruments krimong,
boon, laang khoa and cheh.
tranquil spirit of Buddhism has its mark in all the songs, beats of
the instruments and dance expressions. The artist of RDF also showcased
Rakhain pilgrimage songs, which invites everyone to visit the hill
top temple in the holy Urei tong jadi. This holy place is
situated in Arakan and highly respected by the Rakhains of both Bangladesh
staging Buddho puja the performers demonstrated Rakhain worship rituals
with sombre prayer chants followed by taat bunan nritto.
women are very skilled weavers. In the old days, the women most skilled
in weaving were respected by every one. The kings and queens preferred
their weaving work. Taat bunan nritto is based on this tradition
of weaving. The dance portrayed the art of weaving, the colours, composition
and design patterns.
nritto concluded this fascinating dance programme. While putting
their babies in to sleep, Rakhain mothers swing the cradle and sing
lullabies. These lullabies are mostly tales of the times gone by and
about the responsibilities towards parents and society.
27 Rakhain girls participated in the programme, some of them never
set foot beyond Chittagong region.
in front of a completely different audience is a new experience. It
feels good," tells us jovial U Sen Pru, a 20 year old dancer
from Choufaldandi Modhyam Rakhain para, Cox's Bazar.
"People are curious about us. They always wonder about our way
of life. This type of programme will help them understand our culture
better and bring about amity," added another young dancer Unu
locals were equally enchanted and entertained to see a cultural programme
so different from their own.