The Adivasis of Bangladesh with their diverse cultures, languages and traditions are an integral part of Bangladesh's cultural heritage. Eleven indigenous communities in the Southeast (Chittagong Hill Tracts): Santal, Oraon, Munda, Malo, Mahato, Koch, Rajbangshi in the North; the Garos and Hajongs in the North-central plains; Monipuri, Khasi, Patra and tea garden communities in the Northeast; and Rakhaings in the coastal districts of Cox's Bazar, Barguna and Patuakhali districts have distinct features in their cultural life.
Today, adivasis belonging to different corners of Bangladesh are disadvantaged and marginal alised people. In many instances, they have lost their identities and languages. This has severe consequences in their social, political, economic and cultural life. They have become defenseless, excluded and are compelled to assimilate in many instances.
It is a tough struggle to provide political protection to the Adivasi life and culture. While State attention and policy are much needed for the protection of the Adivasis, increased human communication of the cultural majority with these cultural minorities is imperative. If the common masses have greater understanding of the Adivasi cultural diversity, they can play a role in influencing the State attention in favour of the Adivasis. With this in mind the Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD) organised a cultural festival in association with Adivasis and many others on March 17, 18 and 19. The Adivasi cultural festival is an assembly of Adivasis and others. It is also a celebration of life and cultural diversity.
Photos: Zahedul I Khan
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