People from Noakhali generally take immense pride in their district being called 'royal'. I have always been intrigued by this appendage to a district but more so at the degree of delight Noakhalians take in owning it.
In fact, lately I have discovered a Facebook account 'royal district noakhali'. There is another account of Noakhali Association and one of its ardent members writes, 'Noakhali is the Royal District in Bangladesh, we are really proud as we belong to Noakhali'. They are on YouTube too.
My research also led me to Md Hashem, a famous New Calian, as some of them refer to themselves. Born in 1947 at Sreekrishnapur village in Noakhali, he is a renowned lyricist, music composer, and singer. The book Noakhalir Ancholic Gan contains hundred of his famous songs. One of his more famous songs is 'Ango bari Noakhali Royal District Vai' (Oh brother! Our home is Noakhali royal district) Fair enough, if someone can claim royalty and get away with it. But what is the history behind such a regal move? That I could not find out as yet.
The love for their dialect, strong as it is, is huge. Here is a sample pasted on the Net. Hujur says:
Teeya hoisha attor moila... (Money is just dirt on your hand)
Buijjoth ni? (Do you understand?)
Mori gele teeya hoisha fodi thaikbo (When you die, money will just be left behind)
Teeya hoisha loge zaito no, oh oh oooo, teeya hoisha loge zaito nooooo (sings) (Money won't go with you, money won't go with you...)
The reason I partake the majesty of the people from the Royal District is because a lot of teeya was flowing in another royal setting where a Wills was marrying a Kate last week, more sombrely Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, and Catherine Middleton tying the knot, dubbed as the Royal Wedding. That is what got me thinking about imperial matters and their fastidiousness.
For one thing, every man who gets married anywhere is a prince and the woman a princess, no matter whether they seal their vow with cherubic words, floral wreaths, or diamond rings. But the detail and the secrecy that surrounds a British royal wedding build-up is a happy hunting ground for journalists and they churn up so much information and interest that on D-day the global Live TV audience is estimated to have been two billion almost one in every three people on Earth; I was not one of them. Kate and Wills had fewer UK viewers than the 28.4 million who tuned to Diana's marriage to Charles in 1981, which I did watch on my uncle's colour TV, as we had none. Is this a sign of aging? And now some of us have three; prosperity?
Some idea of the confidentiality and media hype can be had from Kate's wedding dress designer Sarah Burton, who had to enter in disguise the hotel where the Middletons were temporarily lodged. Goring Hotel near Buckingham Palace was cordoned off with a marquee shielding the entrance so that the bride could slip unobserved into one of Buckingham Palace's Rolls-Royces for her journey to the abbey at precisely 10.51am.
And all this is for a very good reason. Celebrations for the royal wedding have boosted Britain's coffers by almost £2billion. The festivities generated an extra £600million for UK tourism on top of £1.2billion spent on food and drink. They should have one every few years. Our weddings are often counterproductive. We do not make any money but we do make a mess of the environs.
It is not easy this money-making. The palace remains forever guard over economic cowboys, or would you dub it as hindrance to the free market the British seemingly espouse? Stores, brands and designers have been warned by a decree from the palace: Sell or market anything under the Kate Middleton name and you'll be facing a royal lawsuit. I tell you we are in trouble if the sale of Star Magazine goes up this week.
Buckingham Halais invited about two thousand people; only about six hundred closer ones were actually let in to watch the ceremony inside Westminster Abbey. In Noakhali, or for that matter in any other not-so-royal district in Bangladesh, that could launch a riot. We have weddings for some of our princes and princesses with over ten thousand guests, and everyone's welcome everywhere. Now who is Royal, huh?
There were the usual wedding bashers this time around too. Jerry Seinfeld of 'Seinfeld' took it upon himself to speak on behalf of an uninterested portion of the population by labelling the wedding a circus act, an absurd act, and playing dress-up. And Piers Morgan of Piers Morgan Tonight thinks Seinfeld is simply being 'jealous'.
Bashing can be harmful as one certain attendee was removed from the royal wedding duty after his Facebook rants, nicer among which was describing the would-be princess (now Duchess of Cambridge) as a 'stuck-up cow'. Now, we have a lot of those in our weddings; not stuck-up though.