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     Volume 2 Issue 11 | May 26 , 2007 |


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Journey through Bangldesh

From Cox's Bazaar

Something is Hidden at St. Martin's Island

Muhammad Shafaq Hussain

ST. Martin's Island is the only island of corals and blue sea in Bangladesh. We know this place as a “Nil shomudrer desh”. Teknaf to St. Martin's Island takes around 3 hours.

St. Martin's is the most beautiful and peaceful island where we can find live corals. The total area is about 15-16 km. Most of the people are Muslims. Most of island's 5500 inhabitants live primarily from fishing, and between October and April fishermen and women from neighboring areas bring their catch to the island's temporary wholesale market.

A British saint, Captain Martin discovered this island. Since then the island has been known as Saint Martin's Island. Now this island is one of the most attractive and beautiful places for tourists. Many foreigners and Bangladeshi people also visit this island with family, friends or with a team. The best season is October to February. There are a lot of hotels now in St. Martin's Island. Some of them are Abakash, Marine, Prashad Paradise, Prince Heaven, City Resort, Ocean View, Shimana Preview, Riyad Guest House etc.

People mostly enjoy the seaside, the sunset and sunrise near the beach. The water of island is crystal clear.

Coconuts are available in that island. There is a place called Narikel Jhinjhira where coconuts are available in large numbers.

In this island, you will find the beautiful coral reef and long coral beach and lots of coconut trees. The local name of the coconut is narikel and the original name of this island Narikel Jhinjhira is derived from that.

Cheera-dwip is a part of St. Martins Island but divided during tides. You can go to cheera-dwip by walking. In that island the corals are also visible- living and dead- all over the Island. A small bush is there which is the only green part of cheera-dwip, enhancing the beauty of this island. People do not live in this island- I've seen only an old man living there with his family.

When I was around the beach suddenly I was heard the sound of a type of Banjo, but it was one kind of banjo with 4 pairs of strings. The musician really seemed quite talented. He was playing that banjo and small local kids were dancing, the tourists were enjoying the scene and the music. One thing is interesting, there is no newspaper supply, no satellite broadcasting, but they know classical dancing and they know some Urdu, Hindi and Arabic songs tunes of Banjo. The musician's name was Muhammad Ismail. He really played the banjo fantastically. I interviewed him about his lifestyle and future plans about music.

Mr. Ismail's Story:
His name is Muhammad Ismail and he is around 28 years old. He is the 3rd child of his family. He was born in St. Martin's, and brought up there. He works at one of the hotels in the island.

He learned playing Banjo from his teacher when he was in his teens. Since then he has played by himself. He plays to entertain tourists. He doesn't ask for money after playing the banjo. He sings in his own style and writes his own lyrics.

His dream is to make a career with his music. But there are reasons why his dream hasn't come true yet. Lack of money is one reason; also, he is an employee of a hotel. When he gets free time, usually in the afternoons, he plays.

He is still hoping that, one day he will become successful in the music world if anyone can help him. I found Mr. Ismail near Hotel Abakash; there is another small cottage motel just beside the sea. He lives in that cottage.

It is really amazing that in our country there still people with the potentials but these cannot be realized properly. We should give them a chance to live up to their potentials

In St. Martin's Island, the thing that I found most attractive and new was Mr. Ismail and the beautiful sounds of his Banjo.

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