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Monday, May 4, 2009

What's so special about your district?

Have you come across fellow Bangladeshis who are strong and sensitive about their district roots? Bangladesh is a tiny piece of land in the first place, nevertheless many of us are very keen to boast about our being ‘from Barisal’ or ‘from Syhet’ etc. and how we tend to criticize ‘those people from Comilla’ who have taken up the government jobs and ‘those people from Feni’ who are basically very commercial etc. etc. etc. I wonder how the anthropological, social science data would support all these urban myths and mysteries, but they are very much there especially among those who have come outside from Dhaka to settle there, they find the capital to be an interesting melting pot in their small scope of world, and they love to keep up their ‘ethnicity’ in the busy and bustling megacity.

All this love and loyalty for our own districts would have really been worth it if we had tried to set up some sort of an open air, theme based ‘haat’ highlighting each and every district and its specialities, handicrafts, produce etc. there. We could have called it ‘jela haat’, traders from respective districts could have been leased out spaces to take up stalls, sell their products, food etc. for say a week or so. Each month, a particular district could have been highlighted so that the visitors could have known in detail about that district, its history, the bright and brave sons who belong to that district, the main ‘key’ selling point of that district, economic/cultural activity…whatever that makes that district stand apart from others. I think the Dhaka city corporation surely have a role to play here to set up something permanent in government land in collaboration with Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, who have a game in hand to develop domestic tourism in Bangladesh.

Social entrepreneurs could give it a thought, if we honestly feel so loyal about our own districts and roots, lets brand it well. Lets translate the words to a ‘jela haat’ somewhere in or around Dhaka city. Lets find out what makes Satkhira so special, lets find out what are the hidden tourist locations unforeseen in Netrakona, lets try out the five layer tea of Sylhet right in the heart of Dhaka and many more. Rural traders, manufacturers, designers could have got a much needed but guaranteed exposure in front of the 'capital city' crowd whereby they could have displayed their handicrafts, produce, decoration pieces, clothes whatever takes time to get noticed in our eyes. Also, the cat and mouse game of evicting floating hawkers from this place to that could have been shown a better way to deal with.
Make a list of 10 things that make your district special in your eyes. Let us all know that and celebrate that, after all... what is yours, is mine too, in the spirit of Bangladesh. See you in ‘jela haat’.

1 comment:

Wahid Sadik said...

Very noble and patriotic idea. What can I do to make it happen?