Sunday, February 24, 2019 | ePaper

Culture of BangladeshMohd Siddiqur Rahman

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Those who are born in 1940’s, not accustomed to seeing that some of our children are inadequately dressed or dressed in tight pants and shirts and moving in public places. Now days it is not an uncommon   phenomenon to experience same in cities and towns of   Bangladesh.  
On opening foreign TV channel, sometimes, we can see the presenter in short dress, presenting the TV show, putting the watching members of the family in embarrassing situation. Watching such a TV show with the family members together is uncomfortable obviously for the reason: This foreign culture does not match with ours. Influenced by foreign culture, the youth of the affluent society prefer to go to the concert or DJ party and spend the whole night in pleasures and amusements in open skies. Nazrul, Tagore or old songs of famous artists are no longer appealing to them.   Both rural and urban family members have become addicted to watching the Indian TV serials on Star TV and others, many have become so busy that they have scanty time to focus on their important chores of life. On the occasions like 25th December and 31st night,  boys and girls of different society  celebrate the nights with drinks and dance, rock and roll which is absolutely western culture. We know that living together before marriage is the concept of western culture, so on no account can have it allowed to get entry into our society.  
Even our native culture: Pahela Baishakh has been losing its originality due to additions of extra elements to it.   Many readers will agree with me that we should be careful about any transgression which might be having our culture badly impacted.  Given the trend of infusion of other cultures into that of ours, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss over it for a while to create more awareness among the loving readers, young generation and generations to come.
Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of particular group of people encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts.  According to Anthropologist,  culture includes religion, food, what we wear, how we wear it, our language, our marriage, music, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table , how we greet  visitors, how we behave with loved ones and many other things.
Bangladesh is a Muslim Majority country; Muslims constitute around 87 per cent of the population while Hindus and Buddhists are most insignificant minorities of the country. Christians, Sikhs, and Atheists form a very small part of population. Religion Islam has played the major role to determine the characteristics of the Muslims. The culture of Bangladesh is a composite and over the centuries has assimilated influences of Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. The birth place of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhs is India while the birth place of Islam, Christianity and Judaism is Middle East.  Three great religions: Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism have left great impact on our culture.  And it has been exposed in the forms of music and drama, art and craft, Folklore and Folktale, language and literature, philosophy and religion, festivals and celebrations and cuisine. Great festivals we celebrate: Eidul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Pahela Boisak, Language Day, Durga Puja and weddings.
Islam influenced this region spread from Middle East and its spirit and heritage has been handed down to us from generations to generations. The ways of life of our people evolved over the centuries encompassing the cultural diversity of several social groups of Bangladesh.
The Bengal Renaissance of the 19th and early 20th centuries noted Bengali writers, saints, authors, scientists, researchers, thinkers, music composers, painters and film makers have played the most significant role in the development of Bengali culture. Bangladesh is called melting pot of races and so has adjusted multiple cultures.
Nevertheless, our deep rooted heritage is pervading and dominating in our architecture, literature, dance, drama, music, painting and in our peoples’ lifestyle.  
Our Language -Bangla is one of our rich heritages, and we are proud of it. Nation’s Language, Geography, Environment, Faith in religion, Spirituality, History and Tradition, Etiquette and Behavior and so on are considered to be the source and reflection of National Culture. Our geographical location and environment have determined our food and clothes. And it is our culture that has got us identified separately around the world and our people are the sustainers and carriers of our culture. A well-cultured nation can   also spread its’ good odor to other nations of the world.  On the other hand, it can also push the nation to the abyss of darkness if degradation takes place in human-values.
Presently we are very much concerned to see some harmful cultures enter our society irresistibly misguiding our young generation. Let me reclaim that we have inherited a very rich culture over the centuries , so  we need to protect it, and in no way, can have it affected by bad infusions of others. We may be backward in Economy, Commerce and   industry, education and technology but we are very rich in our cultures inherited from our forefathers. Bangladeshi culture is rich as it is closely related with the holy book, the Qur’an and our greatest Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Sm), Messenger of God. The holy scripture- The Qur’an is said to be the complete code of life, so revelations and instructions of God have amply and heavily influenced our ways of life.  But the present generation cannot keep them limited to homogenous culture due to the influence of satellite culture and process of globalization. They can easily get themselves engaged in various TV celebrities brought to them through many channels of Dish Antenna.  It is needles   to say most shows have   nothing to benefit our teens, rather guide them to astray. Parents and guardians shall realize that our culture is at stake and have to take more precautions against instillation of bad cultures through international and domestic medias.
The Western Culture is the culture of Europeans and Culture of immigrants has heavily influenced the US Cultures. Western Cultures has its roots in the classical period of the Greece -Roman era and the rise of Christianity in the 14th century. Divers of Western Culture include Latin, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic ethnic and Linguistic group.  
Today Western Culture is seen pervasive in character almost all over the world. Some values of this culture may be benefitting    our society, and   some may be bringing in a lot of negative effects as well. We have to think over cultural issues as much as possible to accept the good ones and avoid the bad ones that likely to bring imbalance in our culture.  The youth is the future asset of the country, so it is our duty to get them enlightened with our own cultural values to make the nations proud and dignified.  
In order to enrich knowledge, every nation may be familiar with the following cultures: The Eastern Culture, Western Culture, Latin Culture, African Culture, Middle Eastern Culture and Australian Culture.   Due to globalization, culture is spreading all over the world.
It is constantly in motion. Emphasized the importance and impact of culture on every nation,  the United  Nations has created a group, called the United Nations Educational , Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) to identify  Cultural and Natural heritage and to  Conserve and Protect it.   The ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs may come up with more initiative offering multiple cultural exchange programme for the teachers and the taught and other musical and professional groups with the goal of developing our culture. Experiencing new culture can help us understand better ourselves and the world around us. On the whole, we need more knowledge and experience on the elements being dealt here with that could be instrumental to be decisive in fixing the best cultures of life.
Since culture is made up of hundreds and thousands of elements, not possible to discuss in length and accommodate them   in one write up, so intend to end up here with a few words more. At the start up, I touched on our style of dress, TV show and   Interest in   Indian Serials on TV through various channels. As regards with dress, we should put on decent dress shunning western style, style of Hollywood and Bombay Film stars.  Regarding foreign films and dramas, we want that concerned authority monitor satellite TV channels and imports of foreign films and cassettes in order that they cannot misguide and harm our people with the scenes of violence and sex. In case of our homogenous films, local Censorship Board make sure that all immoderate and offensive sequences have been deleted from the films before they are debuted on Cinema  and TV screen. Lastly I would urge our Social Scientists, Journalists, Civil Society, Intellectuals and the Concerned Administration to be very loud with their expertise to encounter the foreign aggression as well as numerous unethical works prevalent across the country for having the youth enlightened for the generation and the generations to come. n
(Writer Mohd Siddiqur Rahman, Rtd Country Manager of Biman, Bangladesh Airlines, in Frankfurt, Germany)

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