Bang…Bang…Bangladesh! – country, women, culture and wedding
The first thing that catches your eye when you visit Bangladesh is a large crowd of people. Sometimes it seems that the population of the main cities of this country is not counted which has a share of truth – many residents are simply not accounted and die “in the general mass”. You can not say Bangladesh is not a civilized or backward country – it is unique, and therefore does not lend itself to these characteristics. The life of many residents in Bangladesh takes place on the street regardless of whether you live in or a village. In the cities houses of most Bangladeshi resemble bird houses. So often in the old areas of Dhaka you can see residents washing themselves right on the street! It should also be noted that the cleanliness is just in the blood of the local population, despite the absence of those washing conditions to which the civilized world has become accustomed. Special attention is required by the areas located along the railway tracks as here a special life flows. This life may seem to be a terrifying and wild to average foreigner who is not accustomed to such spectacles. But this is only the at first time, afterwards you involuntarily draw attention to the fact that there are practically no dissatisfied among the residents – people are happy, they smile and all other sounds are muffled by the continuous childish laughter.
Due to the fact that the city has no free space for building houses, locals they are constructing sheds resembling “houses” which are illegally built along the railway as this is the only available and free land. At the same time, most poor people’s homes are literally ten centimeters from the road, and therefore, under the clatter of trains, from which the ears are laid, the residents are quietly asleep. The life of local residents runs on rails – children are playing there, mothers bathe themselves and wash their babies and the rest scurry back and forth or just sit. In the evenings, for example, it is often possible to see a picture of the people sitting on the tracks looking for lice from each other. Sometimes it seems that these ways are abandoned long time ago because they are not only literally swarming with people, but also abandoned by rubbish and other rubbish. But at some point a beep is heard and people in an instant leave the railroad allowing the train to run at a speed of 50-60 km / h. However, such a lightning-fast response does not save everyone, not one dozen children die every year and no one counts the sad statistics. Why? In each Bangladeshi family there are no fewer than 6-10 children and their birth rate is not controlled, and, consequently, death is not recorded as well. Someone dies under the wheels of a train and someone from illnesses; only half of Bangladeshi children would until 5 years old. It should be noted that the train that has hit someone does not just stop, but it does not slow the course. Behind the screams of children and the bustle of slums, his whistle is not always audible on time and, as the local people say, there are more children and drunkards in this mass of the dead.
The capital of Bangladesh is not easy place to live in due to a strong overpopulation, as well as difficulties with providing residents with clean drinking water, problems with electricity. At the same time, Dhaka rapidly grows and develops and new areas with beautiful residential buildings, offices and shopping centers delight the eye of even the most picky traveler.
The main culprit of jams is rickshaw. There are thousands, hundreds of thousands of them. They transport tourists and the bulk of the urban population as for the latter such transportation is cheaper. Rickshaws are also used as cargoes, work like school buses and even garbage trucks. Rickshaw drivers are constantly squeezed between cars, which affects the traffic intensity: often traffic jams are of such magnitude that even pedestrians are trapped in them. In the center of the city the situation is somewhat better due to the fact that the strictest ban on the movement of rickshaws along the main streets of the capital has been introduced; however there are also corks on the wide streets. The traffic regulators are trying to cope with this phenomenon, standing at each cross with an umbrella and a stick. Read also: 200-year-old brothel in Bangladesh
Dhaka is often called the capital of mosques, because there are more than 700 mosques. Walking through the streets of the city it seems that they are located literally at every step. But, interestingly, locals often pray directly on the street as there not enough mosques for everyone.
Particularly colorites are the Bangladesh villages. They impress with their color and surrounding nature. By the way, more than 80% of the total population of the country lives in rural communities and the tendency to migration to cities, especially to the capital, has been outlined only in recent decades. The main part of the villages is located along the rivers, which are the main transport arteries of the country. Due to the constant threat of floods most villages are built on special bulk platforms protecting houses from a spilling river. Houses are often built of bamboo or clay, and the roof is a straw building or roof is covered with corrugated iron. The peculiarity of village houses is that small gardens or even tiny ponds are often broken around them. Ponds are designed for drinking and other needs since most of the year water from rivers is unsuitable for drinking because of its saturation with organic remains. In this country the enterprises are not familiar with the concept of sewage treatment plants. Gardens are often used as pastures for livestock in times of floods.
The territory of this country can be called one of the most multinational in all of South Asia. Due to the incredible number of peoples and tribes, faiths, traditions and cultures living here in each region of the country, it is easy to find something special and unique. Most Bangladeshis are Muslims, only 0.3% are Christians, 0.5% are Buddhists and about 16% are Hindus. The country’s constitution gives full religious freedom, which provides an opportunity for many local residents to follow their own convictions and, perhaps, affects the fact that in Bangladesh there are practically no skirmishes on religious grounds. Here, even a foreigner is considered a welcome guest at any religious festival or event, no matter what faith he professes. There are no prohibitions on marriages between people of different faiths, only conservative Muslims avoid such marriages. By the way, Bangladeshi is a very superstitious people. An empty pitcher, an odd number or a corpse of a bird is a serious reason for canceling a trip or any other business.
It is interesting that in this country touching a stranger is a sign of bad taste and therefore men almost never shake each other’s hands as a sign of greeting and, moreover, do not shake hands with a child or girl. The exception is those cases when men are well acquainted. By the way, this tradition is connected with the fact that even the most intrusive local traders will never grab a potential buyer for clothes or elbow, which is often found in many neighboring countries. In Bangladesh, it is unacceptable to show the feet behind food, so often at the table everyone is sitting cross-legged and tucked them under him. Another interesting fact is that to give alcohol or money in this country for present is to offend the head of the family, and to present jewelry, a piece of clothing or watches to a woman is to violate the law according to which only the husband has the right to give such things for present.
Despite the fact that children for most of the locals are a special gift, the birth of a girl here is considered an undesirable phenomenon, but the appearance of a boy is good for luck. Perhaps, this attitude is due to the fact that for a daughter who is given out afterwards to marry, it is obligatory to give a dowry. Bangladeshi people have a special attitude to a dowry and rarely a man is ready to marry a girl from a family which has nothing to give for a dowry. By the way, local young people are surprised to hear that girls in Europe are so “poor” that they marry without a dowry. Another feature, which explains a somewhat more reverent attitude to the birth of a son that he is obliged to help parents when they get old while the girl becomes completely subordinate to the family of her husband. As for marriage, it is often arranged by parents until this day. Although, marriage can be considered legal only if the young couple agrees to it and therefore the choice of partner is increasingly left for choice of young people.
It should be noted that feelings are not always the basis for marriage in Bangladesh; many men do not consider this a serious reason and prefer to think about the future bride’s dowry and her social status. Maybe this explains why often the relationship between a woman and a man in Bangladesh looks very formal – the husband often works in another province and the wife conducts household, watches the children and works somewhere nearby. Though, it is difficult to judge about the true feelings between the Bangladeshis as they are a fairly secretive people, their strict traditions do not allow an open manifestation of feelings.
The main clothing of Bangladeshi women are:
– long skirts and short blouses in addition with special belts several times folded in strips of fabric;
– sari – is a five-meter piece of tissue, specially folded around the body, forming numerous folds;
– “shalvar-kamiz” is a set of loose trousers and a loose shirt to the knees, sometimes supplemented with cuts on the sides, with long sleeves.
What is interesting is that such a conservative Muslim country allows for some restrictions in clothes. Many local women often bare arms and belly, although a headscarf is never removed when entering the street. Men clothing is often the following: “lunga”, which is a loose skirt gathered in a knot at the waist, “Punjabi”, which is a long shirt and a “dupatta scarf”. In cities, men are mostly dressed more modern in European-style suits, but national costumes are also common.
In this country it is customary to invite guests and this invitation can be extended even to a practically unfamiliar person with whom a head of the family started conversation on the street. If a guest eats not much, he does not respect the owner. That is why it is customary to try out all the dishes that are offered. Bangladeshi are quite a calm and friendly people, but may be too stubborn, flared because of a certain trifle. Describe all the characteristics of such an unusual country is difficult, as well as the fact that it’s impossible to love it at first sight. Read also: Marriage in Bangladesh and traditional Bangladeshi family