The best culture of sylhet bangladesh

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Sylheti Dialect

The Sylheti language is spoken throughout Sylhet Division, with some minor dialectal variations. Sylheti is an Eastern Indic language closely related to Bengali (Bangla), Chittagonian and languages. Most Sylhetis are at least bilingual to some degree, as they are taught Bengali at all levels of education in Bangladesh. Sylheti is also the dominant dialect of Bengali among the inhabitants of the Barak Valley in India, centered around Cachar district in Assam. The largest Sylheti-dominated city in India is Silchar, with significant Sylheti-speaking populations in Agartala, Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Shillong and Kolkata. Sylhet is the home of most Bangladeshi migrants to the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Certain parts of the United Kingdom are heavily populated with people from Sylhet, most notably the East End of London, especially the boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets, which includes Brick Lane, a famous street dubbed “Banglatown” for its large Bangladeshi, almost entirely Sylheti, population. Another area where Sylhetis have remained as a large group abroad is New York City in the United States. Although there are many of them living in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Sylhetis are mostly found in the borough of Queens. Most of them live in areas like Astoria, Long Island City, and Jackson Heights. Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, Queens has seen a tremendous amount of newly opened Bangladeshi restaurants mainly by Sylhetis and a great influx of such residents attracted by the real estate boom there.

Given its unique cultural and economic development, and linguistic differences (Greater Sylhet region was a part of Assam and Surma Valley State for much of the British Raj in comparison to the rest of Bangladesh), and given that Sylhet has, for most of its recent history, been a region of a larger entity (i.e., Assam, Bengal, Bangladesh), Sylhetis have a strong attachment to their regional and religious identity.

Many Sylheti regard themselves as fiercely proud of their own language, family-orientated community culture and conservative practice of Islam, but it must be remembered that not all Sylhetis are Muslim. Indian Sylheti are either Hindu or Christian. Hasan Raja , a Sylhetis cultural icon, was depicted in a film as a lecherous fellow who forsakes his family and uses obscene language. Enraged Sylhetis took the makers of the film to court. Adding insult to injury, the film was also shot in Bengali rather than Hason Raja’s native Sylheti language. Although Hason Raja was a practicing Muslim, he is revered even by Hindu and Christian Sylhetis.

Sylhetis attachment to their regional identity also continues in the efforts of many Sylhetis to keep marital relationships within the same regional cultural background.

Folk Music in Sylhet

The Sylheti language is spoken throughout Sylhet Division, with some minor dialectal variations. Sylheti is an Eastern Indic language closely related to Bengali (Bangla), Chittagonian and languages. Most Sylhetis are at least bilingual to some degree, as they are taught Bengali at all levels of education in Bangladesh. Sylheti is also the dominant dialect of Bengali among the inhabitants of the Barak Valley in India, centered around Cachar district in Assam. The largest Sylheti-dominated city in India is Silchar, with significant Sylheti-speaking populations in Agartala, Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Shillong and Kolkata. Sylhet is the home of most Bangladeshi migrants to the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Certain parts of the United Kingdom are heavily populated with people from Sylhet, most notably the East End of London, especially the boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets, which includes Brick Lane, a famous street dubbed “Banglatown” for its large Bangladeshi, almost entirely Sylheti, population. Another area where Sylhetis have remained as a large group abroad is New York City in the United States. Although there are many of them living in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Sylhetis are mostly found in the borough of Queens. Most of them live in areas like Astoria, Long Island City, and Jackson Heights. Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, Queens has seen a tremendous amount of newly opened Bangladeshi restaurants mainly by Sylhetis and a great influx of such residents attracted by the real estate boom there.

Given its unique cultural and economic development, and linguistic differences (Greater Sylhet region was a part of Assam and Surma Valley State for much of the British Raj in comparison to the rest of Bangladesh), and given that Sylhet has, for most of its recent history, been a region of a larger entity (i.e., Assam, Bengal, Bangladesh), Sylhetis have a strong attachment to their regional and religious identity.

Many Sylheti regard themselves as fiercely proud of their own language, family-orientated community culture and conservative practice of Islam, but it must be remembered that not all Sylhetis are Muslim. Indian Sylheti are either Hindu or Christian. Hasan Raja , a Sylhetis cultural icon, was depicted in a film as a lecherous fellow who forsakes his family and uses obscene language. Enraged Sylhetis took the makers of the film to court. Adding insult to injury, the film was also shot in Bengali rather than Hason Raja’s native Sylheti language. Although Hason Raja was a practicing Muslim, he is revered even by Hindu and Christian Sylhetis.

Sylhetis attachment to their regional identity also continues in the efforts of many Sylhetis to keep marital relationships within the same regional cultural background.

Sylhet Geetika

Sylhet developed over the centuries a rich distinctive culture of its own. In the present article we would like to discuss an important component of the folk literature of Sylhet, i.e . the Sylhet Geetika or Sylhet Ballads.

A Ballad is s short narrative poem usually depicting a dramatic event. It was originally used to be sung, passed along orally and changed greatly in transmission so much so that in the process the names of the original composers were lost. As a result, it becomes an integral part of the common cultural heritage of a people. A ballad may be historical, romantic, supranational, nautical or heroic depending on its content but it must have a story revolving around a number of characters and their activities. Although the melody of a ballad is generally found to be monotonous, its language as the suitable medium of human emotion and desires, acquires a depth and vitality of its own. Being a story-based, narrative medium, it used the lyrical form of presentation for heightened effect and attempts, by stages to bring the story (and the audience) to the climax. In this way the singer himself a product of the particular local socio-cultural milieu, spontaneously becomes one of the audience. Commenting on this point, Albert B. Lord says, In a real sense the young singer recapitulates the experiences of the generations before him starching back the distant past. From meter and music he absorbed in his earliest years the length of phrase, the partial cadences the full stops.

As for the singers artistic manner of presentation Albert B. Friedman says,The Ballad method of narration is unique and until one gets used to it, it can be disconcerting. Characteristically a Ballad breaks into its story at a moment when the train of action is decisively pointed towards the catastrophe. Setting time the appearance of the persons involved the background are indicated by a few light stroke or a few casual hints. Characters prop up out nowhere just at the moment they are needed and are dropped with equal sadness

Although narrative is one of the principal elements in a Ballad, nevertheless, it is not its sole characteristic feature. Technique is also of no less importance in a Ballad. Professor Gummere elaborates this point, Despite its; rank as necessary condition, narrative is not a fixed fundamental primary fact in the Ballad scheme. The greatest Ballads affect us no by the story itself but by the way in which the story is told; and this way is not narrative art at high pitch.

Similarly the dramatic quality of a Ballad contributes not a little, to its overall success. The Ballad tells a story. But of the elements that go to make up a story action, characters setting and then the Ballad is mainly concerned with action. Characterization is conventional and general; setting is likewise general and static theme is implied. But the action is always vivid and dramatic and often romantic as well often it is sensationalized into the melodramatic.

Though of ancient origin Bangla Ballades began to come into their own during the middle age. In this context, the arrival of Islam had a role to play. The distinguished folklore scholar Ashutsh Bhattacharya explains that there is a gulf of novels and folk literature; class divisions had much to do with it. While novels in ancient India remained the preserve of the privileged educated classes, medieval India witnessed under the influence of the more egalitarian Islamic ideals, novels emerging out the class and caste based social barred to a greater extent than was hitherto possible. Indian Ballads also benefited from this favorable winds of change made possible by the advent of Islam. In the localities and regions where Islamic influence were strong Ballads found congenial fertile ground to strike deep roots among the lower orders. Bhattacharya could see a close connection between the geographical spread of Islam and the development of the Bangla. Sylhet Ballads may be said to be a direct product of the impact of Islam on the culture traditions. Large numbers Ballads were known to have existed al over Sylhet but most of which had been lost for over. Prominent among these are Tilairaja, Kaldulai, monibibi, Rangamala, Chhuratjan Bibi, Alifjan Sundari, Sonamati Kanya, Jamir Saudagor and Panch Hatno.

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