|Bangladesh: Santu Larma blasts UNDP-CHTDF show of indigenous people’s culture in city|
|Saturday, 04 de December de 2010|
Chairman of Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council, Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, aka Santu Larma yesterday accused an UNDP run Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF) of cultural aggression, wiping off the traditional culture of the indigenous people of the CHT in the name of cultural diversity festival.
“The cultural festival, organized by the CHTDF can not promote the genuine culture of the indigenous people, rather it is destroying the real traditional culture of the ethnic communities in the CHT” Santu Larma told the independent on Friday.
The organisers have no minimum idea about the culture of indigenous people, and they did not involve the real cultural activists from the indigenous community when they took the initiative to organise the festival, he alleged.
However, he said, cultural festival is good but the organising pattern of the festival, organised by the CHTDF was quite contradictory with the traditional culture of the indigenous people.
“This type of arrangement destroys the traditional culture and it is quite alarming for us,” CHTRC chairman said, adding what he claimed, the “half naked presentation of young girls and boys in the name of fashion show degraded the morality of the young generation.”
If the UNDP fail to change this pattern of cultural festival, the traditional culture will be lost in the near future, Santu Larma alleged further.
This type of arrangement is a strong weapon to destroy the ethnicity of the indigenous people, he said.
“I have always avoided their invitation due their aggressive attitude towards the traditional culture,” Larma said.
Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF), UNDP Bangladesh has been organizing Cultural Diversity Festival in Dhaka for the last three years. A four day long cultural diversity festival, 2010 begun at the at Bangabandu International Conference centre on Thursday and ends on Sunday.
A number of indigenous students, who came to the festival, have accused the CHTDF of depicting the indigenous people’s cultural heritage in a distorted way at the festival.
They said that they have several times complained to the CHTDF, but it did not change its progamme.
Associate professor of mass communication and journalism department of the Dhaka University, Robaet Ferdous, who went to the festival yesterday have expressed his frustration over the function and observed that at the reception he thought it was an exposition of corporate houses due to the employees of an event management firm were receiving the guests and visitors, instead of the indigenous people.
“It can not be a cultural diversity festival as there is no sign of diversity and representation of cultural heritage on of the indigenous community,” he said.
It is quite an exposition of entrepreneurs and not a cultural festival, Robaet observed.
“I was astonished to see the name of stalls in Roman alphabet, instead of indigenous alphabet, which was humiliating to the cultural tradition of the indigenous people,” Robaet noted.
When asledchief of the CHTDF, Prasenjit Chakma, however, could not offer much different views contradictory to Santu Larma and those expressed by the students from indigenous community and Robaet Ferdous.
He said, the festival helped build up a creative and effective awareness among the indigenous communities and the Bengalis.
The festival represents arts, culture and livelihoods’ of the CHT and also depicts the dance and music of the indigenous people from the plains. It also presented indigenous dances and music with the exhibition of indigenous products on sale, the UNDP-CHTDF organizer said.
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