Bangladesh's River Gypsies Forced onto Dry Land

Manila Bulletin, September 18, 2009 | Go to article overview

Bangladesh's River Gypsies Forced onto Dry Land


KHURIA, Bangladesh, September 18, 2009 (AFP) - At the end of every year, after the monsoon rains, Noor Hossain dismantles his houseboat on the Bangladeshi delta and heads to the mainland. This time he will not be coming back.Hossain is one of about 800,000 river gypsies, known locally as bedey, who for generations have lived on the nation's waterways between May and December, and on land for the rest of the year.But now he has decided to give up his nomadic lifestyle because he says the rivers are increasingly erratic and impossible to navigate -- which experts attribute to effects of climate change and upstream development.For Hossain, who wears only a "lunghi" cloth wrapped around his waist, it means an end of the eight-month season during which he and the families of his four children paddled two rickety bamboo houseboats across the vast delta."Many rivers, canals and streams are drying up. We can no longer get to remote areas and without that, we can't make a living," said Hossain, 48, who earns some income diving for jewellery lost by women bathing.He also catches fish, mainly for his own family's consumption, while his wife and two daughters-in-law are the biggest income earners, selling ornaments and offering herbal treatments for toothache. Although there is no caste-system in Bangladesh, bedeys are on the bottom rung of society and almost all are illiterate and desperately poor.They mostly survive by being skilled snake charmers or by selling ornaments, traditional medicine and cosmetics in villages. Some Bangladeshis believe they also have secret healing powers.But, according to Grambangla Unnayan Committee, a Dhaka-based charity, Bangladesh's bedey community could disappear within a few decades as they abandon their annual migration between land and water."The shift to the mainland is happening at a speedy rate. Just 15 years ago, all bedeys were based on water. Pretty soon we may not have any gypsies on our rivers," said A.K.M Maksud, the charity's head.He said that in the past decade alone 250,000 bedeys had been forced off the water and predicted that within two years 90 percent of gypsies would have to live on land permanently.Retired history professor Jainal Abedin Khan, who has written books about bedeys, said that they arrived in Bangladesh in the 17th century when the region was part of the Mughal empire."They originally hail from what is now Myanmar but they moved across into the delta," he said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Bangladesh's River Gypsies Forced onto Dry Land
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.