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Culture Panorama

Md. Rokanuzzaman
Indira Road

With the passage of time Bangalee culture is moving off its origin and showing a trend of western fusion. The tremendous metamorphosis becomes clear when we are to listen Rabindra Sangeet in Maqsood’s voice with as much noise as of a Rock band. Maqsood, a rock band singer, dares compose the popular song “Na chahiley jarey pawa jay” with drums, guitars, synthesizer etc. and in a tone of typical Rock singer that definitely is not welcome by listeners of Rabindra Sangeet. 

The same trend prompts the government reshape Lalan Akhra by constructing multistoried building and snatching the traditional right of bawls to control the shrine. Bawls are not supposed to exercise the power of controlling the shrine in a modern society like today’s. But there is something beyond hard and fast rules. That ‘something “ is essential for preserving the origin of our invaluable cultural heritage. Those “noble” people are not as fit as needed ones for nurturing the essence of bawl culture. For handling “rustic” culture we need “rustic” people not “noble “ ones. 

Hasan Raja’s songs are not spared from that violating game. Taking advantage of quick acceptance of folk songs among listeners, some singers are in the habit of composing Hasan Raja’s songs along with other folk songs in a rock style. Through this process, they get a radical popularity ravaging the original essence of folk songs. If it goes on, we will soon find our folk songs lost in western music and modern compositions, nothing will remain to call folk.

Not only folk songs; today's young singers are fond of remixing old songs giving them a brand called 'harano diner gan'. Record companies market them like 'old wine in new bottles'. No contradiction would arise if they did so respecting the melody of the everlasting and evergreen songs. But the pity is that they reproduce the songs is such a way that  any fan of the original version would feel embarrassed to hear the second one. At the same time listeners who did not listen the original songs before, would mutter 'a nice modern song at last!' He/she would never know that the song was a modern song decades back and here it has been deformed. What is the purpose ? To gain a quick popularity.

Our modern songs are becoming more modern day by day with the blessings(!) of non-Bangalee style. Time , may be, demands it . Young generation swallows and digests it quickly. Also a huge portion of youths crave for melodious compositions that are really ours. They cordially like tunes that represent Bangalee culture. Our melodies of bamboo flute, sitar, ektara, dotara, banjo, santoor, tabla, dhol, khol , dhak, mandira are what we really need. This is why still Rabindra Sangeet evenings, Nazrul Sangeet evenings and gazal evenings at Museum auditorium, Public Library auditorium, Russian Cultural Center, and Natmandal are full of youngsters alongside elderly people. We are not supposed to nurture any prejudice against modernization of our modern songs. Let it be even post modern and, at the same time, let us set a free runway where listeners can decide which way to run and which one not to.

We are getting parted from tradition so rapidly that even music in Putul Nach( Puppet Dance ) is done today with synthesizers, in place of harmoniums, which I noticed very recently in a Putul Nach show at fine Arts Institute premises in Dhaka University. Thus changes are taking place on every thing as well as on our cultural heritages.

That day I was watching the film “Kittonkhola” a drama-turned-film that focuses on the lifestyle of Jatra actors and actresses. Habitually a sizeable portion of my concentration was on the music of the film. It all starts with no formal music but with a mood of getting prepared for an orchestra, musicians restoring their instruments to tune giving an impression that the Jatra Pala will start only minutes latter. A novelty indeed! Naturally background music throughout the film is of Jatra pattern which is, off course, demanded by the plot of the play.

In an age of change when originality of old categories such as jari, shari, murshidi, marfati, vawaya, gomvira etc, are on the verge of being banished from our culture, a tone of Jatra music as the background music of a film is really encouraging.


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