A couple of weeks ago, me and a friend (Badol Bhai) were moving around in Jhenaidah. We suddenly saw a group of Temporary made houses, made with bamboo splits, and covered with polythene. We were very eager to go and meet the community but was discouraged by the locals to do so.
But curiosity finally won, and We went to meet them. 😀
There were around 30-40 “houses” laying around, they all had solar panels, some even had cooking gas cans also. It was difficult to believe that they can move with such heavy baggage.
Talking to Kajoli, one of the seniors members of the community, we found out, she and her husband are moving with the community since 2007. They have a son who has no clue about their nomad life, who studies in a college in North of Bangladesh. They move around and do various temporary jobs around the country, and saves money by staying in their temporary houses, not in a rented place.
Then we finally met the “Sardar” the leader of the community, Abul Kalam , who has been a genuine nomad from his birth. He is a snake charmer by profession.
He told us how the life was previously for the river gypsies in our country. They used to travel by boats for days. Small children used to sing and dance in the boats, playing handmade musical instruments on the river. But as the rivers in our country are mostly dried, they move via roads, and musical instruments are replaced by Electronic Stereos.
All their stories were very unique and they were reflecting the wisdom they gathered from their travel. They gathered a lot of experiences from all the places they had been in, and all the people they have met.
When asked whether they want to get settled in a place if given help, none of them could say they would. They believe it’s their fate, to move around and see things.
They will keep breaking up and forming in new places and with new and old people, but they will keep moving on like they have been for decades.