Cultural Heritage of Bangladesh in Search of Root
Subject: Social Science | Topics:

Culture covers human behavior, mode of living, rites and rituals, religion, education, sports and amenities, daily activities, house eating habit, dress-up, furniture, ornament, literature, music, painting, sculpture , architecture, philosophy, science and so on. There is no race in the world but reflects their imagination and ideas in their life style. The base of the practical and cultural life of Bangladesh lies in the Australoid and David society. The arrival of different races and their permanent habitation have influenced the mode of life of this land. In  course of time different modes of life and culture have amalgamated into a distinctive mode of culture. The culture of Bangladesh is divided into three categories e. g. urban culture, rural culture and tribal culture. The vast rural population have formed a multifarious and diversified culture through centuries. That is called the folk culture of Bangladesh. On the basis of the subject matter the folk culture of Bangladesh can be divided into four categories e.g. material, formalized, functional and performing.

For centuries Bangladesh has been an agricultural society. So, its folk culture is based on the rituals and rhythms of rural life. Despite the trends of urbanization and globalization our culture of both the urban and rural communities are folk oriented.

Both our practical and cultural life are based on Australoid and Drabid Society. But there is no documentary history where we can get the depiction of their times and culture. On the basis of different information we can come to conclusion that our lifestyle has been influenced by the arrival and permanent living at different nations in course of time, the amalgamation of different lifestyle have led to a distinctive cultural trend.

The development of culture is not possible without tradition. The mode of life for a long period of time builds up the foundation of culture. Basically, culture is tradition.


There is a specific objective behind every action. The objective of preparing this Dissertation  paper is to explore the culture of Bangladesh­-

A .To know the different aspects of the  folk culture in of Bangladesh

B. To reflect know background cultural heritage of Bangladesh

c.  To see the influence of culture in our personal, social and national life.

D. To look in to conservation of  our folk Culture.


The title of this Dissertation  paper is “A Study on the Folk Couture of Bangladesh”. The Dissertation  paper has been prepared to focus on the folk culture of Bangladesh that has been done in the light of folk literature. What is culture? The sources and features of the cultures of Bangladesh, the historical development of the culture of Bangladesh, the classification of the culture of Bangladesh, the section of the folk culture of Bangladesh on the basis of its subject matter and their subject matter have been discussed.


I have adopted the method of collecting data from secondary sources. Data has been derived form various types of sources e.g. form various books, reviews, literature paper  and web site  etc.


Time-limitation was a problem for the preparation of this paper. So, it was not possible to collect primary data from the practical field. Culture is a comprehensive idea. So it was not possible do depict a complete picture of culture. Moreover, because of the scarcity of latest publications I had to collect and analyze information from limited books. It was a troublesome work for me.

What is culture :

There are diversified definitions about culture. The most unique definition is seen in ‘Sangskriti Katha by Motaher Hossain Choudhury. In this book he says, “Culture means to live well in diversified ways, in noble ways, to live tasting the flavour of variegated feelings of human society and nature, to live with reading poetry, blooming flower, flowing river, whit the azure of sky, with the greenery, in the sacrifice of life, being close partner of different nations and different countries with the evolution of human civilization ……………… to live embracing the world. “

According to Dr. Enamul Haque, “Reformation belonging to countrymen is culture.”  Dr. Wakil Ahmed  says, “culture is in one hand the mode of life e.g. behaviour, manner, rites and rituals, festivals, daily activities, education, sports, amenities etc; in the other hand all the materials and ingredients for leading life e.g. homestead, foods, furniture, vehicles, machinery, clothes, ornaments etc. Thirdly it covers literature, music, painting, sculpture, philosophy, science etc. E.B. Taylor says, “Culture is a conscious striving towards progress and perfection.”

The Sources and features of the culture of Bangladesh:

The cultural background of Bangladesh is diverse. The original inhabitants of this area were pre-Aryan. After words, they were influenced by Aryan thoughts. Again this culture is influenced by the ingredients of Muslim culture of Turkey, Arab, Iran and Middle-Asia. Lastly, with the arrival of the Europeans especially the British, A different cultural trend was set. In this way, in course of time, our culture gradually developed with the essence of defferent cultures. If we want to be introduced to our cultural background, we need to take resort to foreigners. Because of the climatic condition of Bangladesh, it was not possible to preserve the history of cultural life. So, we have to find out our cultural entity in the Kamasutra by Batsayan, Brihat Sanghita by Baraha Mihir, in Chenakya, Kalidas etc.

Historical Development of the culture of Bangladesh:

From historical point of view the culture of Bangladesh can be defided into some categories.

The origin of culture (From Pal Regime to Turkish Conquest):

Australoid, Dravid, Mongoloid and Negrito were the main among the pre-Aryan inhabitants. Each of these races has its distinctive archaeological and cultural identity. There are difference between their creed and mode of life. Both matriarchal and patriarchic system prevailed. Their economic base was dependent on agro-based economic development and cottage industry.

We can get the continuous history of our cultural activities from the reign of Pal Dynasty. Under the auspices of Pal Kings Bangladesh occupies a glorious place in the international Buddhist arena through some Buddhist societies and Buddhist Bihar. There are signs of culture and civilization at Mynamari, Pharpur, Mohasthangar etc. which are the original source of our cultural heritage.

During the reign of Sen Dynasty culture was influenced by Brahmanism.

Culture of Bangladesh in the middle age (Muslim rein):

A new trend started in the culture of Bangladesh in the Middle age with the arrival of the Muslims. Pirs, Falirs and Darvishes who came from the West influenced the inhabitants of this land. In the of Muslims, Bengali language and literature flourished greatly. Ramayan and Mohabharat were translated. Romantic poetry was composed under the auspices of Muslim Rulers. Most noticeable among these are Mymensingha Gitika, Gazir Gan etc. An Islamic culture developed after the arrival of the Muslims.

Culture in Modern age :

The Portuguese merchant came to this country first. Then came the Dutch, the French and the English. When the English came to power, the culture of Bangladesh was under pressure. A new aristocratic culture evolved under the influence of English language, literature and culture. After the establishment of FortWilliamCollege,  some literary persons like Ram Ram Bose contributed to Bengali prose. European culture greatly dominated Bengali culture.

Afterwards, during the Pakistani reign the Bangalees started to search for their identity.  In doing so, they discovered their image in the non

communal folk tradition. After the language movement, a liberal, pragmatic and secular attitude originated.

Classification of the culture of Bangladesh:

There are two main streams of the national culture of a country e.g. Urban culture and folk culture. Vatican city is a city state. So, there is only urban culture here. But there are three cultural streams in Bangladesh e.g. urban culture, folk culture and tribal culture. Folk culture is what has been flourished through centuries focussing the life style of the huge population of rural areas.

Urban culture:

Urban culture evolves in the small purview of urban area from the occupation, dressing, festivals, communication and production system of the urban people. This culture is delicate, complex, diverse, dynamic and pompous. It expands and excels in the process of alteration and transformation through inclusion and exclusion.

Folk culture:

The nature-reliant life style of rural people is mainly traditional, commonplace and slow. The villagers do not get the opportunity of formal learning. They lead their lives gathering experience from their ancestors about production, vehicle, machinery, dress-up, foods, rites and rituals, entertainment etc. The salient features of their culture are simplicity, vividness and candidness.



Urban Culture:

There are thirty-two tribes in Bangladesh. In one sense tribal culture belongs to the Folk culture. But they are regarded as distinctive one because of some difference in several aspects. Tribal culture is, to a great extent, conservative, stagnant and tradition oriented. They tribes are remaining where they started from, because they are separated from the outer world and deprived of education. In stead of coming forward to enjoy modern facilities by mixing with the greater society, they are rather sticking to the superstition, custom and tradition in the name of keeping up separate entity. No noticeable change is seen in their culture.

Types of Folk culture on the basis of subject matter:

On the basis of nature the folk culture of Bangladesh is divided into four types.  e.g.:

i)       Material culture

ii)      Formalized culture

iii)     Functional culture

iv)     Performing culture.

Material culture:

Material culture covers those things which are used  by people for leading their lives e.g. houses, furniture, utensils, vehicles, tools and machinery etc.

Material culture

Formalized culture:

Formalized culture covers oral folk culture. Paintings belong to this group. The elements of formalized culture are folk song, folk drama, rhymes, riddles, proverbs, folk tales, gitika, incantation etc.

Functional culture:

Functional culture covers folk drama, Jatra, dance, games and sports. These are performed by acting. Baul, Gambhira etc. are presented through the combination of song, dance and  acting.  Jary dance is related with Jari song, Sari dance with Sari Song, Lathi dance with Lathi song. These are the source of recreation for all people.


Folk art of Bangladesh:

Folk art is a traditional art that has been evolved over time through communal practice. This art combines aestheticism with emotion. Again, this artistic thing meets our daily necessities. Some folk arts related to rites and rituals are Alpana, Manasaghat, Mangal Ghat, Laksmir Sara etc.

Ingredients of folk art:

The ingredients of folk art are very ordinary. Different types of crafts are made of locally abatable ingredients such as wood, cloth, thread, cane, horn, bamboo, conch-shell, jute, sola, reeds etc. Some precious metals like gold, silvers, brass, tusk etc. are also used. The tools of folk art are also ordinary

The motifs of folk art:

Folk art uses traditional motifs reflecting the land and its people. Different forms of folk art tend to repeat these common motifs. For instance, the lotus, the sun, the cree-of-life, flowery creepers etc re seen in paintings, EMBROIDERY, weaving, carving and engraving, Other common motifs are fish, elephant, horse, peacock, swastika, circle, waves, temple, mosque etc. Many of these motifs have symbolical meanings. For example, the fish represents fertility, the sheaf of paddy prosperity, the lotus purity and the swastika- usually more curvilinear than the Nizi symbol-good fortune.

Alpana a popular folk art associated with Hindu women’s observance of religious vratas or vows such as Laksmivrata, Senjutivrata, Maghmangalvrata. Haricharanvrata and Basudharavrata. Ti is also drawn on the occasion of Hindu weddings and ANNAPRASAN. Common motifs drawn during weddings include the lotus and creepers. Alpna re drawn at Muslim weddings, especially on the occasion of the GAYE HALUD. The alpana motifs drawn at Muslim functions are, however, quite different from those at vratas. On 21st February as well alpanas using floral motifs and geometric patterns are painted on the roads leading to the SHAHEED MINAR.

White paste made of pounded rice is the main raw material for alpala. Depending on the occasion, brick powder, ash. water mixed with cow dung. vermilion and turm  paste are also used. Alpanas for vratas are drawn with a finger or a pices of wood. In uran areas, alpanas are painted with enamel paints and brushes. Almna motifs do not show realistic details. The senjutivrata alpana, representing a woman with many children is shown  abstract lines. Similarly, the laksmivrata alpana, representing the godess Laksmi’s foot, is shown simply as a human footprint.

Bamboo craft

Bamboo is used to make houses as well as essential implements for farming and fishing as well as domestic use. Bamboo is used to make musical instruments such as the EKTARA and the flue. Bamboo tenes and partitions are often decorated with floral motifs aie geometric patterns. Fancy fans made of bamboo depict trees, birds, elephants, flowers and conch-shaped leaves.

Cane craft

like bamboo, cane is also used to make a variety of household and fancy product including furniture. Chairs, stools, sofa sets, bookshelves, baskets, table lamps, partitions and hookah holds and attractive and affordable. Though less commonly used in urban areas, fancy mats called NAKSHI APTI (pictorial mat) or sitalpati (cool mat), continue to be in demand both for their comfort and attractiveness.

Conchshell craft Conch shells are used to make bangles, armlets,  rings, lockets, buttons, hairpins and clips. Vermilion containers, incense holders, ashtrays, table lamps etc are also made with shells. Despite their primitive technology, the conch-cutters of Shankhari Patti in Dhaka produce finely crafted articles.

Daruchitra The art  of wood engraving is an ancient craft, used for decorating door frames, pillars, windows, palanquins, boat prows, toys and dolls. The designs are carved out and the plain surfaces are then painted. Door frames and pillars are painted with creepers, palanquins with flowers, creepers and geometric patterns, and boats with the swastika, the moon, stars, birds and fish.

Dewalchitra or wall  painting. Images of deities are painted on the walls of mud houses in northern Bengal in the belief that these images will  protect the house and its inmates from evil. Followers and leaves are painted to beautify the dwelling place. Apart from alpana designs  motifs include the  swastika, the goddess Laksmi seated on a lotus, the heroes of the PURANAS, sheaves of paddy, creepers, peacocks and elephants, Seance from the story of RRISHNA or RAMA are paintings have also become popular in Dhaka city. Many of these paintings are broken up into panels painted in different styles of folk art. The boundary wall of the Institute of Fine Arts which faces Kazi Nazrul Islam Roas, for example, has acenes drawn in nakshi kantha, GAZIR PAT, and ghatachitra styles. In addition to traditional motifs and seenes, depictions of the WAR OF LIBERATION are also common. During the observances of EKUSHEY, the walls facing the Shaheed Minar are painted with quotations in BANGLA SCRIPT.

Gazir Pat a form  of scroll paintings, used to illustrate the life of Gazi Pir, king of tigers painted in panel form, these illustrations depct various miraculous events associated with Gazi Pir. One such panel shows Gazi seated on a tiger with its tail lifted. Gazir pat also includes other scenes and motifs, such as the goddess Ganga riding the makara a mythological aquatic animal, a cow being grabbed by a tiger, and Daksin Ray, also regarded as a king of tigers. holding a mallet in his hand. There are still one or two PATUYAS in Munshiganj and Narsingdi who paint Gazir pat.

Ghatachitra Paintings on earthen pitchers or ghat: There are various types of ghatachitra such as managalghat, manasahgat, nagaghat, laksmighat, kartiker bhand and daksinrayer bara, the names being derived from the deity painted on the pitcher. Thus, manasaghats depict MANASA, the snake goddess, while nagaghats depict hooded snakes. A pitcher with the image of an eight-headed snake is called ‘astanaga ghat.’ Similarly,  pitcher depicting Laksmi, the goddess of wealth, is called ‘laksmir ghat,‘ while a ghat with the image of Daksin Ray, the tiger got, is known as ‘daksn rayer bra.’ The manasaghat is a most ornate and popular of this folk genre.

Jute craft Aprat form being the raw manorial for hessian and carpets, jute is also used to make mats, bags, and hanging string bags or sika, used in homes to hang foodstuff out of the reach of animals. To make sikas, jute twine is braided and then tied in various patterns such as tearful, puntiful and takaful. The sikas are given different names such as muthasika, chaksika, kadisika and nemtasika on the basis of their size, shape and designs Kadisika, for example, is threaded with cowries.

Karandichitra panel paintings on sola, depicting the goddess Manasa. These paintings are made on the occasion of Manasa puja. First a karanki, a square frame resembling a temple, is made with sola and paper. Then bozes are drown at the top and the bottom portrying Manasa, BEHULA, Laksindar, Chard Sadagar, Behula’s seven brothers and their wives, a sage, fishermen, snake charmers, washerwomen, trumpeters and coiled snakes. At the end of the puja, the krandi is set afloat on water.

 Metalcraft Gold and silver ornaments and plates, glasses, pitchers and mugs made of silver and bell metal have been in use since ancient times. Flower vases, ashtrays, table lamps, containers for cosmetics, and various decoration pieces are also being made. Various motifs such as flowers, creepers, birds and geometric patterns are engraved on pitchers, glasses and mugs. Gold and silver ornaments, to dorn women from head to foot, are made in innumerable designs. Traditional ornaments include the makaramukhi mal (the makara-faced anklet), an anklet designed in the shape of the makara. Lockets are designed like flowers, butterflies and geometric patterns. Ornaments are also set with precious cut stones, gems and pearls.

Nakshi Kantha or embroidered quilt is made and used almost everywhere in Bangladesh. However, the nakshi kanthas of Rajshahi, Jessore, and Faridpur arre most famous for stitchcraft and picturesque designs. Several lyers of old cloth are put together to make these quilts. Apart from being used to make pillow cases and covers, rayer mats, seats for puja, small  bags for keeping mirrors and combs, filaf (covers) for books, covers for foods, and dastarkhan or dining mats. The desings were traditionally drawn free hand by women who worked leisurely in their spare time. At present much nakshi kantha work is done by NGOS and handicraft organizations for commercial purposes. Common motifs are the lotus, the suff, the moon, stars, leaves, trees, flowering creepers, human figures, deities, horses, elephants, fish, birds, TAZIAS and rath. Elaborately embroidered quilts depict scenes from mythology or contemporary life. Traditionally, threads drawn from sari borders were used. At present embroidery thread is used or skeins of yarn.

Nakshi moulds Decorative moulds or blocks of varied designs are made with clay, stone or wood. Wooden blocks are employed to print fabrics using different colours.  Moulds of wood, clay and stone are used to make decorative cakes and sweets. Stone moulds are engraved with creepers. flowers and fruits. Wooden moulds are made by carpenters, but clay moulds are made by village women themselves.

Nakshi pitha or decorative  cakes are made by shaping dough of pounded rice into various designs. These are then fried in oil and socked in sugar syrup. Traditional motifs for NAKSHI PITHA are geometric patterns, wheels, betel leat, flowers in bloom, fish, birds etc. Nakshi pithas are more popular in Dhaka and Mymensingh and are especially made to guests at weddings.

Ornamental woodwork A variety of motifs and designs are carved on doors, windows, pillars, joists, rafters, chests, beds, divans, low seats, cake moulds, cases of musical instruments, palanquins, chariots, boats and dolls. Common motifs include the lotus, birds, flowery creepers, circles and geometric designs. The lotus is engraved on doors, beds, chests and low seats; flowery creepers and geometric patterns on door frames, pillars, bed posts and palanquins; peacocks and parrots on cases of musical instruments; and lotuses and peacocks on boats. The BangladeshNationalMuseum in Dhaka has in its collection an exquisitely carved wooden statue of woman named ‘sursundari’.

Painted masks In many folk festivals, artistes would wear painted masks. In religious dances the performers would wear masks depicting the faces of the deities. Shiva’s face. for example, would be made by dabbing mud on a piece of cloth fixed around a white and black and her tongue red.

Patachitra of different or scroll paintings by professional artists, known as Patuyas, re used to illustrate different narratives. These scroll paintings date back to the Buddhist period when Buddhist bhikkus known as ‘maskari’ used to spread the message of Buddhism by showing pictures to illustrate stories of the Buddha. Subsequently, during Hindu rule, these scroll paintings depicted stories from the Puranas. Many Hindus were converted to Islam after the Muslim conquest of Bengal in the 13th century. They did not abandon the trade they had learned, but added Muslim stories to their reperioire. Thus, they continued to paint stories of Krishnalila, Ramalila, and Manasalila, stories of krishna, Rama nad Manasa and at the same time painted scrolls depicting the deeds of Gazi Pir and Bibi Sonabhan and the tragixc events at Karbala.

The illustrations were first painted on silk cloth or linen and later on paper made of cotton-pulp. There are two kinds of Patachitra in Bangladesh: single pictures on a squatre canvas and multiple pictures on a long roll. Kalighat Paintings belong to the first category. This style of painting developed during the 18th-19th centuries after the establishment of Kolkata. The Kalghat school disappeared after western style painting became popular.

The traditional patachitra illustrates different episodes of a story on a scroll up to 30 feet long. As the scrolls are wrapped around sticks, these are also known as ‘wrapped pictures.’ There is another kind of scroll known as ‘panchakalyani pat’ which contains illustrations deities.

Pottery Inexpensive household utensils are  made of clay as are images of Hindu gods and goddesses for puja and devotional rites. Dolls, toys, and decoration pieces are also made in most parts of Bangladesh. Some clay products are decorated with designs of leaves, flowers, birds etc while others are left plain.

Sakher handi or clay pots painted with motifs of fish, birds, lotus, leaves and geometric designs in bold brush strokes. Common colours are red, yellow and green. Both motifs and colours are symbolic of fertility. Which is why these pots are used to carry gifts of fruit and sweets at weddings. Rajshahi is well known for these pots.

Sarachitra this large clay plate painted with the image of the goddess Laksmi is also known as ‘Laksmir sara’ or Laksmi’s pat. The plate is first painted white and then the image of the deity, often shown seated on an owl, is painted in yellow, red, and black. On some lids, she is shown with Durga, her mother, and Saraswafi, her sister. On other plates she is shown in a panel with the imates of Radha and Krishna.

Sola craft Sola or sponge wood, obtained from a plant that grows in paddy fields and shallow water-bodies, is used to make a variety of decorative articles. Traditional articles include back drops for images of deities and to par, or headgear, for brides and bridegrooms. Topars are usually decorated with kadam flowers. Other items include dolls, birds: elephants, flowers, boats, garlands etc. Vaishnavas install sola images of Radha and Krishna on platforms at rasa festivals and kadam flower are hung in houses in the belief than they bring good luck. Sola hats were popular during British rule. A sharp knife and a pair of scissors are the main implements for this craft.

Ulki or tattooing is a form of body art using permanent pigments. Men and women of some Hindu castes tattoo parts of their body for religious reasons, usually with motifs of the sun, birds, snakes or circles. Vaishnavas tattoo pictures of Radha and Krishna united in an embrace. Tattooing is done by pricking the juice of kesutia (Eclipta prostate) leaves to obtain a bluish clour. There are other forms of body painting that are temporary. Bengali brides, both Hindu and Muslim, have their faces dotted with sandalwood paste. Muslim brides use mehendi or henna to paint their palms with intricate designs.

Both the housewife painting alpana or stitching a kantha tand the traditional craftsman working in metal or wood have contributed to the rich folk art of Bengal. Drawing upon traditional motifs as well as upon the world around them, the produce vibrant pieces of art by using simple raw materials and humble implements. Whether fulfilling an aesthetic need, performing a religious duty or pursuing a livelihood, these paid and unpaid lolk artists have made Bangladesh a vast storehouse of colorful and varied folk arts.

Folk literature of Bangladesh

Folk Literature is created by preliterate communities and passed down orally from one generation to another. Though folk literature of one region may have similarities with that of another region, it tends to flourish in a certain geographical region. Although composed by individuals, folk literature, by the nature of its composition and preservation, becomes a collective product and assumes the traditions, emotions, thoughts and values of the community. Because folk literature is oral, it tends to rely on some mnemonic devices and patterns of language and style. Nevertheless, it is replete with artistic beauty, wit and joy.

Folk literature, by its nature, is conditioned by the land and its environment. The temperate climate of Bengal, where people do not need to struggle much for a living, has made the people lazy but has also given them time to appreciate nature and its changing faces, to sing about the land and the rivers, about the rain or the lack of it, abuty the pleasures or pains of the different seasons. The rich folk literature of this land includes FOLK SONGs, balladds, FOLK TALES, folk drama, rhymes, incantations, RIDDLES and PROVERBS that draw upon the indigenous culture of this land but which, through the centuries, have also absorbed alien cultures and been modified in the process.

Folk songs are set to tune and passed down orally from one generation to another. Folk songs express the litesyle of the rural people, with all their hopes, expectations, sorrows and dreams. Everything, starting form individuals to society and from religion to occupations, influences the form of folk songs. Nature, environment, seasonal diversity add to the beauty of folk songs. The BARAMASI (song of twelve months) describes the joys and sorrows of village women through the twelve  months of the Bangla year. The lives of boatmen and world of rudders, rivers, boats, sails, waves, banks inspire the long-drawn BHATIYALI (song of the river0, while the vast expanses of the land, the distant horizon, the sun and clouds, tiring afternoons and days inform the BHAWAIYA (song of the land-. Folk songs are also inspired by be search for the perfect being and communal harmony as in BAUL songs. They are also inspired by the desire to have a happier, more harmonious conjugal life giving rise to the vatogan (song of nows) that accompany vrata puja (vow taiking). Muslim culture added JARI GAN (the song of sorrow, from zari, Persian for sorrow), which describes the sorrows and sufferings associated with MUHARRAM. Other folk songs include the sari, jhumur, ghatu, MURSHIDI and GHAMBHIRA.

Folk songs may be sung  by professional or amateur singers. Gayen or bayati are professional singers who sing in groups, while kaviyals take part in song tournaments. Chhokra in ALKAP and ghatu in ghatu songs are professional singers and dangers. Udas (ascetic) bauls sing as part of their mystic search, while vairagi and vairagini or bostam and bostami sing while begging for alms. Professional singers called gidal sing at wedding ceremonies, though amateur women singers also take part in wedding songs. Almost every village woman can sing these songs. Farmers, working people, cowherds, boatmen all sing songs while working or resting.

ASHUTOSH BHATTACHARYA classified folk songs under fore heads: regional, practical, ritual, work-related and devotional. But taking the subject matter into account, there are seven categories of folk songs: love, ritual, philosophy and devotion, work and labour, profession and occupation, satire and fun, and mixed.

Worldly love is central to the folk songs and describe love between man and woman, Heavenly love is the subject of devotional songs. Bodily love, lust, quarrels between man and woman and union and estrangment are manifest in songs like alkap, based on the love of Radha  and krishna, kabigan, Ghatugan , jhumur, baramsai, Meyeligit , jatra gan, Sari Gan, Holi gan etc. Some examplies are bane kamur bansi bajilare (Krishna plays a flute in the wood, alkap), ki herilam jammay asiya go sajani (What have I seen here in the Jamuna! ghatu gan), suna go radha, bali tore (I tell you Radha, jhunuar), magha na masete madhava mathura gamana (I go to Mathura before Magh comes, baramasi), tuimore nidaya kaliya re (You, my cruel lover, bhawaiya), man duhkhe maribe suval sakha (I will die of infliction, song of estrangement), sumdari lo bairaiya dekh, syame bansi bajaiya jay re (Come out, darling, and see, Here goes Syam plying on a flute, sari gan), nidhubane syam kisor sare khelba holi ay (We’ll frolic in the holi rituals in union, songs of holi), etc. Although replete with words like Radha, Krishna, suval, mathura, jammuna, BANSI, etc, these songs do not have any religious or spiritual overtone. They rather deal with humanity and worldly wisdom.

Carters, keepers of buffaloes, mahouts, boatmen, merehants, tradesmen, rivers, haors etc are often the subjects of songs as in the following examples o ki gariyal bhai, kata rabo ami panther dike chaya re (Oh my carter!  How long will you make me wait for you, bhawarya), are geile ki asiben mor mahut bandhu (Will you ever return if I let you go now, bhawaiya), amar badi yan o mor paraner masisal re (Oh my keeper of buffaloes, go the my house, chatka), o mor baniya bandhu re (Oh my tradesman, bhawaiya), sujan majhi re, kon ghate tagaiba tor mao (Oh boatman, man friend. where will you anchor your bout? bhatiyali). sundairya majhir no ujan chalo dhaiya (Oh the boat of a handsome boatman, keep taking an upstream course, sari gan), etc.

Many folk songs are inspired by the emotion of love. often depicted in images drawn from the life of the land: gao tola kanay he, kanya pindo biyar sari (Cheer up, girl, put on your wedding sari), ghate dinga lagaiya jmajhi pan kheya yao (Anchor your boat, and have a betel leaf), kata pasan baindyachha pati mamete (How cruel can you be, my husband?).  jol bhara sundari kanya jale diya man (Carefully fill up your  pitcher with water), lal nil chair baiya, hate jao re sonar naiya (My prized boatman, row your boat to the market).

Ideas of the body and the soul, the guru and his disciple, of God and the humble devotee inform religious folk songs like baul, murshidi, marphati, MAIZBHANDARI etc. Bauls, fakirs, vairagis sometimes pray directly to God, sometimes they pray through gurus or murshids: khanchar bhitar achin pakhi kemme ase jay (How does the unknown bird enter and go out of the cage? baul), manmajhi tor baitha nere ami ar baite partam na (Oh my mind-boatman, take the oar. I cannot row further, bhatiyali), bhavanadi par kare dao dayal murshid amare (Oh my murshid, help me cross the sea of this world, murshidi), o ki chamatkar, bhandare ek ajab karbar (Oh how beautitul some wondeful things are taking palce in the world, maijbhandari).

All religious folk songs, however, are not seeking unioun with the perfect being. In fact, many devotional or religious songs ask for boons and blesings from God or the deities. A very well-known song, for exzample, prays for rain: alla myagh de pani de, cvhhaya de re tui (Oh God, give us clouds, rain and shelter). But it is not always to God that people pray for rain, but also to the clouds: megh rajare tuini sudar bhai/ek jhadi megh de bhijya ghare jai (Oh clouds, come and shower on me, so thaty I can go back home completely wet). A type of song called hudmar gan is popular among the BAJBANGSHI farmers in RANGPUR. During drought, the wives of formers come out onto the fields at night and sing to Hudma, the rain god.

The songs known as BHADU, TUSU and jawa of the RADHA region, on the western bank of the Ganges, are also devotional in  nature. Jawa songs are sung at the time of planting of seeds and bhadu at the time of harvest, In folk religion – which continues to underlie received religion – the fertility of the land is associated with that of women, Thus young women observe the vow of bhadu in the hope of a successful married life. Other devotional songs include the GAJAN and GAMBHIRA, sung to SHIV, the god of agriculture. The gajan, composed on the family life of Shiv and Parvati, in essence reflects the life of farming families as can be seen in the song dhan lada dhan lada, gori, aulaiya mathar kesh (Spread the rice, oh beautiful lady, spread the rice, forget about your uncombved hair.) Another form of gajan complains to Shiva about family needs and problems, as in the song shiva, tomar lilakhela kara abasan/hujhi banche na ar jan (Shiva, stop playing your games, we are almost done). Though originally gambhira was addressed to Shiva, these days the songs highlight various aspects of polities, society, education, economy, natural disasters, corruption etc.

Another type of song is MAGAN SONG (song for good offering), which is sung by children, cowherds and farmhands when they go from door to door, begging ingredients for SHIRNI, a form of sweetened rice to be offered to Goaila and Goraksnath. It is believed that this offering will please the deities and keep cattle safe. Since cattle are important in farming, people offer shirni to supernatural beings to ensure the safety of their cattle.

The Muslim community also has similar songs, called Jag Gan, which arwe sung to ask boons of pirs (spiritual elders). These songs praising pirs are sung throughout the night. Among the pirs believed to hold the power to bless barren women with children, cure diseases, bestow wealth and save cattle are TGazi Pir, Madar Pir, Khwaja Khizir, Manik Pir, Sona Pir and Badar Pir. The songs meant for Gazi Pir are known as Gazir Gan. It is customary in some places to undertake vows to hold sessions of Gazir gan, to secure the well-being of children, health and wealth.

jari gan, or mourning songs, based on the tragedy at Karbala, are sung during Muharram by  group singers. The note of jari gan is that of pathos, reflecting the sadness of the death of Imam Hussain and his companions, including small children and young men. Of late the subjects of jari gan have widened to include the jari of the qurbani (sacrifice) of Islam’, the ‘jari of Independence Day’ etc. Muharram songs also include the mourning elegies known as marsia.

Karmasangit, or songs of work, are sung during polishing, harvesting, threshing, rowing, thatching, knitting nets, weaving, digging, dragging heavy objects etc. These songs are meant to encourage people during labour and to provide recreation. The words of these songs directly relate to the nature of the work, such as ayre tora bluni nidaite yai (Come, let’s to weed the field), amra dhan bhanire dhekite par diya (We pound paddy in the dheki) and raiger nao rangeer baitha, range range bao (Cheerfully play the colorful oars of the colorful boat).

Hindu painters who draw on paper and paint earthen pots also sing while they work or when they display their wares for sate. The songs of the painters are based on the drawings of Radha and Krishna, Rama and Sita,

Nimai Sannyast, Gazi pir etc. An earthen pot called Panchakalyani, from Mymensingh, protrays Shiva, Krishna, Sita, Nitai and a prostitute.

Snake charmers also have their own songs, which they sing when they display their snakes.One such song calls out to the housewife to come out and see the snake charmer and his snakes; sap khela dekhvbi yadi ay re sona bau, emni khela saper khela dekheni to keu (Oh housewife, come out and see this snake dance which no one has seen before). The goddess Manasa, and Behula and Laksindar also form the subjects of these songs. Puppeteers who wander from palce to place and hold puppet shows sing songs to the tune of Panchali, Kirtan and Malsi, These songs include narratives and dialogues, Hawkers and beggars also sing while haw3king their wares or begging for alms.

There also songs sung by professional dancing-girls when they perform the khemta dance. Eunuchs too earn their living form khemta dance and song. The subjects of the songs are light and often obscene, the love between Radha and Krishna being a dominant subject. Some other songs like chatka, Bolan, Leto etc, along with alkap, kavir ladat, khemta, meyeli git, sari and ghatu, are also solely for entertainment. Droll or lascivious, they offer temporal excitement and light humour.

Kavigan is a kind of competitive folk song sung by two groups of singers. The chief of each group is called kaviayl or sarkar. The accompanying singers are known as dohars. The two groups of singers sing by turms on stage. In kavir ladai (fight between bards) two groups of birds exchange impromptu questions and answers. Kavigan evolved in Kolkata in the nineteenth century, but later spread to all parts of the country.

Sari gan are songs related to Boats and boatmen, but generally refer to the songs sung during  boat races. Themes can range form Radha and Krisha, Gauri and menaka, and Rama and Sita to historical events, and natural events. A range of tunes, TAL (measure) and rhymes are found in the songs such as asadiya naya pani aila re bhai desetel ayre o bhai ay re sabai ay re dinga baite (Fresh water has flooded hte rivers in the rainy seasib, let’s go and start rowing). man pabane beg auththyachhe bhaktir badam deo nanday (The wind has started blowing, put up a sail of devotion), syam kaliya for pirte mailam javaliya dinga sajao majhibhai jammatge yai (I’m deeply infllieted by your love. Oh boatman, prepare your boat to go to the river Jamuna) etc. Sari gan is still a popular form of folk song.

Meyeli git are sung by women and depict the world of women and their sorrows and joy, Weddings are, however, the main subject of most meyeli git and are sung on different occasions during the wedding. Village women who work the Dhenki, grind spices or do other household work also sing these songs. There are meyeli gits for ceremonies like garbhadhan (ceremony on a married girl’s  attaining puberty) Annaprasan (the first rice ritual of the Hindu community), upanayan (the ceremony of the holy thread), circumcision, ear-piercing etc.

Gitika form of oral narrative poetry, which, like western ballads, tell a single event or a dramatic story, through dialogue. However, Gitika tend to be longer than western ballads, Typed characters tend to predominate in gitika, Characters tend to predominate in gitika, Characters are generally not named, but referred to as prince, son of htevizier, princess, fairy princess, daemon, sorceress, merchant, gardener, ascetic, pir and falir etc. They are all inhabitants of some kingdom on earth, but without any geographical specificity.

There are two tpes of gitika: Porbabanga-gatika, which are mainly from Mymensingh and include ‘Mahuya,’ ‘Malyuya,’ ‘Chandravat’, ‘Dewana Madina’, ‘Kanka O Lila’, ‘Kamala’, ‘Dewan BVhavna’ etc. Nath Gitika focus on stories of hte conversion of Prince Gopt Chandra (Manki Chandra Rajar Gan, Govinda Chandrer Givt, Maynamatir Gan, Gopi Chandrer Sannyas, Gopi Chander Panchali etc.) and on the miracles of hte Nath guru (Goraksavijay, Minchetan).

Gitikas date back to the medieval perod and portry the norms, customs, conflicts, crises and religious and caste discriminations of a feudal society. Apart form Nath gitika, they are secular poems, inspired by human life on earth and not by thoughts of the after life.

Folk tales stories that are handed down orally from one generation to another. They are in prose and can be simple or complex, the former being shorter, the latter longer.

Based on subject, meaning and form, folk tales may be divided into 12 classes: fairy tales, mythical tales, religious tales, adventure stories, heroic stories, sage tales, historical tales, legends, animal stories, fables, comic stories and exempla, Bangla folk tales depiet human life and society. Early marriage, polygamy, dowry  the doctrine of re-birth, hatred between co-wives, the stepmother’s envy, repression by the powerful, greed, sufferings of the weak and the poor, uneven distribution of wealth, religious and racial discrimination, aristocracy, conjugal love, fraternity respect for gurus and preceptors, hospitality, alms and meditation etc.

The heroes of Bangla folk tales are primarily dependent on fate and divinity, rather than on intellect, wisdom, labour, struggle or work, They are at times dependent on magic as well.

Folk drama applies to a variety of performances related to Dance, song, Music and acting for entertainment or educational purposes, Some examples of folk drama are bhasan, Jatra, Palagan, ghatu, gambhira, alkap, kavigan, puppetry, etc, while some folk dramas emphases songs others stress dandling or acting.

Folk drama usually has a two-part presentation. The first part has a preamble, instrumental choir and prayer to the gods, while the second part contains the acting, song, dance, narration, dialogue, instrumental music, buffoonery, etc. Subjects that are most common in folk drama are stories of Rama and Sita. Arjun and Draupadi, Radha and Krishna. Nimai Sannyas, Behula and Laksindar, isha khan Dewan, Firoz Dewan, Zainab and Hasan, Sakhina and Kasem, Hinifa and Jaigun, Rahim Badsha, Rupban, BVaidyani etc. Folk dramas usually have a mythical, historical, religious and political flavor. They contain imaginary events, worldly wisdom and comic elements. Apart form descriptions of joy and sorrow, repression, struggle, conflict, love and greed, etc. folk dramas, in addition to entraining, also educate people about good and evil.

Jatras, generally based on myth, history, and folk tale, are a blend of melodrama with song and dance. They are popular across the country. Earlier, boys would play the parts of women, but now have been replaced by actresses.  The gambhira of Rajshahi and maldah regions is a short, two-character play of a man and his grandson, acted out with dialogue, song, dance and music. The alkap, the ghatu, and the leto involve song and dance, meant for popular entertainment. In these performances boys dressed as women act women’s roles. These performances have a note of eroticism and gay culture and appeal to their all-male audiences.

The jarigan on the tragedy in Karbala, Which is performed mainly at Dargahs (shrines), is acccompanied by songs, dance and acting. On the occasion of Muharram, a group of ten to twelve young men form a jari gan team and roam around dancing and acting. The grup has a main singer, others just chant the refrain and clap their hands. Because of the acting, jari gan is also known as jarijatra in the Rangpur region. Palagan asre similar to jatraand include goth dancing and acting Popular palagan include Baidyanir Pala, Gazir Pala, Banbibir Pala, Sakhinar Pala etc.

Rhymes (Chnada)   can be for all ages and provide entertainment as well as education. Based on their subjects, rhymes may be declassified into the following groups: nursery rhymes, play rhymes, social rhymes, historical rhymes, satirical rhymes, occupational rhymes, educational rhymes, rhymes for rituals, and magical rhymes.

Rhymes that are recited or sung to calm and entertain children are called nursery rhymes. Sometimes children themselves recite nursery rhymes. Some rhymes are play rhymes, recited by young people during games such as Hadudu (game of tag), kanamachi (blind-bee) etc.

Many rhymes are recited for fun. Others educate people on ethics, morality, mathematics, astrology etc. Some rhymes originated in historical events and preserve the memory of these events in seemingly innocuous rhymes. Thus, the rhyme chhele ghumalo, pada judalo/bargi elo dese (When the children fell asleep, sitence set in, the Maharajah cavalry attacked our country) speaks of Maratha inroads into Bengal. Another rhyme recalls the activity of christian missionaries who converted people, while indigo-plantes starved farmers who were into allowed to cultivate crops other than indigo: jat marle padri dhare/dbhat marle nil bandarel bidal chokhe handa hemdo/nikuthier nil mamdo (The Christian clergy make people lose their caste, the indigo planters make people starve, the cat-eyed indigo planters, who live in indigo bungalows, look like blue goblins). The rhyme bristi pade tapur tupur nade elo ban/shiva thakurer biye halo tin kanya dan (Patter, patter goes the rain, flooding the river/ A Brahmin named Shiva is married to three sisters) indicates that polygamy was in practice at that time.

Mantras are rhymed incantations pronounced to ward off danger or bring some boon. When people want rain, they recite ay bristi jhenpe, dhan diha mepe (Oh rain, come down on us, we’ll pay you with rice); and when they want the rain to stop, they say lebur patay karancha, ei meghkhan ude va (I put a sour fruit called karancha on the lemon leaves. Hey clouds, fly away).

In vrata rites as well, rhymes are recited. In a vrata ritual of Dasputtur (ten dolls), when people ask the gods blessings for a healthy, happy lif, or in the vrata of Bhai-Fonta, when Hindu girls wish their brothers a happy, prosperous life, or in the vrata of Laksmi, when girls wish their fathers and gorthers safe journey and good business, they recite various rhymes. All these rhymes have one thing in common: worldly happiness, not bliss in the world beyond.

Some mantras are chanted to bring misfortune to others. For ezample, a mantra is recited to prevent someone from making cakes: aola chal baker pak/ yeman pitha teman thak (Foul rice and bad cooking/ Let the cake remain as it is). Other mantras are to word off misfortune and the evil eye. Thus people sprinkle water on arable land and say: jio jala, jio/hat dluiya dilam pani/ dhan hais poda khani/……. amar ksel dekhya ye naar lagay/ tar ma-pula bhate mara yay (Wake up, Spirit, wake up, I sprinkle water after washing my hands. let rice grow as a mine………. Corsed be he who casts an \rhymes, evil eye on my fields. May his mother and sons die).

There are incantations to protect wealth from theft and body form the evil influence of ghosts and goblins. There are mantras for protection from fire, snaks, tigers, elephants, wasps, flood, venom etc. Some mantras, known as bgasikaran mantua (mantras which bring people under someone’s control) are believed to possess the occult power to bring a woman under a man’s control. Some incantations are recitred while other are sung as hymns.

Riddles short compositions that pose problems to be solved. At least two persons are required to play the game or riddles. One asks the question while the other finds the answer. A very common riddle is sagurele janm tar likakaye bvas/maye chlumle putra mare chi sarganas (Born out of sea water, it resides in human habital; it dies when the mother touches her son); the key to the riddle is ‘salt’. In the riddle, the worlds ‘sea’, ‘human habitat’, ‘mother’ and ‘son’ are used as metaphors. Salt is made from seawater, but it melts as soon as it touches water.

Riddles may be composed in prose or verse. Riddles in prose are usually contained in one sentence, while riddles in verse have at least two to four rhyming lines. Verse riddles include the following Ektukhani gachhe/ranga bauti nache (A bride in red vbances/On top of a tree)- red chilli: Hay tarmuj karga kibonta ni tar dharga ki, (What to do with the waDissertation elon? There is no stalk to hold)- egg; Kather bera chhaner chhani/ erai madhye puskanni (Made up of plakns, covered with hemp, it holds a pond within)- coconut.

There are a considerable number of riddles in prose: Kathay achhe, kaje nei (It exists in words, but not in deds) – a horse’s egg; Khulle ghar; bandha karle lathi (It makes a house when it unfolds, and a stick when floded) umbrella; Kon dhane chal nei?)- dictionary, punning on the Bangla words abhidhan (dictionary), dhan (paddy) and chal (rice).

Proverbs are the shortest possible compositions of folk literature. They span from pithy sentences to rhymed couplets. But however short, they are composed on the basis of human experience, pramatic consideration, and anek sannyasite gajan nasta 9Too many cooks spoil the brot); chor palate buddhi bade (One becomes wise after the  theft); for yar muluk tar (He who is mighty rules the land, or, might is right).

Proverbva dates back to the distant past. They are found in the Vedas and  the Upanisads as well as in the Charyapada, the oldest specimen of Bangla Literature. Ghusukpad (11th century) used the proverb pana mase harina bairi (The tlesh of a deer is its enemy) in the Charyapada. Brfu Chandidas in Srikrsnarirtan used the same proverb in the 14th century while Mukundaram used it in Chandimaigal in the 10th century.

Though many of the different forms of folk literature seem to be threatened by modernization, there is a growing interest not just in preserving these forms but also in reviving them. Drama groups. for example, stage plagands on modern stages and folk tales, transformed into dance drames, reveal the perennial interest in these homely tales of good and evil, of virtue rewarded and evil punished. An educated mother will recite a proverb to remind her child that one becomes wise when it is too late.

Comparative Study

I have to study many books related to this study to fulfill this Dissertation  paper. As for example ‘Banglar Lok Shahitha’ of  Ashutosh Bhottachrge, ‘Mymenshingh  Gitika’ of Denesh chandra Shen’, Bangla Dhader Bishoy Boichitra abong shamajik poricy’ of Shila Boshak, ‘Lok Shahitta’ of  Ashraf Siddiki, ‘Bangalore Lok Songhkrili’ of  Wakil Ahmed  ‘Uttar Banger Mayli Git’ Dr. Muhammad Abdul Jalil etc.  These books  are written on  different topics of folk lore and Folk literature. As a result, though these books are written on this related topic, none of them is suitable enough to fulfil my purpose. For this reason. to make a short description of folk culture, I have to depend on all these books.

But it is noticed that there are so many differences among these book. Such as, Wiakll ahmed said in his book that ‘Culture means the  way of life, attitude , behaviour , rules and customs, festival, religion  games  and sports etc.’ On the other hand, Mother Hossain Chowdhury said in his book that culture  means to  remain live in the society suitably. Make suitable yourself, make great yourself, this is the order of the culture. By  Comparing  these  book, it has seen that there  are so many differences in these book. So I have added all these collected thesnes which will be acceptable and logical to all to fulfill this Dissertation  paper.

Findings :

After the study, avoid  picture of the folk culture of Bangles has been found.

The findings of the study are the following :

i)                   The source of our folk culture is the life of the rural people.

ii)                Our folk  culture is composed of several ingrates  types of  ingredients such as

a)     Material  elements

b)    Formal elements

c)     Function elements and

d)    Performance elements

iii)              Components of folk culture are the following

a)     Folk  songs

b)    Folk Jales

c)     Idioms

d)    Puzzles

e)     Folk Drama

f)      Folk rituals

g)     Folk carryall and

h)    Folk Art /Ulkey.


The Condition of Folk culture of  Bangladesh is not good. So Government /concern authority should take necessary steps to save and protect folk culture as early as Possible.

  • Government should  take policy  culture in men / women in folk culture in Bangladesh.
  • Build up public awareness through. Education for our national heritage.
  • Govt. should take necessary steps for list publicity
  • The elements of the folk culture should be concerned  from any sort of distortion /destruction.
  • Government should form a committee to rescued folk  elements from various races of Bangladesh .
  • Steps  should be taken at Govt.  level to conserve the endangered elements of folk culture.
  • The qualitative  value  of the folk elements should be enhanced.
  • It should be freed from urban culture.
  • It should be freed from the  influence of our culture.


The introduction  or picture of a nation is found in her culture. If the culture  collapses, the nation will be identify less. So every nation should protect or preserve her culture for her existence.

The folklore culture of  Bangles is now on the way of ruin. So it is the duty of every citizen nurture it and  to prepare it. If we can protect our folk one culture, the nation will find her existence very eerily If is impossible to reflect all the folk one culture of within this very short line. I hope, it will be fulfill at the hand of extraordinary expert in the course of  him.

bangla culture

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