Bands hard hit by hardships (Edited version)

June 20, 2008

Written by Durdana Ghias for The Daily Star

Published On: 2008-04-21 

     Walking by the narrow lane of Haji Osman Gani Road in old Dhaka one will spot a few shops displaying an array of cornets, trumpets and rattles hanging from the walls. These shops belong to the few remaining bands still representing the regal past of Dhaka.
     During the days of the Nawabs  bands were a customary feature in the wedding parties and other royal occasions. But with the advent of modern ways to celebrate weddings, like video camera and jam session by local groups, the tradition of arranging bands is on the wane.However, some quaint traditions of old Dhaka still demand the existence of these bands. The players are still seen accompanying the bridal party during wedding ceremony and celebrating circumcision or Musalmani.
     Manjur Hossain, owner of Dhaka Band Party, one of the oldest bands in the city, is in this profession for the last thirty years. His shop once belonged to his grandfather Band Master Lalu Mia during the Nawab’s period, to his father in the Pakistan period and now to him after the independence.
     According to the tradition, the circumcised boy’s maternal grandfather presents him yogurt and fishes for the occasion while a band from his paternal grandfather’s house goes to the place to bring the boy home performing loud music all the way.Abul Hossain, a resident of Lalbagh and an old customer of bands, came to a shop to hire a team for the circumcision ceremony of his grandson.“As a paternal grandfather it is my status symbol and matter of pride to send a band to the maternal grandfather’s place,” said
Abul, who still strives to uphold the cherished traditions of old Dhaka. …….. 

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