A treasure trove of rich antiquities
Tinni, Senjuti, Tanmoy, Shimul and Jonaki of Chittagong Government Commerce College went to visit Ethnological Museum, only a stone's throw from their college in the Agrabad area in the port city.
The five students felt very enthusiastic inside the museum to see the different photographs and other relics on different ethnic communities in the world.
“I was a little bit reluctant to visit the museum but now I realise that I should have visited it earlier," said Senjuti.
The Ethnological Museum in Chittagong preserves and displays various relics and information on anthropological, ethnical, socio-cultural and the origin of different big and small communities in the world.
The then education minister Prof Yusuf Ali inaugurated the museum on 1.25 acres of land at Agrabad in the port city on January 9, 1974.
Mementos of 33 ethnic communities of different countries are on display in four galleries and a hall room and pictures of their lifestyle are drawn on the walls of the hall room. Different types of ornaments of various ethnic groups are also on display in the hall room.
The portraits of national heroes and geniuses and the mummies of different animals and birds of the country are on display in the first room of the gallery. Village life of the Pathan community in Pakistan and ethnological objects of India, Australia and Kirghiz are also on display.
Photographs on village life of Bangladesh are on display in the second room of the same gallery.
The photographs on the different small ethnic groups of Bangladesh like the Khasia, the Rajbangshi, the Manipuri, the Mandai and the Oraon were put on display in the first room of gallery two.
Photographs on the lifestyle of the Garo, the Patra, the Munda, the Hadi, the Koch, the Santal and the Paliya are on display in the second room of the same gallery.
The first room of the gallery contains three photographs on the lifestyle of the Murung. It also displays a skull and horns of deer and skin of deer and tiger. The room also displays costumes of the Murung.
The second room of the same gallery displays photographs on the lifestyle of the Tripura, costumes of the Khumi, the Tanchongya, the Bawm and the Tripura.
The third room of the same gallery displays cloth of the Murung, the Hajang, the Chak and the Bawm.
The first room of gallery four displays photographs on the lifestyle of the Khumi. It also displays the cloth of the Chakma and tribal weapons.
The second room of gallery four displays photographs on the lifestyle of the Chak and the Tanchangya. It also displays cloths of the Marma.
The third room of the same gallery displays tortoise shell and skin of Python. It also displays an image based on “Dhyani Buddha (Buddha in meditation).” The room also displays household materials of the Marma.
Md Amiruzzaman, deputy director-cum-keeper of the museum, said they took a programme for school students, especially for the primary level students, to make them acquainted with the ethnic culture and heritage.
“At first we are inviting the local schools to visit and our guides inform the students of the details. We will invite all the schools in the city one after another,” he said.
Shimul Das, a research assistant at the museum, said about 150 visitors, including a significant number of foreigners, visit the museum every day.
Minati Barua said she has been working for the museum for the last 20 years and enjoys answering queries of visitors. She said the rush of foreign visitors is during the winter season.
“The museum remains open from 10:00am to 6:00pm in summer and from 9:00am to 5:00pm in the winter,” said Shimul.