Report from Md. Abdul Hoque, Master Programme in Indigenous Studies, University of Tromsø. Project 200501253-21
Financial support to the project:
“Sustainable development of indigenous people and Role of Radio as a medium: A case study of Rakhaing and Garo in Bangladesh.”
Protecting the world’s oral and intangible heritage and revitalize the rich cultural diversity through its educational and cultural programmes and promoting languages as a means of communication, interaction and understanding was the UNESCO’s goal in the eve of International Mother Language day 2004.
The Indigenous language radio stations are very welcome contribution to the notion of promoting Language. Radio can promote Traditional Knowledge that acquired and preserved through generations in an original or local society. This knowledge consists of experience in working to secure subsistence form of nature.
Radio can help in unremitting flow of information through broadcasting messages in different formats to different kinds of people. So Radio has the strong role in the sustainable development of Indigenous Peoples by incessant flow of information deliberating in various formats.
Radio is one of the most important sources of information of the indigenous people. Like many part of the world there are 45 groups of Ethnic minority / Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Betar (Radio Bangladesh) has twelve regional stations throughout the country. Every station has one or more daily or weekly radio programmes for these ethnic minorities since 1976.
Rakhaing lived in the southern part of Bangladesh, under the district of Patuakhali and Barguna. Rakhaing peoples are closely under the coverage area of Bangladesh Betar Barisal. This area also covered by the radio programmes transmitted from Bangladesh Betar Khulna and Bangladesh Betar Dhaka. So the Rakhaing’s have the opportunity to listen radio programmes from Bangladesh Betar Barisal, Khulna and Dhaka.
Garo peoples lived mainly the northern part of Bangladesh under the district of Mymensingh and Tangail. Bangladesh Betar Dhaka broadcast a weekly radio programme named “SAL GITTAL” for the Garo people since 1976. It is self-evident that they transmit their knowledge throughout their own language. The main differences between two groups (i.e Rakhain and Garo people) are that the Garo has their own programmes with their own language, which Rakhaing does not have. On the other hand Rakhaing are under the coverage area of three-radio center and Garo has the only one. So it is easy to find the contrast of the effect of radio programmes between these two groups.
At present Indigenous Peoples transmitted their Indigenous Knowledge throughout the world, using the media. Since 1976 programmes are broadcasting for Indigenous People by their own language. It’s a question of how these programmes effects in their daily existence and for sustainable development. This thesis will find the socio cultural effects of the programmes in their subsistence and sustainable development and will make a threadbare discussion and analysis of that finding.
Lot of information I tried to collect from Bangladesh like the history of the programme from its beginning. How the planning was started in the year 1976? How the development activities incorporate into the programmes? Tried to find out the collaboration with other media. Cordial engagement of Indigenous Peoples in these programmes had been taken as a concern. Participatory observation was the principal system of data collection. I interviewed people of different levels like Programme Producer, Talkers, Programme assistants, Artists, Scriptwriters, Singers and Regional Directors as they are related with the programme production.
I do hope I would be able to find out the theoretical and practical importance and socio cultural effects of radio programmes and a strong relationship between the radio and Indigenous people of Bangladesh. I am very grateful to the Sami Center for promoting the money and other kinds of help to do the research and which gave me the opportunity to visit the very remote areas of the many parts of Bangladesh.