Diversity tribal ‘Kanda’


Kanda is situated in Bangladesh’s Sylhet division. They reside in the tea plantations located at Udanachhara, Harinchhara, Putia, Khejuri, Kurunji, Noapara, Teliapara of Srimangal upazila, and Kumrichhara hamlet of Kamalganj upazila. Tubers immigrated to this country specifically to build railway lines and work on tea plantations. Kandas states that the tea workforce comprises approximately two thousand individuals. Several ethnic groups, such as Kashyat and Naga, divide the Kanda community. One may discover four other gotras, in addition to Boria, Boda, Haldi, and Bahirbadar. A stark contrast exists between the culture and lifestyle of the different indigenous communities in Bangladesh. Srimangal has a population of 190,000, Kulaura has a population of 160,000, and Rajnagar has a population of 200,000. Out of all the individuals, the tubers amount to 1700 people.

Language: The Kandas considered Kandafarsi to be their native language, but it is now obsolete and only spoken by adults. The majority of Kandas now communicate in Oriya, with Bengali’s influence evident in their linguistic choices. The Oriya language, which has a distinct alphabet, is the primary language spoken on tea plantations.

Folk culture: The cultural activity of song drama holds great importance within Kanda society. Their entertainment revolves around religious events, and they engage in synchronized group dancing. In this dance form, males exhibit a higher level of involvement than females. Musical instruments such as drums, cymbals, harmonium, khol, dhapra, change, bells, flutes, and totara are used in conjunction with dancing tunes.

Dress: Boys wear dhoti and panjabi as formal wear. Girls wear saris.

Ornaments: Girls wear necklaces, bangles and rings. Married women use tip on forehead and conch in hand. Boys use rings.

Furniture: Instead of wood, bamboo and ropes are used as furniture and lofts and cots are used. Cot-chair-table made of wood and modern steel, melamine and glass etc.

Diet: The Kandas typically eat rice, lentils, fish, meat, and green vegetables as part of their regular meals. For diverse events, they commonly cook khichuri, various types of flatbread, and naar. Men assist with serving, whereas women handle the cooking during functions. Girls are responsible for outdoor chores and cooking. Religious ceremonies do not include the consumption of fish and meat.

Ownership of property: In Kanda society, men inherit property through their lineage. Women are able to own property if they do not have male descendants. We use the Hindu Law of Succession to determine ownership. For her lifetime, a widow has the right to own and benefit from her deceased husband’s property, but she cannot transfer ownership in any way.

Marriage system in Kanda societyIn Kanda society, when a girl is fifteen and a boy is twenty, it is customary for their parents to arrange their marriage. Love is considered the foundation of matrimony in this society, and the exchange of marriage proposals usually takes place through intermediaries. As part of their adornment, married Kanda women wear vermilion on their foreheads and shells on their palms.

Unlike the absence of divorce, widow marriage is a common practice in Kanda society. Polygamy is not a part of their culture, and weddings within one’s own lineage or gotra are not customary. The uludbhani announces the completion of a marital union. For example, in a household with an adult female, a sudden hooting within the residence would signal to the neighbourhood that the girl is married. Additional rituals, like the presentation of garments to the ancestral deities of the groom and bride, take place after the marriage proposal is finalized. At the wedding ceremony, both the bride and groom pay respects to the altar deities of their respective households while wearing special attire. The pithabar ceremony takes place the following day.

Dowry: This society does not formally practice dowry, but it does have a tradition of providing assets to the daughter from the father’s lineage during marriage, based on her abilities and skills. It has become customary to present gold jewellery, such as bangles, as part of this tradition.

Family: The Kanda community faces financial challenges, limited job opportunities, and a general reluctance to work, which leads men and women to live together in one household. Because of this lack of willingness, working people are hesitant to take responsibility for those who are unemployed. It is also impractical to govern others based on their pay structure. Throughout their lives, sons bear significant familial obligations, and fathers determine their children’s identity, which can change when daughters marry. This society maintains a harmonious and effortless relationship between males and females.

Market system: A weekly market is held in the tea garden. Apart from this, there are two shops in the village that offer essential items daily. Traders from neighbouring areas bring essential goods to the local markets. To get high-quality crops, people have to go to upazila towns.

Arts and crafts: In addition to their regular employment, they supplement their income by crafting baskets, dharma, kola, and other items from bamboo and cane. They are proficient in bamboo and cane craftsmanship. There is a significant demand for the seating they provide. The women in this society demonstrate their proficiency in arts and crafts, particularly by creating Alpana designs during special events.

Music practice: Women gather to participate in synchronized dances and musical performances accompanied by Kanda language songs. They play a variety of musical instruments in harmony with the songs. They demonstrate exceptional proficiency in rhythm, tempo, and spatial awareness.

Death: Death is defined as the departure of God’s presence from an individual. After death, they remove the corpse from the residence, cleanse it with turmeric oil and soap, and dress it in fresh garments. The kandras incinerate the deceased’s remains, perform with musical instruments, vocalize kirtans, and transport the deceased to the crematorium. There are some protocols involved, such as gathering many varieties of timber. The son of the deceased performs the ritual of Mukhagni within the Kanda community. In cases where there is no son, the brother-in-law is responsible for performing Mukhagni, and if there is none, the daughter will confront it. People combine sandalwood, beelwood, and tulsiwood with other types of wood to create Chita. Those who visit the crematorium release the cremated remains of the deceased into the river, then return home after cleansing themselves. The deceased’s family performs the ablution ritual for 11 days, while his sons live in a single garment and without footwear. After ten days, the barber arrives and shaves the heads of those who engage in impure behaviour. Eleven days after the deceased’s death, we conduct Shraddha, a ritual in their honour. On this day, people sacrifice roosters to honour household deities and ancestors. We prepare the poultry and rice simultaneously and place them outdoors for the avian creatures to feast on. If a bird is the first to come and eat, everyone in the house believes that it possesses the spirit of the deceased individual. Subsequently, all individuals will pray to express their wishes for the deceased’s welfare. We will provide a lavish banquet on this day to entertain everyone.

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