Dark of ‘Manta’ tribe living
Jumps from boat get a divorce!
Published: 03:35 PM, 18 August 2019 Updated: 04:27 PM, 18 August 2019
From Raipur in Lakshmipur to Char Alexander, Meghna is about 65 km wide. Thousands of rowing boats at the base of that vast Meghna. Thousands of fishermen live in that boat. Along with their families. As the boat is like of houses and sources of livelihood, the slogan 'Born in water, death in the water, living in water, they are living as an immigrant but they are citizens' slogan. These people are proud to be known as 'Mantas'. However, their life lead is versatile.
They have been living in the Meghna River for ages. Due to the fisheries of the fish, they provide thousands of marine fish daily for the luxury of landsmen. However, there is no chance of luxury for themselves. Although they are followers of Islam, they are ignorant about religion. The basic rights of residence, education, medical, sanitation, pure drinking water are the main issues unknown to them. Life is full of uncontrolled childbirth, early marriage, and many marriages and superstitious in Manta communities. They have no birth registration or national identity card.
In Meghnapara district, the life of the people of the Manta community was spent on the floating boat of Meghna from birth to death. The fishermen introduced the name 'Manta' to the isolated people from civil society, deprived of basic rights and civic amenities. About 900 boats in the Meghna River from Raipur to Ramgati in the district have been making livelihoods for fish by the families of about 10,000.
Hundreds of Manta boats can be seen at Motihat Ghat in Kamlnagar. Lokman Manta, the leader of a fleet, talks they do not live inland, because there is no house or land. Seven wives and eleven children are cohering with his family and the boat is his house. Only eating and selling fish is their life. People in this community do not think about anything other than just eating and enjoying their wives. Here is their peace
Asked about the Manta community, another chief Jafar Ullah, said there are many sub-communities in the Vedas. Like of Freight, Bajikar, Shaldar or Manta.
Describing inclusion in the community Piroja Begum, the wife of number three Jafar Manta, said that in a short time, Meghna took their lands. I'm single. Then Jafar Manta started the family as the number three wife. He lives in the river. He is Manta, and from then on I became Manta.
Abdul, Habib, Jabbar manta and others said that Manta communities were a victim of river erosion in his life. People living in different rivers along the coast become people in the Manta community to save their lives. And this is how every year new coastal mantas are expanding in coastal areas. After joining Manata, he went out fishing in various parts of the country. Many times they are crowded in the unmanned islands.
Asked about the way of life and livelihood, Amena Khatun said, "I can ride a boat with a high flow of the river or a natural disaster." Inborn right top water speed. She also said that at an early age, I got a fishing rod near my mother and father. There was no chance of going to school on any given day. At the age of eleven, the young man of the traveling boat was married to Safi. She said floating on the river, life is very difficult. There is no position to sit in the storm. Now there is no fish in the river as before. Fish are slowly declining. A lot of profit in the hilsa. But we have no capital. So that we cannot buy a hilsa catching device.
Asked about what the Manta does in the river, middle-aged Lutfur Rahman said that the floats or Mantas mainly fish with small or dense nets and rain. He sells fish in the local market of the riverside. We mainly catch fish of shrimp, poa, tanger, golsa, pangas, and Kaun. After buying food, I repair the net and boat with whatever is left. Due to the life of the address less, an Arthur does not hesitate to exploit us.
Fulbanu complained about the same, sometimes when more and bigger fish are found, local dominants buy them at low prices. Recently, local fishermen have also been barricading the Mantas in several places along the river. Occasionally their boats are victims of pirates. The bandits tortured their women and children.
Regarding marriage and divorce, Shah Alam Manta said that whatever the life of the work, there are different traditions of this community in different areas of life. Although Muslim, the custom of marriage is a little different from that of the lands. The marriage took place when the favorite girl was taken from one boat to another. Then, sometimes with the help of the Hujur, kalima is taught. Once the bride decides to divorce the marriage due to the dispute, the bride jumps from her husband's boat and gets divorced when her father goes in the boat. Their marriage is not registered.
Regarding childhood and many marriages Farvez Majhi, the chief of the Majuchoudhuri Ghat said that so far seven marriages he have been made. Five wives sell fish. Then they hand over the money. I am very happy with five wives. My younger wife is 16 years old. His name is Rupbanu.
Women of all ages admitted to being married at the age of 12-14. They said that during the wedding the house was sitting in the garden of the river bank. Then they play music, but the wedding dinner is in that boat.
Kulchum told about birth control and child-rearing, I do not control the birth system.
Regarding child pregnancy and child-rearing, Ruma said there are three children. Hours before the birth of each child, I caught fish in the river. There is no treatment. To protect a child who is falling into the water, I tie it inside the boat. Not interested in who is in power in the country. And who is doing what?
Hafiz Manta said that there is no limit to misery when a slight storm comes. If you wish, the profession is not going away. There is no joy on any festive day, including Eid. On the day of Eid, I do not taste of rice with meat. I can't buy boys and girls new clothes. Poor people of lands often receive help such as Zakat, Fetra or charity. During the winter season, many wear winter clothes. While our burned foreheads, we are deprived of everything. Winter, summer, sunshine, rain all the time we are helpless. Nobody even knows our news.
Referring to the death of the community, Rahman Sardar said that before the death of the Mantas, the bodies of the banana trees are floated. The bodies are now buried on the banks of the river or on abandoned land. If no one donates the land, everyone on the outside picks up the land to buy grave land.
Deputy Director of the District Social Service Office Md. Nurul Islam Patwari told Daily Bangladesh that the Department of Social Services has taken various programs to improve the quality of life of the backward people.
In the meantime, people from this community have been trained in small tasks practically. They should contact us about government benefits including elderly allowance, widow allowance, and education subsidies. We will assist them according to the rules.
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