Santu Larma at Jumma Traditional Festival: Jumma People Need Rights to Preserve and Develop Culture and Lifestyle

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Hill Voice, 10 April 2022, Rangamati: In an inaugural ceremony of the upcoming a three-day long program of Biju, Sangrai, Baisu, Bishu, Bihu, Sankran 2022, the biggest traditional social festival of indigenous Jumma people, held at the municipal premises of Rangamati district town today, Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu Larma), Chairman of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Regional Council, and chief guest of the event, says that if we want to preserve and develop the culture and way of life of our Jumma society we need rights. We have to revive our way of life and preserve our culture while upholding our rights.

He was present as an inaugurator and chief guest at the event organised by ‘Bizu, Sangrai, Baisu, Bishu, Bihu, Sankra 2022 Celebration Committee with the theme ‘Come forward unitedly to preserve, develop and ensure the rights of Jumma culture’ Today at around 09.00 am. He is also the President of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF).

Convener of the celebration committee Prakriti Ranjan Chakma (retired Deputy Secretary) presided over the function and Bigyantar Talukder conducted the event while Rangamati Hill District Council Chairman Aungswe Prue Chowdhury, Rangamati Hill District Council Member Jharna Khisa, Joint General Secretary of Rangamati District Branch of Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad Panchanan Bhattacharya, General Secretary of CHT Headman Association Shanti Bijoy Chakma were present as special guests.

Santu Larma, the inaugurator and chief guest, said that today, the preservation and development of the culture of the Jumma community has been discussed here. We must seek to preserve and develop our culture and way of life. But if we want to preserve our culture and develop it properly, then we need rights. Today, therefore, the question of whether the indigenous Jumma people of the CHT can survive with their culture and rights comes to the fore.

“If we want to preserve and develop our Jumma culture and way of life, we have to think about our rights,” he said. We have to revive our way of life and preserve our culture while upholding our rights. There are political, economic, social and cultural reasons and there are ethnic, gender, class reasons. “We need to monitor whether our way of life and culture is moving forward in a way that is consistent with our history and heritage,” he said.

He said that the issue of loss of indigenous language has been discussed here. Especially in educated society they are not paying enough attention to use their mother tongue. But rights are needed to keep the language alive. If the political, social and cultural rights of a community are not recognized then the strong pressure of the language of other large nations will force them to lose their mother tongue. Many nations and languages have been lost and are still on the verge of extinction due to inequalities in society. There is a discriminatory social system here all over Bangladesh including our CHT.

Special guest and Rangamati Hill District Council Chairman Aungswe Prue Chowdhury said, “Personally, I also want the implementation of the CHT Peace Accord. Hon’ble Chairman of the Regional Council, Santu Larma, has also been demanding that the Peace Cccord be implemented. Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the Leader of the People, also wants the Peace Accord to be implemented, peace to be established in the hilly areas, education and culture in the CHT to be developed in all fields. Our Hon’ble CHT Minister Bir Bahadur also wants and our Hon’ble Member of Parliament Dipankar Talukder MP also wants the Peace Accord to be implemented.

He said the Peace Accord was signed by one person on behalf of the government and another one is on behalf of the people living in the CHT, who is todays chief guest and Hon’bl Chairman of the Regional Council. Then both sides want the peace Accord to be implemented. And I think both sides are sincere. So, I think today our expectation should be: All of us should discuss together and find out where the obstacles are and take steps to implement this Accord.

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