In the Chittagong area, the language is a form of dialect which is a combination of Arabic, Persian and Portuguese and in ideas it is indicative of Buddhist culture. On the other hand, the language of the educated Buddhists and Hindus are enriched with Sanskrit words. The reason may be, after Islamic conversion they practiced their Buddhist culture.

The influence of folk ideas, indigenous tradition and attitude in architecture can be an interesting field of study. The circular composition of Muslim architectural practices probably is not merely accidental. Religious prohibition of figures gave rise to symbolical compositional patterns. In these architectural ornamentation the use of circle, semicircle, roses or fine filigree work is rich in the symbolism of sufism. The rose is the rose of the spiritual way of meditation and contemplation. One can only reach the heart of the rose through the petals. This Sufi rose of the Muslim period has a strong likeness with the Mantra, Mandala, world and seed symbolism of the folk tradition and seems to be only an improvisation of the same theme. As if the thousand petaled lotus of the pre Hindu, pre-Buddhist and yet more primitive symbolism of foetus-like seed is the same rose which reaches the Divine through the steps of meditation. In the Baul song of Bangladesh, in many tantras and other rituals, in literature and architecture, a continuous, undying, primitive and indigenous culture is persistently alive.

Translated from Bengali original by Suraiya Khanam.

Source: Syed Ali Ahsan (ed.), Bangladesh: A souvenir on the first anniversary of victory day December 16, 19972, Dhaka: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Goverment of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, 1972.


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