Bangladesh has a wealth of indigenous communities and ethnic groups scattered across its geographical territory. More than twenty seven different peoples and cultures have been identified each with its rich and diverse cultural practices. Having been marginalized both in terms of authority and connectivity, these people are in most cases deprived from the mainstream infrastructural and technological advancements. However this remoteness from conventional development has also given them the opportunity to sustain and reinforce their irrevocable interrelationship with their surroundings. One such example is the â€˜Tripuri' people that inhabit the fringes of Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected forest and wildlife sanctuary in Bangladesh. The "Tripuri" people, who have been living here for many generations, are interdependent on the forest ecology for their subsistence in countless ways. The Sanctuary thrives on a wide range of bio-diversity and is home to many rare and endangered species of plants, birds and animals. Due to lack of proper governance and inconsiderate development activities the future of the forest and its inhabitants is under constant threat. Much like the forest the people there, too, have a culture that is constantly intimidated by the ostentatious temptations of progress. The ancient wisdom and ways of the Tripuri people is a valuable storehouse of information and insight into the bio-network of the forest and its ecological context. Losing their ways and customs could cause irreversible loss of the collective and accumulated experience that these people have acquired over time.
Ismat Hossain, North South University, Bangladesh