We were invited with Masud from the British Council to join Persona on their pic-nic. It’s an annual event organised for everyone working at Persona. Spanning a big industry of beauty parlours, spa and Canvas magazine, a strong cohort of 3,000 employees their families and friends boarded 47 buses to go to the pic nic spot, a park in Gazipur, north of Dhaka. Everyone was very excited and enjoyed a day of games, food, music events and even a raffle draw! We took the opportunity to work on ideas for the residency, intermixed with conversations on politics and culture in Bangladesh, the UK and Greece.
In the entertainment tent we met Sister Zita, a Catholic nun from the Garo tribe. (see pic of her singing along to the music below) The Garos come from the Mymensingh, an area neighbouring the Meghalaya state in India. Sister Zita works with the Nokmandi Garo Community Ctentre supporting Garo people working in Dhaka. Sister Zita explained the Garos are a matrilinear community and that all property belongs to women. She also told us that before the marriage there is a 3 week preparation class in church, no dowries are required and divorce is not allowed.
See below for the Wikipedia info on Garos. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garo_%28tribe%29 ‘The Garos are one of the few remaining matrilineal societies in the world. The individuals take their clan titles from their mothers. Traditionally, the youngest daughter (nokmechik) inherits the property from her mother. Sons leave the parents’ house at puberty, and are trained in the village bachelor dormitory (nokpante). After getting married, the man lives in his wife’s house. Garos are only a matrilinear society, but not matriarchal. While property of Garos are owned by the women, the men folk govern the society & domestic affairs and manages the property. This gives a solid security to the Garo women folk. Garo also have their traditional names. However, the culture of modern Garo community has been greatly influenced by Christianity. Nokpantes are glory of the past and all children are given equal care, rights and importance by the modern parents.‘
Thank you to Saifur from Canvas magazine for inviting us to the pic nic, and giving us a lift back on the VIP minibus!
see more about Canvas on http://www.persona.com.bd