19.09 – 20.09.2019
Satkira is the district capital in southwest Bangladesh and was considered by my colleague Hassan to be the museum of disasters. Most of what one can find here is caused by the devastation of the Ayla storm (2009) but also problems with arsenic in the water, the problem of waterlogging arose.
Shortly after we arrived in Satkhira around noon, we met our local guide Biswajit, a representative of the Munda and employed by an NGO. At the same time, he guided us to to the rural vincinities of the district capital, where we travelled on the local three-wheeler (CNG). On our way, we saw pig nomads along the road and decided to visit them the next day.
The Munda community of Satkira lives in a few settlements scattered around. One of them was built by Father Luigi from Italy, a very respected clergyman we had already heard about in Munshigong. The village (para) was directly attached to his simple concrete house and inhabited by about 15 families. These each had a mini small garden and mini small ponds, big enough for a few ducks. Almost only women took part in the conversation with the Munda in this village as well. Biswajit tried to be a little explanatory but the women debated his views down, especially when it came to religious issues.
The Munda have a Hinduised worldview that rests on several shoulders. On the one hand, it is the forest that gives them their livelihood, which they worship in the form of trees. This tree religion is supported by the belief in Marang Buru or Bonga, a bundle of spirits, among them ancestral spirits and a grove often planted next to the village or settlement. Another
central position is occupied by two cockerels, one white and one red, which have a protective spirit function.
In the Munda village there is arsenic-containing water. Father Luigi already tried to tackle this problem. And there seems to be a solution in sight by changing the groundwater well.
Another Munda village (para) was a few hundred metres away. Here maybe 10 families were organised. In this village we found Minuti Munda, a date palm weaver. She wove mats for her own neighbourhood, sometimes for sale to others.
The Kay Puthro are a group of pig herders who travel with their pigs for a whole year. However, these pigs do not belong to them themselves, but to a wealthy neighbour who has handed over the care of the pigs to them. The group was divided into two parts, a pair of brothers who each had between 10 and 13 mother sows in their herd.In addition, there were three or four boars each. Each sow had about 5 kids, so there were between 50 and 60 animals in each of the two herds.
The pig herders were allocated areas by the farmers for the pigs to dig through. This way they have less work with roots of grasses and other roots when tilling the fields. The Kay Puthro are Hindus and are based in a village, from which they rotate the pigs in a large radius Within a year, the herders always come regularly to the same areas. At home there are no stables for the pigs. On site, the pigs from the herd are sold to customers in one piece, sometimes traders come and take a whole load of pigs.