In het stadje Rajshari, in het westen van Rajshahi tegen de Indiase grens, bevindt zich het populaire Vanrendra Research museum. In dit oudste museum van het land worden persoonlijke collecties van vroegere maharadja’s tentoongesteld. Bijna dagelijks worden er nieuwe opgravingen gedaan en wordt de collectie uitgebreid met nieuwe stukken. Om al deze stukken de waardigheid te geven die ze verdienen, is de uitbreiding van het museum in volle gang.
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The dusty bookshop
I wondered how long some of the books had been in the shop and struck up a conversation with the owner. The bookshop business had been in family for a few generations dating back to the British Raj, and had been the pride of the family supplying text books to students attending Rajshahi university. That was before 1971, when as as young man living with his middle class family was forced to flee across the the Padma river before the fighting of Operation Searchlight against Bengali civilians, students, and intelligentsia reached them. The family later returned, only to find most of the books and shop destroyed. Knowing no other business they salvaged what they could and began again. Looking at the books I believe many were prior 1971, I wonder what stories they could tell.
The Marlboro Man
The morning market in Rajshahi, its cold, colder than normal ,in fact the coldest winter on record he tells us and then leans back to enjoy his cigarette. Unfortunately, smoking is still seen as something glamourous, maybe even "stoere". It may have something to do with the fact that British American Tobacco Company is the largest multi-national company in the country.
Girls hands may be hennaed on special occasions, such as weddings but men's beards are often permanently hennaed, especially the older man, whose beard may be showing signs of grey. This was taken in the north of Bangladesh, but we saw examples everywhere.