The changing landscape…

Been meaning to share this and finally found the media. December 16th, 1971 is the independence day for Bangladesh, when they finally broke away from Pakistan (until then, they had been East Pakistan, and their local language and customs had been gradually suppressed.)


It was a very ugly war in a very impoverished nation, as a friend I work with can attest. He was about 8 years old and lived in the capital city Dhaka. His dad owned a machine shop, so was a valuable asset (he made some spare parts) to whichever force was occupying his area which probably saved his family from some ugliness. My friend told a story of peeking out a window one night and watching tanks firing down the street. As I had never met anyone from Bangladesh, I always showed interest in what he could relate of his home country. So last December, he asked if I would like to attend the Bijoy Dibosh (Victory Day) celebration of  the local Bengali immigrants. It was held at the community center across the street from the mosque at 48th and Hamilton (my grandad would be spinning in his grave at the idea of a mosque in Oklahoma). I was really surprised, it was attended by close to 300 people, and I was the only white guy in the place. I had no idea OKC had that many Bengali people living here. Had some great (if spicy) food, saw some lovely women in traditional dress dancing and singing, and some great heartfelt speeches praising freedom by people that really appreciate it… kinda made me feel a little guilty that I take it for granted so often. They also had some surprisingly good music by a local Bengali musician that has enjoyed some success, I *think* his name is Shafait, but I haven’t found out much about him. Anyway, here’s a pic I snapped and a brief clip. Found the whole evening fascinating, and kinda laughed at seeing muslims in warm-climate clothing and sandals slipping out into the freezing wind and snow to sneak a smoke and grab a beer outside away from the wives.


A shame I didn’t grab more of the performance, but my phone was a bit short on memory.  Still kinda neat!


2 Responses to “The changing landscape…”

  1. A while back I read that OKC has per capita, more citizens of Eastern descent than any other major city in the U.S.
    People (especially in Oklahoma) don’t like what they don’t understand.
    The Muslim faith is one of many.
    My wife once worked with a man from Bangladesh. He usually brought his lunch & heated it in the microwave. She said the smell was awful. Lol
    The music clip provided, sounded a lot like Santana.

  2. Yeah, I thought of Santana at the time. As an example of what a small world it is, when I was trying to find something online about the musician, the only thing solid I found was a YouTube link of about 40 seconds, taken at the same event. I looked at the poster’s other vids, he only had about 10, and there were a couple of the snowstorm last November. The poster lived 2 buildings over in my apartment complex!

    The lab at Integris Baptist is the most multi-cultural place I have ever worked… we’ve had half a dozen employees from India, one from Peru, one from the Phillipines, a couple of Pakistanis, one from Bangladesh, one from Japan, and three from Nepal. Most start out at one of the coasts with the intention of going back to their home country, but then they get hooked on our lifestyle, get tired of the city life, and move to the slower-paced midwest. We have a sizeable Vietnamese population in OKC as well, I see a lot of names go thru the hospital, and (oddly, I thought) saw a pretty sizeable number of Vietnamese names when I toured a nearby catholic cemetary. There are a few non-descript Hindu temples in OKC, and I’ve heard there’s a Buddhist temple out in Choctaw. Who’d a thunk?

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