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16 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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250-year-old historical boat rots in neglect in Kuakata

Locals say the boat is evidence of the first arrival of Rakhine people to the Kuakata coast
Our Correspondent, Patuakhali
250-year-old historical boat rots in neglect in Kuakata
This recent photo shows the 250-year-old boat bearing traditional imprints of the Rakhine community at Kuakata under Patuakhali district. Independent photo

A 250-year-old boat bearing the traditional imprints of the Rakhine community in Kuakata is on the verge of being lost to the ravages of rain and sun. As such, both local people and tourists have demanded that the archaeology department must take steps to repair and preserve this historical relic.

 Sources said the Directorate of Archaeology in Khulna had decided to repair the boat and exhibit it at a museum next to the Buddhist monastery at Keranipara in Kuakata. Under the plan, land was acquired and a tin shed was built to house the boat. The directorate then officially opened the makeshift museum to visitors on August 21, 2013.

However, the site was not properly maintained by the authorities. Given the negligence, the tin shed collapsed and the boat was damaged by the vagaries of nature, dealing a blow to a piece of history.

Locals said the boat is evidence of the first arrival of Rakhine people to the Kuakata coast around 300 years ago after they fled Arakan state in Myanmar. They further said the boat used to sail on a small canal connected to the sea at that time. Later, it was submerged by floods and gradually disappeared under the sand.  The boat was rediscovered in the 1980s when local shepherds digging wells in the area came across it. The locals tried to dig out the boat, but failed. It is said that one person died in the process. After that, stories of ghosts and hauntings on the boat began to do the rounds and it was again abandoned to its watery grave.

In 2010, parts of the boat again became visible after it was washed ashore with a raging surge of the sea.  Alerted by media reports about the wreck, the archaeology department decided to excavate the boat with funds from the cultural affairs ministry on January 27, 2013. The Army was roped in for the ‘rescue mission’, which cost over Tk. 1 crore. It was then housed in the tin shed.

Meanwhile, sources in the Directorate of Archaeology, Khulna, disclosed that a research team was studying the boat to restore the boat to its former glory. Afroza Khan Mita, the regional director of the Directorate of Archaeology, Khulna, said work to renovate the boat and to rebuild the museum will begin soon.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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