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A dash of Bangla in every name

A strong Bengali culture grips you the moment you get out of the airport and get into the city. The language —though the dialect is slightly different --- food, glow signs, hoardings, even the signage on the immigration is in Bengali, reports Nilankur Das.

cricket Updated: Jan 05, 2010 23:08 IST
Nilankur Das

A strong Bengali culture grips you the moment you get out of the airport and get into the city. The language —though the dialect is slightly different --- food, glow signs, hoardings, even the signage on the immigration is in Bengali.

The predominance of Islamic and Arabic names is the only thing different from someplace like Siliguri or Kolkata. But in a bid to retain the Bengali culture, most names have a short pet name, which is generally a Bengali word. This has become popular after Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) through the Bhasha Andolon (Language Movement) was able to get Bengali the status of official language.

In cricket too till before the turn of the century there was a tradition of pet names, which would follow the name of the player like Aminul Islam (Bulbul) the first Bangladesh player to score a Test century or former captain Habibur Bashar (Suman).

The trend in cricket slowly started to lose steam once Bangladesh got under the International Cricket council fold.

“In the past we in the media too used to refer to players by their pet names in our articles. But slowly everyone realised that the ICC only recognised a player by his Arabic or Islamic names. A player started getting a dual identity and it created problems for players as well. So now once a player steps into international arena we do not formally use his pet name any more. So now we know Shahriar Nafees and don't call him Aabir. Even for Shafiul Islam who made his debut on Monday we won't use Shubhas anymore,” a senior Bangladeshi cricket writer said.