Malay Kanti Nandi :‘Donga’ (small boat made by palm tree) sellers of Narail villages are happy now for heavy downpour of last few days. Donga buyers throughout the district and neighbouring districts are coming to Donga hats of the district for buying dongas. Usually in the month of Shraban and Vadra buying and selling ‘Donga’ reaches in its pick as the beels and canals remains full of water this time. Village people who need donga for different purposes every year need donga earlier this year as early monsoon filled the beels and canals of rural areas.
Donga’ a small boat or canoe is used to move for at best four people or to pick up ‘shapla’, water lily stalks or snails to feed ducks or to catch fishes or as an alternative to small boats in the rural bangla in the rainy seasons. Chachuri, Maijpara and Tularampur Hat of the district are famous for buying and selling Donga.
The carpenters of Char Shalikha,Shalikha and Puran Shalikha villages under Sadar Upazila make donga and sell in the hats of the area.
Donga is made of palm trees. Splitting a palm tree two Dongas can be made. A Donga is sold more or less at Tk 4500. Visiting to Tularampur Hat this correspondent found that dongas are kept in a queue to be sold. Sellers who are also carpenters are giving final touch on their dongas. Buyers are making choice and bargaining to buy a better one. People of this district even hailing from adjacent Jessore, Khulna, Magura, Jhenidah and Gopalganj district come to Tularampur Hat for buying or selling Dongas.
Hannan Sheikh, 56, a carpenter of Char Shalikha village said, he learnt to make donga from his father Amir Sheikh. His son Jakat also helps him in doing the job. A total of fifteen families in our village are in the profession of making donga, he informed. Mohammad Shamshul Sheikh, 65, a carpenter of Puran Shalikha village who has been making Donga for about twenty five years said, we have to buy a palm tree first that costs around TK. 4,000. Splitting a palm tree two dongas can be made. I along with my family members can make 3 dongas in a week. Each of them is sold at around TK. 4500. I have to support my family with the scanty net income. As there is no other alternative work from the month of Ashar to Ashwin, I am satisfied with what I get. Gnanendra Nath Biswas, hailing from Jatrabari village under Kaliganj upazila of Jhenidah district said, I came to buy a donga. We need this type of water vehicle to move to the neighbouring houses, to catch fish and to pick up shapla from the beels.
Folk culture researcher Professor Hafizur Rahman said, many types of small boats named ‘Tabure’, ‘Dingi’, ‘Goina’ and some other kinds of boats were available in this area. Some of them have already been extinct due to shortage of water in the beels and haors and increasing of road transport facility. Donga has been surviving for the necessity of poor village people.