|Name:||Rifat Ara Mostofa|
|Studio:||X ( Thesis)|
|Studio Master:||Shams Mansoor Ghani, Dr.Mohammad Habib Reza, Dr. Sajid Bin Doja, Naim H KIbria.|
A-chik Mande, also referred as Garo people, are the first immigrants from Tibet, who settled down in Garo hills finding both providence and security in this enchanted territory. The present population of Garo tribe in Bangladesh is around twenty five thousands who lives in the northeast part of Bangladesh which covers Mymensingh, Haluaghat, Dhobaura, Netrokona, Dinajpur, Jamalpur, Nalitabari, Shanamganj, Modhupur. The culture and lifestyle of this tribe is very unique and interesting, though they are now highly influenced by the mainstream society. This project aims to reflect their way of life and aspirations through architecture which can help in building their sense of community and improving their socio-economic condition.
Among all the different groups, A-chik Mande is one of the major tribes of Bangladesh. They are also considered as forest dwellers in East region of Bangladesh. They have exceptional dependency on forest for their daily needs. It is also believed that they are segmented into two large divisions, which are: people who live in the hills and those who are scattered in the plains.
The project intends to safeguard the indigenous identity of A-chik Mande community while promoting their culture, language through community counseling. They would be also groomed to reflect their own self. A-chik Mande manifestation also aims to conservation of natural resources and celebration of their historical cultural diversity. The project therefore took into consideration the following four key points. The four points consists generating activities; re-generating settlement patterns, creating community meeting point and establishing a resource center.
The zoning of the proposed institute was placed respecting the Garo settlement and homestead layout. The homestead of Garo community near Meghalaya reflects not only their cultural identity but also their lifestyle as well. One of the interesting homesteads was their Nokma’s house. Nokma is the headman or chief of the community. The homestead of Nokma was a great inspiration to derive the spaces and zoning of the institute. According to the study, the Nokma’s homestead was very organized in terms of spaces and also shows why it can be called as a typical home of a A-chik Mande or Garo people.
The project idea can be replicated on other parts of north east Bangladesh where Garo people are living in a very scattered way. By replicating the core idea of the project to other districts, the rich cultural identity of indigenous ethnic community can be preserved. This is an effort towards attaining self value and improvising life using very distinctive natural way.
The design interference has been kept very little; it will all come impulsively from the people. The process of this project was more important than the end result, because the project outcome was a reflection of a process which defines their identity. The project was established to promote local tourism, training and education and also reducing their superstitious beliefs and inspiring them to preserve their individuality.
As a common Garo man had said “Whether I follow sangsarek or Christianity, at the end of the day I am a Bangladeshi” . So let them be the unique part of our nation but most importantly a part of our nation.
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CONTEXT Contributor: Farasha Zaman | Architect and faculty member at BRAC University