A tale of 14 Boats – Muaj Ibne Wahid
Prophet Noah [A] was sent to Iraq. He’s calling people to Islam. When most of them weren’t listening Allah ordered the Prophet to build a big boat. He was the first naval engineer not of the Asia but also of the world. So the prophet built a large boat which can carry every species of the planet. He took every pair of animals. Once the prophet, his followers and the species boarded on the gigantic boat Allah sent a flood and destroyed everything but the Noah’s ark. When the planet was purged of its bad sons and daughters landed on Judi Mountain in Iraq. It was saved for people to see. Noah’s ark turned into a museum piece. Thanks to the Iraqis for preserving the boat.
Some English people sailed a boat from Thames to the East to seek fortune. The boat sailed to Asia and reached China. That was the first English adventure to this part of the world. The name of the boat is Cutty Shark. The English people didn’t destroy the Cutty Shark rather they preserved the boat at Greenwich for visitors. I saw it protected inside a glass structure outside the Greenwich maritime museum there.
But Bangladeshis on the Bay of Bengal had a good reputation of using boats from time immemorial. Various types of boats used to ply on the nearly one thousand rivers of this country. Bangladeshis had made many types boats but one dozen boats of different regions were lost. A few of them — Potol, Goghi — are very popular among the people but lost forever. But they were not put in any museum in the country. Now we will see the rise and falls of a dozen boats of Bangladesh.
Potol: Potol boats are found in Faridpur. This boat is used for cargo transportation. This boat needed 5 to 6 sailors to cruise. It could carry 20 to 25 tons of cargo. This boat is no more seen in Bangladesh.
Fishing boat: Fishing boats are found in Hatiya, Noakhali. It has a small room in it’s back. The sailors can take rest & they cook food there and enjoy.
Goghi: Goghi boats are found in Sylhet. It has a face of dove in it’s front or hull. After 1985 this boat was never seen.
Bozra: Bozra boats are found in Sylhet. Landed gentry and rich men used to possess these boats. This boat looks like a floating house. It has a lot of facilities. After 1971 this boat was never seen
Podi: Podi boats are found in Khulna. This boat needs 17 to 18 sailors to row. It’s length ranges from 15 to 21 metre. It can take 140 to 160 tons of load. It has got a large square-shaped sail & in the back it used to have a kitchen. Now in Khulna ships are being made to be used both at home and abroad.
Mayurpankhi: Mayurpankhi boats are found in Mymensingh. This boat had a shape of a peacock in it’s hull and tail. It’s length ranged from 11 to 13 metres and it breadth ranged from 2.75 to 3.00 metre. This boat was plied by 4 sailors.
Bik: Bik boats are found in Faridpur. It can carry 25 to 28 tons of cargo. Seven to nine sailors used to row the boat. It’s length ranges from 3 to 4 metres. It’s depth ranges from 1 to 1.5 metre.
Goshti: Goshti boats are found in Sylhet. It can carry 10 to 12 passengers. This boat needed 2 oarsmen. It has some chairs to sit on. This boat has a shed to shield the passengers from the sun and rain. They are now no more seen.
Bazipuri: Bazipuri boats were found in Barisal. This boat needed 5 to 7 sailors to row. This boat is lost forever from this country’s part.
Roptani: Roptani boats are found in Narayanganj. Extra-large boats would carry cargos all over Bangladesh. So they are called ‘roptani’ which means export. This boats are all built in Narayanganj. They are seen to be replaced by ships made in Bangladesh.
Palki: Palki boats are found in Chandpur. It has a shed. Inside this shed every one on board can sit. Bridegroom’s troupes usually hire this sort of boats for marriage ceremony. But they have become obsolete. In future this boat will never be seen because they are lost forever.
Why are the boats being lost forever? The simple answer is rivers are shrinking, drying out, choked or occupied day by day. With the arrival of new technologies the old things will be obsolete. This a natural process but what is unnatural is that we don’t preserve things of historical importance. We are forgetful of our past but the English and Arab peoples aren’t. They preserved Cutty Sark and Noah’s ark but we didn’t preserve our old boats.