Voices of Migrant Labor: Bengali in a Wadi

Hossain and his friends are from Chittagong, Bangladesh working on date farms and gardens in Wadi Tiwi, Wilayat of Sur. They work for OMR 60 per month which is 12000 Taka per month. This place is 130 kilometres from Muscat, the capital of Oman. Wadi Tiwi is fairly inaccessible through the mountains and 30 odd kilometres from the Town of Sur. These guys supplement their income by playing your guide through the rocky terrain from the main road to the Wadi Tiwi springs. Hossain has been in Wadi Tiwi for six years and he and all of his friends wear the lungi, a draped garment for men, popular as a home attire in Bangladesh and India. This is unusual in the Gulf, and they wear the lungi only on the farm rather than in the Town area of Sur.

They were very keen to chat up with me in Bangla, especially in their dialect which is not very clear to me. But nevertheless it was informative to speak to them and understand that the blue collar migrant manpower in the governorates of the country, the non capital areas are manned by brothers from Chittagong and Dhaka, where the good Malayali from Kannur used to rule. But cost dynamics have slowly overshadowed Indians, and Bangladeshis have taken the lead to make my mother tongue, a dominant language of conversation in Oman and the wider Gulf.

#migranttales #latergram

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