Bangladesh Slideshow

16 June, 2008

Captain Cox's Bazaar

Okay, you understand that I have no way of verifying everything I am about to write. So how about treating it as a story?

There was a small coastal village in the Chittagong region named Palongkee (the other variation of the name is Panowa), meaning yellow flower. The warm blue waters of the Bay of Bengal lapped at the sandy beaches which streched for miles... and I mean literally... for 120 kilometers!!! The Rakhain people were a simple fishing community, and they lived in tolerable harmony with the bountiful sea which sometimes demanded sacrifice, and took lives in stormy frenzy. Well...c'est la vie.

However, the village was not always serene and tranquil. It had seen it's fair share of bloodshed. Arakan kings ruled the area, and then it came under Mughal rule in 1666. The Mughal Prince Shah Shuja had once halted his retinue of one thousand palanquins there - the place where he stopped was named Dulahazara (dula means palanquin and hazara means thousand). The Tiparas won it from the Mughals, and lost it to the Arakans, and then came the Portughese and finally the British.

In the 18th century, an officer of British East India Company, Captain Hiram Cox was appointed as the Superintendent of Palongkee outpost after Warren Hastings became the Governor of Bengal. Captain Cox was specially mobilized to deal with a century long conflict between Arakan refugees and local Rakhains. The Captain was a compassionate soul and the plight of the people touched his heart. He embarked upon the mammoth task of rehabilitating refugees in the area, and made significant progress. A premature death took Captain Cox in 1799 before he could finish his work. But the work he had done earned him a place in the hearts of the locals and to commemorate his role in rehabilitation work a market was established and named after him as Cox's Bazaar (Cox's Market). In 1874, this town was declared a district of the Bengal province under the British Crown.

Today, this town is a major tourist attraction in Bangladesh, boasting the world's longest natural beach and many other attractions, both natural and man-made.

And this is the town I am off to tomorrow. For three whole days, there will be nothing else in life save the sea, sand and sun. Heavenly!!!

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