Saturday, 30 September, 2023

Thinking about Bamboo and World Bamboo Day

Thinking about Bamboo and World Bamboo Day

Popular News

Golam Towhid Al Kibria

Bamboo, celebrated for its extraordinary versatility and deeply entrenched cultural significance, stands as a botanical wonder that provokes both mirthful amusement and profound contemplation in the hearts of people, particularly in Bangladesh. This humble plant, known for its remarkable adaptability and numerous applications, has drawn the attention of many columnists and writers.

The tangible and intangible use of bamboo is so intriguing that noted columnist Syed Abul Maksud and eminent journalist Anisul Hoque both have written sarcastic articles about the use of bamboo in Bangladesh, namely ‘Bamboo in Bengali life’ and ‘Bamboo, flute, and Bangladesh’ (rough translation) respectively in a prominent national daily.

This handy plant is unique in its appearance but that’s not what it looks like. Despite its appearance, bamboo is officially considered grass. And this simple, tree-like grass can be of so many kinds. There are about 1,500 species of bamboo worldwide. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Not only can it be used as firewood but bamboo has been eaten for thousands of years. Bamboo shoots are very common in many Asian dishes including Bangladesh. Exotic bamboo soup and mouth-watering bamboo chicken are the most celebrated dishes at Chattogram Hill Tracks. If you manage to try those dishes, you will rediscover the meaning of the word ‘bamboo’ for sure. It can be turned into an easily accessible weapon; it can be used in construction due to its inherent strength. Bamboo can be turned into household items, useful items, or decorative objects. Is there anything that we don’t do with bamboo in Bangladesh? The use of bamboo is so wide and wild around the world that its use is only limited by our imagination.

There is even a popular dance that is performed in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Vietnam and many countries with the help of bamboo that involves dancing in and out of moving bamboo stalks.

Bamboo, which grows almost carefree and untroubled, has versatile uses and embodies a rich tapestry of meanings that vary across diverse cultures, particularly within the tapestry of Asian heritage. This amazing plant surpasses basic function, becoming a symbol that weaves its way across the realms of poetry, narrative, folklore, mythology and symbolism. The intricate web of bamboo’s cultural significance makes the endeavour of exploring its depths a truly captivating journey.

In Japan, bamboo is considered as good luck. That is why it is often used to symbolise new beginnings and celebrations, such as during the New Year. Bamboo is highly valued in both Chinese and Japanese cultures, and it is surprising to learn that the word ‘bamboo’ can mean so much to them. Bamboo represents resilience and strength because of its capacity to bend yet not shatter. Because of its naturally robust, straight culms, it represents power and honour. Bamboo is also a sign of perseverance due to its quick growth to considerable heights. Furthermore, bamboo’s thick roots are a traditional sign of tenacity, while its hollow culms and humble form represent modesty.

Despite its toughness, Bamboo emanates an unpretentious simplicity, a ‘mind your own business’ demeanour that teaches deep life lessons. Its artistically unadorned shape is a symbol of minimalism, evoking a deep outlook on life. Bamboo teaches us perseverance in the face of adversity, urging us to bounce back, retain calmness, cultivate positivity and stay unshaken even when life serves us a basket of lemons for causes beyond our control. Its simple yet powerful presence reminds us that strength rests not just in complexity but also in the elegance of simplicity.

Bamboo is nature’s gift to humanity, offering a wide range of uses and applications. From construction to craftsmanship, bamboo has proven its worth in countless ways. Its strength, flexibility and rapid growth make it an ideal material for various purposes.

Bamboo is an eco-friendly ally. In a world grappling with environmental challenges, bamboo emerges as a champion of sustainability. With its rapid growth and ability to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, bamboo plays a significant role in combating climate change. Its versatility and eco-friendly nature make it a prime candidate for promoting green alternatives in industries such as construction, textiles and furniture.

Bamboo, woven into the fabric of human existence for centuries, stands as an enduring testament to its indispensable role in our lives. With its extraordinary potential to absorb significant amounts of greenhouse gases, it emerges as a champion in the battle against climate change as the world’s fastest-growing plant. Perhaps, this distinct feature, which contributes greatly to the delicate balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, underpins World Bamboo Day’s recent global recognition. This yearly event, held on September 18th, acts as a light exposing the intrinsic significance of bamboo and its sustainable application. It represents a communal commitment to harnessing the potential of this amazing plant, not only for the benefit of human lives but also for the preservation of the environment.

Bangladesh, equipped with vast agricultural land and a favourable environment for growth, is poised to realise extraordinary potential for bamboo farming. Recognising this possibility, there is a compelling need to ramp up efforts to increase bamboo plants across the country. The government, in collaboration with other groups and local communities, may support the cause of bamboo growing, establishing it as a viable and profitable endeavour. This revolutionary undertaking offers not just economic success but also major environmental progress. Bangladesh, with its rich bamboo heritage, can also join the global celebration with enthusiasm and pride.

In Bangladesh where population and pollution are increasing day by day and cultivable land is reducing dramatically, planting bamboo can be a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and help fight global warming and poverty alleviation as it takes only a little place to grow a grove of bamboos. Bamboo gives us an opportunity to give back to nature effortlessly as it is surprisingly hardy and requires almost zero care. This eco-friendly tree-like marvel can really do wonders for us. So, let’s raise our bamboo cups and toast to the wonders of this versatile plant, for it brings both strength and laughter wherever it grows.


The writer is a freelance columnist and

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