Moulvibazar is going to lose the traditional Chunga Pitha ingredients
M.Muslim Chowdhury, Srimangal/Moulvibazar/Representative/
Sylhet’s traditional Chunga Pitha is getting lost in the evolution of time. Pitha was made with binni rice, milk, sugar, coconut and rice powder inside a special bamboo chunga. Chungapitha cannot be made without Dhalubamsa. Because there is a kind of oily chemical substance in the bamboo, which does not burn the bamboo sticks in the fire. Due to the excess juice in the dhalubamsa, the pita inside is cooked in the heat without burning. When the pitha is ready, the pitha separates from the candle-like chunga. This pitha made of bamboo chunga is famous as Chungapura pitha. This pitha is one of the traditions of the area.
A fish fair is held in the market during Paush Sankranti in Sylhet region. On the occasion of the fair, the fishmongers arrange large fish stalls of various species. It is like a universal festival of this region. It was a custom of the people of Sylhet to buy fish from the fish fair or catch big Rui, Katla, Chital, Boal, Pabda, Kai, Magur fish from the Haor river and fry them with light spices (fish biran in the local language) and eat Chungapura Pitha. Even though the fish fair is held like before, now in the rural areas, Chungapitha is not organized at home. Even the scene of Chungapura can not be seen by burning straw in winter night. At Uadi, guests or especially the new son-in-law are not treated with respect if they do not feed Chungapura pitha, fish biran, risa (coconut pita) at the end of the day. That day is no more. Chungapitha tradition is almost lost. The main reason for this is the decrease in the production of dhluban and binni paddy, the main ingredients for making Chungapitha. Farming is not done like before.
In the hilly areas of Moulvibazar and Srimangal upazila tea-garden hills, a lot of slop was available. Due to forest bandits, land robbers and mountain robbers, the forest area is getting lost. However, in some hills of the district some slopes are still available which are very insignificant compared to the demand.
Locals said that it is important to take measures to preserve the bamboo. Dluban is not available so much, its price is quite high in the market now. On the occasion of Paush Sankranti, these are rarely available in the market. Even 10-15 years ago these bamboos were seen in abundance. Now, due to lack of conservation and proper care, chunga pitha is also disappearing along with dhulubamsa.