Buna is not just a single community, it is a conglomeration of different ethnic communities who live scattered in different parts of the country and are separated from their main bodies. The identity 'Buna' is imposed by majority Bangalis on those small communities who come from among Oraon, Bhuiyan, Mundari Pahan, Kurmi, Mahato, Lohar or Karmaker, Munda, Santal, Mahali, Bagdi, Bhumij etc. Buna is a derogatory term in Bangla.
Dependable statistical accounts on the Buna—their population and habitat among others—are difficult to find. According to the government population census of 1991, some 7,421 Buna people live only in Naogaon District. However, field investigation shows that there are 10 to 12 thousand people known as Buna or Sarder, who live in greater Jessore, Faridpur, Kushtia, Satkhira and Manikgonj districts. The identities of these communities are fading out behind the imposed identities like Buna, Banua or Sarder. The book, ‘Buna’ is an effort to introduce this people and provide dependable accounts on them.
Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD) has published this book in the trail of its work on promotion of cultural rights and identities of different small communities. SEHD commissioned Dr. Ashok Biswas to do this work.
The writer visited the Buna inhabited areas and closely observed their lifestyle and their socio-cultural activities. He also conducted a survey in several villages of 12 districts of the country, where the Buna communities live. The survey does a mapping on their population, professions, education, economic activities, ownership of land and other resources, etc. The author has compiled information and statistics that come from his observation, investigation and survey. The book also describes the population, clothing, locality, home, kinship, social system and social division, marriage, norms and values, belief, religious rituals, etc. of the Bunas.
A significant portion of the book deals with the languages—Mundari, Sadri and Santal— the Bunas speak. It describes the phonetics and syntax of Mundari language, guided by 'Bangala Bhashar Itibrittyo', authored by eminent linguist Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah. The book also contains a list of Sadri words.
Another focus of the book is on the literature of the Buna communities. It presents the current socio-economic condition of these small communities, which is a tough task as they live scattered. The book will be a useful reference to researchers as well as different types of readers.
Paperback: 73 pages
Prepared by: Dr. Ashok Biswas
Price: Tk.150 / US$10