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Independent University,

Submitted to
Mr. Manzurul Mannan (Lecturer)
School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Submitted by
Sajal karmaker
I D# 072038

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The Boat and Boat Builders

Boat the most popular means of transport in Bangladesh. The boat is an ancient, low-
cost, and suitable mode of transport in the floodplains, especially in haors and baors.
There are more than 150 types of boats. They vary in size, design and construction and
serve a host of purposes. Bangladesh is also a land of rivers. Bangladesh consists of
more than 250 rivers. On that time water, transportation was the main transportation.
There was no road transportation. So that we were, depend on our boats. Our
civilization, our business spot all are depended on and grew up by water
transportation. There was one of the major ways to boat. So that boats are related to
our cultural, society, civilization, existence and our economy. The synonymous or
dialect word of boat is Bengal word “Nouka”. In Bangladesh, there were different
types of Boat and Nouka and there had different aspects and activities. We had many
boats like – Ghashi, Jong, Gachari, Dorakha, Malar, Patam, Panshi, Bhedi, Dingi,
Ubori, Kosha, Kathami, etc. They were used as different purposes like – small rowing
boats, Cnoes, Dugots; Dinghies etc are used in rural areas for transporting people,
private belongings and crops especially in the monsoon season. In addition, these
boats are used for crying passengers and for ferrying people across the rivers. Over all
boats are related to our tradition and religion.

The name and number of country Boats:

Every boat has different aspects and different activities. Depending on different
aspects and activities, we had huge number of boats. The Bengali boats name was
interesting like- Sampan, Balam, Jali, Teddy balam, Ghashi, Donga, Gudara,Doni,

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Jong, Kosha, Pansi, Patam, Bhedi, Bachari, Raptani, Dingi, Palowary, Ubori, Militari
Kosha, Dorokha, Dhairol, Kathami etc. The two most attempts had been taken to
estimate the number of country boats. The first survey of 1961 showed that the
number of boats, of all size and categories, at 300,000. Among of 300,000, there were
68,000 were commercially – operated cargo – carrying boats. The second survey of
1974 showed that 63,300 boats were used for cargo – carrying boats. Rest of the boats
are used in rural areas for transporting people, private belongings and crops especially
in the monsoon season and also these boats are used for crying passengers and fishing
in coastal and offshore waters. Many such boats as well as boats in commercial
operation and fishing are now indigenously fitted with engines of shallow tubewells.
The large commercially operated cargo boats include types such as sampan, balam.
Teddy balam, trawler and jali. These are now mostly power driven.

The different physical characteristics of country Boats:

Every single boat has its own characteristic. And the characteristic depends on boats
actives like – those boats which are often go to sea, those boats which are used for
carrying people, those boats which used for agricultural purposes and among these all
are different
Characteristics from others.

1. Sea – going country Boats:

Depending on weather, the boats are found in different classification. Some boats are
only used for sea and these boats are called as sea – going country boat. These boats
are found mainly in the Chittagong and Cox’s-bazar area. They are specially designed
for rough weather and strong winds. This sea – going boats most routes is Chittagong,
Dhaka, Narayanganj and Chandpur.

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There are five main types of commercially – operated cargo – carrying boats are...
- Sampan
- Balam
- Teddy balam
- Trawler
- Jali.


The sampan is easily noticeable because of its flat stem with two horns. These horns
form the framework of the bamboo roof, which protects the helmsman. Sampan boat is
specially use for carrying salt from the sea. The sampan is a giant boat, which made
with wood.


The balams are in Greenhill’s words “no more than greatly enlarged versions of the
simple canoe”. Day by day, this types of boat becoming rare and it seems that it only
built at Sundip. Balam is also used for carrying salt from the sea.

Teddy balam:

The teddy balam is same as Balam. Teddy balm indicates something modern or fancy.

The tiddy balm look a lot like the jali, both having pointed stern, compared with the
flat stern of the balam.

Finally we got a modern boat which is not used by oar it was mechanized ocean –
going fishing boats fitted with an in – board diesel engine. Still body is used to build

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Mentioning all these are play an important role in transporting crude salt from the salt
fields to the mills. These boats also carrying Varity of other goods like – timber,
cement, consumes goods etc.

2. Inland water country boats:

Inland waters refers to the water body consist of rivers, Hour, Bour, etc. There were
different types of inland boats in Bangladesh depending on their different activities.
They had a great variation depending on water. Still few boats are available in
Bangladesh. The inland water country boats are... Ghashi, jong, Kosha, pansi, Patam,
Ubori, Bhedi, Malar, Bachari, palowari, Donga, Gudara, Doni, Dingi etc.


Ghashi is dominated by Lakhya River. Ghashi is a middle-sized boat in the range of

75 to 700 maunds capacity and the average capacity is 237 maunds. The ghashi is
making by wood. Generally, it running as a straight and it almost submerges when
heavily loaded. Ghashi boat, which plied on Lakhya River, which mainly carried
fruits, and vegetables. Ghashi has a roof of woven bamboo, which is rounded and
covers from half to almost the whole length of the body. It was a fast moving vehicles
and it carried consumer goods. Nevertheless, it has no rudder. The ghashi is mainly
found in Dhaka district.


Jong is the second important inland water boat. Jong was the boat of Lakha. The
district of this type is the Old Brahmnputra river basin in the district of Mymensingh
and Jamalpur. There are only posssible outlets, and they can reach the Meghna to
southeast and the Jamuna to northeast. Mainly Jongs are used as jute boats. They are

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larger then the ghasis, and it range was 300 to 1000 mandus. Jong is mainly found in

Ubri, which is the derivative of the word Ubora that in Bengali means to rehire. It is
the small righter that was the prominent for the Dhaka, Mymensing areas. Uboni was
mainly used to assist in loading and unloading of boat and it carried industrious

Goina was one of the fascinating and exclusive boats. It is used for carrying
passengers. There were different types of goinas. Most goinas shaped look like ghashi.
It has a complete deck or floor covered by bamboo for the passenger safety.


Bidira is also used for carrying passengers. This types of boat used by the Zaminders
and the purposes was tax collecting. Today this boat is used by holy pirs when
collecting donations from their followers. In these way I think its relates to our


Bachari’s design is vigorous and heavy construction. It is mainly sued for transporting
heavy materials like – timber, firewood, agriculture products, sand etc. In Bachari
boats, there has a shelter. Boats man and traders mainly took rest. This boats walls are
attractively decorated usually with piece of aluminum. This boats are found in Barisal
District. It has huge average capacity (374).


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It is a large boats of the Pabna district. The design is similar to the Jong and Palowari.
Malar is more strongeer than Jong and Palowari. This boat is different diierent from
other because of deep draught. Malar is a giant boat because its average capacity is
almost 2500 to 3000 maunds. It is mainly used to carry jute from Bera of Nakalia to
Narayanganj. For this reason, malar also called Nakalia boat.

Mentioning all these boats are mainly dominated by Lakhya River.

The Boat builders and boat building materials:

The boat carpenters played the directed role to our river, Culture, as they own self
built the boats that are prevalent on the rivers. Boat builders made boats depends on
the wave, wind flow, depth of water etc. Each boat had different shape because of
maintaining the balance in the wave. Boat builders were mainly from the Sudra casts
of Hindus. In this way, we are introduced with casts. Boat builders are usually use to
wood and materials to make boat. Wood is the main material of boat building. Boat
builders made boats depends on the wave, wind flow, depth of water etc. Each boat
had different shape because of maintaining the balance in the wave. The most
important boat – buildings areas as Pabna, Tangail, Manikjgonj, and Bajitpur.
The important boat building materials are... 1. Bamboo, 2. Wood, 3. Iron etc.


Bamboo is only product, which is used in almost every country boats. Bamboo is
considered as a blessing of Bangladesh. Bamboo is available all over Bangladesh.
Even traders are often importing bamboo from surplus ares and sedn it by river on
large rafts, during the monsoon season. Especially bamboo is used for mats and oars.

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It is also used for making the woven bamboo mats, which are used as roofing.
Moreover, it is traditionally made by low-cast Hindus. We here are cast system.
Bamboo is available in Chittagong, Khulna, and Barisal.


In earlier time, wood is considered as a major product to built boats. It is used for the
hull, for the masts, rudder, oars, and the roofs. In ancient time, quantity of wood and
quality of wood depends on amount of money available for boat construction.
Different types of wood are used for making boat like – Sundari and Koroi wood is
used for large and heavy boats. Other species like – Gajari, Zarail, Kathal, Jam, Am
(mango), Shilkoroi is also used for other country boats.


Because of modernization and different purpose, we are engaged with Iron. Depending
on different activities, Iron is used to build country boats. Jute carrying boats, sand
carrying boats, industrial materials carrying boats etc are necessarily to make with
Iron. Anchor is also necessary for Iron made boats. Now almost every boats use diesel
and it need to Iron to built container. In contrast to other iron products, anchor is not
available in the local market and boat owners look for a good anchor because without
good anchor boat is incomplete. In these way, we are in introduced with Iron.

The influence of Boat on our Economy:

Boats also reflect our economical life. We are economically developed by our country
boat because in ancient time we had no alternative transportation. In ancient Bengal,
there were three means of production – agriculture, arts, and crafts and trade and

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commerce. There is a great relationship between agriculture, river and Bengal boats.
Agriculture was chief source of Bengal wealth; still it is chief source of Bengal wealth.
The export of agriculture and manufactured goods by boats as a result in an increase in
production and influx or new wealth from outside. Ancient Bengal is agriculturally
developed because of rivers. Bengal’s major products were cotton and skill textiles.
Which were export as far Egypt and Rome by boat? In these way boats help to our
economy. The roll that the country boat played on our economy was directly
supported by the carpenters by making the boats. Therefore, the carpenters deserve a
great role on economy.

Now a days the construction of new boat is decaling. Presently new boats are usually
built by rich traders who use them to transport the commodities in which they trade.
The decline of the country boat will obviously effect the employment an income
efficiency through mechanization has done adverse affect on boats. So far improving
the efficiency and profitability of country boat operations must be placed in the
context of informed decision – making on transport and linked to broader issue of
development strategy.

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 Jansen, E et.al (1989). The country boat of Bangladesh. Social and

Economic Development and Decision-making in inland water
Transport. University Press Ltd.: Dhaka

 Ray, Niharranjan (1994). History of the Bengali People. Orient

Longman: Calcutta


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