Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Trade and commerce may have been practiced in Ramu for over 2,000 years, and there is little doubt that such trade would have included such exotic materials as raw silk, shipped down the ancient route through fabled Mandalay, and the Bengali women and children, captured in raids by Arakanese to find weavers so that the Kingdom could develop its own weaving industry to rival the great Muslin industry of Bengal, but the wives and children being sold, as the VOC (Dutch East India Company) records attest, to Dutch traders to be taken to the Spice Islands as labour in the nutmeg plantations; but the trade in the marketplace of the modern riverside town is much more prosaic.

The ‘Beggars Market’, as the present marketplace, shaded by two hundred year old Flame Trees, used to be called, is a clear reminder that here traders were once much more concerned with greater merchandise than the plastic goods of the many stalls, or even the gigantic bunches of Arica nuts for making of Paan, which is a more traded commodity in all the markets of the area.

There is something of the air of an ancient past wherever you explore in the small, but historic town. It really is not hard to imagine the sea traders making their way up the broad, lower reaches of the town river, or the country craft heading down from the hills and mountains of Bandarban, and beyond into ancient Arakan.

No comments:

Post a Comment