Harmonium, a traditional musical instrument, has always been the tool that means the world of music to my aunt. Back in Bangladesh, she would sing traditional Bengali songs in a family get together, or in social events while playing this instrument. Her familiar world changed when she immigrated here in the United States; in a country where anywhere she goes, the songs she would listen do not shout out her native words, the melody is not of the instrument she holds so dear. As she was stumbling over uttering one English word perfectly, she felt that her native words need to be expressed as well. She brought the harmonium, the container of her strength, hopes and dreams here with her, because she wanted to keep the connection back to her culture alive within her. However, that harmonium remained in the corner of her bedroom, shining like a raw diamond for the regular cleaning but lonely for not being used until she got the assistant-teaching job at an elementary school where cultural diversity is a common existence. In that school, she got the opportunity to practice and express her culture through teaching the students songs that would fit the occasions held by the school. As a result, her harmonium was able to come back to life. And because she found people who are eager to learn her culture from her and a way to use her cherished harmonium again, the inferior feeling of losing her own culture within her left her forever.

Year: 2012

– Sabiha Sultana

Relationship:  unknown unknown