'Auti sundarir nek nai, auti nekainor bhat nai' is a Chatgaiya proverb that means that nothing extra is good. 'Austhar thin aubostha' is another Chatgaiya proverb that means cheap things are not good.
Like these two, there are thousands of proverbs in Chatgaiya, the dialect spoken by about 16 million people of the Chattogram region. Because of lack of preservation and use, these proverbs are on the verge of extinction.
A recently published book by journalist Alamgir Apu 'Hajaro Prabad-Prabachane Chatga' (Chatga in a thousand proverbs), has now compiled over one thousand of these Chatgaiya proverbs.
A journalist based in Chattogram, the author of the book Alamgir Apu founded the now famous C Plustv channel in 2016 that broadcast news on digital platforms in the Chatgaiya dialect.
Although it began initially as only a news broadcaster, the channel now publishes a variety of contents including drama, music, punthi recitation, etc that represent the arts and culture of Chattogram. The C Plustv pages have over 3 million followers on Facebook and YouTube combined.
The book was born out of the necessity to preserve Chatgaiya proverbs, given that these, along with the dialect itself, are going out of use due to influence of foreign culture.
"With the aggression of foreign culture and lack of its institutional recognition, the language has been losing its popularity", said the author, adding that parents both in urban and rural areas of the region are reluctant to teach their children to speak in the dialect which is making it more vulnerable to extinction.
As a proud speaker of the dialect, Apu considers it his first language. "Chatgaiya is my mother tongue, which is one of the richest dialects in the region without a written form", he said.
"If the trend continues the Chatgaiya language will find a place in the list of extinct languages which made me worried", he said adding that promoting and making the language more popular was also the reason why he created the C Plustv channel.
"The book is a part of the endeavour to help conserve the language and repopularise these proverbs among Chatgaiya speakers", he said.
Apu has been very successful already in promoting Chatgaiya through his C Plustv channel, which in the last seven years uploaded thousands of audiovisual contents in the Chatgaiya dialect. Over 200 of these contents attracted more than 10 million views each. The most popular content of the channel has 46 million views on Facebook and 13 million views on YouTube.
'Hajaro Prabad-Prabachane Chatga' by Alamgir Apu will further enhance the journalist's commendable mission of conserving the rich Chatgaiya dialect and the region's culture.
But the book is also a great source for any Bangalee reader to learn about the dialect and its authentic proverbs. The book lists the proverbs in the original pronunciation and provides translations in standard Bangla.
'Hajaro Prabad-Prabachane Chatga' was published by C Plus. It is available from Batighor in Chattogram city, and also from the C Plustv's office.