‘Jalali Koitar’ faces extinction

Published : 26 Mar 2023 10:28 PM

Sylhet is known as the holy land of 360 Aulia. Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) is one of the pirs and dervishes who are buried in the soil of Sylhet. A flock of pigeons that came with Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) became Jalali pigeons after his name. 

But in the regional language of Sylhet, it is widely known as 'Jalali Koitar'. A large number of visitors come to the Mazar every day to visit and see Jalali pigeons.

But the symbol of 700 years of tradition, the pigeon is losing its existence today. Jalali pigeons are going to disappear due to various reasons including the construction of different Mazar buildings, catching and eating Jalali pigeons, and lack of food.

Rubel, a resident of the Mazar Gate area, said the Jalali pigeon is part of Sylhet's spiritual heritage. Once I used to see a lot of Jalali pigeons in the Mazar. Only Jalali pigeons could be seen in each hut of the Mazar. But now that scene is no longer seen. Different pigeons are now seen in Mazar hut.

Rabiul who came to visit the shrine said, I came from Dhaka to visit the Mazar. I have heard a lot about Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) and his Jalali Pigeon. I have come to the Mazar several times before. Back then the number of Jalali pigeons was very high. But this time I see this number is much less. I can see many native pigeons. I do not understand the reason. Quick steps must be taken to keep alive this traditional symbol of Sylhet, otherwise, this pigeon will disappear someday.

Fateh Ullah Al Aman, Mutawalli of Shahjalal (R.H.) Darga Mazar said that it is true that the number of Jalli pigeons has decreased a lot. Some other species of pigeons come along with Jalali pigeons in the Mazar. We occasionally remove other species of pigeons. To protect the Jalali pigeon, we all have to play a conscious role.

Sylhet Agricultural University Genetics and Animal Breeding Department teacher Prof. Nazmul Haque said that humans are at the root of the Jalali pigeon extinction. There was a time when this Jalali pigeon was roaming in different parts of the city. 

So wherever people found them, they would catch them and eat them. This is a reason. Another reason is the lack of food. The food served at the Mazar is very meager and lacks nutrition.

He said Jalali pigeons are very good-natured so they have less disease than other pigeons. Pigeons of this species can come for food from a long distance. Although the Jalali pigeon is not a distinct species, it has distinct characteristics. People's ignorance and their homes are being destroyed in different places. Mainly because of these reasons that the Jalali pigeon is going towards extinction.

Nazmul Haque also said that the Jalali pigeon is very similar to the native pigeon. If they are not disturbed and provided with suitable habitat, these pigeons will return to their former stage within a few days. And he thinks it is necessary to take initiative to save this pigeon now.