Two Cities: Not So Different, Not So Similar

From the last year, my life has been roaming around two cities. The cities are Dhaka and Chittagong. Whenever people ask me to where I belong, I get so confused. Dhaka is where I was born and had been my current address till August 14, 2010. It is the place where my dearest family and friends reside. On the other hand, Chittagong is the place where I’m studying and living since 15 August, 2010. This is the place where I have got a bunch of international, crazzy, talented, and “creative” girls around me. This is the place where I have freedom and also the pressure of survival. Both of the cities have individual environments, different types of people and distinct lifestyle. Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh, but Chittagong is known as the commercial capital of Bangladesh. On the other hand, both cities give the impression of city life. So, Chittagong and Dhaka have differences while having much in common and my this post is all about Dhaka and Chittagong, and their difference and similarities.

A Chittagong evening
A busy circle in Dhaka

Firstly, the differences and similarities considering infrastructure between the two cities appear when someone visits them. Dhaka covers a vast area of consisting 17 districts, whereas Chittagong is a bit smaller than Dhaka, consisting 11 districts. Dhaka has flat roads and streets, for it is situated in a flat land; however, Chittagong is a hill tract and that’s why its roads and streets are inclined. Dhaka has concrete roads and streets, just as Chittagong has. Dhaka is more politically active compared to Chittagong because politics of Bangladesh is mainly based on Dhaka. When Dhaka is called the capital of Bangladesh, Chittagong is called the biggest sea port here. Chittagong has its separate branches of different educational institutions, universities, shopping malls, and fashion houses, while Dhaka is the location of their main branches or head offices. So, if someone transfers from one city to the other, he or she will not miss any particular business or educational center. Because of having same institutions, the two cities are similarly important to the people. So, the differences in infrastructure is not so severe in these two cities that it makes one better than the other.

Secondly, the environment is a huge difference between Dhaka and Chittagong. Dhaka has a vast population of approximately 150 million, while Chittagong has only 2.5 million of people. For the vast population Dhaka seems more crowded and packed, whereas Chittagong is more vacant. For covering a vast area, Dhaka has more vehicles, cars, and buses than Chittagong. Huge numbers of vehicles create more fumes and pollution. It is difficult to have a gust of fresh air in this city. On the contrary, Chittagong has a greener and pleasant atmosphere, where a person can enjoy a life free from stinky and poisonous air. Subsequently, traffic jam and pollution is more severe in Dhaka compared with Chittagong. Day by day, Dhaka is becoming a concrete jungle because of dense high-rise buildings, towers and business centers compared to Chittagong. Still, both of the cities are beautiful. Chittagong has several lakes and hills, which make it naturally beautiful. On the other hand, Dhaka has flyovers, monuments, plazas, modern architectures, and gardens, which make it architecturally enriched.

Finally, there are several differences and similarities considering people and their lifestyle between these two cities. People in Chittagong are more conservative, while Dhaka’s are more liberal. People, who are the permanent dwellers of Chittagong, are very traditional. They marry off their daughters as soon as they finish their high school. Girls wearing jeans and modern attire are not seen more often in the roads of Chittagong. On the other side, most of the people in Dhaka are more free-minded and practical. It does not mean that they are forgetful to their culture, but they are more liable to be ”glocalized”, which means to borrow from other cultures while holding on to their own culture. In addition, Chittagong is well-known for its diversity as it is a hill tract and it has different tribes and ethnicities, such as –Chakma, Marma, Rakhain, Murong and Khashia. Dhaka does not have different tribes, but it is also true that people from all over Bangladesh gather at Dhaka for jobs, education and other purposes. So, Chittagong is more like a salad bowl, where people of different cultures live together, while Dhaka is more like a melting pot, where people from different places and cultures mix up with each other and have the same lifestyle. In both of the cities, people can be divided according to their economic background; for example, rich, upper-middle class, lower-middle class and poor. As a result, though these two cities are different considering people and their lifestyle, the living standard is all the same.

At last, because of the similarities between Dhaka and Chittagong, it does not matter a lot to stay in either of the cities. On the other hand, a person will start to identify the differences as he or she will explore the cities more. In spite of the differences and similarities, people from all over Bangladesh aspire to live in either of the cities because there they have more opportunities to prosper in life. Though the two cities are situated in the same country, they have vast differences considering environment, lifestyle and people, which shows the cities’ individuality.

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2 thoughts on “Two Cities: Not So Different, Not So Similar

  1. Nice description of both cities.. i love dhaka but love to have a environment like Chittagong here because it’s hard get some fresh air and a pleasant weather in Dhaka………

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