Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday stressed the need for more translations of Bangla literature as her government wants to spread it across the world.
“We want to spread our art, literature and culture not only across our country but also to the international stage by improving those further,” she said while inaugurating the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2020 in the city.
The fair began on the Bangla Academy premises and at its adjoining Suhrawardy Udyan in the city.
Stressing the need for more translations of Bangla literature, the Prime Minister said, “We want the people of different languages of the world to know about our literature and our culture. Bangladesh Academy has taken enough initiatives to this end.”
Sheikh Hasina lamented that now she cannot roam around the Ekushey book fair freely as she used to do in her student life.
Noting that this book fair is her favorite event, she said, “After becoming the Prime Minister, It always pains me that I don’t have the liberty anymore as I had in my student life when I used to spend hours after hours roaming the book fair. I feel very good whenever I visit the book fair.”
This year’s book fair has been dedicated to greatest Bengali of all-time and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the occasion of Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year).
The Prime Minister said her government wants to take Bangladesh forward in art, culture, and other areas. “We want Bangladesh to get respect as a dignified country in the world arena.”
Noting that Bangladesh attained huge progress in the last 10 years, she said now the country is considered as a role model of development in the world.
“We’re a victorious nation. We want to build the country so that we can move keeping our heads high as victorious nation in the world arena,” she said adding that her government wants to develop the country as poverty-, hunger-free ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.
Talking about the unveiled book titled ‘Amar Dekha Noya Chin’ written by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, the PM said when the Father of Nation, as a delegation member from the East Bengal (the then East Pakistan) had gone to Naya Chin (New China) to join a peace conference in 1952 and delivered his speech in Bangla at the conference.
Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, said the Father of the Nation had not been busy with only the conference, but also deeply observed the then lifestyle of the people of China, their socio-economic status, the changes in society and the Chinese government activities, which was reflected in the newly-published book.
In this book, Bangabandhu had not been merely a tourist, but also an observer, critic of bad things and admirer of good things, she said.
The Prime Minister said though the political leader (Bangabandhu) had gone to China after serving two and a half years’ jail and being badly subjected to torture by Pakistani rulers, he did not raise anything there against the torture and repression carried out by the Pakistan rulers.
“In his (Bangabandhu’s) book, he rather said we can’t discredit the country coming to a foreign land,” she said describing Bangabandhu as a very farsighted and tolerant leader.
But these days, she said, many people of the country feel encouraged raising wrongs issues before the foreigners.
Talking about Bangabandhu’s prediction about China, Hasina said the country has gradually reached where Bangabandhu had predicted.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also distributed the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar-2019 (Bangla Academy Literature Award) at the opening ceremony.
The award recipients are former Home Minister Rafiqul Islam (Literature on Liberation War), Makid Haider (Poetry), Wasi Ahmed (Literature), Swarochish Sarkar (Essay/Research), Khairul Alam Sabuj (Translation), Rahim Shah (Children’s Literature), Ratan Siddiqui (Drama), Nadira Majumder (Science Fiction), Faruk Moinuddin (Autobiography/Travelogue) and Simon Zakaria (Folklore).
Each winner received a cheque for Tk 3 lakh and crests.
Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar is given by the Bangla Academy of Bangladesh in recognition of creative genius in advancement and overall contribution to the field of Bengali language and literature.
Sheikh Hasina also unveiled a book titled ‘Amar Dekha Noya Chin’ written by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which is the most attractive book among 100 new books to be published on Bangabandhu’s life and works on his birth centenary.
The Bangla Academy has started publishing the 100 new books in phases in the Mujib Year.
Presided over by Bangla Academy President National Professor Anisuzzaman, the inaugural function was also addressed by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal and Bangla Academy Director General poet Habibullah Siraji.
Later, the Prime Minister visited different stalls of the book fair.
The fair will remain open from 3pm to 8:30pm on weekdays, from 11am to 8:30pm on weekends, and from 8am to 9pm on February 21 -- International Mother Language Day.
This year, the land earmarked for the fair was expanded to 8,00,000 sq ft. A total of 873 units were allocated to the 560 organisations.
The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organisatons and 694 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 694 organisations.
Every year the month-long book fair is arranged in February commemorating the sacrifices of eight people who laid down their lives on February 21, 1952 for establishing Bangla as the mother tongue.
This year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and its equivalent examinations under 10 education boards will begin across the country on Monday.
A total 20,47, 779 students are expected to take part in the SSC and equivalent examinations.
Among the candidates, 10,24,363 are male and 10,23,416 female. The examinations will be held at 3,512 centres in 28,884 institutions.
A total 1,635,240 candidates will sit for the SSC exam under nine general education boards, 281,254 for Dakhil exams under Madrasa Education Board and 131,285 for vocational exam under Bangladesh Technical Education Board this year.
Besides, 342 students will take part in the examination from abroad.
The examination was rescheduled to February 3 from February 1 to facilitate the deferment of the polls to the two Dhaka city corporations.
All the Bangladeshi citizens, brought back from China’s Wuhan on Saturday, are doing well, said Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Sunday.
“Seven of the returnees, now at Kurmitola General Hospital,and another at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), are fine;and those kept at the quarantine unit at Ashkona Hajj Camp are also fine. No-one is found affected by Coronavirus,” he said while talking to reporters at the secretariat.
The Bangladeshi citizens, kept at the quarantine unit at Ashkona Hajj Camp, have no scope to meet their relatives, said the minister.
Besides, the minister made a request to the Chinese citizens working in Bangladesh to refrain from travelling to China without any emergency at this moment.
A total of 312 Bangladeshi citizens were brought back from China’s Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, on Saturday morning.
Seven of them were sent to Kurmitola General Hospital and another to the CMH. The remaining 304 have been keptat the quarantine unit at Ashkona Hajj Camp.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has suspended the visa-on-arrival for Chinese nationals for one month as part of the government’s temporary policy following the outbreak of coronavirus, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Sunday.
At the same time, he said, the government has advised Chinese nationals living in Bangladesh to avoid visiting China during the same period.
Global coronavirus cases rose to nearly 14,380, surpassing that of the 2003 Sars epidemic, according to Chinese and World Health Organization data.
The majority of the cases have been reported from China but about 100 cases have been confirmed in 23 other countries. Bangladesh is yet to report any case.
Deaths caused by the new virus rose to at least 304 globally.
The High Court on Sunday directed the Public Administration Ministry to appoint five executive magistrates for the Department of Environment (DoE) within one month for conducting mobile courts.
The High Court bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahsan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader passed the order.
On January 13, the High Court summoned the director general of the DoE to appear before it on February 2 (today) to explain on air quality and of its manpower.
Following the HC order, the DoE DG appeared before the court today with the explanation.
Advocate Manzill Murshid appeared for the writ petitioner while Deputy Attorney General Abdullah-Al-Mahmud Bashar represented the state and Advocate Amatul Karim the DoE.
The DoE DG said that they arranged as a seminar on air pollution where experts and university teachers came up with several recommendations.
The DG presented the recommendations before the court.
Besides, the deputy attorney general presented several steps taken by DoE.
On May 9 last, the DoE requested the Public Administration Ministry to appoint five executive magistrates. The ministry appointed only one magistrate in Khulna.
After knowing the matter, the court ordered appointment of five magistrates within one month.
Besides, the HC ordered to submit a report within March 10 comprising experts’ opinion and higher committee’s recommendations to stop air pollution.
Earlier, on January 27 last, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) filed a writ petition attaching a report published in different newspapers on January 21 last year on air pollution in Dhaka.
On 28 January, the High Court ordered the DoE to conduct mobile court drives twice a week to take legal action against those responsible for air pollution in the capital.
The court also asked the authorities concerned to take steps to encircle areas undergoing development and repair any damaged areas within 15 days to check the spread of dust. It also ordered to spray water in ‘dusk-prone’ areas twice a day.
The mayors of the two city corporations, executive officers and the DoE director general was asked to submit a report within two weeks on implementation of the court order.
The court also issued a rule asking the government to explain as to why the inactiveness of the local administration to prevent air pollution should not be declared illegal and why the authorities concerned should not be directed to take effective measures to prevent air pollution in the capital.
The government has appointed Md Abu Zafar, currently serving as Bangladesh Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to United Nations Offices in Vienna, as the next Bangladesh Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Besides, Muhammad Abdul Muhith, currently serving as the Bangladesh Ambassador to Denmark, has been appointed as the next Bangladesh Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Offices and other International Organizations in Vienna.
Ambassador Zafar joined the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) Foreign Affairs cadre in 1991, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.
In his diplomatic career, he served in Bangladesh Missions in The Hague, Karachi, Los Angeles, Dubai and different wings at the headquarters in various capacities.
Ambassador Zafar obtained his BSc (Honours) degree in Agriculture from Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University and MBA in Banking in Finance from Preston University, USA (Overseas Campus) as well as Postgraduate Diploma in International Relations from the International Institute of Public Administration (IIAP), Paris.
Ambassador Muhith is a career foreign service officer who joined the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) Foreign Affairs cadre in 1993.
In his 27-year distinguished diplomatic career, Ambassador Muhith served in various capacities in the Bangladesh Missions in Kuwait, Rome, Doha, New York and Washington DC as well as at the headquarters in different wings.
Ambassador Muhith obtained his Master’s and Bachelor degrees in Sociology from Dhaka University.