Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday stressed the need for paying a special attention to further spread Bangla literature and culture in the world arena.
“We’re Bangaleess. Our cultural practices will also continue. We’ve to pay a special attention so that our literature and culture could be spread further to the international stage,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this while distributing the Ekushey Padak-2020, the second highest civilian award, at a ceremony organised by the Cultural Affairs Ministry at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city.
Sheikh Hasina said though there is need to learn other languages, the own language (mother tongue) should not be forgotten. Many people have to stay abroad for many reasons, but they’ll always have to respect the mother tongue, she said.
“Ekush (February 21) has taught us not to bow down. Ekush taught us the sense of self-esteem,” she said.
Noting that the bloodshed on February 21, 1952 paved the way for independence in 1971, she said, “Ekush is a very glorious day for us. We want our next generation to know this glorious history,” she said.
Focusing on the contributions of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the Language Movement, the Prime Minister said the Father of the Nation had to face imprisonment and harassments again and again for going to wage this movement.
“Following his (Bangabandhu’s) proposal, the ‘Sorbodolio Rashtrabhasha Bangla Sangram Parishad’ (All Party State Language Bangla Action Council) had been formed at the Fazlul Huq Hall of Dhaka University, comprising Chhatra League, Tamuddin Majish and several other progressive student organizations on the 2nd March (1948) for the movement to get the recognition of the Bangla as a state language,” she said.
Then the 11th March had been announced as the Bangla State Language Demand Day, she said adding that the 11th March had initially been observed as the Language Day.
The role of Bangabandhu in the Language Movement can be learnt from the Unfinished Memoirs of Bangabandhu where the Father of the Nation wrote how he had waged the Language Movement, said Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu.
“But unfortunately once attempts were made to erase his name completely from the Language Movement,” she said.
She said the Secret Documents of the Intelligence Branch on the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is being published in 14 volumes with the reports of Pakistani intelligence over Bangabandhu submitted from 1948 to 1971.
The book will be a great source of history of Bangladesh, she said adding that the four volumes of this book have already been published.
No-one published the intelligence reports given against their leader in any country of the world, the Prime Minister said she is publishing the full reports of intelligence over Bangabandhu so that people can know facts as an ill-attempt continued for long to distort the history.
Assuming power in 1996, Sheikh Hasina said, Awami League government placed a proposal before the United Nations and sent necessary papers to the UN members to get the international recognition of the February 21 supporting an initiative taken by late Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam as well as some others expatriate Bangladeshis.
“As a result, UNESCO on 17 November 1999 unanimously recognised 21 February as the International Mother Language Day,” she said.
She said her government established International Mother Language Institute to conduct researches on the genesis and development of all languages in the world and preserving these as many mother tongues across the world are getting lost.
The Prime Minister said her government wants Bangladesh to be built as a developed and prosperous ‘Sonar Bangla’. “We’re Bangalees. We, being Bangalees, will move ahead raising our heads in the world arena,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina distributed the prestigious award among 20 eminent personalities and an organisation in recognition of their contributions to various fields.
Aminul Islam Badsha (posthumous) was given the award for his role in the Language Movement.
Begum Dalia Nowshin, Shankar Roy and Mita Haque were recognised for their contributions to music while Golam Mostafa Khan, SM Mohsin and Prof Dr Farida Zaman for dance, performing arts and fine arts respectively.
Hazi Akhter Sarder (posthumous), Abdul Jabbar (posthumous) and Dr AAM Mesbahul Haque (posthumous) were given the award for their roles in the Liberation War, while journalist Zafar Wazed (Ali Wazed Zafar) for his contribution to journalism, Dr Jahangir Alam, Hafez Qwari Syed Saifur Rahman Nizami Shah and Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute for their roles in research, and Prof Dr Bikiran Prasad Barua for education.
Prof Dr Shamsul Alam and Sufi Mohammad Mizanur Rahman got the award for making contributions to economy and social service respectively, while Dr Nurun Nabi, Sikder Aminul Haque (posthumous) and Nazmun Nesa Piari for their contribution to language and literature, and Prof Dr Sayeba Akhter for contribution to the medical science.
Each recipient will get a gold medal, a certificate and a cheque for Tk 2 lakh.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid presided over the function.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam read out the citations of the award recipients and conducted the function, while Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal delivered the welcome speech.
Cabinet members, PM’s advisers, judges, parliament members, foreign diplomats, litterateurs, poets, academics, writers, poets, journalists, Ekushey Award laureates of previous years and high civil and military officials attended the function.
On February 5, the Cultural Affairs Ministry announced the names of the recipients of the ‘Ekushey Award’ introduced in memory of the martyrs of the Language Movement of 1952.