Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the book fair, joining the inaugural ceremony at the Bangla Academy virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban on Thursday, Mar 18, 2021. Photo: PID
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the new generation to develop the habit of reading books.
“People can learn history and culture, know about themselves and others as well as enrich others (knowledge) informing about themselves through literatures,” she said while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2021.
The Prime Minister opened the book fair, joining the inaugural ceremony at the Bangla Academy virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban in the afternoon.
The fair, which was postponed during its traditional month of February amid the coronavirus pandemic, began at the Bangla Academy premises and the adjacent venue at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital.
She asked all to be sincere so that book reading continues. “Let’s come forward to develop the habit of book reading and encourage our next generation about it (this practice),” she added.
The Prime Minister directed the Bangla Academy to strengthen its book translation activities to create scope for the people of the country to know about the history and culture of other nations in the world as well as raise the own culture before other nations.
“We can learn about everything – literatures and history of many nations — of the world by translating literature,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina asked the Bangla Academy to continue the translation of Bengali books into other languages and foreign literature into Bengali language.
“Now it’s a global village. So, there’s a scope to know each other. There shouldn’t only be trade and business but also know cultural practices, literature, history and all other things. And books give us this scope,” she said.
This year’s fair has been dedicated to the memories of the martyrs of 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh. The main theme of the 2021 fair is “Birth Centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Golden Jubilee of Independence”.
The Prime Minister unveiled the cover of ‘New China 1952’, the official English version of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman written book ‘Amar Dekha Noya Chin’, published by Bangla Academy.
She distributed the Bangla Academy Literary Award 2020 among recipients at the inaugural ceremony.
On behalf of the Prime Minister, State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid handed over the awards to the recipients.
The awardees are actress Ferdousi Mazumder (autobiography), poet Muhammad Samad (poetry), Imtiaj Shamim (literary fiction), Begum Akhtar Kamal (essay/research), Suresh Ranjan Basak (translation), Rabiul Alam (drama), Anjir Liton (children’s literature), Sahida Begum (research on Liberation War), Aparesh Bandhopaddhaya (science fiction) and Muhammad Habibullah Pathan (folklore).
President of Bangla Academy Prof Shamsuzzaman Khan chaired the inaugural event, while Cultural Affairs Secretary M Badrul Arefin, Director General Habibullah Sirajee and President of Academic and Creative Publishers’ Association of Bangladesh Farid Ahmed spoke on the occasion.
Noting that February 21 was declared as the International Mother Language Day due to her government timely action, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh got recognition for the protection of not only Bangla rather all mother tongues across the world.
She said the government also established International Mother Language Institute to this end. “So, we need not only to pay attention to our mother tongue but also know other languages. This is why translation is very essential for us. I always ask the Bangla Academy to create scope so that we can learn the literatures of other countries.”
Because, she said, anyone can get the scope to learn about lifestyle, history and many other things of others (countries) by reading their literature.
Mentioning that the appeal of books will remain there, she said if any message can be conveyed to people through literature, its effectiveness would last for a long in the hearts of people.
Though books now can be read through electronic gazettes like mobile phone, tab and other electronic and digital devices, the appeal of (manual) books will never end, said the Prime Minister.
Alongside translation of books, the Prime Minister stressed the need for conducting research on languages further.
Sheikh Hasina recalled the contributions of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the Language Movement. But once there was an attempt to erase the name of the Father of the Nation from the movement of making Bangla as the state language, which is very unfortunate, she said.
The Prime Minister urged the possible visitors of the Ekushey Book Fair to follow health protection protocols amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“No one should think that they all are protected after being vaccinated,” she said asking all to use masks and take other precautions.