DhakaSeeking solidarity and unity against various forms of injustice and moral policing that continues to stifle artistic expression across the country, a number of cultural organizations and personalities gathered Tuesday in front of the Bangladesh National Museum in the capital. ‘Shilpir Pashe’, a unified body speaking against oppression faced by artists, arranged the solidarity event where they urged that the targeted media campaign against artists be put to a halt. The event was joined by a large group of noted cultural activists who echoed the unity against oppressions through a protest rally, songs and dance recitals, poem recitations, live paintings and street plays. Eminent thespian Mamunur Rashid, Secretary General of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation Kamal Bayezid and Ganajagaran Mancha activist Akramul Haque spoke at the event, voicing their concerns while Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee President Shahriar Kabir, human rights activist and Nijera Kori coordinator Khushi Kabir virtually joined and spoke, expressing their solidarity with the protest. “Throughout history, we have seen how the cultural activists have played vital roles in every political and social revolution - however, they rarely received their deserved recognition for their contributions to society. Many of our folk singers and artists representing other sectors have been bullied, imprisoned and tortured, which is unacceptable and I sincerely implore everyone to stand with these artists against these oppressions," Mamunur Rashid said at the event.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal proposed allocating Tk 587 crore for the cultural affairs ministry on Thursday, as part of his announcement of the fiscal 2021-22 budget. The allocation is Tk 8 crore more than the elapsing budget for fiscal 2020-21. The amount is 0.098 per cent of the proposed deficit national budget of Tk 6,03,681 crore. Also read: New budget unveiled with focus on protecting lives and livelihoods However, cultural activists expressed disappointment over the total allocation, saying that the amount needs to be at least 1 percent of the total budget. "More than 500 theatre organizations under our Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation believe that more money should have been allocated to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs as we, the cultural activists, have constantly been fighting against all odds, upholding the spirit of our glorious Liberation War," Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation said in a press statement. Also read: New budget: Tracking prices going up and down "We urge the government not to push the nation backwards by demotivating the cultural sector with this allocation, rather it should increase the percentage of the total allocation in the proposed budget", they added.
German language school and cultural organization Gothe-Institut Bangladesh has launched a funding initiative titled “Futures beyond the Self” for all Bangladeshi artists/artistes, art collectives, cultural activists, and cultural organizations for their innovative projects.
Ministry of Cultural Affairs has so far distributed Tk 6.66 cr among the unemployed and insolvent cultural activists who have become unemployed amid the coronavirus pandemic.