We wear a badge of pride with our culture, heritage and self-identity. Moving from January into February, with our finest hour in December freshly behind us, we rediscover our identity and self-image in a cyber world. It is part an academic renewal and part potentially inspirational in coping with the contemporary challenges.
Bangladesh is about the most linguistically, culturally and ethnically homogeneous country in the world with, what some political scientists phrase as 'guaranteed survivability' (climate change being a formidable distraction though!). But the irony is that politics has often played foul with it. Settled facts were unsettled at the altar of political expediency or a cultural agenda as semantic controversies were peddled into national thought-process. All this simulated an identity crisis where there is none. And it's the youth, the largest proportion of our population and the potential powerhouse for our future who are the worst loser in the bargain. They are confused and have become escapist. They feel alienated. A crisis of identity can bring a crisis of confidence.
We know, they are struggling to find their place and pace at home and in the world outside. Many of them, too, have done us proud by excelling at the world level in various fields undaunted by odds. They are the torch-bearers of the soil that nurtured them. As for the large Bangladeshi Diaspora, they need to cultivate our heritage and transmit respect for our culture to the next generation. And how much more will the young benefit from a stronger sense of identity!
In this issue of Forum, we have had cultural and media analysts, some with a world view, add their perspectives to a better understanding of our culture and heritage. From branding Bangladesh with our culture to emphasising distinctiveness of our identity to fusion of spirituality via Sufism to looking at the cultural activism scene through 'an altered prism', the fare is extensive and, in some parts, stirringly thought-provoking.
We have also emphasised the place of English in pursuit of knowledge and to better connect with the living world. Could we have been less than mindful of the cricket World Cup launch? In all, from the gravitas to the light, we hope, we have offered an engaging intellectual mix.