Noted educationist and prominent writer Professor Muntasir Mamun stressed the need to uphold the spirit of 'Ekushey February' (Language Movement Day) and thereby promote secularism. 'Ekushey' teaches us to keep our heads aloft, said Professor Mamun. He was addressing a gathering as the chief guest at the Ekushey Book Fair in Pabna last Tuesday night.
The three-week book fair was inaugurated on February 6. The fair features discussions and cultural programmes everyday. Around 25 new books have been published at the fair, organised by the Ekushey Book Fair Celebration Committee (EBFCC).
On the third day of the fair, erudite personalities participated in a discussion. Apart from Professor Muntasir Mamun, noted educationalist and writer Professor Mezbah Kamal and Chairman of Dhaka Community Hospital Dr. Quazi Qamruzzaman spoke as the special guests.
Chief Executive Officer of Pabna Zila Parishad Mohammad Abdullah Al Mamun chaired the discussion. Freedom fighter Baby Islam, noted politician of the district Mohammad Saidul Haque Chunnu, secretary of Indigenous Movement (Adibashi Andolon) Rakhi Mrong and journalist Sarwar Ullash also spoke on the occasion.
“Ekushey does not just signify a day. It refers to a spirit. It is the spirit of secularism, democracy and freedom. Following the spirit of Ekushey February, Bengalis learned to unite for democratic movements. Bangladesh was liberated in 1971 but the seeds of the Liberation War were rooted in Ekushey February,” said Professor Mamun.
Focusing on the importance of the Language Movement, the special guest Professor Mezbah Kamal emphasised the need to preserve the heritage of every mother language. There are 31 dialects in Bangladesh. Each is an asset and mother language for a community. We have to uphold our languages as they are the storehouse of cultural heritage, asserted Professor Mezbah Kamal. He went on to add that the Bengali people sacrificed their lives because the occupiers tried to take away the right to speak the mother language.
Later, the artistes of EBFCC and other cultural organisations rendered patriotic songs and performed dances. The fair drew hundreds of people, including those of the younger generation everyday.