Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


Bangla: Lost and found

We often hear about someone losing something valuable. It's a disconcerting experience for whoever goes through it. Hence, to have found that lost thing back again is a moment of special joy. Imagine that frown on your face when you suddenly cannot find and cannot remember where you put your favourite Nokia 6600, and imagine the joy of finding out that it was always in the inner pocket of your jacket.

But in the last few years, we Bengalis have lost something truly precious without being the least bit bothered about it. We lost the zeal for our very own mother tongue. The one thing that we Bengalis have that no one else has is the achievement of having fought and died for the right to the language that we speak and write. Alas, three decades is all that was needed to forget that pride and honour and give our language away to commercialism and vandalism. Mother tongue raped by globalisation and cheap popularity seekers.

Bengali, like any other rich and widely spoken language, has many dialects and many colloquial forms. Which other language would give you such a versatile vocabulary? For example, take the word “Ye”. This single word, can replace just about any other word that's on the tip of your tongue, but eluding you. It reflects the power and willingness on our part to express ourselves even we may not know the word we want to speak. But if we look at English, the second most widely spoken language (if not already taken over by Hindi), then the one word that may replace the versatility of “ye” is the famous F word. Such is the beauty of Bengali.

But to misuse such romanticism for one's language and distort it or highlight the distortion to make a laughing stock of it is utterly heinous. Yes, I am talking about the infamous Djuice Bengali that stormed through the country and presided over popular youth culture. Just imagine our everyday slang on the billboards all across the country and seen by people all over the world. Of course when we present ourselves to our guests or someone who doesn't share our everyday lives, it is rather gentlemanlike to present the best side and the tender-most nature to them. Similarly, when we expose our language to the world, isn't it right to highlight the beauty of it?

But the Djuice fiasco wasn't the only one that threatened to steal our pride of the language. If we turn on our TV sets to watch a Bengali drama, we get the same thing, our everyday drawing room Bengali exposed to the world. Maybe it is cool in the western world to advertise the “ghetto” language and the slang in the name of so-called cultural exposure, but not in our country.

There was a time, when acting in front of the television required an actor to have foremost control over speech, the delivery of it and the fluidity of Bengali as a part of their acting. Alas, now the actors just don't have time to master the script and the directors have also no time to focus on what is said. Now the directors just give a brief synopsis of what is to be said on camera and allows the actor to choose whatever way he or she can deliver it. Even the songs have become distorted in their use of lyrics.

Thanks to cable television, we have not only distorted our mother tongue, but have totally lost the jewels of the language, the idioms. Kids now are more into speaking some Hindi idioms. Hindi has entered our everyday language in such way, that I think almost all of friends (not to mention me too) can speak Hindi fluently without having had any education in Hindi whatsoever. Funny how the Indian people are complaining that they are losing their language to English due to satellite channels, while we are definitely losing our Bengali to Hindi.

But perhaps slowly we Bengalis are beginning to realize what we have lost. In the last one year or so, we have tried to recover some of what was lost. New bands have emerged with the promise to bring back the glory of our language, weaving melodies to beautiful use of Bengali lyrics to popularise again the formal Bengali that we ought to portray as our language, instead of our colloquialisms.

This month also brings upon us that opportunity. Ekushay doesn't only bring back memories of the glory of those who gave their lives for Bengali; it forces us to remember the promise that we owe to ourselves, to take our mother tongue in the forefront of world's spoken languages.

The book fair makes it possible for writers to again spin words in solemn style that personifies Bengali, making Bengali literature all the more richer for us. For a change, let the youth read at least one poem by Rabindronath or Nazrul Let everyman walk towards the Shahid Minar with a hand on their heart. Let Ekushey be the guiding light to find what we have lost.

By Monty Python

Somewhere in blogland

The lines flow from your pen. It's real poetry!!! You want everyone to read it (obviously). You decide to upload it to your blog and that's when the snag pulls. The poetry is in Bangla and you have no idea how to upload the poem to your blog. Sad isn't it?

Well hopefully the language barrier between the Internet and Bangla will be removed by one of the most unique sites to hit the Internet, www.somewhereinblog.net . The unique thing about this site is that it offers bloggers the choice of using either Bangla or English or both when posting on their blogs, that way expressing yourself won't be hindered in any way. We've all heard of great blogs by English writers, maybe now it's time that talented Bangladeshi writers joined in all the fun and introduced our language into the cyber world. I know one blogger who had his book published (now available in the Boi Mela) through his blog.

There are also more features than just the introduction of Bangla in the blogging world. Typing Bangla is also a problem for a lot of people. However somewherein… fixes that problem so that you can type whatever you want to type. All you have to do is to type the Bangla word you want in English. For example: Amar nam…. Type that and exactly that phrase will appear on the screen only in Bangla. Nifty isn't it?

We've all heard of big name websites earning big sums of money. Somewherein… blogs are like your own website from which you can actually earn. Say your blog gets a lot of traffic, then you can sell your advertising space to any sponsor for whatever amount you wish and for that advertising space you only need to pay a minimal amount to somewherein… Also there's a SMS comments system through which readers can post their comments directly to the website. For each SMS your blog gets you get a portion of the money earned from the message. More messages mean more money. A very cool way of earning a bit of that much needed extra pocket money.

Somewherein… commenced its operations sometime in the middle of 2006 and already it's got a huge number of participants. On the 18th they held a seminar to bring more awareness of this exceptional website. There the immense potential of this site was discussed mostly centered on spreading this site to the more rural parts of the country. If you've already become bored of Blogspot and others somewherein… offers a whole new blogging experience that you should try out.

By Tareq

2nd Annual Art Exhibition of Cubic school of Fine Arts

On Friday morning, February 16th throngs of excited students and their proud parents gathered in the premises of the Cubic School of Fine Arts in Gulshan for the 2nd Annual Art Exhibition of the school. The atmosphere was jubilant with the scores of children excited and eager to view their displayed works. The ambassador of the European Union, Dr. Stephen Frowein was present as chief guest and inaugurated the exhibition. He aptly pointed out in his opening speech that 'art is a truly human form of expression and which, across all our differences reminds us of our commonness'. He praised the school for providing good facilities and training for interested people to develop their artistic skills.

There were 42 displayed works of art ranging in medium from oil pastels to water colours, pencil and pen sketches and oil painting. The school is for anyone above the age of four, so along with the majority of the children's paintings there were works by teens and adults displayed separately. The exhibition specially helped to inspire the children and bring out their talents in art. The children's paintings were amazing. Despite their young age, they displayed amazing use of color, figures and sceneries, which enthralled everyone. This wonderful opportunity was created by Mujahidul Hassan Rana, the Director of the Academy. The exhibition will continue till the 22nd of February from 11 am to 7 pm at the school's premises in Road#72, House#3/A, Gulshan-2.

By Subehee Ahmed

A Tragic End

Isolated, dejected, helpless and one
She looked for respite in the heavens above
A burden of heavy upon her heart
She looked souless and clueless and many more
It all had begun when she was in love
She had everything from dedication to devotion and all
What more could she had asked for i say
When love had filled her heart with glee
But time is man's worst enemy
She lost her love, her life, her dreams
She took it badly, she took it with grief
Her heart torn apart, her soul shattered
He died and he left
Without saying goodbye
No last wishes or a warm smile
Memories still lingers in her broken heart
And she waits for his return
On every other day.
By Hedayetullah A Solenkhi (kaiser)


Love that filled my eyes was a betrayal.
Love that was expected to give life turned out to be a life snatcher.
Love on which I had faith turned out to be unfaithful.
Love which I trusted turned out to be dishonest.
Love that filled my life with laughter and joy gave me sorrow.
Love which I used to be proud of stabbed my back.
The love about which I read in books deceived me.
The love that I dreamt about existed in fairy tales.
The love that turned my tears into stones is the harsh reality of this bitter world.
By Nahreen Rahman


home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star