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    Volume 9 Issue 9 | February 26, 2010|

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To save the language of the martyrs


I do not partake in today's discussion to beat my own drums, although one has little choice, as there is big suspicion these days if you beat that of others. Naughty people term it as 'oiling'.

The fact is I am heartened to see that this ekushey the government as well as some others taking a laudable stance against the corruption of Bangla by a section of our media about which I was chintito many moons ago; in fact not even in the month of February but in October 2007.

On 16 February 2010 Bangla daily Janakantha carried a story on how the local FM radio stations are broadcasting programmes with a hotchpotch of Bangla and English words. As an example the peace began with the line: 'Now aamra choley jaabey song-e, ekhon shunben song number five, so listeners ebaar stay korun aamader radio station 88.4 FM'.

The very next day the government explained its position at a meeting of reps from FM radio and private tv channels: if the distortion of Bangla is not stopped the government would go for hardline action, and that the government was willing to cooperate with those concerned in stopping this deformation. There cannot be a fairer offer.

This distortion and misuse of languages is a serious threat to Bangla, the establishment for which many made the supreme sacrifice, and in commemoration of which the United Nations declared 21 February as the International Mother's Day.

Here follows extracts from Chintito 26 October 2007 'Not much foorti on radio today':

Eighty-eight or eighty nine, almost every single arjey has the similar sing-song theme, different names though, and to a great extent the same happy-don't-care attitude, and a highly Banglicised accent, more or less. Es-em-es after es-em-es keep flowing in conveying feelings that are supposedly matters of immense interest, one can only presume, to a section of listeners who are interested in thumping music only, 24x7x60.

The radio stations may have targeted younger people for whatever reason, but to be honest the seniors should have more quality time to spend on what runs in the ether of their times. As far as the music and compeering for the juvenile are concerned, the radios do a reasonably good job.

But is this the right use of our radio? Such a powerful tool, as it is. Is there nothing that we want to hear on radio deeper than romantic lyrics of some popular songs? Or, for that matter, who has what vibes for whom. Do they the listeners and those who phone-in not deserve to discuss the more serious pursuits of life? The future? Career? Family life? Social behaviour? Our War of Liberation? Our heroes of the day? Their heroics? Our upcoming talents? Energy issues? Health? Mother and child? The economy? How the young of today, their very target group, shall tomorrow lead this nation?

Now it is all very easy to say that there are other fora to reflect on and talk about such matters. The point is a radio station (when there are only two) cannot be twenty-four hours dedicated to a particular brand of people, nor can it be exclusively wasted on fun and frolics. There is more to life to than entertainment, for even amusement requires the backing of a sound health and solid economy.

To further the slow damage of our youth, a radio station has a bizarre fascination for alien songs, Hindi, Urdu, English, you name it. Arrey Bhai! This is a radio station broadcasting from Dhaka. While applying for a government permit they must have committed to herald the culture of this timeless nation. They should have been granted the right to broadcast in this country based on their resolve to represent Bangladesh in mind, body and soul, in politics and culture, in news and views. One wonders the basis of their audacity and wisdom in ushering in quite unnecessarily tu agar kabhi bhi jaye...

If our local TV channels, so many of them, can successfully run for years without the aid of their bideshi counterparts, then why should these radios have to rely so much on hum-tum, and idhar-udhar? Can you imagine one single radio station in any of the even SAARC countries, despite the brotherhood, to be even intermittently playing Bangla songs of Bangladeshi artistes? Unthinkable, tai na! And here, a radio station does it as if they were broadcasting from the roof top of some town in Maharashtra or a cave in NWFP. This is not on.

Foorti or not foorti, today or tomorrow, radio or TV, there is no reason whatsoever to play alien songs as a routine on our local radio stations. That is not why this nation has sacrificed so much for so long. That is not why the government of Bangladesh granted the broadcasting license. This is the time to rectify. Please.




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