February is a great month for the people of Bangladesh. The 21st day of this month is recognized as the International Mother language Day and so celebrated all over the world upholding the right of every person, race and nation to accomplish most activities in their own tongue. Even since long before this international recognition, Ekushey February has been a major event in our national life across the country. For years now, addition of book fair has made this into a day-, week- or month-long celebration in hundreds of places in the country. In the same way, Kashinathpur and its adjacent places spreading over Bera, Santhia and Sujanagar upazillas in Pabna adorns a new festive look with book fairs, cultural activities and programs on the state of language. Proyas and Nopom (Nobojagoron Pathak Mela) at Kashinathpur and Sagarkandi respectively organized weeks- and days-long book fair with seminar, art camp for children, children's cultural activities etc.

Proyas Book Fair-2024 consisted of book stalls, seminars and cultural performances on a playground in Kashinathpur. On 21st February the seminar organized by Shaheed Nurul Hossain Degree College was attended by Dr Md. Adbdul Majid, Associate Professor of Bangla at Govt. Edward College, Akhtar Zaman, a story writer and Associate Professor of Chemistry at Pabna Govt. Women's College and others including me. The main paper was presented by Md. Mahbub Hossain, Assistant Professor of Bangla at Shaheed Nurul Hossain Degree College. The speakers not only reflected on the history and significance of the language movement, also emphasized the need for giving due place to Bangla in our education, judiciary, health sector, all state activities and even our day to day lives. They also said that all languages existing in Bangladesh and all over the world should be respected duly by every person and state.

Nopom Foundation, led by poet Rejaul Karim Sheikh, who recently won the Joy Bangla Youth Award, organized a 3-day long book fair with art camp for children, free health camp, cultural competitions for children in the fields of recitation, music, debate, etc., award giving, cultural performances and discussions by writers attending from different corners of the country. Sanjay Sharma, an artist from Delhi, also have joined them in conducting the art camp for children. At Kutum Art Camp organized by a group of young artists, Children drew pictures, made toy items with clay, paper etc. Children from many neighboring schools came to take part in the daylong cultural competition. On the 29 February afternoon I was present in the discussion program.

This is quite remarkable that young people in many corners of the country are engaged in doing lots of good things like the book fair, celebration of the Language Martyrs' Day, organizing seminars on the language movement, cultural programs, publishing little mags on this occasion and so many other things. It is interesting to know that Ekushey February is such a day in Bangladesh as creates a surge of great emotion from the depths of hearts of people from all walks of life. Yet, the question arises, are we sincere in remembering our language heroes who laid down their lives 72 years ago confronting the police shooting in order to make Bangla a state language?

Has Bangla now become the language the kind of which those language martyrs and their leading comrades dreamt of in that period? Bangla has been the language of Bangladesh since its independence in 1971, true. But which language is truly ruling Bangladesh, the land of Bengali?

The writer is Editor, Biggan O Sangskriti

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