Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday stressed the need for more translations of Bangla literature as her government wants to spread it across the world.
“We want to spread our art, literature and culture not only across our country but also to the international stage by improving those further,” she said while inaugurating the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2020 in the city.
The fair began on the Bangla Academy premises and at its adjoining Suhrawardy Udyan in the city.
Stressing the need for more translations of Bangla literature, the Prime Minister said, “We want the people of different languages of the world to know about our literature and our culture. Bangladesh Academy has taken enough initiatives to this end.”
Sheikh Hasina lamented that now she cannot roam around the Ekushey book fair freely as she used to do in her student life.
Noting that this book fair is her favorite event, she said, “After becoming the Prime Minister, It always pains me that I don’t have the liberty anymore as I had in my student life when I used to spend hours after hours roaming the book fair. I feel very good whenever I visit the book fair.”
This year’s book fair has been dedicated to greatest Bengali of all-time and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the occasion of Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year).
The Prime Minister said her government wants to take Bangladesh forward in art, culture, and other areas. “We want Bangladesh to get respect as a dignified country in the world arena.”
Noting that Bangladesh attained huge progress in the last 10 years, she said now the country is considered as a role model of development in the world.
“We’re a victorious nation. We want to build the country so that we can move keeping our heads high as victorious nation in the world arena,” she said adding that her government wants to develop the country as poverty-, hunger-free ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.
Talking about the unveiled book titled ‘Amar Dekha Noya Chin’ written by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu, the PM said when the Father of Nation, as a delegation member from the East Bengal (the then East Pakistan) had gone to Naya Chin (New China) to join a peace conference in 1952 and delivered his speech in Bangla at the conference.
Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu, said the Father of the Nation had not been busy with only the conference, but also deeply observed the then lifestyle of the people of China, their socio-economic status, the changes in society and the Chinese government activities, which was reflected in the newly-published book.
In this book, Bangabandhu had not been merely a tourist, but also an observer, critic of bad things and admirer of good things, she said.
The Prime Minister said though the political leader (Bangabandhu) had gone to China after serving two and a half years’ jail and being badly subjected to torture by Pakistani rulers, he did not raise anything there against the torture and repression carried out by the Pakistan rulers.
“In his (Bangabandhu’s) book, he rather said we can’t discredit the country coming to a foreign land,” she said describing Bangabandhu as a very farsighted and tolerant leader.
But these days, she said, many people of the country feel encouraged raising wrongs issues before the foreigners.
Talking about Bangabandhu’s prediction about China, Hasina said the country has gradually reached where Bangabandhu had predicted.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also distributed the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar-2019 (Bangla Academy Literature Award) at the opening ceremony.
The award recipients are former Home Minister Rafiqul Islam (Literature on Liberation War), Makid Haider (Poetry), Wasi Ahmed (Literature), Swarochish Sarkar (Essay/Research), Khairul Alam Sabuj (Translation), Rahim Shah (Children’s Literature), Ratan Siddiqui (Drama), Nadira Majumder (Science Fiction), Faruk Moinuddin (Autobiography/Travelogue) and Simon Zakaria (Folklore).
Each winner received a cheque for Tk 3 lakh and crests.
Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar is given by the Bangla Academy of Bangladesh in recognition of creative genius in advancement and overall contribution to the field of Bengali language and literature.
Sheikh Hasina also unveiled a book titled ‘Amar Dekha Noya Chin’ written by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which is the most attractive book among 100 new books to be published on Bangabandhu’s life and works on his birth centenary.
The Bangla Academy has started publishing the 100 new books in phases in the Mujib Year.
Presided over by Bangla Academy President National Professor Anisuzzaman, the inaugural function was also addressed by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal and Bangla Academy Director General poet Habibullah Siraji.
Later, the Prime Minister visited different stalls of the book fair.
The fair will remain open from 3pm to 8:30pm on weekdays, from 11am to 8:30pm on weekends, and from 8am to 9pm on February 21 -- International Mother Language Day.
This year, the land earmarked for the fair was expanded to 8,00,000 sq ft. A total of 873 units were allocated to the 560 organisations.
The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organisatons and 694 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 694 organisations.
Every year the month-long book fair is arranged in February commemorating the sacrifices of eight people who laid down their lives on February 21, 1952 for establishing Bangla as the mother tongue.