Inclusive commemoration of Ekushey  

| Updated: February 23, 2023 21:28:20

Inclusive commemoration of Ekushey   

No nation in the world history has an achievement of the order of Amor (eternal) Ekushey so far as the love and sacrifice for mother tongue is concerned. Paradoxically, few peoples, particularly their educated class, are as casual as the Bangalees in its use in everyday life, in administration and court proceedings. More importantly, the nation has miserably failed to offer higher education in Bangla. In a similar vein, it should be admitted that production of world class literature in the independent Bangladesh has mostly eluded the nation. With the invasion of smartphones and social sites, a bizarre type of language --- part English, part Hindi and part Bangla --- have kept the young generation, barring a select few, spellbound as if without such an admixture of languages, there is no way of proving smartness.

This is not only a disservice to the martyrs of language but also an affront to the mother tongue itself. But why did this mental bankruptcy overtake the descendants who received such a precious gift and legacy for veneration of the language of the land? If the language movement has been the fountainhead behind consolidation of the national identity and liberty so much so that people of all classes participated in the liberation war against the Pakistani occupation army, what has gone awry today? It is clear that the month of February has been turned into an extensive celebration with the 21st day ritualistically set aside for offering floral wreaths at the Shaheed Minars (martyrs' monument) all across the country. However, when the newspapers carry news that hundreds of educational institutions in just one district have no such shaheed minars for paying respect or commemoration of the sacrifice of the language martyrs, the indication hardly needs explanation. If it is not an outright opposition to the spirit of Ekushey, it surely is a dissociation of a vast number of students and people from even the ritualistic celebration.

True, 21st February has been commended as the International Mother Language Day swelling the Bangalee's pride. But like the shadow right under the lamp, the exclusiveness of the Ekushey spirit at home is really unsettling. The nation must ask itself the question why it has failed to make universal literacy and modest and pragmatic education accessible to all. Without such an inclusive national journey on the road to an equalitarian socio-economic system, the nation cannot live up to the dreams of the martyrs of language movement and the war of independence.

Education that teaches learners to be selfish and even corrupt stands accused for betrayal with the ideals, values, humanity and magnanimity the forefathers nourished in their bosoms as a treasure should be the number one agenda for paying attention to on the 71st anniversary of the language movement. Sure enough, the meritorious students and creative minds will have their rewards but not at the cost of the underprivileged and the marginal. Ekush teaches the nation to defend every citizen's inalienable right not only to language but to live a decent life. Arrangement of proper education for all can guarantee protection of the basic human rights for the posterity.

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