Stuck in gridlocks of Dhaka traffic, the best way is to keep one's eyes open to the surrounding in order to get over the anxiety, irritation and impatience. People's comments, behaviour and movement can shed a new light if one is a keen observer. One cannot help wondering how life still goes amid the intractable chaos. Perhaps the Bangalees thrive in inconsistency and indiscipline and when instructed to follow certain rules, they simply revel in flouting those. Or else how do you explain the spree of reverting to English alphabets and names of establishments from restaurants to groceries to any outlet to companies and health facilities?
Well, each February the exuberance over Bangla reaches its crescendo only to gradually dissipate with every passing day and month. On February 14, 2014 the High Court directed the government to ensure use of Bangla nomenclature for banners, billboards or hoarding and electronic or neon signs. The Bangla Bhasha Procholon Ain, 1987 was enacted in order to make use of Bangla mandatory in all spheres of life including in courts and offices. How this is respected is everyone's guess but let's focus on the advertisement boards, banners and names of different establishments including trading outlets.
Some of these names are so ludicrous that defy reason and grammar. For instance Well Food makes you revolt because of the anarchy in the use of the adverb 'well' before a noun. How about Bengal Meat? The mental bankruptcy is quite evident here. If the meat is something to do with Bangla or Bangladesh's own, why do you need to go for the English version Bengal and also import meat in place of 'mangso'?
Of the buildings---be they of moderate height or skyscrapers--- on both sides of the main city streets displaying eye-catching advertisement boards, electronic billboards or hoardings and banners or neon signs, only a few have Bangla names. Even vehicles pasted on them logos of public and private organisations leave a bad taste when many of them are found to be of foreign origin. The logo of Ganoprojatantri Bangladesh Sarkar is distinctly typed in the main logo of government vehicles but some departments inscribe the name in English on top and Bangla title lies prostrated below.
There is public display of such outrageous disrespect in several other such cases and sadly people are not even aware of such undermining acts. Now the question is, why a people that laid down their lives for language has turned so casual and insensitive to their mother tongue? Even the HC order could not prompt them to respond or bring them back to their senses!
The issue here is nothing less than the love for the language and the land. Scholars have already raised the issue of a sharp decline in the spirit of patriotism in younger generations. No, the fault is not with them, it is with the older generation that failed to build the nation culturally advanced and financially prudent. Honesty became a casualty after the nation fell into the trap of military rule for a long period. A neo-bourgeoisie class buried the dreams of the precursors of national freedom and economic justice for all the citizens.
The distortion of the dream has led to a destiny not quite the one the nation so desired. Today some people have become filthy rich while there are their compatriots who wallow in abject poverty. It goes without saying that the selfish, corrupt and frauds are bleeding the country of its resources and stacking their money on foreign shores to have a better life. They are also ruling the roost.
Ideals, values and the pride of a land won at one of the greatest sacrifices any people has ever made in the history of mankind have gone awry. Law cannot set it right. It is love, emotion and pride that well up in individuals' bosoms to form a collective consciousness that fiercely defend the cause of mother tongue. This is furthered by scholarly research and advancement of literacy on a par with the world's best. On both counts, Bangla has failed and the nation is paying for this. Cultural reawakening can only save the situation for the Bangalees.