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‘Bangla dominates other small languages’

[ Bangladesh Lekhak Shibir holds a conference on language and literature at Dhaka University on Saturday. — New Age photo ]

Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury on Saturday said that the culture and the language of the Bengalis were dominating those of the groups of people living in the country but speaking other languages and practising other cultures.
Serajul Islam at the opening session of the Language and Literary Conference 2012 also said that the Bangla language was also at stake because of an aggression of foreign cultures, especially of Hindi,
Bangladesh Lekhak Shbir organised the organised the conference at the RC Majumdar Auditorium in the arts faculty building in Dhaka University. The session was titled ‘Bengali and other langauges and nationalities of Bangladesh.
Speakers at the programme said that since the country’s independence the liberation Bengali have been callous about the cultures, languages of small ethnic groups.
They also said that expression through mother tongue was a democratic right and that in terms of dignity, every language was equal.
Serajul Islam said that language was the basis of the creation of nationalism ‘but theses day you
cannot think of a nation based on a single language. The efforts to make the whole nation Bengali immediately after the independence has proved wrong... Bangladesh is not country of a single nation. It is, rather, a nation of multi-nationalities.’
Right to primary education in mother tongue for children of all groups of people was yet to be established in the country, Serajul Islam said.
He said that the English and some other language were putting many
languages at stake. ‘It is unfortunate that many
speak a kind of language that is a mix of English and Bangla while children are getting used to Hindi even before they learn Bengali well,’ he said.
Serajul Islam, also a teacher of English in Dhaka University, at the programme said that evolution, development and dignity of a language could be established only in a true democratic system.
Litterateur Shawkat Ali said that speakers of Bangla should develop a friendly attitude to languages of other groups.
Translator Khaliquzzaman Ilias said that the way the Bengalis behave makes it seem that there were no other nationalities in the country. ‘It will be a mistake if you want to make everyone Bengali.’
The Jaitya Mukti Council chairman, Badurddin Umar at the concluding session said that the Bengalis should help in the development of other languages and literatures.
Urdu litterateur Ahmed Ilias read out a paper on ‘Urdu as a language and literature in Bangladesh’ and the Jatisatta Mukti Sangram Parishad president, SC Elbert Soren, presented a paper on ‘Santal language and literary practice’ in the opening session.
Both of them came down heavily on the Bengalis terming them aggressive and said that they had neglected the rights of small groups.
Shubashis Sinha in the concluding session presented a paper on ‘Manipuri Language and literature’ and Mithun Chakma on ‘Chakma Language and literature.’
Monsur Musa, who teachers Bangla in the Institute of Modern Languages, and Mahfuzur Rahman took part in the discussion of the concluding session.   
Shantunu Kaiser presided over both the sessions.

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