DHAKA, Jan 15, 2018 (BSS) – Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee today called Bangladesh the “protector” of Bengali language through their historic Language Movement and achievement of its international recognition.
“The people of the then East Bengal (now Bangladesh) has established the dignity of Bangla language,” he told the International Bangla Literature Conference as the chief guest referring to the 1952 Language Movement and Bangladesh’s subsequent success in achieving February 21 as the international Mother Language Day.
He added: “They protected their culture and gave their lives and blood to establish the rights of their mother tongue.” India’s first Bengali president Mukherjee is now in Dhaka on a four-day visit coinciding with the concluding session of the literary conference at Nazrul Mancha on the premises of Bangla Academy.
Mukherjee, however, said contamination in people’s thought process and mind was deadlier than the environmental pollution and urged writers, artistes, poets and litterateurs to put in their efforts to clean the toxicity of mind and thoughts.
He said the history suggests that “not Hitler, Mussolini” but figures like Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha had created history.
“Not the victorious warriors, but the writers, poets and litterateurs have set the directions of civilization,” Mukherjee said.
He said despite his interest in reading, his long political engagements often distanced him from books but during the presidency, he tried as much as possible to go through particularly the rare literary collections, secret records and documents kept at the Rashtrapati Vaban.
“I thought, I should read as much as possible,” Mukherjee said.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith chaired the function while Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and convener of the conference Professor Emeritus Anisuzzaman addressed it as the special guests.
Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu and Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harshavardhan Sringla were present in the audience row along with Bangladeshi and Indian writers, poets and literature critics.