Banglees’s successes cannot be wiped out: PM

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DHAKA :  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged everybody to remain careful so that none can destroy the achievements and successes of the Bangalee people saying the successes of the nation cannot be wiped out.

“As a nation Bangalee people have earned everything in exchange of huge sacrifice and struggle. We have to hold up these achievements and remain careful so that none can destroy these achievements,” she said while distributing the Ekushey Padak-2017 at a function organized by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs at Osmani Memorial Hall here today.

Ekushey Padak, second highest civilian award of the country in memory of the martyrs of the Bengali Language Movement of 1952, is given every year to individuals and organizations for substantial contribution in various fields including literature, music, education, journalism, poverty reduction, research, and visual arts.

This year seventeen eminent personalities were given the Ekushey Padak in recognition to their outstanding contribution in the fields of language movement, culture, journalism, research, education, science and technology and social welfare.

The award recipients are: Professor Dr Sharifa Khatun (language movement), Sushama Das (music), Julhas Uddin Ahmed (music), Ustad Ajijul Islam (music), Tanvir Mokammel (film), Syed Abdullah Khalid (sculpture), Sara Zaker (acting), Abul Momen (journalism), Syed Akram Hossain (research), Professor Emeritus Alamgir Mohammad Sirajuddin (education), Professor Zamilur Reza Choudhury (science and technology), Professor Dr. Mahmud Hasan (social welfare), poet Omar Ali (posthumously, language and literature), Sukumar Barua (language and literature), Swadesh Roy (journalism), Shamim Ara Nipa (choreography), and Rahmatullah Al Mahmud Selim (music).

Minister for Cultural Affairs Asaduzzaman Noor presided over the function while it was conducted by Cabinet Secretary M Shafiul Alam. Secretary in Charge of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Ministry Ibrahim Hossain Khan gave welcome address.

Cabinet members, PM’s advisors, judges, MPs, foreign diplomats,
litterateurs, academics, Ekushey Award laureates of previous years and high civil and military officials attended the function.

Congratulating the Ekushey Padak recipients, the Prime Minster hoped that the award would inspire the future generation to do more great work for the people, who would learn from them and follow their footprint.

The Prime Minister said as a nation Bangalees had a language, state and hundreds of years of history, culture and tradition. But, unfortunately a conspiracy was being hatched to send our culture and heritage to oblivion since formation of the artificial statehood of Pakistan.

Sheikh Hasina said under the leadership of Bangabanhdu, Bangalee Nation has got freedom from Pakistan through long struggle and War of Liberation “but their conspiracy is still going on, which has been came to light from a recently published book by a Pakistani author”.

She said sponsored by the Pakistani intelligence agencies, the writer completely ignored the killing, torture and repression of the Pakistani occupation forces on Bangalees in 1971, denying the fact that Pakistani forces carried out the genocide on Bangalee people first on the black night of March 25, 1971.
“This author has tried to present distorted information on our freedom struggle, and manipulated many photographs of the victims captured by the world media at that time with new captions and false narration . . . its’ their new conspiracy against our independence,” she said.

“(But) Bangladesh is an independent state which is moving fast economically appearing as a role model of development in the world . . . right at this time the Pakistani conspiracy is not acceptable at all,” the premier said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government decided that from now on Bangladesh would observe March 25 as the Genocide Day and take initiatives to draw attention and recognition of the global community to “expose Pakistan’s brutality on Bangalee people”.

She said Bangladesh was liberated with the supreme sacrifice of the three million people and sanctity of two lakh mothers and sisters, which is an established fact as the entire world had witnessed the Pakistani cruelty in 1971.

But, unfortunately, she said, a section of political leaders in Bangladesh, particularly BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia claimed that the figure is not true.

The premier said Begum Zia’s claim was a ‘shame’ for the nation and disgrace for millions of martyrs and drew everybody’s attention to the links between the Pakistani propaganda and Khaleda Zia’s claims.

“The severity of genocide across the world is measured not by the number of victims but by the scale of cruelty of the perpetrators while in Bangladesh there is no family where at least one family member didn’t make supreme sacrifice life for independence,” the premier said.

The premier said the new generation must know the nation’s glorious history to be prepared for the future challenges as “Bangladesh will not live bowing its head to others”.

“We will develop the nation with our own resources to make a dignified position for us in the world,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government is making constant stride to honour the personalities who are silently playing significant roles in the national arenas arts, literature and culture and the socioeconomic sectors.

“People of the country have even forgotten many of them (who had contributed to these areas) and even we have no information about them. But, we’re trying to recollect those names,” she said seeking peoples support in this initiative.

The premier said Ekushey taught all to “raise our voice and forge resistance against any injustice and not to bow head to others and therefore the Ekushey is a very significant day for us”.

Sheikh Hasina said the spirit of immortal Ekushey has transcended across the world following UN recognition to the historic day of February 21 as the International Mother Language Day.

“It’s a great pride for us and simultaneously it has enhanced our responsibilities to develop our mother language and protect all mother languages of the world,” she said recalling the role of two expatriate Bangladeshi nationals for their move to earn the UN recognition.

Out of that global responsibility, Sheikh Hasina said, her government established the International Mother Language Institute for conducting research on origin, evolution and development of all languages as well as their preservation and practice.

The Prime Minister said the right to speak in Bangla was achieved through a process of long struggle which began in 1948 and got final shape with the supreme sacrifice of the people on February 21, 1952.

“The struggle had gained ground in 1948 with formation of the ‘Rashtrabasha Sangram Parishad’ (Council for State Language) which was proposed by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the supreme sacrifice on February 21, 1952 had created a renaissance in the spirit of Bengali people. Ekushey sprouted out the spirit of nationalism in the Bengali mind which eventually led to country’s liberation.

“Bangladesh was born with the spirit of secularism. We have to uphold the spirit so that the country can ensure its position in the global community. And it’s possible through socio economic development of the country,” she said. She expressed her firm confidence in bright future of the country saying “Bangladesh will go ahead and we will be able to build Bangladesh as a poverty and hunger free nation”.

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