Reiterating her vow for a dignified Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the Language Movement has paved the ways of the country’s independence to all achievements.
“Bangali nation has achieved all things through struggles at each stage of life and anyone didn’t offer those to us cordially,” she said.
The premier was addressing Ekushey Padak (award) distribution ceremony as chief guest at Osmani Memorial Auditorium here, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Those people who have interest to know the Language Movement to independence as well as all achievements in details, she requested them to go through the Secret Documents of Intelligence Branch (IB) on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“I have collected all the secret reports (1948-71) prepared by the Pakistani IB against Bangabandhu, which is being published by me in 14 volumes. Meanwhile, seven volumes have been printed and there you can know about all the achievements -from Language Movement to Independence,” she said.
The premier went on saying, you don’t need to read all volumes, rather you will find much information in the first four volumes.
Regarding the dignified Bangladesh, she said “We are Bangali, Bangla our country and this Bangladesh will move ahead with head high and honor in the world arena. Without seeking help to anyone, we will step forward by own with self-esteem.”
This year Ekushey Padak, the second highest civilian award in Bangladesh, was delivered among 21 eminent persons on the eve of Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day.
On behalf of the Prime Minister, Liberation Affairs Minister A K M Mozammel Haque handed over the awards among the winners.
With State Minister for Cultural Affairs K M Khalid, MP, in the chair, Secretary of the ministry M Badrul Arefin delivered welcome address.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam conducted the award-giving ceremony and read out the citations of the awardees, organized by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
The Ekushey Padak was introduced in memory of the martyrs of the Language Movement of 1952.
The award is given to individuals and organizations in recognition of contributions to a number of fields including the War of Liberation, literature, music, education, journalism, poverty reduction, research, and visual arts.
The awardees are: Motahar Hossain Talukdar (posthumous), Shamsul Haque (posthumous) and Advocate Afsar Uddin Ahmed (posthumous) for their roles in the Language Movement.
Begum Papia Sarowar in music, Raisul Islam Asad and Salma Begum Sujata in arts, Ahmed Iqbal Haidar in drama and Syed Salahuddin Zaki in film, Dr Bhaskar Bandopandhay in recitation and Pavel Rahman for photography.
Golam Hasnayen, Fazlur Rahman Khan Faruk and Syeda Issabela (posthumous) got the award for their contributions to the War of Liberation while Ajay Dasgupta for his contributions to journalism, Professor Dr Samir Kumar Saha for research, Mahfuza Khanam for education, Dr Mirza Abdul Jalil for economics and Professor Kazi Kamruzzaman for social service and Poet Kazi Rozy, Bulbul Chowdhury and Golam Murshid for their contributions to language and literature
The Prime Minister said language, literature, culture and art are normally targeted to destroy the emergence of a nation and the then West Pakistani rulers had also tried this on the Bengalis.
She said the Bengali nation attained independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through long struggles starting from the Language Movement.
Citing a quote from Bangabandhu’s speech delivered on February 21, 1971, Sheikh Hasina said the language Movement was not only to establish the rights of mother tongue, but also to achieve political, social, cultural and economic rights of the Bengali nation.
Listing out chronological history of the nation’s struggles for achieving Independence, she said young leader Sheikh Mujib through discussions with various organizations had waged the movement.
To this connection, Sheikh Hasina recalled the sacrifices of Rafique, Salam, Jabbar, Barkat, Shafique and others in the Language Movement and said they established the rights of the mother tongue in exchange of blood.
Referring to the initiative of Canada expatriate Rafiq and Salam to make February 21 as International Mother Language Day by submitting proposal to the United Nations (UN), the premier said Awami League government after assuming power in 1996 placed a proposal before the UN to this effect and maintained proper procedures to get the international recognition.
“As a result, UNESCO on November 17, 1999 unanimously recognized February 21 as the International Mother Language Day,” she added.
Extending her greetings to the Ekushey Padak recipients, the Prime Minister said you people have been given this honor for contributing to different fields in the society and hoped the next generation would learn a lot from you.
She said a decision has now been taken to confer this award to 21 persons instead of a few people as the award is conferred on February 21.
Turning to the Corona virus situation, Sheikh Hasina renewed her call to the country’s people to follow the health safety protocols properly and wear facemask even after taking COVID-19 vaccine.