Apart from bidding farewell to the fair, the visitors shared the concern of Bangla not being implemented properly in education, court, culture, on signboards, and other areas where the language is supposed to receive top priority according to the country’s constitution.
Hasan Adil, a Masters student of Bangla at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, said: “We are unique in that only we have shed blood to gain the right to speak in our mother tongue. Despite this sacrifice, our young people, especially of English-medium schools and some madrasas, have not been properly taught Bangla.”
Udichy, a cultural platform, ran a campaign during the fair at various markets in Dhaka, including Aziz Super Market and New Elephant Road Market, to use Bangla on their billboards and signboards, echoing an earlier High Court order.
Udichi’s demands include calling off the invasion of foreign languages and cultures, using Bangla at the court and in every sector as the official language, upholding all mother tongues of minority communities in Bangladesh, and taking action against grammatical and pronunciation errors in the media for which a policy needs to be formed to oversee the issue.
They also demanded grammatically correct Bangla being used in academia and in other sectors, on banners and signboards, and building a Shaheed Minar at each academic institution.
Later, Bangla Academy held an award ceremony to grant the “Syed Waliullah Literary Award 2016” to poet Shamim Azad and writer Nazmun Nesa Piyari, among other awards.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor handed out the awards, while Bangla Academy director general Prof Shamsuzzaman Khan was in the chair. Member secretary of the fair 2017 Dr Jalal Ahmed presented the keynote paper.