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Dhaka Tribune

PM: Don't neglect mother tongue while learning other languages

She criticized a section of younger generation who cannot speak Bangla properly

Update : 21 Feb 2020, 07:39 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said in the global village one needs to learn other languages but that one’s mother tongue must never be neglected.

"The world is now a global village. To live here, to communicate with others, do business, and know about about other cultures and literature, one needs to learn different languages but not by excluding one’s mother tongue," she said.

Sheikh Hasina was speaking at the inauguration of a four-day program of the International Mother Language Institute at Shegunbagicha in Dhaka on Friday on the occasion of Amar Ekushey and International Mother Language Day 2020, reports UNB.

She came down hard on a section of the younger generation who cannot speak Bangla properly.

"Many of us are forgetting Bangla even as we live in Bangladesh. They cannot speak Bangla with proper pronunciation; they speak Bangla with an English accent. What will I say to them? I can only pity them," she said. 

Talking about the Pakistani conspiracy to exclude Bangla from the life of Bangalis, Sheikh Hasina said it was a blow to the existence of the whole nation.

"We have achieved independence depending on that movement (Language Movement). This is the reality," she said.

She mentioned that Bangabandhu had said that the assault on Bangla made him determined not to stay with Pakistan anymore, and that there needed to be another country for the Bangla-speaking people.

"He launched every movement at every step of his life keeping that objective  in mind," she said.

Movement for mother language began much earlier

Focusing on the history of the Language Movement, Sheikh Hasina said although February 21, 1952, was marked by a tragic incident, the movement for the mother tongue began much earlier.

On Bangabandhu’s proposal, she said, the State Language Action Council was formed comprising the Chhatra League, Tamuddun Majlish, and other student organizations in 1948.

This council called a general strike on March 11, 1948, across the country. On that day Bangabandhu was arrested, she said.

The prime minister said she wanted to form a Trust Fund under the International Mother Language Institute where the government would provide funds as seed money.

"From the interest accruing from the seed money, the institute will provide fellowships to students for learning languages. And learning languages is very important," she said.

She also said that the institute would decide which languages would be taught here.

Education Minister Dipu Moni, Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, Head of the Office and Unesco Representative to Bangladesh Beatrice Kaldun, and Education Secretary Mahbub Hossain spoke, among others, on the occasion.

Former vice chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University Prof Pabitra Sarkar presented the keynote speech, while Director General of the International Mother Language Institute Prof Dr Jinnat Imtiaz Ali read out the welcome address.

Earlier, the prime minister unveiled the mural of the Father of the Nation at the International Mother Language Institute. She also launched some publications on the occasion.

After the inaugural program, the prime minister visited the office of the National Committee for celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the institute.

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