A waste of words

The need for institutions that can carry out high-quality research on the Bangla language, and indeed other languages of Bangladesh, hardly needs justification

The founding of the International Mother Language Institute (IMLI) 12 years ago, therefore, was a cause of celebration that signalled the beginning of a new era of linguistic exploration in our country.

But the organization, unfortunately, has not lived up to the lofty expectations rightly demanded of it. In its decade odd existence, the institute has made progress on only one notable research, with the project then being left to stagnate for close to half a decade..

This is all the more disappointing seeing this is the only government institution responsible for the preservation of the languages of Bangladesh.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, officials have made the same excuse as every other government institute for its lack of any visible results: “Administrative shortcomings.” Even if there is some meaning behind that nebulous excuse, there is also a gross absence of any proper guidelines and the lack of funding which act as credible barriers to any research getting done.

The government took an important step by establishing this institute, but it begs the question: Why should there be just one organization dedicated to research into and the preservation of languages? There are certainly other ways which can empower and incentivize private organizations to also work in this specific field.

No justification is credible enough for the IMLI to have such a tepid presence. It is an insult to the tax-payers who foot the bill for its very existence and a display of utter disregard towards the important purpose that it is supposed to serve.

The relevant government departments need to come up with actual plans to make the institute more fruitful in terms of administration and workable research. At the same time, they should waste no time to devise appropriate guidelines and ensure necessary funding that will enable it to carry out high-quality research work.

The very soul of Bangladesh hangs on its struggle for linguistic emancipation, we cannot allow the great endeavour that the institute represents to simply fester this way.