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Dhaka Tribune

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Saving our languages

  • It is a matter of celebration that we are finally giving the proper attention to the languages of indigenous communities who are as much rightful citizens of the country as anyone else
Update : 04 Dec 2023, 10:03 AM

Bangladesh has good reason to be extremely proud of its linguistic heritage.

After all, no other country in the world has struggled as much as us to preserve our right to speak our mother tongue, leading up to a movement that has resonated throughout the world.

It is, then, a matter of celebration that we are finally giving the proper attention to the languages of indigenous communities, who are as much rightful citizens of the country as anyone else.

The distribution of textbooks printed in Chakma, Marma, Garo, Sadri, and Tripura languages among pre-primary students is a great step forward in preserving the rich linguistic diversity of Bangladesh, and fostering peaceful relations across communities.

Right now, there are more than 45 indigenous groups in Bangladesh who do not use the Bengali script, and have been, for a number of years, facing an uphill battle in preserving their language from extinction.

These languages, until now, have not been taught in schools, and facilities to print in indigenous languages have been sorely lacking.

Certain NGOs have set up language centres, but these are too few in number to have a meaningful impact.

With this bold new initiative to print and distribute textbooks in indigenous languages, not only are we keeping alive a priceless part of our heritage and bringing smiles to the faces of children, we are honouring the principles upon which Bangladesh was founded.

Enabling early education for children of indigenous communities in their own mother tongues through textbooks will go a long way in fostering inclusivity, encouraging dialogue, and upholding the linguistic heritage of this country which we hold dear.

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