Ethnic languages need government patronage to survive
Academics, students, poets and rights activists on Tuesday called upon the government to patronise the languages of ethnic communities to prevent them from becoming extinct.
‘Everyday in the world 14 languages are becoming extinct, mainly for the lack of patronage, particularly by the governments,’ said speakers at a recitation programme.
The recitation programme, titled ‘Recitation of mother languages of the indigenous communities’, was jointly organised by the Jum Literature Young Society and Kapaeeng Foundation.
The poets of the ethnic communities expressed their concern over insufficient patronage of the ethnic cultures, languages and literature by the government.
Speakers pointed out that in Bangladesh there are more than 45 languages as more than 75 ethnic communities are living in the country.
Lawmaker Jatindra Lal Tripura, who is also chairman of the Taskforce for Repatriation of Tribal Refugees and the Rehabilitation of Internally Displaced People, said that this diversity of languages and cultures in the country needs to be preserved and necessary steps need to be taken to nurture the languages and cultures of ethnic communities.
Poet AK Sheram, who is a member of the Monipuri ethnic community, said, ‘Sufficient steps need to be taken at the national level, otherwise these colourful languages will be lost. I believe that would be quite regrettable, irrespective of the communities’ identity.’
Dhaka University’s Professor Robayet Ferdous said that the recognition of 21 February as International Mother Language Day did not only mean the patronisation of the Bangla language. Such recognition also demands that the government understands and shows love and respect for the languages of other communities also.
Stressing the need for ensuring the cultural rights of the ethnic communities, Abhilash Tripura of ILO said, ‘As we all believe in unity in diversity, the government needs to take the necessary steps to prevent these ethnic languages from becoming extinct.’
Poets Muhammad Samad and Sarat Jyoti Chakma, and rights activist Lina Jesmin Lushai also took part in the discussion, along with others.
Later on, more than 25 poems in 15 different ethnic languages, including Bangla, were recited in the programme.