Friday, December 10, 2010

Promote Bangla

Bengali Speaking Region
Courtesy: Wikipedia
Bangla (En:Bengali, Bn:বাংলা), the language of nearly 300 million(as of the year 2008) people in the world and ranking at 6th position among the most spoken languages of the world. Bangla is native to the region of Bengal (comprising of West Bengal, parts of Assam and Tripura state of India and Bangladesh).

Now the question arises, “Do we need to promote Bangla?”.

The answer is undoubtedly “YES! “.

And that is the reason why there are the institutions like Bangla Academy (Bangladesh) and Paschimbanga Bangla Academy (West Bengal, India) are striving hard to promote Bangla.
Official logo of "Poschim Bongo Bangla Academy".

The need to promote Bangla arises from the following facts:

  1. Losing of the “Bengali Pride”
A large number of the new-generation Bengalis especially in West Bengal state feels ashamed of speaking in their mother tongue in public, business establishments like offices, shops etc.

  1. Lesser Affinity towards Bangla language.
The Bengali youth (new generation), is losing affinity towards Bangla. They are influenced by the Western Culture to a great extent. Most of them cannot read or write Bangla, though they can manage to speak. This is a major problem among Bengalis in India and abroad, though the situation is much better in Bangladesh.

  1. The invasion of “Hindi & English”
Undoubtedly the young Bengalis have greater affinity towards English and Hindustani language (Hindi and its various forms), be it in West Bengal or Bangladesh.

Hindustani being the major language of India has deeply penetrated in every nooks and corners of West Bengal. Moreover, as West Bengal shares borders with Hindustani (Hindi speaking) states of Bihar and Jharkhand, there is a large influx of Hindustanis in West Bengal. This has somehow changed the demographics of major cities like KolkataHowrah, and Siliguri etc.
In Bangladesh, till date exists a minority of Bihari population and the influence of Indian Hindi media and Bollywood has freshly introduced Hindustani language to the Bangladeshis.
What can be done?
There are various ways to promote Bangla. It needs support from the Government as well as the Common people.

We have to revive the “Bengali Pride”! Bengalis across the globe should take pride speaking in Bangla and “Being a Bengali”!

Rabindranath Tagore
রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর
Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam
কবি নজরুল ইসলাম
1.     Promotion has to start from the basic level i.e. the family. Regardless of the nation or state you are residing in, every Bengali parent should teach their children to read, write and fluently speak in Bangla, and they should encourage their children to get acquainted with the works of our Great writers/poets like Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833), Rabindranath Tagore(1861-1941), Kazi Nazrul Islam(1899-1976), and our modern day writers like Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay, Humayun Ahmed, Satyajit Roy, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, Md. Jaffar Iqbal, Taslima Nasreen, Sunil Gongopadhyay, Mrunal Chakraborty, Jahir Raihan, Jahanara Imam etc.

2.       The Government of West Bengal needs to take a major step towards promotion of Bangla in public life in the state.

·     An order should be passed to make all communications of Government Offices only in Bangla.

·     Govt. needs to be more enthusiastic in promotion of Bangla Literature, Bangla Theatre (Natok), Bangla Cinema etc. By conducting and promoting more number of book-fairs, socio-cultural events related to Bengali culture, in order to develop interests among the youth towards their culture and language.

·     Govt. needs to Open world class Bangla medium schools to impart education not just in Bangla but also to make the students well acquainted with the world language i.e. English.

·  Govt. should pass an order to put up name-plates / Sign-boards of all establishments (Shops, Buildings, Multiplexes etc.) compulsorily in Bangla and then it may be SUBTITLED in other Languages, Which means Bangla texts should appear clearly and boldly as the Major text on the name plate and in no way Bangla to be written in one corner just for the formality ! 

Generally when I’m in Bengal, I usually speak only in Bangla. Be it the Hindustani (Bihari) taxi driver, the Marwari Businessmen, North-Indian crowd- I use Bangla with everyone. "They won’t understand- so I shouldn’t speak in Bangla!"-this excuse or theory somehow doesn’t appeal to me. I feel, they do understand the language but its us, the Bengalis- who don’t give them the chance to understand or speak in Bangla!

Every language in this world has its own charm and beauty, but a language cannot be neglected in its own provinces, and thus Bangla should be given the first priority in Bengal rather than English, Hindi, Urdu. Bangla is the state language and should be respected.

Nandan | নন্দন
(Poschim Bongo Film Center)
Establishments in Kolkata Ignoring Bangla wherever possible!

If you are of the opinion that speaking in Bangla would hamper your reputation, it’s false! Instead people would look high upon you and respect you even more. If you don’t love yourself then you can''t expect others to love you, similarly if you don’t love your own language then how can others even think of loving your language, adopting your language and culture ? Think about it!

জয় বাংলা!