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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said it is not expected that the mother tongue will be lost under the ‘stress of civilisation’.

“Time is changing and the civilisation is marching forward with the invention of new technologies. But, we never want the mother tongue to be lost under the stress of civilisation,” she said.

The Prime Minister was inaugurating the three-day International Bengali Literature Conference-1424 at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium, reports UNB.

Sheikh Hasina said the practice of literature flourishes the good senses within human beings, opens up the door of their unbound potential and encourages people to establish society based on justice. “It teaches us to fight against unjust and untruth,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the more the society is enriched in literature, the more it is civilised. “Our Bengali literature also has very deep roots and that’s why it has secured its dignified position in the world arena.”

She mentioned that the roots of all the people of Bangladesh are Bangla, Bangla language and literature. “Our independence and the address of the self-identity are engrossed in Bangla.”

The Prime Minister said the Bengalee nation never bows down its heads and does not know how to do this. “So, we’ve to move in the world keeping our heads high,” she said.

Hasina hoped that the literature conference will enrich the literatures of different languages through the exchange and sharing of ideas and experiences of litterateurs. “The Bengali literature will get enriched further with the arrangement of such literary event,” she said.

The Prime Minister said attacks were made on Bangla in many ways but the Bangalees resisted those. “Bangladesh is the only country in the subcontinent that emerged through a language movement,” she said.

Mentioning the recognition of February 21 as the International Mother Language Day, she said the day has now become a source of inspiration for establishing the rights of all citizens across the world to truth and justice.

Sheikh Hasina recalled that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established the pride and dignity of this language in the international arena through delivering his historic speech in Bangla at the 30th UNGA session in 1974.

Following his footprint, Sheikh Hasina said, she is also delivering her speech at the UN General Assembly in Bangla ever year after coming to power and she feels proud of that.

About her government’s steps for research and preservation of different languages, the Prime Minister said the International Mother Language Institute has been set up in Dhaka to strengthen research works on languages.

She hoped that the literature conference will open up a new horizon of potentials and help expand and enrich Bangla literature through exchange of experience and outlook of the participants.

Litterateur Rabeya Khatun, general secretary of Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahittya Sammilon Jayonta Ghosh, vice-president Pradip Bhattachariya and vice-president of Friends Bangladesh, India Sattyam Roy Chowdhury, among others, addressed the opening ceremony with Professor Emeritus of Dhaka University and convener of the conference organising committee Dr Anisuzzaman in the chair.

Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor recited from the poem of Syed Shamsul Haque and chief coordinator of the conference organising committee Nasiruddin Yusuff Bachchu delivered the welcome address.

Over 300 litterateurs, poets, writers and intellectuals from across the world, including India, the USA and Germany, are attending the conference, while books translated in different languages and little magazines have been put display for sale on the Bangla Academy premises.

The conference will feature seminars, stage performances, musical event, film show, storytelling, recitation and discussion events.

The immortal message of Gurusaday Dutt, ‘Biswamanob hobi jodi kaimone bangali ha’ (be a Bangalee with heart and soul if you want to be a universal figure), has been picked as the theme of the conference.