Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said all need to encourage their children to read literature as it can prevent them from slipping into a wrong path.
“We can rescue our children from the wrong path they are following these days through our literature,” she said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said this while inaugurating the month-long ‘Amar Ekushey Boi Mela’ and the three-day ‘International Literature Conference’ on the Bangla Academy premises.
Hasina said the children will be there on the right track when there will be more and more literary and cultural exercise. “And this is my belief.”
The International Literature Conference will begin at the fair venue on Thursday, the 2nd day of the book fair.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor presided over the inaugural function where Bangla Academy director general Dr Shamsuzzaman Khan delivered the welcome speech.
The Prime Minister also distributed the Bangla Academy Shahitya Puroshkar among the winners.
Later, the Prime Minister visited different stalls of the book fair.
There will be a seminar at the main stage of the fair at 4 pm everyday from February 5-28.
As in previous years, the venue of the fair has been extended to nearby Suhrawardy Udyan with some changes.
The authorities have allotted a total of 663 units – 114 at the Bangla Academy ground to 80 organisatons and 549 at Suhrawardy Udyan to 329 organisations.
Besides, 15 pavilions have been allocated for 14 publishing houses, including Bangla Academy.
Strict security measures have been taken in and around the book fair venue to avert any unpleasant incident during the fair.
Bangla Academy is organising the International Literature Conference to build a good bonding among local and foreign writers, poets, novelists as well as to create a platform to exchange their literary works.
‘International Literature Conference Writers’ Honorary Award’ will be given to six prominent personalities of Bangladesh on the 2nd day of the fair.
The six personalities are National Professor Mustafa Nurul Islam, Language Movement veteran and researcher Ahmad Rafiq, Professors Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury , Anisuzzaman and Rafiqul Islam, and Dhaka University Political Science teacher Prof Dr Borhanuddin Khan Jahangir.
A total of 27 foreign poets, writers, intellectuals from seven countries will participate in the conference.
Hasina said she hopes that more books will be published to spread the Bangla literature across the world through translation.
She said Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela got the recognition as the biggest book fair of the world in terms of duration. “This book fair is not only a centre of buying and selling books now, but also a name of traditional non-communal knowledge and festival for the Bangalee nation,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the scope of flourishing the Bangalee culture has been widened due to holding of seminars, discussions and cultural functions arranged by Bangla Academy marking of the book fair.
Hasina said the Ekushey of the Bangalee nation has been turned into a symbol of realising the rights of the people of the world who love their mother languages.
She said UNESCO on November 17 1999 recognised the 21st February as the International Mother Language Day due to the initiatives of Canada expatriates late Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam and sincere efforts of the Awami League government.
Hasina recalled with deep gratitude late Rafiqul Islam and former education minister ASHK Sadique who were involved in the declaration of the International Mother Language Day.
She said Bangla Academy, the beacon house of Bangalee entity and intellectual excellence, was founded on December 3, 1955 as a result of the Language Movement and the Twenty-one Point of the then Jukto Front government.
The Prime Minister reiterated that there would be no room for militancy and terrorism on Bangladesh soil as it will be made the most peaceful and prosperous nation in South Asia. All the achievements, including the establishment of the rights of mother tongue were earned through blood shedding.
Professor Dong You Chen, a Chinese researcher and translator of Rabindranath Tagore’s works, Austrian Menfred Kebo, Luz Maria Lopez from Puerto Rica, German writer Tobaias Burghardt and Indian essayist Chinmoy Guha joined the inaugural function as the guests of honour.
At the beginning of the function, a one-minute silence was observed as a mark of profound respect to the memory of the Language Movement martyrs.
‘Nirbachita Prabandha’, authored by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, ‘Ocean of Sorrow’, a translation of noted Bengali novelist Mir Mosharraf Hossain’s famous novel ‘Bishad Sindhu’ and ‘Hundred Poems From Bangladesh’, published from Germany, a compilation of Bangladeshi poems published in Swedish language were handed over to the Prime Minister at the function.