Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bangladesh Heritage Month: A Proposal


Map Courtesy: www.worldatlas.com

We have seen why and how the people of African origin observe the "Black History Month" in the USA, Canada and Britain. In this light, I like to propose that people of Bangladesh officially observe the Bangladesh Heritage Month.

What is Heritage?

Heritage means something handed down or inherited from one generation to the other, something that makes us what we are. Heritage gives us an identity as an individual, as a group, and as a nation. Heritage is a legacy, a tradition.

Heritage encompasses a wide variety of subjects: people (the majority Bengalees as well as other dozens of religious and ethnic minority groups in Bangladesh), land (special geological formations, rivers, and hills), history, cultures, languages, oral expressions and traditions, religions, professions, socio-religious customs-rites-festivities, landscapes, infrastructures (archaeological sites, historic buildings, and important places of worship), other landmarks (architecturally impressive or unusually tall buildings, large bridges, preserved forests, and huge ancient trees), music, fables, lores and legends, tools and implements, costumes, foods, arts and crafts, dance, drama, film, ancient manuscripts, and books and publications.

February is the Appropriate Month

February is the most suitable month for observing the Bangladesh Heritage Month because in this month people of Bangladesh actively engage in cultural and historical events in honour of the language martyrs who gave their lives on February 21, 1952, in support of Bangla (Bengali), which was excluded from being one of the national languages of the then Pakistan (composed of East Pakistan -- which in 1971 became Bangladesh -- and West Pakistan).

Ways to Observe the Heritage Month

  • The Bangladesh Government first needs to officially declare February the Bangladesh Heritage Month.
  • Educational institutions can take up special programmes (lectures and discussions for awareness building regarding Bangladesh heritage, essay competitions, and cultural programmes).
  • Radio, TV and newspapers deal with different aspects of Bangladesh heritage.
  • Lectures, seminars, meetings and cultural programmes in different organizations and clubs.
  • Visiting historic places and archaeological sites.
  • Government and private patronage of the history and culture of the religious and ethnic minority groups.
  • Presently, History and Social Studies books mainly deal with the majority Bengalee population. From now on, these books should give equal importance on the religious and ethnic minorities because of their contributions to the country as well as their unique religious variety and cultural richness.
  • Encourage more foreign tourists to visit Bangladesh in February when the weather is sunny, mild and soothing.
  • Publicize the Bangladesh heritage in the outside world through books, films, dramas, and cultural troupes.

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