We are at the end of the month of language. Bangladesh is the only country in the world where a day is celebrated separately for language. We celebrate the entire month of February as language month. We are the only nation who shed blood for language. Only by shedding young blood did we get the right to speak in Bengali.
We all know that the language movement took place on 21st February 1952. Salam, Rafiq, Safiq and many more were martyred when the students took to the streets in violation of Section 144. But even then we did not get the constitutional right to speak in Bengali. However, the process of making Bengali the state language of Pakistan had started from that day. Two years later, on May 7, 1954, the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan recognised Bengali as one of the state languages of Pakistan. Bengali was given constitutional recognition as one of the state languages of Pakistan on February 29, 1956. In other words, it took us many years to get Bengali as a state language.As a nation, we accepted so much sacrifice, giving lives just because of our deep respect and love for the Bengali language. Today 21st February is celebrated as International Mother Language Day in many countries of the world. We Bengalis have made this day memorable. Father of our Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman introduced Bengali language in the international arena with his speech in Bengali at the UN General Assembly. The language movement of 1952 gave us a lot of courage and encouragement to prepare for the Great War through which we won independence in 1971 under the leadership of our Father of the Nation.
When this is the history of our Bengali language then we as a nation should be proud to speak and write in our language. But unfortunately, most of us are unable to evaluate our language properly. Despite having a simple and eloquent language, we are constantly making it complicated and awkward consciously or unconsciously. But we should ensure that the future generations are aware of the rich history and correct usage of our beautiful language. By mixing Hindi, English and other languages with Bengali language, it is constantly being distorted which is not desirable. Many languages have already become extinct from the world and some languages are on the verge of extinction. If this continues, the Bengali language may not be extinct, but at least it will become distorted.
In our country, distortion of Bengali language or mixing of other languages with Bengali is no longer a big issue. What message is conveyed to the young when media presenters of various programs on well-known TV channels and FM Radio stations of the country speak by mixing Bengali with other languages and the invited guests also speak in such mixed language? No one considers it to be a crime at this stage. But isn't it a crime to distort our hard earned language?
Nowadays, we see that in the various social media the younger generations are unable to express their views in pure Bengali sentences and correct spelling. Many educated people also use wrong spellings and inaccurate sentences. It is not just misusing or distorting the Bengali language but there is also a tendency in almost all the private universities and educational institutions in our country not to use Bengali in lectures and writings. Signboards of shops and various offices are written in English only. But if we want, we can write the names in Bengali as well as in English too.
English vocabulary is constantly getting richer with usage, as a result Bengali language is falling behind even in Bangladesh. It is sometimes a little difficult to use the Bengali terminology of some of the most widely used English words today. Therefore, those concerned need to pay attention to enriching the Bengali language. We have to get out of the tendency to distort the Bengali language or not to use Bengali language in such cases. This language is ours. So it is our responsibility to preserve this language intact. For this we have to speak in pure pronunciation and write in pure spelling.
The naming of various establishments or institutions should be in Bengali not in English. One should refrain from using foreign words unnecessarily while speaking in Bengali. In addition, in social media, one must be careful not to distort the language just to have fun. There must be no scope to distort Bangla language anywhere anytime. The government and the appropriate authorities must consider punishing offenders who distort the Bengali language in the social media or in public. I hope the correct usage of Bengali language will be practised by everyone in Bangladesh.
Afsana Rezoana Sultana, student, Department of Agronomy, Patuakhali Science & Technology University