THE inauguration of a light and sound show at Lalbagh fort in the nation's capital revives the old question of what degree of importance we give our symbols of history. Without question, the show at Lalbagh is a significant step in enlightening citizens on the past at a time when the study of history appears to have taken a back seat nearly everywhere, especially at our educational institutions. The government certainly deserves praise for initiating the move. Earlier, measures to build symbolic structures at such spots as Suhrawardy Udyan to commemorate Bangabandhu's historic March 7 call for freedom evoked the appreciation of historians and history buffs.
We are happy that the authorities plan to undertake programmes similar to the Lalbagh step at a number of the 448 archaeological sites in the country. While a preservation and popularization of sites dating back to ancient and later times is most to be desired, we feel that there are symbolic representations of our modern history which too must be taken into the ambit of wider popularization. For instance, the old Ganobhaban, where the crucial talks between the Bengali political leadership and the West Pakistani junta took place in March 1971 and which served as the prime minister's office immediately after liberation, should be maintained without the building having to house other government offices.
A sense of history keeps a nation alive. And historical sites are a boost to tourism. We expect that Lalbagh will be followed by other and similar efforts toward preserving history.