Establishing secularism still a challenge | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:55 AM, June 27, 2019

Establishing secularism still a challenge

Speakers say on Jahanara Imam’s death anniversary

Secularism is a part of Bengali culture and increasing such cultural activities can ward off communalism from the society, said cultural activist Ramendu Majumder at a programme yesterday.

The programme titled “The tradition of secularism and humanity in Bengali culture” was organised by Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee at the National Museum in Shahbagh, marking the 25th death anniversary of Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam.

Speakers recalled Jahanara Imam’s indomitable spirit which propelled the movement against war criminals.

In his keynote speech, Ramendu Majumder said since the Pakistan era, religion has been used to divide Bengalis.

“But people fought against it. When Language Movement took place, it gave us a strong understanding of our culture and later played an important role in the independence of the country,” he said while describing the history of misuse of religion.

Change in culture is constant, but change that denies the long-rooted secular values of Bengali culture is not acceptable, he said addressing the audience.

About Jahanara Imam, he said, “She is still relevant because of her just movement against war criminals.”

Dhaka University Professor Muntassir Mamoon emphasised on the increase of budget in the cultural sector.  

Expressing his dissatisfaction over the budget, he said cultural activists are one of the fundamental forces in leading the social movement against evil anti-liberation forces, but there is not enough budget in this sector.

Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee president Shahriar Kabir shed light on secularism and its practice in the society. “Islam should be explained clearly and correctly. Promotion of secularism is necessary but it remains a challenge for Bangladesh,” he said. 

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, writer Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury and eminent artist Hashem Khan were also present in the programme.

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