Not enough books on Language Movement at Boi Mela | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:13 PM, February 21, 2020

Not enough books on Language Movement at Boi Mela

Amar Ekushey book fair has always been a manifestation of people's love for their mother tongue. On the eve of Ekushey, the fair has been buzzing with people, many of them interested in learning from books on the Language Movement.

The Language Movement is of particular interest to the younger generations, as books can be a major medium to learn history from.

Although this is a topic that has been covered by older authors in the past, there are barely a handful of contemporary writers working on it. So readers are left with just a few options.

On the other hand, the authorities of Bangla Academy, which had a reputation for publishing such books, did not release new editions of these books at the fair this year as of yet, according to their stall attendants.

Ahmed Rafiq, a Language Movement activist, has written many books on the topic. Among these, one titled "Bhasha Andolon: Teknaf to Tetulia" features how the Language Movement spread all over the country during that time.

Another book Ekusher Dinlipi also narrates significant moments of 1952.

"These two [books] are very important to me," said the veteran.

When asked why books on the movement are published rarely now, Rafiq said, "People are reading these books written by a few of us, and these were written at a time when the movement was very important. This was a successful protest that led to Bangla being the state language. Finally, one must know a lot to write on this."

Publishing house Ananya has brought several books on the Language Movement, including Ekusher Dalil by MR Akhtar Mukul and Ekusher Golpo edited by Hasan Hafiz. 

"We want to publish more books on language movement but nobody is writing on it. I will publish if I get good manuscripts," said Monirul Haque, owner of Ananya.

The stall attendants of the academy told this correspondent that there is a huge demand for such books at the fair, although there have not been new editions.

This correspondent found the lowest number of books on language martyr Abdul Jabbar, although books on him are in heavy demand at the fair.

Bangla Academy had published several books including "Ekusher Smritycharon" in 1980, "Bhasha Andolon o Shaheed Minar" by Rafiqul Islam  in 1982, and  "Bhasha Andolan: Tatparjo o Itihash" jointly written by Abdul Matin and Ahmed Rafiq in 1992.

However the latest editions of these books could not be found.

A Bangla Academy official seeking anonymity, told The Daily Star, "The copies of these books have run out. Only the printing division of the academy can provide insight on this."

Moni Haider, an official of the academy, told The Daily Star that printing of the new edition of a book titled "Bhasha Andoloner Itihash, Koyekti Dalil" is going in full swing. "This book by Dr Ratanlal is also an imporant read," he said.

The stall attendant said a book titled "Prothom Shaheed Minar o Piaru Sharder", edited by Anisuzzaman is very popular among book lovers.

Asked if there's a crisis of books on language movement, eminent writer Imdadul Haque Milon told The Daily Star that Bangla Academy has published most of the books that were written on this topic.

"But other publishers should bring more books on Language movement. This would benefit younger readers," he said.

Asked why books on the language movement are not being released, Milon said that a lot of research is needed to write a book on this, which might be deterring writers.

Meanwhile a few school students were seen disheartened after not being able to find an appropriate read on the language movement. The parent of a child mentioned that she was looking for a book that's suitable for children, but couldn't find anything.

Farid Ahmed, president of Bangladesh Knowledge and Creative Publishers' Association and publisher of Shomoy Prokashon, told the Daily Star that many publishers cannot bring out adequate number of books due to lack of enriched manuscripts.

Tariqul Islam Roni of Tamralipi publication said his house has published a book on language movement especially for children. "But more books like this are needed," he added.

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