The spirit carries on | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:14 AM, February 22, 2020

The spirit carries on

As scores of people placed floral wreaths on the pedestal of Central Shaheed Minar yesterday, they also thronged the nearby month-long Ekushey book fair, which commemorates the sacrifice made in 1952 through literature. 

Many tagged along with their family and friends, adorned in black and white clothes with Bangla alphabets printed on top. Faces of little ones were seen covered in the alphabets too.

Marking Ekushey, the fair's gates opened at 8am, starting off with poetry recitation at the main stage on Bangla Academy premises. More than 100 young and renowned poets set the mood for the rest of the day.

Children were scampering about, buying books of their choice, while their parents showed them around the fair.

Parents said they brought their children to get them familiar with the language martyrs and develop an understanding of the day's significance.       

"My daughter is in third-grade, so she doesn't understand a lot of things about the Language Movement," said Jamilur Rahman, a private jobholder.

"However, after growing up, she will realise the cultural and historic importance of the day, and will be inspired with the movement's spirit," he said while roaming around with his daughter Bonnya.

The crowd grew as the day went on.

As it was a Friday, many more joined in during the evening, transforming Suhrawardy Udyan into a place of union for those who love the language.

Along with buying books on Liberation War, people of different ages were looking through books on the Language Movement to know more about its history.

"I know about the movement, but I'm not that well-aware of the personal lives of language martyrs. Therefore, I've decided to buy a biography on one of them," said Nowrin Islam, a first-year student of Dhaka University.

"They are the real heroes for whom we are now speaking in our mother tongue. It was a sacrifice which can't ever be repaid," she said, holding a biography of language movement martyr Abdus Salam written by Shahida Akhter.

Some publishers had books on the movement in their catalogues, but most were published years before. Yet, people sifted through them, engrossing themselves into a time that was pivotal for the nation.

Humayun Kabir, publisher of Charulipi Prokahson, said, "There is a demand for Language Movement books by students, researchers and conscious readers. However, few publications release such history-oriented books."

"As we don't get good manuscripts, we can't publish books on the movement," he said, adding that Charulipi has an old collection titled "A Short History of The Language Movement" by MA Banik.

Bangla Academy is selling biographies on language martyrs, including works on Gaziul Haque, Abdus Salam, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed and Shafiur Rahman.

A total of 508 books hit the book fair yesterday.  

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