Speakers at a discussion on Friday called for taking necessary steps and creating public awareness to preserve the languages and literatures of ethnic minority people.
Adibashi Kolyan O Unnayan Sangstha organised the programme at the Public Library, marking the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples which falls on August 9.
Speaking at the programme as the chief guest, Dhaka University pro-vice chancellor Professor Muhammad Samad said the ethnic minority communities should work hard to protect their languages.
He also underscored the need for boosting the practice of the indigenous languages and establishing a committee and community radio to ensure more practice of indigenous languages, literatures and cultures.
Kazal Krishna Banerjee, a professor at the DU English department, called for including the indigenous languages into the mainstream, saying more public awareness needs to be created as well as people’s way of thinking needs to be changed for this.
While presenting the keynote paper, poet Anisur Rahman said a government decision in 2010 recognised 30 communities as ethnic minorities.
Referring to an article of researcher Professor Mesbah Kamal, he claimed that a total of 75 ethnic minority communities of Bangladesh have been mentioned in the article.
Anisur Rahman alleged that the government decision deprived the rest of the 48 ethnic minority communities of their identities.
Rakhi Mrong, women affairs secretary of Adibashi Kolyan O Unnayan Sangstha, said literature and culture depend on languages. ‘To enrich cultural elements and literatures, the languages need to be protected and conserved,’ she said.
Among others, Mahmudul Amin, associate professor of National Academy for Educational Management (Naem), and Ashish Hajong, a leader of Bangladesh Hajong Chatra Songathan, spoke at the programme chaired by Mong A Khen Mongmong, president of Adibashi Kolyan O Unnayan Sangstha.