Several reasons behind the current crisis and stagnation of culture were presented at the Round Table. 1. Culture is now a product because of the market economy, at the same time, the rise of visual media in cultural sector because of technology. 2. Lack of connection in cultural activities in cities and villages. 3. Extreme capital-centrism of celebrations and cultural activities. 4. The middle class section that used to initiate the cultural movement in the past are now accustomed to consumerism. 5. Flexibility of the government initiatives and in some cases inaction in preventing the spread of fundamentalism. 6. Not being able to question the culture of the state and society and spread of a culture of fear. 7. Lack of cultural infrastructure and training facilities and not considering the state allocation as investment in this sector. 8. Strong political divisions and personal interests. 9. Government control over Jatra, Palagan, Baulgan. 10. Not being able to think of anything new beyond the uniform explanation of history. 11. The gap between the movement of cultural workers and the people’s movement. 13. Deterioration of intellectual standard along with the standard of politics.
Suggestions have been made to overcome the crisis through education, restoration and decentralisation of cultural activities, sternly preventing the spread of fundamentalism, building cultural centres in each upazila and keeping it operational, organising cultural conference in the national level and spreading those in district level gradually. Education and cultural activists and intellectuals have also been requested to introspect into their own thoughts and activities and to think boldly and creatively.
Bangladesh was born through language-based cultural movement and liberation war. But after 51 years of independence, questions are being raised about the decaying of culture. If the development of a democratic, human rights-oriented, pluralistic and inclusive culture is stunted in Bangladesh, which were the key aspirations for the liberation war, it is bound to have a negative impact on every aspect of the society and the state. Eventually the society will gradually fall behind. This is going to be reflected in every sector including politics. However, there is still ample opportunity for cultural revival. In the discussion, educationist and writer Syed Manjurul Islam said, “We have fallen behind in the field of culture and we have lost a lot of ground, but we are not defeated.”
The revival of culture is essential through a concerted effort. But are the politicians and cultural personalities realising that culture has lost its courage and become isolated due to taking shelter under the wings of power instead of making sacrifices?