A large number of cultural programmes were organised both at the government and at private initiatives celebrating the golden jubilee of independence and birth centenary of Bangabandhu. How much benefit could we reap from those?

To tell the truth, most of the programmes were not at the mass level. No doubt there was this Covid-19 pandemic situation. Still I would say the government organised the programmes by keeping everything under control through a committee. Cultural programmes in controlled conditions hardly can reach the people. Mass awareness is the basis of both the Liberation War and Bangabandhu, but where was the people’s participation in celebration of the two?

The evaluation of a towering leader like Bangabandhu should have been done extremely thoughtfully. Where did that happen? A huge number of books have been published haphazardly. Instead of this, if work could be done to take his writings to different levels, that would have been more effective. The younger generation could have learned about the greatest Bangali leader.

The government of India’s state of West Bengal had constructed a studio theatre hall for the drama groups celebrating the birth centenary of Rabindranath Tagore. If we could have done something like this on the golden jubilee of independence, the effect of that could have been more far-reaching, I think. This time, the expense was huge but we could not take the spirit of Liberation War and Bangabandhu to the people.

How could we make our culture meaningful, use it to materialise the dreams we had about the society and values? What should we do now?

Initiatives have to be taken to develop the essence of Bengali culture. The obstacles of religious fanaticism have to be overcome. Progressive political parties and the powers in favour of Liberation War must shun the tendency to use religion for the sake of votes.

Above all, culture has to be viewed from the people's point of view. For this the initiatives that need to be taken must come from within the people. In case of culture if anything is imposed from above is bound to be ineffective.

* The interview has been rewritten into English by Shameem Reza

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