PM for change in politics, economy

February 21, 2009

Hands Ekushey Padak to 13
Staff Correspondent
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said it has become imperative to bring changes to the country’s politics and economy, and to the outlook of the people as well, to ensure democracy.
“A change is necessary in politics and economy. People should have respect for all forms of work, and a change in people’s outlook is also a must for that to happen,” Sheikh Hasina said in the morning after distributing the Ekushey Padak 2009 to 13 distinguished individuals for their contributions in their fields of work.
“Those who contribute to the nation, must be rewarded. I welcome all of you. You keep on serving the nation and the country, and I promise you all out government assistance,” Hasina said as the chief guest of the award ceremony in Osmany Auditorium in the capital.
She complained that Bangla as a language has not been properly nurtured, endangering the Bangalee culture.
“Bangla should be spoken like Bangla. Rural dialects are far better than speaking Bangla with an English accent,” the prime minister quipped.
Hasina said her administration will take steps to preserve the languages of all ethnic minorities as well.
“February 21 makes us dream of change. We have come to power with the pledge of bringing changes. We will welcome your constructive criticisms in order to preserve all languages, cultures, and creativity,” she said.
Ekushey Padak is one of the highest civilian awards, introduced in memory of the martyrs of the language movement of 1952. Each awardee received a gold medal, a cheque of Tk 40,000, and a certificate.
“We must ensure high standard of education to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Hasina said.
“Mother tongues must be given the priority in primary level education in every single community in the country. Bangla is a modern language and it will not be tough to pursue knowledge in Bangla,” she added.
The history of the Bangalee nation would have been different, had it not been for the Ekushey, she noted.
“Ekush is our permanent address. We run to the Shaheed Minar whenever we feel threatened. The Shaheed Minar is not merely an installation of bricks and mortars. It’s our shelter,” she said.
“No one could ever dominate our nation and none will be able to either. Ekush protects us from all attacks,” she declared.
She also said the government will resume the work of building the International Language Institute.
Ekushey Padak 2009 winners are Dr Borhan Uddin Khan Jahangir in education, Dr Syed Anwar Hossain in research, late Mahbub Ul Alam Chowdhury for his participation in the language movement, late Ashraf Uz-Zaman in journalism, Begum Bilkis Nasir Uddin in journalism, late Manik Chandra Saha in journalism, late Humayun Kabir Balu in journalism, Selina Hossain in literature, Shamsuzzaman Khan in research, Dr Quazi Kholiquzzaman for poverty reduction, Dr Muhammad Rafi Khan in social work, Monsur Ul Karim in fine arts, and Ramendu Majumdar in theatre.
Hasina handed over the awards to nine of the 13 winners while relatives of the five posthumous awardees, received the awards on their behalf.
Cabinet members, members of the parliament, high civil and military officials, diplomats and other distinguished personalities attended the event broadcast live on state-owned Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar from 11:00am.
The event was presided over by Cultural Minister Abul Kalam Azad while Cabinet Secretary MA Abdul Aziz was the master of ceremony.

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