Every year I wait for the month of February especially for the book fair. There is no denial to the fact that I see people’s patriotism and affection for their mother tongue in this month. This book fair is one of those annual events which reveal the cultural strengths and aspirations of the Bengali nation. It has been that way for decades altogether, which is as much as to say that the constant stream of visitors making their way to the grounds of the Bangla Academy every year is a reflection of the intellectual wellspring the people of Bangladesh have always been drawn to. It is a matter of satisfaction that it is not merely the Ekushey book fair but other book fairs as well which has regularly been a source of inspiration to young and old alike. The tradition which has grown around such fairs, especially the Ekushey fair, is once again being upheld at the Bangla Academy premises this year.
The beginning of the month of February tends to stir powerful emotions in the mind of a Bangalee and relive her or his pride. We look back to the happenings of, and after, 1952 and all the pains and struggles with our mind’s eye and set them in contemporary cultural context. A cultural revaluation begins anew. We make a fresh resolve to further enrich our mother language and to project its glory on a wider universal canvas. And enrichment of language is inseparable from education and culture. That way the first of the month of February has significance of a different kind.
February teaches us to be proud for being a Bangalee at the same time book fair gives us the platform to think about a secular Bangladesh where every citizen of this poor country can go ahead together. There might some tasks yet undone but I do believe the high time has come to finish the jobs now.