‘Bangladesh: A Land of Stories’ and Crimson Blood Lyrics on ‘The International Mother Language Day’

I am starting today’s blog post with a video sequel of the advertisement campaign ’Beautiful Bangladesh’ by Bangladesh Tourism Board. I hope you all remember the first video of this campaign that I had featured in one of my earlier blog posts (Please refer to the article on ’Travel Beautiful Bangladesh: A School of Life Advertising Campaign’ and the video posted earlier).

Now sharing this full high definition video of the ’Beautiful Bangladesh — A Land of Stories’ uploaded recently by the YouTube channel ’Tango Orange’:

Video Credits (Bangladesh: A Land of Stories):

Production House: Half Stop Down

Director: Amitabh Reza Chowdhury

Agency: Market Edge Limited

Client: Bangladesh Tourism Board

This video beautifully depicts the happiness and the warmth one can find in this amazing country — Bangladesh. The video has also been featured by TripAdvisor.

The advertisement features the country’s unique sights, namely: the Sunderbans (world’s largest mangrove forest), Cox’s Bazaar (world’s largest unbroken beach), the native villages of Bangladesh (including the tribal villages of the country), Ahsan Manzil (the Pink Palace, historically it was the official residential palace of the Dhaka’s Nawab family), Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument, a national monument to commemorate the lost lives when police force opened fire on Bengali protesters who demanded equal rights for speaking their native tongue), Rangamati (popularly known as the ’Lake City’, it is also the capital city of Chittagong Hill Tracts), and Sylhet (one of the major cities of Bangladesh, surrounded by tea estates, sub-tropical hills, rain forests and river valleys; the region is one of the leading tourist destinations in the country (Source: Wikipedia). The ad also reflects on the nation’s popular sports (Kabadi and Cricket), folk culture, making of the traditional Nakshikatha quilt, and the lush green paddy fields of Bangladesh, etc.

I don’t know if all of you know that there is unique history of language movement that makes Bangladesh stand out and stand apart from the rest of the nations in this world! The video of the advertisement above also features the monument Shaheed Minar, that is the emblem of the language movement that was fought with the West Pakistanis in 1952. February 21 marks the martyrdom of the Bengalis who gallantly fought for their right to speak their own mother tongue in their own country. UNESCO had declared on 17 November 1999 that February 21 should be observed as The International Mother Language Day throughout the world.

The following photo of the Shaheed Minar was posted by Tanzirian in skyscrapercity. This photo named as the ’Shaheed Minar on eve of Ekushey’ was posted by no n@me:

Let me share a little history about the day posted by Wikipedia: “International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students from different educational institutions such as Dhaka University, Dhaka Medical College demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bengali, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan.” (Source: Wikipedia) The protesting Bengali students were shot and killed by police in Dhaka (near the High Court); Dhaka is the capital of present-day Bangladesh. Wikipedia reports, “In 1952, Bengali students in East Pakistan (the current Bangladesh) rose up and protested against the Pakistani government for declaring Urdu as the national language. The majority of the Pakistani citizens (as of 1952), about 54% of the citizens, were Bengali. In the protest several students died for defending the Bengali language for themselves and for the future generations.”

My late mother (who was one of the country’s leading vocalists) had a sung a famous song on the occasion of February 21 (the day is now is considered as the International Mother Language Day) and this song nowadays gets regularly broadcasted in the nation’s one of the prime television channels NTV during the month of February every year. It was the 21st February that planted the seed of independence for the country that we proudly call ‘Bangladesh’! Shahid Alam, an educationist and former diplomat of the country in a book review ‘Language Movement and on the Making of Bangladesh’ writes, “The precursor to Bangladesh’s independence was the dishonor done to the cultural factor of its language. The struggle for political and economic emancipation of the Bengalis took off, and snowballed, from the language movement, immortalized by the date of Ekushey February 1952.” (Source: ’Tale Retold of a Proud Struggle’, thedailystar.net)

The 21st February massacre happened near city’s Dhaka Medical College and Ramna Park. The students of Dhaka University and Dhaka Medical College made a makeshift monument on February 23rd in 1952. The first monument took two days at a stretch to build. However, the Pakistani police force soon demolished that on February 26th. This was the first monument of the language movement where my maternal uncle late Dr. Zia Hasan, the then student of Dhaka Medical College was one of the erectors of the monument.

Here is the YouTube video of the song on 21st February that my mother sang:

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Video Credits (Song: ’Barkat Salam’er Shonite’):

This video was re-made and posted on Humayun Farid’ s YouTube channel on Jan 03, 2015 (upon the vocalist’s family members’ request).

Song: Barkat Salamer Shonite

Lyric: Dr. Mohammad Moniruzzaman

Music Composition: Samar Das

Video Concept: Mustafa Kamal Syed

English Translation: Anonymous

Vocalist: Anjuman Ara Begum

The substance of the lyric in English has been provided by one of the family members of the vocalist who wished to remain anonymous:

“The roads have taken on a crimson hue –

The blood of Barkat, Salam, a martyred few.

And this Bengali nation vows anew,

On the blood of those the monsters slew:

We won’t let them die in vain,

For the Bengali language our brothers lay slain,

For the language that they strove to gain,

Anything less we shall disdain.

The language that our mothers spoke,

In every locality of the village folk,

Telling the tale of a night of despair,

But also of a dawn breaking off its layer,

With reckless valor conquering fear,

Removing oppression and wiping a tear.

Removing the burden of a crushing yoke,

To speak the language our mothers spoke.

We are the hope of a martyred band,

Together we shall achieve, hand in hand,

Our mothers’ language, our brothers’ goals,

The heartbeat of a million souls.”

I would like to end this blog post with a beautiful picture that one my dear comrade at Knoxville, Tennessee S.M. Afzalur Rahman who had clicked this month. The artistic picture of this fabulous edible cake was made by none other than one of my fellow Bangladeshi companions at Knoxville, Tennessee who is a student of Chemistry at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is Fatema Wahida Lisa who made this artistic addition on the eve of February 21st, 2015 to commemorate the International Mother Language Day. She made this culinary creation this February 21, 2015 for a get-together at the invite of Sakib Hasan Hridoy, a student of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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Photo Credit: S. M. Afzalur Rahman

Culinary Creation / Cake Artist: Fatema Wahida Lisa

This was a beautiful addition in the occasion to reminisce and to commemorate the proud history behind The International Mother Language Day… even across the miles at Tennessee in the United States of America!

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