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The Bangla Academy

Introduction

Bangla Academy is an Institution which makes contribution in our culture. To keep the

Bangla language in practice in our culture and literature it conducts many activities.

I am really thankful to our course instructor Ms. Israt Jahan for giving me such an

opportunity to give my readers some information about “Bangla Academy”. I want to inform in

what historical event we recognized the need of such an institution. Also, I will inform some

steps of constructing this Academy. In addition I am to show the readers some of the works of

“Bangla Academy”.
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The Historical Establishment of Bangla Academy

The situation, in which the Bangla Academy was established, is the integral part of

Bangladesh’s political history.

From 1947 we were part of Pakistan in a partition which was called East Pakistan. The

two continents had a gap of thousand miles. Specially both the continent had huge difference in

life style, culture etc. and the people of east Bengal spoke a different language.

Bangla is a such kind of language which has thousand years of history. Linguistically, it

belongs to the Indo-European group of languages. Contributions of men like the Vaisnava poets

and Alaol of earlier times and of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi

Nazrul Islam in modern times would be considered important and significant in any literature

of the world. There are others too, and some are like Lalon, belong to the folk-tradition. All the

writers of different districts are the real treasures of Bangla language.

The Pakistani rulers had no honorable status for Bangalis in their mind. Thay had the

plan of crushing the cultural identity of Banglali’s who were the majority in the two colonies

of Pakistan. That’s why the ruler of Pakistan then Aiub Khan declared in a seminar that “Urdu

will only be state language of Pakistan”. Protests were immediate. When the government

refused to accept the demand, the students launched a movement, and the people joined them.

On 11 March 1948, following a countrywide general strike, the provincial government


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negotiated an agreement with the students, in which assurance was given that Bangia would be

accepted as one of the state languages. But soon the agreement was forgotten and the

subsequent movement in February 1952 was even more violent. The rulers knew that there will

be a vast movement, so they called for “144” constitutional situation in movement to be placed

in East Pakistan. There were police all over the roads of Dhaka. Though there was “144”

constitutional situation, the students gathered there for the right to earn their language rights.

All of them decided, if they need they will break “144” constitutional situation. They came out

with “michils” with slogans, “Rashtro Vasha Bangla Chai”. At the near of rulers meeting place

thay continued their activities. Then the polices, after hearing the Pakistani rulers and they fired

on the movement. Many students were died, like Shafiq, Barkat , Rapiq , Zabbar, Shafiur etc.

This happened on 21 February 1952. This is the Martyrs' Day.The language movement hardly

has a parallel in history-love of a nation for its language, culture and heritage; realisation of the

intricate relationship between these and national identity; and persistent and unrelenting efforts

for securing, for the nation, the place of honour it deserves; all these made the movement

unique. This language movement was indeed the cultural autonomy assort ion of the Bangia

speaking people. After becoming an independent country UNESCO declared 21 st February

“International Mother Language Day”. International mother language day symbolizes respect

to all mother languages of the world. Bangla Academy was build for the need of protecting the

Bangla language. The need was realized in this Historical Event.

Before, independence 1954 a joined three party won the election in Pakistan. It had 21

promise and one of them was to build an institution which will do with the “development of

Bangia language and literature, through research and publication”


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(http://www.banglaacademy.org.bd/english/history.php). Thus Bangla academy emerged as a

great institution.

Steps Taken to Build Bangla Academy

The concept of Bangla Academy was first described by the great linguistic Dr.

Muhammad Shahidullah. Then in April27, 1952 in all party nation there was a demand for

developing a language institution. The process of the creation of Bangla Academy is given

below:

 The wining party of 1954 had the manifesto of “The prime minister from the

United Front will dedicate the Bardhaman House for establishing a research

centre for Bengali language”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangla_Academy).

Mr. Abu Hossain Sarker, the Chief Minister of East Bengal inaugurated the

Academy. The provincial government had earlier formed a Preparatory

Committee on26 November 1955. The government formed a committee of

leading intellectuals like Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah, Dr. Qazi Motahar

Hossain, Dr. S.M. Bhattacharya, Dr. W. H. Shadani, and Muhammad

Barkatullah. On December 3, 1955 Abu Hossain inaugurated the Bangla

Academy. Firstly Muhammad Barkatullah was the Special Officer in charge. But

after his retire in 1956 Dr. Enamul Haque took over as the first director general.
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 Law acceptance :

The Bengali Academy Act 1957 was adopted by the Provincial

Legislative Assembly on 3 April 1957 ; and that ensured the Academy its

autonomous status which it has enjoyed since then. The Act came into

force on 10 August 1957, and under its statutes the Preparatory

Committee came to be known as the Council. The first Council was

formed on 26 March 1958, and it started functioning on 10 August 1958.

Under the provisions of the Act, the Council had a total of 19 members-4

ex-officio members, 7 nominated by the government and 8 elected by its

general members. The order No. 4604 issued by the East Bengal

Government laid down the organizational framework of the Academy. It

was headed by the Special Officer along with 9 supporting employees.

(http://www.banglaacademy.org.bd/english/history.php)

 Previously Bangla Academy started with 4divisions of work then it expanded to

6 divisions in 18.05.57. The 6 divisions was. “Research, Translation,

Compilation, Publications and Sales, Culture and

Library.”( http://www.banglaacademy.org.bd/english/history.php).

 In Pakistani period the Bangla Academy was given only 2 lakhs rupees which

not enough to conduct its work. After Liberation in 17th may 1972 the central

committee of Banla language development was merged with Bangla Academy.

This led to the reorganization of the divisions and when the order was repealed
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and new Bangia Academy Ordinance 1978 promulgated the number of divisions

stood at 7.In 1983 the number of divisions was increased with “Finance and

Planning, Establishment, Folklore and Textbook added to the existing

ones.”( http://www.banglaacademy.org.bd/english/history.php)

Works of Bangla Academy

The most major work of Bangla Academy is to “conduct research on Bengali language,

culture, history, and publisBengali literary and research work.”

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangla_Academy). It also gives the “Bangla Academy Award”

each year for contribution in Bangla Language. To remember the language martyr and language

movement the Bangla Academy arranges “Ekushey Book Fair” every year, which is conducted

in the whole February month.

The Bangla Academy follow the model of French academy in some extent. The main

work of Bangla Academy is to promote and develop the Bangle language. It is also involved in

research and publication on Bangla language and literature. It has five divisions: Research,

Translation, Compilation, Publication and Library. It has a considerable folklore collection,

including puthis of ancient and medieval periods, folk songs, folk tales, rhymes, puzzles etc.,

some of which has been published. It also publishes text books in Bangla, collect the creation

of writers, publish references books, translate different books of other languages in Bangla and

also translate popular bangla books in other languages.


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The Bangla Academy also publishes six journals. Such as “the Bangla Academy Patrika

(quarterly), Uttaradhikar (quarterly), the Bangla Academy Bijnan Patrika (half-yearly), the

Bangla Academy Journal (half-yearly in English), Dhanshaliker Desh (juvenile quarterly) and

Lekha (monthly)”.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangla_Academy). Besides that Bangla

academy arranges seminars on different subjects, cultural function etc. Bangla academy

provides scholarships for young brilliant writers. It also provides courses for foreigners on

Bangla language.

The “Ekushey Book Fair” which is arranged in February in every year, has become

important and center of all cultural events considering literacy. The most writers opt for

publishing new books in this time of the year. In the fair which is arranged very near to Bangla

academy office bhardhaman house, many lectures are given by most intelligent writers and

persons on Bangla language and language movement. The Bangla Academy Literary Awards

are given in the ekushey book fair which is prestigious for winner, who contributes much in

Bangla language.

The Bangla academy also contributes by publishing dictionary and encyclopedia.

“Among the dictionaries published by the Academy are Bengali-English Dictionary, English-

Bengali Dictionary, Arbi-Bangla Abhidhan (Arabic-Bangla Dictionary), Bangla Uchcharan

Abhidhan (Dictionary of Bangla Pronunciation), Bangla Banan-Abhidhan (Dictionary of

Bangla Orthography), Sangksipta Bangla Abhidhan (Concise Bangla Dictionary), Aitihasik

Abhidhan (Dictionary of Historical Events), Bangladesher Anchalik Bhasar Abhidhan (A

Lexicon of Bangladeshi Dialects), Arthaniti Abhidhan (Dictionary of Economics), Samajbijnan


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Shabdakos (Glossary of Sociology), Ain-Kos (Glossary of Law), Sahitya-Kos (Dictionary of

Literature), Sangit-Kos (Glossary of Music), Nazrul Shabdakos (Nazrul Dictionary). It has also

published a number of encyclopaedias and biographical dictionaries such as Bijnan Bishvakosh

(Science Encyclopedia), Charitabhidhan (Biographical Dictionary), and Lekhak Abhidhan

(Dictionary of Writers).” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangla_Academy).

Conclusion
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In conclusion, Bangla Academy was established as result of undeserved behavior

against our language and culture. The Pakistanis tried to take our rights and our golden boys

were forceful to keep this right. The Bangla language has kept honor for the price of bloods and

martyrs of language movement. After independence our language movement was

internationally recognized with the help of UNESCO. After this language movement we

recognized the need of Bangla Academy and our winning government took some necessary

steps to build Bangla Academy with the help of bangali “buddhi jibi”. The government tried to

give this institution law acceptance. Gradually Bangla Academy started its improvements

through its different branch. The Bangla academy now conduct some important work through

research on Bangla language , pulish some important books such as, history ,some journals ,

text and references etd. The Bangla Academy has constructed a situation where in “Omor

Ekushey Book Fair” all people practice bangla literacy in books. The Bangla Academy

becomes the “Milon Mela” of old and young poets’ writers etc. It also honors the great people,

by giving them ekushey award, who contribute to Bangla language.

Works Cited
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1. Bangla Academy. A Brief History. 7th March 2010

<http://www.banglaacademy.org.bd/english/history.php>

2. Bangla Academy – Wikipedia . Bangla Academy main page. 8th March 2010

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangla_Academy>
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