Kolkata, Feb 2 (IANS) Bangladeshi readers are familiar with West Bengal’s rich literary heritage, but nowadays there is a demand for research-oriented publications and books on diverse topics from the region, Bangladesh’s Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor said here on Tuesday.
“Stories and novels from Bengal are popular across the border, but sometimes we do not get the books we want,” Noor told the media at the International Kolkata Book Fair.
The neighbouring nation is a participating country at the fair, which observed Bangladesh Day on Tuesday at the initiative of the organisers, Publishers and Booksellers Guild. The Bangladesh Deputy High Commission was also a partner in the initiative.
“We want to know more about the different research being carried out (in Bengal). We want to access research-oriented publications on a variety of interesting topics. So we want more publishers from Bengal and India to showcase their books in Bangladesh,” Noor said.
He also called for more cultural exchanges between Bengal and Bangladesh at the grassroots.
“Our language is the same but since there is a barrier the more cultural exchanges take place the better. Unless the people on either sides of the border get to know each other better, the understanding is incomplete,” he said.
Asked about foreign words entering the lexicon of Bangladesh, Noor asserted that a gradual and natural absorption of words was enriching for the language.
“Urdu, Persian, Arabic and Spanish words have naturally entered our vocabulary and enriched it. But we won’t accept if it is forcibly imposed on us,” he said, referring to the Bengali Language Movement (Bhasha Andolan) in the 1950s.
In 1999, Unesco declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day as a tribute to the Language Movement and the ethno-linguistic rights of people around the world.