On Tuesday 19th February the Rochdale Bangladeshi Partnership Project (RBPP) launched “Sylhet to Rochdale; a young people’s Bangladeshi heritage project” thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Mayor of Rochdale Cllr James Gartside formally launched the project. In his address he said “I am very pleased with the work of the Rochdale Bangladeshi Partnership Project and as a member of the RMBC Links Consultative Forum for many years I have been a keen supporter of all our international links including the Rochdale & Sylhet Friendship Link. I wish the RBPP all the very best in delivering this project & I look forward to coming back and seeing the film & exhibition at the end of it”.
The RBPP also marked “International Mother Language Day” (this falls annually on 21st February) Bangladesh marked the Language Martyrs Day (also known as Ekushey February/Shaheed Debosh in Bangladesh), to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the language movement of 1952. The day is recognised by the UN and in 1999 it declared it as “International Mother Language Day” so that all languages of the world can be celebrated on this day to enrich the diversity and cultures of society. As a mark of respect the Bangladesh flag has been raised outside the Rochdale Town Hall. Dr Musharraf Hussain talked about language and the history of Bangladesh at the event. Keith Swift (RBPP Chair) & Cllr Farooq Ahmed talked about their visit to Bangladesh.
In the life of a Bangladeshi Shaheed Debosh is a moment of tragedy and triumph. 61 years ago on this day Bangladesh lost many amongst its youth, the courageous souls who knew no compromise on the question of their national pride and dignity and waged a relentless struggle to uphold the cause of the mother tongue. On this momentous occasion, Bangladeshis all over the world pay their deepest homage to those martyrs – Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and many other activists – who rose nobly to the challenge which confronted the people at that time. These martyrs have left a legacy that will be an abiding source of pride and glory. Their names shall never be erased from history. Ekushey February played an important role in making Bengalis aware of their cultural and national heritage and ultimately led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. The Bangladeshis owe whatever cultural vibrancy it possesses largely to the glorious Ekushey.
Here in Rochdale the Rochdale Bangladeshi Partnership Project has been promoting the International Mother Language Day since 2008. We have held cultural programmes and also informed young people through school assemblies. The heritage project will hopefully depict some of this information and help British Bangladeshi’s in particular to understand their roots & origins.
Mohammed Dobir Miah (Project Co-ordinator of RBPP) says: “Language not only communicates, it defines culture, nature, history, humanity and ancestry. We should all be able to communicate in whatever our mother language is without fear or prejudice. Bangladesh was the only country to be liberated because of its language, we hope everyone speaks their mother tongue with pride and belated wishes on the occasion of Shaheed Debosh. Can I also extend our gratitude to Rochdale Council, Link4Life (for supporting the Project) and the Heritage Lottery Fund for making the project possible.”
If anyone is interested in learning more about the heritage project or wants to arrange a cultural awareness programme please do get in touch with us by ringing O17O6 342889 or by email mail link to RBPP.
A few spaces for boys & girls aged 11-16 to join the group of young people on the heritage project are still available.