The Bangla Academy (Bengali: বাংলা একাডেমি, pronounced [baŋla ækaɖemi]) is the official regulatory body of the Bengali language in Bangladesh. It is an autonomous institution funded by the Government of Bangladesh that fosters the Bengali language, literature and culture, works to develop and implement national language policy and conducts original research in Bengali. Established in 1955, it is located in the Burdwan House in Shahbagh, Dhaka, within the grounds of the University of Dhaka and Suhrawardy Udyan. The Bangla Academy hosts the annual Ekushey Book Fair.

Bangla Academy
বাংলা একাডেমি
Named afterAcadémie Française
Formation3 December 1955; 68 years ago (1955-12-03)
TypeAutonomous institution
Legal statusLanguage regulator
PurposeResearch, publication and translation related to the Bengali language, literature and culture
HeadquartersBurdwan House
Region served
Official language
Mohammad Nurul Huda[1]
Selina Hossain
Parent organization
Ministry of Cultural Affairs
FundingGovernment of Bangladesh

History edit

Moder Gorob, depicting the language movement martyrs, is one of the features of Bangla Academy.

The importance of establishing an organisation for Bengali language was first emphasised by the linguist Muhammad Shahidullah.[2][3] Later, following the Language movement, on 27 April 1952, the All Party National Language Committee decided to demand establishment of an organisation for the promotion of Bengali language. During the 1954 parliamentary elections, the United Front's 21-point manifesto stated that, "The prime minister from the United Front will dedicate the Bardhaman House, also known as Burdwan House, for establishing a research center for the Bengali language".[3][4] The building was the official residence of the Chief Minister of East Pakistan, Nurul Amin during the Language movement and part of the University of Dhaka before that.[4][5] Following the election success of the Front, the education minister Syed Azizul Haque placed the order to fulfill this promise.

In 1955, the government formed a committee to expedite the process. The committee was composed of leading intellectuals like Muhammad Shahidullah, Qazi Motahar Hossain, S.M. Bhattacharya, W. H. Shadani, and Muhammad Barkatullah. On 3 December 1955, the Chief Minister of East Bengal, Abu Hussain Sarkar, inaugurated the institute.[3] Barkatullah acted as the Special Officer in charge. Later, in 1956, Muhammad Enamul Haque took over as the first director.[6]

In 1957, an act of the parliament formally established the funding source and the Government support for the institute.[3] The first book published by the academy was Laili Maznu, an epic by the medieval poet Dawlat Ujir Bahram Khan, and edited by Ahmed Sharif. The first fellow of the academy was the poet Farrukh Ahmed.[3]

The publication division was established in early 1957; the research, culture and library divisions and translation division were set in 1958 and 1961 respectively.[7]

After the independence of Bangladesh, the director's position was renamed Director General.[6] Mazharul Islam, head of Bangla Department of Rajshahi University, was the first Director General of the institute.[8] On 19 September 2008, a new 8-storied building, containing a 500-capacity auditorium and a 100-capacity seminar room, opened next to the main building.

Bangla Academy main building located in Burdwan House in Ramna, Dhaka.

Structure edit

The functions and structure of the institute were devised on the model of the French Academy.[6]

Divisions edit

  1. Research, compilation and folklore
  2. Language, literature, culture and publication
  3. Textbook
  4. Planning and training

Activities edit

The main task of the academy is to conduct research on Bengali language, culture, and history, and to publish Bengali literary and research work.

To commemorate the Language movement and the Language martyr's day, the academy organizes the month-long Ekushey Book Fair, the largest book fair in the country. It was introduced by former director general Monzur-I-Mowla.

Criticism edit

In recent years, Bangla Academy has been widely criticized for allowing different organizations to arrange events in English and denigrating Bengali in the premise of Bangla Academy, which is a violation of visions of the institution.[9] "The Academy has misused a lot of funds in producing useless books, books that are unoriginal," opines Salimullah Khan.[10] Khan is of the opinion that the academy is short on original publications long on dross.[10] He believes that both in research and in the field of creative writing, originality must be given priority. He also adds that most of the problems lie in the process of selection. The selection process the crucial decision to ditch one manuscript to pick another that will be added to the long list of academy publications, is faulty and in dire need of revision.[10]

Awards given by Bangla Academy edit

Bangla Academy Literary Award edit

Rabindra Award edit

This award is conferred for significant contributions to Rabindranath Tagore works.[11]

Mazharul Islam Poetry Award edit

This award is conferred to the Bangladeshi poets since 2010.[11][12]

Presidents edit

Years President Profession
1961–1961 Mohammad Akram Khan Journalist and politician
1962–1963 Mohammad Barkatullah Writer
1964–1965 Muhammad Qudrat-i-Khuda Educationist
1969–1971 Syed Murtaza Ali Writer and historian
1972–1974 Zainul Abedin Painter
1975–1977 Syed Murtaza Ali
1977–1979 Syed Ali Ahsan Poet and educator
1980–1982 Abdul Haque Faridi Islamic scholar
1982–1983 Abu Mohammed Habibullah
1986–1990 Abdullah-Al-Muti Educationist
1990–1992 Gazi Shamsur Rahman Lawyer
1993–1994 Abdur Rahman Chowdhury Justice
1994–1996 Gazi Shamsur Rahman
1996–1999 Shamsur Rahman Poet
1999–2002 Anisuzzaman
2002–2006 Wakil Ahmed
2007–2009 M Harunur Rashid
2009–2011 Kabir Chowdhury
2011–2020 Anisuzzaman[13]
2020–2021 Shamsuzzaman Khan[14] Folklorist
2021–2021 Rafiqul Islam[15]
2022– Selina Hossain[16] Novelist

List of Honorary Fellows edit

As of 2022, there are 193 persons made Honorary Fellows by the academy.[17]

  • Mohammad Ferdous Khan
  • Emazuddin Ahmed
  • Ferdousi Rahman

References edit

  1. ^ "Poet Nurul Huda new DG of Bangla Academy". Dhaka Tribune. 12 July 2021.
  2. ^ Al-Helal, Bashir (1986). Bangla Academy'r Itihaas (History of Bangla Academy) (in Bengali). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Bangla Academy.
  3. ^ a b c d e Mamun, Muntasir (January 2004) [1993]. Dhaka: Smriti Bismritir Nogori (in Bengali) (3rd edition, 4th printing ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Ananya Publishers. pp. 178–180. ISBN 984-412-104-3.
  4. ^ a b "Burdwan House". The Daily Star. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  5. ^ Hasina, Sheikh (7 January 2020). Secret Documents of Intelligence Branch on Father of The Nation, Bangladesh: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: Volume I (1948-1950). Routledge. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-000-03311-3.
  6. ^ a b c Islam, Sirajul (2012). "Bangla Academy". In Islam, Sirajul; Helal, Bashir Al (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  7. ^ বাংলা একাডেমির সংক্ষিপ্ত ইতিহাস. Bangla Academy (in Bengali). Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Bangla Academy marks 54th founding anniv today". Dhaka Mirror. New Age. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  9. ^ 'ঢাকা লিট ফেস্ট'-এর পৃষ্ঠপোষকতা ও ইংরেজিকে 'লিডিং' অবস্থানে নিয়ে যাওয়ার ব্যবস্থা!. (Opinion) (in Bengali). 12 November 2018. Archived from the original on 20 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Losing Sight of Priorities". Star Magazine. The Daily Star. Archived from the original on 12 April 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b পুরস্কারপ্রাপ্তদের তালিকা [Winners list] (in Bengali). Bangla Academy. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Mazharul Islam Award introduced". The Daily Star. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  13. ^ বাংলা একাডেমির প্রাক্তন সভাপতিগণ [Former Presidents of Bangla Academy] (in Bengali). Bangla Academy. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Shamsuzzaman Khan becomes Bangla Academy president". New Age. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Dr Rafiqul Islam appointed Bangla Academy president". Dhaka Tribune. 19 May 2021. Retrieved 26 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Author Selina Hossain is appointed president of Bangla Academy". Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  17. ^ বাংলা একাডেমি প্রদত্ত অন্যান্য পুরস্কার ও সম্মানসূচক ফেলোশিপপ্রাপ্ত বিশিষ্টজনের তালিকা [List of dignitaries who received other awards and honorary fellowships given by Bangla Academy]. Bangla Academy (in Bengali).
  18. ^ Islam, Sirajul (2012). "Nasiruddin, Mohammad". In Islam, Sirajul; Quiyum, Nurul (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  19. ^ "40th ABM of Bangla Academy held". United News. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Artist Monirul Islam gets Bangla Academy Honouary Fellowship". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g "7 honoured with Bangla Academy fellowship". Dhaka Tribune. 22 December 2022.