Culture needs protection, but neither law enforcement nor isolation can do that. Rather, practicing, believing and creating awareness about the cultural identity are the only forces that can protect a culture from losing its uniqueness.
Expressing deep anxiety that Bengali culture is going through a serious crisis, participants at IID’s 5th Policy Breakfast debated and discussed over the reasons behind the crisis, and how it can be protected. This latest episode of the Policy Breakfast series, tagged with theme “Bengali Culture and Identity”, was held on 23 August 2015 at the Hotel Bengal Blueberry, Dhaka.
Honorable Minister of Cultural Affairs, Mr. Asaduzzaman Noor, MP presented the key note and Mr. Ali Zaker, Chairman of Asiatic Society provided additional remarks. Mr. Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, the prominent film maker and Ms. Eeshita Azad, Director of Arts at British Council exchanged views on the motion “Does Bangladeshi culture need protection from external influences?” The participants joined in the lively debate and insightful discussion and majority voted in favor of protecting the culture.
Bangladesh as a nation has germinated from a series of movements to protect its culture, stated the culturally enthusiastic participants. Unfortunately external influence has infested Bengali culture and they felt that a certain amount of barrier should be imposed to protect the encroachment. Economic tools such as taxation and legal provisions can be used to minimize the overwhelming flow of elements from foreign culture.
Yet, the need, motive and extent of protection that should be put in place is not a straight forward conclusion to make. The evolution of a culture to uniqueness may come from the openness and diversity.
The next generation needs to be make more concerned about the identity of our nation through Bengali culture and that needs to be promoted both through family and education system. Role of electronic, print and social media, particularly cultural vectors like music and film must play a spontaneous role in upholding our own culture and heritage – not only to us but also to the outside world.
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