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State language does not mean other languages cannot be used for other purposes

By Editorial Desk
20th-Feb-2014       
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The High Court recently directed the government to take necessary steps in one month to facilitate the use of the state language Bangla in all the advertisements of electronic media, vehicles registration plates and signboards of the country. The HC also issued a rule on the government to explain in two weeks why it should not be directed to use Bangla mandatorily in all sectors including offices and courts of the country as per the Bangla Bhasha Procholon Ain-1987 (Bangla Language Introduction Law-1987).The court came up with the order and rule in response to a writ petition filed by a Supreme Court lawyer. The petition which was filed on February 18th sought the HC directive on the government to take steps on using Bangla in all courts and offices of the country. Petitioner Eunus Ali Akond submitted the petition praying to the HC to order the government to issue a circular asking the officials concerned to use Bangla as the official language.
There is confusion about the rule of the High Court Division. Many have understood to mean that in all commercial places signboard etc. have to be changed into Bangla. In this connection we have to mention that there is another judgment of the High Court Division which allowed use of both English and Bangla in Court.
Bengali, like any other language, is a living language-like English. It has in its vocabulary words which have been derived from many other languages like Persian or even English. One example is the word Choshma (meaning spectacles) which is derived from the Persian word cheshme meaning eye. The main reason why English is the lingua franca of the world is mainly because of its ability to assimilate words from many other languages-this is primarily why it is used as the main language for business and communication in almost all parts of the world. Any attempt to prevent English from being used will only be severely detrimental to the flow of trade and commerce between Bangladesh and other parts of the world and lead to tremendous losses due to time and other resources as countries who trade with Bangladesh will not want to spend significant amounts of their time deciphering what we want to say in our commercial correspondence.
We have to emphasise that our state language should be taken as official language for official transactions. But it is stretching the matter too far if it is interpreted to mean that no other language can be used for other purposes. That will only lead us to be isolated from the world. There will be visitors in the country who do not know Bangla. Commercial consideration has to be how best we should be able to communicate with larger markets and greater number of people. So too narrow an interpretation will not be practical or proper. Most importantly, it will go against our business and commercial interests within and outside the country.
Let us be realistic and take into account how other countries are going forward. We have to accept English as Lingua Franca.

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