The 33rd edition of 'Jatiya Kobita Utshab' (national poetry festival) has begun on Friday at the Dhaka University's Central Library square.
This year's slogan of the two-day festival is 'Bangalir Joy Kobitar Joy' (the victory of Bengalis is the victory of poetry).
The festival originally began in 1987 with a view to raising voices through poems against dictatorship and tyranny. Jatiya Kobita Utshab 2019, organised by Jatiya Kobita Parishad, is dedicated to the 50-year anniversary of mass uprising of 1969 and its martyrs.
The inauguration took place after paying homage to National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, Patua Kamrul Hasan and the martyrs of Language Movement.
Noted Bangladeshi poet Asad Chowdhury opened the festival. In his speech, he noted how poems, as part of literature, have always been an inspiration for the Bengalis.
"Jatiya Kobita Parishad, as a platform, is against communalism, fundamentalism and tyranny. We want to declare that the victory of Bengalis is the victory of poetry," he said, adding that a parliament free of war criminals is a great achievement.
Jatiya Kabira Parishad General Secretary Tariq Sujat said Bangladeshi poets have always stood for progress. He expressed concerns about rules followed for national awards distribution.
"The rules and regulations formulated during the dictatorship are still being followed when these awards are distributed. The process of selecting the awardees is still questionable; hence I urge the government to take necessary steps to maintain the honour of these prizes," he added.
Poet Ruby Rahman, in her proclamation of the event, said Jatiya Kobita Utshab 2019 declares the inevitable victory of Bangali. "All the spirit of Bangladeshis' struggle for freedom centers the Language Movement. Every curve of this uprising has offerings of poetry," she added.
Festival convener Rabiul Hussain hoped that in the coming days, poets and their poetry will continue to encourage the nation in all movements and struggles, reports UNB.
Jatiya Kobita Parishad President Dr Mohammad Samad in his speech urged the government to declare February 1 as the 'National Poetry Day'.
He urged all to take oath to prevent the rise of anti-liberal forces in the country in future.
This year, poet Habibullah Siraji will be honoured for his contribution to poetry by Jatiya Kobita Parishad on the second day of the festival.
Famed names of Bangla literature including Nirmalendu Gunn, Mahadev Saha, Kazi Rozi, Burhanuddin Khan Jahangir and many others will grace the festival.
Nineteen foreign poets from 11 countries including India, Sweden, Maldives, Turkey, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Spain, Uruguay, Congo and Malaysia will participate in sessions alongside Bangladeshi poets.
The festival will be celebrated with many sessions for recitation, seminar, discussion and exhibition on poets and poetry. Several stalls have been set up with books on poetry.
The festival is open for all. It will end on Saturday night with Kobitar Gaan (songs of poetry).
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