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Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid: The Beginning Of A New Cultural Movement

All languages are sweet to their patrons, but none can be sweeter than one’s own mother tongue. Since birth, the language learned by a child is derived from its surroundings, especially from the parents, is known as the mother tongue of each child. People may learn various languages and become exceptionally well-versed in it. Nevertheless, nothing beats the comfort and confidence of natural expertise in the mother tongue.

The English, French, Japanese, German, Chinese etc. are all highly developed nations of the world. However, their knowledge of science and arts have led them to success through familiarization by their mother language. What could be the reason behind the success of mother language in the field of study? The most obvious reason is that anything is more comprehensible and digestible when learned in the mother language. Education achieved through mother language enhances cognitive abilities and nurtures the effective growth of knowledge, thereby increasing the chance of success collectively for the whole nation.

Growth of children and adolescents flourish through different fields, such as physical growth, the growth of merit, lingual skill development, social skill development, emotional development, development of their own mindset and psyche; and ethical development etc. In this case, learning the language properly is a key requirement as it is related to our thinking and other progress, such as-intellectual, social and emotional progress.The language we speak, the culture we follow and the values we obey in the early days of life are embedded in our cores.It is evident from the various studies that if the new generation wishes to be efficacious and talented, the practice of mother language is quintessential.

We Bangladeshis are the only nation in the world who sacrificed their lives to establish the rights of mother language. We never forgot the sacrifice of the numerous known and unknown martyrs who bled their life out to establish their mother language as sovereign. Since the liberation of the country, there have been many discussions of the importance of practicing the Bengali language, although only on the occasions of Mother Language Day in February or the celebration of the Bengali New Year in April. When these days are passed, the discussions are also brushed off. And this became a tradition since post-independence period. As a nation, we are very much aware of our own mother tongue but we do not put much effort to develop the Bengali language.

In a country where 99 percent of the population speaks Bengali, all feelings are expressed, all thoughts are furnished and all imaginations are visualized in Bangla. All our regular activities are conducted via Bengali language; we even diversify our intellectual capabilities in Bangla.

A sad yet true fact is that apart from Bangla Academy, Biswasahitya Kendra, and some newspapers, there is no other Bengali lingual application improvement attempt present that can be noted. Bangla spelling errors are evident on books, booklets, handouts, advertisement, bus-rail, and official documents. Ispahani is determined to work towards increasing the nationwide awareness about this issue.

A campaign to improve the present state of Bengali language will enrich the cultural experience of the younger generations and an initiative will familiarize them with Ispahani. Considering this, Ispahani conceived and implemented a language competition called Banglabid.

Banglabid is a platform to enliven the practice of correct Bengali language, proper spelling, and pronunciations. The literacy rate in Bangladesh is increasing, as is the rate of passing graduates. But as a 46 years old independent nation, we could not reach our expected goals.We did not take our culture to the desired position on the world stage.Even we can see our neighborhood is surrounded by others’ culture.

The origin of this problem is the sheer imitation of cultural influences rather than knowledge based education and unreasonable observance of other cultures that has spread over our society. Nowadays, even our TV shows are not exempt from this trend. Instead of being proud of our own heritage and culture, we are becoming blind followers of other countries cultural programs and TV shows. The proper blend of people with the ability of focused thinking and talent is missing which is the main reason for all of these complications. The principle purpose of this ISPAHANI MIRZAPORE BANGLABID is to find out the person who has both the virtues; the ability of thinking and expertise in the Bengali language.

Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid started with this slogan 'Live in Bengali with full spirit’. The purpose of this show is to encourage the new generation to learn and use correct Bengali, correct spelling and to utilize Bengali in all aspects of lives and living. With this in mind, Ispahani will ensure the rise of the appropriate use of Bengali language and protection of Bengali from mistakes and increasing deformity.

This initiative can be termed as ‘The Call for Bangla’. Banglabid is not just an ordinary reality tv show or a mere competition; it’s a social awakening call. Banglabid is an attempt to have the resurgence of Bengali language.

To save the nation from the ignorance and carelessness towards our mother tongue, this is the call to return to due consciousness. Because if it arises, our Bengali language will prosper, from this the slogan is created, ‘BanglayJaagoBharpur’ (Live in Bengali with full spirit).

On the basis of all above and as an unprecedented event in the nation, Ispahani Mirzapore introduced Banglabid which was a success with immensely positive response and millions in TV viewership.

Starting from the common people to the intellectuals of the country, students, as well as employers, were all regular viewers of the show. Their opinions and tributes have encouraged this initiative in many ways. Various newspapers’ assessments of Banglabid were very constructive and praiseworthy.

On 17th August one of the leading newspapers of the country, the daily ProthomAlo, inside its TV program’s critic column in ‘Ananda’ applauded about Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid. They wrote, “It has been divided into several episodes to raise curiosity for the mother tongue.

The participation of these programs and the participants are exquisite.”Besides, they also thanked for organizing such a significant program for the development and awakening of the Bengali language.The first phase of the two-stage event held in 7 divisional cities through selection rounds.

From there, the top 80 students took part in the second phase. Every episode of the competition is broadcasted on Channel I, every Friday and Sunday at 9:35 pm. Bedsides the participants of this show, Bengali speakers from all parts of the country enjoyed this program, as well as enjoyed the opportunity to further strengthen their Bengali skills.

In this show, they highlighted some topics which are not only important to the whole society, along with indigenous culture but are also entertaining and interesting for the general audience. In the primary year, it will not be easy to achieve all goals, but Ispahani believes that by continuing this, Bangladesh will become more prosperous by promoting the youth with full of talent and intellect.

This year on July 7, when the first episode of Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid was broadcasted, Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid ranked on the 301st position in media monitoring report by Kantar MRBin Bangladeshi TV shows genre. On the other hand, on August 25, last episode (15th Episode) of Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid was ranked as the 15th position for being one of the most popular shows in Bangladesh. We believe this is a huge inspiration for the success of hosting a language-based reality show.On 25th February, the journey of Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid begun. This years event was for all the students of Bengali, English and Madrasa medium from the 6th to 10th-grade students (for English medium it was from 6th standards to O level).

First, the registration process was open for one month, where 35,000 students registered through SMS and online. After taking part in the audition in 7 divisional cities, 80 students were selected from the countryside to attend in the studio round in Dhaka. With the participants, the competition was launched in country's leading TV channel, Channel I.The episodes were arranged with various types of new games, such as various kinds of Bengali literary items, grammatical questions, Bengali proverbs, photo puzzles, buzzer rounds, extemporal speech, creative writing etc. Combining some brilliant ideas alike, Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid made a unique and amazing reality TV show.

On the basis of the knowledge and performance of participants on Bengal in all 15 studio episodes,'Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid' will reward Taka 10 lacs to the winner, runner-up Banglabid will be awarded Taka 3 lacs, and the third champion will get Taka 2 lacs! Apart from this, the top ten contestants will get a laptop each; a giant book shelf with books worth Taka 50 thousand.

Every year on 21st February, when our Mother Language Day comes, our Bengali identity became a widespread showmanship stunt and all of the TV news and newspapers highlight the significance of Bengali language and Bengali culture.

Various language-based arrangements are also observed in different media and educational institutions, but once February is gone, all the initiatives and activities are forgotten. But proper use of correct Bengali language cannot betime-bound, rather it has to be practiced every day.

Like other nation-building and nation branding initiatives Ispahani Mirzapore Banglabid is also a platform that works as a culture builder.

S M Didarul Hasan is Deputy General Manager, Marketing at Ispahani Tea Limited and an MBA from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. He can be reached at didarulhasan@gmail.com.

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