A shahid bedi was at the centre of the programme being held by New Town 1CA - 1CD Block Residents Welfare Association to pay tribute to the martyrs of the 1971 language movement across the border.
The coat of white cement over thermocol had been given such a stone-like finish with the paintbrush that it looked its part when guests — Debashis Sen, chairman, Hidco, Anup Matilal, curator, Rabindra Tirtha and Animesh Bhattacharya, CEO, NKDA — garlanded it.
It was the work of an artist couple, Piyali and Saumik Chakraborty. “We shifted here six months ago. It is nice to be involved in a new neighbourhood,” said Soumik.
Residents performed songs like Amar bhai-er rokte rangano ekushe February, Moder gorob moder asha and Ami Banglay gan gai. “We use language to express ourselves but to what extent one can go for its sake is evident in the sacrifices made in East Pakistan. The Unesco’s declaration in 1999 making February 21 the international mother language day is a recognition of that,” said Tapas Sengupta, the event anchor.
“New Town has a cosmopolitan population, speaking different languages. We have started Radio Newtown where with the help of an internet-based app, we are running programmes for and by New Town residents,” said Sen.
“We have been planning to celebrate Bhasha Divas for years but things never fell in place. We always try to celebrate every occasion together,” said Nakul Chandra Guin, vice-president of the association. “This is our first programme after the pandemic-hit year,” said Sujit Banerjee, a member.
“Nowadays everyone talks in a strange mix of a language. The new generation needs to appreciate how beautiful our mother-tongue is,” said Ritam Banik, 78, a CB Block resident.