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– Eshitha Dey, B.Ed. 2nd Year (2017-2019 batch)
Gopabandhu Hostel has always been a hub of various activities whenever it comes to celebrations of different kinds of festivals or memorable days. Likewise, on the occasion of Matri Bhasa Diwas or International Mother Language Day, the Hostel Warden Prof. I P Gowramma ma’am had asked for participation and engagement from the hostel boarders to come forward with various cultural activities. For this purpose, the responsibility of organizing and managing the programme was handed over to the B.Ed. 2nd year girls, who happen to be the senior-most and the outgoing batch of the hostel. The B.Ed. cultural in-charge, Sohini Das accordingly had called a meeting of their batch to have preliminary discussions first regarding the organization of the programme. After the collection of the names of participants from the entire hostel who were interested to perform different kinds of activities in different languages, the cultural in-charge handed it over to the slated anchor of the programme, Eshita Dey from B.Ed. (Humanities) 2nd year to take the programme forward in her own manner.
On 21st February, the day of Matri Bhasa Diwas, all the hostel boarders assembled in the Hostel Common Room by 8:10 p.m and after the arrival of the Warden Ma’am, the programme started sharp at 8:15 p.m. The anchor of the programme, Eshita welcomed all the hostel boarders to the celebration of the International Mother Language Day by recitating the first para of the iconic Bengali song “Ekusher Gaan” (Song of the 21st) penned by Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, the song which led the Language Movement of Bangladesh. She went on to explain how today’s generation knows very little about the legendary language movement which made the international community to not only sit up and take notice, but also accord the movement the well-deserved honor as International Mother Language Day by UNESCO. There is no nation in the world which fought and sacrificed their life for their mother tongue. She further added that after the liberation of Bangladesh in 16th December 1971, this language movement has since being observed as Language Movement Day or Shaheed Dibosh or Martyrs’ Day. She informed the audience that the theme of this year’s International Mother Language Day is indigenous languages as a factor in development, peace and reconciliation.
Eshita went on to proffer that the day was an important day, especially for our country given that literally no other nation of this world has so much diversity in languages, which in fact enriches the culture manifold. She explained through examples the several spoken and written dialects within a single language. Like in Bengali, there are literary variants like Shadhubhasha & Choltibhasha and spoken variants in the form of Bongali, Rajbangshi, Raribangla, etc. In Odia, there are dialects like Sambhalpuri, Mugalbandi, Bauda Bhatri, Kosli, Bodo Praja, Reli, Kupia etc. In Hindi, numerous dialects like Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bundeli, Garhwali, Haryanvi and so on can be found.
After such an informative session, she went on to take the programme forward by inviting Smrutiparna Majhi from B.Sc. B.Ed. 3rd year to start the evening with an Odia Song. She took it a step further by singing a slew of melodious Odia songs to lend a musical ambience to the evening. After such a start to the evening, Eshita opened the recitation segment of the evening with the first performance by Jyoti Pragya, B.Ed (Science) 2nd year. Much to the loud appraises from the audience, she recitated some meaningful Hindi two-liners, drawing huge cheers from the audience.
Kuntala Sabat. The poetess happens to be the first female medical student of Odisha, who unfortunately passed away at a very young age. The poem recounts her struggles in the form of a metaphor of a flower, which has a lifespan of just a day but has a mesmerizing fragrance. The poem meant to put across the message that whatever be one’s lifespan, it should be meaningful and significant enough to be remembered. (Later, after a quick prompt from one member of the audience, everyone got to know that the flower is cinchona flower. Cinchona, as fact would have it, is the flower which is used in the treatment for malaria)
Next up for performance was a Bengali poem recitation by Soniya from B.Ed (Humanities) 1st year. She recitated the poem, “Ekushe February” by Aal Mahmud. The poem succinctly tells us about the 21st February which has been the witness of the sacrifice by hundreds, for their mother language. The sacrifice being made, must not be seen as just for the protection of their identity, but as their duty to their Mother, the land where they were born, to lay down their lives if needed to save Her, her language. After the goosebumps-inducing recitation, she thanked the anchor (Eshita) for providing her with the epic poem in the first place for the recitation.
The last poem recitation of the evening was performed by Ekata Mandal, B.Ed (Science) 2nd year. She received a Bengali poem “Tyaaj” (Zeal) by Debobrata Singha. She recitated the poem in Bankri, rural sub-dialect of the Bankura district of West Bengal. Drawing gasps from the audience for her meticulous pronunciation of the dialect and an emotive recitation, Ekata made the evening more terrific by choosing the very poem itself. The poem talks about a girl who belongs to be kameenkhata (household slave) family, who has stood first in her 10th standard exams. She could do it for the inspiration provided by her father, who repeatedly told her to not be submissive, even if you’re born in a low-caste family. He persuaded her to win always, even when her mother and her grandmother had a regressive and submissive mindset. When the reporters praised the girl telling her, girls like you make the nation proud, she made the statement saying, rising against all the struggles, creating one’s own path isn’t that easy. It takes a lot of zeal (and thus, the title of the poem).
And with that, ended the poem recitation segment of the programme. The musical part of the programme, especially presented by the B.Ed 2nd year girls, now began with the first performance by Namita Pradhan from Science, who beautifully sang an Odia song “Tate Na Dekhile Kemiti Bachibi Maa”. On further request, she related the meaning of the song to her personal experience of this hostel. When she first came, despite being an Odia, she didn’t know the alphabets and didn’t know how to speak in Odia as well. On the persistence of her friends, now she has not only got the hang of it, but also recently passed a competitive exam in Odia, drawing a round of applause from the audience. Even while she was singing, her Odia friends could be seem getting emotional, given that not much time is left for the batch to return where they have come from.
The next song was presented by Aditi Maiti from B. Ed. (Humanities), who sang a Bengali song, “Bhenge More Ghorer Chaabi”, written by Rabindranath Tagore which literally means, freedom should not be in cages. Everyone has the right to freedom to live as they want and it is the duty of the humanity to free people from any kind of societal bondages. Since the song she had selected is a popular Bengali song, many Bengali boarders could be seen lip-syncing the lyrics of the song along with Aditi, which made it sound more like a chorus, much to the delight of the Hostel Warden.
The last song was sung by Santoshini Pradhan, who is a visually-challenged yet musically talented girl from Humanities. She sang an Odia song, “Jayadevi Janmabhoomi”, which praises the beauty of the nature that is the gift of motherland. It speaks of the martyrs who have sacrificed their life and seeking love and power from the motherland. The song also speaks of the ray of hope to protect and to be the winner against all kinds of adversities.
Just when the anchor (Eshita) was going to request the Warden to say a few words regarding the programme, the cultural in-charge, Sohini asked Eshita to present her Marathi cupsong, for which she is famous for, in their batch. Before performing, Eshita explained the origin of the cupsong, of how it had originally been a part of an English movie, but later incorporated with Indian languages led by Mithila Palkar, an actress. Performing before an audience for the first time, she used a cup for providing beats to the Marathi song “Hi Chal Turu Turu” which refers to the movements and activities of a cat. Amidst pin-drop silence, with only the beats and the song being heard softly, her performance drew huge round of applause from the audience.
On inviting Hostel Warden ma’am to speak a few words on the programme, she talked and praised each and every performances by the participants, eager to know more about the recitations and the songs which were presented. On being requested and further coaxing from the Cultural Secretary, Anshu and the anchor, Eshita, to sing a song in her mother language, Warden ma’am finally gave in and before singing, gave us an introduction to her mother language. She informed how her mother language, Kodava, a language belonging to the Dravidian Family and based in Coorg, is a fast extinguishing language and has been listed as an endangered language, with only 1 lakh speakers in India. She further explained the language structure and what makes it one of the most difficult languages to learn. She related her personal memorable experience of singing a Kannada song in one of the workshops in Hindi dominated belt, she had attended and how she had been stumped when someone from the audience picked up the song from where she had left. She actually had goosebumps while recollecting the incident, while the boarders were waiting with bated breath on the privilege of hearing the Warden sing for the first time. She sang the Kannada song, “Nityotsava” and the tone so soft and melodious that when she stopped singing, the applause went for quite some time. Amidst cheers from the audience, one of the rare moments of the history could be witnessed when the Warden ma’am could actually be seen blushing and reeling from the responses from her boarders.
And with that, the programme of International Mother Language Day celebration in Gopabandhu Hostel came to an end which oversaw a milieu of languages being spoken and talked about together, in the same platform, truly bringing justice to the day.
Written by Ms. Eshitha Dey.
She is student of B.Ed. 2nd year (2017-2019 batch) at Regional Institute of Education, Bhubaneswar. This batch had taken reponsibility of organising “Matribhasha Diwas” in Gopabandhu Hostel.