Over music and poetry, India and Bangladesh celebrate International Mother Language Day
On Wednesday, Benapole-Petrapole border turned colourful with performances by prominent singers, and speeches from politicians from India and Bangladesh as both the countries jointly celebrated International Mother Language Day.
People left behind differences and celebrated Bangla as a language that binds people from both sides and enjoyed the fanfare.
The first event, which brings people from both countries together, was introduced by India-Bangladesh Ganga-Padma Language Unity Council at zero point on International Mother Language Day in 2002.
At least 20 organisations from both the countries took part in the celebrations then.
At the event on Wednesday, Benapole Municipality Mayor Ashraful Alam Liton said, "The fair has stepped into its sixteenth year, strengthening trust and connection among the Bangla-speaking people."
India set up a stage at its export terminal at Petrapole while 'Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Ekushey Mancha' was set up in Benapole, 200 yards from the zero point.
Amid tight security measures, artistes forgot their differences and enjoyed the time with songs and light conversations remembering good-old times.
Jyotipriya Mallick, Minister for Food and Supplies in West Bengal, Lok Sabha MP Mamata Thakur, among others, led a delegation comprising artistes, journalists and administrative officers to Bangladesh at 10:15 am.
Bangladesh Awami League Presidium Member Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya, Jessore Awami League General Secretary Shahin Chaklader, the local superintendent of police and the Border Guard Bangladesh chief greeted the Indian team with flowers.
The two delegates placed wreaths at the altar of a makeshift Shaheed Minar set up at the zero point.
Bangladesh leader Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya said, "It is a matter of pride that the two sides are celebrating the achievements of Bangalees collectively. It will enhance harmony and friendship among the countries."
West Bengal Minister Jyotipriya Mallick said, "The pride of Feb 21 is for all the Bangalees across the globe."
At the fare, Bangladeshs Fatema-Tuj-Johora, Kiran Chandra Roy and Indian singer Anupam Roy, Kamolika Cokraborty sang songs. Indian writers Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and Sanjib Chattopadhyay and Bangladeshi actor Jayanto Chattopadhyay recited poems.