PM urges South Asian writers to work together for poverty alleviation

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka

Terming poverty the main enemy of South Asia, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged all, including poets and littérateurs, to work together to ensure peace in the region by freeing it from poverty.
‘The main enemy of this South Asian region and the SAARC countries is poverty and we’ll have to come out of its vicious cycle, and this is our main target,’ she said.
‘Let’s work together to turn South Asia into a poverty-free and peaceful region so that the people of this area can lead a better life,’ Hasina said while addressing the inaugural function of a two-day SAARC Literary Festival-2014 organised by WRITE Foundation, the Bangladesh chapter of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Litterateurs, at the National Museum at Shahbagh in the capital.
Cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor, president of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Litterateurs Ajeet Cour and eminent Syed Shamsul Haq also spoke at the function.
President of the WRITE Foundation Selina Hossain delivered welcome address. WRITE Foundation general secretary Rubana Huq gave vote of thanks.
Speaking at the function, the prime minister expressed her belief that the real life-oriented literature could bring back people from the darkness of clashes and ferocities to the path of light.
Sheikh Hasina said illiteracy, ignorance and narrowness on religious knowledge are some of the major problems which are creating obstacles to enrichment of the people in the region.
Stressing the need for maintaining close contact among the people of the region, she said politicians and cultural-minded people are the most capable sections of society in creating bonds among the nations as culture and literature have no geographical boundary.
The premier said literature not only arouses the artistic bent of mind but also works as the lighthouse of a nation. ‘Literature is the highway of human history. Traveling through this highway, people across the world are interconnected.’
Hasina said that the SAARC countries are interlinked when it comes to history, tradition and literature-culture and language. The geographical boundaries separated people, but their mindset, and hopes and aspirations are identical.
Noting that literature is very important for any society, the Prime Minister said a society which advances through nurturing of literature could never be suppressed like in the case of Bangladesh.
Citing that the endless natural beauty of Bangladesh may lead anyone to become a poet or writer, she said that even a military dictator in the country once became a poet.
Hasina said the country would continue to move forward not bowing to any kind of injustice. ‘I think that the exchange of cultural activities can act as a bridge to improve relations with any country or nation.’
She said the riverine Bangladesh blessed with natural beauty is also a fertile land of literary and cultural activities. The people of this land on one hand are firm in character, hardworking, and on the other, they are soft and passionate in human qualities.
Not only educated one, self-educated bauls and bards of this soil had enriched the country’s literature and songs. The potters, blacksmiths and carpenters are also unique creative artists of Bangladesh.
She said that Fakir Lalon Shah, Siraj Sai or Shah Abdul Karim or Radha Raman Dutta enlightened hearts and souls of all by their works.
A total of 68 renowned authors, including 30 from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, are participating in the festival.

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