In a bid to make the commemoration of Language Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day more inclusive, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Bengal Foundation have collaborated to develop a sign-language version of ‘Amar bhai er rokte rangano’.
This is the first time, the song, that is intertwined with the identity of Bangladeshis and embodies the spirit of the Language Martyrs Day, has been adapted into a version for persons who cannot participate in the music due to speech and hearing impediments.
“Bangladesh is the only nation that shed blood for its mother-tongue. But there are many in our society, who don’t have the privilege of speaking and hearing their beloved language. We stand by those who are often left behind,” said UNDP Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee.
He was speaking on February 21, 2021 at the launch of the sign-language version marking the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence through a programme organised at Bengal Shilpalay.
“Even if they cannot join the tune with their voices, they join the occasion of mother language day with their indomitable, patriotic spirits. I am hopeful that the reach and accessibility of sign language will go further and aid the progress of persons with disabilities in Bangladesh,” Sudipto added.
Bengal Foundation’s Director General Luva Nahid Chowdhury said, “It is important that persons with speech and hearing impediments do not feel left out from the spirit of patriotism. It is from this realisation that we took this joint initiative.”
Ahsan Habib, part of the group that performed the songs using sign language, said, “There are beautiful songs in Bangla that many cannot enjoy due to speech and hearing impediments. We performed these songs in sign language for those who are often overlooked.”
“I hope this made them feel included in the observation of Martyrs’ Day,” he added.
Also a part of the initiative, a sign-language version of Bangladesh’s National Anthem Amar Shonar Bangla has been developed as well which will be released in March on the occasion of the Independence Day.