With the slogan ‘Joy Janatar Joy Kabitar’, Jatiya Kabita Utsab began on the Dhaka University Central Library premises yesterday.
Poet Syed Shamsul Haq inaugurated the three-day festival organised by Jatiya Kabita Parishad by hoisting the national flag while Parishad President Habibullah Siraji chaired the programme.
Poet Aslam Sani read out the obituary reference at the inaugural ceremony. This year the festival is dedicated to eminent poets Khaleda Edib Chowdhury and Samudra Gupta.
Syed Haq said that if the culture of democracy sustains, the practice of poetry, art and culture would not face any hindrance.
Prof Kabir Chowdhury said one can sense the change the country has experienced, a change that inspires such non-communal programmes.
A number of poets from India are also attending the festival.
Partha Raha said, “It is a great experience to be among people who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of their mother tongue.”
“All these days we have read Manik Bandapaddhay’s words ‘Kabi Chhara Joy Britha’ (Victory is nothing without poets) in print, but here at the festival we can feel what does this mean,” he added.
Poet Robiul Hussain, convenor of the festival, said that the Parishad is not an institution rather a platform to bring together poets from home and abroad.
He demanded February 1 be declared as Poetry Day.
He also urged the government to provide a piece of land for Kabita Bhaban, which would be a centre for the poets, and sending poets as ambassadors or cultural representatives to other countries that can help establish a healthy cross-cultural communication.
The festival will remain open from 10:00am to 9:00pm.