A book festival to mark the resurgence of Sylheti Nagri script was celebrated at Kazi Nazrul Auditorium in Sylhet city on Friday afternoon, arranged by Utsho Prokashon, which has been publishing the long lost puthi literature written in Nagri.
Sylhet region has its own written script named Nagri, which can be found in centuries-old 'puthi' written in the ancient script.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith was the chief guest at the festival while Professor Emeritus Md. Abdul Aziz, veteran writer Ali Imam, Professor Dr. Shourav Shikdar of Dhaka University, Kabedul Islam, director of International Mother Language Institute participated in the discussion session on the Nagri script.
When Ali Ashab, from a remote village of Tahirpur upazila in Sunamganj district embarked on a recitation of “Jangnama”, an ancient puthi written in Nagri, there was complete silence among the packed audience at the auditorium, testimony enough to their eagerness to hear the original Nagri script rendered in melody.
At the book festival, 200 educational institutes and libraries in Sylhet region were gifted with a set of 25 books originally written in Nagri script, to promote the practice of this almost-extinct heritage.
The organisers also honoured the lifetime achievement of Professor Erhasujjaman for his contribution to the development of Nagri. He is locally called “Nagri Sir” as he taught Nagri to his students in a long career as an academic.
Mustafa Salim, chief executive of Utsho Prokashon gave the welcome speech while writer Mosih Malik Chowdhury presided over the discussion.
The festival started with the screening of a documentary titled “Renaissance of Nagri Script”, followed by a presentation of dances by Chhanda Nrittyalaya with songs originally written in Nagri.
Ekushey Padak laureate folk musician Sushma Das, baul Abdur Rahman, Boshir Uddin Shorkar, Shah Nure Alam, Surjolal Das and Lincoln Das presented songs of Deen Bhobananda, Sheikh Bhanu, Syed Shah Noor, Shah Shitalong Fokir and Arkum Shah at the programme.
The festival ended with stage play “Saat Koinyar Kahan” presented by Nabashikha Natyadal and directed by Sushanta Kumar Sarkar. It is based on the original Nagri Puthi “Saat Koinyar Bakhan” by Syed Shahnoor.