The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The cross-country cycling trip celebrating International Mother Language Day

The day 21st February is significant for Bengalis all over the world, especially those in Bangladesh. It is known as International Mother Language Day for observance all over the world to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The observance of the day marks a decades-long movement (known as Bhasha Andolon or the movement for language) for the recognition of Bangla (Bengali) as one of the two national languages of East Pakistan (which later became the country of Bangladesh), in which students were shot dead in Dhaka on 21st February 1952. The day was acknowledged as a day of significant importance and to be known as International Mother Language Day (better known to Bengalis as Bhasha Dibas) by the United Nations in 1999 and it is being observed worldwide since 2000. 

A group of six adventure sports lovers under the banner of Touch of Heaven (an adventure sports organization) is celebrating it this year in a special way. They are embarking on a cycling trip from Kolkata to Dhaka from today. They are going to take part in the grand Bhasha Dibas programme on 21st February in Dhaka. The trip has been named Aksharjatra.

The trip through suburban and rural Kolkata and Bangladesh will also seek to understand the grassroot culture that was the root behind the revolution. It should also contribute in its own way to the bonding of Bengalis from India and Bangladesh. It is being led by the Chandan Biswas, 30, a photographer and adventure cyclist. Others in the group are Ankur Barman (24), Rahul Sen (26), Rajat Saha (46), Subrata Chatterjee (42) and Ransdale Manuel (40).

 The group with the cycles

Chandan Biswas, the group leader

The group with the Indian flag at the press conference
The itinerary reads as:

Day 0- 12th February- Flag-off at Press Club, Kolkata
Day 1- 14th February- Journey starts from Eden Gardens and reaches Bangaon, India (80 km).
Day 2- 15th February- Bangaon to Jessore, Bangladesh (40 km)
Day 3- 16th February- Jessore to Magura (58 km)
Day 4- 17th February- Magura to Faridpur (52 km)
Day 5- 18th February- Faridpur to Manikganj (68 km)
Day 6- 19th February- Manikganj to Dhaka (58 km)
Day 7- 20th February- Rest and local amusement
Day 8- 21st February- Bhasha Dibas programme at Dhaka. Boarding a bus to Benapole at night.
Day 9- 22nd February- Back to Kolkata by cycling/ train

For updates during the trip (as available from Chandan) visit the Facebook page of this blog (find the link at the end of this post or click on the widget of the page on the sidebar). Updates will also be available on my Tweeter handle anirban48.

Wishing the team all the very best and a safe and fulfilling journey.


#Ridefor21 #Aksharjatra #TouchOfHeaven


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