As singers belted out inspirational songs, the three-day 37th Jatiyo Rabindra Sangeet Sammelan was inaugurated at Nilphamari high school grounds in the district town on March 9.
Minister for Cultural Affairs Asaduzzaman Noor inaugurated the festival by lighting candles as an enthusiastic 5,000-strong crowd watched on. Bulbul Islam, central secretary of Jatiyo Rabindra Sangeet Parishad delivered the welcome speech.
The conference opened with the Tagore song “Uriye Dhwaja Agrobhedi Rothe, Oi Je Tini Oi Je Bahir Pothe” at 4.30pm.
Presided over by renowned Tagore exponent Dr. Sanjida Khatun, also president of Jatiyo Rabindra Sangeet Sammelon Parishad(JRSSP), the meeting was addressed by the Cultural Affairs Minister.
“This is a festival of conscience which promotes love and paves the way for creating a secular society,” said Asaduzzaman Noor.
“Rabindranath is an inspiring lighthouse. A nation that has personalities like Rabindranath and Bangabandhu is a league apart," he affirmed.
The audience was treated to performances by renowned Tagore singers Dr. Sanjida Khatun, Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya, Laisa Ahmed Lisa, Nuruzzaman Chowdhury and Protik Indo.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed the songs, recitation and classical dance.
On the occasion, the first ever in the district, security was beefed up in the light of the recent attack on renowned intellectual Dr. Muhammad Zafar Iqbal by fundamentalists in Sylhet.
Noor said, “Zafar Iqbal was scheduled to attend here but couldn't as vested quarters attempted to kill him.”
Marking the festival, the entire town wore a festive look. Colourful flags and banners, festoons and posters were installed at strategic points as the local municipality launched a special cleanliness drive.
In her speech as ceremony president, Dr. Sanjida Khatun urged all to nourish their humane quality to establish truth, beauty and goodness.
“It needs devotion and dedication to be real human beings. The writings of Rabindranath shows us the way and enlightens our hearts to defeat evil forces,” she said.
The festival has been sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Ministry and supported by Bengal Group along with NGO Bhabna and Brac Bank. Teachers, students, business community and others pitched in to ensure that the festival went smoothly.