DAKA, Feb. 27, Reuter: The Bangladesh parliament adopted a bill last night replacing English by Bengali in official work, except for communications with other countries.

President Hossain Mohammad Ershad told Parliament on January 24, “I am asking officials to overcome the ominous tendency to use English, defying previous instructions anyone violating my order will be liable to punishment.”

Ershad ordered that English nameplates and signs used by business and other organizations must be changed into Bengali by tomorrow. Diplomatic missions and foreign organizations should also display Bengali plaques.

Universities have been asked to rewrite text books in Bengali and newspapers must display prominently Bengali datelines.

“This is a welcome step but we will still need some patience. You cannot erase two and half centuries of past overnight”, one Dhaka University teacher said.

Ershad changed the name of the capital from Dacca to Dhaka to match phonetically the Bengali spelling soon after he seized power in a bloodless coup in March, 1982.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 6, 1987