Manabendra Narayan Larma, who popularly goes by MN Larma, was a leading proponent of the rights of the people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, said rights activists and politicians.
At a discussion Wednesday marking the 82nd birth anniversary of MN Larma, they called upon the new generation to study the life and work of the rights leader.
Sultana Kamal, a prominent rights activist and an adviser to the former caretaker government, said MN Larma got elected as a member of the parliament in 1970 and 1973 – that demonstrates how popular he was.
Sultana Kamal said MN Larma advocated for the inclusion of all marginalised people in the constitution.
"He was vocal not only for the hill tracts people but also all the farmers and labourers. If the new generation could be inspired by his ideology, the youth would feel for the marginalised communities," she noted.
"His legacy reminds us that we did not emphasise enough for our cultural development since we have been very obsessed with infrastructural development. We are yet to introduce an education system that would pamper progressiveness," said Sultana Kamal, adding it is high time to shift the focus of the nation's priority.
Pankaj Bhattacharya, president of Oikkyo NAP, said, "MN Larma was a rare personality who could influence the entire nation along with the Jumma peoples of the hill tracts. He established the Hill Women's Federation by inspiring the women to move for their rights."
Ushatan Talukder, vice-president of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti and also a former parliamentarian, recalled the role of MN Larma in the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord.
Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples' Forum, presided over the remembrance meeting, and urged the youths to read "Manabendra Narayan Larma: Jibon O Sangram (life & struggle)".
Among others, Association for Land Reform and Development Executive Director Shamsul Huda, poet and writer Sohrab Hassan, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad Rana Dasgupta, and indigenous rights activist Pallab Chakma spoke at the programme.