President Abdul Hamid on Thursday called for greater practice of culture to end militancy, fundamentalism, violence and hatred from the root level of society.
"The more culture is practiced at every level from the village to the city, from the lower class to the upper class, the more enlightened the society will be," he said.
"An enlightened society can build a humane society, ensure the desired prosperity and welfare of a country and nation," he added.
The president was speaking at Shilpakala Padak (award) distribution function at Bangladesh Shilapakala Academy's National Theatre Hall auditorium. He joined the event virtually as the chief guest.
Hamid said there have been many changes in the society over the time which has also affected "our own culture."
"Foreign culture is constantly infiltrating our cultural arena due to satellite..." he said.
So the mentality of grabbing everything if it is foreign or attractive must be avoided, he also said.
He added "We have to accept whatever is compatible with our culture and tradition. Everything unnecessary, foreign and uncultured should be discarded."
The president said that the development of infrastructure and facilities is an important element in the development of indigenous culture but it is not everything. In order to develop culture, we need to make everyone aware of the culture and traditions of our modern age, regardless of caste and religion at the grass root level.
Hamid said that initiatives should be taken at the grass root level to develop non-sectarian and liberation war spirited culture.
Saying 'the development and tradition of our culture tells us how advanced and modern we are as a nation,' he said youths should be involved in cultural activities to turn them into modern, skilled and cultural minded manpower as culture can play the role of the main weapon against militancy and terrorism.
"Earlier every family used to practice various cultural activities including music in the morning. But with the development of urban civilisation, the wide spread of information technology and the busy schedule of urban life, the practice of culture at the family level is gradually decreasing. Children and youth are ... chasing various apps like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, games, etc. Mobiles and laptops are the main entertainment and sports equipment for them. If they continue like this, they will forget their history and heritage one day," he warned.
Hamid added that healthy culture should be developed at individual, family, social and national levels to develop them as healthy and humane citizens.
He also put emphasis on the start of practice of culture from the grassroots, especially from the family.
Shilpakala Academy director general Liaquat Ali Lucky, on behalf of the President, handed over the prestigious Shilpakala Padak to 20 recipients for the calendar years 2020 and 2019.
A total of 18 cultural luminaries and two revered cultural organisations received the award.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Cultural Affairs Secretary Md Abul Monsur spoke as the special guests, while State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid presided over the ceremony.
The 2020 award winning cultural personalities are – Malay Bhowmick (dramatics), Mahmudur Rahman Benu (vocalist), Shahid Kabir (fine arts), Shameem Akhtar (film), Shibli Mohammad (dance), Shah Alam Sarkar (folklore), Shamsur Rahman (instrumental/shehnai), Shafiqul Islam Swapan (photography), Dahlia Ahmed (recitation), and Dinajpur Natya Samity (creative cultural unit).
The recipients of 2019 award are – Masud Ali Khan (dramatics), Hasina Momtaz (vocalist), Abdul Mannan (fine arts), Anupam Hayat (film), Lubna Marium (dance), Shamvu Acharaya (folklore), Mohammad Moniruzzaman (instrumental - flute), MA Taher (photography), Hasan Arif (recitation), and cultural institution Chhayanaut (creative cultural unit).
Each awardee got a gold medal, a cheque for Tk1 lakh, and a certificate.
The award has been conferred on deserving creative personalities for their continuous contributions in several fields of arts, culture, entertainment and literature since 2013.