Brief History of Bangla Academy
Bangla Academy was established in December 3 of 1955. The inaugural ceremony was held under the banyan tree before the “Burdwan House” premises. Mr. Abu Hossain Sarker, the then Chief Minister of East Bengal, delivered the “inaugural address.” Mr. Ashraf Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury, the then Education Minister of East Bengal, too addressed in the meeting.
The then East Bengal government passed an order through forming a “Preparatory Committee” for the Bangla Academy on November 26 of 1955. Mr. Mohammad Barkatullah was appointed as the Special Officer (Chief Executive Officer) of the Academy. It was Dr. Muhammad Enamul Haque who undertook the responsibilities as the first Director of Bangla Academy in December 1 of 1956. `The Bengali Academy Act 1057’ was taken in the then East Pakistan Constituent Assembly in April 3 of 1957. This law conferred the status and dignity of an autonomous institution upon the Bangla Academy. The Act came into force on August 10 of 1957. As this Act provided for the formation of Bangla Academy council the `Preparatory Committee’ obtained the name and dignity of “Council.” Provisions were made for six elected members in the Bangla Academy Council. The first election of the council was held in March 26 of 1958.
The activities of the Bangla Academy commenced with four divisions namely the Division of Research, Translation, Compilation & Publication and Culture. The Preparatory Committee formed six divisions through rearranging the divisions at the 10th meeting of the committee on 18.05.1957. The divisions are namely: 1) Research Division, 2) Translation Division, 3) Division of Compilation, 4) Division of Publication and Sale, 5) Division of Culture and 6) Library Division. This arrangement of the divisions of the Academy was kept intact till May 16 of 1972. But these divisions could not start functioning soon after the formation.
The Research Division commenced and started functioning in January of 1958. The Translation Division started working since 1961-62 and it commenced its journey after proper planning. The Division of Culture and Library began working in January of 1958. Later the then Governor of East Pakistan passed “The Bengali Academy (Amendment) Ordinance.” Some amendments were brought regarding formation of the council including appointment of the President and other stuff. Moreover, the government control in regulating and directing the activities of the Academy was further strengthened.
After the Independence, the President of Bangladesh issued “The Bangla Academy Order 1972” on May 17 of 1972. It is through this Order that the Central Bengali Development Board was integrated with Bangla Academy, the name of the Council was changed to “Executive Council” and the position of Director General was created as the Chief Executive designation of the Bangla Academy. Mazharul Islam, senior Professor of the Department of Bangla, was appointed as the first DG of the Academy. It is through the “Bangla Academy Order 1972” that the divisions of the Academy were rearranged and a total number of seven divisions were formed. Those are namely: 1)Division of Administration, 2) Research and Compilation Division, 3) Translation Division, 4) Division of Culture, 5) Publication, Press and Sale Division, 6) Division of Textbook and 7) Folklore Division. Then `Bangla Academy Ordinance 1978’ was passed on June 6 of 1978.
By dint of an order by the then Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) on May 25 of 1983, the number of the divisions of Academy was reduced to four and the library was kept separate. The new four divisions were: 1) Division of Research, Compilation and Folklore, 2) Division of Language, Literature, Culture and Magazine, 3) Textbook Division, 4) Division of Institutional Planning and Training.
Right now there are 08 divisions under the auspices of 08 Directors as per the new law (Act no. 33 of 2013 which has suspended the Bangla Academy Ordinance, 1978 and then endeavored to revise, amend and reenact the law). The Divisions are as follows:
1) Division of Research, Compilation and Dictionary and Encyclopedia, 2) Division of Translation, Textbook and International Relationship, 3) Division of Public Relations, ICT and Training, 4) Division of Sale, Marketing and Reprinting, 5) Division of Culture, Magazine and Auditorium, 6) Library, 7) Division of Folklore, Museum and Archives and 8) Division of Administration, Human Resources and Planning.