A poor and a vibrant culture of the Bangladeshi community of refugees was observed and studied by a third-year law student of Northeastern University named Jawaid Stationwala. He began filming his entire study in 2008 as a Fulbright Scholar. He clearly mentions that the film is not about poverty.
He attempts to narrate the situation of the 1971 Bangladeshi War, when 250,000 Urdu speaking refugees were stranded and captured in prison cells in Dhaka, Bangladesh. This documentary named, “Maa ki Zaban” or “Mother Tongue” highlights and portrays the art, culture, and identity of these refugees. Though the narration of the culture remains a prominent aim of Stationwala, he attempts to raise an awareness of its hidden, unheard, and distinct voice. “The idea was to produce a documentary that was something near and dear to their hearts — their language and the beauty that comes out of it — and draw some attention to their culture as a whole” says Stationwala.
The condition, as told by Stationwala, is no different than any other refugees of the world. They live in poverty and are not granted even the most basic, fundamental rights. It is only recently that they have been granted the citizenship in their own country.
Stationwala was planning on filming this documentary since three years and that is when he visited and spoke to the Urdu- speaking refugees in order to collect data about their life and culture. Pursuing the profession of Public Interest Law Scholar, he wishes to become a public defender and help refugees like these and many other indigent people charged in criminal cases. It is his wise and noble choice of spending and investing his career for a social cause.
The subject and matter of the documentary, ‘Maa ki Zaban’, was appreciated by the Northeastern Law Forum and was also screened at the Dockser Hall of the Northeastern University.