Remarks by Ambassador Mr. Ghanshyam Bhandari at the Inauguration Ceremony of Photography Exhibition

Remarks by Ambassador Mr. Ghanshyam Bhandari at the Inauguration Ceremony of Photography Exhibition – ‘Mountain Memories: Connecting Peaks and People’, Organized on the Occasion of the International Mount Everest Day- 2024
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy
Dhaka, 31 May 2023

Chief Guest of Today’s Programme, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Hon. Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP,
Special Guest Foreign Secretary H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen
My Dear Colleagues, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Members of Diplomatic Corps
Special Guest, Secretary of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Mr. Sallauddin Ahmed
Curator of this Photography Exhibition Mr. Enam Ul-Haque
Eminent Mountaineers and Adventure Lovers,
Distinguished Guests,
Friends from Media, and
Ladies and Gentlemen

Namaste, As-salamu Alaykum, Shuvo Sandhya and Good Evening!

I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all to this inauguration ceremony of the Photography Exhibition organized to observe the International Mount Everest Day- 2024.

At the outset, I express my deepest gratitude to Hon. Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, H.E. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, for accepting our invitation to grace this programme as the Chief Guest. I could not think of anyone else better suited than you when we observe Mt. Everest Day and reflect on the importance of mountains.

I am grateful to our Special Guests Foreign Secretary H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen and Secretary of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Mr. Mr. Salahuddin Ahmed for joining us this evening.

I also thank you all, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and distinguished guests, for your gracious presence.

Excellencies, and
Distinguished Guests

May 29th is observed as the International Mount Everest Day to mark the first successful ascent of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa of Nepal.

The day is a reminder of their incredible determination, dedication, and achievement.

It reminds us not only of a significant milestone in the history of mountaineering, but also, at the deeper level, of an event which helped better understand the relationship between nature and human beings.

[I say so because] When asked about his feat of reaching the summit of Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary said, ‘It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves’.

Indeed, we have come a long way over the last 71 years in terms of ‘conquering ourselves’.

Mt. Everest has been a witness of records being made and broken by thousands of Nepali and foreign nationals.

The records include that of the outstanding summiteer who has scaled Mt. Everest as many as thirty times [Nepali mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa made this record a few days ago.] to those who climbed it without supplemental oxygen to those who reached fastest to the summit.
All these acts of bravery and resilience constitute, in a way, humanity’s common quest for success.

The Government of Nepal has decided to observe this year’s Mt. Everest day under the theme ‘Sagarmatha, the top of the world: Nepal’s identity and pride’.

‘Sagarmatha’, the Nepali name of Mt. Everest, means ‘top of the sky’.

As you know Nepal is home to eight out of the ten tallest mountains on earth. For us, mountains are not just peaks on the planet. They are the place in nature that is the most awe-inspiring, powerful, and fascinating.

Not least because of this, mountains are our identity marker.

These mountains are the constant source of fresh water for a large population in South Asia, and Southeast Asia. They host rich biodiversity hotspots.

Unfortunately, the whole Hindu Kush Himalayan range is at the frontline of climate crisis.

Glaciers are retreating, icesheets are losing mass, and there is a decline in the depth, extent, and duration of snow cover.

This has seriously endangered the lives and livelihoods of 240 million people living in mountain regions and 1.65 billion living downstream.

So, we must realize that mountains matter.

We must work together to preserve and protect the mountain ecology and the entire Himalayan range from the onslaught of climate change.

We must retain the primacy of the mountain agenda as the centre of global climate change negotiations.

Excellencies, and
Dear Friends

Mountains and mountaineering continue to bring Nepal and Bangladesh closer.
I am pleased to note that mountains remain the major attraction for adventure tourism among Bangladeshi friends.
A significant number of Bangladeshis have summited different mountains, including Mt. Everest.
At this point, let me inform you that we have two special guests with us today.
Ms Tahmina Shaily, beloved spouse of late Mohammed Khaled Hossain who scaled Mt. Everest 11 years ago but lost his life owing to a tragic accident during his descend.
I would like to pay my deepest tribute to Mr. Hossain and express my sincere condolences and sympathies to Ms. Shaily and her entire family.

We are pleased to have with us Mr. Babar Ali, who successfully summited Mt. Everest just 12 days ago on 19 May 2024.
I congratulate Mr. Ali on being yet another Bangladeshi to achieve this remarkable feat.
I also acknowledge the presence of Mr. MA Muhit, who summited Mt. Everest twice, and Ms. Nisath Majumder, first Bangladeshi woman to reach the top of the highest mountain.
I take this opportunity to salute the courage and determination of all Bangladeshi mountaineers, trekkers and adventure lovers for their efforts, their achievements, and their contributions to bringing our two countries and peoples closer.
This three-day Photography Exhibition, organized under the theme of ‘Mountain Memories: Connecting Peaks and People’ is an attempt to honour them all. It is an attempt to present mountains and Nepal’s natural landscape mostly through the lens of our Bangladeshi friends.

The Exhibition will feature over 110 iconic photographs taken by mostly by Bangladeshi mountaineers, trekkers, and photographers. We also have a few photographs taken by famous mountain photographers of Nepal.

We are grateful to all those who have contributed their photographs to the Exhibition.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the curator of this event Mr. Enam Ul-Haque, bird researcher and founder of Bangladesh Mountaineering and Trekking club for putting this Exhibition together. It would never have been possible without you.

I also thank Everest summiteer Mr. MA Muhit for tirelessly working to make it happen with your well-known indomitable spirit.

Last but not the least – Mr. Salauddin Kutu (known among us as Kutu Bhai), the General-Secretary of Bangladesh-Nepal Friendship Society- I thank you for your support and cooperation, as always.

I thank the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh Mountaineering and Trekking Club for partnering with the Embassy for this event.

I am confident that that all your contributions will be instrumental in celebrating and further promoting the close people people-to-people contacts between Nepal and Bangladesh, with mountains at the centre.


My high school language teacher used to tell me: if you want to thank or congratulate someone, there is no better way than to do so in their mother tongue.

So, please allow me to conclude in two words of my broken Bangla:

সম্মানিত অতিথিবৃন্দ ও প্রিয় সুধিমন্ডলী,

আমরা যখন নেপাল ও বাংলাদেশ সম্পর্কে কথা বলি তখন আমরা সবসময় হিমালয় এবং বঙ্গোপসাগরের মধ্যে প্রাকৃতিক সংযোগের কথা বলি।

হিমালয় পৃথিবীর স্পন্দনের মতো। হিমালয়ে যা ঘটে তা আমাদের অঞ্চলে এবং তার বাইরেও প্রতিফলিত হয়।

এই আলোকচিত্র প্রদর্শনী মূলত বাংলাদেশীদের চোখে এই হিমালয়ের সৌন্দর্য এবং নেপালের প্রাকৃতিক দৃশ্য তুলে ধরার একটি প্রয়াস।

এটি পর্বতআরোহী, ট্রেকার্স এবং অ্যাডভেঞ্চার প্রেমিদের সাহস ও সংকল্পকে সম্মান করার একটি প্রচেষ্টা।

আমরা মূলত আমাদের বাংলাদেশী বন্ধুদের জন্য পর্বতের স্মৃতি নিয়ে আসার চেষ্টা করি।

আমি আশা করি, আপনারা প্রদর্শনীটি অন্বেষন করতে এবং শিল্পকর্মের প্রশংসা করার জন্য সময় বের করবেন।

আজ সন্ধ্যায় আমাদের সাথে যোগ দেওয়ার জন্য আমি আপনাদের সবাইকে ধন্যবাদ জানাই।