Introduction: Every nation has some achievements that they can take pride.Our language day is our national event and achievement.But the matter of pride for us is that this national event has crossed our national boundary and become universalized.The International Mother Language Day is the recognition of our language movement and the heroic sacrifices of the language martyrs by the international community.Now,after the recognition,our language day is observed globally as International Mother Language Day.
Language day:Historical background: February 21st is observed as the language day.This day is the culmination of a serious of protest and events that took place between 1948 and 1952.After the independence of Pakistan the ruling authority of west Pakistan recognized Urdu as the state language of Pakistan in 1948 and tired to impose it on the Bangla-speaking majority people.Not only that they also denied the demand of the Bangalis for the recognition of Bangla as the state language.
In 1952 protests erupted throughout East Pakistan against the imposition of Urdu and for the recognition of Bangla as the state language of Pakistan. The ruling authority imposed section 144 all over the country as the protest grew stronger. However,when students, politician and general masses brought out a procession in Dhaka University area defying the section 144,the police charged fire on the procession.As a result, Rafiq,Jabbar,Salam,Barkat;Shafiq met martyrdom. Finally,Bangla was recognized as the state language.Since then,the day is observed throughout the country with solemnity and due homage.
International Observance of the day: On 17 November 1999, UNESCO, a specialized organisation of United Nations (UN) recognized our language movement and sacrifices of the Martyrs.They declared that UNESCO would observe the day internationally.Since 2000, The International Mother Language Day is being observed all over the world.The recognition by the UNESCO and the observance of the day by the international community has increased our national glory and uplifted the sacrifices of our language martyrs.Through UNESCO recognition, our language day has got international status.
Significance of the recognition: The recognition of our language day and the proclamation of the observance of the day internationally is very significant.UNESCO’s recognition is not simply a recognition of our language movement, but it recognizes that is the birth right of every nation or race to speak in their own language.The proclamation also said that this recognition would help to preserve all the languages of the world and that diversity of languages is important to maintain cultural identity and distinction.
Importance of the day: Since 1952, the 21st February is observed as the language day in our country.We remember our martyrs,their sacrifices and pay homage to the heroic souls who laid down their lives for the cause of our mother tongue.We have erected monuments (known as Shahid Minar) in remembrance of them and on 21 February we offer flower wreaths and stand silent in honor of them.
However,the importance of 21st February and it’s observance lies elsewhere.It is a sows the seed of our liberation war.And importantly,the language movement teaches us that we have raise for achieving our rights, for establishing our place of honor and dignity in the world.it teaches us not to bow down to any oppression.It also inspires us to sacrifice our most treasured thing for sake of the country.So the importance of international Mother Language Day is very significant.
Conclusion: We are the only nation of the world to sacrifice lives for mother tongue.International Mother Language Day is a glorious recognition of our history and our achievement.international Mother language Day highlights the importance of linguistic identity.We are really proud that we have achieve something that has got global acceptance.
21st February (Bangla:একুশে ফেব্রুয়ারী | Ekushe February) was declared as the International Mother Language Day (Bangla:আন্তর্জাতিক মাতৃভাষা দিবস | Antorjatik Matribhasha Dibos) by the UNESCO on 17th November,1999 to uphold the significance of Mother Language in the life of an individual and to promote unity in diversity- respect all languages alike.2012 International Mother Language Day theme: “Mother tongue instruction and inclusive education”. It emphasizes on imparting basic education to children in their mother languages for better understanding. It further shows the importance of mother tongue and multilingual education to reduce discrimination.
"The mother language, in which the first words are uttered and individual thought expressed, is the foundation for the history and culture of each individual. Moreover, it has been proven that children learn the best when they are instructed in their mother language during their first years at school" UNESCO says.Significance of 21st February:
The date, 21st February was chosen as the International Mother Language Day to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to uphold the dignity of their Mother Language Bangla on this very day in 1952. This was one of the rare instances in world history where people fearlessly gave up their lives for the sake of their mother language.
Background of 21st February, 1952 in brief:
The Partition of British India in August 1947 led to the formation of two independent states: The Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. The Dominion of Pakistan consisted of two far-flung territories i.e. East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh) & West Pakistan (Now Pakistan). East and West Pakistan were separated by 1600 Kilometers (approx: 1000 Miles) of Indian Territory but the key factor that made the separation even more prominent is Language and Culture.
|Protest Rally on 21/2/1952,Dhaka|
The Mother language of the all the people of the then East Pakistan was Bengali (almost 99% Bengali speakers). The Bengalis were deeply attached to their language. On 27th January, 1952 the oppressive rulers of West Pakistan declared that “Urdu and Urdu alone would be the state language of Pakistan”. This hurt the sentiments of the Bengali people, the people demanded the recognition of Bangla also as the state language of Pakistan but all their pleas fell on deaf ears of arrogant West Pakistani rulers. There were widespread protest across the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), people from all walks of life united to defend Bangla. The West Pakistani Government tried to curb the protests by force. On 21st February, 1952 in Dhaka the police opened fire on unarmed peaceful protesters, killing several of them.
This laid the foundation for Bengali Language Movement, Since then 21st February has been annually observed as Mother Language Day or Language Martyrs Day in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) as well as in West Bengal state of India and in other nations with sizable Bengali speaking Population.
|Shaheed Minar at Dhaka.|
The Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument) was built in Dhaka, to commemorate the Bengali language martyrs. Several permanent replicas of the Shaheed Minar of Bangladesh have been built in different nations across the world to commemorate the martyrs of Bengali language movement and it has become the symbol of International Mother Language Day.
Replicas of the Shaheed Minar in other Nations:Why should we celebrate?
This is the day that emphasizes the importance of our mother language and reminds us that mother language is the only language that is dearest to our heart, the language of our thoughts and emotions and the language that represents an individual to the core. It reminds us that every individual should have the right to speak their mother tongue and we should pass it on to our next generation no-matter where we live.
Speaking ones mother language freely is the fundamental right of every individual. Apart from knowing the mother language it is always beneficial to learn other languages i.e. being bilingual or multilingual. Bilingualism and multilingualism has its own benefits as it empowers the person to easily connect with people of different linguistic and cultural background.
If you are among the ones who feel ashamed to speak your mother language fearing that you would be looked down upon or be discriminated or mocked upon; then, this is the day to celebrate your identity- be Proud of your Mother Language! If you speak your mother language with confidence, you are bound to gain respect.
21st February is a public holiday in Bangladesh where as its observed globally but its not a public holiday elsewhere.
The observance of this day is significant among the Bengali community all across the world especially in the Bengal region (Bangladesh and West Bengal). Cultural Programs, Book Fairs and various other events are organized on this day.
Rally demanding recognition of
Pashto Language in Pakistan.
A language without official recognition is destined to die in the course of time. Thus, for a language to flourish and develop substantially it is necessary that the language is officially recognized and is used in day-to-day life.
Peace and coexistence is possible only by respecting the enormous linguistic and cultural diversity and encouraging multilingualism.