Essay : International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day

Introduction : International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The day has been observed worldwide in 2000. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bengali, as one of the two national languages of then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, which is the capital of present-day Bangladesh. The spirit of Bangalee Nationalism emanated from the bloodstained 21st and gained tremendous momentum gradually and subsequently, the long-cherished independence was achieved in 1971. 

Mother Language Movement : The Bangali language Movement, also known as the Language Movement (Bhasha Andolon) was a political movement in former East Bengal, today Bangladesh, advocation the recognition of the Bengali Language as an official language of the then Dominion of Pakistan in order to allow its use in government affairs, the continuation of its use as a medium of education, its use in media, currency and stamps, and to maintain its writing in Bengali script. 

Events of 1952 : The Urdu-Bengali controversy was reignited when Jinnah’s successor, government-general Khawaja Nazimuddin, staunchly defended the ‘Urdu-only’ policy in a speech on 26 January 1952. On 30 January, the Shorbodolio Rashtrobhasha Sangram Parishad was formed in a meeting at the Bar Library Hall of the Dhaka University chaired by Maulana Bhashani. The action committee called for an all-out protest on 21 February, including strikes and rallies. As preparation for demonstrations were going on, the government imposed section 144 in Dhaka, thereby barning any gatherings of more than four people. 

21 February : At nine o'clock in the morning, students began gathering on the University of Bangladesh premises in defiance of section 144. The students met around the East Bengal Legislative Assembly and blocked the Legislators’ way, asking them to present their insistence at the assembly. When a group of students south to storm into the building, police opened fire and killed a number of students, including Abdus Salam, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, Abdul Barkat, and Abdul Jabbar. 

Background of International Mother Language Day : In the memory of 21 February 1952, the day is observed as ‘Shahid Dibash’ every year and later announce International Mother Language Day. 
A proposal was submitted to UNESCO through them Prime Minister of Bangladesh on 9 September 1999. 17 November, the proposal was supported by 188 countries including Pakistan, not opposed by a single country. International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62). 

Conclusion :
Have they destroyed your memorial monument 
Don’t your fear comrade 
We are still here- 
A family of forty million alert and wide. 
[Allauddin Al Azad’s ‘The Monument’, translated by Kabir Chowdhury.] 

The genesis of the historic Language Movement that started is September 1947 with the students in the vanguard backed by intellectuals, cultural activists and patriotic elements was the first spurt of Bengali nationalistic upsurge culmination in the sanguinary events of 21 February 1952. It expanded into a movement of people’s rights and democratic process, finally leading to the war of liberation 1971 and creation of an independent state of Bangladesh.


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