International Mother Language Day
21st February is observed as the International Mother Language Day all over the world. The day is observed aiming to spread mother tongue, add variety in language and make awareness about language and cultural tradition throughout the world. There is a glorious history behind the day. After division of India, the country Pakistan came into being which had two parts—West Pakistan (Urdu speaking province) and East Pakistan (Bengali speaking province present Bangladesh). West Pakistani rulers always maintained disparity between the two nations in about all sections. In 1948, in a public meeting in Dhaka, the then Governor General of Pakistan declared that Urdu would be the only official language of Pakistan. This declaration raised a storm of protest all over East Pakistan which gradually turned into the famous Language Movement. The movement reached its climax on 21 February, 1952 when the government imposed section-144 to protest the movement. That day the students of Dhaka University defied the law and brought out a protest procession. At one stage, police fired on the students killing a number of students. Later on, at the point of movement government was compelled to include Bengali as one of the official languages. The day had been observed as Shaheed Dibosh (National Martyrs Day) in Bangladesh every year. Afterwards, on 17 November, 1999; the UNESCO declared the day as the International Mother Language Day to be observed globally in recognition of the language martyrs. To observe the day, people wake up at dawn, put on black badges and go to Shaheed Minar walking barefooted in procession singing mourning songs. They pay cordial homage to the martyrs offering various flowers. Discussion meeting and cultural function are also held in different places. Now the sacrifice of the language martyrs is the source of inspiration to the world to preserve mother tongue.
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