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International Mother Language Day

The 21st February is our pride and courage. The day, February 21, 1952 and the martyrs of the day in Bangladesh make us remember that we can stand to fight for a language and lay our life. February 21 is a symbolic day now for all peoples of the world so that there is no injustice against any mother language around the world.

The history is that the people of Bangladesh (the then-East Pakistan) demanded Bangla as one of the official languages of Pakistan. They were denied and moreover, Pakistan imposed Urdu on the Bangla (Bengali) speaking people. So, there were protest meetings, street processions among students communities and people in general from 1948 to 1952. Though Bangla was installed nominally as a provincial language in 1948, the implementation was invisible in the official spaces. Moreover, Urdu was declared as the only official language of all Pakistan. The students communities did not take the issue lightly and they protested. On February 21, 1952, the students had a protest rally to show their difference against the decision of the State. The police fired on the students of the protest rally. Five martyrs were identified and many others were arrested. However in 1956, Bangla was adopted as the official language of Pakistan. Since the atrocity on February 21, 1952, Bangladeshi people have been observing the day and showing tributes to the language martyrs. In 1999, UNESCO recognized the day, February 21 as the International Mother Language Day as a tribute to the martyrs of the day.

Now the nations around the world celebrates the 21st February. The Day has been observed to keep our spirits alert that any vested group inside or outside may come any day to impose foreign language on us and may dictate that foreign language may be better than our mother tongue. The nations around the world should be cautious against the imposition. Mother tongue is the sweetest of all. Mother language is the first foundation of learning or knowing the world, then the other languages.

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