International Mother Language Day is being observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62) to celebrate every February 21 as International Mother Language Day in recognition of the sacrifices of the Bangla language martyrs, who dedicated their lives for establishing the rightful place of Bangla.
The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. The Pakistan government was mandating Urdu language as the state language in both East and West Pakistan. I salute those brave martyrs.
Bangla is the official language of Bangladesh and also, it is one of the official languages in India. It is the second-highest spoken native language in India, after Hindi. The national anthems of both India and Bangladesh were written by the Bangla Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore. I am proud that Bangla is my mother language.
United Nations have stated that the languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
শুভ ভাষা দিবস! Happy International Mother Language Day!