Language helps to shape our thoughts around the world, Mother language determines what we should think about. 21st February is celebrated as International Mother Language Day throughout the world!
This is Day is celebrated to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity. The day was first announced by UNESCO in 1999. This day is a part of a way better initiative, to promote and protect all languages of the world that are used by different countries.
Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) first took the initiative of celebrating a mother tongue day or mother language day when the people of Bangladesh fought for the recognition of Bengali or Bangla as their national language.
When India got separated and Pakistan was created in 1947, Pakistan got two separate geographic part. East Pakistan, which is a completely separate country Bangladesh now and another one is West Pakistan, known as Pakistan now. These two parts were separated from each other by India in between them.
In 1948, the Government of Pakistan declared that Urdu will be the sole national language of the entire Pakistan. But Bengali or Bangla was the majorly spoken language of East Pakistan as well as West Pakistan. People from East Pakistan demanded to make Bengali alongside Urdu as one of the national languages as well. It was first demanded by Dhirendranath Datta on 23rd February 1948 in the Assembly of Constituency of Pakistan. Protests had been started within entire East Pakistan to make Bengali one of the national languages.
To demolish these protests. The Pakistani government outlawed all public meetings and stopped all rallies. The students from the University of Dhaka and the general publics arranged a massive rally on 1952, 21st February. Pakistan Police opened fire on that rally and four teenager students named Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, and Shaifur died and more than hundreds injured! This is the first movement in history where some people sacrificed their lives for their mother tongue. Since then the day is celebrated in Bangladesh as the mother language day. On the behalf of Bangladesh Government, a proposal was submitted to UNESCO in 1998 to declare this day as the international mother language day to save all the languages of the world.
We live in a world of diversity and with some multilingual citizens. People exist through languages throughout the world. Through our mother languages, we express ourselves. Therefore we need to protect the cultures and traditions of ours in a sustainable way. Therefore, in today’s world celebrating the mother language day is essential!
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