General

Nation to pay heartfelt tributes to language martyrs Monday

As the air fills with the sadness of the song “Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February,” the nation will pay deep respects to the martyrs of the Language Movement Monday, marking “Amar Ekushey,” Shaheed Dibash (Martyrs’ Day) and International Mother Language Day.

Seventy years ago, the Language Movement was aimed at establishing the right of the mother tongue as well as protecting self-identity, culture and heritage.

It inspired the nation to a great extent to achieve the right to self-determination and struggle for freedom and the Liberation War.

With wreaths and flowers, people from all walks of life will pay tributes to the heroes of the Language Movement of 1952, who laid down their lives for achieving the recognition of Bangla as the state language of then Pakistan, at the Central Shaheed Minar.

“A maximum of five people from one organisation will be allowed to lay wreaths at the Shaheed Minar and except that two individuals will be allowed at a time. And everyone has to follow health rules, maintain social distance and wear masks,” Dhaka University (DU) Vice-Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman said Friday.

Also, they will have to show the Covid vaccination certificate, he said the next day.

Meanwhile, the government has decided not to extend the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions anymore from February 22, said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam Sunday.

President Abdul Hamid’s Military Secretary Major General SM Salahuddin Islam led the nation in paying homage, placing a wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past midnight, on behalf of him.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Military Secretary Major General Naquib Ahmed Chowdhury laid a floral wreath on behalf of her.

Bangladeshis around the world and the country’s missions abroad will also pay their heartfelt tributes to the heroes.

Also, DU has chalked out elaborate programmes. The national flag will fly half-mast on all major buildings of the university. Black flags will also be hoisted.

Meanwhile, President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion Sunday.

President Hamid said: “The spirit of Amar Ekushey is now an incessant source of inspiration for protecting the own languages and culture of peoples of different languages in the world.”

“Many languages in the world are now at the risk of extinction with the passage of time. Extinction of a language means the disappearance of a culture, a nation and a civilisation from the face of the earth.”

“So, the people of the world must raise their voice for protecting the language and culture of all ethnic groups, including the development of their respective mother tongues and culture.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, this year’s theme of International Mother Language Day – “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities” – is very befitting, as the government has been working for a long time to implement an equitable and inclusive education policy through the use of digital technology.

“We have established the International Mother Language Institute, taken initiatives to preserve endangered languages and protect their dignity, and ensured the use of the Bangla language in the ICT. Also, the government is continuing its efforts to get Bangla recognised as the official language of the United Nations,” she said.

Marking the day, the ongoing Ekushey Book Fair will open its doors to the fairgoers at 8am and will continue till 9pm.

Meanwhile, cultural organisations will observe the day with various programmes, commemorating the Language Movement martyrs.

Organisations including the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Liberation War Museum, Chhayanaut, and others will organise special programmes throughout the day, while government and private television channels, radio stations and other cultural units will also organise special programmes on their respective traditional and online platforms.

The Liberation War Museum will organise a cultural programme at its auditorium at 4pm, featuring a special lecture by Professor Mesbah Kamal.

At the event, recitations will be presented by indigenous artists representing different indigenous communities living in the country, and the programme will also feature song performances by the Garo Cultural Academy and dance recitations by indigenous dance troupe Colors of Hill.

Shilpakala Academy will organise a seminar and cultural programme – “Bishwer Shob Desher Matrivasha Rokkha Korbe Bangladesh” – at its National Theater Hall at 6:30pm, featuring participation from different nationals around the world.

Chhayanaut, the country’s renowned cultural institution, will broadcast a special programme – “Fagun Masher Agun” – on Facebook and YouTube at 8pm, featuring songs, recitations and a special documentary presentation.

Officially observed as Shaheed Dibash since the birth of Bangladesh, the 21st day of February got recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as International Mother Language Day in 1999.

Each year, International Mother Language Day comes as a reminder of the power of language in preserving the uniqueness of human societies and promoting their distinct values.

On this day in 1952, students and youths in Dhaka took to the streets in protest against the then Pakistani government’s denial of Bangla as the national language and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.

Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil were killed in police firings as students came out in a procession from the DU campus, defying section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of then Pakistan.

The subsequent mass upsurge made the government recognise Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan and later inspired the Bengalis in their struggle for autonomy, independence.

Source: United News of Bangladesh