INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY
Quick Facts : International Mother Language Day
- Date: Feb 21, 2017
- Also Called: Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day is celebrated every year on 21st February. The main purpose of celebrating this day is to promote the awareness of language and cultural diversity all across the world. It was first announced by UNESCO on November 17, 1999. Since then it is being celebrated every year. The date represents the day 21st February 1952 when four young students were killed in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, because of Bengali and Urdu language controversy. Languages are the most powerful way to preserve and develop culture and to promote it all across the world. Because of this unfortunate incident, International Mother Language Day is celebrated in all over the world, while it is a public holiday in Bangladesh.
In 1947 at the time of partition of Pakistan, the province Bengal was divided into two parts: the western part became India and the eastern part is known as East Bengal which was later known as East Pakistan. At that time there were many economic, social and cultural issues including linguistic issue. In 1948 when government announced Urdu as the national language it sparked the protest among the Bengali speaking majority of Pakistan. The protest got out of control and ended with the death of four protestors of the University of Dhaka who were shot by the police. The students' deaths during the fight for their mother language are now remembered as The International Mother Language Day.
The Shaheed Minar in Dhaka pays respect to those four protestors killed for the sake of their mother language. An International Mother Language Day monument was constructed at Ashfield Park in Sydney, Australia. Here we can see the images of Shaheed Minar and the globe on the face of the stone with the words "we will remember the martyr of 21st February" written on it in both Bengali and English languages.
On International Mother Language Day UNESCO and other UN agencies take part in the events to promote cultural and linguistic diversity all around the world. They appreciate and encourage people to be knowledgeable about their mother language and provide them with awareness regarding the promotion of their language and culture towards other countries. In Bangladesh on International Mother Language Day people go to Shaheed Minar to pay tribute to the martyr of 21st February and sprinkle flowers on the monument. This is a time for Bangladeshis to celebrate their culture, traditions and their Bengali national language. The prizes are given to those who made outstanding performance in language and cultural diversity.
International Mother Language Day is celebrated in memory of the four students who were killed while fighting for their mother language and is celebrated to tell them that we will never forget their sacrifices.