Nation paying homage to language martyrs

Jago News Desk Published: 21 February 2024, 11:54 AM
Nation paying homage to language martyrs

The nation is paying glowing tributes to language martyrs on Wednesday on the occasion of 'Shaheed Dibash' (Martyrs Day) and the International Mother Language Day.

People from all walks of life are paying homage to the memories of the language movement martyrs, the valiant sons of this soil who made supreme sacrifice to establish the rights of the mother tongue, Bangla, in 1952.

The day is also being observed around the world as the UNESCO recognised the 21st February (Ekushey February) as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.

This year's theme of the day is "Multilingual education: a pillar of learning and intergenerational learning,' is worthwhile".

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation to pay respect to language martyrs by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar beside Dhaka Medical College and Hospital at one minute past zero hour.

President and Prime Minister issued separate messages paying rich tributes to those who embraced martyrdom on the day.

In his message, President Mohammed Shahabuddin called for proper practice and preservation of the Bangla language and culture.

The spirit of Amar Ekushey is the incessant source of inspiration for protecting own languages and culture of the people of different languages across the world, he said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, extended her sincere greetings to the people of all languages and cultures of the world, including Bangla on the occasion of the great Martyrs' Day and International Mother Language Day-2024.

UNESCO and Bangladesh have jointly been celebrating this day with due dignity since 2000, she said.

The importance of the language movement in the history of the Bengali liberation struggle is immense as the foundation for a non-communal, democratic, language-based state system was laid through this movement, she said.

The day is a public holiday.

In observance of the day, the Central Shaheed Minar premises has been decorated with paintings, graffiti, buntings and selected verses on the mother language.

Tight security measures have been enforced around the Central Shaheed Minar, its adjoining areas and Azimpur graveyard of the language martyrs.

Different political, social, cultural, professional bodies including the ruling Awami League, have taken various programmes including cultural functions to observe the Amar (immortal) Ekushey in a befitting manner.

The national flags have been kept half-mast in a proper manner having accurate size at all the buildings of government, semi-government, autonomous and private organisations and educational institutions.

All educational institutions, local government bodies, district and upazila administrations, Bangladesh missions abroad have taken proper measures to observe the day.

Fateha and Qurankhwani will be offered at Azimpur graveyard and special prayers will be arranged at mosques and all other places of prayers across the country seeking eternal peace of the souls of the language martyrs.

On the occasion, road islands and other important places in the capital have been decorated with festoons inscribed with letters of different languages including Bangla.

Public and private media are airing special programmes while newspapers have published special supplements marking the day.

On February 21 in 1952, Salam, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar and Barkat embraced martyrdom in police firing in front of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) as they took to the street to intensify the campaign to establish Bangla as the state language of the then Pakistan, sowing the seeds of subsequent movements for the country's independence.

They were killed as police opened fire on students demonstrating under the All-Party Students Action Committee against conspiracies of Pakistani rulers to declare "Urdu" as the only state language.

The movement for Bangla, however, did not stop and Pakistan government on February 29, 1956 was compelled to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages besides Urdu.

The decision, however, could not stop the movement against repression and misrule of Pakistani government that subsequently led the Bangalee to the War of Independence and the emergence of Bangladesh.