The grateful Bengali nation is today paying homage to its illustrious sons martyred in 1952 for their rights to speak in their mother language. The day is being observed as 'Amar Ekushey', the Language Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day at home and abroad. In observance of the day in a befitting manner, the Central Shaheed Minar premises in capital Dhaka and Shaheed Minars in all metropolitan cities, district towns, upazila headquarters and unions have been decorated with paintings, graffiti, bunting and selected verses on the mother language.
Since 1953, the day is being observed as ‘Shaheed Dibash’ (Language Martyrs Day) at home. Besides, the day is also being observed across the globe as the International Mother Language Day after recognition of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO recognised the Ekushey February as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.
The day is a public holiday.
The significance of the day is very important to all Bengali-speaking and people speaking in other languages across the globe as the spirit of Amar Ekushey has become an inspiration to preserve their respective languages and cultures spreading the history and traditions of the 1952 Movement.
On this day in 1952, students and the common people 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 firing on the day in 1952 when students came out in a procession from the Dhaka University campus breaching section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of then Pakistan.
When the warm sunshine, budding flowers and dancing of birds were giving a fresh and colorful look to nature, the killing of the valiant sons of the soil sent shock waves throughout the country. The blazing red and yellow colours of the spring also faded and far away dissolved into silence.
But the Bengali people turned the grief of the loss of their sons into strength and promised they would continue to fight to make their country independent. When Amar Ekushey knocks on the door each year, the country’s people, especially the young generation, observe the day with a fresh vow to work unitedly in order to make the Bengali language worthy and the country’s hard-earned independence more meaningful.
The Language Movement was also the turning point of the country’s history as it influenced the Bengali people to prepare for the supreme sacrifices and achieve victory. And after 19 years of the Language Movement, the country achieved its cherished independence on December 16, 1971 in exchange of the lives of three million martyrs and the honour of two lakh women.
Walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar with wreaths and flowers and singing 'Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February', people from all walks of life pay deep respect to the heroes of the Language Movement, who sacrificed their lives for the recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages of erstwhile Pakistan.
President Md Abdul Hamid paid tributes to the language martyrs by placing wreaths at the altar of the central Shaheed Minar after zero hour, followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Sheikh Hasina along with her cabinet members, advisers, lawmakers and party leaders placed another wreath on behalf of her party.
Besides, Leader of the Opposition in parliament along with his party’s MPs also paid homage to the Language Movement martyrs by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar in the wee hours. Marking the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ and the International Mother Language Day, the government and Awami League have already taken up elaborate programmes.
People from different social groups and political, cultural, professional and academic organisations and institutions also are expected to throng the National Mausoleum in Savar to pay homage to the heroes who embraced martyrdom to liberate the motherland. Besides, different political, socio-cultural, professional and academic organisations have taken up elaborate programs to mark the day.
Quran Khwani and offering Fateha will be held at Azimpur graveyard in the city while prayers will be arranged at all worship places across the country seeking salvation of the departed souls of the martyrs of the Language Movement.
The programmes include placing of wreaths at the central Shaheed Minar at one-minute past zero hours (Thursday midnight), hoisting at half-mast the national and party flags at its offices across the country and Bangabandhu Bhaban and hoisting black flags in the morning, wearing black badges and placing wreaths on the graves of martyrs at Azimpur graveyard with Provat Feri as a mark of respect to the Language Movement martyrs.
BSS adds, in observance of the day, ruling Awami League has taken a two-day programme. The party will organise a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city at 3 pm tomorrow 22 with its President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Like previous years, Dhaka University (DU) authorities will organise the programmes at the Central Shaheed Minar in coordination with other relevant agencies. National dailies also published special supplements marking the day and Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and private radio stations and television channels will air special programmes on the occasion.