The 21st of February ,International Mother Language Day in Bangladesh

International Mother Language
 Day in Bangladesh
International Mother Language Day ,The 21st of February is of special significance to the people of Bangladesh. Each year, on this date, the country commemorates International Mother Language Day in recognition of the preservation of Bangla as the official language of Bangladesh. At the request of the people of Bangladesh and after investigating the matter, UNESCO declared the 21st of February each year to be International Mother Language Day on a world-wide scale among United Nations member countries. What makes the 21st of February so special?

The events leading up to the adoption of the 21st of February as International Mother Language Day started when the Governor General of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, declared at a public meeting on 21 March 1948 that Urdu would be the only official language for both east and west Pakistan. The majority of the people living in eastern Pakistan were Bangla-speaking and therefore protested against this declaration. A student meeting called for a strike on 21 February, a move which the Pakistani government would not tolerate. Five of the students who were campaigning for Bangla to be recognized as one of the state languages of Pakistan were shot and killed by police. The slain students are seen as martyrs for their cause, which turned out to be the beginning of Bangladesh’s struggle for independence.

2012 International Mother Language Day: Mother tongue instruction and inclusive education
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62).

On 16 May 2009 the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/61/266 called upon Member States "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world". By the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism.
International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
History in Brief
In August 1947, a new state called Pakistan, comprising two far-flung wings in the west and east, separated by 1600 kilometers of foreign territory, emerged on the world map. The ideological basis of that strange phenomenon was the absurd and pernicious two nation theory of Mr. Jinnah that ignored such basic elements as language and culture and considered religion as a bond strong and sufficient enough to transform a people into a nation.
The language of the people of eastern wing of Pakistan, and they were the majority, was Bangla. It had a rich tradition of literature of over a thousand years. The Bangalees also had a highly developed culture that had little in common with the culture of the people of western wing of Pakistan. The Bangalees' love for and attachment to their language and culture were great and when in 1952 the neo-colonial, power-hungry, arrogant rulers of Pakistan declared that 'Urdu and Urdu alone would be the state language of Pakistan, they sowed the seed of its future disintegration.
The people of the then East Pakistan, particularly the students, rose in angry protest against the vicious undemocratic designs of the  government. Those designs really amounted to the destruction of Bangla language and culture and imposition of the language and culture of the people of western wing on the people of eastern wing. The reaction was strong and spontaneous.
The government decided to quell protests by brute force. The police opened fire on 21st February 1952 on unarmed peaceful protesters, most of whom  were students, resulting in the death, among others, of Rafiq, Barkat, Jabbar and Salam. As the news of those deaths spread, the entire people of the eastern wing felt greatly involved emotionally. Those who lost their lives to uphold the prestige defend the rights of their mother-language became hallowed martyrs.
Their sacrifice at once tragic glorious and the indignation of the people against an autocratic government had far reaching effect. 21st February became a symbol and attained mythic properties, it nourished the concepts of democracy and secularism. It also contributed significantly to the flowering of Bangalee nationalism. It led to the dawning of the realization in the minds of the Bangalees that they constituted a separate nation and their destiny lay not with Pakistan but elsewhere as an independent country. The subsequent democratic mass movements of the late fifties, throughout the sixties and the seventies, and finally the struggle for independence and the war of liberation owed a  great deal to 21st February.
From 1953 onwards, starting from 21st February 1953, the immortal 21st February has been observed as a great national event all over Bangladesh, and also beyond the frontiers of Bangladesh: in several places of India, UK, USA, Canada and elsewhere, wherever there is a sizeable concentration of Bangla speaking people. Yet so long, it has been mainly a national event of Bangladesh. But with the declaration of 21st February as the International Mother Language Day, it has transcended the national borders of Bangladesh and acquired an international significance and a global dimension.
At the initiative of the United Nations and its various organs, a number of specific days have been declared over the years as international days for observance by the people of the whole world. All these days highlight some values, events and issues and are intended to generate a healthy awareness in the people of the world about them with the ultimate aim of making this world a better place to live in for the entire human population. Thus we have the international literacy day, international women's day. international children's day, the international day for eradication of racial discrimination, international day for ensuring pure drinking water, international habitat day, international day for preservation of environment and many others.
Some of these international days are linked with certain specific events that took place in some specific countries. While observing these days, the people of the world recall those events and those countries as a matter of course. The world is thus brought closer providing peoples of the world with the chance to get out of their insularity.
International Mother Language Day is particularly significant in the sense that it has a cultural importance. From now on, 21st February — so long observed in Bangladesh as the Bangla Language Martyrs' Day — will be observed here simultaneously as the Bangla Language Martyrs' Day and the International Mother Language Day. And in nearly 200 countries of the world, various peoples speaking various languages and belonging to various national cultures will observe 21st February as the International Mother Language Day. They will naturally celebrate their own mother languages, but while doing so, it is more than likely that they will refer to Bangladesh and the Language Movement launched by her people that reached a climactic point on 21st February 1952.
The declaration made by the UNESCO in November 1999 designating 21st February as the International Mother Language Day has placed Bangladesh on the cultural map of the world with a highly positive image. We, people of Bangladesh, should now do all that we can to further develop our mother language Bangla in all branches of knowledge so that it can play a worthy role in the community of world languages. We shall love, cherish and promote Bangla, our own mother language, but we shall not indulged in any kind of chauvinism.
While devotedly serving our own language, we shall respect the languages of all the peoples of the world make 21st February - The International Mother Language Day - a great day, to be observed  worldwide in the new century and the millennium that we have recently stepped into. Long live 21st February the International Mother Language Day!