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International mother language day history,theme and some information questions,21 February,

 

Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument) commemorates the 21 February 1952 Bengali Language Movement demonstration.(source: Wikipedia)


International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.

 First announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999, it was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly with the adoption of UN resolution 56/262 in 2002.

 Mother Language Day is part of a broader initiative "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world" as adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 May 2007 in UN resolution 61/266,which also established 2008 as the International Year of Languages.

The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, 21 February is the anniversary of the day when the people of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) fought for recognition for the Bangla language. It is also celebrated in West Bengal, India.(source: Wikipedia)


International mother language History

Procession march held on 21 February 1952 in Dhaka(source: Wikipedia)

21 February was declared to be the International Mother Language Day by UNESCO in 1999. It has been observed throughout the world since 21 February 2000. The declaration came up in tribute to the Language Movement done by the Bangladeshis (then the East Pakistanis).


When Pakistan was created in 1947, it had two geographically separate parts: East Pakistan (currently known as Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (currently known as Pakistan). The two parts were very different from each other in the sense of culture and language. The two parts were also separated by India in between.


In 1948, the then Government of Pakistan declared Urdu to be the sole national language of Pakistan, even though Bengali or Bangla was spoken by the majority of people combining East Pakistan and West Pakistan. The East Pakistan people protested, since the majority of the population was from East Pakistan and their mother language was Bangla. 

They demanded Bangla to be at least one of the national languages, in addition to Urdu. The demand was raised first by Dhirendranath Datta from East Pakistan on 23 February 1948, in the constituent Assembly of Pakistan.


To demolish the protest, the government of Pakistan outlawed public meeting and rallies. The students of the University of Dhaka, with the support of the general public, arranged massive rallies and meetings.

 On 21 February 1952, police opened fire on rallies. Abdus Salam, Abul Barkat, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, Abdul Jabbar and Shafiur Rahman died, with hundreds of others injured. This was a rare incident in history, where people sacrificed their lives for their mother tongue.


Since then, Bangladeshis celebrate the International Mother Language Day as one of their tragic days. They visit the Shaheed Minar, a monument built in memory of the martyrs and its replicas to express their deep sorrow, respect and gratitude to them.


International Mother Language Day is a national holiday in Bangladesh. The resolution was suggested by Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam, Bengalis living in Vancouver, Canada. They wrote a letter to Kofi Annan on 9 January 1998 asking him to take a step for saving the world's languages from extinction by declaring an International Mother Language Day. Rafiq proposed the date as 21 February to commemorate the 1952 killings in Dhaka during the Language Movement.


"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.


— From the United Nations International Mother Language Day microsite"


Rafiqul Islam's proposal was introduced in the Bangladesh parliament and in due course (at the behest of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina) a formal proposal was submitted to UNESCO by the Government of Bangladesh. The process of shepherding the proposal through UNESCO's regulatory system was undertaken by Syed Muazzem Ali, then Bangladesh ambassador to France and Permanent Representative to UNESCO, and Tozammel Tony Huq, his predecessor, who was then a Special Adviser to UNESCO Secretary General Federico Mayor. Finally on 17 November 1999, the 30th General Assembly of UNESCO unanimously resolved that "21st February be proclaimed International Mother Language Day throughout the world to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this very day in 1952."




Which is the International Mother Language Day?

21 February

International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.


When did UNESCO declared 21st February?

On November 17, 1999, UNESCO proclaimed February 21 to be International Mother Language Day and it was first observed on February 21, 2000.


Why is 21 February observed every year?

International Mother Language Day is observed worldwide on 21st February every year to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism. The Day is part of a broader initiative to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by people of the world.


How do we celebrate language Day?

It is a special day for the promotion of multilingualism, and cultural and linguistic diversity. Around the world, people and organizations celebrate International Mother Language Day with social media posts, workshops, and various events to boost the awareness on the importance of the day.


When did International Mother Language Day start?

International Mother Language Day was introduced by the UNESCO in recognition of the sanctity and preservation of all vernacular languages in the world. The event began being observed from 21 February 2000 throughout the world to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this date in dhaka in 1952.


Why is International Mother Language Day important?

International Mother Language Day is observed on February 21, every year to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. International Mother Language Day recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals focus on leaving no one behind.


Who initiated the International Mother Language Day?

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution of 2002.


What's your first language called?

A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language or dialect that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period.


How many countries celebrate 21st February?

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.


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