20 Feb 2024, 19:29

PM greets all on Int'l Mother Language Day

DHAKA, Feb 20, 2024 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today 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 been jointly celebrating this day with due dignity since 2000. I think this year's theme of the day-'Multilingual education: a pillar of learning and intergenerational learning,' is worthwhile," she said in a message on the eve of the day.
Noting that the importance of the language movement in the history of the Bengali liberation struggle is immense, the Premier said the foundation for a non-communal, democratic, language-based state system was laid through this movement.
"On this day in 1952, Abul Barkat, Abdul Jabbar, Abdus Salam, Rafiquddin Ahmad, Shafiur Rahman, and many others sacrificed their lives to protect the dignity of our mother language Bangla. I pay my profound respects to the memory of the martyrs of all languages, including Bangla; I with deep tribute, remember all the language movement activists, including the Greatest Bangalee of all time, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whose supreme sacrifices and struggle elevated the esteem of our mother, land, and people," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said the glorious history of the language movement of the Bangla from 1947 to 1952 is a source of inspiration in "our national life".

The Father of the Nation was repeatedly imprisoned for leading the language movement, she said, adding at the Education Conference held in Karachi on November 27, 1947, Urdu was decided to be the state language of Pakistan.
When the news reached Dhaka, the students of Dhaka University immediately protested in front of Khawaja Nazimuddin's residence, the Prime Minister said, adding shortly afterward, Sheikh Mujib, a law student at Dhaka University, used his organizational experience to play a vital role in establishing the Chhatra League in Dhaka on January 4, 1948.
"In the first session of the Constituent Assembly on February 23, Dhirendranath Datta of Cumilla moved an amendment proposal demanding the inclusion of Bangla as the language of the Assembly," she added.
Rejecting the proposal, Khawaja Nazimuddin declared in the Legislative Assembly that the people of East Bengal would have to accept Urdu as the state language, the Premier said, adding that to counter the reckless decision of Nazimuddin, an all-party Chhatra Sangram Parishad was formed on March 2 at Fazlul Haque Hall of Dhaka University comprising Chhatra League, Tamaddun Majlish, and other parties.

Many language movement activists, including Sheikh Mujib, were arrested in front of the Secretariat for leading the strike on March 11 and were released on March 15, she said.
"Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led a rally under the historic mango tree at Dhaka University. On March 21, Jinnah spoke out boastfully in favour of Urdu at the Dhaka Racecourse Ground. While declaring Urdu as the state language of Pakistan at the students' convocation on March 24 at Curzon Hall, the students immediately protested," Sheikh Hasina added.
The Premier said to transform the language movement into a national campaign, Sheikh Mujib organised a nationwide tour plan and participated in an extensive campaign, and addressed rallies.
"He was arrested from Faridpur on September 11, 1948, and released on January 21, 1949. He was arrested again on April 19 and released in July. He was detained again on October 14, 1949, and released on February 27, 1952," she said, adding that Sheikh Mujib had been in touch with language movement activists and Chhatra League leaders from January 1, 1950, while in Dhaka Central Jail and had given various suggestions to add momentum to the movement.

The Prime Minister said, "He sent memos to the three fellow messengers on February 3, 1952, to call for a nationwide strike on February 21. The jail authorities shifted Sheikh Mujib from Dhaka to Faridpur Jail on February 16 while he went on a hunger strike".
Since the budgetary session of the East Bengal Executive Council was scheduled on February 21, 1952, she said, following the advice and instructions of Sheikh Mujib, a general strike was called all over the country on that day.
"Students violated Section-144, and the police started firing bullets indiscriminately; some lost their lives in the blink of an eye, many were injured, and many were arrested. A strike was observed on February 22," Sheikh Hasina said.
In 1956, the Awami League constituted the cabinet, declared Bangla with the status of the state language along with announcing February 21 as Martyr's Day for the first time, it declared the day as public holiday and took the project to construct the Martyr's Monument, she said, adding "Unfortunately, those aspirations were no longer fulfilled with the military takeover on October 7, 1958".
The Father of the Nation in independent Bangladesh directed to use Bangla in all official activities and included Bangla as the state language in the constitution, the Premier said, adding that Bangabandhu delivered a speech at the United Nation's 29th General Assembly in Bangla and upheld the dignity of "our mother language in the world assembly".
During the Awami League government's 1996-2001 term, Sheikh Hasina said Rafiq and Salam, two Bangladeshi expatriates from Canada, along with some members of the international community, formed the 'Mother Language Preservation Committee.'
They sent a proposal to the United Nations to celebrate International Mother Language Day on February 21 while UNESCO recognised February 21 as 'International Mother Language Day' on November 17, 1999, she said.
"We have established the International Mother Language Institute, taken initiatives to preserve the world's endangered languages and protect their dignity and ensured the use of the Bangla language in the ICT. Since 2017, we have been distributing Braille books for the visually impaired and textbooks in the mother tongues of the ethnic groups at free of cost," the Prime Minister added.
Mentioning that Bengali nationalism was established through the language movement, she said, "Following the ideals of Bengali nationalism and the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, we have made Bangladesh a role model for development in the world in the last 15 years".
Sheikh Hasina added: "We will transform the country into Smart Bangladesh by 2041 by bringing change towards Smart Citizens, Smart Government, Smart Economy, and Smart Society.
"In addition, we are also implementing Bangladesh Delta Plan-2100. I firmly believe that together, we will be able to establish the developed, prosperous, and self-esteemed 'Golden Bangladesh' as dreamt by the Father of the Nation," the Premier said.



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