Mother tongue is so important that the people of a country express their ideas, thoughts, feelings, and emotions openly through mother tongue. But it is an irony of fate that we had to fight for our mother tongue and in exchange for many drops of blood, we achieved Bangla as our mother tongue. 21st February is the most unforgettable day in our national history which we observe as a mark of honor to the martyrs of our mother tongue.
It was on 21st of the February in 1952 that the students of the Dhaka University, Jagannath University along with Dhaka Medical College come out with a demonstration to reinstate ‘Bangla’ as the National Language of former East Pakistan. But, the Junta of Pakistan ordered to shoot out over the procession brutally. Large quantities of students, common people were killed near the High Court of Dhaka. We commonly know the name of Rafiq, Barkat, Salam etc. But, there were a lot more people killed.
The martyrs of our language movement are indeed our national heroes whose intense sacrifice has saved our mother tongue from ostracism and negligence. Every year we celebrate 21st February as our Mother Language Day both at home and abroad and pay radiant tribute to the martyrs of language. Though they will never come among us and take part in our daily activities, they stand sublime in our history and with proud thanksgiving we remember them.
Since 1952, 21st February has been observed every year and this language movement has a significant cultural impact on Bengali people. After the liberation of Bangladesh in 16th December 1971, this language movement was being observed as Language Movement Day or Shaheed Dibosh or Martyrs’ Day. It has inspired Bengali people to celebrate Bengali language, literature, and culture. A month-long book fair named “Omar Ekushe Grantha Mela” is held every year to commemorate the movement.
On November 17, 1999, UNESCO declared 21st February as International Mother language Day for our distinctive sacrifice for mother language. There is no nation in the world who fought and sacrificed their lives for their mother tongue. It is an honor given by the international community on the Language Movement of Bangladesh.
The people organize social gatherings, where they honor their language and draw Alpana on the roads and listen to event themed songs "Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano" (Colored by the blood of my brother). This is a time for Bangladeshis to celebrate their culture, traditions and their Bengali national language.
It is neither just a day on the calendar nor an attitude. It is a reflection of our own personal sense of worth, national integrity, freedom of speech, and respect for our roots. People of Bangladesh shall always remember the sacrifice.