Amar Ekushey and International Mother Language Day today
Published: 09:23 AM, 21 February 2020 Updated: 11:43 AM, 21 February 2020
Today is 21st February, the Great Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day. The nation is also observing the 68th years anniversary of the historic Language movement. 21st February, the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ (Martyrs' Day) and International Mother Language Day' is a day of mourning and sorrow for the Bengali nation, while the glory of supreme sacrifice for the Bengal's rights become revealed in every Bengali.
On the occasion of the day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived at the Shaheed Minar six minutes before the clock struck 12 at midnight, while President Abdul Hamid reached the Central Shaheed Minar three minutes before the zero hour.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proceeded to the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar together in slow pace as the immortal song on Amar Ekushey–“Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February”– was playing.
The President was the first to lay the wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar. Just after the President, the Prime Minister placed the wreath at the Shaheed Minar.
They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the Language Heroes.
Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, parliament members, chiefs of three armed forces, senior Awami League leaders, freedom fighters, foreign diplomats, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Flanked by cabinet members and senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, later placed another wreath at the Shaheed Minar on behalf of the party.
Later, Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Deputy Speaker Fazley Rabbi Mia placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar.
Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Begum Raushan Ershad also placed a wreath at the Shaheed Minar.
Later, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokan and Panel Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation Jamal Mostafa, the chiefs of three armed services, the inspector general of police, the ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries and the heads of international organizations placed wreaths at the Shaheed Minar.
After 12:30 pm, Shaheed Minar was opened for the people of all levels to pay their respects. Today, people of all walks of life will pay full homage to the Shaheed Minar by holding a black badge, a symbol of mourning, all day long. Apart from Dhaka, martyrs were paid tribute at the first hour of Ekushey in various divisional cities including Mymensingh, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Khulna, Chattogram and Barisal.
The day is also being observed around the world as the UNESCO recognized the Ekushey February as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.
The day is a public holiday.
Four-tier security has been enforced around the main altar of the Shaheed Minar, its adjoining areas and the Azimpur graveyard of the language martyrs.
In observance of the day, ruling Awami League has taken a two-day program.
The party will organize a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city at 3 pm on February 22 with its President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Like previous years, Dhaka University (DU) authorities has organized all the programs at the Central Shaheed Minar in coordination with other relevant agencies.
National dailies have published special supplements marking the day and Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and private radio stations and television channels are airing special programs on the occasion.
On February 21 in 1952, Salam, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar, and Barkat embraced martyrdom in police firing in front of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) as they took to the street to intensify the campaign to establish Bangla as the state language of the then Pakistan, sowing the seeds of subsequent movements for the country’s independence.
They were killed as police opened fire on students, demonstrating under the All-Party Students Action Committee against conspiracies of Pakistani rulers to declare “Urdu” as the only state language.
The movement for Bangla, however, did not stop and Pakistan government on February 29, 1956 was compelled to recognize Bangla as one of the state languages besides Urdu.
The decision, however, could not stop the movement against repression and misrule of Pakistani government and subsequently led to the War of Independence and ultimately the emergence of Bangladesh.
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