The nation is set to pay rich tributes to the martyrs of the 1952 historic Language Movement with the clock striking 00.01am on Thursday, marking ‘Amar Ekushey’, the Language Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day.
The great Language Movement, a significant event in the nation’s history, was aimed at establishing the right of the mother tongue as well as protecting self-entity, and culture and heritage.
The theme of this year’s International Mother Language Day is “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation”.
Walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar with wreaths and flowers singing ‘Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February’, people will pay their respects to the heroes of the Language Movement who laid down their lives for achieving the recognition of Bangla as the state language of erstwhile Pakistan.
President Abdul Hamid will first pay tributes to the language martyrs by placing a wreath at the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar after zero hour, followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The Prime Minister along with her Cabinet members, advisers, lawmakers and party leaders will place another wreath on behalf of her party.
Different political parties, their front organisations as well as sociocultural organisations have taken various programmes to pay their homage to the language martyrs all day long.
BNP leaders and activists will gather in front of Balaka Cinema Hall at Nilkhet at 6am wearing black badges the same day. Later, they will first offer fateha at the graves of Language Movement martyrs at Azimpur Graveyard and then go to the Central Shaheed Minar to pay tributes to the martyrs.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have taken all-out security measures in and round the Central Shaheed Minar to ensure smooth observance of Amar Ekushey.
On February 21, 1952, students and the common people in Dhaka took to the streets in protest against the then Pakistani government’s denial of Bangla as the national language and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil were killed in police firings on this day in 1952 when students came out in a procession from the Dhaka University campus breaching section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of then Pakistan.
Being a source of ceaseless inspiration, Amar Ekushey inspired and encouraged the nation to a great extent to achieve the right to self-determination and struggle for freedom and the Liberation War.
With the bloodshed passage of Language Movement, the nation got the recognition of Bangla its mother tongue and attained its long-cherished independence under the charismatic leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the occasion.
In his message, the President said, “I extend my warm congratulations and sincere felicitations to all multilingual people of the world along with Bangla-speaking people.”
He recalled with deep reverence the language martyrs namely Shaheed Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiur and so many unknown and unsung language heroes who laid down their lives for the cause of mother tongue.
The President expressed the expectation that the spirit of Amar Ekushey would be the source of incessant inspiration for the protection of own languages and culture of people. “On the occasion, let the bond of friendship among multilingual people be strengthened, world’s almost defunct languages be revived and the globe be diversified in respective societies.”
The Prime Minister, in her message, said the greatest Ekushey is the symbol of grief, strength and glory in the life of every Bangali.
“I pay my deep homage to the memories of the martyrs. I also pay my deep respect to the greatest Bangali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who had led the language movement and all other language veterans,” she said.
“Let us build a hunger-poverty-free and happy-prosperous Sonar Bangladesh as dreamt by the Father of the Nation being imbued with the spirit of the great Ekushey,” the Prime Minister added.