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Nation pays respect to Language Martyrs

President, PM lay wreaths at Central Shaheed Minar

The historic Amar Ekushey, February 21, is today (Tuesday). Commemorating the language martyrs, the day is being observed as Language Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day across the world including Bangladesh as the UNESCO recognised the day as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.

The day is a public holiday in the country.

The grateful Bangali nation is observing the day and paying homage to its illustrious sons martyred in 1952 for their rights to speak in their mother language.

In observance of the day in a befitting manner, the Central Shaheed Minar, the monument to remember the sacrifice of martyrs, premises in Dhaka and the Shaheed Minars in all metropolitan cities, district towns, upazila headquarters and unions have been decorated with paintings, graffiti, buntings and selected verses on the mother language.

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have given separate messages recalling the memories of the language martyrs.

President Md Abdul Hamid paid tributes to the language martyrs by placing wreaths at the altar of the central Shaheed Minar after zero hours, followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Sheikh Hasina along with her Cabinet members, advisers, lawmakers and party leaders placed another wreath on behalf of her party.

The President-elect Mohammad Shahbuddin will lay wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar at noon today, according to sources.

Besides, Leader of the Opposition in parliament along with his party MPs also paid homage to the Language Movement martyrs by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar in the wee hours of Tuesday.

Marking the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ and the International Mother Language Day, the government and the ruling Awami League have already taken up elaborate programmes.

The national flags will be kept half-mast in a proper manner having accurate size at all the buildings of government, semi-government, autonomous and private organisations and educational institutions.

In line with the national programmes, all educational institutions, local government bodies, district and upazila administrations, Bangladesh missions abroad will take proper measures to observe the day.

On the occasion, road islands and other important places in the capital will be decorated with festoons inscribed with letters of different languages including Bangla.

Public and private mass media will take necessary measures to carry out awareness programmes on pronouncing names of language martyrs properly, projecting significance of the Shaheed Dibash, upholding the dignity of Shaheed Minar and placing wreaths at Shaheed Minar in a disciplined manner.
national dailies will publish special supplements.

Walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar with wreaths and flowers and singing ‘Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February’, people from all walks of life pay deep respect to the heroes of the Language Movement.

Quran Khwani and offering of Fateha will be held at Azimpur graveyard in the city while prayers will be arranged at all places of worship across the country seeking salvation of the departed souls of the martyrs of the Language Movement.

Awami League has taken various programmes on the occasion of the Great Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day. As always, Awami League will remember and observe this day with the entire Bangali nation.

The programme includes – Wreath-laying at the Central Shaheed Minar at 12:01pm on the first hour of Tuesday (after paying tributes by the President and the Prime Minister). At 6:30am national and party flags will be hoisted at half-mast and black flags will be hoisted at all unit offices of the organization, including the central office of the organization of Bangabandhu Avenue. At 7:00am black badge collection, wreath laying and paying respects at Azimpur Graveyard and Central Shaheed Minar with ‘Pravat-fery’, walking in bare foot. The Pravat-fery will start from south gate of New Market.

Also, a discussion meeting will be organized by the party on February 22 at 3:0pm. The meeting will be held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will chair the meeting.

The General Secretary of the party, Obaidul Quader, in a statement called upon the leaders, activists, supporters and people of all levels of the Awami League and affiliated organizations to follow programme consistent with the central programme of Awami League adopted on the occasion of ‘Great Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day’.

Since 1999, the day is being observed as ‘Shaheed Dibash’ (Language Martyrs Day) at home. Besides, the day is also being observed across the globe as the International Mother Language Day after recognition of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO recognised the Ekushey February as the International Mother Language Day on November 17 in 1999.

The day is of significance to all Bangla-speaking and people speaking in other languages across the globe as the spirit of Amar Ekushey has become an inspiration to preserve their respective languages and cultures spreading the history and traditions of the 1952 Movement.

On this day in 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 state language and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.

Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Ohiullah and a few other brave sons of the soil were killed in police firing on the 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.

When the warm sunshine, budding flowers and dancing of birds were giving a fresh and colourful look to nature, the killing of the valiant sons of the soil sent shock waves throughout the country. The blazing red and yellow colours of the spring also faded and far away dissolved into silence.

But Bangali people turned the grief of the loss of their sons into strength and promised to continue the fight to make their country independent. When Amar Ekushey knocks on the door each year, the country’s people, especially the young generation, observe the day with a fresh vow to work unitedly in order to make the Bangla language worthy and the country’s hard-earned independence more meaningful.

The Language Movement was also the turning point of the country’s history as it influenced the Bangali people to prepare for the supreme sacrifices and achieve victory. And after 19 years of the Language Movement, the country achieved its cherished independence on December 16 in 1971 in exchange of the lives of three million martyrs and the honour of two lakh women.