Bangladesh High Commission in London has observed the ‘Shaheed Dibos (Martyrs Day)’ and ‘International Mother Language Day’ in a befitting manner with a call for observing the day as the ‘London Multilingual Day’.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Saida Muna Tasneem made the call to London Mayor while speaking at a special discussion titled ‘Safeguarding Indigenous Languages through Transforming Education’ held at a hotel in Kensington in London on Tuesday evening, according to a message received here today.
She said the Bangladesh high commission will send a formal proposal to the Mayor of London soon in this regard.
Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland spoke at the discussion as the chief guest. Representatives of various international organizations based in London, high commissioners, ambassadors and representatives of 17 embassies and eminent members of the British-Bangladeshi community joined the event and paid rich tribute to the great language martyrs of 1952 and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Besides, artistes representing different embassies or high commissions at the event performed music and recitations and staged dances in their respective languages, dedicating to the great language martyrs.
The missions of India, Kuwait, Maldives, Malaysia, Argentina, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Rwanda, Palestine, Jordan, Uganda and Romania joined the programme, among others.
Speaking at the discussion, Patricia Scotland put special importance on the preservation and practice of the mother tongue in education, culture and socio-economic development in every country.
The Commonwealth secretary general termed the 1952 language movement in Bangladesh as a unique example in the preservation and practice of the mother tongue.
“Till today, we can take inspiration from the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives for the protection of language and culture in Bangladesh,” said Scotland.
Noting that there are about 300 mother languages in the UK and about 200 in London are in use, Tasneem said, “It is very logical to declare the International Mother Language Day on February 21 as the ‘London Multilingual Day’ since the ambassadors of all the countries who participated in today’s event expressed the same opinion in this regard”.
Speaking at the discussion as the guest of honor, Member of British Parliament Paul Bristow said, “The British-Bangladeshi community in the UK has been containing the great ideals of Amar Ekushey, which will encourage the people of other languages to preserve and develop their own mother tongue and culture in this country in the days to come”.
Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami lauded Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership in achieving the status of International Mother Language Day on February 21.
At the programme, the artistes of Udichi School of Performing Arts sang the immortal song ‘Amar Bhayer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February’.
At the beginning of the event, Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK along with invited guests and mission officials placed a floral wreath at the symbolic Shaheed Minar and observed one-minute silence.
Earlier, Tasneem hoisted the national flag at half mast. Messages of the President, the Prime Minister, the foreign minister and the state minister for foreign affairs were read out at the programme.
A special munajat (prayer) was offered seeking divine blessings for the martyrs of the Language Movement and good health, long life and success of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Earlier at the first hour of February 21, the high commissioner and Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman jointly placed a floral wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar at Shaheed Altab Ali Park in East London.
Later, Tasneem placed another wreath along with mission officials.