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International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) 

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism. First announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999, it was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh the 21 February is the anniversary of the day when Bangladeshis fought for recognition for the Bangla language.
21st February was declared to be the International Mother Language Day by UNESCO in 1999. It has been observed througout the world since February 21st, 2000. The declaration came up in tribute to the Language Movement done by the Bangladeshis (the then East Pakistanis).
When Pakistan was created in 1947, it had two different parts: East Pakistan (currently known as Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (currently known as Pakistan). The two parts were very different to each other in sense of culture, language, etc. The two parts were also separated by India in between.

In 1948, the then Government of Pakistan declared Urdu to be the sole national language of Pakistan. The East Pakistan people protested, since the majority of the population was from East Pakistan and their mother language was Bangla. They demanded Bangla to be at least one of the national languages, in addition to Urdu.
The students of the University of Dhaka, with the support of general public, arranged massive rallies and meetings. In 21st February 1952, police opened fire on rallies. Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiur died with hundreds others injured. This is one of the very rare incidents in the history, where people had to sacrifice their lives for their mother tongue. he sacrifice of the martyr’s was not wasted. After years of continuously growing protests, greater rallies, great other sacrifices by the Bangladeshis (then East Pakistanis), in 1956, the government was bound to grant official status to Bangla.
“Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.”

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