February 21, 2023
On ‘Amar Ekushe’, my best wishes to speakers of all languages: Mamata Banerjee
On International Mother Language Day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid her respects at the Language Memorial at Deshapriya Park in Kolkata. Besides several of her cabinet colleagues and Trinamool Congress leaders, also present at the ceremony were city Police Commissioner Vineet Goyal and litterateur Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri.
The chief minister in her speech appealed for the initiation of efforts to spread the Bengali language far and wide. Here are the highlights of her speech:
The qualities of unity and harmony, the sense of fundamental rights, mental and moral developments—all of which are associated with language—and above all, the love for one’s mother tongue are the sentiments with which we remember this day. On the occasion of celebrating ‘Amar Ekushe’ (the Bengali for ‘Immortals of the 21st’, referring to the martyrs who laid down their lives in Dhaka on February 21, 1952 during the massive movement there for the right to express in Bengali, the mother tongue of the majority), let me convey my best wishes to everyone.
The more people speak in Bengali, the richer will the language get. One must be receptive of various influences.
I cannot change someone’s motherland and the associated influences. They are ingrained in the heart.
We, the Bengal government, have officially recognised Hindi and Urdu. People speaking various languages and professing different religious sentiments share space in the state. In fact, many of the non-Bengalis residing here are more Bengali than Bengalis themselves, speaking better Bengali.
So many languages together make up this country.
On this auspicious day, I am announcing our initiative of ‘Apon Bangla’ a portal which will connect people from Bengal across the world.