February 21, 2013
Chief Minister pays tributes to martyrs on Bhasha Dibosh, requests all to respect their mother tongue
West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee attended a special programme organized on the solemn occasion of 'Omor Ekush' at Deshapriya Park in Kolkata. She paid tributes to the martyrs by placing wreath at Curzon Park in Central Kolkata in the morning.
On this day in 1952, at the partition of India in 1947, the Bengal province was divided according to the predominant religions of the inhabitants. The western part became part of India and the eastern part became a province of Pakistan known as East Bengal and later East Pakistan. However, there was economic, cultural and lingual friction between East and West Pakistan. These tensions were apparent in 1948 when Pakistan's government declared that Urdu was the sole national language. This sparked protests among the Bengali-speaking majority in East Pakistan. The government outlawed the protests but on February 21, 1952, students at the University of Dhaka and other activists organized a protest. Later that day, the police opened fire at the demonstrators and killed four students Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and Salam. This day is observed solemnly as `Omor Ekush` or `Ekushey Febryary`. Following the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Bangladesh became an independent country with Bengali as its official language. On November 17, 1999, UNESCO proclaimed February 21 to be International Mother Language Day and it was first observed on February 21, 2000. Each year the celebrations around International Mother Language Day concentrate on a particular theme.
`We have gathered here to pay our respects to all those who laid their lives for the honour of Bengali language. I request you not to feel shy to speak in your own mother tongue, rather be proud of your own language. It is your own language. There are so many languages and each language is special. Language is the reflection of civilization and culture which speaks a lot about our heritage. I want you to respect all languages`, said the Chief Minister.
Eminent personalities from the field of art, music and culture performed on this occasion.
The Chief Minister also inaugurated the Dankuni flyover by pressing the remote control from the dais.
Earlier in the day the Chief Minister shared her thoughts on her official facebook page:
`Today is International Mother Language Day, on this auspicious occasion, I pay my deepest regards to all those who struggles for the cause of mother language, and even laid down their precious lives in our country and abroad, especially Bangladesh. Today morning, I paid tribute to the martyrs of mother language movement, at Curzon Park`.
She concluded by quoting the famous lines from Rabindranath Tagore, `Bangla r Maati, Bangla r Jol, Bangla r Bayu, Bangla r Phol`.