There arc 6,000 to 7,000 spoken languages in the world and half of them arc in danger of extinction. The Interna tional Mother Language Day that is celebrated annually on Feb. 21, after it was declared by UNESCO in November 1999, reminds us of the necessity, mier alia, of protecting these languages from extinction by promoting meir importance. It is important to keep these languages in practice; languages are simply not a random compilation of words but a means of communication, interaction and understanding among different peoples. The language, thus, is one of the mediums that form the socio-oil rural identity of a nation. A Language is more than just a way of sharing our views with the world; it has its own history as welt. The language of a nation can sometimes contribute to the contents of its history Great works of literature as well as the legacy of a nation might bc lost if the language is lost. A language helps create unity among a group ° people; a persons mother tongue is an important aspect of her/his culture and the identity of who he/she is. Feb. 21,1952 marks an important event in the history leading toward the emergence of Bangladesh, which declared independence on March 26,1971. The Bangla Language Movement, reaching its pinnacle on this very day in 1952, was a political mass uprising in Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan), which demanded mat Bangla - the mother tongue spoken by the majority of the population - should bc recognized as the second official language besides the then existing state Language that was spoken by only a minority of the population. This would allow the Bangla language to bc taught in schools and used in government affairs. After the partition of India rn 1947 into Pakistan and India, Bangla-speaking people in Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan) made up 44 million of the newly formed Pakistans 69 million people. However, in 1947 at a national education summit a minority language was declared by the then state machinery as the sole state language to bc used in all spheres of life, including media and schools. This Jed to a situation where almost 70 percent of the population that formed the majority and spoke Bangi* were practically required to discard their mother tongue Bangla, which they had used for thousands of wirs. and learn afresh a completely alien minority language. Students of Dhaka University and other colleges of the city in Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan) organized a general strike on March 11,1948 to protest the exclusion of the Bangla language from official use, including on coins, stamps and in official competitive tests / examinations. Later taking the shape of a popular movement, the protest restated the demand that Bangla be declared an official language of the state. On feb. 21,1952 students of the Dhaka University along with member-, ol the public defied the unconstitutional ban on peaceful protests and organized a protest that resulted in police opening fire and killing a number of students, including Abdus Salam, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, Abul Barkat and Abdul Jabbar. Resultantly, a massive popular upheaval spread across Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan) as large processions ignored the unconstitutional ban on peaceful protests and condemned the actions of the police. At one stage more than 30,000 people assembled at Curzon Hall of Dhaka University in Dhaka. During the continued protests, police actions led to the death of more people. This prompted Bangla speaking government officials and civil servants from different organizations to boycott government offices and join the procession. The "All-Party Central Language Action Committee", supported by the majority of the population, decided to commemorate Feb. 21 as Shahid Dibosh (Martyrs Day). On the first anniversary of the protests, people across Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan) wore black badges in solidarity with the dead and victims of violence Most offices, bank ond educational...
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