Nation pays tribute to language martyrs

817 desk, February 21: People from all walks of life are being remembered the supreme sacrifice of the language martyrs with hundreds swarming the Central Shahid Minar at the midnight on Tuesday to pay their shimmering homage to them placing wreaths.
On February 21 in 1952, students and people from all walks of life under the All-Party Students Action Committee took to the streets in Dhaka to protest the then Pakistan government’s refusal to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation in paying homage to the language heroes as they placed wreaths at the central Shaheed Minar here in the wee hours on Tuesday.
They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the Language Martyrs.
Ministers, advisers to the prime minister, parliament members, chiefs of three services, diplomats, senior Awami League leaders, freedom fighters, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Deputy Speaker Fazley Rabbi Mia and Leader of the Opposition Begum Raushan Ershad placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar.
BNP chairperson along with senior leaders paid their homage to language martyrs.
Later, Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Dhaka University Teachers’ Association, Sector Commanders Forum, different political parties and socio-cultural organisations paid their homage.
Later on, the Shaheed Minar was opened to the public when thousands of people from all walks of life walked barefoot to it, with flowers in hands and humming “Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February” to recall the supreme sacrifice of the language heroes on this day in 1952.
The day is also being observed in 192 other countries across the world as the International Mother Language Day, declared by the UNESCO on November 17, 1999.
Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar, and some others embraced martyrdom when police opened fire on the procession in front of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). The movement for Bangla, however, did not stop and Pakistan government on February 29, 1956 was compelled to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages besides Urdu.
The decision, however, could not stop the movement against repression and misrule of Pakistani government and subsequently led to the War of Intendance and ultimately the emergence of independent Bangladesh.
The government had already taken extensive programmes to observe the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ and the International Mother Language Day on February 21 in a befitting manner.
On the day, the national flag will fly at half-mast in all educational institutions, government, semi-government and autonomous offices and private buildings across the country.
The day is a public holiday.
Quran Khwani, Milad Mahfil and special munajat will be arranged at Azimpur graveyard in the city for the martyrs of the Language Movement.
Like previous years, Dhaka University authorities organised the programmes at the Central Shaheed Minar in coordination with other relevant agencies.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina already issued separate messages on the eve of the Day.
In line with the national programmes, the day is also being observed by all educational institutions, city corporations, pourasabhas, the district and upazila administrations and Bangladesh missions abroad.
Various organisations and institutes, including Bangla Academy, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Nazrul Institute, Jatiya Grantha Kendra, Islamic Foundation, National Museum, International Mother Language Institute and Shishu Academy will observe the day across the country through different programmes.
The programmes will include book fair, discussions, recitation, essay writing competition and cultural functions.
To mark the day, the Central Shaheed Minar and its adjacent areas on Dhaka University campus were decorated with street paintings and graffiti with Bangla alphabets and selected verses about mother languages on the walls.
A four-layer security is in place in and around the Central Shaheed Minar to avoid any unwanted situation. Besides, CCTV cameras have also been installed from Shahbagh to Shaheed Minar.
Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television and private radio stations and television channels will be airing special programmes on the occasion. National dailies will publish special supplements marking the day.
Bangladesh Awami League has drawn up an elaborate programme to observe Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day on February 21 with due respect.
The day’s programmes of the party include placing of wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one-minute past midnight on February 21, hoisting at half-mast the national and party flags at its offices across the country and Bangabandhu Bhaban and raising black flag at 6-30 in the morning as a mark of profound respect to the memory of the Language Movement martyrs.