International mother language day

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  • Mother language means the language you learn when you are a child,

    mostly the language(s) of your parents.

  • These are some of the major language branches of the world.

    There are about 6000 to 7000 languages in the world. Just like the natural world, there are endangered languages and

    extinct languages. In Philippines there are 120 languages, two are official, 12 are auxiliary official and four are no longer

    spoken. Most of the languages in Philippines are Malayo-Polynesian.

  • In the same way that biodiversity is important for the balance of life on our planet, language diversity is important for the

    balance of cultures. Language is a powerful instrument to preserve our heritage. It inspires cultural solidarity among


    Learning in their mother language is the right of the children, because it can improve their learning. In many countries, not

    all children get the opportunity to learn in their mother tongue.

  • UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific, Cultural Organization) promotes

    Multilanguage education and attempts to protect languages from extinction.

    International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21

    February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity

    and multilingualism. It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999

    and is being observed since 2000 all over the world.

  • Why 21st February was chosen?

  • History of Bangla Language


  • Bangla is spoken mainly in Bangladesh and West Bengal, a province of India.

  • In 1947, British India was divided into two countries, India and Pakistan on

    the basis of religion. The East and West Pakistan was separated by 1300

    kilometres. Although Bangla was the language of the majority, Muslim League

    (the ruling party) tried to establish Urdu as the national language of Pakistan.

  • In 1948, the Governor General of Pakistan declared in Dhaka University the

    state language of Pakistan will be Urdu and no other language. The students

    shouted NO. The conflict continued over the years and on 21st February 1952,

    all the parties of East Bengal decided to hold a protest against the decision.

  • The day before all processions and meetings were banned, but the students took out

    processions. The police shot tear gas and a riot broke out in the Dhaka University area.

  • Police opened fire in front of the Dhaka Medical College Hostel and five

    persons died. The news of killings spread like wildfire and thousands of people

    gathered in the Dhaka University to offer prayers for the martyrs. When they

    started processions, police again opened fire and four persons were killed.

  • Through the night of 23rd February, the

    students constructed the first monument

    to remember the martyrs. The next day

    government deployed police and military

    and almost all the students and political

    leaders were arrested. The fight

    continued till in 29 February 1956, when

    Bangla was recognised as the second

    official language of Pakistan. However,

    the West Pakistan continued to hold

    important positions in the government

    and economic development also focused

    on West Pakistan. The language

    movement expanded to a movement of

    peoples rights and democratic

    processes, finally leading to the nine

    months War of Liberation in 1971 and the

    creation of an independent Bangladesh.

  • To commemorate the martyrs of the language movement a monument, known as

    Shahid Minar, was built in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. There are many

    monuments all over the country and every year early in the morning of 21st

    February, thousands of people walk to these monuments barefoot, singing a song

    Ekushey February and laying flowers to remember those who died and who

    suffered during the language movement.

  • The Government of Bangladesh proposed to UNESCO to identify 21st February

    as International Mother Language Day as a tribute to the language movement

    in Bangladesh. In its resolution UNESCO said 21st February be proclaimed

    International Mother Language Day throughout the world to commemorate the

    martyrs who sacrificed on this very day in 1952.

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