The nation is set to pay rich tributes to the martyrs of the 1952 historic Language Movement with the clock striking 00.01am on Wednesday marking ‘Amar Ekushey’, the Language Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day.
The great Language Movement, a significant event in the nation’s history, was aimed at establishing the right of the mother tongue as well as protecting self-entity, and culture and heritage.
Walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar with wreaths and flowers singing ‘Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February’, people will pay their tributes to the heroes of the Language Movement who laid down their lives for achieving the recognition of Bangla as the state language of erstwhile Pakistan.
President Abdul Hamid will first pay tributes to the language martyrs by placing wreaths at the altar of the central Shaheed Minar after zero hour, followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The Prime Minister along with her cabinet members, advisers, lawmakers and party leaders will place another wreath on behalf of her party.
Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Raushan Ershad along with her party’s MPs will also pay homage to the Language Movement martyrs by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar in the wee hours.
Different political parties, their front organisations as well as socio-cultural organisations have taken various programmes to pay their homage to the language martyrs all day long.
As BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is in jail, the party leaders will not go to the Shaheed Minar at night. They along with party leaders and activists will gather in front of Balaka Cinema Hall around 6:30am and then go to Azimpur Graveyard.
Later, they will go to the central Shaheed Minar to pay homage to the Language Movement heroes.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have taken all-out security measures in and round the Central Shaheed Minar to ensure smooth observance of Amar Ekushey.
On February 21, 1952, students and the common people in Dhaka took to the streets in protest against the then Pakistani government’s denial of Bangla as the national language and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil were killed in police firings on this day in 1952 when students came out in a procession from the Dhaka University campus breaching section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of then Pakistan.
Being a source of ceaseless inspiration, Amar Ekushey (Immortal Shaheed Day) inspired and encouraged the nation to a great extent to achieve the right to self-determination and struggle for freedom and the Liberation War.
With the bloodshed passages of Language Movement, the nation got the recognition of Bangla its mother tongue and attained its long cherished independence under the charismatic leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the occasion.
In his message, President said, “I extend my warm congratulations and sincere felicitations to all multilingual people of the world along with Bangla-speaking people.”
He recalled with deep reverence the language martyrs namely Shaheed Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiur and so many unknown and unsung language heroes who laid down their lives for the cause of mother tongue.
“As a Bangali nation, it was our great achievement. Today many languages and culture around the globe are becoming extinct due to lack of proper practice, preservation and patronization,” Hamid said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said the greatest Ekushey is the symbol of grief, strength and glory in the life of every Bangali.
“I pay my deep homage to the memories of the martyrs. I also pay my deep respect to the greatest Bangali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who had led the language movement and all other language veterans,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the International Mother Language Day is now a source of inspiration to all people of the world in establishing the truth and justice.
“Let’s work together with the spirit of the immortal Ekushey keeping aside all the differences for the development of the country upholding the democratic value and build a non-communal, hunger poverty-free and happy-prosperous Sonar Bangladesh as dreamt by the Father of the Nation,” the Prime Minister added.