The day is being observed in solemnity on a limited scale
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have paid their glowing tributes to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement on the occasion of Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day.
On behalf of the president and the prime minister, their military secretaries paid the homage by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar here at one minute past midnight on Sunday.
President’s Military Secretary Major General SM Salahuddin Islam was the first to lay the wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar. Just after him, Prime Minister’s Military Secretary Major General Naquib Ahmed Chowdhury placed the wreath at the Shaheed Minar.
They proceeded to the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar together in slow pace as the immortal song on Amar Ekushey – “Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February”– was playing.
They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the Language Heroes.
Ministers, advisers to the prime minister, parliament members, chiefs of three services, senior Awami League leaders, freedom fighters, foreign diplomats, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Generally, the president and the prime minister lead the nation to pay homage to the Language Movement Heroes by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past zero hours.
But they could not go to the Central Shaheed Minar this year to pay homage to the Language Heroes due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead of the president and the premier, their military secretaries placed wreaths on their behalf at the Central Shaheed Minar.
The day will also be observed around the world as the Unesco recognized February 21 as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.
On February 21 in 1952, Salam, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar and Barkat embraced martyrdom in police firing in front of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) as they took to the street to intensify the campaign to establish Bangla as the state language of the then Pakistan, sowing the seeds of subsequent movements for the country’s independence.
They were killed as police opened fire on students, demonstrating under the All-Party Students Action Committee against conspiracies of Pakistani rulers to declare “Urdu” as the only state language.
The movement for Bangla, however, did not stop and Pakistan government on February 29, 1956 was compelled to recognize 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 Independence and ultimately the emergence of Bangladesh.