Mother language means a language through which the people of a country express their idea, thoughts, feelings, and emotions clearly. The 21st February is the “International Mother Language Day” (IMLD). In order to show due honor and respect to the existing mother languages of different countries, the day has been declared as ‘International Mother Language Day’ by UNESCO on 17th November 1999. In reply to a proposal of Bangladesh Govt. the declaration has come to reality. The day has a long glorious historical background. It is a matter of great regret that the then rulers of Pakistan tried to impose ‘Urdu’ as the state language upon us instead of ‘Bangla’. Before the independence of our country in 1952, the then Pakistani ruler Jinnah declared in the public meeting that “Urdu and only Urdu shall be the state language of Pakistan”. The people of our country burst into a protest against this unjustified decision. Some of the heroic sons of this soil came forward and sacrificed their valuable lives for the cause of the mother tongue on the 21st February 1952. The objective of observing the day is to pay homage to the language martyrs. The day is important for the people of Bangladesh. Now it is a matter of great pleasure and prestige that this day got international recognition in 1999 as International Mother Language Day. UNESCO chooses a theme for each International Mother Language Day and sponsors related events at its Paris headquarters. In 2008, the International Year of Languages began on ‘International Mother Language Day’. It is celebrated in Chile, Russia, the Philippines, Egypt, and Canada. The annual Ekushey Heritage Award, introduced in 2014 by the Bangladesh Heritage and Ethnic Society of Alberta (BHESA), recognizes outstanding achievement in fields such as education, social work, and community service. The award is announced on ‘International Mother Language Day’.
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