By Nusrat Islam
Languages are the most powerful instruments for preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage.
Promoting the dissemination of Mother Tongues encourages linguistic diversity, multilingual education and helps to develop an awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world. This can then inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
In recognition of the Bangla Language movement and to promote peace and
multilingualism, UNESCO adopted a resolution in 1999, declaring 21st February as the ‘World Mother Language Day’.
It was on this date in 1952, that Bangladeshi students were shot dead by police at a demonstration to have Bengali recognised as one of the two national languages of East Pakistan. The students from the University of Dhaka, Jagannath University and Dhaka Medical College were killed outside the Dhaka High Court in the capital of present-day Bangladesh. In the world’s history, no other nation has had to struggle so much, and shed so much blood, to be able to hang onto their right to speak their mother tongue.
To remember the Bangladeshi Language Martyrs, and pass the knowledge and importance of International Mother Language Day to the second generation, the Victorian Bangladesh Community Foundation (VBCF) & Western Region Bengali School (WRBS) jointly hosted “EKUSHEY 2016”.
This day-long event on 21 February 2016 was held at Glen Orden Sports Club, Werribee.
The event consisted of laying the floral wreath on temporary martyr monument, children’s art competition, face painting, discussions commemorating the language martyrs, a cultural program and friendly 20/20 Cricket Match. Thousands of Bangladeshi attended and celebrated the event.
On 24 February 2016, the VBCF and Western Region Bangla School participated in the “2016 International Mother Tongue Day” event at Parliament House in the presence of Multicultural Minister Hon Robin Scott to celebrate the International Mother Language Day and to promote “Speak My Language” project.
Nusrat Islam is Cultural Secretary of the Victorian Bangladeshi Community Foundation & Western Region Bangla School