Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Homage paid to language movement martyrs

The nation paid homage to the language movement martyrs a minute after midnight past Saturday, with thousands of people walking barefooted to the shaheed minars across the country with wreaths and flowers.
People in Dhaka started streaming along the roads leading to the Central Shaheed Minar on the Dhaka University campus to place flowers at the altar of the monument after state dignitaries, political leaders, diplomats and representatives of international organisations had first placed wreaths.
In Dhaka, the president, Zillur Rahman, first placed a wreath at the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar on the campus of Dhaka University a minute past midnight, followed by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.
Hasina, along with leaders of the Awami League, cabinet members, advisers, lawmakers, placed one more wreath on behalf of the ruling Awami League.
The parliament speaker, Abdul Hamid, and the deputy speaker, Shawkat Ali Chowdhury, then placed wreaths. They were followed by the chief whip, Abdush Shahid, and the Dhaka mayor, Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
The chiefs of the three services, General Md Abdul Mubeen, Vice-Admiral Zahir Uddin Ahmed, and Air Marshal SM Ziaur Rahman, then placed wreaths, followed by the members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of the UN organisations.
The attorney general, Mahbubey Alam, placed flowers after leaders of the Awami Juba League. Then the foreign minister, Dipu Moni, placed a wreath on behalf of the foreign ministry, followed by the freedom fighters wounded in the independence war. The Bangladesher Samajtantirk Dal general secretary, Khalequzzman, placed a wreath along with party leaders.
The leader of the opposition in parliament, Khaleda Zia, also the BNP chairperson was 17th on the queue. She along with party leaders reached the altar about 12:20pm as the security personnel kept her waiting in Doyel Square on ‘security reasons’ and she reached the venue in time at midnight.
Her press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan told New Age the university authorities informed her that she would place a wreath after the prime minister. ‘It was done intentionally. She had to place wreaths amid severe chaos. Even the vice-chancellor did not receive her,’ he said.
Senior BNP leaders had to climb onto the altar because of jostling. The opposition chief whip, Zaninul Abdin Farroque, fell down on the altar after being huddled in the crowd.
The Dhaka University vice-chancellor, AAMS Arefin Siddique, placed a wreath much later than he was scheduled to.
They placed wreaths as Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February was sung and stood in silence for a few seconds in honour of Salam, Barkat, Rafiq and Jabbar who were killed police firing this day in 1952 when they, along with others, campaigned for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of Pakistan. The incident later culminated into the war for national independence in 1971.
Before the arrival of the prime minister, the volunteers of Bangladesh National Cadet Corps, Rovers and Rangers withdrew themselves from discharging their duties as the members of Special Security Force misbehaved with Professor Azizunnahar Islam, leader of the BNCC, and other teachers who were leading the volunteers.
The university proctor, KM Saiful Islam, said the BNCC, Rovers and Rangers did not reach the venue in time and the SSF did not let them in.
Ekushey February, formally know as Shaheed Dibas or Martyrs’ Day, has come to be observed as International Mother Language Day every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism after a proclamation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s general conference in November 1999.
On February 21, 1952, which fell on Phalgun 8, 1359 in the Bangla calendar, the rulers of what was then a united Pakistan ordered Sectio 144 banning any demonstrations against the announcement that Urdu would be the only state language of the country even though a majority of its combined population spoke Bangla.
The Pakistani rulers ordered law enforcers to fire into the protesters, mainly Dhaka University students, who brought out a procession defying the ban seeking Bangla to be a state language.
The president, Zillur Rahman, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the opposition, Khaleda Zia, also the BNP chairperson, and major political parties issued messages on the occasion of Ekushey February.
Paying tributes to the martyrs to language, the president, Zillur Rahman, in his message said, ‘The spirit of nationalism that emanated from the historical language movement inspired the Bangali nation towards attaining sovereignty and thus we achieved our long-cherished independence in 1971.’
Zillur also said the spirit of the language movement inspires the countrymen to stand against all sorts of injustice and unfairness. ‘It also provides us with endless inspiration to go ahead along with fostering our own language, literature and culture.’
He also recalled the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the then member of legislative assembly Dhirendra Nath Datta, Maulana Akram Khan, Dr Muhammad Shahidullah, language movement heroes Kazi Golam Mahbub and Gaziul Haque along other veteran leaders who contributed immensely to the language movement.
Sheikh Hasina, in her message, paid tributes to the language movement martyrs and veterans and said she was happy to learn about the inauguration of the International Mother Language Institute, scheduled for today.
She said this achievement made in 1952 was not limited to the geographic boundary of Bangladesh.
She said UNESCO accorded recognition to the day in 1999 as International Mother Tongue Day and Amar Ekushey had assumed a global character for all.
She said her government took steps to build the International Mother Language Institute in 2001. The institute dedicated to the memory of the language movement martyrs and veterans would remain a milestone.
Khaleda Zia, in her message, said international expansionist forces were trying to impose cultural and economic dominance on the country in different ways. ‘So the spirit of Ekushey will inspire us to resist such conspiracy of all international expansionist forces.’
Security was heightened at and around the Central Shaheed Minar for the Ekushey observance. The programme was aired live on television channels.
Lawmen closed all the entrances to the campus on Friday with barbed-wire fences. They set up check points on the roads to restrict people’s movement.
The day is a public holiday. The national flag has been hoisted at half mast atop government, autonomous and private buildings and educational institutions. Newspapers have marked the occasion by bringing out supplements. The electronic media started airing special programmes.
Dhaka University supervised the Amar Ekushey observance as it did in the past. The Central Shaheed Minar was earlier cleaned, brushed up and painted. Floral designs were painted on walls around the monument.
Government, non-government, socio-cultural and political organisations have chalked up elaborate programmes to mark the day.
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, will inaugurate the International Mother-language Institute at Segun Bagicha at 4:00pm today.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which held a discussion at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday, will placed flowers at the Shaheed Minar at 6:00am Sunday.
The Awami League’s programmes for the day include placing flowers at the Central Shaheed Minar, hoisting the national and party flags at half mast in all offices of the Awami League and its associate bodies and at Bangabandhu Bhaban, and hoisting the black flag at 6:30am.
Sammilita Sangskritik Jote began its three-day programmes at Rabindra Sarobar at Dhanmondi on Friday.
The Nazrul Academy will hold a discussion and a cultural programme in the academy auditorium at 6:00pm. Shaheed Asad Parishad will hold a session of recitation of poems and people’s song at Swadhinata Udyan at 11:00am.
The Oxford International School will hold a symposium and a cultural programme on the school premises.
Shishu Mela at Shyamali will hold a painting competition for children on the amusement park premises at 9:30am.

Courtesy of NewAgebd

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