Monday, July 15, 2024

Nation observes Ekushey

Thousands of people filed past shaheed minars barefooted across the country a minute after midnight past Sunday to pay tribute to the martyrs of the 1952 language movement.
People holding flowers and children holding the hand of their mother or riding on the shoulder of their father walked towards the memorial monuments to pay respect to the martyrs.
The president, Zillur Rahman, was the first to pay tributes to the martyrs at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka, followed by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina. Placing wreaths at the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar, both of them stood in solemn silence for a while.
Deputy speaker Shawkat Ali, cabinet members, leader of opposition in parliament, Khaleda Zia, members of the diplomatic corps, Dhaka mayor Sadeque Hossain and attorney general Mahbubey Alam later placed wreaths at the Shaheed Minar in the first hour. The chief justice, ABM Khairul Huq, paid his tribute to the martyrs on Monday morning.
Security was heightened in and around the Central Shaheed Minar on the occasion. Despite such measures, opposition BNP lawmaker for the Ramganj constituency in Noakhali, Nazimuddin, came to be attacked by some Chhatra League men when he went there to pay tributes along with some people of his constituency.
A four-tier security measures were taken to avert any untoward situation, the police earlier said.
Members of the Dhaka University Journalists Association boycotted the first hour of the observance as the university proctor did not allow them to stay in the Shaheed Minar area in the presence of the president and the prime minister.
The association president, Rakib Ahmed, said that the proctor had let in leaders of Chhatra League without any security pass but stopped them from carrying out professional duties.
Barefooted people from all walks of life in seemingly endless rows waited their turn to pay tributes to the martyrs and it continued till Monday afternoon. People also went to the Azimpur graveyard and said prayers at the graveside of the language martyrs.
Poetry recitation had started long before the people started placing flowers at the altar and it continued till 2:00 am. After a four-hour break, it continued for five more hours.
A special prayer was also held at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque seeking salvation of the departed souls of the language martyrs.
The state-run Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar, and private television channels aired special programmes on the occasion. BTV telecast the programme live from the Shaheed Minar while newspapers published supplements highlighting the significance of the day.
The Ekushey Book Fair at the Bangla Academy that began on February 1 was also swarmed with people on Monday as they moved towards the fair venue soon after placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar.
A number of organisations held discussion and cultural programmes to mark the day. The Liberation War Museum held a poetry recitation programme from languages of small ethnic groups.
News from outside the capital gave a similar picture of the Ekushey February observance.
The day was a public holiday. The national flag was hoisted at half-mast atop offices of government, non-government, autonomous and private organisations and other buildings. Black flags were also hoisted as a sign of sombre commemoration.
On this day in 1952, students and people from all strata of society took to the streets in Dhaka to protest at the then Pakistan government’s refusal to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Shafiur, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil sacrificed their lives on this day to establish Bangla as one of the state languages of the then Pakistan.
The Pakistan government was ultimately compelled to include an article in the country’s constitution on February 29, 1956 that read: ‘The state languages of Pakistan shall be Urdu and Bengali.’
The language movement is the most important turning point in the history of Bengalis as its spirit led to the independence of Bangladesh.
UNESCO announced February 21 as International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999 to honour the sacrifices of language martyrs. Ekushey February has been observed as International Mother Language Day since February 2000.
Since the UNESCO proclamation, 188 countries observe the day to promote linguistic diversity, multilingual education, and to raise awareness about cultural traditions based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

 

Via: New Age

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