Chapainawabganj administration has for the first time printed invites for the International Mother Language Day programmes in five languages, including three indigenous ones.
Besides Bangla and English, the letters are written in Sadri, Santal and Kole -- a nod to indigenous communities in the district who speak these languages.
In previous years, the letters meant for officials, journalists and dignitaries were written only in Bangla.
Folded in half, the front side of the invite also contains greetings in different languages of the world.
“We thank the administration for the gesture,” Hingu Murmu, president of Uttarbanga Adivasi Forum, said.
The government should promote and preserve languages that are on the verge of extinction, he added.
“A language survives when it is written. It's very important to preserve our mother language to maintain linguistic and cultural diversity in the country,” he said.
Over 50,000 indigenous people of Santal, Oraon, Mahato, Kole, Rajbangshi and several other communities live in the district. The Santal community is the largest, he said.
Deputy Commissioner AZM Nurul Haque said, “We want to promote all ethnic minority communities. The textbooks of Sadri language are already distributed in primary schools.”
The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. It was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference and has been observed throughout the world since 2000.
According to the UNESCO, a language disappears from the world taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage every two weeks.